4 days that rocked in a nutshell (...well, a fairly lengthy nutshell):
My mom and I left last Wednesday night. We traveled as far as my aunt's house, which is located in a small town just east of Clovis NM. We spent the evening munching on cheese and veggies and laying in my aunt's hammock. The next morning we took a 2 mile walk and then drove around the town photographing various sights and locations. My grandparent's lived in this same town when I was a child so it holds many fond memories for me, like playing Miss. America on the steps of the Baptist Church (where my grandfather pastored) and searching for pencils in the school yard. Next we were on the road, working our way towards the small town outside of Albuquerque where my mom attended school as a teen. You've probably heard me mention that both my sisters and my mother are Arbonne consultants. My mom's best friend from high school was hosting a party for my mom and my mom wanted someone to tag along. Enter oldest daughter, stage left. I was just along for the ride, someone to be in the car just in case (in case of what I don't know since I can't do a whole lot when it comes to mechanics), and someone to pass around the Arbonne products while she gave her little spill. We took our time making the journey, stopping at various places along the way to photograph crumbling buildings, historical markers, and beautiful catholic churches. After all this is Billy the Kid country for all you Young Guns fans. There was only one near-fatal incident in which my mom tried to kill me by plunging us off a cliff. We were able to laugh about it after we realized that although we were probably driving on only two wheels we didn't in fact actually flip the vehicle or cruise right on over the edge of the ravine. My mom tried to make a quick exit at a historical landmark site only to find that the road was sprinkled with gravel, gravel that didn't provide adequate traction for our SUV. After our nerves calmed we laughed until our sides ached. When we finally arrived at my mom's friend's my butt was officially asleep but not enough to prevent me from being driven around to the small towns in the surrounding area. When I yelled stop she pulled over and I hoped out to take some photos. This area of New Mexico is filled with old cemeteries, adobe buildings, and abandoned train stations. It's fascinating. That evening it was enchiladas for all--always a treat when it's New Mexico style.
Friday I literally spent the majority of the day laying on a blanket in the grass under a huge tree. It was divine, absolutely divine. I read, I journaled, I napped, I daydreamed. I did it all without leaving my little nest in the shade. We did take a short trip into my mom's old home town to see how things have changed--who's still around, what buildings are still standing, who's kids are now grown adults, and what happened to the yard my grandfather kept so religiously all those years ago. It was fun to hear my mom and her friend reminisce about their teen years--sneaking out to see boys, stealing their enemy's panties, babysitting the kids in the community, and various other secrets that have been kept all these many years. That evening was the Arbonne party which went very well for such a small community. When the house cleared it was time for laughter and strawberry margaritas--and I do believe my mom's friend entertained us with a little dancing as well.
Saturday was by far my favorite day of the trip. They let me choose where we would spend our day and of course I chose one of my most beloved towns in the US--Santa Fe. Santa Fe is 70 miles north of Estancia (the small town we were visiting.) Did I enjoy the drive? I should say so. It took us a total of 4 hours to travel that 70 miles because there were so many Kodak moments along the way. At this point I would like to insert a small word of advice. If you are going to trespass in an old cemetery to capture a beautiful crumbling headstone please make sure that your "get away" vehicle actually waits for you and doesn't abandon you at the scene of the crime. If they decide to take off down the road to see what other photogenic treasures lay just ahead it could lead to disaster. I happened to get lucky and didn't get caught but still... Not cool! We did eventually make it to our destination where we dined on French cuisine and then enjoyed being carted around the plaza by a bicycle drawn carriage--yes, not a horse, a bicycle. All three of us paid a visit to the Georgia O'Keefe museum and then while my two comrades sauntered around the plaza I enjoyed the Mexican Modern art exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts. This is where I got lucky enough to actually behold an original Frida Kahlo masterpiece. Breathtaking! We ended our day at Santa Fe's plaza by enjoying the two catholic churches in the area: the St. Francis and the Loretta. The Loretta is the church in Santa Fe which houses the miraculous spiral staircase constructed of wood but not a single nail. And my friends guess what I discovered on our way back home? A Trader Joe's. I've heard many of you talk about the goodness that is Trader Joe's but I had never had the privilege of being inside one. May I just say, Move over Mark Ruffalo--I have a new love and it's name is Trader Joe's. It was wonderful, magnificent, divine, all that I could have hoped for in a grocery store. I thought I loved Wholefoods Market. Well that was pre-Trader Joe's, when I didn't realize that there was a place where one could actually afford to shop for organic/whole foods. *sigh* Heaven! We made it back from Santa Fe a lot faster than we made it to Santa Fe but we still stopped to enjoy the smoke from a wildfire rising from the mountain tops and the sun setting over the desert. I heart New Mexico...and Trader Joe's...and Mark Ruffalo...heehee...I just had to throw that in there. I didn't want you to think my love had waned over the course of my 4 day road trip.
Sunday we headed back to Tejas after a fabulous brunch of Swedish pancakes, fresh peaches, and bacon (only no bacon for me because I'm a vegetarian.) There wasn't any photo taking on the way home because, lets face it, I was exhausted and just wanted to chill in the passenger seat, dozing off a time or two along the way. We did stop to visit my aunt before crossing the Texas state line and continuing towards home sweet home...
So why was this trip different from any trip I've ever taken before? Well, for starters this may be the only time my mom and I have traveled together without someone else tagging along--one of my sisters, my brother, my grandmother, a kid. I've been trying to remember if the two of us have ever taken a just-the-two-of-us trip before and ya know, I just can't remember. But the real reason it was so different is because it was the trip that marked the longest I've ever been away from Britton. Yes my friends, I left him here. I took this little vacation sans B-Dog. Oh don't think it was an easy decision. I floundered back and forth up until the last minute. Finally, I put all the if's aside--you know, the ones a mother knows she has no control over but deludes herself into thinking she could at least make it a little better if she were around--and made the decision to do what was best for him. And there was no way that what was best for him consisted of a 6 hour car ride and a boring Arbonne party. So he stayed with daddy--not before giving me a nice dose of guilt of course. The first thing he said when I told him I was taking a trip with Nana and he was staying here was, "But what will I eat if you're not here?" I promised him that his dad would indeed feed him and then proceeded to threaten Trey if I should come home and find a constipated child--too much meat, not enough fruits and vegetables...men do that kind of thing sometimes. And then the B-Dog sadly told me, "But I love you and I'll miss you and I'll cry!" *sigh* What's a mother to do? But I did it my friends. I left him behind and spent 4 days and 4 nights, a grand total of 96 hours, being Michelle and not Britton's mommy. And ya know, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. In fact I think I could have handled a couple more days before I started having serious withdrawals...as long as there's a Trader Joe's to fill the void.
And so I'm back. I'm back but there's a part of me that's still out there, still out there wandering the desert, roaming the plaza, and trespassing in old cemeteries. Life is sweet...