Monday, February 28, 2022

New Mexico day 3: Meow Wolf to Truth or Consequences

Today was an exciting day: we had a 10am reservation for Meow Wolf

Meow Wolf is an interactive, immersive art experience. Founded in Santa Fe, it has spread to two other locations: Las Vegas and Denver. Each location is completely different, though equally amazing. And it was the number one thing I wanted to see in New Mexico. (#2? White Sands National Park. #3? Carlsbad Caverns)

We fueled up on astoundingly massive vegetarian breakfast burritos from the Santa Famous (get it?) food truck. So. Good. 

Then we made our way across town to Meow Wolf. There really aren't any words... just like there really isn't any "right way" or "wrong way" to experience it. So here are 10 of my favorite photos. Note, 10x the photos still wouldn't really suffice, but...

But this classic might be my favorite:


Eventually we had made our way through the entire place -- oh, including the gift shop of course -- and could feel it getting more crowded as more and more timed groups entered. We skipped the Meow Wolf margarita (note to self: have one upon arrival, THEN explore...)

yep, that's cotton candy on top...

Then we were on the road again, heading to Truth or Consequences. (Oh, umm, we stopped at a quilt shop... but that surprises no one, right? More surprising is that I managed not to buy anything!)

Truth or Consequences used to be called "Hot Springs" because, well, because the town is riddled with hot springs. And as Wil wanted a mellow couple of days over his birthday, it seemed like a good place to spend it. I had originally hoped to stay in either a hot springs resort or the swanky hotel, but the resort was all booked up, and the swanky hotel was having trouble with their web site. So I turned to AirBnB and found a cute little cottage with its own private outdoor tub and well to the hot water. 

T or C (as the locals call it) is a cute if odd little town. We checked in to the cottage (simple, spotless, quiet, perfect) and then went for a little wander. There's a good local grocery store, a couple of local restaurants, some shops, and the excellent Truth or Consequences Brewing Company. Guess where we went. 

Wil tried one of their beers, I tried one of the local ciders, and then ordered food from a restaurant across the way (they delivered it to our table with a smile). Delicious food, good drinks, and a nice, friendly vibe. Perfect way to spend Wil's birthday eve!

Then back to the cottage, where we filled up the tub and spent the evening soaking. Perfection!

Oh, and in case you're wondering why it's called Truth or Consequences, there's a simple little history on their tourist information site. 

Tomorrow: Riverbend Hotsprings, and SUNBURN.

** A quick note on this post -- I'm catching up on my New Mexico memories and backdating blog posts to each day.

New Mexico day 2: Georgia O'Keeffe and more

Got up early-ish, ate dinner leftovers for breakfast, and headed back to the plaza because we had early tickets for the Georgia O'Keeffe museum

Full disclosure: I didn't know very much about Georgia... and, frankly, what little I knew about her was wrong. I knew about the close-up flower paintings, and how people interpreted them as representing female genitalia. I had no idea that she consistently rejected those interpretations, saying that "men see what they want to see". I suppose sometimes a stamen is just a stamen...

It's an exquisite gem of a museum, with a tight, well-organized collection and a nifty downloadable audio tour that's free. I loved seeing not just her paintings and sketches, but some of her collected items.

And I loved learning a little bit about her. Her grasp of color, her vision, all of it. 

And later, in the gift shop, seeing this magnet (which now graces our refrigerator):

I would like paint more often, and though I'll never paint like Georgia O'Keeffe, I find her spirit inspiring!

After leaving the museum (and, of course, the Gift Shop!), we walked around Santa Fe a bit, stopping at the Farmer's Market, and grabbing some snacks and margaritas. 

More importantly, we popped into Kakawa Chocolate Shop and indulged in some of their Mesoamerican "Elixirs" -- traditional drinking chocolates -- plus a box of their locally inspired caramels and truffles, in flavors including pinon, prickly pear, and red chili. Glorious!

We poked around the galleries on Canyon Road, wondered who was buying all these massive yard sculptures, and then wondered where we could put a giant metal buffalo... and how we'd get it home. 

Tomorrow: Meow Wolf!

**A quick note about this post -- I'm catching up with my New Mexico memories and backdating blog posts to each day. 

Saturday, February 26, 2022

New Mexico day 1: Albuquerque to Santa Fe

Slept well, then up early to walk to the rental car office, about half a mile away. We picked up our car -- slightly challenging, Gold Canopy had no cars in it, so we had to go into the office and were told to pick up a particular car that was so new, it still had bits of the shipping plastic wrap on it... and 2 miles on the odometer. 

We went back to the hotel, picked up our bags, and hit the road. We drove across Albuquerque, loving how quiet and empty the streets were. It was only later that we realized it was super early on a Saturday, so most people weren't up and around yet!

