Friday, June 30, 2006

I've missed you - but I'm back now

I didn't realise what an important relationship I developed with the internet - I'm not sure it's healthy and I'm pretty sure it didn't miss me, still I have it back now and it's still cable so I don't have to wait too much if this hardware would behave more I'd be completely happy.

What have I been doing without the internet you ask - Well we're in our house and its good. There are a few strange things, have I mentioned we're one of the only people in Santa Fe with a basement? They don't do them here but the guy who built our house was paranoid so we have a basement and bomb shelter, with water supply. I've been told we don't get earthquakes or hurricanes here and I can't get bothered about terrorism so I've resisted stocking up with non-perishables and stashing them down there.

We have a train room - some might have a playroom but train seems to be the only thing happening there, its good 'cause Liam, Madeline and I can all try train together and not be on top of each other.

I have spent time and money getting set up to be able to create food in the kitchen, sleep on beds and wash. I'm still pleased with my choices of pots, knives and sheets, but we still need to find a bed for Liam and maybe Madeline.

Liam has had a week at La Casita this week, over summer there are two three week 'summer schools' which run 9-1 Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. He's really enjoying it. Madeline and I went on thursday for our participation day, its hard to get Madeline to leave after dropping Liam off so she had a blast. On your participation day you take morning tea for everyone, set that up clean it up join in or do an activity with the children and do the clean up at the end.

Last weekend we stayed in Santa Fe for saturday. We went to the farmers market for veges and bread then trolled around yard sales without success. Sunday we went to Taos but stopped at a moving sale and got a $25 sofa some mats and a jug.

There are two ways to Taos, the high road and the low road, so we went up the low road and back the high road. Both have really beautiful scenery the Rio Grande has a dramatic Canyon south of Taos and you drive along the river before climbing up onto the Mesa to Taos. Lots of artists have spent time in Taos, so there are lots of galleries and cafes and resturants, we didn't spend much time in Taos itself but we have lunch at a diner.
They had a solar music festival on so it was busier than normal (Taos can be quite popular anyway) There are several other drives we want to do from Taos so we though we could investigate a bit more another day. The high road home passed through mountain and forest and several small villages Robert Redford filmed the Milagro Beanfield wars in one of them.
Thunderstorms and lightning set in as we were almost home and hail about pea size, apparently it can get alot bigger than that here, just as we got into Santa Fe, we dashed from the car, the yard looked like it was snowing.

Friday, June 16, 2006

A quiet week

So unsurprisingly with lack of car, it's been a quiet week for us, we ventured forth from the hotel room only occasionally and mostly to the pool or tennis court. Had thought this week I'd collect up basics for the house. Oh well no plates cups etc sure we'll cope.

Monday we did walk to the supermarket but there no footpath most of the way, so the mountain buggy got three punctures from the nasty thistles. Richard's got quite proficient with the repair kit, we get a puncture almost every time we use the thing. I think the checkout packer was a bit surprised when I said she couldn't help me to my car as I was walking. Didn't inspire more trips thou Richard has walked at least one way to work each day. (Maintaining his trim post builders laboring form!)

We're trying to eat in a manner consistent with the local flavors (it's my current meal planning inspiration) so we had Enchiladas de Pollo y Queso, Maple-Barbecued Spareibs and London Broil
All were very successful and Richard was the envy of several in the lunch room at least twice.

Our lease on the house comenced on thursday, but we haven't moved over yet thought we'd use the weekend and the car, actually took some bags and toys over this morning so we could wait for the new washer and dyer to arrive, nice of the landlord really, least I could do was have the door open.

As it turned out the cable guys came to disconnect, so since they are the company we thought we'd use we asked them not to and signed a contract - so we now have 75 channels and no TV, we're not actually planning on getting one either but it's easier to get internet with the cable connected. Kinda brings me to once we move from here tomorrow morning I'll be offline till said internet is connected. arghhh. No phone, no internet, no TV. Hope there's some money shopping looks like the only way to go.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Train tracking

We decided that since there was such interest in the Madame Queen, we'd go and see her, you always go to Texas for a weekend drive.

Friday morning was La Leche League series meeting so Liam, Madeline and I went to that and meet up with the group here. I think it will be interesting. There were similarities and differences with meetings I've been to in NZ some of that's probably individual style. Quite a big group and several leaders which will be different. Still I've met some more people and we'll probably hook-up with some of them again later this week.

The kids and I packed up the camping gear we'd brought on thursday afternoon some clothes and food and collected Richard from work. Our outward journey was fairly straight forward once we overcame a diversion for petrol (called Gas here - the locals get so confused) leading to a different route out of Santa Fe, we got to Santa Rosa where we'd decided to camp that night in good time, realised we didn't have fuel for the cooker and didn't really have dinner food anyway so got drive thru food and headed to the lake where there was camping.

