Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sandia Peak Sneak Peek

I loved our hike on the Sandia Crest. I loved the forest and the wildflowers and the shade and the company. Then I slipped on the trail, sat on my rear, and gave my camera a good knock. I didn't realize the shutter wasn't opening fully until several photos later, but I kinda like the unexpected way these turned out. I like smooching.

It makes me feel on top of the world.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Junk Food Diet

Uh-oh! It apparently came free with our vacation this year. And I have the willpower of an amoeba.

We dined on cinnamon rolls for breakfast courtesy of Holiday Inn Express' Continental Breakfast. Yes, indeed, I now look like a continent, thanks for asking.

Is there anything more fun in the summer than a drive-in for dinner? Sonic to the rescue. It wasn't junk food--I had a fruit smoothie and a southwest chicken salad--but I discovered (apparently I am the last person in America to know this) that their drinks are half-price from 2 to 4 pm every day. Naturally when we were going through Farmington at 3:15 on the way back to Albuquerque, I suggested we stop and take advantage. I'm here to report that every sip of that very large, very thick, very strawberry milkshake was fabulous. Could someone come up with half the calories from 2 to 4, please?

I was a treat not to have to cook for almost two whole weeks, thanks to my son the wonderful and adventurous chef, but (you knew there had to be a "but") he has not discovered the benefits of low fat, low calorie, or whole grains yet. He's young and his arteries are supple and his metabolism is high. Unlike ours. Mouth-watering stuffed shells so rich in ricotta that any cholesterol test would still sound the alarm ten days later. Bacon for breakfast and bags of sour cream and barbecue potato chips to snack from. Salt and fat are an irresistible combination even to a confirmed sweet tooth like myself.

Then there were the fast-food dinners--Pizza Hut and Taco Bell and Quizno's. I was hungry, it was late and they all tasted great.

In the Totally Not Junk Food Column we find the New Mexican cuisine at Garduno's. I love Mexican food, but I adore New Mexican-style--if you don't break a sweat or find that your nose is running, then it's just not hot enough. And I do like it hot. What is it about Hatch Valley chiles? Perfection! Our side order of guacamole made tableside was pretty nice too. Of course for dessert, I dined on sopapillas filled with honey complement the heat from the chiles.

Back at home with the car emptied, the suitcases unpacked and the laundry done I didn't like the number (!) the scale was showing me. (If you're wondering, that was my scream of anguish you heard).

Soooo...lots of water during the day, immense amounts of fruit, whole grains, half my usual amount of sugar, small servings at dinner and an increase in exercise. Vacation food was nice for a short time, but eating healthy is feeling so much better.

(Who am I fooling?)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Clueless and loving it

I have no idea what date it is, 'cause I'm on vacation.

I do know that I get two extra days of someone else doing the cooking though. Does that count? You are thinking, she gets two extra days and wants credit?! She's lucky I don't deck her. I feel your pain, all you worker bees. Still, I earned the two extra days by being incredibly saintly while waiting for my sweetie to finish up while my son was having a birthday WITHOUT ME.

I'm thrilled that I've actually got an internet connection for a couple of minutes. It seems like ages (possibly it has been ages, see sentence one above).

I've been on vacation so long that I almost forgot my blogger password. That's long.

Today we played tennis, boxing, bowling, and golf. (Yep, my sweetie discovered the Wii once the younger set turned off Guitar Hero). I use "we" loosely since I sadly have no interest in it at all. I'm weird that way with computer games of any sort.

Continuing with the loose use of the pronoun: Today "we" dug up and carted two seedling cottonwood trees which actually look quite happy in their new home considering that it's 95 degrees out. I would have gone and helped but the menfolk obviously considered that my babysitting abilities were more valuable and went without me.

The Sandia Crest is amazing. Albuquerque is typical high desert and the Sandias don't look much different from down here. But our hike to the tram and Kiwanis Cabin was amazing, awesome, incredible, cool, shady, lush, flowery, slippery, interesting, easy, challenging and fun.

I can hardly wait to get back to my own computer and download the photos and show you how fantastic it was. I just love wildflowers and the Sandia Crest ranks second only to the Rockies near Yellowstone on my wildflower meter.

I have more petrified wood in my near future when we start back, so the memory of those wildflowers is going to keep me going.

p.s. I am a Nevada girl and the humidity here is killing me. It's the monsoon season and we've had rain showers daily and then 90 degree heat. Yuck. Thank heavens for ceiling fans. It could be worse, Reno was so smoky when we left that it was horrible. I'm hoping it's cleared up a little bit by the time we're back.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

14 hours, 1 devil dog and a mountain of A-1

Vacation time! It wasn't easy to get up at 4 am, but once up it was lovely and cool. Smoke all the way down to Vegas, yuck. 109 in Vegas, also yuck but thank heavens for a/c. Arizona gave us our usual rain showers and it cooled down from 108 to 78 in 20 minutes! We got to see flash floods from the freeway. Tomorrow--petrified wood. We are hoping to get colorful stuff although I was happy with the big pieces of tan wood we found last time.

Then we meet up with the birthday boy for fishing, horseback riding, ATVs and lots of fun up in the cool mountains near the Colorado border!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

My New Favorite Thing

I cook.

I cook because my sweetie eats out a whole lot when he travels and he travels often. I cook because I like my own cooking better than just about anybody or any place else's. I cook because I have control of the ingredients (think calories) and portion size. I cook because I am cheap and restaurant food is not.

I don't necessarily like having to decide what to cook, especially when I'm fresh out of new ideas.
"What do you want for dinner?" she asked in desperation.
"I don't know," he replied.
It's the story of my life.

But I've discovered quinoa. I know, I know, it's spelled like some variant of malaria medicine. But saying "keen-wah" is getting easier and easier.

It's high in protein and fiber (better than brown rice), only takes twenty quick minutes to cook (like white rice), has a neat crunchy texture, looks like fish eyes (okay, maybe that's not a plus), and has a flavor that can be enhanced simply (like butter and salt) or embellished (peanut sauce, tempura, balsamic vinegar). I find it in the bulk section of Raley's or Fred Meyer or Winco.

Having another option for dinner is priceless.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Teamwork Plus

You could train for a million years with your dog, but without love you would achieve a performance as dry as the Nevada desert during a drought. Add some love-- that wonderful, special, secret ingredient--and you get this. Pure magic!

So now I'm off to check YouTube for other videos showing Tina Humphrey and Chandi, fabulous canine freestyle partnership!