Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring Is...Almost Here

Good morning everyone!

Thought I should show you the beauty we had in our backyard just last week. See, it snowed. Then snowed some more. (Totally unfamiliar to the Northeast, I know.)

But the cool thing is...between the two snow storms, it completely melted away. Because of the altitude and the constant sun here, we don't get snow that lasts forever. Which is sad. Makes for a rushed sledding day and if you don't get out there the exact day it snows, forget it!

But, we have a pup. And we must go outside (or go crazy). 

Mochi is kind of like the Postal Service in some ways. 

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor hail, nor snow will keep this puppy from her mission of flushing all the birds from our yard.

Anyway, onto the snow!

This is a random vine thing that just looks like a fairy haven.

In case you don't know, I love snow.

I mean, seriously love it.

I grew up in Florida and seeing snow fall from the skies when I was a freshman in college was something I'll never forget.


That and attaching a cactus to the roof of someone's car during a snow storm.
Ah, memories...

After it snowed, it began to fog. I've never seen that before. This just looked so romantic.

But you know what else is pretty in winter?

Icicles.


Let's take another look at that fog, shall we?


It was so neat to see it happen in a matter of minutes. I felt like I was on a movie set.

Though, my brain told me that fog can be for a romance or a horror.

That kind of put a damper on my enjoyment.

Until I saw this chica.


She was apparently practicing for her next starring role in Harry Potter and the Cloaked Beast, the unknown 8th book in the series.

Hehe.

Yes, I made that cape/cloak/cover thing.

Yes, it's from my pajama pants.

And yes, my pajama pants had help in becoming pajama shorts. Those freshly trimmed puppy talons are sharp!

I like to think of myself as a woman who repurposes things, hence the cape. I know it won't last long.

But a caped puppy avenger makes me feel less mad about losing my favorite pair of flannel pants.

You really can't be mad when you see her run in her cape.

Anywho...that snow melted. Then right after my birthday, it snowed again.  This time it was a bigger storm. We got a whopping 10 inches!

Horror of horrors, I cry in jest.

I used to pray that we'd only get 8-10 inches when we lived on Long Island and in upstate New York. That would have been a kind storm. More often than not we'd get 3 feet overnight that I'd have to scrape off my unprotected car the next morning at 4am before driving to work.

But here in New Mexico, it's better. I don't have to drive to work (because I work out of my home these days) and, well, I know it'll melt before too long.

So right after it stopped, we went outside.


Okay, maybe we went outside when it had lightened up a little.

Then Mochi, the terror beast, discovered that with that much snow, she could make tunnels.

And so she tunneled all over our yard.

Meanwhile, I had more fun with the obscenely long icicles we had on the far side of our house.

Scary!

Of course, the best thing to do with snow is make SNOWMEN!

I like to call this our family portrait.

 Mr. K took the pup out front and she immediately had to inspect the snow beast.


Satisfied that it was frozen and wouldn't move, she began playing on the hill of snow Mr. K just made.

This picture really sums up NM in winter: Snow that is melting, sun, blue skies, and cold.

Front of the house shoveled and done, I decided to have some fun with the pup.
Scroll through these photos for a stop-motion movie.
I think you'll laugh.

The toss

Bat-ears deployed

The attempt

The miss!

I just looked them over again and cracked up at the last one. Again. For the fiftieth time now.

It never fails to make me laugh.

We were interrupted in our game...by the sounds of a tractor (!) plowing our street.

We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

So yeah.

Snow. Gotta love it.


Until next time,
Bisous!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Day That Will Be Remembered...

Hi all,
Thought I'd share with you guys a bit of fun I had this past weekend.

You see, I was kidnapped.

Not THAT way!
I mean that my friends came and whisked me away to an unknown place. They said it was for my own good. That for my birthday, I would enjoy it.

So, Friday night I got this parcel at the local sushi restaurant.


My friend, Mrs. B then proceeded to cackle, actually cackle, as I opened it up.

I was born in the year of the rat, hence the Ratatouille reference.

And then I read my fate.


Needless to say my curiosity was peaked.
Mrs. B cackled again.
And I began to worry.

For two days I thought about why I would need to have the random assortment of items.
I knew it. I was going to be stranded somewhere, left to my own devices to get back up on the mesa.
And here's what went through my head:

A deck of cards was to amuse myself as I rang my Alpine cow bell (oh yes, I have one. One of my little treasures I acquired from the agriculture faire in Paris when I was an au pair). I'd be wrapped up in my wool scarf and huddled close to the candlestick for warmth. Eventually I'd give up hope of rescue as the light from the candle sputtered and died, along with the warmth and I'd start walking, because, of course, it'd be night by then and I'd need the flashlight. The bottles of water were so I wouldn't die of thirst.

Fun Fact: The human body can survive about 21 days without food. Three days without water and you can die.  Three hours without proper shelter from inclimate weather and you will perish.

Comforting thoughts, right?

But then I remembered, my friends were not mean. They weren't out to get me.
I made them King Cake after all!

So the day came.
I felt like this.

