Thanksgiving in Santa Fe: Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Yay! I am thankful for so many things, and I believe it is important to regularly enumerate these things, even if only to one’s self, to keep a happier, more appreciative life.

I am thankful for amazing friends like Micah.  He has taken me into his home for a week!  I have so many incredible friends in my life, who have stood by me when times were difficult, celebrated with me when times are good.  I am so happy to have such abundance and love in my life.

I am thankful for my plushy, lovey cat Dave, who I miss very much!

I am thankful for having a place to live, even if it is a disaster right now.  I had the studio which was perfect for me during a very difficult time, and now I have my sunny apartment where I can host knitting parties and all sorts of things. A home.

I am thankful for my family, my amazing family. My dad who is my best friend.  My sisters who are funny and talented and incredible.  My mum who is so sweet. My extended family, my island family, my new family. I am a very lucky woman, and I hope I never take it for granted.

I am thankful for my wonderful job and my generous and fantastic boss.  I look forward to work every day. I would do anything for Sully.

I am thankful to have the opportunity to express great love and have it received and returned. To have someone stand with me in phoenix flames as it licks and dances around us.  To finally be awake. To feel safe.


I mapped out my plan for scheduling all the cooking, keeping in mind high elevation cooking can take longer.  Once I got the bird in the oven, Micah and I went on a walk on the Arroyo Chemiso trail, which runs parallel to part of the Rail Trail.

Intense, Santa Fe!

Intense, Santa Fe!

It is a very pleasant walk, with some goats on the other side of fences that say NO TRESPASSING. Good thing there are some big gaps in the fence so I could see the baby goats!

We also passed a high school with some disturbing signage declaring DEMON COUNTRY. Some of the photos I took on our walk would indicate these findings are correct, but it is juxtaposed to some pretty incredibly natural beauty, so the jury is still out.

When we got back, I put on some bossa nova and Micah and I got to work on the non-poultry items. Micah loves the broccoli salad at Whole Foods, and was on a mission to recreate it. This involved candying cashews, and so I was immediately a fan of everything he was doing. I made butternut squash, stuffing, and baked potatoes. Instead of chicken stock for the stuffing I used pan drippings and apple cider. I might be a super genius.

Feast!

Feast!

When everything was ready, we toasted with Martinellis, turned on the Pixies and enjoyed.  Everything was perfect, though if you ask Micah the broccoli salad wasn’t exactly the way he wanted.  He may still be trying to figure out the secret to making it exactly perfect.

After dinner, I took a little nap while Micah cleaned up.  Then it was off to a scenic overlook of Santa Fe at sunset, by way of Hyde Memorial State Park and the Santa Fe National Forest.  The aspen forest, even with all the leaves dropped off is really spectacular. Several feet of snow have already fallen up there, too (another thousand or so feet above sea level, by the way).

An abnormally large number of cars from Texas were coming down the mountain as we were going up.  Easily as many Texas license plates as New Mexico.  It was … odd.  Our best speculation was that a large Texan family had a reunion for Thanksgiving every year at the ski area.

Even though there were a lot of clouds, the view was breathtaking, as though the sky were on fire. I can’t imagine a better way to end a Thanksgiving with my beloved friend.

Thanksgiving in Santa Fe: Day 6

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The day before Thanksgiving.  A day to prepare what we can in advance of the big cooking, and maybe get some exercise in.  A day to be motivated!

In the morning though, I got a text from Dominic, checking in with Dave’s status. This dent in my sleeping bag on my bed is apparently where Dave has been spending some quality time.

Dave was here

Dave was here

I started to miss Dave a lot, and then slid down the sneaky path of anxiety about the disaster of my apartment when I get back.  I only just moved in barely two weeks before I left for this trip, and there are boxes everywhere.  I’ve been incredibly busy in that short time.  No, no.  Back away from the negative feelings.  You are on vacation, Elise.  Nice things only. Besides, as Dominic pointed out, “You’re in Santa Fe.  You’re not supposed to be stressed.”  Ok.  No problem.  I’ve got this.

I took a shower and got to work making apple crisp.  Of course I was playing music so the kitchen was appropriately dancey. I was feeling better already.  Yay! It took a bit longer for the thing to bake than usual because elevation.  But, it came out looking lovely, if I do say so.

