Scandalous

I’ve been in Arkansas doing the summer tour of family, and I did not bring the handy dandy iPad setup and therefore have not posted. I’m headed home with three kiddos in tow Friday and should be back to a more regular schedule at that point.

During this two week visit, I had a birthday with a number I haven’t made peace with yet (shoutout to Nikki who gave me a pitch perfect birthday celebration when I totally house crashed her. Petit fours, champagne, and tv binging for the win!).

I have sought solace for my aging sorrows in the warm embrace of others.

Other dogs.

I have been shamelessly cheating on Eliot with the following cast of characters.

Libby the corgi pup came to play nap while my niece was pet sitting.

Mavis and Ruby partied hard with me on my birthday.

Beau listened intently to my belly grumbles.

And sweet Greta dutifully waits her turn everyday for cuddles since Beau is the guest this week.

I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t tell Eliot.

Stuff I’m…

Watching: 

Frasier…again – The funny thing this time is that despite her hesitation, it has totally captured Rosalind’s attention too. Now our endless looping of Frasier reruns is a family affair.

Nailed It – It took a few episodes for me to settle into this show, but Rosalind LOVES it. I’ve heard a lot of kids her age seem to really get a kick out of it. It’s cute.

New Girl – The last half season of New Girl came out in May, I think. I love it when a show gets a last season to wrap everything up neatly, and New Girl delivered.

Incredibles 2 – It didn’t have a chance up to my love of the first one because it is my absolute favorite Pixar movie ever, but it was a perfectly good movie.

Coco – We finally managed to rent this one. It was a very pretty movie with a sweet story.

Reading:

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter – Not knowing what I was going to be teaching gave me a great excuse to read a wide array of YA novels. Now that I know I won’t really need a vast knowledge of YA novels this year, I’ll just have to own up to liking them.

The Hate U Give – Another in my YA perusal.

Less – Not YA! A Pulitzer Prize winner even.

Listening to:

After continually hitting a wall with Ready Player One, Sergio told me to listen to the audiobook version he downloaded when he drove from Alaska. So I did even though my history with audiobooks has been hit or miss. One day while we were waiting to pick Sergio up from work, Rosalind started listening with me. She was completely hooked! This is a habit I will gladly indulge with her.

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – We decided she might enjoy some Douglas Adams after we completed Ready Player One. We both read this in our late teens or even early twenties, so perhaps we underestimated the level of satire. She’s enjoying it fine, but the parts that make us laugh don’t always register with her.

A Tale of Two Cities – I added another audiobook to my phone for when Rosalind isn’t around. You’ll be interested to know that A Tale of Two Cities and Ready Player One have roughly the same running times of about 16 hours.

Eating: 

All the green chiles.

And all the Carne Adovada.

Takeout from Grubhub way too often.

Roasted and salted shishito peppers.

Saturn peaches which totally got me to buy them with their super cute exterior but won me over with the excellent peach to pit ratio.

Cotton Candy Grapes! Have you had these? You have to have these! They are excellent! I promise! I understand that they sound gross. They are not. They are also not some horrible corn syrup injected monstrosity. They are just bred to taste this way. I haven’t been able to find any more since my first bag.

Doing:

Not unpacking, that’s for darn sure! Furniture still set to be delivered the morning I leave for Arkansas.

Paperwork for my new job. Lamenting bureaucracy.

Learning my way around ABQ slowly but surely. Getting used to the traffic and speed of life.

Sitting on the floor way too much. Give me my couch! My back begs you!

 

 

 

 

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Albuquerque provides us with plenty of opportunities to be outside. Most weekends we park our car in the foothills and take a jog around the trails available just a few blocks from our house. We’ve also managed a couple of small, mostly unplanned hikes when we come across them.

The first hike that we actually planned for was for a place that we had somehow never even heard of. We were intrigued by it just from pictures and descriptions, and then we were extremely pleased to find that it is only an hour outside of ABQ.

A quick internet search taught us some important information. This is information that clearly not everyone bothered to read on the website, the ranger station, or any of the many posted signs around the park, so I’m going to help you out.

