Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cyber-Seniors: Why isn't every town in America doing this?

Just got a press release on the debut of this charming film. Makes me want to dash down to the local senior center and start up a program:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Black Hawk down!

Captain Helicopter Dad grounded...for now.
(At 10 a.m. today)
Hubs: Would you text our son and tell him his taxes are due today? (For the record, the hubs doesn't text.)
Me: No.
Hubs: No?
Me: He's a grown up. He knows the date. He'll figure it out.
Hubs: Yeah, but maybe he...
Me: Nope. Not gonna do it.
Hubs: Welp, okay.

(At 7 p.m. tonight)
Hubs: Our son just called. He needed his Turbo Tax password. Fortunately, I had it.
Me: Good for you, honey.
Hubs: He's taking care of it, apparently.
Me: Welp, okay.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Things I learned on the journey and, especially, upon coming home

You hear that word "journey" thrown around a lot these days. "That's part of my journey,""it's all about the journey," etc., ad nauseum.  I sort of hate it, like I sort of hate any term that becomes an overused word célèbre. But I recently returned from a real, literal journey - a road trip, if you will - and it did manage to teach me a few things. To wit:
1) The bad thing about traveling solo is not being able to share your experiences with a companion. (This blog helped.)
2) The good things about traveling solo are feeling courageous, clearing your head and taking all the time you want to get ready in the morning.
3) If you're going to travel solo, try to bookend the alone parts with visits from great friends.
4) Don't leave home without Siri and Google Maps. (Without them, I would be lost in the desert, as we speak, searching blindly for water and gasoline.)
5) Audio books are gifts from God.
6) People are basically the same everywhere. Except for the whack jobs in the Santa Fe Trader Joe's on a Friday night. They're different.
7) Your loved ones can survive without you. Hard to believe, but true.
8) Room service is another gift from God.
9) Even with high thread counts, hospital corners and chocolates on pillows, there is no hotel bed better than your own bed. 
10) There's no place like home.

It's all about the road trip, friends.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Day 5 (Delayed): Eat, Play, Spa - Ojo Caliente

I was happy to get some time off between spa treatments (now there's a statement I never thought I'd make) so I could enjoy my final day of luxury with my two college friends, who joined me for the last leg of my two week trip in Taos. It was a scenic, 50-minute drive to Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs and Spa...
 where we all had massages, took a mud bath (sorry, no photos provided) and were treated to an hour in a private pool.
After a soak in the private pool. It was too warm to build a fire.
My massage was called "Ancient Echoes of Ojo," an 80-minute trip to heaven including massage and energy balancing techniques of the upper back, shoulders, arms, neck, scalp, face and ears, finishing off with a luxurious foot massage. (Highly recommended. Ask for Gwynne.)
One of the many mineral pools at Ojo Caliente.
After our afternoon of bliss, we got dressed and enjoyed an early dinner in Ojo's Wine Bar and Lounge, starting with their Green Chile "Fries," which are actually potato-crusted chiles with hot 'n' sweet vinegar for dipping. Out. Of. This. World.
Needless to say, we all slept like the ancient rocks of Ojo on our last night in Taos. I credit that 80-minute massage for allowing my body to survive the 14-hour drive home yesterday. (Yes, I cut my trip a little short. Two weeks was long enough to be away from my home sweet home.)

Santa Fe School of Cooking

Before leaving Santa Fe for Taos last Sunday, I was fortunate enough to get schooled in the art of making chile rellenos at the Santa Fe School of Cooking.
The fabulous, high-tech classroom at the Santa Fe School of Cooking
Relleno is Spanish for "filled" or "stuffed" and our teacher/chef, Michelle, showed us four ways to make this Mexican classic.
Making a beer batter which was almost as light as tempura. The secret: Lots of warm egg whites.
 The class was hands-on and a lot of fun, and I learned basic cooking tips I never knew including never hit the edge of the bowl with your spatula when folding in egg whites, always refrigerate garlic, and Monterey Jack was a real guy from Monterey, California, who invented the cheese.
The class was divided into three groups so each team could make two recipes and easily observe the other two recipes being prepared.
Filling the ancho chiles with chorizo, refried beans and Monterey Jack cheese.
Cream cheese stuffed jalapenos, ancho chile rellenos with chipotle tomato sauce, chile rellenos and chiles en nogada.
At the end of the three-hour class, we got to sample the fruits of our labor (the chile pepper IS a fruit, not a vegetable) with complimentary beer, wine or delicious iced tea. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Chimayo with the girls

Fun day with my friends. Bought $77 worth of chile powder. Still no wifi. That is all.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Day 13

I left Santa Fe after breakfast in bed at the La Posada ....

and took the low road to Taos in the rain (pause to listen to locals cheer)...

