Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Day 5 - We Made It to Arizona

Before I begin this may be the last blog for awhile. I do not think our condo has wireless.

When we woke up this morning we knew this would be the last leg of our journey to Arizona.
Took the scenic route and ended up in Mesa about 3:30. Checked into Mariott. The day was absolutely beautiful. 78 degrees.

We were not supposed to be able to get into condo until tomorrow but we got a phone call from the realtor and she said we could get the key any time. We quickly went over there and were able to check them out.

We just got back from having our New Years dinner. We had pizza and it was great.

This is going to be short. I am tired.

Good night and Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Day 4 - On Our Way to Arizona

Before I begin there was an edit made to my very first post. Instead of "things written in this blog can be open fror criticism"." It is now written "things written in this blog cannot be crtiticized." Certain people know why this was changed. I am not going to mention their 2 names.

Once again everybody awake at 5:30.

On the road to Santa Fe. Interesting. Lots of open range with sage brush. Very few homes but we speculated that these were big ranches and the ranch house must be miles back on the property. I can't imagine living ot there with not much around. It also crossed my mind--what if they run out of milk and bread. I can't imagine. I might be able to last a month in that type of isolation and only if I had a lot of books. Dear husband would last about a day and a half and he would not be really pleasant to live with that day and a half. There is some snow covering the fields and ditches. It is chilly but sunny.

Coming into the city of Santa Fe I was intrigued with the Spanish, pueblo looking houses. They were so in tune with the environment that it was sometimes hard to see them. They were the same color as the earth, low and unobtrusive. They were the traditional adobe style. They are not my style and it certainly would not be my first pick of a style of house but that doesn't mean that I don't appreciate and enjoy this bit of cultural difference.

Santa Fe had narrow streets and I found it to be somewhat quaint. They did have big buildings but they even were the Pueblo style. There were several Indian schools. I would have liked to have taken a look at their curriculum. Big huge Catholic church with a lot of men hanging around. We speculated that they probably were looking for day work. The statue of the Virgin outside this was the one that you always think of Mexico. She was beautiful and I really would have liked to have seen her and the church closer but choices have to be made,

Onto what is called Old Town. Went into a Starbucks because it was only a little after 9:00 and nothing opened until 9:30. It was great people watching. The Starbucks was quite charming and I even got to use my sign language skills because the clerk was deaf. I knew how to sign "coffee" and "water" "please" and "thank you." She understood all my signs.

9:30-got into the shops. Lots of turquoise, sterling silver, Pueblo pottery southwestern clothing. I really like a lot of this stuff but it doesn't fit my style of decorating and the jewelry and most of the clothing doesn't fit my lifestyle. Gloria bought the prettiest poncho like sweater. The color is an electric royal blue. It will be stunning on her.

Guys went on their merry way to do some exploring of their own. I think they went into a bank and also had a snowball fight. Can you imagine?

Now this old town has a pretty little town square with shops around the perimeter. There was what looked like an outdoor hot dog stand in the square but it turned out to be a fajita stand. Gloria & I strolled around diving into the shops. I was wishing that I was wearing something more "artsy." The black pants and pink fleecy jacket just didn't seem to be cutting it in this environment. Gloria fit right in with her coat that is handpainted with an abstract cat with paws coming around the front. This coat has been all around the world with us and on every single trip we have been on since I think 1990 and I wish I had a nickel for every compliment she has received.

In one section of this Old Town they have all of the peddlars and artists. showing off their wares. It was really neat how they were wrapped in their blankets and coats with the geometric designs. Their goods would be spread out on a very colorful blanket. They had pointer sticks with a cup hook on to pick up their jewelry to hand to you for examination. Everything was laid out very precise and neat.

11:00 - on the road to Albuquerque. This is a much bigger city than Santa Fe and doesn't have as much of the Spanish pueblo feel to it. They also have an Old Town so that is where we headed. Hungry. Found an adorable outdoor cafe. It was really nice out so we ordered Mexican food and ate in the cute courtyard. Watched birds in birdbath and fed them nachos.