  1. It is a popular hike. You will encounter people from all over the country and beyond. If you don’t get there pretty much right when they open up for the day (8 am), you will be waiting in a long line of cars. They pretty much close up shop when the park reaches capacity, so get there early.
  2. No dogs allowed. It is sacred land for the nearby Pueblo. Be respectful of that.
  3. Stay on the trail. No climbing on the tent rocks. There are plenty of natural places to climb, veer off to a smaller trail, or sit on non-tent rocks. Again, be respectful.

We got there around 8:30 am, and they are not kidding about it being a popular place. We didn’t have to wait to hike, but the most you can hope for regarding solitude is a nice buffer distance between the family in front of you and the family behind you. It is a slot hike, so there are several places where everyone clogs up. This does not diminish the experience at all. It just makes it more of a social event than a lot of hikes I’ve been on in the past.

I can’t really express to you how nice this hike was. The pictures never really do it justice either. You’re going to have to trust me that you need to go. It is so gorgeous, and fun, and frankly, it provides lots of shade which you can’t underestimate during a New Mexico July. It is so pretty and kind of odd. Rosalind was not that enthusiastic about hiking when we woke her up early Sunday morning. Her exact words were, “I don’t waaannnaaaaa hike.” It took until the parking lot before her full enthusiasm kicked in at the landscape, and then we couldn’t even keep up with her for the rest of the hike. “Look over there. Look at that. Do you see that? Whoa, look at this!”

If you do both parts of the hike, you are in for 4.2 miles. There is a decent amount of elevation and a couple of very quick places where you have to maneuver yourself over rocks. Otherwise the trail is made up of very soft, squishy sand. It will make you a bit sore in the way taking a jog on the beach can. The second hike that takes you to a small man-made cave is in full sun. I would recommend that you do that part first if you get there early.

Other tips:

  1. Take more water than you think you need. A couple of well-stocked hiking packs are not overkill. You won’t get lost on this trail, so just water and sunscreen should suffice.
  2. Sunscreen up well beforehand and you should be good for the whole hike.
  3. DO NOT under any circumstances go on a rainy day. It is a slot canyon and you will most definitely die in a flash flood. It took us two weeks to get to this hike because of rain in the forecast on our first try. Luckily for you, it only rains about every three weeks here.
  4. Take some cash for the $5 parking fee.
  5. Hats and sunglasses are your friends.
  6. Close-toed shoes are smart. I saw several people that clearly just decided to hike on a whim (which is totally fine), but their sandals were utterly useless in the soft, squishy sand of the trail.
  7. You will be covered in a layer of soft dirt afterward. I could draw in the dirt on my leg on the car ride home. This is only important information if you plan to grab some lunch afterward and are worried about where you can eat with so much dirt on you. We ended up at Freddy’s. Nothing like a little dirt to give you an excuse to scarf down a yummy burger and steal some of your kid’s milkshake.

We could not recommend this hike more. It definitely falls in my top three favorite hikes. Go to there! 5E754C2D-DB4E-465A-B041-B750B0898F87

All Set Up Now

Sorry for the long absence. The reason is two-fold. First, I wake up most days with the thought, “What horrors await us in the news today?” The last couple of weeks have more than lived up to my dramatic thought processes. If you haven’t chosen at least one of the terrors to fight against recently, let me encourage you to do so. We’ve done a few different things and will continue to do so. Yesterday we took part in the nationwide Families Belong Together Rally. It felt quite a bit different than the sub-zero Women’s March from Fairbanks a couple of years ago. Notice how we found the shade.

The second, and far more lighthearted reason I haven’t posted much, is that our stuff still isn’t here. I know! That’s insane! We are scootching toward SEVEN weeks without our furniture. It is supposed to show up at our door on Thursday which is also the same day Rosalind and I go back to Arkansas for a two week visit. Just terrible timing. To add to the insult of the whole thing, our stuff has actually been sitting in a parking lot somewhere in Albuquerque for over a week already. They just couldn’t fit us into the delivery schedule until Thursday. No big deal. We’re just over here with one chair, a beanbag, one mattress, and a memory foam pallet on the floor. No hurry or anything. The point of that rant is actually just to say that I kept thinking I would be able to post using Rosalind’s little Chromebook when it finally got here, and so I just kept putting it off.