This is not a small apple crisp.

This is not a small apple crisp.

I puttered around a bit, and then got ready for the gym.  It was a big lifting day – squats and deadlifts.  I spend time mathing up my lifts in advance and entering them into the notepad in my phone so I could remember what I was supposed to be doing, and then I walked up. The front desk dude remembered me from Monday, so that was cool.

Behind Builders Source Appliance Gallery

Behind Builders Source Appliance Gallery

I was pretty proud of myself for how hard I worked for an hour and a half using equipment I wasn’t used to, no chalk for my deadlifts, and without my trainer Drew.  I heard his voice in my head though, and that helped.  Big big air, screw your feet in, you got this Elise, you’re plenty strong.

I am your sleazy Tinder date.

I am your sleazy Tinder date.

At the edge of the parking lot I noticed an entire loaf of bread on the ground. Ok. I also narrowly escaped being backed over by a mail truck as I walked on the sidewalk next to the gas station, so that was fun.

Bread

Bread

The sun sets quickly this time of year, but it seems like it is even faster here.  I don’t know if it is because the sky is so much bigger, or it is more noticeable because the sunsets are so epic, even when there are clouds.  It is very beautiful, either way, and I am happy to experience one of the things that has resulted in Micah falling so in love with this place.

Even the cloudcover is gorgeous

Even the cloudcover is gorgeous

I got home and flopped into the chair and Micah got to experience firsthand my post-lifting bliss.  I am so sensitive to my own brain chemicals, and big lifts combined with high elevation weirdness left me rather light headed.  I get so derpy and lovey and it is just silly.  I ate most of a container of cottage cheese and took a shower and was human again!

We went to Jinja for supper, since we would be doing big cooking the next day and it made sense to do something easy and fun.

Ooh la la!

Ooh la la!

We had tea and noodles and everything was lovely.  Our waitress Erika was a delight, and I was just so happy.  Still lifting bliss, I think, but either way it was a beautiful evening.  The breezes across the parking lot were lovely.

So pretty!

So pretty!

We watched The Lego Movie before bed, and that was a perfect end to a day that had started out sort of hard for me, but ended so well.

Thanksgiving in Santa Fe: Day 5

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Tuesday and Micah is at work.  But not me – I’m on vacation! Yeah, vacation! I can do vacation.  Let’s see … I’ll just log in to Remote Desktop and print out some notices to tenants in my dad’s office, watch a couple of training videos for the new software …  No no no that’s not vacation.

Ok let’s see … how about this – I’ll watch some Daily Show and knit. Yes!  That’s very vacationy.  I’ll wear comfy pants and everything.  Drink tea.  The whole bit.

I lasted a little while, but I am just not very good at this whole relaxation thing, especially since it was pretty nice outside and I was craving interaction with other creatures.

My feet were still a bit grumpy from yesterday’s excursion (I was wearing my Converse for those miles), and so I didn’t feel like going too far – feet are important and we should love and care for them well, as they get us where we want to go.

Time Lady

Time Lady

I ended up at a pub called The Loyal Hound.  It’s in a bit of a strip mall, surrounded by a Pizza Hut and an Anytime Fitness.  I sat at the bar and three different people attended to me at once; it was very endearing. The place had a very warm feel to it.  The others at the bar were regulars, and the staff was so jovial.

I ordered the pretzel plate, and in a moment of foolhardiness, The La Cumbre Witch’s Tit.  Now, I am not sure why I did this.  It is a Pumpkin Spice beer.  I cannot stand Pumpkinhead.  I barely like fruit beers.  Why why why did I do this.

Yes it's a pig because dog is too chewy

Yes it’s a pig because dog is too chewy

It was very pumpkin spicy.  It was fairly foul.  I … why did I do this?

I was chatting up a fellow behind the bar who happened to be one of the co-owners, Dave.  His wife Renee runs the kitchen.  Dave’s from Northern Virginia originally, and was familiar with some of my New England colloquialisms.  I learned that the Loyal Hound is in fact a beagle.  They’ve got a couple of beagles now, and a cat.  The first dog, Lola, was raised by the cat and thinks she is one.  The new dog, Otis, is very … vocal.  Lola will train him I’m sure.

