If it’s Not One Thing, it’s Ten Thousand Others

Is it just me, or is it just a thing that right when you think calm in life is right around the corner life comes up and smacks you upside the head?

Cuz that prettymuch sums up my life. And it can never wait until you are actually done. The snack always comes when you are close enough to completion that you are looking forward to the after party. You are starting to consider what the next thing you need to tackle is on your to-do list that is as long as your phone can handle a list to be, and a few extras that you keep forgetting every time you try to write them down.

So this time… my mom was working on the the finishing touches for the catalog of my grandfather’s paintings and other art works. I was working on fixing the glass at the front of the gallery. (More on that when I get it done.) Suffice to say say I was only one day away, the next project was lined up, and that one had a deadline.

Big had a fever overnight for a few nights, but was fine during the day. I was gonna send him to school and pull him out for his dentist appointment, but something told me not to send him in at all. His fever had made him a little more restless the night before, so I let him stay. We went to the dentist, everything went fine, and was so fast that that we had time to get to reading time at the library, so we did. I let the kids play for awhile after as usual. When we got into the car, Little was protesting the seatbelt, and I happened to see Big’s hands.

Sorry it’s such a bad picture, but he had little blisters all over his hands and feet. I figured it was chicken pox. He has had the shot, but sometimes kids can still get it, but it’s not as bad. I decided to postpone any other errands, and head home. I did have to stop at the school to pick up his folder. I called the school to see if someone could bring it out so he didn’t have to go inside. But the they couldn’t. I’m glad I stopped by. The secretary had told the nurse, and she was able to look at him. I was told that it looked like hand foot and mouth disease. I had never heard of that, but was very glad to have the information. I called the library and let them know so they could clean the toys he was playing with.

Long story short, that’s what the doctor said it was when we went in the next day. Since then we have been scrambling trying to get the kids to limit the things they touch around the house.

And my grandmother is 84. My two kids an and I had been sitting on her bed the day before the sores appeared. My kids have not been in the gallery since. We cannot have her get sick.

This has been an extra challenge because that next project I mentioned earlier was cleaning out the yard at the gallery. The yard had gotten out of control due to long term health problems taking precedence for several years. The urgent things were being dealt with, but anything that could be put off was.

So my mother and I brought the kids down and had them play in a clean area while we gathered scrap metal and garbage. This weekend was the one time when our community had set aside to collect these things and had provided dumpsters and scheduled someone to collect the scrap metal. So even though the kids are going through this thing, we had to deal with the yard this weekend. Yesterday we spent most of the day organising. We did take one load down which included a broken washing machine we had just replaced and a big water heater.

Getting the washing machine into the truck involved a hand truck (that needed the tires refilled), ramps, blocking a side road with a truck that is a challenge to drive as it was purchased with the power steering removed, chocks under the wheels since the road goes up a mountain, and a good dose of “I can’t see where I’m going as I back up this bear of a truck down the mountain.

Getting the water heater into the truck involved getting help from a passing family friend who soon felt superfluous when he realised that the women could do it by themselves. My mom let him feel helpful by going away and doing something else whilehe and I lifted the thing into the bed of the truck.

Getting the things off the truck was a whole lot more fun. Out of four trips we eventually took to drop stuff off, three of them involved me shoving giant appliances off the back of the truck with a very satisfying crash.

This has been a crazy, unpredictable week, but luckily, even though my kids are sick, they don’t seem to feel it. They are behaving like normal healthy kids, they just happen to have blisters on their hands and feet. I can complain about the crazy all day long, but at the end of the day, all that matters is that my family is doing well. Having a little fun throwing things of trucks is just bonus!

From Berries to Museums

So “weekends” are a bit of a strange concept when you run a family business, but it gives you a lot more flexibility.These days my grandmother stays to run the family gallery, she doesn’t really want to go out much, and since she lives on the premises, it works well. My mom and I try to make sure that one or the other of us is there with her every day.Yesterday was my “weekend”, so I got to take care of stuff around the house, yay! Ok so that includes laundry, and dishes, and cleaning, but yesterday that also included a few more fun things.Like canning prickly pear cactus berries

This is after we had already processed two bowls of berries. Our cactuses were plentiful this year. So you would think that we would have a whole lot of stuff to can from that right? Nope. Two bowls made 4 cans and one bonus syrup can.

And yes, those aren’t even all that full.So what’s the deal? They aren’t made of so much water that there is little to preserve, like watermelon, no. These poor prickly little devils are mostly seeds. Rock hard little tiny seeds fill most of the berry. Outside of the seeds is a layer barely a quarter of an inch thick of the tasty juicy, pinky purple fruit that is worth the battle with the prickles on the outside.To give you some idea what I’m talking about, here are the ones we dehydrated.

Each one of those pieces is the result of a single berry.I’ll get more into the prepping process when we do the rest, but suffice to say that prepping the two bowls we already did took two people the better part of a day.Oh and as you may have observed in the pictures, these berries have a very distinctive color. They can be used as a dye. We completely forgot we were going to squeeze out the compost to retrieve some, and I put it outside to await burial. It unfortunately dried out before I remembered.So after all that fun canning in the kitchen, I took care of the boring stuff. (A lot o dishes from that project, bleh!)But when Big got home from school, I took the kiddlets for a treat.

