My life is going to be different from now on, that is for sure. So many things I'd forgotten about in this country, things I love and missed, yet didn't think about much in the past few years. The friendliness of the local people is just awesome. The weather is perfect. Sunsets, sunrises are breathtaking. When we pull in the driveway as we come home, or when we walk through the lawn, there is the scent of sage, because it grown everywhere. Allan says that when he mows the lawn, he doesn't get that freshly cut grass smell because there is less grass than other native flora, but the aroma of sage is everywhere. That sounds heavenly to me. I've missed the sage perfumes.
Two days ago this frost was decorating my car. It had rained the day before, so there was a lot of moisture in the air. Isn't the pattern amazing?
Allan's mother, step-father, step-brother and sister-in-law arrived on Monday afternoon for a few days visit. We have had such a great time, sight seeing, eating, shopping, and just visiting and catching up. They are from San Diego, traveling throughout Arizona and New Mexico with a camp trailer and just doing whatever comes to mind. Isn't that a super way to vacation? On Tuesday, the brother and SIL (Ron and Wendy) went to Carlsbad Caverns, so Allan, his 2 moms (Jackie & me) and stepdad (Bob) did the local things. Bob wanted to go to the casino, so we drove to the Mountain of the Gods, had lunch at the most excellent buffet I've experienced. There are sections for Italian, home cooking, Mexican, Oriental, an omelet bar, a salad bar, breads to die for and a dessert bar that'll take your breath away. Yeah, I ate too much, including part of a piece of mocha cake that was so rich and good that I couldn't finish it.
This is one of the many statues in the hallways of the casino complex. It is owned and operated by the Mescalero Apache Tribe, so all the art is flavored as such. This head is about 4 feet tall. Breathtaking piece.
I took this out a window at the casino. This is Sierra Blanca (White Mountain, for you Gringos), and the snow had fallen the night before. It was a really pretty sight. The mountain in almost in the town of Ruidoso, and as we drove around it was amazing to see snow on the mountain top so early. I understand that many of the Rocky Mountains got snow in the recent days, at least in the higher elevations.
After lunch we left Bob at the casino while Jackie, Allan & I went shopping. I bought a couple nice pieces of Zuni jewelry, a bracelet and earrings (as if I need more!), and just enjoyed strolling and looking.
It is now the off-season, summer tourists are gone and the skiing hasn't yet begun, so many shops were closed or on abbreviated hours. We got tickled at some of the signs in the windows. This one gave the shop owners home phone number, which I blanked out so you guys wouldn't call it!! Hah!
Obviously they just adjust their hours as they wish. Isn't that a great way to work??
This one cracked us up. It was in the window of a shop that sold toys!!!!
When we picked up Bob again, he was grumbling about the "Indians taking all (his) money, because they aren't regulated like the rest of the gambling industry." Yeah, I know that is a racist statement, but Bob is Cherokee, so he can get away with it!! He's also a tournament gambler, and he knows the industry inside out. It was still funny to hear him grousing cheerfully about it.
Allan had been told about a Merchant Marine cemetary in the area, and since Bob was once a mariner, we went looking for it. We were all wondering why a cemetary for such an organization would be in the mountains of New Mexico. Seemed like an odd place. And, no, we still don't know why. However, we found a really beautiful, well maintained cemetary in one of the high valleys, and were in awe of the scene. I took more pictures, but this is just a sampling.
At the entrance were two signs. This one, a relatively new one. I love the flag and the oblisk in the background. I didn't notice that when I took the shot.
This was embedded into the wall. Apparently, it was originally a public health hospital which was later bought by the retired merchant marine organization in Albuquerque and was renovated. It is now maintained by the residents of a nearby chemical rehab facility at the old historic Fort Stanton. They do a really good job.
Plaque of dedication from the Albuquerque organization.
The grave markers in the foreground were older, many dating back to the 1800's. Newer graves were marked with crosses much like Arlington, although the rows were not symetrically placed. The whole area of the cemetary was pretty large, and this picture merely hints at the size.