It spattered with rain occassionally but once we'd put the tent up it stopped. There's a kids playground at Rocky point campsite so Liam and Madeline gave the place the thumbs up.
Mostly the rain ment we were treated to a great sunset as it passed through the rain clouds and some spectacular lightning in the distance at and just after dusk.

Our tent was a success, not to big or small but we decided that should we see another WAL-MART or the like we'd get some pillows and another sleeping mat. One of the two we had has a serious puncture and the glue in the repair kit has dried up, it's also delaminating on one side so we'll definately need more glue, and another mat two between four is tight, otherwise a pleasant night (thou I didn't have the inflated mat).

Soon after sunrise as is the case with camping and children we were up, packed up and ready to find Amarillo and the train. Many local Santa Fe'ans rate Amarillo 26th destination to pick from a list of 25, so it came highly recommended!

Still we'd not driven on the I-40 -it looks straight on a map - it is.
Santa Rosa at some point in it's past was a bigger town, or at least more people stopped there for gas, there are a lot of deserted gas stations - five in a row at one point, thou one is now a chinese resturant and varying quality of motel - at least two were deserted, the rooms open and wrecked. It's a town of tall neon signs for major chains and references to its site on the former route 66.

After spending an hour driving around looking for the 'city' shops (and failling) we went to a small grocery store for some rather over sugared danish and drove on the Armarillo.

More long straight roads but interesting for us - so many trucks! and the odd train. The trains are huge they are able to stack two containers on top of each other so they are high, and then they had three engines and lots of trucks.

So Amarillo on the way in we almost missed Cadillac Ranch as we drove by - but didn't quite amazing - and strange.

So to find Madame Queen. We drove around a bit, found the train tracks probably close. Checking the address before we started would have sped up the process but we hadn't so asked a hotel, heard of it, "used to be in front of the Santa Fe building but it was moved and don't know where to" asked about pamphets about Amarillo, yes have one. Flicking through in the car and bingo "Madame Queen" corner of second and lincoln OK lets go. None of our maps had this much detail. But we found lincoln and drove down hit the train tracks - good sign we thought, found a second street - NO TRAIN humm lets see if lincoln continues on the otherside of the tracks.
Yes, and another second street and Yeah a train!!

It was a hit Liam and Richard did a walk round looked at it all. There are plans to create an education centre with the train.

It was about lunch time and very hot, Richard had found a water park on the net so we had an address for it and went there for a great afternoon. Liam's favorite was the lazy river which pushes you along, Madeline seemed to like the wave pool and the baby pool slide. A great way to spend a hot afternoon. We went and found our pillows and mats and when to Applebees for dinner (avoided cooking all weekend!) then headed back to Santa Rosa Lake State Park to camp again, figured it would be late but we knew the place so it would be OK. I was except
on the way, just after sunset the battery light came on and didn't go off and the voltage meter registered dropping volts in the battery Oh oh humm. So using nothing electrical except the headlights we drove on Got to Santa Rosa lake figured we'd deal with the car in the morning and camped. A very comfortable night, pillows and mats all worked well.

The Ranger gave us a jump start and we set off. The warning light had started beeping as we'd stopped the night before and it started just in Santa Rosa, with it the ABS light comes on the steering gets heavy all sorts of other things -everything- is electrically assisted. So we pulled into a wreckers where we thought we might get some help. As it turned out an Auto Repair guy across the road lived at his shop and we spoke to him. after soem discussion of possibilities we charged the battery for a couple of hours figuring we'd driven OK on battery to Santa Rosa and with a good charge hopefully we'd get home. Sat around with the car talking to his family for a while then went to a diner and had some food and coffee.
Got in set off. Voltage seemed to be dropping faster -see how we go.

Got to Clines corners and the warning bell started -stopped straight away there was shade, gas stations and food. Good place for a wait. Really weren't sure what to do next. Rang AAA (who we'd joined ) they could organise a tow but the truck would only have room for two humm.
Spoke to the guy from Santa Rosa, he'd mentioned that he might be going to Espanola later anyway, he wasn'tsure yet if he was going or not, call back. Neither really good options but what.
Richard decided to see what one of the guys he works with was doing, he helped us looking for places to rent too lets see what he's up to.
Rang and he came and met us (about an hour from Santa Fe) and we charged the battery again off his car and set off in tandem, when the bell came on we stopped and charged again, three times and we were back at the hotel. What a relief!

Now we just have to deal with the car.

