Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico

After our beautiful drive into the mountains around Taos ski area, we stayed in Taos town center.  The Town Plaza is cute, and of course there are lots of shops and restaurants.  If you like American Indian Art, a little Spanish art thrown in, and once in a while some Cowboy are, you’ll fall in love with shopping.  There is a lot of sterling silver earrings and necklaces.  But always remember just because it looks good out there, it might not fit in so well when you get home.  I find that I like the jewelry look so did indulge myself with a few pieces this trip.

While in Taos, do not miss the Taos Pueblo.  It is historically significant, something like you have never seen before, and just plain interesting.  You are on an Indian Pueblo where people are living their daily lives, so there are many restrictions, so be aware of what is OK and what is not, and photography is certainly not allowed.  Once you see the Pueblo, you will recognize it many paintings you see while shopping, it is a popular scene to paint.  The history is quite amazing.

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Around Taos and South to Albuquerque there are approximately 19 Pueblos, and you can visit each one.  Each Pueblo offers its own uniqueness, from as little as a visitor center selling their wares, to casinos and beautiful golf courses.  definitely should put on your list and visit a few.

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There are many missions along the way, and each with its own significance.  Most are off the main routes, so when you visit the missions, you’re also getting a scenic drive a long the way.  Also, just west of Taos is a really cool bridge that goes over a gorge, definitely worth the 8 mile drive out-of-town. 

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Arriving in Santa Fe, you realize it is a much bigger city.  There is the new section of town where the Shopping Mall and all the chain restaurants are at, but where you want to be is in the city center, the historic Santa Fe Town Plaza.  The old town area is about 3 times bigger than Taos.  The shops are not only on the Plaza, but down many side streets.  There are some nice local museums including some art museums you don’t want to miss.  There are some beautiful Churches and Missions around the Plaza, and the oldest house in the Country is located right off the Plaza.  A short drive away is Canyon Road and its about a mile long of Art Galleries.  There are all kinds of art, not just Indian or Cowboy art, but everything.  You could spend a day just walking up and down Canyon Road.  If you’re looking for a new painting, or a piece of art, you need to put this on your list before you buy.  But remember to bring your checkbook, this is not for the faint of heart.

I could consider Santa Fe a great place for a women’s weekend.  If shopping is your thing and you want everything contained in one area, what a great weekend get-away.  But if you’re looking for a special something that you and your husband want, then this is  a great couples escape also.  I didn’t see a lot of things that would keep children interested.  The weather was warm in July, but the mornings and evenings refreshing.  There was some rain, but nothing that ruined our days.

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These were just some of the sights along the way.  We drove along the Rio Grande River and saw tubers, looked like that would be fun.  After Santa Fe, we drove on to Albuquerque, another nice destination in our travels.  Until next time, happy travels to whatever destination you choose…….

 

Taos Ski Area, New Mexico

As mentioned in my last blog we recently traveled to New Mexico to find some cooler weather                                                          New Mexico 2013 047

and relief from another Texas hot summer.  Out day time temperatures in central Texas was just starting to hang around 100 to 105 degrees.  I know there are some people who don’t think this his hot and go about life like any other time of year.  For us, this is nothing but Hot!  So off to New Mexico we went.  We heard that Ruidoso, New Mexico was very popular with people from our area as this is the closest drive where you can get cooler weather.  Although we were going to stop and see Ruidoso, we drove a little farther and headed off to the Taos area.

What can I say, if you like Mountains, tall pine trees, high elevations, Mountain streams, brisk weather and a lovely breeze, than Taos is a good mix.  We stopped at Taos Ski lodge just to see what was there.  It was a little over 8000 feet and we were both feeling the shortness of breath.  The ski lift was open which would have taken us up to a little over 10,000 feet.  It was a standard open chair lift, we heard the vistas were beautiful, but we felt with us already having issues adapting to the height we thought it best not to go up.  Since we have left, I do regret not taking the time.

When you’re at Taos ski area, what you see is a very small portion of the ski terrain, so you think there’s not much there, but in reality it’s very deceiving.  In addition we saw horseback riding, I’m sure that would have been fun also.  You can stay in the area and enjoy some mountain biking also.  The ski area is about a 20 minute mountain drive back to the town of Taos.  So you need to know what you want for your vacation, seclusion and the mountain experience, or the town with shops, and restaurants.   The distance is not bad, so no matter where you choose to stay I’m sure you will enjoy the area.  I have attached some photos of both the ski area.  Next post will be to the town of Taos.

Enjoy the drive, it’s a fun road to travel……..

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Where Did the Year Go?

