Friday, February 29, 2008

Santa Fe - Best restaurants in the world!

Every time we go to Santa Fe, we look forward to the food!

We eat at some of our favorite places, but always try to go someplace where we have never been.

Last week in Santa Fe, we ate at our old favorites: La Choza, Tortilla Flats, Harry’s Roadhouse, and Blake’s Lotaburger (twice!)

But we tried some new places and all of them were great!

Diego’s Café is in the DeVargas Mall, and we found that their New Mexican food is awesome! We will be going back there often. They had excellent green chile…yumm!

We had breakfast one day at Adelita’s, just down Cerrillos Road from our hotel. What a fun place: VERY colorful décor, and great breakfast menu. I think their tortillas are handmade on the premises, and are so good. Really nice employees there.

One night we were headed for downtown Santa Fe, but there was a blackout in the entire downtown area, so we went back down south on Cerrillos Rd. We had heard Los Potrillos was good, so we stopped there. It was jam packed crowded because of the blackout downtown, but it was kind of a festive atmosphere and everyone was having a good time; and the wait was only about 20 minutes. We had heard good things about this restaurant, but I wasn't totally crazy about it: it was authentic Mexican and not New Mexican ... and I missed the green chile. Not sure I would go back again; too many other choices!

We even tried a new Oriental restaurant, Bamboo Asian Cuisine on Cerrillos Rd., where we had a really decent dinner from the Mongolian Grill.


An aside…..not a restaurant but a food item - on our last day in New Mexico, we were in Old Town Albuquerque, and I bought a bag of Green Chile Garlic Pistachios from The Eagle Ranch in Alamogordo. Wow - they were really good - I think after I move to New Mexico, I shall send some of those to friends and family around the country to give them a taste of New Mexico.

Introducing our new house

Here is the report on our successful house hunt last weekend.

We looked at 14 houses on Thurs. and Fri. Most were not that special and had some features we didn't like. A few were really nice. ONE really stood out.

We went back to see it again on Saturday, and decided to make an offer on it. We were told there was another interested buyer, so we got our offer in right away. We had to wait for 24 hours for an answer. Sunday was a long day, we took a ride up into the Jemez Mountains past Los Alamos, NM, and the higher we got the harder it snowed until we were in a whiteout and had to turn around and go back down the mountain because we couldn't see any of the scenery anyway. All day waiting for the cell phone to ring….

Sunday night we got a counter offer from the sellers, and then we counter-offered, and they accepted it. We were really so stunned I don't think it has sunk in yet.

The house is on a 1.73 acre lot, and is 2071 square feet. Not huge, but just the size we were looking for. The sellers had it priced to sell, and took an even lower offer so we got a very sweet deal. It had only been on the market for 8 days.

The house is situated on one of the higher lots in Eldorado, so there are incredible views - the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the north, the Jemez Mountains to the west, and the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque to the south.

The house is gorgeous. It was built 14 years ago by a builder that we are familiar with who is now building million dollar homes. The house looks brand new. It has all the features we wanted - vigas in every single room of the house, including the bathrooms and the laundry room. Most of the house is tiled with Mexican Saltillo tile. There are two fireplaces, three bedrooms and three bathrooms. All the bathrooms have colorful Mexican talavera tile, even the bowls of the sink in the bathroom. The entire house has radiant heat under the floor. Makes it really warm to walk on. There are arches and touches of decorative tile in various places. The living room is mostly all windows and has a high 15 foot ceiling. There is a spectacular view outside of every window. The kitchen is great - big enough, large pantry, new stainless steel appliances, tiled counter, a nice sized island, lots of counter space. Outside, there is an enclosed walled courtyard across the entire front of the house, and a long covered brick portal the length of the courtyard. There is also a large enclosed yard in the back, so Starman and Sugar will have a nice place to play.

The house was just stuccoed last year, so the exterior looks brand new. There are some trees and other landscaping in both of the courtyards, and the rest of the lot outside the courtyard is covered in juniper trees and cactus and there is privacy from traffic on the street.

The ONLY negative is a very small dining room, but we don't have huge crowds of people to eat at our house, so we can live with it.

This is the part that has me believing that God picked this house for us: It went on sale just a week before we arrived last Thursday, so hardly no one else had seen it and were ready to make an offer on it. The builder is a man we are familiar with and have talked to about building us a house, so we have researched his work thoroughly in the past. And the best part is that it is six doors down from the property we already own.

It seems like we were given the opportunity to own this house after being so disappointed that we could not build a house on our lot. This turns out to be a better deal, because this house is just loaded with features that we could never have afforded.

We are very relieved and excited, and I still don't think this has sunk in yet. It's been such a long process it is hard to believe we finally made it to a decision.

The home inspection will be next week, the closing on April 11, and we can move anytime after May 1.

WOO HOO!!! Like I said, this has just not sunk in yet.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

There officially is "una casa de Towanda" in Santa Fe !!!

We did it! It's official.

