I spent the morning running some errands, just a few little last minute things that I'd overlooked. I got back home, relaxed a while and then TL and kids arrived about mid afternoon. Originally, I was planning to pick them up in Albuquerque, but the flight didn't arrive till evening, so they stayed at her dad's place overnight and he loaned her his car for the week. After sleeping in (isn't that always good after a hectic week?) they had lunch with him and drove down here. We just visited a while while the dogs tried to meet them. Jazi and Joey had no problem, of course. Lola was buddies within just a little while, too. Max and Sam were more reluctant. As the week went on, they came around, but every time TL, Lexie or Philip went out the door or down the hall, anywhere out of sight, it was a new beginning when they returned! Those two have very short memories!! It was also a challenge, because the kids move differently than we adults do. I mean, how can you ask an eight year old to not bounce when he walks? Or a twelve year old to not enter a room with a flourish? It is just their natures. Actually, they are fairly quiet and calm children and they did try to avoid unnecessarily startling the dogs, but Sam and Max simply aren't used to little hoomins.
Later in the afternoon, we went to visit Allan and let the kids see his new kittens. We had a good visit, and the kittens adjusted to the kids better than my dogs! After about an hour, the kittens would play with the kids dangling tempting feathery toys, and eventually allowed themselves to be held for short times.
We came back to the house, and I made enchiladas for all of us. One of TL's requests every time she came home for a visit was my hub's flat (New Mexico style) enchiladas. We weren't sure the kids would like them, so I made them just one each, but I'm happy to report that I had to make another for each of them. I'm glad they liked them. I'm afraid they were a bit too mild for TL and I, but since the children liked them, it was worth it!
I got up and after some breakfast, I cut up and fried a chicken. It's been a long time since I fried a whole chicken, and I loved it, because chicken fried one or two pieces at a time just isn't the same. Don't ask me why, but it isn't. I rarely fry chicken these days, and I almost forgot how I used to season it! Fortunately, it turned out very good. "Just like riding a bicycle," right??? LOL!
While I was doing that, TL deviled some eggs I'd boiled. I also baked some beans. Allan came over with a big bowl of potato salad, and we were off to the little lake near my house. We found a nice shaded picnic table and began to unload our bounty. That's when we realized we didn't bring a tablecloth! Fortunately I had a blanket, never used, that I carry in my truck for emergencies. My first emergency need for it! Then it dawned on us that none of us brought paper plates or forks, either! Napkins, yes! Now how did I overlook the rest? Well, it has been years since I've been on a picnic, and I just didn't think of all the needs. I suggested that the others took a walk to the lake while I went for some.
As I was leaving the picnic/camping area, I decided that rather than drive back home or to a store, I'd ask some campers if I could get some from them. If you don't camp, let me tell you that most campers are friendly, generous sorts, most of whom have left something behind before, too. So less than five minutes later, I was back at our table with five paper plates and forks.
After the kids (yes, I can call a 50 yo, a 39 yo"kids" just like the 12 yo and the 8 yo, because I'm "da momma") came back from their walk, we enjoyed a delicious lunch. It really had been years since I'd been on a picnic, and it was great fun. I really should do that more often. But I need to find people to share it with or it won't be the same.
After lunch we rested a bit to let the food settle, then we hiked up onto the mountain and into the wilderness. It is just a lovely place to be. Peaceful, quiet. Poor little Philip began to look "peaked," as my grandmother would have said, and said he had a headache. We figured it was from altitude, not drinking enough water, and the exertion. After a little discussion, I volunteered to walk back with him and let him rest while the others went on ahead on their walk. I spread the blanket for him on the table, and gave him some Tylenol and he rested till his mom came back. By this time, I think the Tylenol began to take over, and he'd had enough water and rest so that he was feeling a bit better.
It was pretty hot that day. The forest was cooler, and it was nice to be there. The day was delightful and relaxing. All of us talked about how we should do things like that more often. We were exhausted at the end of the day, but it was a nice kind of exhaustion, from fresh air, good company, yummy food, gentle exercise. The good kind of being tired.
This is an immature pinecone that had fallen to the ground. Look at the pattern inside. Isn't that beautiful?