It’s been a long time since my last post.  Believe me it’s not because I have nothing to say, it’s because I can’t find the time to sit here and write about it.  I have had friends and family in my life through out the years, and I have done things such as travel, go to concerts, dinners, shopping, boating, and golfing.  Everything went in cycles, but what never changed was the 7 to 5 work grind, that was always first and foremost.  It had to be, there were bills to pay, and if I wanted to do any of the things I just mentioned you needed money, so off to work I went.  Along the way I saved, could I have saved more; of course.  Will what I have saved be enough, only time will tell, but I will say that the effort that went into controlling my spending and holding back on some of those “wants” that weren’t “needs” did pay off, and because of those times in my life I am happy to say that I have almost reached my first anniversary of retirement.    All my life I would say, “when I retire I want to do this”, or when I retire I would like to go here”, well I certainly haven’t even scratched the surface, but I’m sure moving in the right direction.

I had this certain expectation of what retirement was going to be.  I didn’t see myself sitting in my house watching TV all day, nope, I was going to be socializing and traveling, and doing activities.  I am so very happy to say that in the first year my expectations have been met and exceeded.  It started as a busy year relocating to our current home, which is located in an Adult Sun City Community.  After settling in we started meeting people and joining groups.  We got involved in game nights, dances, dinners, golfing, and exercising and now as we continue to expand our activities list I am now meeting new people in the community.  I’m still as excited about our community as I was when we first moved here.  It hasn’t slowed down and we are having as much or more fun than at first.

At first I was scrambling to do all and get involved with everything.  Almost like a kid in a candy store, afraid they’re going to run out, so go for it all.  A year later, it’s not running out, but changing, expanding and getting better.  The end of August will be one year since I left my last career job.  I thought I was going to die, I was scared to death about money, being lonely and bored, and figuring I would be back to work full-time in under 6 months.  I can honestly say that if we stayed in our previous house this probably would have happened.  I didn’t have the base of friends that I have acquired here in less than a year.  We lived there 5 years and never developed friendships like we have in the short time we’re here.

I write this down because I am hoping that as you near retirement and if you consider yourself a somewhat sociable person and want to meet people of similar ages and likes, then please look at an Adult Community, they are not for old people.  I can tell you that I am getting healthier than I have ever been and have a chance to look better in my 60’s than I did in my 50’s.  Age is nothing, it’s your attitude and how you go about life.  All my adult life I was in a controlled environment, meaning someone else controlled the majority of my life, my employer.  Now I’m in control and I’m doing the things that I have been waiting 35 years to do, at my own pace and my own time.  Embrace your older years, it’s still time to grow and develop.  It’s time to learn and expand your knowledge and it’s time to share those also.

Work hard and long when you have to, and prepare for the later years in your life, because the best is still to come.  Enjoy your travels, it’s getting better and better…….

Next post is our trip to New Mexico!

It’s not our Parents Retirement

Remember when you were young, everyone looked old.  Someone in their 40’s was old, and 50’s they were just ancient.  I always remember my grandparents as old.  I’m sure they weren’t any older than I am now when this first thought came to me, but being young they were old.  There was no middle age, you were either young or your were old.  And anyone that wasn’t you or your brother’s age were old.

I’m glad to say, times have changed.  If this is old, it’s great!  After doing nothing much more than working, eating, watching TV, and a little socializing that was the extent of my world and my exercise.  I’m happy to report that this is not what retirement needs to be.  Of course you’re no longer working, so it’s what you fill that void with that makes life new and exciting.  Yes, I could be a retiree of the earlier years, when most activity was centered around the house, and family, but there is so much more to choose from today.  Families are spread out all over the Country and it’s up to you to make the most of these years.

As I have found out you can be as busy or even busier than when you worked, but what’s exciting about being busy, it’s the busy you make it.  Today my day started at 9AM and I didn’t sit down and relax until 4PM, it was great.  First there was golf lessons and practice, off to a ladies luncheon, back for 2 hours of line dancing, working in the yard, then finally calling it a day and a well deserved sit down and relax time.  There’s more than TV, more than computers, there are classes, lectures, luncheons, arts and crafts, volunteering, golf, tennis, bocce ball, dancing, card games, gardening,…… I could go on for an entire page.

What’s really fun about a day like today versus when I worked, I’m tired, completely bushed, but it feels good.  I have exercised, I have not sat on my butt all day.  I have been with people who enjoy the same things I do, and have had a great dose of my vitamin D being out in the sun. I’m glad to say that so far 11 months into retirement I couldn’t have expected anymore.  I’m very happy and so glad I decided to travel down this road now, and not wait a few years.  I’m traveling on happy trails and hope your are too.

