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……..

New Mexico 2013 043

New Mexico 2013 053

New Mexico 2013 030

New Mexico 2013 042

New Mexico 2013 036

Where Does the Time Go?

I remember when I was a kid summer vacations seemed endless, it took forever to get to Christmas and it was a whole year before you next birthday.  Nothing ever got here soon enough.  I remember being in the car and saying “when are we going to get there”, or asking “when is Christmas going to be here”, it seemed the world and time was moving much slower.  Of course we all know it wasn’t but it sure seemed like it.  Then we got older, started families, and then we never had enough time, and it went to, Oh my God, its Christmas already, or it’s birthday time again.  We started measuring time with the age of our kids.  The kids are grown and we’ve been on our own for a while now.  We can’t believe how quickly the grandkids are getting older, but I don’t seem to relate to their aging as I did the kids.  Maybe being long distance has something to do with that.  But I don’t need kids, or grandkids to tell me that time is flying by again.

I quit my full-time job 8 months ago.  I can’t believe that 8 months have come and gone.  We moved here to Sun City over 5 months ago.   This I can not believe either.  Now we say, “already another birthday”, where did the year go?   We were busy with selling a house, buying a house, moving, getting settled in, painting, landscaping, and learning to have fun again.  I didn’t realize that my life had been so consumed with work that I forgot what it was like to really have fun.  Not having to worry about work stuff, getting up at 6am whether you wanted to or not, working weekends and evenings.  Life was not fun.  For the few weekends or evenings that we did go out I realize now that I had missed out on so much of life.

I look back and think I should have done some things differently, but I didn’t, and at least I’m lucky enough now to have the time to do those things I missed out on.  I’m going to Ladies luncheons, playing Mah Jongg with the ladies in the afternoon, attending weeknight parties, joining in game nights.  They might seem like little things, but I’ve come to realize that it’s sometimes the little things in life that are the most fun.  You can’t always plan or afford a world cruise, or vacation for 4 or 5 weeks at a time, or attend expensive functions, but you don’t need that.  You can find fun things to do right in your own neighborhood.  That’s one thing that Sun City has offered us and we are enjoying.

So now that I took my 10 minute break, we’re off to another neighborhood party tonight.  You won’t believe it but its called “howling at the moon”, I need not say anymore.  So remember whatever road you are traveling down, remember to be friendly, be sociable and smile.  Take that 5 minutes to talk with someone, you never know where it might lead to.  Happy traveling……..

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.

Burnet Air Show 041313 061 Burnet Air Show 041313 098 Burnet Air Show 041313 007

 

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…….

Burnet Air Show 041313 017 Burnet Air Show 041313 022

A Day’s Adventure

Back on the Texas road of adventures. If you have enough money and lucky enough to have the time and someone to travel with, seeing the U.S. or the World is exciting. But not everyone can take multiple weeks off to travel half way around the world. Many more only have the opportunity to visit sights that are closer to home. For those who enjoy a weekend get-away or are looking to put a vacation together another fun day to add to your trip if visiting central Texas is a visit to Fredericksburg, TX. You certainly can stay in town and visit these sights from there, but we made a day trip from our home and we stopped and visited many places en route to Fredericksburg. There is much to do and a variety for everyone.

Rt 290 is where the wine trail starts. If you like wine and want a relaxing day, you can spend the entire day traveling from one winery to the next. Every time we travel from Johnson City to Fredericksburg it seems a new wine tasting room is opening up. Even if you don’t drink much wine you should stop at least at one or two just to try some Texas wines. We happened to be visiting the area the 3rd weekend of the month so we went to Fredericksburg Trade Days. This is one of the biggest “market” days in the area. Most towns in this area have a certain weekend day of the month that they have a market days and usually it is on Saturday. But Fredericksburg calls their event “Trade Days” and it is for 3 days – Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It costs a few dollars to park but the entrance to the Trade Days is free. There is all kinds of stuff there. Probably not that much fun for kids but the Mom’s and probably even some Dads will really like this.

Another stop along the way is Wildseed Farms. In the Spring you can’t miss it. The fields are full of all types of wildflowers and the color is spectacular. They have a nursery where they sell plants, a cute store that sells knick knacks and on some days they have music in the afternoon. A nice rest stop along the way. There is also a place that sells pottery, so if traveling by car and you have room, definitely worth a stop. There is also LBJ’s ranch along the route, stop by and visit, always good to get a refresher history lesson.

 

England visitors 004

Along the way we stopped at a store, that I haven’t seen before. It was so cool! They had all kinds of wagons for sale – like the wagons from the  old Western movies. It was an interesting store to walk around and look at some of the unique items they have. Here are some photos of those wagons.  This Longhorn was eye level, very big!

