Friday, May 18, 2012

Being a Kid For a Day

Since I've gotten home from New Mexico, all I have wanted to do is do nothing. Nothing. Just hang out. In between life, sometimes it's hard to find time to do anything else. Usually I use my Friday's off to catch up on cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and if time allows, some painting. Today was one of my Friday's off. And today I did none (or not much) of that. Instead, I had visitors! I had visitors and photo subjects. They let me document our day...

V and N came to visit Mike and I last night. They stayed for about 24 hours. Since it had been awhile since I had watched them, I planned. I planned activities so they would not be bored. 

Of course, of all days, today my car had to be in the shop. So I had to barter with my brother for his car. We settled on strawberries. More on that later...

We started the day with breakfast, the most important meal of the day. V and N wanted cereal. Since we only have rice milk in the house, they changed their minds quickly. Instead they decided on oatmeal. What they did not know was that the oatmeal was made with rice milk. Shh.


After breakfast we hung around until shortly before 10am. We planned to leave around then to go strawberry picking at Gorman Farm. We get our CSA share from them in the summer. So since I follow them on Twitter I also know that they've been selling out of strawberries around 2pm on most days. We weren't going to miss out.


With two free laborers, we got to picking.




We were probably only there picking for about 30 minutes. But we really made out.



Had I only known how much those three buckets of strawberries were going to cost me...

Seriously, I don't want to talk about it. But they were delicious.

After lunch I had this project lined up for them. Anybody else do Sun Art as a kid?? I actually found this at the Nuclear Science Museum gift shop and brought it home with me. I was that excited.


I made V and N go hunting for objects they wanted to use. Then we got to creating.




I meant to take a picture of their final product but I must have gotten sidetrack. Then they left, prints in tow.

So here is my print. I was slightly lazier and did not leave the house to find my objects. That's right. A burnt out light bulb and objects from our junk drawer.



So it wasn't until after all of this that V and N started settling down. V entertained himself with Wii. And N entertained herself with coloring.

I am so proud.


Meatball, of course, was by our side the whole time. He was also worn out by this point. He sat by N's feet and slowly drifted off to sleep...


... and there he goes...


Things not pictured in this post:
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks movie night
  • mango juice spills
  • bartering for Tio Michael's car 
  • pizza making 
  •  Meatball escaping out of the house

Saturday, May 12, 2012

For Our Mothers


Homemade cards are handy when 1) you didn't get a chance to run to Target, and 2) your mother appreciates hand made things. Mothers typically appreciate just about anything though, which is why they are so great.

Happy Mother's Day to all moms.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Adventures In Santa Fe (and surrounding areas)

For the record, I've been trying to post these pictures all week. However, the free hotel internet was not cooperating!

By the time I had arrived in Santa Fe I was glad to be out of Albuquerque. Primarily because typing out "Albuquerque" makes me question my spelling skills. Every time.

Plus, Santa Fe welcomed me with pleasant views.


I slept in on Saturday (7am counts, right?) and took off to Bandelier National Monument. I still welcome an explanation of the difference between a National Monument and National Park. I pondered this during a significant portion of my drive.

Scenic views from the drive

I did indeed hike through the park by myself. It's okay though... I closely stalked the group in front of me in case I happened to pass out from the elevation.  The hike also consisted of clearly marked paths, which fits right in line with my idea of a hike :)



So you might be asking, what is so special about Bandelier? It apparently contains hundreds of ruins of Anasazi cliff houses and pueblo-style dwelling. From the website:

"Bandelier's human history extends back for over 10,000 years when nomadic hunter-gatherers followed migrating wildlife across the mesas and canyons. By 1150 CE Ancestral Pueblo people began to build more permanent settlements. Reminders of these past times are still evident in the park as are the strong ties of the modern Pueblo people. By 1550 the Ancestral Pueblo people had moved from their homes here to pueblos along the Rio Grande (Cochiti, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Santo Domingo)."




