Hello, blog world. Thanks to all my friends who have been writing blogs lately...I love it :) Even if I have to coerce them. Sorry, AC! :) And I promise you, our life is not that exciting...I mean, we live in the desert...
This past weekend my Dad was in town to visit! He had to be in Tucson for work last week and this week, and decided to come visit us over the weekend. We had so much fun! We ate some amazing food (don't you love when company comes in town and then you have an excuse to eat at all your favorite restaurants?!); we went to Kiki's, which I think I've mentioned before. It's a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place that's been around for the better half of a century, and it is divine. Dad has come out here a lot before for work, so he knew some good places and took us to a delicious steak house--it was so good. But I promise we did other things than just eating. Saturday we took Dad around and showed him around post and Brian's "footprint"; this is Army lingo that basically means their office buildings that they work out of. We also toured around our side of town and Brian got the rest of his Christmas present: camping gear! Essentials like a rolling cooler and bag chairs--now all we need is rattlesnake repellant. Praise the Lord I have not seen a snake here yet, but I'm just waiting...I mean, we live beside the mountain. I think I need to practice my shovel de-heading skills. Actually, I don't think I'd be that brave. Instead I think if I came across a snake (mind you, a big, poisionous one...) I'd be hightailing it in the other direction! My grandmother did send me a flora/fauna guidebook for the Southwest, and I've been acquainting myself with what lives around us. I thought I had seen a genuine roadrunner the other day, but upon futher investigation it was a quail. But it was a fast quail. My mission is to see one in person, and attempt to chase it-I think that'd be hilarious. Emily and I did see a huge jackrabbit when we first got out here...check out this picture-they are hilarious looking!
Another Southwestern thing we're getting used to are tumbleweeds. Apparently we are approaching the "windy season", where it is typical for us to have straight-line winds between 50-70 miles an hour. I think this season started last night as the whistling wind woke me up 4 times...it's loud! Anywhoo, windy season means lots of tumbleweeds, and Brian and I pummeled two of them as we were coming back from New Mexico (more on this in a minute). The thing is, you have no other option but to hit them, lest you swerve and crash into the car next to you. Sometimes you see them coming, other times you don't. But you always have the reaction of "oh, oh, a tumble... oh no, we're going to hit it!" Poor car paint. Maybe the "scratchy-chic" look is in these days...
So yes, as we encountered our two tumbleweeds, we were returning from a day trip to New Mexico with Dad! We went up to White Sands, NM, which is awesome. Dad has talked about this place for as long as I can remember, and it was so fun to see it in person! Although, the part Dad goes to is restricted so we just went to the state park. White Sands is an old, dried up lake bed that has been replaced with naturally-occuring gypsum sand...which is blindingly white. And since the wind is so crazy, it forms these insane dunes. If you've seen dunes in Florida, those are like pre-schoolers compared to what's at White Sands. They're so huge they rent "sleds", aka, plastic discs, to people so you can sled down them! We didn't do this, but we're planning on going back and sledding! It's kind of a surreal feeling being there; you sort of feel like you're on the moon...at least, that's how I felt. I'm sure in the summer you feel like you're in the 5th ring of hell, but hey, don't visit the desert in the summer, silly!
After White Sands we drove on to the towns of Alamogordo and Cloudcroft. Cloudcroft is up in the mountains, at an elevation of almost 9,000 ft. Now, to give you a little better perspective: Ft. Benning, GA, is at an elevation of 350 ft. and El Paso is at 3,700 ft. It was a big jump moving here. But guess what is found at 9,000 ft. in the desert? TREES. Beautiful, green, huge trees. I was in heaven. Cloudcroft is a little mountain town with a pretty tiny population, but they rent out lots of cabins and in the winter you can ski there--we even saw some snow!
All in all we had a really fun weekend, and it was great to get out of El Paso, even if just for a bit! It was so great having Dad here to help us around! We're looking forward to our next set of visitors too--Clay and Eric! They've decided to come spend a few days with us out here for part of their Spring Break--we're excited!
On a more mundane level, I had substitute training this past Monday. It went really well and I was really impressed with the amount and quality of training they provided for substitutes! Although, there was no lunch break....I don't do so well without food! Speaking of food, I've found I'm addicted to edamame in their shells. So good. And bonus: it's 99 cents at the store! Buy the kind with Chinese characters...delish. I also have this really yummy citrus turkey dish to share with you all, but as my hunger is growing, I'm going to go fix dinner and I'll post the recipe later! Love you all!