“There’s no place like home” Dorothy Gale

Okay, so you may have figured out that I am moving faster than my blog.  In fact, I arrived home on Wednesday, June 6th, at midnight.  While on the road, I was having internet issue, it is true.  What is also true is that I was having so bloody much fun, I didn’t have a lot of time or energy to mess with my iPad.  Blogging on the road just isn’t easy–so I must say that I’m totally impressed by my fellow bloggers that do it so well.  (Marion, you know who I’m talking about.)

Guess who got a window seat for the ride home?  Of course, I had a window seat on the way there too.  The view was spectacular for most of the Albuquerque to Denver flight.  I won’t bore you with the many other photos that I took of the terrain.  I found it fascinating, but realize that not everyone else would be as easily entertained as I am.

It kept getting better and better.  I scored an upgrade for the Denver to Newark segment.  Oh, I’m so going to miss my “elite” status when it goes away next year.  Without all those business trips to get me points, I’ll be back in steerage with the rest of the regular folks.  (On balance, I’d say it’s the better deal–free time vs elite status–no contest.)

First class also was a window seat, but I was quite busy during this segment.  Ruby slippers didn’t get me home, but some ruby colored liquid sure made that yellow brick road roll along more smoothly.  (Can you tell The Wizard of Oz is an all time favorite of mine?)  It was just as well, because we were heading into darkness.  Sure did look pretty with all the lights, though.  By the time I took this shot of Newark at night, the photo wasn’t the only thing that was fuzzy and out of focus!

For anyone wondering what happened between the road trip and the plane trip, the rest of the blog is for you.

Once we hit Albuquerque, our road trip was finished.  The one hour drive to Santa Fe was nothing after the 2,000+ miles we had logged during the prior 8 days.

Our last “on the road” breakfast at the Nativo Hotel was truly memorable because brought me back to my post college days.  Back then, I was working for Harper & Row, covering parts of the Midwest as a “college traveler”, which meant I spent my days talking to professors about textbooks.  In the late 70’s there weren’t many women in sales, especially in jobs requiring overnight travel, so I was frequently the only woman eating breakfast in a crowded hotel restaurant.  How weird that it was happening again, almost 35 years later, but with a few major differences.  Back then, the men were in the 30-50 age range, wearing business suits, and felt it was their right (and duty) to stare at any unaccompanied female, which, I can assure you, felt quite uncomfortable.  One of the greatest advantages to getting older is that no one ogles me any more, so that wasn’t the difference. It was the men’s ages and attire .  They looked like escapees from the nearest nursing home.  Except few nursing homes have a 30 to 1 male to female ratio. More the other way around.  This place was a little old lady’s dream…sort of.

Here’s the reality.  The night before I happened to catch a couple of the guys out of their civvies, in their full regalia, waist ropes, cowls and all.

Yup, we had managed to stumble into a hotel hosting a conference for Friars (or were they brothers?  I forget the correct terminology.)  It sure made for a quiet, peaceful stay!

But I digressed.  Back to the trip.  We couldn’t get into Greg’s apartment until 4PM, so we decided to make the most of our time in Albuquerque, by visiting the Botanical Garden and Aquarium.

I just couldn’t get enough of those blooming cacti.  (I just knew two years of Latin would be put to use one of these days ).

I wish the bee had been more cooperative, but she refused to pose for me.  Just when I thought she was perfectly framed, she moved faster than my shutter finger.  Oh well.  I was surprised to find so many water lilies in a desert botanical garden.

If I could only choose one, which shot would be preferable-the close up or wider angle?  I’m trying to be more discriminating in my shots, so would appreciate opinions — and I know there are lots of great photographers among my fellow bloggers.  I’ve seen the magic you create.  Plus I never tried out poll daddy before and am curious to see how it works.

The garden was not without wildlife. These fish were almost domesticated, gathering at the pond’s edge when they sensed a human was nearby.  They came close to leaping out of the water to get food, and their size attested to their success.

More wildlife.  Mom was close by, but I cropped her out.

As the late, great Harry Truman once said “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the garden and visit the aquarium”, or something to that effect.  So we did.

I wasn’t sure my Panasonic Lumix would be able to capture the jellyfish, given the low light, but hey, with digital, it doesn’t cost anything to give it a try.  So I did.

I loved the colors of this creature.

It ain’t snorkeling, but it almost as thrilling,  wandering among the tanks of tropical fish.

For the next couple of days, Greg and I hung out together, enjoying Santa Fe and his really cool apartment until I met up with my dear friend, Shirley.   How lucky that Greg got an internship in New Mexico, close to one of my favorite people to visit.  Not only did I  experience 10 memorable days with my son, but I also got a mini vacation with a great pal.  Her husband was out-of-town, so staying at her gorgeous home was like having a girl’s weekend at a five-star resort, with a very talented and creative activity director.  Two of the visit’s highlights were the  Petroglyph National Monument and Ojo Caliente Spa.

The park ranger suggested that we experience the more difficult trail.  She said “you girls will have no problem making that climb.”  I don’t know what tickled us more–her confidence in our athletic abilities (that assessment proved to be accurate), or calling us “girls”  (which clearly was not).

There are hundreds of these in the hills surrounding Albuquerque.  Here are a couple that I particularly liked.

The view alone was worth the climb.

Can you stand another poll?  What do you think–which shot is better?

“Us girl’s”, successfully recruited a fellow hiker to take our photo.  I think he was more skilled with a camera than my Oklahoma friend, Charles, don’t you?

Next day was the Ojo Caliente Spa. Who knew that sitting in a pool of arsenic was supposed to be good for your digestion?  If that particular pool doesn’t grab you, not to worry.  You can also go to the iron pool, the mud bath pool, the soda pool or a few others that we didn’t sample.

The surroundings were lovely, the treatments were heavenly.  I could quite easily become addicted to the spa life.  Only my lack of funds (plus other priorities) keeps me from a life of facials, mud baths and massages.  But it sure was a great finale for an amazing trip.

A couple more photos of New Mexico, taken from a moving car.  Why don’t all highways look like this?  Let’s hear it for the artists that make all our lives more beautiful!

Only 11 days till the next adventure–bike trip in Italy. Thanks for visiting, and please come along for the ride through Tuscany!

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I am intensely curious, with a spirit of adventure that is tempered by my very strong aversion to anything with potential to cause pain. I love travel, photography, reading, gardening, yoga, music and propelling myself through space (biking, dancing, walking, dancing while walking). I've never considered a lack of proficiency in any of the previous activities to be a hindrance, counting on abundant enthusiasm to make up for my shortcomings.

3 thoughts on ““There’s no place like home” Dorothy Gale”

  1. Shelley,
    When and if I ever get to retire, I hope to be able to do it half as good as you do! Enjoy Tuscany–I rode 25 miles on my bike last weekend and my “sit bones” may never be the same. Have a great time.


    1. Hi Kevin, What a nice surprise to discover that you’ve found my blog! Thanks for your note. It is fun for me to see who actually reads my stuff.

      As I was preparing to retire, I was amazed at the number of people afraid of retirement, so my hope is this blog will show them that there can be an even more fun existence after work life. (And we certainly did have a fun work life, didn’t we? Especially on those Boston trips!)


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