England visitors 006

England visitors 009

When you finally reach Fredericksburg there is a very good museum “Pacific War Museum” that is if you have a family member that is a history buff, this museum should not be missed. You can spend a 1/2 day in this museum.  I see many a family split up, the men go the museum and the ladies go shopping. And that is what Fredericksburg is also about – shopping! They have blocks and blocks of shops. You could spend a day just visiting all the shops and hope that your wallet won’t be empty at the end of it.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, there are other things to do in the area, and many festivals during the year, depending on when your visit is scheduled. There are good restaurants so you can have dinner before you head home. If you haven’t been this direction for awhile, or looking for something new, I think you would enjoy the day, and also not having to deal with city traffic. If this is a road you decide to go down, have a great time on your travels…….

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.

Golfing Here we Come

This is my fair warning to all the die-hard golfers out there, we’re back…….

I used to be a fairly avid golfer, but this is going back at least 30 years.  Then from an avid golfer I went to more of a social golfer then just stopped playing.  My husband has probably never exceeded a social golfer.  It has been probably 12 years since we last played golf and in that time period we probably went to the driving range twice.  Since we haven’t played for 12 years and we had purchased our clubs years before we can honestly say our clubs are antiques.  We went to some local golf shops and I am truly amazed at how the golf clubs have gotten so large, especially the driver.

So I writing this as sort of  a warning to let all the people here at Sun City know that we’re getting back into golf and other golfers beware.  My husband went for a lesson, more as a refresher course, so today we went to the driving range, yes with my antique clubs.  We have a very nice neighbor that has let Fred try his old set of clubs, which are probably no more than 3 years old, much newer than his set.  You can’t expect much the first time out, but I can happily say that I not only hit some balls, some of them actually looked real nice – in the air and straight.  Then of course there were the shots that sliced or hooked and then there were the ones that never really made it into the air.  But I am happy, I could have been worse.  I know it’s going to take some practice and we need to be consistent about practicing, but I feel I’m ready to get back into the game.

Our Sun City has 3  – 18 hole courses so I have no excuses.  I can drive my golf cart right from my garage onto the course, you can’t get anymore convenient than that.  No more lugging them out of the car, getting them all setup on the cart, now it’s just drive over there and play.  There is also an advantage to playing on these courses over the general public courses, as I watch the players I know I won’t be the worst player.  But then again I certainly won’t be the oldest player.  I feel very compatible with the ladies here in the community.  There are of course the hot shots that are very good, but I just won’t be playing with them.  I don’t think I’ll ever get good, but I think I’ll get back to enjoying the game.

It’s a wonderful sport for enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.  With a cart it really isn’t that tiring, and it’s an activity that fills a complete day, and hopefully somewhere along the way we’ll have fun and hopefully as we play more see some progress and improvements in our abilities.  I remember when I used to play you always want that last shot to be great, it keeps you coming back for more.  So to all those fellow golfers out there, hit the ball hard and straight and hope for a hole in one this  year.  Enjoy the cart path you’re on.

Classic Cars and Vintage Planes

Last weekend we attended The Second Annual Georgetown Airport Classic Car and Vintage Plane Show.  It was a beautiful sunny day and really enjoyed seeing the variety of classic cars.  Although it was free admission, the proceeds from the day went to help our wounded warriors.  So it was for a good cause, and fun.  It was not the biggest or best show that we have been to but if you’re in the area next year and you like classic cars, then I would say that it would be worth the trip.  They were raffling off free small plane rides, so if you don’t get air sick in small planes, this would have been a great raffle for you.  Here are some of the cars that we saw at this event

Classic Car show Georgetown 013

Classic Car show Georgetown 001

Classic Car show Georgetown 022

Two of the planes that were there and these photos are of the raffle winners getting their free plane ride.

Classic Car show Georgetown 032

Classic Car show Georgetown 035

And here’s just a few more of the cars

Classic Car show Georgetown 021

Classic Car show Georgetown 029

So if you’re in the Georgetown area about mid-February next year check the calendar to see if this car show is scheduled.  It’s a nice day trip if you like classic cars.  Again travel does not always have to be far from home.  There are some great weekend activities that are scheduled close to where you live.  To happy travels down your back roads in finding fun things to do.

