Happy Belated New Year Blog Post to you All! My last post to this blog was completed in August of 2017 and our lives have changed tremendously since its issuance. We sold our house, finally, downsized tremendously and moved into our Village. I can't recall how many times I filled my SUV with crap we did not need but it was in double digits. We received a very rare cash offer and of course took it!
As you can discern from the pictures, fall itself, not unlike the winter thus far, was freakishly warm and dry, for those of us dwelling at 7000 feet. Even our towering mountain of 11,000` has struggled to maintain the bare minimum of ski runs open. In the midst of all things change, we endeavored to get our family photos taken. We were thrilled with the outcome of the pictures, less thrilled with the prevalence of wrinkles, grey hair and a kid who is almost as tall as I am! We are grateful to be so healthy regardless.
The last three months of 2017 were a three-ringed CIRCUS. Gavin in basketball, Scouts and band plus our involvement in philanthropic projects nearly took us under the bus. Gavin did well in his second year of basketball and finally made a few into the net. He advanced from Scout rank to Tenderfoot in his Troop and pulled straight A's again. Eric and me completed our 10th year of leading the charge at Santa's Helpers, helping to bring a full Christmas to more than 300 local families 700 kids and 60 elderly. Thank God we had an abundance of volunteers and steady donations, which are the two mandatory requirements, to pulling it off each year. Eric managed to make it through a very hectic quarter without a second engineer. He somehow did the same amount of work as two had done previously, although he would not recommend it to anyone! My business slows during the holidays so my volunteering always increases. The Chuckwagons (community pantries) also kept me busy with ongoing public relations, marketing and education. I am so thrilled with their evolution as community resources. People, non-profits and restaurants are each donating food to keep them stocked. I call these people our "cookies", fitting for a chuckwagon theme.
Keeping food items in these Wagons, is no small task, given the extreme demand. New Mexico has the 2nd highest food insecurity rate among children and most families miss on average, 2 meals per week. Since these Chuckwagons are unregulated and not manged by an "entity," I get the opportunity to answer an abundance of questions about who or whom is actually using the donated items. My answer is simple.
We will never really know and isn't' that the point? In the absence of knowing the recipients we are unable to judge or really have an opinion about these individuals. I do know one of the Wagons is regularly emptied and re-filled, kids are beginning to understand more about who lives in their town and these little boxes have brought our community a bit of hope in an otherwise fairly grim year for humanity. What more can you ask for in this day and age, in these uncertain times? Despite being spread quite thin, we manage to host Eric's family for Christmas, provide lodging for friends after Christmas and squeak in a trip to Alberta. Over-Achievers, yes indeed.
|Evelyn~A spry 102 years of age|
I cooked up a storm for two days, we ate and then packed for this very spur of the moment trip to Canada, leaving our house to friends who needed it during this time. The very day after Christmas, sheets were flying, along with trash and towels as we flipped the house from one set of guests to another! And then, with bags under our eyes and in our hands, we headed to Alberta for a week of family, fun and freakishly cold weather (even for Canucks!) Gavin's Great-Grandmother had recently celebrated her 102nd (no it is not a typo) birthday and we chose to surprise her on a whim with help from a flurry of Eric's cousins.
|Cousins~Smoking Hot Ones|
Despite the -20 and -25 degree temperatures we managed to laugh until our faces hurt on more than one occasion of late night games, late night adult chats and some incredible metropolitan food! We gorged on Indian and Thai, plus some lovely French pastries and cookies from Duchess Bakery (owned by one of Eric's family members.) And, to top it off, we finally made it out for New Years Eve for the first time in years, enjoying a multi-course French inspired meal, paired with divine libations blended and mixed by course. The food was life-changing and so were the drinks, Special thanks to Duane for driving us home this very night and to the Wysynski and Johnson families for letting us lodge in their homes. We always hate to leave Canada as does Gavin, who is surrounded by cousins his own age. I am reminded of an old adage, "don't be sad it is over, be happy it happened." Since our return home and up-teen hours of much needed sleep, we are entirely back to normal. We are all exercising, eating clean and hoping to get rid of the holidays pounds before Girl Scout Cookie Season arrives!!!
Love to All,