The Pleasure of Ruins

“The ascendancy over men’s minds of the ruins of the stupendous past, the past of history, legend and myth, at once factual and fantastic, stretching back and back into ages that can but be surmised, is half-mystical in basis. The intoxication, at once so heady and so devout, is not the romantic melancholy engendered by broken towers and mouldered stones; it is the soaring of the imagination into the high empyrean where huge episodes are tangled with myths and dreams; it is the stunning impact of world history on its amazed heirs.” Rose Macaulay

New Mexico of Mine

Land Of Enchantment

“When I got to New Mexico that was mine. As soon as I saw it that was my country. I’d never seen anything like it before, but it fitted to me exactly. It’s something that’s in the air–it’s different. The sky is different, the wind is different. I shouldn’t say too much about it because other people may be interested and I don’t want them interested.” ~ Georgia O’Keefe

Wide open spaces capture your attention sinking you into its vastness. One can feel so small but yet so large with life soaking in the fresh air. Not a soul for miles. Just you, the wind whispering the richness of this soil, the fresh hint of rain, gentle kisses from the sun. And in the evening the closeness of stars. I can only agree with her sentiment, New Mexico is different and not like anywhere you’ve seen before and it’s mine.

I fell in love with New Mexico nine years ago when I came with my husband and our daughter to his family’s ranch. Forty miles outside of Taos and a few miles before entering one of the oldest cities in Colorado, a recently paved road leads up toward the mountains to a humbling place called Amalia. His grandparents 14 1/2 acres leading up to a river and expanding toward the mountains is part of a land grant. There is not much to do here as you are forty miles from the nearest stop light and the “corner” store is at least 15 minutes down road. Family and friends stop by on their way to wherever they are going, a short visit turning into lunch then dinner. It is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. A place to recharge. Not a street lamp in sight, only the stars.

Amalia, New Mexico

Although with time comes changes this little area remains slightly untouched. There are still viejitas who live down dirt roads with minimal modern “luxuries” and/ or electricity cooking to perfection empanadas and tortillas on wood burning stoves that melt in your mouth you can’t wait to dip them in red or green chili. If you are looking for the best place to hunt antiques ask no one else. My favorite viejita is one of my husband’s cousin. She is a feisty hip-hop loving viejita in her mid 70s never leaving home without her hita (her 38 special) and she’s never to shy to share her opinion. Each visit we are to never leave empty handed.

Our first stop in Taos was  Michael’s Kitchen for their red chili. My breakfast of choice was a Christmas style Martin’s Breakfast Burrito made with scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese, diced green chile and hash browns wrapped in a flour tortilla. The Christmas style comes into play in the way of the burrito being covered (or smothered) in both red and green chili sauce. Let me tell you 1. I had to split the burrito and 2. I made sure to get extra red chili. As a Seattlite we are big on our Starbucks coffee but Michael’s had excellent coffee. You can buy it here at their online shop

A STAY IN YUMA

I had been meaning to post days ago my mind felt like mush. I had been trying to fight a cold that I graciously received while on a mini holiday {vacay}. Sweet as he could be mi viego {nickname I call my hubby} nursed me back to health with popsicles, homemade posole and my choice of what my loving family like to call “mommy movies.” On my last full day in Arizona I managed to wake up with a cold. At first I assumed it had to be allergies. I mean how could I possibly get a cold my last day here? But, alas I remembered I had spent a few days among some under the weather individuals exchanging pleasantries, recipes, car talk and just plain good conversation.

Other than getting a cold my time in Yuma was wonderful. I’d never been to Arizona so I chose to fly into Phoenix and take a casual paced drive to Yuma. I loved it! I hadn’t done a solo mini road trip in quite some time. I put on some ol’skool jams and I was coasting down I-8. I could not get over the scenery. The first thing that came to mind was this place is BRIGHT. The sky is beautifully blue with a scalloped edge from the mountains. Clouds like fluffy white waves I could just run my fingers through. It was magic.

I spent time with family and got much needed vitamin d with a side of rest and relaxation. It was hard being without my little family for 10 days. I’ve never left my not so little for more than a weekend and 10 days took some getting used to. She’s my buddy, my shadow. FaceTime was our primary means of communication. We kept our morning ritual of light conversation about what kind of day we’ll have and anything she may have forgotten to share the night before. As a working mom missing moments is hard but for those traveling working mamas I have so much respect. Trying to hold down the fort miles away by phone and email plus tackling the work in front of you takes the skills of a master juggler.

The casual pace of Yuma was something I could get used to. My favorite place to eat was here where I had the best burger {with avocado} and B.L.A.T. {bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato} sandwich. And I could not get over how cheap the avocados were. A bag of eight cost me four dollars when at home I would get maybe three for that price. These avocados were so fresh and delicious my grandmother suggested I buy a bunch to stuff in my suitcase. I didn’t. A few nights my grandmother and I shared small lemon tarts for dessert which we ate while watching her newest novella obsession. Although I understood some Spanish and subtitles were provided that did not stop her from reading them to me. Although I wasn’t entirely there for play I did manage to see a few sites and jotted some down for next time.

A visit to the Yuma Territorial Prison.

A few items made by the prisoners….