The busiest times are always the hardest to write, aren’t they? And yet those are the only times there’s anything interesting to write about! Last week I went to Albuquerque to visit my sister, brother-in-law, and two young nephews. It was a pretty relaxing vacation for me, although it gave me great insight into what life is like with two very young children to take care of. I enjoyed playing with my nephews and getting to know them a little better. I can’t believe how much they learn and grow, even just in the week I spent with them, let alone as whole years go by! So I’m glad I found the time to visit them this year, and hopefully it will be easy to get together wherever we are all living next. That’s still a big mystery for T and I, at this point!
I spent a lot of time with the kitty last week. As K and P were busy with the kids or already in bed, the cat sought me out and was my constant companion on the sofa.
I asked K and P if we could see some nature, so we drove to the Albuquerque Volcanoes on the first day of my visit. It’s not much of a hike with two kids though- Z was ready to turn back pretty much the instant we set foot on the trail. But it was really beautiful, and such a dramatic change of scenery from anywhere I’ve lived before. A camera can’t really capture the colors out there as well as the human eye.
One day after dropping Z off at school we drove up to the foothills of nearby mountains. Just a gorgeous day!
K knows all about the best food in town. We had some donuts from Rebel Donuts, which featured a “Blue Sky” donut as a tribute to Breaking Bad. I don’t have any pictures, but I got to see THE car wash while I was in town !My last day we drove up to Santa Fe and had a look at some local art galleries on Canyon Road. I didn’t take any photos worth posting (and you can’t take pictures of the art in the galleries, anyway), but I enjoyed it more than I had expected. My favorite was the Longworth Gallery featuring works of magical realism. The works there made me feel like I had gone back in time to my childhood, when both my sister and I were really into fantasy and magic.
Ever since returning from Magfest I haven’t had much to write about due to massive quantities of work! I actually love having an excess of work because I know exactly what to do when I get up in the morning, but I’ve made some time for other activities, too.
Last week was the Joint Ventures book club meeting. Everyone read The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton which was my suggestion. It was quite long compared to what we normally read, so only about half of the group actually made it to the end. I was pleased that most people enjoyed it thoroughly once they finished it, and the conversation was enthusiastic enough that those who hadn’t read until the end were excited to finish it later. I’m really in love with this author, and I was really eager to have the chance to share her work with other people, and hopefully get her some new fans. I’d been dying to talk about the book.
I’ve also been doing a little bit of cooking, having been inspired by the Michael Pollan Netflix miniseries “Cooked” as well as some other cooking programs. Although I haven’t dazzled Tristan with newly developed cooking abilities, there’s been a huge transformation in our kitchen over the past couple of weeks. These days the freezer is nearly empty and the fridge is jam packed– it’s usually been the other way around! I’m reminded of when we lived in Korea and frozen food was practically non-existent. Except we just didn’t cook then.. but it has been fun to be more involved in the preparation of foods, and it’s had a marked impact on my diet, especially snacking. If you tell yourself you’ll only snack on things you’ve made, the interest in snacking fades away!
English lessons are also going well. My discount period has ended and I no longer offer free trial lessons, so I’ve not got nearly as many lessons booked, but those I do have have become repeat customers. I’m enjoying getting to know a variety of interesting people. One of my students is nine years old, but I’m pretty sure her English (and passion for studying it!) surpasses my other adult students! I thought I’d be teaching more Koreans, but I think there just aren’t many Korean users on that website. It turns out to not be a problem as my students are all intermediate or advanced, so there are no communication problems.
That’s it for now… I’m off to ABQ for a few days, and am excited to see my sister, brother-in-law, and two adorable nephews, as well as a change of scenery!
This weekend while Tristan was out of town I made a lot of progress on my costume for Magfest! I’m still working on the arm to make it more robotic looking, but the character is at least recognizable. I wanted to go out for supplies yesterday but it snowed like crazy just on the cusp of freezing, which generated a dangerous slush on the roads. I hope that clears up so I have time to do a bit of shopping before we leave town.
Here’s a closeup of the belt buckle. It’s not a work of art, but considering it’s made of a cheap children’s foam clay I think it came out pretty well! Looking at this picture reminds me that I need more chains to attach as well. Add that to the shopping list.
This is unrelated, but here is a cute picture of sweet potato on the scale. I was worried she was underweight so weighed her. She’s less than an ounce, but that’s normal weight for her breed.
In other news I’ve been teaching a LOT and it’s going well. This week I had all paid lessons, so it’s finally beginning to pay off! I’ve met a lot of interesting people and had some great conversations. I think it will be easy to build up a regular set of students that will hopefully continue for a while. Once busy season starts again with retouching.. we’ll see. I can’t wait to find out where we’ll be living next so I can start planning for things.
Perpetually waiting over here!
On Saturday we celebrated the Chinese New Year (Koreans call it “Lunar New Year”) on campus. Sadly I was having too much fun to take many pictures! But we ate some good food and got to practice making dumplings, writing calligraphy, watched some dancing, and tried Chinese hackeysack. I met some new people and Tristan wrote the character for “monkey”, because 2016 is the year of the Monkey.