11 September 2017

Make Time To Spend With Friends

It is so easy to get busy and find that weeks or months have gone by without checking in with your friends. I have some terrific friends here and in different parts of the country. I'm trying to do better staying in touch from a distance, thank goodness for social media which helps a lot, but can still be rather impersonal. I've been trying to shoot emails to friends more often to just say "Hi" and "How ya doin?"

Over the summer I have made it a priority to meet up with girlfriends for brunch or lunch every couple of weeks. We've had some great talks about schools, creative pursuits, home design and decor, about challenges we are facing and we've even read some personal development books that we've been sharing.

It is so nice to once a week or so be able to leave the grind of housekeeping and work at home and just get away somewhere different, to talk and think about other things and leave feeling renewed of soul. It's definitely a great when a friend can help inspire you and you can inspire them with your past experiences and dreams for the future. Plus it's giving me the chance to get to know friends' favorite cafes and eateries around our area.

While I've tried to do this as a habit over the years, this is really the first time where I've been able to maintain it regularly and it's been a joy. One of the best parts about our community here is that there are a lot of friends who have kids about the same age, are at the same school and often the same church. So we are able to do both family activities, fun kid things and parent get togethers with the families we know quite easily.

Because we live in an area where people have yards, backyard parties are easy to throw together and there is space for everyone to spread out and have fun playing or talking. That may sound weird to some people, but living in LA, most everyone lived in an apartment, so very few people had yards. We had to meet at parks or other places and it was not so easy. Not to mention we often had to pay for parking or entrance fees to many places. Things to be grateful for!

One of the things a girlfriend and I are doing is keeping a list of cool places in the city that we want to check out. Then when we decide to get together, we can choose something off the list. We've been to a cool book signing, a hip store grand opening and to some fun cafes. On the list we have added going to breakfast and to the farm shop at my favorite working farm/upscale hotel, happy hour at a favorite downtown historic hotel, a new french bakery, some local boutiques and museums we have yet to see. It's great to have a buddy to adventure to new places with and that helps me make it a priority to actually get to those places that I so often think I want to visit. This way it becomes a plan, rather than a wish that never happens. Having someone fun to go to those places with makes it even better. On our list are a few things we want to do with husbands too and families too.

Making time to spend with friends has been such a gift to us here and I think it's a great thing to do no matter where you live or what station in life you are in. It might be taking babies to the park with other mom friends or going to lunch with a bunch of empty nester friends but it's good for the soul no matter our age.

08 September 2017

Tourist In Our Own Town: Labor Day Weekend

Without realizing it, seems we've made a tradition of spending Labor Day Weekend as tourists in our own town. This year we slept in and then headed out for adventure time. We did some country and city this year and it was a perfect mix.

We started out at Wildlife West Animal Park. It's a small wild animal refuge. There are often fun events throughout the summer here and on Saturdays they have a chuck wagon dinner during the summer season. There are great birds and large beasts there. We came in the afternoon so at the end of our visit the animals were becoming more active after sleeping through the hot day. 

We really enjoyed seeing how the gray foxes dangle in the trees to sleep, watching the elk from just a couple of feet away rubbing and smacking his antlers into fencing and trees. It was very interesting to see that up close. That is one big rack!

We also saw two cougars up quite close and a black bear which we were glad to enjoy behind a fence instead of in our yard. I guess I haven't mentioned it here but we have had a lot of bear visiting our yard this summer. We had heard there had been no bear sightings in our neighborhood for a few years. Well this year there had been quite a bear problem on the east side of the city. We have seen at least three bears up close to our house, one even opening our back fence and coming very close to our back door just as my husband stepped out to see what had moved the gate. Scary. So we enjoyed watching this bear from a distance!

Our visit seem to last just the right amount of time and we were really pleased with all the animals we were able to enjoy. We had brought a nice little picnic with us which we enjoyed in a shaded shed/pavilion on the property. It was nicely cool in the shade and after being out in the sun for a couple of hours, having cold drinks, fruits, veggies and crackers and cheese were the perfect small meal to enjoy while we sat and relaxed for a while. By this point the park was just about to close, so we had the space all to ourselves which was nice.

We drove back to the city and then went to ABQ Uptown. Some of the shops were closed for the holiday but we had a nice time wandering around, made a few small purchases and then stopped in to try Frost Gelato. We were not disappointed. I tried Marbled Dark Cherry and Creme de Biscotti. The Man tried Avocado and caramel coconut something. Kiddo tried coconut and vanilla. We all tried each other's and had a peaceful time sitting outside as the sun set over the city.

We wandered a little while longer and then drove to Winrock Center, which is next door, and had dinner at Red Robin. By the time we got done with dinner it was 10 p.m. It was a fun day and we were all ready for bed by the time we headed home. It was fun to adventure around our city. We still have so many fun things to see and try. Days like this are great reminder for us to get out and learn fun things about our city and spend time in places that feel like us and that we enjoy.


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