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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Belen and Gallup

Hello all! It does not seem possible that I haven't written since Feb 29! Have been pretty busy since then visiting Bud and Gloria in Belen, where we arrived on Tuesday, March 1. We took the Turquoise Trail from Santa Fe to Albuquerque. It wanders snake-like through several mining towns that have been repopulated by Bohemian-type artisans, which I can handle much better than the Santa Fe- Taos nexus. Madrid, which is pronounced MAHDrid, has been named the fourth or sixth most hippie town in the country by some group or another. I wanted to go into Jezebel's to pick up the metal gila monster that I didn't buy two years ago, but the shop was closed at 10 am, so that sleeping-in bohemian missed a sale. Arrived at Chez Comstock-Hill around 1130 and spent much of the day sitting around the table with tea and coffee and caught up since our last visit. One of the things about staying here is that Gloria is a wonderful cook and feeds you like a king. This day was no difference--pork chops and a wonderful cheesy potato casserole--the recipe for which I forgot to get--which even Bill, who does not like cheese, really liked. Of course, we had salad--a Bill fav--though I love it, too. This also was the day I was introduced to Ginger-Honey instant tea crystals. I drank plenty of that during my visit along with sucking Ricola herbal lozenges. My throat was truly sore and my ears hurt so much I thought they would bleed. Unbelievable pain and I took ibuprofen each night in order to sleep. Along with Mucinex D for nasal congestion. Those of you, who know me well, know that this was killing me. I never take medicine and often have to throw out aspirin because they are so old they are useless. Doctors are amazed to find that I'm not taking any regular medication at my age. To have to take OTCs in such quantity drives me nuts. But I was so sick I just gave in for whatever relief I might get. Wednesday Bill and Bud took Douglas Bristlecone to Albuquerque to the Toyota dealer for his 20,000 mile checkup and oil change. He got his first bath,too, and he looks very spiffy. Could be my imagination but I thought I saw him skip into the drive when he came back--I know he gave me a grin and wink, he feels so good. While they were gone, Gloria and I looked over some of our new scrapping tools. Gloria has some stamp/stencil sets that she uses to make incredibly beautiful three dimensional greeting cards and as scrapbook embellishments. I have my collection of Lea France stencils for page layouts and some tri-part papers from Australia to make a book like layout. Then we spent some time being creative. Gloria invited some of her neighbors over for grilled hamburgers and sides for dinner. A couple, Fred and Donna Winters, from the UP. He is a retired middle school history teacher and she is a published author. She brought two of her books over with her, for Gloria and I to read and swap. I started the one about the Erie Canal but just couldn't get into it. The other, Adventures with Vinnie, was a light tale of life with a rescue dog who is quite rambunctious. It was fine. The other guest, Judy, is originally from Minnesota though she left long ago. She taught high school chemistry, is now retired, but teaches a couple days a week at the local Community College. Very enjoyable evening with lively conversation ranging from gun control, to teaching and kids, to politics and Fred's interest in two Vters who aren't feeling the Bern, among other things. After ice cream and home made brownies, the evening ended with a quick recap after the guests went home. Thursday, with still horrible throat and ear pain, got up fairly early. Bud and Bill headed over to Home Depot to pick up some manure and other stuff for gardening. Upon their return Bill tackled the two philodendrons that have become quite thick with lengthy stems. He repotted and trimmed them back. Then he planted some cactus seeds and created a mini-terrarium around them, checked on the other house plants to determine their needs if any and then got the flower pots in the yard ready for planting. Bud took care of the raised beds. After awhile, Gloria and I went over to Albertson's to pick up some steak and potatoes for dinner. Gloria grilled them and they were wonderful and we all ate almost to bursting. Since Bud and Gloria weren't terribly interested we watched the Republican debate in the guest room. Our original plan was to stay until Friday morning which was one night more than