Dave asked me what I wanted for dessert, and I said a sour beer.  I told him about how The King’s Head has a whole sour section on their beer menu, and we chatted about beer and how Portland is an awesome town for it. He was so pleased with my beer appreciation that he bought me one!

Nomm

Nomm

Brouwerj De Troch Winter Gueuze (2014) which is Renee’s favorite and so so so delightful.  Very fizzy, tart, pleasant.

I chatted, too, with a wonderful woman named Janie.  She’s a biology professor at the community college, and has such amazing stories.  Her mother was from Massachusetts and her father from Texas.  Her mother taught her to read and write and her father taught her how to fix things.  She has dogs and cats and a beautiful soul.  I hope that we cross paths again, because before I knew it, the sun was starting to set and I needed to head home so Micah and I could do our Thanksgiving shopping.

JJ Abrams would be so proud

JJ Abrams would be so proud

I like Micah’s little neighborhood, but I am still getting used to how this part of the country looks.  It has such a big beautiful sky, and wicked fascinating geology, but I have to said the monochromatic nature of everything makes so many buildings and homes look so samey.  And, it is arid so there is very little grass.  As such, people’s front lawns are often gravel.

Front lawns made of gravel

Front lawns made of gravel

It makes me feel a bit like I’m in some sort of post-apocalyptic world, except everyone at the Post Office is wicked nice.

As one would imagine on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the grocery store was a mad house.  I was very amused by the soda choice of the lady in front of us in the check out line, though.

Big old jug of Squirt.

Big old jug of Squirt.

We came home and ate some light supper, and watched Martyrs.  Holy crap what even.  French people, why have you made this.

So I watched some cartoons to cleanse my brain so I could sleep.

Goodnight, Moon.

Goodnight, Moon.

Thanksgiving in Santa Fe: Day 4

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Monday and Micah is back to work so I’m on my own today. Time to explore! Even though Micah’s house is not downtown, it is still close to lots of stuff, particularly if you take the Santa Fe Rail Trail, which is a walking and biking path that runs adjacent to the railroad tracks. We had taken a pre-dinner walk last night that introduced me to the trail, and so I was interested to see where it would take me.

I had done some work in the morning, and so my first stop was for lunch. In walking to my destination, I was almost run over by some dude as I crossed the driveway to the Smith’s, and then as I was safely on the sidewalk he rolled down his window and whistled at me. Ah Santa Fe: come for the mountains, stay for the objectification. I mean, to be fair, there are very few pedestrians in this part of town to whistle at, and I probably have the biggest butt in the Greater Santa Fe area. Le sigh.

I ended up at the Second Street Brewery, which seemed a fine place, and I had a pint of their Scotch Ale and a cheeseburger. I recognized an older fellow from The Cowgirl the day before, so I figured he was likely a seasoned local daydrinker.

Second Street Scotch Ale

Second Street Scotch Ale

Most of the fellows at the bar were middle-aged dudes.  A couple of pierced and colorfully coiffed ladies came in, ordered some beers and then went to drink them outside where they could smoke. The space is huge, with lots of tables in the dining area.  The bigness I think makes it feel a little sterile, but the bar area felt friendly.

The bartender Krissy’s from Pennsylvania, and expressed sadness at the lack of Yuengling in her life for the last 10/+ years she has lived in Santa Fe.  She talked about how the elevation has made her a superhero drinker when she visits family back home at sea level, but it took her a couple of years to get to that point.  She was pretty rad over all and told me to drink lots of water during my stay.  This is not the first or last time I’d hear this advice, and I’ve been doing my best to stay adequately hydrated at all times.

I left Second Street and headed out on the trail. For the most part where I walked, the trail is paved.  Every pedestrian I passed smiled and said hello, which was both pleasant and a little unnerving.  I’m used to that sort of thing in a really small town or neighborhood, but it was a bit foreign in such a big place.

Heading out on the Santa Fe Rail Trail

Heading out on the Santa Fe Rail Trail

Eventually the trail took me to Cerrillos Road, which had some shops to explore.  There was a sign that said DONUTS COINS which amused me, as the single sign advertised two separate establishments, but I like to pretend they are in fact one business that either sells both donuts and coins, or some kind of donut-coin hybrid.  Alas, it is the beloved Whoos Donuts.  I did not go in, nor to The ChocolateSmith, because I had just had lunch and honestly I haven’t been very hungry here.  I will blame elevation?