Finding Your Identity

I can’t believe that it has been almost 6 months since I quit my full-time job and took a “sabbatical” retirement. I thought it might be permanent, but then I thought it might be temporary that is why I made up a term “sabbatical retirement”. I needed a break. I was tired of my career, the same thing for over 30 years. I was damn good at it, but that still doesn’t mean you don’t get tired and stressed out. I cared too much sometimes, more than I should have, and it affected my health and my home life. I couldn’t leave work at work, I realize now that it consumed me and defined me. In all my adult years work was my identity. I am married and enjoy vacations, holidays, visiting family and friends, but always just sitting on the edges of my brain was my work.

I have written a few times as to how shocked I was walking away from my career and long work hours  and at how well I was adapting. Overall I think that’s a true statement.  I guess I don’t miss it as much as I could because I still have a friend that talks with me about issues he is dealing with in the same job I was doing.  So I’m staying “involved” by hearing all the issues he is dealing with, but yet I hang up and say that was fun to listen to, but then I never think of it again.  I like these discussions as it gives me a chance to give him my opinions, support him, and sometimes help him solve a problem.  And it helps me remember how glad I’m not in this position any longer dealing with the day-to-day problems and issues.  Not all was bad, otherwise how did I last for over 30 years, but Purchasing definitely is a position that has its fair share of problems.

The problem is I can’t sit still.   It’s just that I was always so busy that I was running on overdrive to keep up with work, and the things we did once I got home, from taking care of the house to visiting family, to having friends over.  I tackled everything like it was a job, very regimented, and organized.  So I go from this very regimented, fast paced, organized life, where every minute counted, and I was looking at the clock constantly, to now I don’t even know the date.  Basically I look at the clock when I’m getting hungry or if I need to be a class or activity at a certain time, and I have even advanced to days that I don’t even wear a watch.  OMG, if I went to work without my watch, the day was ruined before it started.

So although I am busy, I find that most things that we are participating in happens at night.  Game nights are in the evening, and all social events like dances are in the evening.  It seems the days are open for people to play golf, play tennis, tap dance, play pickelball, and the many, many other activities that Sun City has to offer.  Although I really do enjoy country Line Dancing, and I really do like yoga, I have really never been an athletic person, and with working all the hours I did, I never have been interested in being accomplished in any sport.  So although I want to golf, and I like to dance I can not do this every day, and at this point in my life I can’t see me doing this every day.   I wake up and think to myself am I ready to do this for the next 20 or 30 years?  I’m not planning on going anywhere too soon, and being able to retire early I have a lot of these years ahead of me, at least I’m planning on it.  When I’m truly honest with myself I need more.  The only identity I had for myself was based on my career and the job I was performing.  I never had my own children and although married, we have a strong independent relationship.  I never participated in sports, didn’t do volunteer work, and really didn’t go out much, so what was left was work.

So now I sit here, we’re not as busy as we have been and realize I need to find a new identity.  I’m not going to miss anything in the neighborhood that I can’t live without, and I realize that although I enjoy all these activities and social events, and I will continue to enjoy them, I realize I need more in my life.  I don’t want to go back to the long hours, but I do want to work part-time.  I also want to give back.  All I ever did was make money for the company, I want something different.  I’m going to find that.  I need to feel that I am doing something that means more than profits to the bottom line, and to come home feeling some satisfaction.  I made it 6 months but I am going back to work part-time.

One thing retirement will do for you is to give you time to think about what you have accomplished, who you truly are and who you yet want to be.   It’s time to be honest with yourself and to be truthful with yourself and others as to what will make you happy.  My husband knew this day was coming probably more than I even realized, but I’m glad for the time off I have had, but I’m looking forward to achieving something new and more rewarding.  I think part-time is a good compromise where I can still achieve some of my personal goals, while not completely limiting me on doing the activities I have begun to enjoy.  I’m hoping this compromise is exactly what I’m looking for.  To the new roads that are right around the next curve………………

You Think you have Seen it All!

Sometimes you think you have seen and done it all, but in reality we aren’t even close to seeing and doing it all.  But today I do have to say we did something that was a first for me.  About 20 years ago if you would have said that I would take time to watch something like this I probably would have laughed and said are you kidding.  This morning we woke up to a cloudy and rather cold morning.  The wind was quite strong so after having some absolutely beautiful winter days here in Central Texas, today was not so nice.  But we got in the car and drove to one of the other neighborhoods in our community, actually lucky Neighborhood 13 and we watched a Golf Car Mardi Gras parade.  Don’t laugh, it was actually quite cute.  I was surprised by the large number of golf cars that were decorated and the people (and dogs) that participated.