First stop: the spaceship house, which is actually the home and studio of architect Bart Prince

Then, on our way out of town, we diverted to a stretch of classic Route 66 that was renovated a few years back as a "Musical Highway". The signs are gone now -- and it's gone a little out of tune, but we drove over the special rumble strips, thought it wasn't working, and then, UNMISTAKABLY, heard a snippet of "America the Beautiful". So nice. 

(Note, this is not my video)

Amusingly, finding this video led me down a "musical highway" rabbit hole. There are lots of them, including one on a highway up to Mt. Fuji that we must have driven on. 

Anyway, we then headed north on the "Turquoise Trail" -- a nice, two-lane highway. We stopped in adorable Madrid to stretch our legs and visit ... CONNIE'S PHOTO PARK. 

We wandered around, taking lots of silly photos... because WE LOVE A PHOTO OP. 

Then back in the car, where we skirted the edge of Santa Fe and headed out to Pecos National Historical Park. Our main aim was to stretch our legs, not thinking that the reconstructed kivas and pueblo mission church ruins would be particularly interesting. But it was beautiful and quiet and -- despite being very, very cold -- made for a great couple of hours.

Then we headed back to Santa Fe to find our AirBnB... though en route we stopped for BEYOND CHICKEN AT KFC... which gave me childhood flashbacks of the flavor of the breading and the way the boxes open...

The review? Well... meh. I mean, I'm thrilled when fast food companies add a meatless option to their menus. And they tasted a lot like I vaguely remembered KFC tasting. Would I eat them again? Probably not, but only because I don't eat much fast food. Now, extra crispy? Maybe...

Then it was into the South Capitol neighborhood of Santa Fe to scope our our gorgeous AirBnB. We were still a couple of hours early, so we parked in the quiet neighborhood and walked downtown. Hello, ristras!

We explored a little, nosed around some shops, and just enjoyed the city. Then back up the hill to check in to our gorgeous AirBnB. Seriously, I have nothing but great things to say about this location!

Great house, very comfortable, and full of beautiful local art. A real treat. 

After settling in, we eventually decided to go out in search of dinner, despite the bitter cold. Dinner was ... just okay (perhaps my fault for ordering an "interesting" margarita when what I should have ordered was their house standard!)... and given the cold I was just glad to get home and into a hot bath. 

**A quick note about this post -- I'm catching up with my New Mexico memories and backdating blog posts to each day.

Friday, February 25, 2022

New Mexico Trip kickoff: to Albuquerque

For our first flight in nearly 2 years, we decided to treat ourselves... we booked first class tickets round trip for the short flights. We shut down early for the day, took an Uber (again, our first in nearly 2 years) to the airport, and made our way through security. Because we were flying Alaska, we were able to use their fancy lounges -- something we couldn't do with our Priority Pass access. So we found a nice little table by the window and settled in. Ahh. 

The lounge isn't Beijing lounge nice, but it was airy and pretty and relatively quiet. The limited food may have been due to COVID? Not sure. But we had a couple of drinks and some snacks and relaxed. Feeling antsy, we left and went for a walk, popping in to one of the other lounges, too. Because, well, why not? We were on HOLIDAY. 

The flight was short an uneventful. We had preordered our meal (???!!!???), a "harvest grain bowl" that was fresh and lovely. And of course we had a drink or two. See, it turns out that when I booked the rental car, the rental car office closed at 10pm, so we wouldn't be able to pick it up until early the next day. 

We arrived, got our bags, then called for the airport shuttle. The room was nice, quiet, and spacious. We tried going for a walk to see if there was anywhere open to grab a bite to eat -- we had an amusing moment at the Burger King, where we walked in and surprised a crew member ("how did you get in?" "umm, through the front door?") and ordered two Impossible Whopper meals. We got our drinks and waited, and another employee saw us and yelled "why are there people here?". The woman told him what we had ordered, and he told us they couldn't make it because the grill was turned off. (Huh?) They asked us what we wanted to change our order to, so we pretended not to know that NOTHING ELSE WAS VEGETARIAN. So they gave us a refund and we left. Note: this is the only bad dining experience we had all week long. 

Back in the room we ate cookies, I had a hot shower, and we went to sleep. 

Tomorrow: to Santa Fe!

** A quick note about this post -- I'm going through my New Mexico memories and backdating blog posts to each day.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 17

Hi everyone! Apologies for the "lateness" of this post, but it's still relatively early on Sunday morning here. :)

I seem to be losing track of time, so was surprised to read Avis's message (thank heavens for the reminder!) and realize it was another 3 weeks! 

Here's where I was last time:  

And here's where I am now, with apologies for the dark photos:

I didn't quite get the two columns stitched, though I only have one color to fill in . 

My goal is to have this and the neighboring column complete in time for our next check-in in three weeks. In the meantime, why not check out the glorious projects my fellow stitchers are working on: Avis, Claire, Gun, Constanze, Christina, KathyMargaret, Cindy, Heidi, JackieMegan, Deborah, Renee, CarmelaSharon, DaisyAnne, AJCathie, Linda, and Helen.

See you in three weeks!