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Unless the weather is wretched with cold or wind, we walk Juniper, and stroll the high path, with the best views of Pike’s Peak. Nature’s balm and wonder, we never never ever tire of the majestic beauty. These are a weekday’s walk worth at nearly the same time. I love how the sky changes!

Last week, Monday to be precise, I took a solo excursion to New Mexico, firstly in search of places to celebrate my Native Mexican heritage, with that dash of Comanche. My ancestral lines go back to Peru and the Maya of the Yucatan, and who knows how long they journeyed the thousands of miles to New Mexico or where they lived in between. Life is full of mysteries.

My primary concern was finding where long departed grandparents were married or baptized. Sadly, for the first stop, my camera, likely in an act of inattention, got out of setting and took the weirdest, mostly unsalvageable photos (save one – you’ll know it when you see it). Perhaps in an effort to cement my return, I wondered, because I definitely will be back.

Santa Cruz de la Canada, where three grandfathers (Jose Candelario Garcia, Jose Antonio Maes, and Jose Joaquin Garcia de Noriega) were baptized, and two sets of great-grandparents were married, (Jose Joaquin to Maria de la Concepcion), and most exciting, Antonia Olaya Xiron (such a beautiful name!) to Francisco de la Cerda on March 4, 1743. Isn’t it amazing to think this happened thirty-three years before before America was even a country?

The above two photos are in and around Espanola, the land of Ohkay Owingeh, where my Grandma Esquipula was baptized in 1827. This eastward view is one she took in, too. If you’ve done any similar traveling, I’ll bet you experienced that crushing sense of wonder and home. I come from this place. My soul lies in this soil.

My next stop was Abiquiu, the place Georgia O’Keefe made famous, and where a handful of my grandfathers were baptized at Santo Tomas Church: Juan Rafael Serna, Valentin Serna (born on Valentine’s Day!), Jose Felipe de Neri Cisneros, Florencio Casillas, and Marcos Antonio Alire.

You may be wondering where the church photos are, as I definitely have them, but I decided on painting watercolors and sharing them at a later date. Stay tuned…

And again, I was struck by the familiarity and awe of this landscape, a warm embrace of my ancestors welcoming me home.

Rio Ojo Caliente, here and a few below

My final stop was Ojo Caliente! I hadn’t been there since 2016 and had never gone without Greg, so it was an especially meditative time of very little speaking and much listening, to the fall and splash of water, wind over naked branches, and the early quiet of day.

I ate a few delicious meals at the Artesian, walked in the chill of morning (after the wild creatures in the labyrinth!), practiced yoga, and scrubbed and soaked and steamed, over and over again, fully aware of my great privilege to do so in a place my ancestors received similar respite.

Ute Mountain and the freshly capped Sangre de Cristos

All is revered, all is home…

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One of my favorite fellas! And I’m feeling sentimental…

Jeff and I on our most recent weekend extravaganza, playing Terraforming Mars. A digression – I am wearing the sweater vest Mary knit for me!

We met on my first day of college, in September 1989 (almost 35 years!). We were fast friends, sharing interests in geography and geology (the classes that brought us together), music, movies, food, and humor (we still quote Seinfeld!). As much Greg’s friend as mine, once we started dating (1991), the three of us have hiked, biked, and walked mile upon mile, attended each other’s weddings, mourned the death of his mother, and later, his own marriage. He was one of a few friends to make the trip to Portland to visit.

When he stared gaming, we found another shared love. Because it’s always taken me a while to process information, I remain grateful and truly amazed by his ability to memorize rule books from the hundreds he owns and make it as simple as possible for me to grasp the gist. It is never not a fun time. I can think of few activities I’d rather do late into the night.

He is a member of my chosen family, positive and encouraging, whose presence always feels like home, whose hugs and laughter fill my heart with joy. He is all the best of everything. I love you, Jeffie…

Hey there! Happy second snow in a week day. What day is is for you? Sunny, rainy, maybe snow, too? What ever the case I hope it is great. We did a stellar workout AND shoveled, so I am (was – this was yesterday) simultaneously strong and sore, but oh, is it pretty out!

Did someone say treat???

Also note the protective parent status here. A fleece and a coat. We are sometimes embarrassing, absolutely, yes.

Jett came for a sleepover! He did not enjoy a white knuckle drive of scary roads, but we made it all better with strawberry margaritas, a host of tasty meals, homemade fudge, puzzle making, movie watching…

And soap making, hence the protective garb. Lye is no joke, peeps. I love that mine are identical to the memory of my Dad’s safety glasses of my childhood, while Jett aspires to 70s science teacher status.

The second snow!

Not the puzzle we made with Jett, which was beautiful birds of the world, but very much of the season. This one is a keeper.

Happy Friday! Happy Holidays!

Hello! Gah. It’s been a minute. Yeah. I kept getting sidetracked – shopping, errands, a weekend of gaming and eating with Jeffie, Thanksgiving, reading, making jewelry, doing puzzles, binge watching Reacher (he’s funny!) into the wee hours on a weeknight. You know, L I F E. Also, this feeling of letting the blog call to me when I’m ready.

That feeling is accompanied by a deep sense of appreciation. My dear friend Bebe, with whom I make jewelry, is nearly eighty. Her husband has cancer, and at our last get together (reindeer bracelets were made!), this truth really hit me. How much longer will we have the privilege of sharing time? This thought cascaded to just about everyone in my life. I want to eat up every last second. Which brings me back to this little blog. If I’m happy in the moment, especially if it is spent doing something I cherish, and especially with someone I cherish, it’s absolutely fine if there are gaps in my blogging.

It reminds me of a favorite scene in Serenity, the gloriously perfect, albeit very sad, end to the fabulous and short-lived Firefly, when Kaylee is finally given recognition by Simon. Her response? “To hell with this, I’m gonna live!” Yup. I want to live, peeps. Every single day.

To that living! As I mentioned, we had another memorable weekend gaming (Dune! Point Salad!) and eating with Jeff. We ate at one of our favorite places (Phantom Canyon Brewing), and I made a delightful Chinese takeout inspired meal, with crab Rangoon (baked, not fried), scallion cakes, and orange chicken (no breading or frying, orange juice instead of water, sugar cut in half!) with broccoli and bell pepper. It was pretty amazing and chuckle worthy because I defrosted our largest package of chicken and thought, well, it’s a lot, but leftovers are no problem. Dear readers, we ate every last bite that night, and practically licked the plate clean, too!

We had a sleepover at Michael and Mary’s for Thanksgiving, with walks and yoga, puzzle making, and a beautiful sweater vest handmade by Mary, just for ME. When I was hunting cookbooks for what to make besides pecan pie (duh), I found two very yummy and not-at-all Thanksgiving themed appetizers. Would it be a gut-buster if I made them, too? Perhaps, so Mary and I hatched a plan. It would be appetizer Thanksgiving, with a little turkey sandwich and stuffing situation for Michael, as that was important to him. Jalapeno popper wonton cups and a whipped cream cheese and feta dip with bacon jam and grape chutney (homemade and fabulous, of course), as that was important to us. So good. Since it is the time of year when I bake cookies, I also made biscochitos! Food, food, food…

Hope all is well in your world. Happy living…

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