I did, however, go into Big Adventure Comics because comic shop!  Yay! They even had a big back room where it appears that Magic card tournaments happen frequently. Sadly, the dude who was working was not very helpful. Which is fine because I love Coast City Comics and am happy to give Tristan all my comics business.

I then turned around and decided to go into Tin-Nee-Ann Trading Company because I needed some postcards.  I bought some from a delightful older gentleman to whom I told the story of how Portland, Oregon was named, and he seemed tickled at my accent and my little story.

I walked back down toward the trail again, passing a homeless couple and their dog.  They were wicked friendly and I wished I had something to give them.  Alas, they were looking for fuel and I had none.

Walking back

Walking back

Railroad pretties

Railroad pretties

I walked eight miles by the time I got back to Micah’s, where I changed into my lifting outfit and went back out to find Mandrill’s Gym.  Before leaving Portland I had searched the internet for something resembling a powerlifting gym, since I am training for the meet in December and I think I’d go insane if I missed a week anyway. The internet had suggested this was my best bet, which is handy since it is about a 10-minute walk from Micah’s house.

I did some benching and some triceps and lat accessories, and felt pretty decent about it – this was my first solo lifting adventure. The gym itself is really big, and has tons of machines and equipment, and barely anyone in there.  The dude at the front desk was wicked nice.  When I left, the sun was setting into the mountains, and the sky was this breathtaking color that I tried to photograph but … it just wasn’t happening.  It was a color I’d never seen before, and neither had my phone so it just did the best it could, I guess.

A pale imitation of the real colors of the sunset

A pale imitation of the real colors of the sunset

On the way back, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up stuff to make dinner.  I was a bit overwhelmed by the giant store, elevation brain and post-lifting euphoria but persevered!  I made dinner for Micah and me, and we watched Voices with Ryan Reynolds which was so bizarre and wonderful and I kind of love it.

 

Thanksgiving in Santa Fe: Day 3

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Ah Sunday brunch, one of the classic day-specific meals, like Taco Tuesday or Saturday Night supper. As per the suggestion of wicked dear friend Shamus, we went to The Cowgirl for Sunday brunch.  Or, rather we went to Legendary Bob Dylan Brunch with Joe West at The Cowgirl.

Legendary indeed!  We sat in the bar area, at the bar, because every single table in the place was reserved.

Every table has a little RESERVED sign on it

Every table has a little RESERVED sign on it

I ordered the brisket hash with poached egg.  Instead of toast there was a flour tortilla.  Not as absorbent as I’m used to for breakfast carbs, but worked fine to sop up the deliciousness. It was wicked good, by the way.  I also had my first local brew, La Cumbre Red Ryeot. Very tasty!  Way to go, New Mexico!

La Cumbre Red Ryeot

La Cumbre Red Ryeot

The regulars began to fill the place, as the band got set up. Other than bored-looking children and the staff, I think Micah and I were the only people in there younger than 55, and/or were not adorned with extraordinarily large jewelry.  Even the men sported rings with turquoise at least a few inches in diameter.

My next beer was the Santa Few Brewing Adobe Igloo, which was very chocolatey and slightly spicy, which was a fine winter beer. Did I mention there’s still a bit of snow here in the shadows?  The temperature has been mild though, in the low to mid-50s most days.

The band began and it was fantastic.  Joe works the tables of regulars fantastically, and Josh sounds just like Bob Dylan.  The whole band was really friendly and very talented.  Shamus’ suggestion did not disappoint.

This kid's facial expression is no reflection of the music quality.

This kid’s facial expression is no reflection of the music quality.

We sat near the corner of the bar and the people on the end kept rotating.  After a while a woman named Beverly ended up next to me and stayed there until the end.  She was very sweet, and a bit unsure.  She saw her ex with his new wife come in, and she told me she needed to go.  I told her, “No way, lady.  This is YOUR pub, this is your regular Sunday.  You are a mighty queen who won’t allow some ex to live in your head rent-free.”  I don’t know how often people tell her that she is mighty, but it clearly isn’t often enough.  She was very brave and a fantastic new friend.