We spent two days of house-hunting in Eldorado over the weekend, and found the perfect house! Well, pretty much perfect for us anyway. We made an offer on Saturday afternoon, and after a counter offer and a counter-counter offer, the sellers accepted the offer, and we are under contract! The closing on the house is scheduled for April 11.

It has been an exhausting five days, ending at 2:00 a.m. this morning when we arrived back home in Kansas after a flight delay and then a cancelled flight in Denver, and a bit of a bumpy ride home. (I absolutely HATE flying!)

I am still very tired today but happy and relieved and excited.

I wanted to get my news posted, and I will add details and pictures in a day or so.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

House Hunting Feb. 2008

Today is the day we fly to Albuquerque and drive to Santa Fe. Tomorrow we will continue our hunt for the perfect house. Well, perfect for us, anyway.

We have done a lot of homework on the internet and already have sent our realtor a list of homes we want to look at. We'll see about a dozen houses and then narrow it down to a few favorites that we want to look over again. Maybe by the end of the weekend we will be set to make our big decision and make an offer. It's a very exciting time for us because we have waited so long.

This will be another all-business weekend, but we still have to eat, so the anticipation of visiting our favorite restaurants is almost as enticing as the house hunt.

I will be back next week to report how everything went.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Winfield Townley Scott

Quoted in The Spell of New Mexico, reprinted from Exiles and Fabrications, 1957:

"If, as I intend, I go on living in New Mexico, I suppose I shall know it far better than I do now, but I suppose I shall never again see it as clearly as during my first year. And what is there about this land which sets travelers to altering their schedules and overstaying? What is there, more forcefully still, that has seized on astonishing numbers of people who came to look, and then put down their luggage and remained? As it has upon me."


"This old-world look, in such plenitude, of course provides a large part of the charm of the place, and the look is native, true, not a deliberation of quaintness. Yet I think, first of all, the magic is in the land itself, the magnificent stretches and towers of land."


The breadth and height of the land, its huge self and itse huge sky, strike you like a blow. There are those who at once dislike it; in a kind of dismay at so much inhuman space, they flee from it. There are more who at first can do nothing but stand and stare. Yes, I thought, this is a part of my country and wholly different from the countryside I have so long known; this is what I entered without really being able to imagine it. Wind-blown, dry, half-barren, shining, the landscape vaulted about us as our friends drove us to Santa Fe from the station at Lamy."

~~Winfield Townley Scott~~

Saturday, February 16, 2008

More Ernie Pyle

Quoted from The Spell of New Mexico, reprinted from New Mexico Magazine, 1942:

"We like it here because you can do almost anything you want to, within reason. In four months, I haven't been out of overalls more than half a dozen times. And I go to the Alvarado Hotel's swell Cocina Cantina always in my overalls, and nobody raises an eyebrow.

We like it because we can have Navajo rugs in our house, and piñon and juniper bushes in our yard, and western pictures on our knotty-pine walls. We like it because you can take a Sunday afternoon spin into the mountains and see deer and wild turkey, and because I have a workbench where I can make crude little end-tables and such stuff for our house.

We like it because you aren't constantly covered with smoke and soot, and because the days are warm and the nights are cool, and because the weirdest kind of desert weeds are always springing up in our bare south lot. We like it because we can see scores of miles in any direction from our house, and yet we can drive downtown in seven minutes."


"We like it out here because we seem to go to bed early and get up early--and certainly out here he who does not see the dawn at least once a week is missing perhaps the loveliest thing the desert has in its Horn or Plenty. We have seen sunrises so violently beautiful they were almost frightening, and I'm only sorry I can't capture the sunsets and the thunderstorms and the first snows on the Sandias, and take them East and flaunt them in people's faces."

~~Ernie Pyle~~

Friday, February 15, 2008

D. H. Lawerence

Quoted in The Spell of New Mexico, from Phoenix: The Posthumous Papers of D.H. Lawrence, copyright 1936:

"New Mexico, one of the United States, part of the U.S.A. New Mexico, the picturesque reservation and playground of the eastern states, very romantic, old Spanish, Red Indian, desert mesas, pueblos, cowboys, penitentes, all that film-stuff. Very nice, the great South-West, put on a sombrero and knot a red kerchief round your neck, to go out in the great free spaces.

This is New Mexico wrapped in the absolutely hygienic and shiny mucous-paper of our trite civilization. That is the New Mexico known to most of the Americans who know it at all. But break through the shiny sterilized wrapping, and actually touch the country, and you will never be the same again.

I think New Mexico was the greatest experience from the outside world that I ever had. It certainly changed me for ever."


"The moment I saw the brilliant, proud morning shine high up over the deserts of Santa Fe, something stood still in my soul, and I started to attend."


"In the magnificent fierce morning of New Mexico one sprang awake, a new part of the soul woke up suddenly, and the old world gave way to a new."


"For a greatness of beauty, I have never experienced anything like New Mexico."