Rang the car yard we got it from and they set up a tow truck and garage to look at it - he came took the car away.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Yu The Green Dragon

dragon_small, originally uploaded by XyV.

Megan gave Liam some money to get his own birthday present when he got to Santa Fe. This green dragon is what he chose.
It's a puppet and it has a story that goes like this ...
Facts of Interest:
In Chian and Southeast Asia, dragons are thought to bring good luck and prosperity.

Chinese dragons of old were ferious, bearded creatures that could be as small asa silk worm or as large as the sky.

Asian dragons breathe out misty clouds, not fire. In winter they sleep in pools and rivers, and even the sea.

In the spring, the dragons fly up to the sky where their fighting causes summer rain. If they fight too hard, the rains are so heavy that there are floods.

At the beginning of time, the yellow Emperor, creator of all, became angry. "People are doing wicked things," he said, "and I'm going to flood all the land to get rid of them!" The Emperor's grandson Kun, was sorry that everyone would die. He asked a wise old totoise for help. "You will need the magic mud that the Emperor keeps in a jar in his treasure-house," said the tortoise. So Kun changed into a white horse and galloped towards the Emperors palace. But the fire god threw a bolt of lightning at him and he fell down and lay still. Something grew inside him then and sprang out shortly from his body: it was Yu, the green dragon with golden wings, strong and fine. The young dragon flew to heaven. He bowed his head and asked the Emperor for the magic mud. The Emperor listened and his anger cooled. "Carry the mud on the tortoise's back and give the people land again," he said. :From now on you shall be the rain god." So Yu and the tortoise recreated the land. The dragon made furrows for the river with his mighty tail, and every spring he and his sons make sure water flows there. (adapted from a Chinese folktale)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


It was quite an event!
Yesterday was cloudy and threating to rain almost all day, quite a change from the clear blue skys and fluffy white clouds of the past week.
On several other days there have been rain clouds and even some rain to the south but this time it actually rained ON US! and rained at lunch time then later on in the evening. Liam had wanted to BBQ for tea and we actually couldn't.
It's brought the temperatures back down too its supposed to get up to 31 celsius today but we were up to 35 on monday.
The houses have these funny gutter type things that stick out - we almost went for a drive to see the water coming off them - but we resisted.

I've been looking into preschools and schools for Liam here. School doesn't go back till late August but some places have some summer sessions which I think he'd quite enjoy, he wants to play with "American Kids".
We visited a preschool which I really liked its set up is very similar to playcentre, its a parent co-op and the parents form the board and run the school but they have teachers who manage the classroom side of it. Parents do participation days about every six or seven weeks. One of the differences between this one and another parent coop I looked into is that they are happy to /encourage youger children to come on participation days rather than suggesting its a special time for the older child to have the parent to themselves.
Yesterday when we went there was the teacher and a parent there with children doing cleaning. Liam and Madeline both had a wonderful time playing with them, we ended up being there for three hours I think, so I got to have a good talk to the teacher and parent.
My only trouble is that Liam although he said he like it "too much" also said that its not school and he wants to go to school. humm.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Happy Birthday's

June is birthday month in the greater Ellis Vaughan Whanau so happy birthday to, Megan, Dad (Warren), Judith and Cathie for the first part, and Pierre later on - hope I haven't forgtten anyone!

We've had some success in our house hunting since I last wrote, so we'll move into a house on June 15. It's quite central which is great and only about 2 blocks from Richards office, so he'll be able to get himself there and back without, he's threatening to get a bike - we'll wait and see.
It has three bed rooms and a playroom so we have a good amount of space. It has a kiva fireplace, but also has central heating. Funny things to think about in 31 degrees C. It also has a nice yard with a gate in the fence onto the elementary school nextdoors playground - Liam's favorite feature.

We have our car too so yesterday we took a drive down to Albuquerque, its about an hour away, we wanted to look at an ex rental furniture place - we'll probably get some stuff from here, its very resonable and quite good nick too.

We'd thought there might be a water park that the kids would enjoy nearby to but its closed down. You can see the enormous slides from the I-25 but nothing is happening there maybe the drought got to them.

Instead we went to the tramway which goes up to Sandia Peak. Quite spectacular! Liam has become a junior ranger in Sandia National Park. He got a badge and lanyard which he's quite pleased with.

Before we left we went to the farmers market which they have in town on tuesday and saturday mornings. It was mostly reconisance this trip as I did groceries on wednesday but next week we'll get veges from here, they were lovely and fresh looking, local seasonal produce. Lots of fresh garlic yesterday but also lettuces, radishes and other salad type greens.
We got pastries for breakfast and a loaf of bread for lunch both were fresh and tasty.