And I told Mr. K that if anything untoward happened to me, that he was to send this photo immediately to the police, so that they could send out a search party...and rescue me from the coyotes.


I was taken to Mr and Mrs B's house, where I was fed the most DELICIOUS food in the form of pork dumplings, sautéed shrimp, and rice. I even got to hold a baby. 
I approve of feeding your hostage before you drop her off in the middle of nowhere to try to fend for herself.

We set out as it started to snow.
We made it down the main hill here and had to stop for gas. I asked about the items I had and Mrs E took my bell. With a chuckle she told me she would be using it from now on.
*sigh*
There went my hope for someone hearing me, because apparently the weather decided to have gale force winds and snow to celebrate my day of birth. It was 25 degrees, by the way, no wind chill.

Mrs. B got back in the car and off we went again towards Taos.
Tumble weeds blew across the road, we saw a few cows and horses as we got further and further into the west. The car had a hard time driving a straight path due to the wind.

And then we turned onto a gravel road and Mrs E gave me back my bell, telling me we were there.


The spa?

Maybe they had changed their minds. Maybe I was going to have to suffer, watching them enjoy it.

But they parked. And then told me to get my stuff.
I had no stuff other than the things I brought with me, and none of that included a bathing suit, of course.
So I sat there, confused.

"No girl, your stuff's in the back!" they shouted and laughed.

Lo and behold, a backpack with a bathing suit, robe, towel and lots of other things I would need had been made up for me...

And then it dawned on me: why Mr.K got so many texts from his 'brother' that Thursday night, why he asked me about what I wear before going out, and about what lotion I actually liked on the counter.

And here I thought he was just being curious. I didn't realize I'd married a secret agent.

Sneaky man.

We walked in as fast as possible. The wind was really cutting.

I realized then that an outdoor spa day in the middle of February was probably not the warmest thing around, but then again, the pools are hot. And I was with good company.

And the setting was gorgeous.

Besides, I love Ojo Caliente.


It's just beautiful.


The pools called to us so we hurried to the locker rooms and made ready to freeze.

Me, Mrs. E and Mrs. B about to make a run for the pools.

The pools at this spa range from 89 degrees F up to 104 degrees F. We skipped anything below 101F and didn't miss it one bit. The 101F pool felt lukewarm and that was as cold as I was willing to go. The mud bath had been turned off for the winter. But the sauna and steam room were amazing.

And, my girls treated me to a Milago wrap, where you get wrapped up in warm blankets, like a mummy, in a calming room for half an hour.
Divine!

I may or may not have fallen asleep.
I also may or may not have fallen so hard asleep that I snored.
And then possibly may or may not have woken myself up with the noise of said snore.

I maintain that it wasn't me.

We left a bit after, passing the outside fire pit.

I love photos of fire. It just warms me right up.

And then they took me to a fun place called El Paragua in Espanola.
Great place!

I believe that is the Virgin Mary talking with Saint Francis. Mr. A, feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken.

The tree outside was HUGE!

Mrs. B happily posed for scale.

And then I found the best part.

A tree is growing right through the restaurant.

Lovely company. Great food.
I highly recommend the Tacos Estilo De Las Brazas.

And the meal came with a salad and SOPAPILLAS!
I'd never had sopapillas before. They're huge. One is about as big as two hands put side by side.
And the New Mexican way to eat them is with honey and apricot jam.

I never say no to honey.

We determined that you can eat them any way you like: rip one up and put it in a bowl, then drizzle with the honey and jam OR open a side up and drizzle the sweet golden goodness inside it.

Either way, it tastes pretty durn good.

I even got a nice slice of cheesecake and the actual birthday song sung to me. No weird hat placed on my head.

All in all, it was an excellent birthday and one I will remember.
Thank you, gals!
And yes, even you Mr. K, or should I say Mr. Sneak!

Until next time,
Bisous

Friday, February 13, 2015

Will You Be My Valentine?

Hi again!

Thought you all would  enjoy seeing what we've been up to here.

The last week or so has been quite snowy and also warm. We had about 8 inches fall in one day. (As a bunch of you probably have)

It's always more fun to watch snow fall from the sky with a puppy...

But the thing I love most about winter?
The icicles.


And also seeing the pup's inner wolf come out.




And action jump shots.

Catching snowballs...

It's mostly melted now. And our backyard is mud city.
We have to be careful not to run too much because we slip and fall or cave in the gopher tracks.
Which makes for more uneven ground and more fun for Mr. K to mow.

Anyway, enough of that. I'm not going to think of the work it'll take to level the backyard/ flatten it.

I'm going to think of better things.

I'm SUPER excited about my Spring plans for a container garden!!

I can see the meals now... plus the pretty flowers.

See, our town just had a seed swap and I got to partake of it. So, now I'm just trying to wait for the ground to thaw and the chance of frost to be nil and none before I start planting and going all garden gnome crazy on our backyard!

Yes. Garden gnomes are a crazy bunch. Just watch Amelie and you'll know what I mean.

Anywho...planting. Excited. Even have the Farmer's Almanac for 2015.