Not an ancient ruin: the ladder

As you move along, the desert-y cliffs turn into a pine forest, which is kind of strange. Luckily I did not see any of the woodland creatures.




The second half of my Santa Fe Day of Fun consisted of wandering around the downtown Santa Fe area. I made my way through quite a few art galleries which I ended up enjoying much more than I thought I would. Sadly I have no pictures. They frown upon picture-taking in those art galleries. And, since I'm a stickler for the rules, I dutifully obliged.

Downtown Santa Fe is known for their plethora of small shops. Much like Old Town Albuquerque, but on a a greater scale. I did a lot of window shopping. 



As previously observed, all old city centers have a church. Santa Fe has (at least) two.

This one: The Loretto Chapel


And this one: The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi





So, all of that was almost a week ago. The remainder of my trip consisted of Very Important Stuff and was not as visually appealing. I am happy to be heading home!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Adventures in Albuquerque: Part 2

Albuquerque has more to offer than just the Museum of Nuclear Science and History. Does this surprise anyone? I resisted the urge to lounge in my hotel room for the rest of the trip and managed to make it to a couple more sights before heading out.

One evening I strolled around Old Town Albuquerque. There's a plaza area that is surrounded by lots of cute little shops. I guess kind of like Santa Fe but on a smaller scale.



These dried chiles (below) seem to be everywhere in New Mexico. I feel like they'd be awesome hanging in our kitchen. Probably not worth the luggage space though!



Of course every old city center has a church. This one was called San Felipe.


Also seemingly common in New Mexico is art. Art everywhere. Like this crazy face sculpture.


On my way out of Albuquerque I took a small detour to visit the Sandia Crest. Apparently you can take a $20 tram ride up to the peak. Yet for some reason I thought it would be easier to drive. So my one hour drive to Santa Fe turned into a 2.5 hour excursion.  I wasn't sure the rental car was going to make the hike, but she held on.

The peak of the crest is at around 10,600 ft. I'm fairly certain that this surpasses my previous record at Bryce Canyon, Utah. Which, if I remember correctly, was at around 9,000 ft. I need to find the picture that documents that.

Driving up to the Crest was done through a slow, meandering  road. I came to a point where there was a clearing in the road and I thought I had made it.


I was wrong. Silly me. The road continued...

Here we go.




The views were definitely nice. Of course true to my sightseeing form, I was in and out in 5 minutes. Walking back to the car made me out of breath. I know its the elevation, but it still feels embarrassing to be breathing heavily from such a short walk.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Adventures in Albuquerque

For the next couple of weeks (minus the few days I have already logged) I am in New Mexico for some Very Important Stuff (VIS). Week 1: Albuquerque. Week 2: Santa Fe.

In between VIS, I narrowed down the things I wanted to see in Albuquerque (based on recommendations) to two things: The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History and a visit to the Sandia Crest.

Today I was able to cross off the first thing!

If you are anti-nuclear, please avert your eyes.


I managed to get to the museum before closing time. Exactly 45 minutes before closing time, with just enough time to race through the exhibits and snap some pictures. The museum walks you through the history of nuclear science, past to present, including WWII and the Manhattan Project, the Cold War, nuclear medicine, and nuclear power. For being a one-story building, there's really a lot to see and a lot to read. I really wish I had had more time to read things. Instead, I took pictures of signs to read later. It was not ideal.

So here's an abbreviated tour. Starting with some of the beginnings.


The first controlled nuclear chain reaction took place in a squash court under the stands of the
unused University of Chicago football stadium.

Weapon casings identical to those used for the Fat Man and Little Boy atomic bombs

Limo used to transport Manhattan Project scientists


Some planes and missiles.





Even a glimpse into the present.


Last but not least some nuclear art. Seriously.

It was fun to see some art on the walls. Some of it was just there for decoration, and some for sale. And the stuff for sale was not cheap. Maybe I should get into that...




 This was one of my favorites.

Doug Waterfield, Doomtown X11: The Trinity Test, 2011

All in all, a good use of 45 minutes.