Onto the shops. They were similar. I bought a book-The Soiled Dove. We did go into a lovely church that was 300 years old. Enjoyed that very much. It was so much "old fashioned Catholic" and I could relate to it a lot.

2;00 - driving toward the city of Socorro. We decided that is where we would look for lodging. It is about 3 pm when we pull into the Holiday Inn. It is nice to be able to have some down time this early. As usual cribbidge was played. I am the only one who does not play but that is OK. We all then played a dice game. Freshened up and went to Mexican restaurant for dinner. Back here at 7:30. Jim snoring at 8:00. Pudge running around getting an extra towel and coffee. Also, talking on the phone with hockey player getting the latest posts on how the teams are doing. Gloria watching TV.

I forgot to mention that Albuquerque has a hot air balloon festival. There were post cards and hot air balloon memorabilia. It looked like it would be an awesome sight. I may have to put seeing that event on my bucket list.

It was a full and great day. Tomorrow we plan on being in Mesa, Arizona.

Going to sign off. Good night.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Day 3 - On Our Way to Arizona

OK--Before I start I need to say thank you, thank you, thank you for the positive comments. After hearing so much griping from the 2 males I was starting to lose my confidence. The comments were so much appreciated. I read them to everyone and said "at least someone likes my blogs." I felt real cocky reading it to them and I almost said "nener, nener, nener" to them but I restrained.

Everybody awake before 5:30 am. Poor Pudge had been up since 4 am and was in the lobby with the laptop. When we all woke I was able to go get him and tell him he could come home. Gloria was all dressed, makeup on and packed by 6 am. Of course, Jim & I are the last ones but everybody was at breakfast by 6:30.

Heading to Amarillo. We made a switch. I rode with Gloria and Jim rode with Pudge. We were able to really visit and it was fun. Got to Amarillo about 9:25 and Sweetie (our GPS) led us to a Steinmart. Now for the sake of those who do not know what Steinmart is--here is the description: it is a dept. store-a step above a Marshalls and not quite a Macys. Gloria & I fell in love with them on our first trip to Arizona 4 years ago. Whenever we travel we try to find them. They are only in some states. Even the guys have gotten to like them. I cannot tell you some of the good buys I have gotten over the years from this store.

Guys are itching to get on a golf course because the weather is gorgeous. They left us at Steinmart and off they went. Now we have about 5 hours to shop, have tea, and do whatever we want! We love it! Gloria was on a mission to get a watch because she had none on the trip--remember it was left on the bathroom counter. She did get one and it is nice. Also she replaced the earrings that were also left at home.

Met back up with the guys. Off we go -heading toward Santa Fe, New Mexico. Had to stop very soon after we started because guys were really hungry. Ate at a wonderful buffet. I need to add here how I do like being able to pay senior citizens prices. Now after eating we are all moaning and groaning.

The drive was interesting. Lots of cattle and open ranges. Saw horses also.

Crossed into New Mexico. Everybody's first time in this state. Cross a time line and set our clocks back an hour. Stopped at rest stop and info center. Got lots of brochures that you think are necessary and boy do they ever clutter up the car.

Got gas in Santa Rosa--$l.67. Some discussion about how much further we should go before getting a hotel. It is only 5:30 so decided to go further. Sun is setting and of course we are going west so it is right in our eyes. It is a good thing I am not driving because the visor did not go low enough to shade my eyes. Sun sets and it is really dark. I take flashlight so I am able to continue to read. Towns are far and few between. Got to Moriarty and rented Holiday Inn about 7 pm. Nobody is hungry for dinner. Snacks are brought out. Pudge & Gloria playing cribbidge. Felt bad when I heard Gloria say, "I wish I could just win 1 game." Jim is wiped. He has hit the wall. His neck is hurting. It is 9:15. Everybody settling in. It will not be long before the lights are out.

