Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My First Blog Post from Why, Arizona

Steve paints skulls and hangs them on his walls

Wow, I am so far behind on blogging. Or I guess I would be if I had publication deadlines, which I don't. But I have tried to blog every week or two since I left Eugene, Oregon, on February 14th of this year.

The last few weeks were harried--well, harried for a marginally employed, basically lazy, gimpy old gal like me. I gave notice on my apartment in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, and needed to be out by the end of October. Steve and I decided to head up to visit friends in Santa Fe and Taos before leaving the state, so we went on vacation the week before I planned to vacate my apartment.

We visited Steve's friends (and now they're mine, too!) Dusty and Arnold, who have homes both in Santa Fe and Ajo, Arizona, which is the town of 4000 people that's 10 miles from Why. They'll be heading to Ajo after Thanksgiving to spend the winter, so I already have friends here.

We also got to see Conrad and Susan De Jong. Conrad was my favorite undergraduate music professor at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in the mid-70s. We had a delightful lunch with the De Jongs at the O'Keeffe Cafe which, unfortunately, was going out of business a few days after our fabulous meal there. It was very fun to catch up a little bit on the many years since I'd seen Conrad and to meet his wife, whom I just missed meeting when I was an undergrad--she started teaching at the college right after I graduated. They have very active lives (tennis for him, dressage for her) and are a great example of how to live happy and healthy.

Bridget (right) and me at lunch in Taos

We spent one day driving up to Taos to meet Bridget Boyle, a friend I've known online for several years, initially through Sparkpeople.com and more recently through FaceBook and our respective blogs. Bridget and her husband are retired school teachers from Southern California who now own a ranch outside of Guadalupita. They are growing organic vegetables and trying to keep their small herd of cattle out of the crops. Always an adventure to read Bridget's blog! And it was a pleasure to finally meet her in person.

Fabrics from a collection of Andean art

We did a few touristy things on our trip...visited the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, looked at Indian jewelry at the Santa Fe Plaza, saw the Kit Carson House in Taos and the Taos Pueblo. But really the best part of the trip was the people and also the beautiful drive between Santa Fe and Taos, where we saw some nice fall colors along the Rio Grande.

Fall colors along the Rio Grande north of Santa Fe

It was very relaxing and rejuvenating to go up north for a few days, and I came back feeling ready to really get some work done--which was great, because I had a lot of work to do! I had one more mosaic project to do for La Paloma Hot Springs & Spa before leaving TorC, plus I had to pack up The Guppy and clean the apartment. Fortunately one of the La Paloma housekeepers came over for a few hours and cleaned all the major surfaces for me, leaving me with only the smaller jobs such as cleaning the oven.

We left TorC last Wednesday morning, drove to Tucson to spend the night at Steve's sister Mary's place, and then drove the rest of the way to Why the following day. I didn't see much of Tucson--we mostly just ran a few errands while we were there--and, again, the best part of traveling was meeting Mary, who made me feel very welcome.

When we arrived at Coyote Howls, I was a little freaked. It appeared to be a big flat spot with just a scattering of mostly older RVs. After I'd been here a little while, it still looked like a big flat spot with a scattering of old RVs, but by then I'd also found out how quiet, relaxing and beautiful it is here. The night sky is amazing--I have never seen so many stars in my entire life. The sunrises and sunsets are wonderful, too. I woke up one morning to see a wild burro walking past, and I hear coyotes playing at night.

Burro on the road that goes by my new home
(Roxanne! I need a clever caption here!)

Since arriving here last week, I've been pretty busy getting acclimated. First we did some cleaning because Steve's 32-foot 5th wheel (which doesn't have a name!) had been closed up for six months or so, and a pack rat had been in here. Then I started fitting my clothes and other possessions into Steve's place. Now I'm back working on my eBay business, which I'd shut down for a few days during the transition here, and I'm getting acquainted with neighbors and with the amenities in Ajo. Today I am taking the bus from Coyote Howls to the Ajo Library for a drawing class that will run every Wednesday afternoon for six weeks. I will be in town all afternoon (the bus only runs out to Why three times a day), so I'll arrange to get a P.O. box and take time for coffee at the Oasis Cafe, which is on the beautiful little plaza in Ajo.

Looking across Ajo Plaza from the Oasis Cafe towards the library

Life is very relaxing here. I've started work on some multimedia art pieces that I've had in mind to work on for a long time. I'm reading a lot. I spend time cooking slow food such as chili from scratch, including soaking and cooking the beans. Sometimes I sit and do very little at all. I think it's going to be a great winter.

Sunrise as seen from my front door


  1. 1. Those textiles are awesome, as is the mosaic on the table top.

    2. What a peaceful place. Sounds perfect.

    3. How great that there is a bus to get to Ajo.

    4. It was fun meeting you in Taos.

    Have fun!

  2. Sounds like things are progressing wonderfully...enjoy the peace of the desert in winter. I really miss it...won't be back until winter 2014 now. Sigh....

  3. I'm so glad you are settling in. I love the way the end table/nite stand turned out... that you had started while I was in TorC. I've moved into town so that I can ride my bike around all winter... legs don't get much workout in a kayak. A wandweller from WA visited last night on his way to FL. That was very nice. Enjoy this new phase of you life. Happy Trails. Tell Steve I hope to meet him one day.

  4. You two are so cute! I love it....enjoy, Sue and Steve....