After complaining more than a couple of times that I am getting behind on New Mexico posts, Sergio went and gifted me with this snazzy little setup. 18D5F2D3-6566-4811-9057-41292928C79FThat’s right, you guys, I am typing on a little Bluetooth keyboard hooked up to a new iPad as we speak. I LOVE IT. It is SO ADORABLE! I won’t always be using a Yeti cooler as my desk. I hope.

This post will probably be short. We’ve been up to a lot of stuff lately, and I think I’m going to approach it in a couple of posts so that each thing can have the proper attention. At any rate, dinner needs to be cooked and I promised Rolo an hour at the pool, so here are a couple of quick pieces of relevant information that don’t deserve their own post but do need a quick mention.

We bought this car yesterday…  933877F9-952C-4964-A0D7-5C2DEC14EDF3

…because I accepted a job last week. Middle school social studies this time. I’m pleased with both of these developments. We waited to buy a second car until we knew if I would even be employed and needing a car each day, and then when we knew the location details, what that car needed to be like.

And the last thing worth noting is that Rosalind got back from a week at a very impressive Girl Scout Camp in Angel Fire on Friday. She showered exactly one time in the whole six days. C448AAD8-31AD-4CFF-9BE5-BA6AC62A6859

She swears that she wore her retainer every single night though.

Sure she did.

I Will Learn To Take Video In Landscape Mode. One Day.

On our first weekend here, we found a big Farmer’s Market to attend because that’s an activity we all enjoy. This one is right downtown and is a really nice mix of produce and souvenirs. I was pleased to see that we had any number of options for Aguas Fresca that day, and I’ve been pleased to see them available nearly everywhere since. It’s kind of like how I can get green chile added to just about anything anywhere. I love that. In fact, before the market we grabbed breakfast at The Kolache Factory, and mine was green chile brisket. Yum.

Albuquerque has an unexpectedly excellent botanical garden. I figured it would be nice enough, but I was really blown away by how much it actually had going on. We initially bought the combined ticket for the garden and the aquarium, but the garden took so long that we left the aquarium for another day. This was an easy decision because we decided to get a season pass for the whole BioPark (also includes the zoo), and they were nice enough to apply our daily fee to the season pass total, both of which are totally affordable anyway. Here is a little picture collage from our day at the garden. I found the over-sized garden for kids and the preserved (working) farm in the middle to be especially charming. Rosalind was also a big fan of the colorful and friendly koi.

NOW! Here is a video from the Bug-arium. The ant exhibit is one of the craziest, coolest, and most effective animal displays I’ve ever experienced. It’s up there with how the Prague Zoo just lets bats fly freely all over your head. The video doesn’t show the best part which is that the ants have an overhead branch that takes them throughout the whole exhibit, and you can just follow the busy little guys the whole way. You will definitely feel itchy while in the Bug-arium. It’s not an extensive place, but there is plenty to make you squirm and squeal. I doubt that many people go to the unassuming bathroom at the back of the Bug-arium, but let me give you the tip that if you do go to that bathroom, and wash your hands afterward because you aren’t gross, then you will get a fairly unwelcome (but kind of ingenious) surprise. I won’t ruin it for you, but just know that I left the bathroom going, “NOPE, that is UNNECESSARY!” But then I also took Rolo back in to show her what happens.

We highly recommend the botanical garden. There’s plenty of shade even for a hot ABQ day, but we happened to be fighting a cool drizzle most of our day.

The next cool thing we did with Rosalind in mind was take her to the single unlikeliest event I could think of happening during an Albuquerque June. An outdoor Ice Cream Festival. It actually serves as a fundraiser, and while there was a foam party (as evidenced below), and a few bouncy houses, the real draw is the fact that you can eat up to 21 different Blue Bell Ice Cream flavors. We didn’t really know how it functioned and bought ten tokens and an additional ten samples. It turns out that what we bought was TEN FULL ICE CREAM CONES on top of ten samples. We had to give most of our tokens away at the end. It was super fun before it was kind of nauseating and hot. I will definitely go back next year, but I will be smart and take more sunscreen, a hat, and probably even a parasol. We will also be smarter about how we purchase our tokens and tickets, but since it was a fundraiser, there is really no harm in realizing that anything more than 1 1/2 ice cream cones per person is way more than enough.