The bathroom at The Cowgirl is a unisex, so that’s cool, but what was even cooler is that there were two rolls of TP – one underhand and one overhand.  This way both types of people can be happy that their TP preference is represented. Neat! (Even though there truly is only one correct way.)

Equal opportunity TP in the unisex

Equal opportunity TP in the unisex

Between sets I spoke with Joe, who was Shamus’ roommate in ye olden dayes of when Shamus lived in Santa Fe.  He was happy to hear Shamus was doing well, and I showed him a photo of Oona because she is the best and I love her because obviously.

Oona and Allagash

Oona with Allagash

Last beer was Abbey Brewing Company Monk’s Dark. Very dark and tasty, and brewed in Santa Fe.

During the second set, there were some guest performers, including local legends Bill and Bonnie Hearne.

Bill and Bonnie Hearne!

Bill and Bonnie Hearne

Bonnie sounded like a angel.  It was a really fantastic time, all told.  People were dancing, and everyone was enjoying themselves.  Except those danged bored children.

Dancing!

Dancing!

After that wound down, Micah and I drove around a bit, and went to Target.  I got socks with lemurs on them, because that is awesome.

Heck yes lemur socks!

Heck yes lemur socks!

For supper we made freezer pizza.  However, the box was a jerk and had all these really persnickety instructions and is probably Micah’s mortal enemy.

This pizza box is very particular

This pizza box is very particular

Thanksgiving in Santa Fe: Day 2

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I slept well my first night in my home for a week.  I took a shower to wash off the travel and began to truly understand how blessed and spoiled I am with Maine water.

In blogging these adventures I want to address two things right from the start here.  First: there is something weird going on with the camera app on my phone which results in a weird dotted line across the top of all my photos.  Sorry about that.  One of these days I will get to the Apple Store and get it sorted.

The other thing is that elevation definitely affects the body in many ways.  I was conceived, born, and raised at sea level.  I am the baroness of The West End … which is at sea level.  My whole of existence is at sea level.  And now I am 7,000 feet above sea level (that’s a mile and a third, by the way) and … I am derp.  I feel spontaneously drunk, winded after a flight of stairs, and I can barely remember my cat’s name.  It is very strange.  So, some of this blogging may not be up to my usual level of quality.

Breakfast food is the most perfect food.

Breakfast food is the most perfect food.

Went to breakfast at the Counter Culture Cafe.  This was my first opportunity to observe the locals.

My friend Ridgely had explained to me Santa Fe in this way: You know how Freeport is like a theme park of Maine?  Santa Fe is a theme park of itself.

This started to become evident at breakfast.  The name of the Cafe was interesting, because the only people in there who looked “counter culturey” to me were the baristas, a trio of tattooed and pierced people at the table next to us, and, um, me I guess?  Because blue hair?  Everyone else was dressed sporty, even though they were clearly not actually sporty.  There were many middle-aged women who looked very pleased with themselves.  There were a few older ladies, one with a dog on her lap her whole meal, who were having a fantastic time and looked like they were in a catalog for posh New Mexico.

The food was very good, and I tried some of both green and red chile off Micah’s plate because this stuff is on everything so I best figure out what the heck it is and which color I like.  I think I like red better?  I don’t know.  I am so white it is embarrassing.

The big event of the day was going to Tent Rocks.  This place is amazing, but where the elevation really seemed to get to me.

Check this out, you guys:

There are these little cactuses everywhere with wee yellow flowers on them, but they look like spiky cat poops.  I don’t know what they actually are, mostly because I am pleased with calling them cat poop cactus.

This cat poop cactus is trying to be adopted by a cedar tree, hoping for a better life.

This cat poop cactus is trying to be adopted by a cedar tree, hoping for a better life.

The trails around the Tent Rocks are wicked neat, with tons of opportunity to not only look at the incredibly geology, but touch.  Feeling the differences in the rock where it had been smoothed by wind and water versus the bumpy conglomerate sediment, with layers of different incidents of volcanic ash.

Everything smelled really good too, with cedar trees everywhere, and lots of little interesting plants and such.

The drive back to the house was lovely, the sky so big and filled with sunset, but I was feeling very sleepy and kept nodding off.

I made supper and we watched 28 Days Later because it is so good and neither of us had seen it in a long time.  Still so good!

