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 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 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.