You can check out video of Rosalind throwing herself 100% into the foam party below.

She learned quickly that foam parties are far better in theory than in practice, and I think we might have headed off her need to try out a boozy foam party in the future. Good.

 

Postlet

I started a real post the other day, but I haven’t been able to get Sergio’s computer back home since then. I’m still stubbornly refusing to post real updates from my phone, so here we are again with a non-entry.

I amend my former statement about Albuquerque heat. There is a point of “too hot to enjoy outside” here as well. This last week has taught me that anything between 98 and 102 degrees starts to feel like you are baking in a dry oven. I still stand by the fact that if you can find shade, a breeze, or be outside before 8 am or after 6 pm, it’s not just manageable but actually really nice.

We’ve eaten outside WITH SERGIO more than once! And he enjoyed himself!

Anyway, Rolo has been in a morning art camp at the Albuquerque museum all this week. I have spent most of my time dropping people off and picking them up again throughout the day. She has very much enjoyed her time in this camp. She has pulled me out of my comfort zone by making instant friends and requiring me to engage with their parents and make play date plans. Dear Future Rosalind, when you one day question my love for you because I’ve done something awful like ask you to clean your bathroom, always remember that I talked to other humans just for you and against my will. Love, Your Introvert Mom

The Least Detailed Catch Up Ever

I didn’t intentionally lie to you guys the other day when I said that Sergio would bring me his computer and I would try for a longer post. Sergio did bring me his computer, but it turns out that I don’t know any passwords to anything in my life because my old work computer stored everything for me. I ended up locking myself out of WordPress for a short time, but it was a long enough time that I was too lazy to go back in and try again that night.

So here we are now.

Well, let’s see. What all has happened? Rolo and I left Fairbanks. It was a bittersweet goodbye. Alaska was very good to us and the people we knew there will be missed. I may or may not have shed a few sloppy tears in the car after we left Rolo’s daycare for the last time. On the other hand, we were happy to be on our way to see Sergio, Eliot, and the extended family that we had not seen for a WHOLE YEAR.

First things first – I reunited with this little fella. I couldn’t stop taking his picture. I’ve been on a crusade to get his weight up since he is so darn bony, and I think I finally landed on the magic ingredient. Soft-boiled eggs. It softens up his hard food just enough and masks the awful smelling glucosamine tablets that he hates. He is so happy and spry again. If eggs are bad for him, keep it to yourself. He’s eating and happy.

Later in the week, Sergio flew into town for a special event. My little baby niece, whom I swear was just a baby yesterday, graduated high school and later jetted off to Costa Rica for a month long language immersion program. Little turd grew up on us. Otherwise we had a nice visit with family in which I managed three trips to white cheese dip. These pictures are her at my graduation, and then us at hers.

Sergio, Rolo, and I then road-tripped it to Albuquerque together over the course of a couple of days. As much as I wanted to see everyone, it was also so nice to finally have the four of us back together as a unit again. We have since enjoyed a few things specific to Albuquerque (post of their own coming later), and we’ve also enjoyed some things that are simply available in slightly more cosmopolitan towns. You know, Target, Homegoods, Jimmy Johns, Whole Foods. I’m not proud, but I am pretty happy.

I’ll be back when I am less sick (I know! Again! What the heck!) to talk about Albuquerque as a place to live. I just want to know if all of you out there know that there are places you can live that are warm without being damp? Because I feel like you don’t know? Because if you knew, you wouldn’t be living where you are? I seriously cannot seem to soak up enough warmth and vitamin D. I’m not dumb enough to sit in the strong sun with my complexion, but I am outside ALL. THE. TIME. It’s so nice.