The Tinkertown Museum in Sandia Crest. I didn’t take a lot of pictures, but I’ll try to give you some idea of why I took the chillens there.

The first thing you notice is either the goofy lion or the bottle walls.

This is my kids pretending to be scared. Not so convincing my dears.

Inside you find elaborate hand carved displays representing several scenes, most notably the old west, and a magnificent circus. As you walk along, you find that there are many buttons to press which each trigger some of the characters to move. They are nothing fancy, but they are most charming. There is a Navajo silversmith who begins to hammer, a Mary Poppins rising with her umbrella, and a bar maid serving her customers. One of the most fun things is that each button can trigger several unrelated actions, and as if the intricately overcrowded displays weren’t enough of a treasure hunt, you get to search for the little movements triggered by the buttons.

These displays have always been my strongest memories of Tinkertown, but I think the kids had more fun with the old machines scattered around. There is a fortune teller, several tests of strength, and my favorite, the automatic one man band, all in working order ready to trade your quarters for a bit of fun.

Outside there were some recent additions, this was the big hit with my chillens.

I also did not remember the art car, but it may have been there before. Round out the trip with a visit to a miniature horse and off we go!

Back to Madrid

I have been very busy lately, but I guess everyone can say that. The past year has held a lot of changes in my life, and I am trying to find a new routine. I am hoping that I will be able to post routinely here again. In high school I used to diary for hours every day. I know I can’t do that anymore, but I would like to keep some sort of record of my life again.

So why public? I hope this that by sharing my life, others may find that they are not alone in what they feel, and that people may start to see that others, even those who seem very different, are actually all very dim similar. There are certainly some things I will keep private, but I have always been a very open person, and I always imagined that that people would eventually read my diary, a la Anne Frank. I stopped writing in college because I was writing so many other things. Now I spend too much time playing games on my phone, I mean, who doesn’t these days? I’m gonna try to replace that habit with a few more productive ones.

So a short biography to get you started:

I grew up in a small town in New Mexico called Madrid. This artist community very much helped to shape who I am. I will probably write many more posts singing its praises, so I won’t do much of that here. Suffice to say that I split my time between helping run the oldest and largest gallery on the Turquoise Trail, The Johnsons of Madrid, and living with my dad on the land. Tiny homes have been a thing here long before the phrase was coined, but no one really thinks of it as odd.

I went to school in the closest city, Santa Fe, the oldest city in the United States. The normal drive is half an hour, but on the bus, it could take an hour in elementary school, since it wasn’t all the way into town, and closer to an hour and half to two hours in high school. (I rarely had homework, I usually had buswork.) The only exception was two years when I went to school in Albuquerque, because of my mom’s teaching career and relationship changes.

One of these years we lived at Kirtland air force base. The other year we lived in a converted school bus while we built a house in Madrid. (This will certainly end up with its own post at some point.) When I was eleven my dad moved to Dallas, TX. After that I spent a lot of summers and holidays in the big city helping as a finish carpenter in the most high end neighborhoods in the metroplex.

In school I was constantly overcommitting myself. (I still have a tendency to do this.) In elementary I was a girl scout for many years, I sang in choir, competed in Battle of the Books (BOB), I took, at varying times, classes in ballet, flamenco, and belly dancing, and I spent summers acting in (or just watching) melodrama at the local Madrid theatre (note to self- post on that too).

In middle school I joined the drill team, Battle of the Books again, MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement), and did several theatre projects including working with the Santa Fe Opera.

In high school I was in some way involved with every theatre project from the second semester of freshman year to my senior year when I chose to step back (offering assistance) to let the theatre director figure out that he needed to train people, or let students mentor each other, rather than just let people who already know take care of things. I continued with a city drill team, melodrama, and chaperoned the middle school’s BOB team, worked with other theatre groups in the city, and spent my weekends, when I wasn’t doing theatre, going to the under 21 club (the best club in town at the time btw).

For college I moved to Las Cruces. I did not get to be part of every show because I worked graveyard shift at various hotels. I earned two degrees, theatre and history, with honors. In also did work study in the costume shop (so awesome!!!!), and really got more involved in SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). During this time I also got married, and moved an hour away from school so my husband was near the air force base where he worked.

After graduating I kept working at hotels for awhile, but eventually switched to substitute teaching. Soon my first son was born. When my husband got out of the air force, we moved to the Pacific Northwest. I went back to working at hotels, which is where I started this blog.

We had two cars totalled within six months, then soon we started the house buying process, which took another six months, which timed our closing right before our second son was born. And a few weeks later I got a new job at a sewing store. Eventually I started streaming on Twitch a few nights a week.

That brings us to one year ago. That year will be a post unto itself, although some of the most important bits I am not at liberty to share.

I know this quick overview may be a bit dull, but I think it helps to give some context. Thanks! I hope you will hang with me on this adventure!