Monday, June 30, 2008

Dang keyboard

Sorry about that mis-post. Right now, Blogger is not letting me edit, so you'll just have to wonder what "things I" was thinking of talking about. Or maybe I'll write about it all here.

We have survived more than a week here in Flower Mound. I have learned that the town is named as such because there is, indeed, a mound, and it does, indeed, have flowers on it. I have yet to see this mound, and I cannot ascertain as of yet whether said mound is perhaps one of those mysterious Native American mounds that no one knows much about or whether it is just a mound of flowers. When I find out, I will be sure to let you all know.

Last week I redeemed my younger self by successfully holding a pseudo-temp job for an entire week where all I had to do was answer phones. I answered a whopping six calls (without disconnecting or pissing off anyone). That far surpasses my temp job in 1987, when I believe either I was fired or I quit after less than one day of answering phones for AT&T in New York City. Perhaps I have learned a thing or two in the past 20 years?! I even think my paycheck from this one week was more than I ever earned in a week in New York.

You'll all be happy to know that today I solved the mystery of the Fresh Donuts and Water. First of all, I must apologize to this "fine dining establishment." The true name of the company is Gourmet Donuts and Water. Sounds even more intriguing. Gourmet water? Actually, they sell not-so-gourmet donuts, lousy coffee, and R.O. Water, which is reverse osmosis water. I didn't taste the water, but perhaps it is what they are referring to as gourmet.

Another thing I have learned since living here is that without a TV we are EXTREMELY productive and active, and we sleep 1,000 times better. Actually, I should amend that. I have always slept fine. Mark is sleeping through the night every night and is even taking naps. Perhaps it's the exercise or the improved diet or the full days or (my favorite theory) the fact that he isn't watching 24-hour news 48 hours a day. I don't know for sure, but it's very nice. (And Kai appreciates all the extra attention, too.)

The big news of today is that we finally got our rental washer and dryer. I have been washing 6 weeks worth of clothes all day. We finally have something other than winter clothes and pajamas to wear. Hallelujah!

Speaking of, I think I am going to throw on some clean socks and take Kai out for his night time walk. G'nite, y'all!

Things I

Friday, June 27, 2008

Texas "D"

Some call Texas the land of oil and cattle. Others think of Tex-Mex and margaritas. In actuality, from what I can determine, it is the land of donut shops and Chinese food super buffets. During our drive across west Texas and our past week here, I've kept my eyes open for a little breakfast diner like our favorite Nick's Cafe in Lakewood. Signs look promising from afar, but upon closer inspection, it's always Donuts, Donuts, Donuts. I had no idea these tasty little morsels were so popular here. In Dallas (or at least in the Flower Mound/Lewisville area), every strip mall, shopping center, gas station, and corner store has a donut shop. Even the Wal-Mart has a Dunkin' Donuts (where I finally broke down and bought two little donut holes, accompanied by the world's largest iced coffee -- everything's big in Texas, darlin').

My favorite, by far, is the Donuts and Water store. They don't seem to have a Web site, so I'll be driving by there and taking pictures and even going in to see what, exactly, they sell. I mean I've heard of donuts and coffee, but it never crossed my mind to dip my donut in an ice-cold glass of fresh water.

And if you want Chinese food, apparently this is the place, as even the smallest cow town had a China Super Buffet. I'm sure it's delicious, but I think I'll stick with the traditional Tex-Mex and barbecue, thank you.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Howdy, y'all!

After a couple crazy months, we are finally here in Flower Mound, Texas. We left Denver on June 8, with a car and a truck load full of stuff. We had a wonderful detour on the way here, with four days on the Chama River in northern New Mexico. Great friends, great river, great relaxation, and great time (not to mention Wilderness Bocce Ball). Even Kai loved it! The farewells afterward were super tough. The better the friends, the harder the good-byes, that is for sure!! Even after all our moves, saying farewell to such good friends and family is never, ever easy. But we know we will see you all again, one way or another, whether through the wonders of the Internet or someplace in our travels.
GREAT FRIENDS     Wilderness Bocce Ball

Not too long after leaving the Chama, we were cheered up by our friends in New Mexico ... Chiara in Espanola and then Jon/Val/Daph and Danny and Jill in Albuquerque. Lots of wonderful food (too much!!), more great friends, and so much laughter my sides are still recovering! It was also so wonderful to have a bit more relaxation before the drive to Texas (although that relaxation was broken up by a high-noon death run through the "mosquito farms" along the Rio Grande; but one week later and no horrid diseases or West Nile, thank goodness!).