My friends were delayed overnight in Dallas so I had one more meal alone, a delicious chile relleno at Doc Martens in the Taos Inn.

My pals are here now and there's no wifi in our apartment. But, stay tuned for catch-up posts on my rellenos class at the Santa Fe School of Cooking (amazing) and more.

This trip ain't over till I sing on Friday!!

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The real silver of Santa Fe

When someone says "silver" in Santa Fe, you immediately think of the beautiful Indian jewelry sold all over this town. What I've noticed, however, are the number of women with gorgeous silver hair walking around, far more than I've seen at home or anywhere I've traveled. Here are just three examples of women I met who are rocking the gray. Here's to the natural look, Santa Fe style!
Spa receptionist
Art gallery associate
Artist and curator

Last day in Santa Fe...with no agenda

With no itinerary except a dinner date with my new friend, Evelyn, I'm making it a resort day with a brief shopping session thrown in this afternoon. La Posada de Santa Fe is known as the art hotel which ensures that, everywhere I roam, I will be surrounded by fabulous works of local and regional art selected by the resort's own curator.

And the food at Fuego Restaurant is a work of art, too.
Benedict del Mar Verde
Southwest Omelet (dig the little jam and butter plate!)
After eating a hearty breakfast, one can walk off the calories on the expansive grounds or in the well-equipped workout room.

That doesn't necessarily mean that I will...but it is nice to know it's available. I'm leaving my options open today. Happy Saturday, everyone!

Eat, play, spa: Day 4 - Yes, Santa Fe, there is a Virginia.

From 7th to 12th grade, I attended Loretto Academy in Kansas City, run by the spunky Sisters of Loretto. It was a progressive and innovative, all-girls school and I loved the nuns who taught there. (Most of them, anyway.) So, when I learned that my beautifully appointed treatment room at the Spa at Loretto used to be a classroom in the old Loretto School in Santa Fe, I felt right at home.
The room looked just like this. Clawfoot tub, private bathroom with shower, gorgeous old pine floors.
The spa director set me up for a Mindful Massage. "Oh, you have Virginia," the spa receptionist said. "You're going to love her."  I wondered if there really could be too much of a good thing. Four spa treatments in four days? How impressed could I be? An hour later, I was telling Virginia that she was put on the planet to rub people and that it was the best massage I ever had. Some people are simply gifted and Virginia is one of them. Highly recommended.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Eat, play, spa: Day 3 - La Posada de Santa Fe

   Let me preface this by saying I fully realize how obnoxiously fortunate I am on this assignment. My youngest sister reminded me of this yesterday when she called me the 'b' word after I told her where I was and what I was doing. (Where is the love?)
   Today, I checked into the La Posada de Santa Fe, where I spent a memorable vacation with my parents and second sister (the one who doesn't call me names...anymore) in or around 1967. After bonding with the friendly staff - two of whom have strong Lawrence and/or Kansas connections - I was shown to my home for the next three days: The Photogenesis Suite.
 Bedroom with fireplace, just off the living room. 
The entrance to the spa. Serenity now.
St. Francis as seen on the walk to the spa.
The signature treatment of the spa's choice was the Santa Fe Chocolate Chile Wrap. I've never had a wrap before, so I don't have a lot to compare it to. But, if you like being scrubbed all over with a dry loofah, slathered with liquid chocolate infused with Chimayo chile powder, given a heavenly scalp and neck massage while you're wrapped in warm linens, then (after showering) massaged with white chocolate butter.... baby, this one's for you! My epidermis felt smooth and detoxified - and I smelled delicious - as I kicked back in the art-filled relaxation room after my treatment.
Happy feet. Happy body.
Today, I will have a tour of this beautiful 6+ acre property then head to my fourth and final spa treatment this week. (There may be one more next week.) Seriously considering specializing in spa reporting. That's got to be a thing, right?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Goodbye, Governors!

This gypsy travel writer is moving on today. I will miss the Inn of the Governors, especially their fabulous breakfast buffet - one of the best I've had.
Breakfast with a fire in the kiva. (The waffle was just for show. I didn't really eat it. Not all of it, anyway.)
This is a warm and friendly place - and a great value - for anyone visiting Santa Fe, especially for the first time.