Monday, March 29, 2010

Headin' Home

First, a quick swing through the Guadalupe Mountains in Texas.

Between these photos, our trusty 11-1/2 year old minivan celebrated a significant milestone--130,000 miles. We honked and clapped for our little green friend.

We probably should have treated it to a nice car wash spa or something, but we were in the windy, dusty Texas mountains...with a storm headed our way.

El Capitan, Guadalupe Mtns.
March 20, 2010

Onward home...
But first, a stop in Ft. Stockton, an old historical town that was built to protect the west's travelers and settlers from the Comanche attacks.

It's what I think of when I think of the Old West.

We stopped at the old Fort cemetery on our way out of town.

This tombstone certainly caught my eye.


I imagined some outlaw had killed this man. Then I looked him up.

"In the 1880s Sheriff A.J. Royal was an infamous figure in Fort Stockton's history. Royal's reign as sheriff crossed the line into terrorism, his constituents believed, as six men were killed by his fast draw. The townspeople took matters into their own hands. A black bean lottery was held among the area's prominent citizens, with the winner becoming the designated assassin. Royal met his demise in November 1894 and the murder was never solved."

Ooo, neato history stuff!

And I loved this young girl's epitaph.

"A friend to the friendless.
A helper to the helpless."

Such a beautiful way to be epitomized.
Young Inez got life right! I the only one who enjoys looking at old tombstones?

Goodbye Ft. Stockton.
Goodbye Paisano Pete, probably the world's largest road runner.

Hello, home!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Parade of underground homes :: Carlsbad Caverns

The underground interiors of the Chihuahuan Desert (754 ft. below)

Who would have guessed such a large system of beautiful rooms could be created with limestone and sulfuric acid when granite is all the rage these days?

Featured interior designer:

Limestone, Rain, & Evaporation Studios providing floor-to-ceiling self-adorned caverns in the form of stalactites, soda straws, draperies, ribbons and curtains on the ceilings;

...and totem poles, flowstone, rim stone dams, lily pads, shelves, cave pools, and stalagmites for the flooring.

No need for the latest trends in ceramic tile and hardwood here.

Design style: Rock of Ages (highly recommended when you have more time than money)

Aromatherapy provided by Mexican free-tail guano--not bad in the off season.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park
New Mexico
March 20, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ridin' the Gypsum Dunes

Climb to the top!

Sleds waxed and tuned!

All the cousins ready

To ride the gypsum dunes.

Slide like a bullet!

Jump way up high!

Race with your cousin.

Down the hill you'll fly.

Climb up once again.

Look around and stare.

See the storm clouds comin'.

High tail it outta there!

White Sands National Monument
New Mexico
March 19, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A bit o' nostalgia for Dad :: Las Cruces

Now entering the city where Joe earned his undergraduate degree.
NMSU -- the 3rd college/university he attended, 6th (but not final) college where he took classes.

(I met him at his 1st college, 3 months into his first year. '87 -- a good year.)

His first dorm room on this campus -- 3rd from the left, upper floor.

Joe had fun showing the kids around these old stompin' grounds. While we cruised through campus, he'd point out fun things like where he and a bunch of friends would play football games after lunch -- sometimes tackle, sometimes not.

One of the engineering buildings -- place of most classes.

Campus church

I thought it was so sweet Joe took the kids over to where he always used to sit at church. See them all way over on the left?

Townhouse he shared with friends (1st 2-story unit on the left).

He showed the kids the back way he rode his bike home late at night--and where he had to lift his bicycle over the fence to get to his apartment. Fun little tidbits of information.

Library -- where Joe spent the majority of his time in Las Cruces.

Up to the 3rd floor...

He even had the kids sit in the same "quiet study area" cubicle in the library where he always studied.

Just north of the University...
The hospital -- where Joe spent some time after his rugby accident that ended his rugby-playing days.

A fun, nostalgic jaunt through town...where Joe hadn't visited in over 15 years.

Now off for more some more cousin fun and sledding...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hiking a nature trail

Didn't take long before all the kids were hiking off trail.

How else were they to find their many walking sticks?

Going off trail also gave 'em a better look at all the tumbleweeds.

Mikey got a really close look at a prickly pear cactus.
Got so close, he didn't even realize he was standing on it.

Picking prickly pear spines out of his shoes.

Kids with a prickly, tumbly weed

Fun fact: Joe's sister, Ellen, once ran a Tumbleweed Christmas Tree business with Mr. Stinky Feet. They would go out and retrieve nice-looking tumbleweeds, decorate them with Christmassy bows, and ship them off to their new homes. Total number of Tumbleweed Christmas Trees sold: 15.

I think a Christmas tree of stacked tumbleweeds would be awesome! You could even wire together and flock a huge one. Or, how about a tumbleweed snowman? Fun!

Littlest cousin hitchin' a ride with the second littlest cousin in town.

St. Patty's Day :: in ABQ

Table of 12 at the
59th Annual Brother Mathias Corned Beef & Cabbage Dinner Fundraiser

Oldest to youngest stair steps

The girls had fun dressing in green...and making their quick
finger-knit scarves adorned with crocheted shamrocks.
Joe left with cargo pockets full of candy
the kids won at the game booths.

And for the live entertainment at the Irish feast...
in Albuquerque?


Flamenco dancers!

We did also see some Irish dancing...

...and a bagpipe group!

The drummer was such a rebel.

I can hear him now, "Okay, I'll wear the kilt but that's IT. You're not getting me in those shoes and stockings."

* * * * * * *

To commemorate this St. Patrick's Day
(even though it's a week overdue)...

An Irish Prayer

May those that love us, love us;
and those that don't love us,
may God turn their hearts;
and if He doesn't turn their hearts,
may He turn their ankles,
so we'll know them by their limping.