Same Time Last Year

Ciao Readers!

I hope this blog finds you and yours doing as well as can be expected. It has been quite some time since I blogged…I suppose like many of us I have just been at a loss for words (I’ve also been transitioning to a new job and semi-living in Denver – blogs to follow). However, on this day-after-Thanksgiving, in the most bizarre of years, having eaten leftovers and watched the usual holiday classics, my nostalgia has taken over and I had to say something….

I got to thinking about all of the “usual” holiday festivities, especially the ones I blogged about last year. While I think I have become pretty mindful these past few years, I know if someone had told me last year “you won’t get to do this next year” I would have stared at the lights a bit longer, lingered over tea with a friend until they kicked us out of the tea room, and soaked in running in a large group with a bit more appreciation. So far this year’s festivities have consisted of venturing out to the Denver train station to see it lit up for the holidays. Photos from that are right below; following that is a repeat of my holiday blog from last year – wanna get a bit nostalgic with me?

Harmonious Holiday Happenings (with helpful hints)

Ciao Readers!  And happy and healthy holidays to you and yours!

Before we head off to Portugal to eat as much seafood as deprived desert-dwellers can (and I run the Lisbon holiday 10k – yay!), I thought I’d share some happy holiday happenings with a helpful hint or two.

It’s been an interesting month and from what I’ve experienced in the universe (and on the inter- webs) many people are suffering.  I try not to be preachy, so I will just share my experience – Headspace is a meditation app that is really all that and a bag of chips (and no, they didn’t pay me to say that).  It’s pretty much how I go to sleep every night, plus there are cool mini meditations (3 minutes) for everything from feeling “overwhelmed” to “frustrated” to fear of flying. If you’re finding yourself frazzled this time of year (or any), you can try it out for free.

So, now that that “public service announcement” is over, on to the festivities.

Almost every year we go to the River of Lights at our bipoapark – it is super sparkly and festive. I blogged about it, complete with tons of photos, two years ago here. Since you can see those photos, I’ll just add a few new ones and a helpful hint. They now sell tickets to what they call the “magic hour” – this means you get in at 5:00 instead of 6:00 when it usually opens.  Now, granted, it is more expensive, but if you can swing it this is the difference: on a normal night you wait in a line of cars to get into the parking lot for 1+ hours, you are then sent to the farthest reaches of a back parking lot located in another state, and then you trudge through the River of Lights like a sardine lined up end-to-end. Pay the few bucks more and you drive right into the parking lot and pretty much have the entire place to yourself – score!!!   It’s gotten so big they even went into part of the Japanese Garden this year:

Another thing I do pretty much every year, but did much differently this year, is attend the Festival of Trees. It’s an annual fundraiser for Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation which works with kids with disabilities. The Albuquerque Convention Center is stuffed full of 100+ trees and 200+ wreaths, plus festivities, a mini village, kids crafts, etc. You can go for free or donate any amount you like. While it’s over for this year, next year you can volunteer to help decorate!  That’s what I did this year – I had no idea they had to start in September or what a precise science tree and wreath decorating were.  I was mostly a “helper elf*” – for example, I made all the bows in the tree behind me in the photo (and sourced the supplies for the Hanukkah tree pictured). (*Okay, full disclosure, I relegated myself to helper elf as I don’t seem to have the decorating touch – the cool (at least I thought so) travel/foodie wreath I sourced and made (first photo) was in the silent auction – and purchased by me, the only bidder!)  Steve and I even went to the opening night shindig.  Fun, festive, and for a good cause:

Finally, what Festivus would be complete without a festive holiday run and an indulgent ooh-laa-laa fancy-pants tea at St. James Tea Room:

Whatever you do or do not celebrate Dear Readers, I hope you find a nice warm peaceful space this holiday season.  Here’s to a bright 2020!!!

Harmonious Holiday Happenings (with helpful hints)

Ciao Readers!  And happy and healthy holidays to you and yours!

Before we head off to Portugal to eat as much seafood as deprived desert-dwellers can (and I run the Lisbon holiday 10k – yay!), I thought I’d share some happy holiday happenings with a helpful hint or two.

It’s been an interesting month and from what I’ve experienced in the universe (and on the inter- webs) many people are suffering.  I try not to be preachy, so I will just share my experience – Headspace is a meditation app that is really all that and a bag of chips (and no, they didn’t pay me to say that).  It’s pretty much how I go to sleep every night, plus there are cool mini meditations (3 minutes) for everything from feeling “overwhelmed” to “frustrated” to fear of flying. If you’re finding yourself frazzled this time of year (or any), you can try it out for free.