~~D. H. Lawrence~~

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tony Hillerman

Quoted from The Spell of New Mexico, introduction. Copyright 1976:

"I could list a dozen such places - the lava flow that stretches south of I-40 east of Grants, the Bosque del Apache on winter mornings when the snow geese are flying and the sky is full of the sound of birds; the ruined, eroded one-time grazing country that stretches south of Shiprock, the cold ridge on which the village of Truchas is built; and the eastern plains, which inspired in Conrad Richter the concept of his classic The Sea of Grass. I have never made that long, monotonous drive through the great vacancy between Albuquerque and Roswell without finding my head filling with ideas crying to be written."


"By any material standards, ours is a poor state, and it looks poor. Its eternal drought, its barrenness, its immense and sterile badlands show at a glance. Except for a few narrow river valleys, it offers none of those views of lush, green fertility that speak to the primal subconscious of food, comfort, security, wealth, and therefore, of beauty. It's obvious that New Mexico didn't attract migrants with any glittering promises of easy living. Its appeal was to those who had values a little different from the materialism of American society."


As for me, I can only say that New Mexico seems to make me want to write."

~~Tony Hillerman~~

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ernie Pyle

Quoted in The Spell of New Mexico, reprinted from New Mexico Magazine, "Why Albuquerque?" July 1942:

"We like it here because we're on top of the world, in a way; and because we are not stifled and smothered and hemmed in by buildings and trees and traffic and people. We like it because the sky is so bright and you can see so much of it. And because out here you actually see the clouds and the stars and the storms, instead of just reading about them in the newspapers. They become a genuine part of your daily life, and half the horizon is yours in one glance just for the looking, and the distance sort of gets into your soul and makes you feel that you too are big inside.

Yes, there are lots of nice places in the world. I could live with considerable pleasure in the Pacific Northwest, or in New England or on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, or in Key West or California or Honolulu. But there is only one of me and I can't lilve in all those places. So if we can only have one house - and that's all we want - then it has to be in New Mexico, and preferably right at the edge of Albuquerque where it is now."

~~Ernie Pyle~~

Monday, February 11, 2008

Lawrence Clark Powell

Quoted in The Spell of New Mexico, reprinted from Southwest Review, 1957:

"Sum it up. The spirit of religion, the sense of layered history, the enormous beauty of landscape under the blue and white sky and the starry darkness, a land of many-cultured richness lived in for at least a millenium and yet still sparsely-peopled--these are some of the essences that northern New Mexico holds for me and which I find nowhere else on earth. Land of enchantment, land of nourishment, land of many good returns."

~~Lawrence CLark Powell~~

Saturday, February 9, 2008

John DeWitt McKee

Quoted in The Spell of New Mexico, reprinted from the New Mexico Quarterly 27, no.3 (Autumn 1957):

"It is the land that holds us here. It is the unrelenting land, this great fierce, challenging, canyon-gutted, mesa-muscled land, which holds us and gives us space enough to write a life on--and leaves it to us whether we have courage enough and faith to fill the page."

~~John DeWitt McKee~~

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Spell of New Mexico

I recently discovered the coolest little book to add to my New Mexico collection. The name of it is The Spell of New Mexico. It was published in 1976 by The University of New Mexico Press. It's a collection of essays about the state, and was edited by Tony Hillerman. The essays were primarily written in the 1950s, by such writers as D.H. Lawrence, Conrad Richter, C.G. Jung, Ernie Pyle, and others.

What is striking to me about the book is that although the essays were written 60 years ago, they are as up to date and timeless as though they were written last week. Most of them are just so delightful to read, describing the New Mexico I have known and loved for many years. How wonderful to know that others in the past have felt the same way, and have recorded their thoughts to preserve the spirit of NM for those of us who have follwed. The book is full of wonderful quotes; I am going to post some of them here in the coming days.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

More New Mexico dreaming

It's a cold gloomy day with sleet falling where I am ... a nice morning to think about sunny New Mexico.

These pictures were taken in October 2007 along NM Rt. 3, near Villanueva State Park. That north-south road from I-25 west of Las Vegas to I-40 east of Albuquerque is one of the most scenic drives in northern NM.

I wish I were there right now.


Friday, February 1, 2008

The Dow Jones and me.

I haven’t been here for a long time. Just didn’t have the energy to be real positive about things.

I really know practically nothing about the stock market, but I do know my husband. And when he looks worried, I worry.

Seems like we have spent way too long now watching the stock market and where it seems to be headed. For a while things were getting so bad I was envisioning my dream home becoming a two-room abode “fixer-upper”. haha…nervous laugh…

Things are a little better now. The market seems to have stabilized some and we didn't lose our shirts. The houses in Eldorado are coming down a little in price … and there are more of them going on the market every day.

We are taking advantage of a great buyer’s market….and when we make our trip to Santa Fe later this month, looks like we are in a good position to find a house that is just what we are looking for.

IF Wall Street cooperates.