The rest of the vacation.

So I’m just going to document the rest of the vacation because I don’t actually like blogging about the past too much – I like documenting day by day and I’m talking about stuff that went on days ago. We brought ornaments from our mad dash to Target and Katherine found a branch and we had our Christmas tree.

Edda’s daily walk – weather was beautiful each day – we are in front of the Gila River, the last undammed river in the West(?)

Christmas Eve dinner – brussel sprouts and other things that were not as photogenic.

Christmas morning run with Bob. I’m so impressed – we are at 5000 ft elevation – he ran 4 miles with me at a good clip.

Christmas stollen:

Wi-fi! Streaming youtube.

Boxing day housewarming party – all the neighbors and folks who helped with the construction of the house.

Donkey rides (with the donkey RUNNING AT FULL SPEED) with the neighborhood kids – another good thing I didn’t plan on, there was an 11 year old boy about a mile down the road. There were playdates EVERYDAY for Vince – most included a donkey ride.

Edda’s donkey ride. She is not well camouflaged.

Last day – last hike. Edda is not impressed.

Driving to Gila.

After arriving in Albuquerque, we still had to drive another 5 hours in our rented and slightly dented Chevy Impala.  We were all a little grumpy.  Vince especially in hour 5 of the drive when Jeremy and I insisted on singing One Direction songs at the top of our lungs.

Then we inflated our air mattresses (bought last minute at Target – thank god for small miracles and last minute good decisions) and went to sleep.

As predicted, Edda woke up at 4 am, started making noise (which everyone was a very good sport about and as we all suffer a little from insomnia or not sleeping that well anyways from sleeping on the hard floor (we rotated spots on the air mattresses) was not really that big of a deal) – we all woke up to see the sunrise outside.

And got to admire the house in the morning daylight. Food! Coffee! All nice things.

Back from Gila, NM

We just got back from Katherine’s off-the-grid dream house in New Mexico.  Even though I felt like this before we left:

I had the most wonderful, relaxing time.  99% of my vacations, I’m so ready to come home on the last day, but this vacation, I could have stayed out there another week easily.  Actually, the whole experience made me kind of wish I was a famous, reclusive, family-free author in which I could split my time between my apt in Brooklyn and this house in New Mexico and just write all day.   That’ll just have to be another life.  I’m hoping of all the after-life scenarios that reincarnation wins out because there is simply not enough time to do all the interesting things.  I promise promise to work on my subject/verb agreement issues and really, learn, how to use, commas, in the, famous author life.

In my defense about not being excited about this vacation, I present the following pre-vacation facts: 1.  800 sq foot, 1 room house – 7 people and there is no making Edda sleep past 4:30/5 am,  2. composting toilet in which you do your business and then pour sawdust over any deposit, 3. – the mattresses that were ordered had not yet been delivered and thus we were to bring our sleeping bags/pads, 4. got a heads-up email from Katherine that the house was cold – probably 62 degrees and finally 5. the source of heat was a wood stove which I imagined I would have to guard Edda from its insanely hot surface every 15 seconds.

So it was with that lack of enthusiasm that we boarded our flight to Albuquerque.

Sharp Shooter, Rena

The trophy in the top picture is the Rena’s championship trophy.  At college, she was the first among many, many competing sharp shooters – all of them were boys.  Since our yard has many wild deer (to prove, on top of the glass box is an shaded antelope), she decides to use bow&arrows to hunt.  See, you bought a bow with many arrows.  Right now, the tips of those arrows are for practice only.  When ready, she will equip them with real arrow heads for hunting.

I would rather buy a deer clover-trap ($150.00 – $200.00) or build one myself using existing fence (bottom picture).

Stay tune and see what happen.

Happy Birthday to Me :)

Today, Rena and I celebrate my birthday alone at home.  Around 5:00 AM in the morning (a record?), Rena prepared me a full breakfast, after that, hand-made this beautiful and delicious orange cake.  She also hand-knitted that hat and sweater for me.  Very warm indeed.  
Noon time, Rena is going to prepare for me a tradition long-life noodle with soup as well as a chicken drumstick. However, for health reasons, I opted out one egg in the soup because I had two already in the morning.  For dinner tonight, since I like junk food and chips (potato), so we are going to “Burger King” (if open, otherwise McDonald’s) with coupons (not for McDonald’s) and enjoy our birthday dinner celebration there.
Btw, yesterday, After Rena’s Mahjon game,  we ate out with all those old ladies.  The restaurant was packed and I had no idea that they were so many people there during X’mas eve.  But, the food was good and those ladies almost cleared all the plates.  Evidently, we did enjoy ourselves.

Photography fun.

I had a chance to borrow some photography equipment from a professional photographer friend and have a bit of fun this morning. I haven’t spent a lot of time doing studio shots (actually never), I generally favor travelling light and using natural lighting and wide apertures, but somehow this weekend, everyone wanted a head shot. So much fun – I could have taken photos for hours. It’s actually a lot of fun taking photos of people who want their photos taken and you can spend time just chatting and relaxing them in front of the camera. You can get photos like this:

Here’s the lighting set up that I used. A single strobe with a radio from the camera.

Here’s Jeremy’s head shot – who is that old man?

And because I never get any photos of myself, I gave my camera to my friend who took some photos of us.

Her 6-Star & 4 Times Cleaner

Since I am at home and there is no job prospect for me in a short while, I volunteer to cook dinner for every other week.  And washing dishes is included.  In that week, almost every morning, I wake and find a lot of plates piled-up in front of my kitchen table seat which is on the opposite side of hers.  At first, I don’t know what is really going on.  After closely examining those plates, of course, they all fail the inspection by my boss.  I have to say some of them aren’t too clean in her eyes apparently.  As a pay back, this morning around 5:00 AM, I did the same trick as she did to me.  Except, there is a slight deviation.  See πŸ™‚

Also, since I start to wash the dishes by hands every other week, Rena keeps reminding me that the detergent lasts pretty fast, at least 4 times faster than it should be.  The other day, we had a family dinner together at a local restaurant.  I asked my son-in-law next to me, what is my reply to her about the consumption of detergent.  Without hesitation, he replied “4 Times Cleaner”.  Guess what, that was exactly my reply to her.  Except I probably have to add several words to it.  It should be “Same Amount of Energy, But 4 Times Cleaner” πŸ™‚

Gift of time.


Nursing school ended (well at least the term) on Monday night and I feel like I’ve been given the best gift every back – the gift of time.  This fall has been so busy, the thing that I cut out the most was socializing with and just “being there” for all my friends.  I used to take long dog walks during the day with pals, go out to lunch, meet up to go shopping, drop off stuff because they were sick – but with so many things crammed into the fall, I really let all those extra things go.  Which is a shame because there really is nothing like keeping up with someone day-to-day and not just once every three months or so.  Last night, I got to spend some time with some of my youngest friends (well, I was babysitting for their parents) and I got these amazing cookies in return!   As I showed up when all the kids were asleep, somehow I feel like I got the better end of the deal.