Of course, as with any Mardi Gras parade, there was candy being thrown, and the numerous different types of beads.  I am happy to say that I am now the proud owner of 42 different types of beads.  Actually I think that is quite a lot considering this was a small neighborhood parade.  But like with anything we have seen here at Sun City, whatever people choose to do, they do it with zest and zeal.  They give 100% to the decorating and although we had fun standing and watching the parade, the people in the parade were having an equal amount of fun.

I’m glad we went, another one of those firsts for us, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year waiting to see what each new month will bring us.  One thing living in a community of this type is that it gives you an opportunity to try everything, whether you’re a beginner or advanced, all activities are open for everyone to try to see if they like it, of course, withe the hope that you will like it enough to want to become a full-time member and become fully involved in their activity.  I’ve only found one thing myself, so far, that I find I want to get fully involved and that is Line Dancing.  I have so much more to try, but feel I have to give the things I am trying now my full effort before I move onto the next.

The worst part of today is that I forgot my camera!  Sometimes I think if my head wasn’t attached I would forget that too.  I had no phone and no camera so I will not be able to share any of the photos, but I think imagining what a parade of this type looks like could be even more fun.  I hope your day was fun and you also had a chance to experience “a first”.  That can’t happen every day so when it does, it’s a day you don’t want to forget.  Hope the road you’re traveling is free of bumps and pot holes and you have smooth traveling in the week ahead.  Until next time “happy travels”…………

Where Does Time Go?

It’s been awhile since I last posted, and as I look back over last month, January, I wonder where the time has gone.  We moved to our home in November, we are now in our 3rd month and I can say that there hasn’t been one day that I have sat here and said I have nothing to do.  I had expectations before we moved here, just like when  you start anything new.  Whether it’s a new job, starting a new excercise program, taking a class, you go into your project expecting something from it.  Sometimes you are disappointed and other times surprised because the outcome surpassed what you thought would happen.   Before we moved here I remember telling friends that if only half of my expectations are met, I will be happy.  I can honestly say that this is a time in my life that my expectations have been met 100%.

I have been retired since September, and I can say living in our previous home, if it wasn’t for the packing and preparing to move out of our home, I was on the road to boredom.  I found myself very aware of the time of day, and found I had more down time then I really was happy with.  Since moving to Sun City, it has been the opposite and we haven’t even scratched the surface of all the things we want to do.  We certainly did jump right in, but because of that we feel very much like we belong, and not an outsider looking in.  We are involved in multiple neighborhood game nights and asked to sub on more.  We have attended dances and have started taking yoga classes.  I really do enjoy the Line Dancing Club and look forward to our monthly ladies luncheons.  Our neighbors have included us with open arms, they couldn’t be nicer.  This has helped achieve my expectations.

We have a big Open House planned in February, and am looking forward to it.  People I didn’t think would come are coming, so definitely more than expected, so I guess some will just have to stand, or we’ll take turns sitting.  Either way I’m sure we’ll have fun.  We have parties planned out to June, that’s one thing I can say is that you certainly do get enough notice about attending a party.  Now put all these activities together and consider we just moved into a house that we are painting, putting knobs and handles on all the cabinets, shopping for some furniture and general house fixing up, every day is active and we’re busy.  What’s nice to know is that the house activity, such as the painting, etc… is coming to a close so we’re going to have more free time.  I am not worried about this extra time, but actually glad it finally has arrived as we are looking forward to even more activities to get involved in.

We are going to join the Country Dance club, learn how to play Pickle Ball, play a little Shuffleboard, and even get back into the swing of things by pulling our golf clubs out of storage and seeing if we can still hit that little white ball.  We will be joining the ranks of other Sun Citiers and will have our Golf Car very soon.  There will be days now that I won’t even have to pull the car out of the garage, we’ll be able to attend all of our activities using the golf car.  The day has arrived!  The next level will be joining these additional clubs, but then we need to go further and consider some day trips, and outside activities, that will be the final stage to total involvement.

I consider us lucky.  Our neighbors have been welcoming, they have given us direction and helped us become absorbed in this lifestyle very quickly.  I know all don’t experience this type of immersion.  Sometimes it might take a while, but if you’re willing to put in the effort it’s there for the taking.  What I’m looking forward to is the opportunity to continually meet new people.  We enjoy our neighborhood and all the activities it brings, but what also we’re looking forward to, is having a chance to meet the 5000 other people who live here.  Of course that’s silly, we’ll never meet them all, but I’m certainly going to give it my best shot.

We’re off on a new month, the weather is getting better, the sun is shining bright and I’m looking forward to each new adventure that is around each and every corner.  Keep your travels safe, we’ll be traveling close to home for a while, but whether near or far, it’s not the destination, but the time it takes you to get there.  Enjoy your travels………..