There's no place like home (although it's just possible there's someplace better) . . .

Most of what I do during the week after a vacation -- 
when I'm not busy dealing with things that have piled up, i.e. mail, laundry, bills, pounds --
is say things that begin with:

"Last week at this time, we were _______." 

That sentence can be finished in any one of a thousand ways, such as "sharing that amazing sandwich under the cottonwoods near Ghost Ranch..." or "much warmer/so full/crazy happy."

I'm sure it gets annoying, but I like to relive every moment, mainly as an avoidance technique to help me pretend I don't really have to face the plethora of annoying chores du jour.

And in this case . . .
it was definitely a vacation to remember!  

Every second was one to savor -- a feast for the eyes, the mind, the soul, and of course the stomach. In fact, I believe I have perhaps set a new scientific bar for the amount of weight one small-ish woman can gain in an 8 day period of time.  Let's just say that pancakes and sopaipillas may or may not have been enjoyed in the same meal....more than once.  

But dining episodes like that are just one of the things that makes New Mexico the adopted home-away-from-home for this Minnesotan's heart.

There's something about the bluer-than-blue sky that makes me want to fly, and I feel just happy enough within its bright embrace 
to believe it's possible . . .

We have a goal to drive the entire state, and added a lovely new route in addition to enjoying some of our old favorites this time.  For your future travel reference, the Jemez mountains are spectacular in September!  We put over 1200 miles on our trusty rental car during the week, and only wished there had been time to log a few more....

First, of course, there was a stop at our favorite quirky used-cd store for a big heap of new music, then a stop to buy a cooler, then a stop at the Santa Fe Whole Foods (which is, for some reason, better than any Whole Foods on the planet -- there are others who agree with me on this point -- and it could have something to do with the guy roasting fresh green chiles in the parking lot) . . . to fill our cooler with delicacies of all kinds.

Then we just let the scenery unspool itself, experiencing every second through as many of our senses as we could involve in the process . . . 

Near Ghost Ranch

 Our favorite spot at the top of New Mexico

 Brazos Cliffs

In the Jemez Mountains

 Battleship Rock

 Susan, outstanding in her field . . . and high atop the Sandia Crest

Because it was a vacation 
to mark our 30-year milestone,  

we decided to buy a commemorative piece of art.  

(Note: Sending Susan to Santa Fe with the charge to find a piece of art is a somewhat risky proposition -- sometimes her decider gets overwhelmed and there is enough good art in New Mexico to potentially leave her whimpering in a corner in a wide-eyed and quivering fetal position)

Luckily, in this case, we knew our piece the moment it introduced itself to us.  There were a few moments of hemming-and-hawing, of course, while we considered other pieces that were so so so wonderful, but in our hearts we knew.....and once the decision was made, we made a literal screaming U-turn on our way to a hike in the Pecos Wilderness Area that was never realized, because we had to stake our claim on our perfect piece before it introduced itself to someone else.

But I'll tell you about that next time. 
The art and the artist deserve a post of their own. 

Today is for remembering all the other things 
that made it so hard to want to leave . . .

green chile

red rocks

blue sky

pink sunsets

purple sage

golden chamisa

. . . and one happy, happy camper.

(Okay, I'll admit that home is good, too.  But home would be improved by someone delivering a fresh-from-the-fryer basket of sopaipillas to the table with every meal.  There is a place on earth, after all, where it happens.....and once you discover that secret, you may never really bring your whole heart home.)



Judy said...

1) Gorgeous scenery. No wonder it's your favorite spot.
2) LOVE the picture of the two of you.
3) When are we going to see a picture of the piece of art you bought?
4) If I plant flowers in the trunk of Bob's old Accord, will it have the same effect?
5) Happy 30! May there be at least that many more to come.

luanne said...

Welcome back! What wonderful photos of you, Russ & the scenery too! Those blue skies are amazing. I'm happy you had a chance to go exploring together in your favorite state. Looking forward to your new artwork "reveal" too. A great way to mark your 30th. Make it an annual tradition!

Leenie said...

Ah, Jemez Springs, the pretty part of NM--okay that and Santa Fe. We lived in Farmington the first year of our marriage and I was totally underwhelmed by the lack of green anything and so much dirt there. But you found the good parts and were there in perfect weather.

I do appreciate you eating a few extra sopapaillas for me. That and roasted green chilies are some of the FEW things I liked about that state. Maybe a bad case of morning sick is why the place left a bad taste in my mouth.

JUMPING UP AND DOWN to see your art purchase!

Allie said...

Wow - wow - that scenery is just spectacular - I never wanted to go before, but now I do! I'm really more partial to beaches than desert, but I would love to see this in person.
Welcome home, can't wait to see your art piece!

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