You can see that it is in a peaceful yet majestic setting. Very impressive. Bob was truly touched.
After returning to town, we went to dinner at The Pasta Cafe. Oh, my was the food excellent! I had a shrimp and atrichoke pasta that was just wonderful, accompanied by rolls covered with olive oil, spices and parmesan cheese. Yummy! Some nice wine made it complete. Well, complete until I ordered dessert. Y'all are going to get the idea that I'm a dessert freak, but let me set you straight. I don't eat dessert all that often. When I'm out for to eat, however, if I see a favorite on the menu, wild horses couldn't stop me. I ordered a creme brulée. This was, hands down, the best creme brulée I've ever eaten, I kid you not. I believe it even surpasses the chocolate wonder that I had a few weeks ago. Absolutely to die for. The owner stopped at our table to ask how things were, and I told him to tell whoever made the creme brulée that I think I'm in love, and he just smiled, leaned over with his cheek at my level, and tapped the cheek. Yes, he certainly did get a kiss for that!
Yesterday, all four of us did more shopping and touristing in town. We did something special, but I won't tell you about it yet. In a few days, I will do another special post and you will understand at that time. Suffice it to say that we had a rip roaring good time, laughing ourselves just about silly! Just wait! Yep, just wait!!
My purchase for the day was a slouch-style western hat. Not that I needed it, because I have a couple slouch hats, several dressier western hats of straw and leather, but I didn't have one like THIS one. It is . . . OK, I'm bracing for the flack I'm gonna get . . . pink. Well, I didn't have a pink one, and I was wearing a pink shirt, so . . . Yeah, a friend already told me I have to get pink western boots to complete the ensemble (and look like all the relocated New Yorkers!). But, no, the hat is enough, thanks, anyway! I'll wear my buff-colored boots with it.
BTW, Ruidoso is filled with people from all over the country. I've met Californians, New Yorkers, Idahoans, Floridians, Kentuckians. The thing is that people don't relocate to recolonize. They come here, fall in love, and open a little tourist shop or hole in the wall cafe, and become part of the landscape. You hear some accents that give them away sometimes, but not for long. Most of them leave behind whatever was their former existance and just become one of the good ol' boys/girls. There are no strangers. If you do happen to meet a stranger, it is probably a tourist, not a resident. Folks are so open and genuine, friendly and easy-going that it is hard to not like it here. If you haven't guessed, I'm falling in love with this area, and I'm wondering about where I will actually settle. I plan to look in Albuquerque, but my heart is being drawn to the comfort of this locale. Stay tuned.
Ron and Wendy returned from their excursion, and we went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant in a nearby town (everything here is in a "nearby town") which was half the distance between where we live and when my late husband grew up. Some of his cousins still live there, so it was a good place to meet. They hadn't seen Jackie since about 40 years ago, so it was a fun time to catch up, meet new mates, and break bread. Allan & I have seen them, of course, but the catching up was just so fun! The food was excellent, the company and frequent belly-laughter was even better, and having a nice cold Mexican beer (yes, of course, it had a lime in it!!) was wonderful. No, I didn't have dessert. No room!
Jackie had told us a story about someone she knew long ago who used to pick up a bottle of booze with a cap on and pretend to pour it in her ear while saying a silly phrase, something like, "Yes, indeedy, I diddle-I-diddle-I-do." Then one time, she grabbed one to do that, and, you guessed, it, the cap wasn't on, so she poured the liquor all over herself. All day long, we had been joking around, pretending to pour bottles of water, etc. in our ears. (I know, I know, we sound like silly teenagers! So bite me!) When I hoisted my frosty mug in a toast for a picture, she said, "No, Lyn, you have to pour it in your ear!" So-o-o-o-o-o . . . .
You knew I wouldn't turn down the opportunity, now, didn't you??? Yep, that's the pink hat!!!
Wish you were all here! What fun we could be having right now!