IMG_2412

A Little Displaced

I am currently sitting in my stripped classroom at a desk that is not my desk (I had a legit wooden desk). Teachers are an interesting breed of people that can be very sad that you are leaving, and lament that fact with you as you help them carry all of your good materials to their classrooms. We’re vultures. I feel okay saying that about my coworkers because it’s also true of me.

I am sitting here because I also have no house to be in anymore. The movers came on Friday morning, and after two days of cleaning miles of white tiles, the landlords came for the final walkthrough on Sunday. We’ve been in a hotel since Friday night and I even checked out of that this morning.

Frankly, I can sit here in the comfort of my empty classroom and relish this last bit of time with my computer, or I can drive around Fairbanks aimlessly until 3:30 when it is time to be at the airport. I choose here.

I’m pretty tired, but I’m very amped to be on my way this evening. It feels like the longest moving process of my life. I’m not saying I’m dying to leave Alaska. In fact, there is a post about how great Alaska has been for us brewing in my brain as we speak. I just think dwelling on that kind of content might not be the best idea today. It’s just that Sergio and Eliot have been living away from us since March, and I am SO done with that.

I WILL say that it seems like we did a decent job with the moving process. It felt overly tedious at times, but I never felt overwhelmed in this last week. I definitely worried that I would procrastinate myself into a corner and end up either in tears or being a mean mom, but none of that happened. Look at me, growing as a human.

The only thing left on my to do list is the car. I need to have it cleaned today. This task is made more difficult by the fact that the back is loaded down with winter tires and the rest of the seats are covered in our luggage. This was a real oversight on my part. My brain knew we needed to have the car washed but entirely missed the whole “empty the inside, vacuum, wipe down stuff” part of the equation. Luckily, it’s not very messy at all. It’s mostly the vacuuming that has me a little troubled.

Sorry if I seem a little scattered. I am basically just a walking list of chores right now. I just chant items off in my head all day long and have been for at least three weeks. I don’t seem to have mental room for the small stuff right now, like coherent sentences or following the correct directions to get to places I go every single day. I know I’ll be relieved once I pass the car off to our buyer friends and pass over my gigantic luggage to be checked.

I think I’ll take a deep breath then…and follow it with a cocktail of some kind.

Oh, hey! This moose came by on Saturday while we were cleaning the house. What a nice little gift.

Happy Mother’s Day

Rosalind was insistent that we celebrate Mother’s Day as much as we could despite all the reasons that is difficult to do this year. Our house is a complete disaster, Sergio is in New Mexico, I didn’t want her to get me any gift that I had to move, and we don’t have enough dishes or groceries left for her to cook me much of anything.

I finally gave in and told her we could attempt to make a cake with what items we had left around. We accomplished that, and she really did the majority of this herself despite the fact that all we had to stir with was a fork!

She also got very secretive yesterday making me something. It turned out that she made me hair ties (and bracelets) by cutting up the tops of her old socks! So clever. They really work!

IMG_2261

Instead of breakfast in bed, I spent this morning before Rolo came home from a sleepover driving around our small town looking for the transfer site for the dump. My map continually took me directly to the Refinery Lounge and Bar. The Refinery had a city sign nearby that stated there was a public dumpster there. And, indeed, there was a normal dumpster in the parking lot. My fifth time through the parking lot, I finally decided that this could not be right. My understanding of transfer sites is that they are made up of MANY dumpsters. I called. I was about a half mile from the right place. It was, in fact, about 30 dumpsters or so. I successfully got rid of my old truck tires and bulky pillows.

So nothing says Mother’s Day like a trip to the dump! I have actually accomplished a lot this weekend for the move (packed additional boxes and suitcases, donated more stuff, paid to have someone else switch my way-overdue-to-be-changed winter tires over to summer tires, etc.). The movers come on Friday morning. It’s starting to happen, you guys!

Sergio and Rolo took good care of me today despite all the barriers in our way. I had a very nice day. I hope everyone else also got a special trip to the dumpster playground, or the Walmart tire center, or to see the Value Village donation man for their special day! Or, you know, whatever floats your boat. Happy Mother’s Day to our moms, other moms, and all mom-like people.