It is cold out there tonight. Temp is 31 but there is no snow. Hope tomorrow is as nice out as it was today.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Day 2 - On Our Way to Arizona

Thanks to everyone who voted. We sure had fun with that.

Everybody awake at 6 am. Of course, as usual Pudge and Gloria are the first to get up and right away they start moving. Jim & I lay for awhile contemplating the day. This is what we do and what we have done for a lot of years.

Breakfast at motel which was the Fairfield Inn in Topeka, Kansas. I am going to complain about the styrofoam plates and the flimsy plastic fork and knife. I hate them. You cut your waffle and it slices through the plate. You go to stab a piece of food and the fork breaks. Grrr.

Cold and snow greeted us as we walked out to the car. We are heading to Oklahoma City. Sun is shining. Roads are very good. The scenery was lots of open range. It was quite amazing because there were ice beads all over the trees making them glisten like diamonds and the fields were ice encrusted and with the sun rising it was quite spectacular. We also saw a lot of oil pumps in the fields.

1st stop was just a stretch break. 2nd stop was the National Cowboy Museum. Jim had heard from a friend that it was good. Now I have to tell you that I am not really into cowboys but this was certainly worth my while. It was great!! The art work was breathtaking. We spent about 2 hours there and enjoyed every minute of it. They had a display on old time western movies. There were many that I remember watching as a child. Many I had forgotten. Do any of you remember Death Valley Days, Have Gun Will Travel, Wagon Train, The Big Valley with Barbara Stanwyck?

3rd stop - Oklahoma Federal Building Bombing Memorial. That was definitely worth it. They have a reflective pond and next to it there is a garden of chairs that state the victim's name. They have small ones representing the children that were in the day care that were killed. There were teddy bears on 2 of them. This was touching.

Okay dear readers, there are many complaints coming from both sides of me. Pudge on one side and Jim on the other--they do not like the idea that I am typing so much. Pudge is commenting on the details. He has never read my first blog where it states that there will be no comments made by my dear spouse about minute details. I guess I will have to read that to him. Jim seems to think I have too much time on my hands. Do we care? NO!!

It is about 3:30 and we start heading toward Amarillo. I have my nose buried in my book. The title is We Were the Mulvaneys. It is one of Oprah's books. It is OK. It is interesting enough to keep me captivated but it is not "knocking my socks off."

Shamrock, Texas is where we stopped to spend the night at about 6:3o pm. We are about 100 miles from Amarillo. Check into hotel and then we went to find a restaurant. There is only one open because it is Sunday night. Well I have to tell you this restaurant did not have the word "redneck" any where written but it might as well have. Everything depicted it--the clientele, the waitresses, the menu, the food, the building even the pickup trucks in the parking lot. I was not able to see if they had rifles in their back windows but it would not have surprised me if it did.

It is 9:30 and everybody is in bed. Guys are watching TV and I guess Gloria is too and I am blogging. Tomorrow it is on to New Mexico and Albquerque and Santa Fe.

I thought about my family yesterday when they were to be all together.

Going to close. Good Night.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Day 1 - On Our Way to Arizona

Before I start -- some of the minute details are for my sake so readers it might get boring.

Left Jim & Glorias about 7 am. This was different for us because we are used to traveling together and we were in separate cars with only walkie talkies.

lst stop-Mason City Iowa about 9 am for breakfast. Gloria discovered she left her watch, bracelets and earrings on the bathroom counter at her home. She good naturedly blamed it on Jim. Now in my mind it was definitely Jim's fault. Here is the story: Gloria made Jim promise to wait for her to help before loading car in the a.m. because of his bad back, etc... She was getting ready in the bathroom and heard Jim starting to carry and load. Gloria being the kind and caring person she is quickly got out there to help before he got hurt. Then we came and of course, Pudge is chomping at the bit to get going. So, dear readers, what do you think. Please vote on whose fault you think. This is what you are voting on: Do you think kind and considerate Gloria is to blame or stubborn, Norwegian Jim? You can vote in the comments but if you are anonymous please state your name. I will let you know the results.