we usually stay. Bill and I hate to overstay our welcome though Bud and Gloria never think that we do and are very welcoming and happy to have us. Still, we are of the after three days fish smell bad philosophy. We extended our plans so that Gloria and I could scrap together which we never manage to do. Gloria convinced us to stay until Saturday morning so that we could all go to the 66 Casino. But, when I woke up Friday, the night before had been so painful and I'd slept so poorly, I asked to go to Urgent Care AGAIN! I was beginning to feel like a hypochondriac and was getting very impatient and frustrated. Dr Phelps told me I wasn't sick. The Z-pac would have taken out any bacteria. I said, fine, but this pain is real and something is NOT right. He said either it was a virus--second time I heard this--or that I had a nasal drip that was building fluid up on the inner side of the ear through the Eustachian tubes. So, more OTCs--God, half of them I've NEVER purchased in my life! Sudafed, or Flonase or Claritin etc Continue the ibuprofen for the pain, gargle with warm salty water and suck cough drops to happiness. So after three hours went back to Chez Comstock-Hill and told them to go to the Casino without me. Gloria and Bud didn't want to hear of it, but I said what are you all going to do while I go to bed? If you won't go without me, then I'm going to go. Finally, they relented. I'm glad, because they had fun and enjoyed the buffet and gambled a little and I slept, spoke to Betsy when she called and woke me, a played a bit with my layouts. We all watched TV and had sandwiches for dinner. Also decided to stay until Monday--lol Saturday had all sorts of things going on and Gloria and I wanted to watch the finale of Downton Abbey together. Saturday was an incredibly busy but fun day. Started out in the Community Building with TGIS coffee and donuts and a presentation by a fellow about cyber security. Very interesting and it was with relief that I knew about most of it. Jon and his wife were lovely, humorous and informative. The time went very quickly. Met some more of the residents here, most of whose names I cannot remember, though Nancy and Dave who moved here from St Louis became fairly familiar. Headed back to the house and got in some more scrapping. Betsy called and said she'd opened her birthday gifts and loved them all--a scarf and Grandmother's Buttons earrings from me and a Farberware steamer from Bill. Home-made chili for late lunch since the evening's gathering would include snacks and a birthday cake for one of the guys. Nancy and Dave were there and Nancy and I got talking about bottle trees. She's been collecting wine bottles, as have I, and wants to make a tree of some sort with them. She had all kinds saved on her phone so we looked them over and discussed how to make them. I said I was trying to get some more blue bottles since they are hard to come by. After the gathering we headed home to watch The Suffragette. Bill excused himself to read. The movie was okay, though I really didn't get the connection between woman's abuse and suppression and the vote. Guess you had to be there. Don't think the majority of women cared and certainly, in the beginning, there wasn't a huge rush to the polls by women. By Sunday, my throat was finally tolerable --just achy and the ears were fine. Continued the Sudafed and salt water and Ricolas but able to forego the ibuprofen. Slept really poorly again but think it was the impending leave taking. We had been here so long that, though we tried to keep most of our things in the guest room, we did have some items throughout the house--stuff in the scrap room, stuff in the fridge, stuff on the counter in the kitchen. I always get antsy when I have to pack up. Sure I'm going to forget something. Since it was our last day, Gloria and I really moved along in the scrapping. I am such a slow learner with spatial things and she must have shown me how to cut out base paper to salvage waste and make the layout less bulky a zillion times before I THINK I finally have it. She also showed me several things on the Cricut. I ordered a embossing -die cut machine like hers--since it is so much simpler than most of them on the market. Just as I was to reciprocate by helping her with the Lea France stencils, Nancy showed up with two bottles of riesling in blue bottles. It is from Deming, New Mexico. I paid her for them though she didn't expect me to. I showed her how to use the stencils but the room is so small it wasn't possible to Gloria to see clearly what I was doing. We moved into the