Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Beginnings

This weekend, the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande got a fresh start.  After a couple years without a bishop seated at the cathedral, we finally now have one!  I can't even begin to know first-had how difficult it was to operate as long as the diocese did without a bishop, but from what I've heard from people who have been here longer than I, it's been a tough road.

On Friday morning, Leni and I had the distinct pleasure of being part of the roughly 1200 people who attended the Consecration of Bishop Michael Vono.  It was truly amazing.  We got there more than an hour ahead of time and got some slammin' seats and had a pretty good view of the whole 3 hour event.  It really didn't seem that long to me.  I'd never been to a consecration before so seeing new things in a church I've known my whole life was refreshing.  

Kudos go to the scores of people who came together to plan the event. I counted 7 languages used in the context of the service: English, Hebrew, Sign, Spanish, Latin, Italian, and Navajo.  The 80-voice diocesan choir was outstanding...especially since I was seated about 15 feet from them!  Here are a couple pictures I took, although crumby in quality because flash photography was not permitted:

Singing of  a Hebrew call to prayer by a Rabbi in honor of our Jewish roots

Bishop-elect Vono standing before the consecrating bishops
This video doesn't have much action in it however it is meaningful.  It is of the bishops surrounding Michael Vono and laying hands on him while the choir is singing "Come Holy Spirit" in latin

As mentioned before, the people of this diocese have been without a bishop for some time.  Without going into the history, I'll just say that the departure of the past bishop had been hurtful for many.  Needless to say, this consecration of Michael Vono has been much anticipated and prayed for and there is great hope that he will be the shepherd and leader that is so very much needed.  Immediately following the actual consecration, he and his family were officially introduced and the applause went on for quite some time before he speaks a few words in the video below.  The excitement in the crowd was palpable:

Many congrats to Bishop Vono, and to the diocese as, together, we start a new chapter of ministry!

On another subject, this is officially the 100th post of Snack for Later.  In celebration of that, you have hopefully noticed that the blog got a cosmetic face-lift.  Hope you enjoy the new look!

Keep It Real!

P.S. - Los Alamos Trails Goal Update: 4.1 of 29.5 miles completed

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

House Blessing

This past weekend, we took part in a combination progressive dinner-house blessing event with two other families.  It was quite fun and meaningful too!

We started at one home and had appetizers there.  We then walked around the home blessing each of the rooms as the priest sprinkled holy water in them and said some brief but wonderful prayers specifically for each room.

Next, we moved on to another family's home.  There, we enjoyed the main dish of dinner and the blessing of their home.

Finally, we moved on to our place for some dessert of creme brulee (see recipe here) and the blessing of our house.  

We were together for about 4 hours and it was great to see people chatting, getting to know each other better, and having a wonderful time.

All 3 families plus Fr. Kelly and his lovely wife!
The pooches got blessings too!
All in all, it was one great evening.  

Keep It Real!

P.S. - Los Alamos Trails Goal Update: 4.1 of 29.5 miles completed

 Ranch School Trail - 25 minutes from  my front door

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Turn Left, Turn Right, Repeat as Needed

The bug is working its way in and I'm getting the itch.

I want to ski soon.  I'm enjoying this fall weather right now but soon, the leaves will be down and I'll be ready to get out there.

Between the equipment I already had and the stuff we got Leni at the ski swap this afternoon, we're all set.

The pink boots aren't mine!
At this point, there's just one problem.  The ski mountain that looms over our city looks like this right now:

I need it to look like this:

Sigh....I guess I'll just have to wait!

In other news, just two more posts until my 100th post and subsequent blog facelift.  Stay tuned.

Keep It Real!

P.S. Los Alamos Trails Goal Update: 2.8 of 29.5 miles completed.

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Car, New States

This past Columbus Day Weekend was a 4 day weekend for us since it happened to fall on a weekend that Leni had Friday off from work.  And boy did we need that time!

We'd been talking lately of getting Leni a new (to us) car to serve as a daily driver.  We had a few needs to be met and we had been trying to find a vehicle that would meet them all.  Specifically, something that could comfortably hold people, something with better safety ratings than Leni's 4runner, and something that could tow.

The answer: a 1997 Toyota
(duh!) Landcruiser.  Also known as an FZJ-80.

We weren't really planning on getting this vehicle until next year but when one in really good condition popped up on craigslist at a STEAL of a price, it was foolish not to jump on it.  We called up the guy, asked all the right questions, and made the arrangements to buy it.

: Waking up in a state that borders Mexico and falling asleep in a state that borders Canada.

Early on Friday morning, we jumped in the car with the dogs and a cooler of food.  The destination: Boise, Idaho.  Fifteen to sixteen hours away.  A stretch for one driver, but doable with two.  

On this trek, we graced two states that Leni had never visited: Utah and Idaho.  I think I was more excited about this than was Leni.  Utah is AMAZING.  We have to go back there to spend more time someday.  Moab is beautiful and just outside of it, there are entrances to two national parks within a few minutes of each other.  There was also snow above 11,000 feet on the peaks looking down on Salt Lake City.

Got to the hotel at about 8:30 pm and had some dinner in the room.  Watched a movie in bed, and passed out.

: We brake for...nothing...yet

Tired but excited, we made our way to the designated meeting spot.  We met the seller and his wife - they were a delightful couple in their 50s or 60s who were sad to let their beloved car go but knew they didn't need it anymore.  Despite some brake issues, which we had been made aware of ahead of time, the car checked out, the guys did the paperwork, exchanged the money, and it was a done deal by 10am.