Approaching Des Moines there were signs above the freeway flashing "ice storm warning till 3 pm. Oh great!! Not crazy about that news. So far so good--roads not bad. Then we started seeing cars in ditch and a lot of them--some tipped over. Travel lanes on freeway still did not seem that bad. We speculated that they all must have went in last night which we found out was indeed the case.

2nd stop-St. Charles, Iowa--the gateway to Bridges of Madison County. Mental note-this might be fun to explore at some later date. We just got out of car and walked. The side roads were very slippery.

Pudge is in his element. He loves driving. He has his mug of coffee next to him and he is driving the freeway with a destination in mind. I would be hard pressed to pick out his first love out of the following 3 things: hockey arenas, golf courses, and driving. I'm liking this too. I am wrapped up in down comforter and reading magazines and books. Life is good.

Crossed into Missouri. Got gas for $1.39. We liked that.

Approaching Topeka. We are about 1 hour away from hotel. Starts to snow. It gets worse. I am on the edge of my seat and so glad I am not driving. I feel sorry for Gloria because it was her turn to drive and she got into all this and there was no place to stop to change. Car ahead of us almost loses it. Conditions get worse. It is scary. So glad to pull into the hotel. Thank you Bryan for reserving this for us. All four of us appreciate it very much. Poured a glass of wine for Gloria and me. Pudge kicked Gloria's butt in a few games of cribbidge. Jim has a cocktail. We freshen up and go for dinner. Forgot to mention--today is Jim's 67th birthday. He got ice cream with candle and we sang happy birthday.

It is now 8:45. We are all in pjs, watching TV and discussing the day and tomorrow.

Don't forget to vote.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Night

It is 10:40 pm. I am watching the pope saying mass on TV.

Most all the prep is done for tomorrow. The egg bake is all made and ready to be put in oven. Caramel rolls are raising, fruit is all arranged & in a compote. Table is all set. Decided to go with a kind of french country Christmas theme--white battenberg lace tablecloth with a red calico quilted runner down the middle. My big ceramic rooster with a sprig of holly on his neck in center. He is sitting among greenery and berries. White dishes with a red gingham cloth napkin on each plate. Then I decided to throw in a little English. Bought crackers and there is one at each place setting. Vacuumed rugs, scrubbed entry way and kitchen floor. Gifts are wrapped and under the tree I only need to fill the stockings and go to bed. I am looking forward to tomorrow. It goes without saying how much fun it is to be with my adult children, their spouses and the grandchildren.

Merry Christmas, everyone!! Good night.

Christmas Eve Day

It is 6:45 am. I am pondering the day and what prep work needs to be done. My biggest thing is to set the table for my brunch on Christmas morning. I am trying to think of a theme (there are several in my mind.) A problem: table will be in sunroom. It will be heated for the brunch but when I am setting it there is no heat and it is cold out there. I am not lovin' this cold weather.

Still trying to deal with Arizona trip. Got clothes all together but keep thinking of things and adding to it.

Have errands and running around to do.

I am going to get busy.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Trial Test

OK-- I have been wanting to get into the world of bloggers. I am hoping this will all come together and work. Thanks to Donna for helping me walk through this--but I do not feel like it is successful yet until I know it has come to people. I also have to get the blog email address to everyone and see if that works.

Readers--be aware this is "Pat's World." It is how I see and interpret things. Anything written will be not open to criticism. Anything written can be open to discussion. However, dear spouse of mine, sometimes it will be detailed and I know how you do not like a lot of my "what you consider unimportant details. ". Fair warning--do not read if it bothers you. It will be yours and anybody elses choice. With that said I am going to publish this post and see if it is successful.

More posts will follow.