 

A Great Family Day in Small Town Texas

Last weekend we had a really great day. We attended the Bluebonnet Festival in Burnett, TX.
As I have stated in previous posts there are many great small Texas towns that have some really nice festivals during the year, and Spring in Texas is the perfect time to attend these.
The weather is usually great this time of year and although the activities certainly can’t compare to a large city like Dallas or Houston, for small towns they put on a really good show.

We went to the Bluebonnet Airsho on Saturday and it was a really good afternoon. The stunt planes were very good, they had a B17 on display, they did a small reenactment, and some good displays of flying. There were no Blue Angels and no fancy military jets, but just good old fashion fun. We brought our chairs and for 3 hours we were entertained. The activity was continuous and it kept you interested.

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Once we finished the air show we drove about a mile down the road back to the historic square for a great arts and crafts fair, food and 2 stages for entertainment. It was our frist time to this festival and I would reccomend anyone who is looking for something to do mid-April next year, make sure you watch for this festival and plan on attending. They had a nice carnival section for the kids. Again, keep in mind this is a small town, but I would give this festival a solid 9 on the rating scale measuring this against other towns simliar in size. I hope if you plan to attend next year, sure hope you have a fun day.  Hope one of the roads you travel down takes you this direction…….

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San Antonio and the Alamo Go Together

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A trip to San Antonio must include a stop at the Alamo and the Riverwalk.  These are both downtown and there is access to the Riverwalk right across the street from the Alamo.  While on the Riverwalk there is plenty of places to stop to eat and drink, and you should plan a trip on the Rio River Cruise also.  It’s about a 1/2 boat ride that you see the sights of the Riverwalk and also hear some history on some of the buildings along the way.  You can certainly walk around the same way you take the boat ride, but unless you have a lot of time the river cruise is probably the best way to see it, plus much easier on the feet.

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The Riverwalk has been expanded many miles over the last few years and although downtown San Antonio is the heart of the Riverwalk with all the shops and restaurants, there is also the Museum Reach and the Mission Reach portions of the walk that are well worth a visit.  There are many things to do in San Antonio,  the two mentioned here are only an introduction.  It’s a great place to visit, hopefully your next travels will take you this direction.  Happy Trails……………….

OK, I had to do it – I’m working Part Time

I first need to say, I did not go back to work part-time because I had nothing to do, because I have said multiple times that living here in Sun City there is so much to do, you can be busy 12 hours a day.    I went back to work because of me.  Although I enjoy visiting with the neighbors, playing games, working out, doing line dancing, and starting to play golf, I felt I needed something else.  I am not a competitive person when it comes to sports and I can say I’m not the most athletic. I am not an artsy person and have really never done crafts except ceramics years ago.  I have mentioned that I don’t have a hobby.  I enjoy reading, but that is one thing I have always found time for, no matter how much I worked.

It’s almost impossible to put into words, but I was sitting and pondering our new life and thinking about our future years and I thought as much as I enjoy all these activities and I enjoy the freedom of not having to be somewhere at a scheduled time, I also realized that I can’t see myself doing these activities for the next 30 years (I’m thinking positive).  Because work was such a part of my life I realized that this was my hobby, my identity.  I like the mental workout, the completion of tasks and seeing my accomplishments.  But since I have been home I also realized I like my later starting mornings, and I like being available for activities when they come along.  So I had a dilemma.  I needed to find a part-time job.  I did realize that full-time was just going to be too much, but a part-time job would still allow me to participate in all that I have been doing since moving here, yet giving me a dose of “my hobby”.

Well luck would have it, I had potential for 3 part-time jobs and I accepted and have started one of them.  In all my years I have never until a few weeks ago saw an Ad for a part-time purchasing person.  It was like a message from heaven, that I should open the paper at this right time, see this ad, contact them, get the interview and in 4 days get the job.  What is really great about this job is that I told them that I didn’t want to work more than 20 hours, and they seem to accept that.  I can work any day of the week and any time from 7 AM to 8 PM at night.  What are the odds of finding a job that will be so flexible, in my profession, close to home, and the hours I want to work.  I couldn’t have asked for a better match.  Now I’m not saying there aren’t some faults with the job, as we all know, nothing is perfect.  But the flexibility of this position is something that will make me try a little harder and hope that it works out.

So I’ll let you know how it goes.  I have some concerns that the hours could exceed 20 hrs a week, but hopefully we can work something out.  I know I’m going to like the extra spending money, which will not be much, but more than not working.  It sure is a reality check what you get paid for a part time job, I didn’t realize how spoiled I was.  It has been 3 days, and I’m going back tomorrow, so keep the faith and let’s hope this new road I’m traveling down all runs smoothly.  To your happy employment travels.