Traveling

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Pike’s Peak floats among the clouds…

Off to Raleigh (Walter the namesake pictured above), North Carolina for a little work and R & R of the pleasantly green and humid variety. I have never been so gobsmacked by a tree canopy in my life, dear peeps, even after sixteen years in the Pacific Wonderland of Oregon. That is saying something, y’all!

Not having traveled much in the South, I was thoroughly delighted by the place. I have never seen such diversity (black, white, Muslim, Asian, Indian, Latinx, LGBTQ!) and was SUPER grateful not to witness any overt bigotry or racism. I’ve been sickened by more Confederate Flags in the West than in Raleigh, and in case you’re wondering, we didn’t see a one. Progress! Raleigh seems to have made great strides, with many a sign boasting “Y’all means ALL!” and other forms of welcome. It made my heart happy!

Another reason to be happy – our super conveniently located digs, walking everywhere in this post and logging more than twenty miles over the course of our stay!

Morgan Street Food Hall – a mad collection of  bomb-diggity food truck-style vendors – indoors and out of the weather. The Food Court of my mall strolling youth taken to great heights.. Yup.

Great art, too!

O M G – the Hot fried chicken and mac bowl at Iyla’s Southern Kitchen was ALL the things with perfect pickle slices on top. Not pictured: the hubster’s shrimp and grits – the best we’ve ever tasted!

Bittersweet – we tried the Paris Fizz and Strong island and were not disappointed!

Short bed. Warm night.

Porch coffee

The finest aspect, by far, had to be the humid green, positively redolent of jasmine, magnolia, and rose. How lovely to have spring rain without the cold, too, as I had grown so accustomed to in Portland, frequently lamenting the need for a turtle neck well into June!

We also learned about the tomato and vinegar BBQ divide, and while the meat was perfectly cooked at Clyde Cooper’s (and piled sky-high!), the super tang of vinegar had us falling firmly in the tomato camp.

Saw some pretty talented artists’ work at artspace. Bought a lovely piece, too!

More Friday…

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When we visited Santa Fe last year, I bought a Dryland Wilds Sagebrush Plantwater, so I could mist my face with one of my very favorite scents on the daily. After using it a short while, I wondered what other wonders I was missing. To my great luck, the lovely Robin Moore and Cebastien Rose make much more than plantwaters. They are high desert wild crafters, sustainably foraging native and invasive flowers, leaves, and resins, and harvest plants that would otherwise be discarded to make the most exquisitely intoxicating scents of New Mexico.

It’s no surprise I became a huge fan. In addition to the sagebrush, I purchased pinon plantwater, luxurious soaps, evening primrose and copper mallow lip balms, and beauty oils infused with willow and loosestrife, sagebrush and snakeweed, rosehip and thistle. Each is evocative, efficient, and positively uplifting!

Imagine my delight upon learning they offer a perfume making class. And what great luck to have the date correspond with our anniversary! So we planned our trip to Albuquerque around a Sunday afternoon. Cebastien is a fantastic teacher, educating about the various perfume notes, and encouraging us, via scent combining exercises, to try what would normally make us run for the hills. It culminates in the exciting creation of our own scented oil.

I call mine High Desert Morning. An infusion of ruby red grapefruit, balsam fir, honey mesquite, and labdanum. Initially, it only contained the first three, as I imagined peeling a grapefruit to the rhythm of the rising sun. It was lovely but lacking. So I pondered Cebastien’s teaching and decided to go for a run-for-the-hills essential oil. I tried the labdanum, and that drop on my perfume card made it all come together, for the missing element was Greg. Labdanum is on the musky side and reminiscent of his sweet bearded cheek. Crazy fantastic!

So if you need a reason to head to Albuquerque besides fabulous food and turquoise, treat yourself to a class. If you are less adventurous, try a soap, beauty oil, or plantwater, and inhale the magic of the high desert.

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In Albuquerque now, enjoying a  most fabulous lunch at Pueblo Harvest inside the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Greg enjoyed a stellar pre-contact meal of bison, asparagus and yucca mash with walnut milk gravy. My salad was very tasty (red chile in the dressing!) but not as cool in concept or execution.