dining room for tea and by the time Nancy left it was too late to show Gloria. Felt badly, but she really wasn't taken with them, since they incorporate five or more pix per page and her focus is on her grandchildren in her albums. She prefers fewer pictures and more story telling on her pages than the stencils allow. Leftovers for dinner and then Downton Abbey. It was satisfying for the most part. All happy endings which was nice. Some characters were left with an open ended situation and I have subsequently seen that Julian Fellowes did that on purpose to leave room for some kind of continuation of the story if there is interest. All of a sudden it was time to pack up and hit the road. Gloria had said at some point when you leave on Tuesday and I said " ON MONDAY!" LOL I think she'd have kept us there until her Aunt arrives on the 19th! Bud gave me a baggy of ibuprofen since I was out and Gloria gave me the last Sudafed, also a loaf of her delicious banana bread. By 9:15 we were back on the road--only as far as Gallup but that is where Perry Null is and also the wolf sactuary isn't far away in Ramah. We stopped and had lunch at El Rancho Hotel. I picked up a couple of cards at Ortegas--one a sympathy card for our neighbor whose Dad has died. Then we got our room and moved things in. Bill watched some of his Fox shows and I read. Hadn't taken ibuprofen for awhile but drank lots of fluids all afternoon--iced tea and water. Bill got Applebee's chicken wings for dinner and we just vegged. Yesterday, lazed around but went over to Perry's and picked up a few Christmas gifts for Betsy and Barb and then the silver beads, known as Navajo pearls, that I've wanted for a number of years. Also a turtle pin-pendant that is quite large 3x4 and is inlaid with Kingman Turquoise. He can be strung on a silver chain either horizontally or vertically. Purchased a simple pair of inlaid studs to go with him. It was so nice to reunite with Angel and Mel, whom we've known for five years now. I am going to go back, because I've decided I really do want the ring I'd tried on and couldn't decide. Headed to Coal street to check out the location of Jerry's where Mel said the food was good. Lunchtime so the place was packed. Headed out to Red Rock Park and was amazed at the beauty of the cliffs which are hidden from the highway. Nothing much going on in the park so we followed the road out into the hills. On the map it shows the road just ending at the boundary of the Navajo Nation. Well, it ends at a locked gate--so no going on the Nation from this direction. The formations and valleys were simply beautiful and we loved the drive on a road new to us in a town where we drive around like natives. Went back to Jerry's but it was still packed so headed out 66 to Virgie's where we've eaten before. I had a single beef burrito because the plate, as described, was huge. Guess what? The burrito was huge and there was lettuce and tomato and rice with it. Bill had green chili and taco and ate half my burrito. The food was delicious and filling. When we got back to the room, Bill said the burrito hadn't set well--I asked if it could have been his chile. Nope. Noticed Bill was clearing his throat quite a bit but thought nothing of it. Hard time sleeping again last night. Bill coughing quite a bit. By the time I was going to get ready to go to the Wolf Sanctuary, he was coughing very hard and had taken daytime Nyquil. Told him we should stay in and he get into bed and rest. He sounds worse than he was back in Santa Rosa. In the meantime, Gloria wrote that she is running a fever, is congested and went to Urgent Care where they gave her a Z-Pac and codeine cough syrup. Bill agreed to stay in but he got progressively worse--cannot lie down he is so congested. So, once more he has gone to the local Clinic. I don't know what this Kill the Gringo disease is but let me tell you, having a bout does not give you the immunity needed to battle the next attack. He has had both the pneumonia and flu shots, too. I didn't get them--shots make me nervous. I'm finally over everything. God, I hope I don't get this next thing. It is crazy how much time we have spent in motel rooms sick. We are seeing and doing lots of things and having fun but in between we get sick and have to hole up to recover. Have never experienced anything like this. I'm airing the room out while he is gone and going to read. Say a prayer it is nothing serious. More news when I have it. Til then --so long from the Gallup sick room. The Valley Vagabonds KandB

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