Saturday, October 26, 2013

Visiting Friends and Family in New Mexico

We began our trip on the morning of Friday, October 18, by driving to Lubbock, TX, where we spent the night at a hotel. We got there in time to rest for a few minutes before going to dinner at Cheddar's. The next morning, as we were re-packing the car, we were surprised at how COLD it was. It was in the mid-thirties with a pretty steady wind blowing. That was a good 20 degrees colder than Temple's minimum temperature the morning before. I hate to admit it, but I think my Alaskan blood has thinned out, and I don't tolerate the cold like I used to.

On Saturday we drove from Lubbock to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Tim came to our hotel room, and from there we went to dinner at Olive Garden. Tim got to pick the restaurant, since we were celebrating his new job, as a Systems Analyst II for the Utilities Division of the Physical Plant Department at the University of New Mexico (UNM). Tim has been looking for work for quite a while, since he was a part of a huge lay-off at Hewlett Packard. We are thrilled that this good position at UNM is his. Based on his first couple weeks, he says that he is loving the work and enjoying his new colleagues.

Sunday was the highlight of our Albuquerque visit. We started the day at Starbuck's before going to Bible study and worship at our old congregation, Northeast Church of Christ. We were happy to see how well our old church family is doing. When we left they had just hired a new preacher, and he and his family were settling in. The congregation seems to have grown to love him, and, if the Bible lesson and two sermons we heard are any indication, they are being fed well from the Word of God.

After morning worship we went to lunch with our friends, Mike, Paula and Haley Sanderson and Pat and Urshal Moore. We tried eating at a new restaurant, but it was too crowded, so we ended up at Fuddrucker's.

For dinner we met up with Tim again, at Genghis Grill. Believe it or not, we had even one more restaurant get-together later that evening. We joined more church friends - The Setliffs, the Smiths, the Woodalls and the Herreras - at Jason's Deli. Having already eaten, Dan and I just had something to drink while they all had dinner.

On Monday morning I got a text message from Tim. He had a bad sore throat, but had gone to work, anyway. He was feeling pretty rough, and didn't know if he'd be able to meet us for dinner that evening. As it turned out, he got worse, and was running a 102+ degree temperature by bed time. Sadly, we didn't get to see him again before we left town the next morning. He ended up missing work on Tuesday and Wednesday, working from home on Thursday, and returning to the office on Friday. He feels sure he got this "bug" from me, since I was in the final stages of a cold (?) when we saw him on Saturday and Sunday. I honestly don't think so, since I was feeling much better after having had it for over a week (I don't think I was still contagious), and since he came down with it awfully quickly after seeing me. But I still feel a twinge of guilt that it might have been from me, and feel terrible that he had to miss work during his first month on the new job.

Dan and I went our separate ways at noon on Monday. He joined several of his old office friends, at a Chinese restaurant, for lunch. He was surprised at how many people took time out of their day to come, and was really pleased to see all of them again. I went to my old office, at the UNM Foundation, to see my good friends, Betsy and Karl. The office is down several people right now, so it was just the two of them who went to lunch with me. We went to The Range, and spent a nice, long time catching up on everything. At the end of the meal, Betsy pulled something out of her purse, and said that it was time for a special award. She had Karl's 5-year pin, from the Foundation, and made her formal presentation. She said she'd had the pin for a while, but since the office was down to only two people, she decided to wait until I was there to be the "audience." It was fun, since I had been a part of the hiring team for Karl, back in 2008. (You can see a photo of Betsy here - the third one down on this old post. Karl is the friend who was an extra in the Lone Ranger movie. I blogged about it here - third paragraph under the What We Have Been Doing heading)

We met up with our friend, Sheila Nicholson, on Monday evening. She was alone, since Wendell was out of town on business. Then, on Tuesday morning, joined our former neighbors, David and Lorraine, for breakfast at Weck's. They are delightful people, and it was a great way to end our Albuquerque visit. We were on the road, heading to my mom's home in Carlsbad, by 11:00 a.m.

We arrived in time for dinner, and spent the next two days with Mom. She is doing very well. The three of us drove up to Artesia on Wednesday, where we ate lunch with our good friend, Pam, at La Fonda - Mom's favorite Mexican restaurant. On Thursday I taught Mom a new card game I learned, while at the coast with the "girls" a couple weeks ago. It is called "Golf" because, like the real game of golf, the winner is the one with the lowest score. Mom whipped me in both of the rounds we played! I'm claiming it was beginner's luck, and I'm sticking to that story! :-)

We said our good-byes on Thursday night, and, as quietly as we could, slipped out the door and into our car the next morning, at 5:00, leaving Mom tucked into her nice warm bed. An early start meant that we were back home by 2:30 that afternoon, which gave us some time to decompress before bed time.

I'm happy to be home today, taking care of a few chores that need to be done and enjoying a little down time. But Dan was up at 4:30 a.m, again, so he could drive down to the Circuit of the Americas, in Austin, to meet Chris for the U.S. Vintage Racing National Championship. That crazy man!

Friday, October 25, 2013

52 in 2013 - #32 Theme of the Week: Autumn

We were visiting Albuquerque at just the right time to enjoy all the brilliant fall foliage contrasted against the vivid blue New Mexico sky.

52 in 2013 - #31 Theme of the Week: On the Road

We just returned from a road trip to Albuquerque and Carlsbad, NM. We left Carlsbad, for home, around 5:00 this morning. It was a dark, lonely road before the sun rose at 7:00 a.m. This distant set of on-coming headlights seemed to be coming straight out of the fiery dawn sky.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fun, Fun, Fun

View from the condo

I spent the weekend with a group of five friends from church. Pepper and Cindy generously donated a weekend at their condo in Port Aransas for me to share with these ladies. We had a blast! The weather was beautiful right up until we were ready to leave for home.

Left to right: Kasey, Janet, Doris, Wynn, Melba, me

We ate most of our meals in. Two people brought food from home and prepared Friday night's dinner, two of us did the same for Saturday night, and two were on breakfast duty. We had planned to eat our lunches out, but on Saturday we decided to eat in, because there was so much food left over from Friday night's dinner. After church on Sunday, though, we did eat lunch out at a seafood restaurant, before heading back home.

Besides having some delicious meals together, we spent our time walking on the beach (multiple times), and browsing the gift shops. We also played a couple of new-to-me, very fun games. One was a card game called "Golf," and the other also used cards, but had a board and markers as well. It was called Penkwe, and Doris was the one who brought it. She told us a man in Montana made the board for her, and now I want to make one for myself.

The Penkwe board

Cindy and Pepper's condo is on a beautiful beach. We especially enjoyed our evening walks.

We traveled in two vehicles. I was with Doris (the driver) and Wynn. Our trip home took us two hours longer than it should have - but that was just two more hours we could be together! Our delay had multiple causes - a decision to cross to the mainland via the ferry (instead of the bridge) caused us a 50 minute wait in line; a wrong turn took us on a jog to the south when we should have been going north; a bad car accident near San Antonio caused us to have to seek an alternate route; and heavy rain nearly all the way home meant we had to keep our speed down. But we eventually made it home, safe and sound, on Sunday night.

San Antonio rain
What was nice about this weekend was the perfect blend of people and activities. There were both one-on-one and group times; quiet times for reading or thinking; times for fun and laughter; and a time for worshipping with the friendly little Port Aransas Church of Christ. Many thanks go to Cindy and Pepper for their hospitality and generosity.