I get one every year, so it's not really a big thing.

But then I found a new magazine (to me at least) called New Pioneer and it's wonderful. All about how to make your garden better, stronger, more plentiful and a bunch of other tips for the home.

So, I am armed. And ready!

By the way, happy Friday the 13th. I'm not superstitious at all so today was just a gorgeous day.

Mochi the pup got to meet 11 people (yay we met our 10 people quota for the week) and we got to go to the Starbucks love meet (you can get a $5 menu item from 2pm onwards, which is basically a drink and a treat) and got to mail some things.

We live a very exciting life, full of the ordinary.

In two weeks I'll find out the news from a short short story writing contest I entered and I'll be another year older. (woo hoo!)

And oh yeah, tomorrow be Valentine's Day!

We love homemade cards from family and friends

Only one of my favorite holidays. *smiles* Day of love, whether you're single or otherwise.

Even Mochi has a Valentine...

Awww... 

Er, had.

See, she loved Mr. Monkey to pieces.

Literally.


So sadly, her date has been removed and will be in surgery for a little bit before she can see him again.

I guess that's not too romantic.

Mr. K has something up his sleeve. All I know is I have to be ready to go out at six thirty tomorrow night.
And I get to wear a dress.
And I'll feel just like Kaylee wearing the fluffy pink dress from Firefly. ("Look at the fluffy one!")

Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is:

Happy Valentine's Day!
Until next time,
Bisous!

Monday, February 02, 2015

Back to the Caribbean!

And we'll be getting back on track with some photos from the cruise I took back in December.
Gosh, has it really been about two months?
Well, I know a bunch of my friends have been inundated with snow, so these might warm you up.

On we go!

The last stop we had on the cruise was the island of St. Maarten (if you're Dutch) or St. Martin (if you're French).

When we pulled in at 6:30 in the morning...it looked like we'd have some weather with us.


And we did get rained on, well, if you want to call a spritzing rain, while waiting to leave with our tour group. But then things cleared up a little.

And I fell in love with the houses on the island

We all hopped into a tour bus and away we went to explore the island that is divided between the Dutch and the French to this very day. At least they no longer fight each other.


We started out on the Dutch side. Just in case you were wondering.
I didn't know until we passed this guy.

Seeing Amsterdam cheese, I knew for a fact we were in Dutch territory.

I believe this is an Admiral's house here. 

The major export for the Dutch side was salt. This is a statue set in a roundabout demonstrating the history.

A nice resort

We got off the bus here to take a look at the scenery. So pretty!

The cacti were pretty neat too!


Then we all hopped back on the bus and made our way towards the French side.


Flowers were everywhere bordering the streets.
This one was one of my favorites.


We then crossed the divider (no line, just a monument where peace was established between the two) into the French territory.


The French side had better looking buildings, I must say.



And then we had a stop and got about an hour to stretch our legs and take in the scenery.


Boy, did we ever!

Sun maidens!

Saw a fort on the hill above the bay.
One day I'd love to go up and explore it.
But for now, I can just allow my imagination to go there.


After poking our heads into a few shops, Mom and I saw a really cool market across the street.
Had to check it out.


Everything was so colorful. They even had spices for sale. Reminded me a lot of France and the Antony market.
We couldn't stay long though, and I admit I worried when the bus would be leaving, but we managed to get on with a couple minutes to spare.

The driver then took us through windy roads, telling us about the culture and how iguanas are really a pest.

What he forgot to mention was that the reptiles are about as big as a cocker spaniel dog!


Ick! I get the creeps looking at them. But in some ways, they're really interesting.
And apparently, when in a pinch for chicken, these guys taste just the same.

We kept going, winding our way down the mountains and came across this statue at a round about.

Lady Liberty, St. Martin style.

Then low and behold to our left, an iguana, just hanging out in the tree.


On and on we went.
Over hill and dale. Past a nudist beach, and more resorts, until we came to the farmland of the island.

More of those really pretty flowers.

And got to see more of the plantation style homes. Apparently St. Martin is also known for it's sugar cane.


Now contrast that with this next picture.

Goats!

We made it back to the port and we had about an hour before the ship set sail. So we wandered and took in some of the sights. They even had a crêpe stand, though I'm spoiled, having lived two years in France.

Like this awesome tree!

Then it was time to head back to the ship. We had to leave by 12:30pm. A bit early, but not terrible.
Mom and I thought we had just enough time to get a taste.


Goodbye, St. Maarten!


Au revoir, St. Martin!



Well hello, Sir Monkey!


Oh yeah, forgot to say, it was FORMAL NIGHT! And Mom and I dolled ourselves up.

We wore the corresponding colors for the Christmas Cruise: green and red.
I say that cruises are great (but I don't think I'd like to go more than a week or 10 days tops).
By the last day I was ready to come home. And Mom was too. It's hard not having your own routine.

The only thing that would have made this trip better than the amazingness that it was would have been to have had the whole family there with us.

Hmmm...Do I see a family vacay in two years perhaps?

Until next time,
Bisous!

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