Now that we’ve got that out of the way

17 March, 2011 Off By Renée

How about an update?

My vacation was fabulous for the most part. I had not been back to New Mexico for nearly 5 years though I had a slight taste of the Southwest 2 years ago when Mr. Lowfatpie and I got married (we went to Arizona, Nevada and California). I have to say – each and every time I go back I am reminded that there is absolutely nothing like the endless sky found in New Mexico. I miss that and several other non-tangible things (and some tangible food items) and it’s actually hard to describe to people who have never been there. In some ways it’s still very much like the Wild West. In other ways, it’s modern, hip and cool. Plus the wide open spaces and natural beauty that is literally all around you. I would really like to go back at least once a year from now on and have to find a way to make that work.

My main purpose of the trip was to see my dad and get a feeling for myself whether he was OK or not. He’s a very positive, pragmatic guy and I didn’t expect that he would tell me over the phone if things were not going well with his treatment. I wanted to just go and make sure I saw him in case godforbid the treatment didn’t work or it turned out to be worse than he was letting on. Dad is fine, he’s even officially finished with the radiation now and while there were a few side effects I truly believe he is going to be ok. He was also really grateful that we came, even though there was no emergency – it meant a lot to him. To actually hear him say that made me feel very good (normally he doesn’t say those kinds of things) and I knew then I absolutely made the right decision to go.

I have a different relationship with my mom than I do with my dad. Not bad, just different. When dad saw me he exclaimed “You’ve whittled down to nothing! You’re just a wisp of your former self!” and he mentioned it every single day I was there that I had lost weight (because in fact I was around 95KG when I saw him last). My mom on the other hand said nothing, but talked about her weight loss (and yes she had lost weight and she looks quite good and fit for a 62 year old woman). It’s not a big deal, it’s just a difference that I don’t really understand.

I think also over the years I have discovered that being more and more like my dad personality wise makes me less of myself when I’m with my mom. Again, this is not bad, just different. I love both of them, just differently. And for the record if my mother were ill, had cancer or whatever I would also go to her and stay with her, make sure she was ok (and maybe even stay for the longer term if necessary).

So anyway, we stayed at my dad and stepmom’s most of the time we were there, in Albuquerque’s Nob Hill Neighbourhood. We ate out, a lot, but we ate at home too. We shopped at the local Import Supermarket so that Hubs could arrange the ingredients for a homemade curry (as that is his thing). Food shopping has always been an experience with my dad – I’m certain my love of good food and drink comes from him and I remember HOURS of food shopping when I lived in Chicago and he was in the suburbs with his 2nd wife and stepson (stepmom now is number 3).

I did bring my running gear with me but boy was running difficult! There is such a huge change in elevation that I am definitely not used to! On the Sunday that I was at my dad’s, before we even went to breakfast (they go to a local diner every Sunday!) I was up and running early in the neighbourhood. I literally mapped out a square so I would know exactly how to get back to the house. I ended up running about half and walking the other half (total of just over 8KM). Right near the end, I was running on the sidewalk because it was a busy road and I tripped over a crack and went flying! Ugh! It hurt, but it was more embarrassing than anything (someone did see me and screeched up to the sidewalk to see if I was ok. It was all very dramatic). I made it back home without any real injury but I spent the rest of the day with a killer headache that I eventually had to go and sleep off (I think it was a combination of the elevation and the eating of the sidewalk).

I also ran with Katie at Fit Living Daily! What a real treat! Katie lives near my mom and on Monday and Tuesday I was in that area so we made plans for Tuesday morning at 7am! Hubs and I drove to the Starbucks near to where we were going to run and Katie and I left him behind to enjoy his multiple espressos while we headed out to the desert! I can’t tell you enough what an honour and a pleasure it was to meet such a genuine person, that I only previously knew from the internet. Katie, I miss you and I wish we lived closer!

(Katie Hope you don’t mind I took this from your blog?)

So those were my two running days, I had some shopping days, a tourist day and a day that I spent going down to Alamogordo to see my grandmother. She’s 88 and a little bit mad (she’s a hoarder and her house is a disaster), but she’s still very, very clear. She is another reason why I want to go back more often; I have no idea how much time she has left. While her house is a disaster, it’s also a wealth of history – she has photos all over the place, in boxes, bags, frames, taped to the walls. These photos are my family, all that is left of it, and I was able to get a few more of them home with me for safe keeping (sometimes she gives them to me, but generally she wants to keep everything, like this photo of when she was in the Navy, taken when she was 22).

Mary Margaret (wilson) Shortz 1942

Hubs did make dinner for us on Wednesday evening and I invited an old school friend over as she lives and works in Albuquerque as well. We have known each other since we were 10! We have had periods where we were out of touch but when we are together it’s like everything falls back into place. I love that so much. After I left she and her husband went and had breakfast with my dad and stepmom at their Sunday Morning Diner, which is think is just awesome!! It’s like I’m still kind of there and frankly this happens to me all the time. I bring people together and it’s as if I’m actually with them.

We did spend also an afternoon driving up to Jemez with my mom and stepdad. This was a really nice day as well. It’s such a beautiful area – I’m so amazed every time I’m up there. Since food was involved in almost everything we did, we couldn’t resist to stop off at a café at Jemez springs for coffee and pastries… nom nom!!

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One thing I am totally amazed about is the portion size of food. I can totally understand why people struggle with weight and with the choices that one can make when eating out. One night we were out to dinner at a place called Street Food Asia – we had a couple of appetizers between the 4 of us, then the chef, who knows my dad quite well, brings out something else for us “on the house”. By then I was already full but I’d ordered a fried rice dish and knew it would be on the way. I had no idea what to expect but when it arrived I swear it must have been like 6 portions! Every time I took a bite I felt like it was multiplying within the bowl! I did not eat it all but I still managed to stuff myself to the gills. Then afterwards, dad and stepmom wanted to go for frozen yoghurt because well they always go for frozen yoghurt afterwards. Seriously I thought I was going to vomit on the road and yet, by the time we got to Olo, I joined in the yoghurt eating festival. Ugh. Not normal!!

Gaining “only” 900g during this vacation is a true miracle. While I’m trying not to worry too much about the number (though as I expressed to you yesterday I still think about this stuff all the time) I felt like a stuffed pig by the time we left. It seemed we were always eating! And the way back was no exception. Food in the morning at the airport, lunch at the next airport. Snacks. Food in the plane. Food at arrival airport. Ugh.

I am sad to be away from my family and friends, the blue skies and the big white puffy clouds, but I’m happy to be home where I can get my schedule back in order. Food-wise, movement-wise, it’s time to get back in the groove.

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