So, now that that “public service announcement” is over, on to the festivities.

Almost every year we go to the River of Lights at our bipoapark – it is super sparkly and festive. I blogged about it, complete with tons of photos, two years ago here. Since you can see those photos, I’ll just add a few new ones and a helpful hint. They now sell tickets to what they call the “magic hour” – this means you get in at 5:00 instead of 6:00 when it usually opens.  Now, granted, it is more expensive, but if you can swing it this is the difference: on a normal night you wait in a line of cars to get into the parking lot for 1+ hours, you are then sent to the farthest reaches of a back parking lot located in another state, and then you trudge through the River of Lights like a sardine lined up end-to-end. Pay the few bucks more and you drive right into the parking lot and pretty much have the entire place to yourself – score!!!   It’s gotten so big they even went into part of the Japanese Garden this year:

Another thing I do pretty much every year, but did much differently this year, is attend the Festival of Trees. It’s an annual fundraiser for Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation which works with kids with disabilities. The Albuquerque Convention Center is stuffed full of 100+ trees and 200+ wreaths, plus festivities, a mini village, kids crafts, etc. You can go for free or donate any amount you like. While it’s over for this year, next year you can volunteer to help decorate!  That’s what I did this year – I had no idea they had to start in September or what a precise science tree and wreath decorating were.  I was mostly a “helper elf*” – for example, I made all the bows in the tree behind me in the photo (and sourced the supplies for the Hanukkah tree pictured). (*Okay, full disclosure, I relegated myself to helper elf as I don’t seem to have the decorating touch – the cool (at least I thought so) travel/foodie wreath I sourced and made (first photo) was in the silent auction – and purchased by me, the only bidder!)  Steve and I even went to the opening night shindig.  Fun, festive, and for a good cause:

Finally, what Festivus would be complete without a festive holiday run and an indulgent ooh-laa-laa fancy-pants tea at St. James Tea Room:

Whatever you do or do not celebrate Dear Readers, I hope you find a nice warm peaceful space this holiday season.  Here’s to a bright 2020!!!

Happy 2013! (While you were away….)

Ciao Readers!  Happy New Year and Welcome Back!!!  I missed you!

I hope everyone had happy, warm and safe holidays.  How were our holidays?  Well, thanks for asking…

Over the past couple of weeks Steve and I took time to relax (yay!), tour Italy a bit, and eat (too much, as required this time of year).  We started off on Steve’s first weekend off by finally having our “Thanksgiving” meal (hey, it was only about 3+ weeks late).  Since I already made a pumpkin pie in a test-run, I decided to go for my s’mores pie instead.  I made the crust from Filipino graham crackers I got at Vivi Market (also where I got the [Swiss] marshmallows).  It wasn’t 100% spot-on, but delicious nonetheless:

smores pie

We did the usual “Thanksgiving” ritual – eating while we watched holiday movies (less traditionally, on a lap-top).  Here’s one of the cats enjoying Pee Wee’s Christmas Special:

holiday movie

In addition to celebrating “Thanksgiving,”  we tried out (or re-tried-out) some local ethnic dives (Rosticceria), which are so yummy they get their own post.  We also went on a “road trip” to Venice (and are planning one to Lucca this week), and those will also get their own posts in the near future.  We took time to revisit and newly visit museums covered by our cool Uffizi card as it expired Dec. 31st.  (And, of course, we did less exciting things (read books, cleaned house)).

Finally…for the first time in about 20 years (O-M-G, I am O-L-D!) we left the house on New Year’s Eve.  As I’ve mentioned before, it feels entirely safe here walking around just about any time of night (well, any time we’re still awake).  At about 9:00 p.m. we ventured out to walk the various piazzas and take in the live music that was scheduled.  Little did we realize that 9:00 p.m. was way too early for the festivities to begin.  As you can see from the empty band stand behind me, not much was happening at that time (not sure what I was thinking, 9:00 p.m. is barely dinner time here!).

hope new years

So, after strolling a rather quiet city, we returned home.  We did discover that there are fireworks all over town at midnight (though from what I understand, not sanctioned) and from our roof terrace we got to watch the city alight:

fireworks

All in all, putting aside a few days of my being under the weather and the fact that it was cold and still raining much of the time (seriously, enough with the rain already!), we had a lovely few weeks off.  Here’s to the new year!

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