[P.S. No pictures from here on out as our camera died in Albuquerque and I don't have the attachment for the new camera. Photos to come when Mark gets home from work.]

We left Albuquerque on Tuesday morning, heading due south along part of the Camino Real through Hatch (where we bought what I assume to be authentic roasted Hatch green chilis and juicy juicy mangoes and tangerines), Las Cruces, and on to El Paso, where we waved to Mexico and said adios to the Rio Grande.

We then turned leftish and headed off the freeway toward Guadalupe Mountains National Park in far west Texas. It's a beautiful little mountain range and the highest point in Texas. I guess that was our official farewell to altitude. Our plans to get there early enough to walk around failed (they don't allow dogs anyway) and it was too early to camp (plus, we had no food for dinner or breakfast). So back in the car, where thirty minutes farther on, we drove past the entrance to Carlsbad Caverns (which was just closing--oh well). We still had ample hours of sunlight (with no mountains to block the sunset, daytime lasts forever), so we continued , traveling the backroads past potash fields (ugly), which turned into farm and cow fields (pretty in the sunset), then into windfarm fields (surreal in the nighttime lightning storm), and then into a few last hills before Fort Worth. (We did stop that night at Fort Griffin State Park for a restful sleep in an immaculate, yet empty, campsite.) [Wow, so many parentheses in that paragraph!]

We arrived in Flower Mound at noon on Wednesday and started the fun process of moving in, which continues to today. Who knew we still had so much stuff? The pile of things to get rid of is growing, as trying to cram all our belongings from a three-bedroom, two-car garage house into one bedroom is quite the challenge. And this is after we sold all our furniture, gave literally truckloads of goodies to Good Will and the library, and shipped off 1000 pounds of other items to Mom and Dad in Connecticut for storage. Whew!

We have been pleasantly surprised by our time in Texas so far. Flower Mound is on the northern outskirts of the city. We joked that we are now living in the Highlands Ranch area of Dallas, only to find out the shopping center just down the road is called Highlands Ranch. (Highlands Ranch is the area south of Denver that has all the newer developments and big houses and golf courses). Everyone is super nice, and even the heat hasn't been too bad (although I take back every nasty thing I ever said about air conditioning).

We are hoping to get the last of the unpacking done tonight so we can finally relax and enjoy. We did take a "break" yesterday for a road bike ride that just about killed my thighs. Mark's partner, Dave, and Dave's wife, Donielle, are in incredible shape, and they just about kicked our butts! But it felt good to move (even if it hurts to move now).

So that's it--the past month or so in a rather large and verbose nutshell. We truly and dearly miss all our friends in Denver, but we are looking forward to our new adventures here in Texas and then ... France?! That's still the plan. Stay tuned for more (but briefer, I promise) observations on our little life. For now, I will sit here and wait for the man to install our washer/dryer (who will be here between the hours of 10 and 4?!?!??)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

So Much to Say ...

But we are on our way to Old Town Albuquerque with friends, so just a quick greeting to some of my favorite people who are having a special week:





And one more ...


Unfortunately, that last one would have worked much better if it were actually me in the picture.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mad Max!!

So looking forward to celebrating with you on El Rio Chama! Have a fantastic day and here's to many, many more adventures in the years to come (perhaps in France, hmmmm?).

p.s. So many pictures to choose from. I opted for the G-rated one for family considerations :-)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Still in Denver

We haven't left yet, although we have been out of our old home since Friday. We are staying at Chez Fleming, with two dogs, three cats, and four humans. But it really doesn't feel crowded--though I'm Sam and Susan would love to have their basement back! We try to make up for the nuisance by feeding them and cleaning up after ourselves as much as possible.

It's incredible how much stuff we still have. Even after shipping nearly 1000 pounds of stuff to Connecticut and another pile of boxes to Texas. And after umpteen trips to Good Will, the Humane Society, a massive garage sale, and on and on. Where did we have all this stuff stashed?

Just a few more get-togethers with friends, plus a shopping trip and prep time for the Rio Chama river trip next week, and we'll be on our way. I still have not said good-bye to anyone. I've evaded it by saying, "We'll see you in France." or "We'll be on Skype everyday, so it'll be like we never left." Denial is a wonderful place to live.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Happy 4th Anniversary, Asheman and Kickstand!

Jon and Val, I can't believe it has been four years. I know we are a little late (or maybe right on time)? We can't remember because we packed all the champagne glasses already. But we hope you have another wonderful year ahead ... one of many more to come. Looking forward to celebrating with you in person next week!!