This was our day of the big tour. I took TL and the kids on some of the essential spots of Lincoln County. We began with a breakfast burrito at a favorite hole in the wall, then stopped to introduce them to Linda and Annmarie. Then off to Lincoln and retracing the events of the life of Billy the Kid. I sent a book about Billy a while back, and the kids had read most of it, so as we visited the spots, it was nice to see that the names and facts on the placards all made sense them. They asked questions and recalled other related things, so I knew it was well worth helping them to be informed ahead.
We returned to Capitan, for the visit to the Smokey Bear Museum. This was a good experience for the kids, too. They were interested and asked appropriate questions, including wondering if one of the men in a picture might be my late hub's uncle who it was part of the crew who rescued Smokey. No, it wasn't the uncle, but I was glad they recalled that part of the story.
That day was hot as Hades. Even TL and the kids thought it was hot, and remember .... they live in hot and humid Florida. AND .... they just came from a week in Missouri where the heat has been horrendous recently. I think they were also responding to the altitude. That effects us in many ways, including the fact that the air is thinner up here, and the sun more intense. At day's end, we were completely washed out. Home to a cool shower was marvelous.
This was a quieter day. I had tried to find a good cake for a belated birthday celebration for Lexie who was 12 on July 1. I couldn't find one that I thought would be of good quality, but in the process of the search, I learned about a new place in Ruidoso. It is "desserts only" restaurant. So I decided to take her to lunch and on to the new place for a "tea party."
I planned on lunch at a place called "Lucy & Ethel's." When we got there, it was closed! I have no idea why, but one of the owners has a very bad heart. I hope he is alright. We did a quick re-planning, and Aleksis chose to have Chinese. There is a good Chinese restaurant, and we had an excellent lunch.
Then we were off to "Crème de la Crème." What a delightful place! And what delightful food! Terri and I had crème bûlée, and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven! Most of the crème bûlée I've had is like a custard. This was creamy in texture and was perfectly crusted on top with a glazed strawberry already sliced so you would take a slice with each bite. OMG. OMG!!! The kids both had mousse. You could pick two flavors to be layered, and Lexie chose chocolate and raspberry, and it was excellent. Philip chose lemon and raspberry, and I cringed at the combo, but it was fabulous! The mousse was perfect. Some mousses are too airy; they are light, but lack sufficient flavor because there is too much air. These were perfectly balanced between the right airiness to make it light, but creamy enough to be, well, balanced. Allan had a piece of carrot cake, four layers, about six inches high! I don't need to tell you .... it was wonderful, too! This was accompanied by hot chocolate for the kids, coffee for us (tea is available, too), and since we were alone in the restaurant at the time, we sang "Happy Birthday" to her. It is a fantastic place, and I'm on board with taking everyone who visits me to it!! Oh, yeah!
We just kicked back the rest of the day. We were all simply worn out.. It was hot again, although a couple degrees less than the previous day. We watched "Ice Age: The Meltdown," "Finding Nemo," and "Oh, God." It was fun, because I hadn't watched any of these in a long, long time. They aren't movies I would usually choose to watch if by myself, but I love them. We completely chilled until bedtime.
All week long, Sam and Max played a game called "get close and back away." They came up to our guests, allowed petting, and even sat in laps during the week. But, as I said earlier, if someone left the room, S & M would bark at them upon their return! They were so funny, but the barking grew old! Max usually barked only when Sam did. Poor Sammy. Will he ever be able to comfortably be around humans other than me? Clearly, he needs socialization. I need to figure out places to take him where he will meet others on a regular basis.
We did nothing all morning. Just a lazy morning, with the only activity being Terri packing. :( She mentioned that she failed to take a picture of the kids at the Smokey grave site at the museum. So we went into Capitan, had a pizza for lunch, then went to the museum for pictures.
We said our goodbyes, and my little family drove "off into the sunset," heading west, then north, back to Albuquerque for a few days with Terri's dad and stepmom before they fly home to Florida. I wasn't terribly sad, but I wasn't wanting to go home. I knew I would miss them more if I went home right then. I went back to Linda's studio and just hung out for a while, visiting and laughing. Once I did head home, it was alright. I miss them, but life is good, and the visit was great!
It was a very, very good week. :)