At 13 years old, let me introduce to you the newest car Leni has ever purchased:

The car was a good deal because, as I mentioned, it did need a little brake work.  While Leni got to work diagnosing this, Lucy and I were doing what we do best - laying in bed watching a movie:

Hotel rooms mean dogs on bed - a special treat NEVER afforded at home
Sierra is so well-behaved that she won't get on a bed, even when invited!
In the afternoon, while taking the car out on a test drive after Leni had done some things to the brakes, we visited a dog park and our labs saw the first dog they'd ever seen that was bigger then them - a great dane!  Then it was back to work on the brakes.  There was a late dinner break for Dominos.  Due to the recent Dominos TV commercials, I succumbed and tried their new pizza that they claim is better these days than it used to be.  I think it is better, but it still doesn't beat Papa John's!

: Invasion of the RVs

Of all things, I was most excited for the journey home.  Shorter days, the ability to stop more often to see things if we wanted, and the prospect of picking my own music since I was driving my car alone :) We were on the road with both vehicles by 7:30am and throughout the day, I got quite acquainted with the back of Leni's new car. Luckily, the landscape was changing:

At 5:30pm, we got to our campsite in Moab.  We had selected this particular camp ground because Leni knew some guys who had been there all weekend in their trucks wheelin'.  This was unlike any camping spot I'd ever seen.  Mostly because it catered mostly to RV types and less to tent types like us, although it did have a few spots for tents.  

RV people are really a breed of themselves.  Not bad people by any means, just very different.  In my world, tent people are more hard core.  They live simply and make due with what they have.  But in that campground, we were the bottom of the totem pole, sleeping in JUST a tent.  It it amazing the things some of these people had on their alloted camping space.  Some were clearly not passing through for a holiday weekend but rather full time residents.  Some of the permanent structures that they had erected were incredible:

A simple fence

A sodded dog run

A saloon?

A more serious fence with a "garage" entrance for a car
I couldn't complain about the view from our tent when I woke up this morning:

I did, however, have some complaining to do about the elongated toilet bowls with the normal, round toilet seats:

Unlike my normal personal rule, I donned white cotton socks in my Tevas in the morning:

Don't's okay....I'm in an RV park
Residency at this particular RV park came complete with free wifi.  I guess that is standard now but it seemed crazy to me and I'm proud to say that we did not partake in this amenity.  I did learn, however, that when the signal is bad, you can just drive to the Super 8 parking lot and use theirs.  The password, if you are ever in the area, is "adventure".

Favorite thing to see in the RV park?  A family watching Robin Williams' movie "RV" while in their RV. The sight of a guy trying to drive a rental RV around a corner was a very close second.

: Just get home

Thank God for Columbus, without whose holiday this trip never would have been made.

This day was filled mostly with the continuing view of the lay of the land around the Landcruiser:

Just outside Moab

Windshield getting dirtier - cool arch though!
Back in northern New Mexico
On a dirt road "short cut" about an hour from home.  Leni left me in the dust
By 4:15pm we were home and happy to be there!

Keep It Real!

P.S.  Los Alamos Trails Goal Update: 2.8 of 29.5 miles completed

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step"

No home in Los Alamos should be without this book:

It is an incredible tool for people like us.  As its name suggests, it lists information about trails all around the area, both in the city limits and out.  We are so blessed to live in a place that has a trail system within the city.  As I have described before, the city is built on a series of mesas which are separated by canyons filled with beautiful forests, hence the venue for the trails.

Anyway, the first chapter of book pictured above is called "Within Los Alamos".  It gives detailed information regarding the 25 trails located in town.  Here are some brief stats:

  • Shortest Trail: .2 mi
  • Longest Trail: 5.9 mi
  • Average: 1.18 mi
  • Total Distance of all 25 Trails: 29.5 mi
I decided yesterday that I'd like to hike each part of all of these trails.  So often, I talk to people who have lived in a place for years and haven't experienced some of the quintessential and easy things that the area has to offer.  I don't want to be that person.  There's so much to do here and it may be that it is impossible to do everything, but this is an attainable goal.  With names like Acid Canyon Trail, Kinnikinnik Trail, Hidden Canyon and Deadman's Trail, who wouldn't want to go for it?  And with 3 trailheads within spitting distance of my house, there's no excuse.

If anyone wants to join me for any of this, let me know! :)

Official Distance Completed To Date: 1.5 of 29.5 miles

Keep It Real!

P.S. - This is the 96th post of my blog since its inception in May of 2009.  Stay tuned for a new look beginning with the centennial post in the very near future!

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Tribute to Animals I've Devoured

Tonight for dinner, I'm having something I've never had before: javelina.  I have to admit I'd never heard of what that was until I was a teenager.  But it wasn't until the most recent visit of Leni's parents (or perhaps the one before?) that I had access to any.  It's been sitting in my freezer for a while and last night I decided that it was time to give it a shot.  I threw a javelina shoulder in the crock pot with some doctored BBQ sauce and we shall see how it goes.

It got me thinking about how many animals I've eaten in normal life, my travels, and now in being married to a guy from a hunting family.  Without further ado, I'd like to introduce everyone to the cast of characters that have graced my mouth:



Too many species of fish to picture












Feral Pig

Farm Pig








and of course, after 29 years of eating, to be added to the list tonight:

A huge thanks goes out to these guys in the photos above!

Keep It Real!