The center lies on what was once the Albuquerque Indian School, where native children were forcibly taken from their families to learn white ways. In the beginning, it was an appalling practice, where children were forced to cut their hair, speak only English, and forget native ways. Only later were the schools adopted by Native people, as institutions where children could learn and thrive and celebrate their heritage.

Taos Pueblo, 1890s –  Smithsonian

Pojoaque Pueblo, circa 1899

photographed by Adam C. Vroman

Do you know the book Are You My Mother? It tells the story of a baby bird whose egg hatches while it’s mother is away. It leaves the nest to search for her, asking the question of every animal it encounters along the way. I feel like that bird as I dive down the rabbit hole of my native ancestry. My Grandma Tillie told my dad Comanche, but as I research, I am learning my relatives were born all over Northern New Mexico (and a few in Mexico, too), and may have also hailed from Pueblos like Pojoaque and Taos. The wonder…

For our anniversary, we dined at Campo at Los Poblanos, a beautiful historic ranch and organic farm on the western edge of Albuquerque (If you’re not traveling with a dog, you can stay there – lucky you!). While every bite and sip was pretty darn fabulous, our favorite dish was the Blue Corn fritters! Elevated carnival fare, with quince jam mixed with other magic for dipping. Eeek!

A nice saunter along the Rio Grande (looking a little poco), where cottonwoods past their prime have taken on new life as magnificent sculptures. As we walked, I was especially struck by the fact that this was my first trip to Albuquerque since my Grandpa died. As we drove the streets of his neighborhood and stopped in front of the house where he was raised and my Nana and Bampoo died (looking utterly foreign to its beginnings), I missed him terribly and had so many questions he could no longer answer. Did you play along the river when you were a boy? Where was Bamboo’s office? Did Nana ever work outside the home? Where? Did you walk to high school? Where did you and Grandma live as newlyweds, New York Avenue? And on and on…

the beauty of Old Town

Juniper learns a pig isn’t always a pig.

Muy delicioso BBQ (the Experience) at Matanza

Homeward bound, and reveling in our great luck, to be together for these twenty-eight years, to love and be loved, and know the great privilege of travel. Here’s to US!

 

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A journey to New Mexico in celebration of twenty-eight years since our first date. Our first stop was Charlie’s Spic and Span in Las Vegas, of course, for a stuffed sopapilla (carne adovada for me and chorizo for the hubster) and an apple fritter as big as my head. Oh gosh, do I love that place!

The Montezuma Castle, built in 1899 and originally a luxury hotel serving the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad. It is now a private boarding school (Armand Hammer United World College) and only available for viewing on specific tour dates. We were a day early, rats!!

my best love

travel by train…

Virgin Guadalupe

work in progress

Traveler’s Cafe – get your coffee on!

The Range Restaurant inside the Plaza Hotel. The best  prickly pear cactus margarita in the land, kindly and attentive service (thank you, George), and really good food. The portions are huge, so do your best to save room for dessert!

Here we are!

Greg tries to get Juniper to greet me on the street. The windows!!

How about that headboard? Though we’ve eaten at the restaurant and enjoyed the gift shop on several occasions, this was our first stay at the Plaza Hotel. It did not disappoint!

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A dear friend lives here! We ate and talked and enjoyed Fifty Licks of ice cream. The time whooshed and the sky turned starry.

Luna graduated from preschool!

Aloha!

Lucky to have had these fine folks as my Portland neighbors. It was like I never left.

Zoran likes workbooks. His Mama does, too.

Super Girl Heart Warrior

picnic in a box

Much beloved Portland rain, tumbling down just for me. Or so I like to think.

Kill your television?

As I was short on time and long on activities, I didn’t make a visit to my favorite bridge in the world, so imagine my delight when the plane home gave me this view.

And then this one of THE old neighborhood! I walked and biked and drove every one of these streets in happiness and sheer joy, sometimes in tears, always in gratitude.

Can you see the plane shadow surrounded by a rainbow? It was much, much clearer when first I spied it but wasn’t quick enough to capture. But still, how cool?

Denver! Almost home…

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