 

Thanksgiving in Santa Fe: Day 1

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My buddy Micah moved out to Santa Fe this spring, and I missed him terribly. He and I are a fantastic pair – great at hugs, prone to laughter and cuddling, with sensitive souls. This is his first Thanksgiving away from Maine and family, and my first Thanksgiving divorced. So, it made sense both for our hearts and for my dwindling PTO supply for me to come out for a week to New Mexico for a holiday.

Handsome Dave (shown here, being handsome) is under the excellent care of my friend Dominic. They are fond of each other, Dave having sat for a portrait by Dominic. (If you are interested in having your pet portraited, check out some of Dominics other work and contact information)

Undercover Dave, bein' handsome.

Undercover Dave, bein’ handsome.

My boss Sully dropped me off at the bus station, where I would take Concord Trailways to Logan Airport.  Thanks, Sully!  I was starting to feel less stress about being away for ten days, and knowing that really I was missing less work at my jobs than a whole week because of the holiday, and I planned to do some work for my dad from Micah’s house (thank you, Remote Desktop!). I got some cash from the ATM and went to the vending machine to snag myself a snack as I was rather hungry.  Huh.  Ok.  So, the ATM only spits out $20s, but the vending machine only takes $1s.  Dangnabbit.

The bus for Logan started boarding relatively shortly after this frustrating discovery, and I happily soon had a bottle of water and tiny bag of pretzels!  Hooray!

Sustenance

Sustenance

Nourished, I was happy and settling in to the beginning of my journey.  I speculated that really, to be happier the bottle of water should be beer and the bus movie should be Caddyshack.  My friend suggested that I start a bus line that serves beer, pretzels and only shows Bill Murray movies.  He is really good at million dollar ideas.  I want this to happen so much.

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I’ve not been in an airplane in quite a while, so I was having some anxiety about approved materials. I have that horrible barking cough that I get twice a year or so, but this time I thought I’d be super proactive and actually see a doctor at the beginning of my misery instead of after two months. Gotta love stoic New Englanders who figure they can shake it off or duct tape it back on! Anyway, I have prescription cough syrup in an amount less than 3.5 ounces, but in a 5 ounce container. I checked the TSA site and it said that it’s fine because it’s a prescription so it is a medically necessary liquid. And yet, anxiety.

Naturally, everything was fine.  Logan was a breeze. I drank some cough syrup before I got on the flight so the people around me would not fear I would give them tuberculosis. Got on the very packed plane and my seat mate was very nice. Everything was great.  I slept well, read some (Superpowered by James Schannep, which is a choose-your-own-adventure type book for adults.  It is really fun.), and everything was fine until about 20 minutes before landing.  The pressure in my ears was incredibly painful.  See above for stoic New Englander, so I was trying to talk myself down, chastising myself for not being tougher, and then I remembered:  YAWN, you ninny.  One ear popped, then the other.  I felt like a new person, like I was experiencing life for the first time.  The things we forget when we haven’t flown in ages …

Sad with sore ears

Sad with sore ears

When I landed in Houston I discovered that my connecting flight was in another castle, so I got to ride a freaking monorail to my terminal.  That was awesome, and I had the whole thing to myself.  Woohoo!

My flight from Houston to Albuquerque was pleasantly uneventful.  My seatmate was an eight year old boy named Jake (“My name is actually Jacob but most people call me Jake.”) who loves Pokemon and showed me all the ones he had collected and what they do and this fish one is pretty lame but when he levels up he will be so much better.  I had indicated to his mom in conversation that I am from Maine, and Jake asked very earnestly as he was showing me Pokemon stats if I read English.  I assured him that yes, we speak and read English in Maine. I slept much of the flight, and when we landed I found that Jake had, too, as he was sleeping leaned against me.  I didn’t want to move, for his sweetness.  He didn’t want to move, either, but mostly because he was a sleepy child and they are grumpy, immoveable people.

Finally I had arrived in New Mexico, and Micah was there waiting for me.  I almost had a collision with Jake as he ran to meet his grandmother and I ran to meet my Micah.  Micah is wonderful and he had my favorite kind of apple waiting for me in the car.  I was so grateful and happy.  After traveling all day, it was amazing to have this perfect token of comfort and love, and one of my favorite people in the whole world there with me.