Sandia Mountains as viewed from Albuquerque's west side 18-Apr-09. (click photo to enlarge)

Sandia Mountains as viewed from Albuquerque's west side 18-Apr-09. (click photo to enlarge)

Like most places, Albuquerque seems to not be able to decide whether it is winter or spring. However, in my 6-1/2 years of living here, this is the latest I have seen snow. (And if you are on Facebook and know anyone from  Albuquerque, you know the whole city flipped out.)  Easter weekend was cold and rainy (snowy on the mountain), and last Friday it snowed for half of the day at my house (the least likely place in the metropolitan area to get snow). The mountain was gorgeous the next day.

2009-04-19sunset

I am sure I will still see snow on the mountain today, but down at my house we are having spring again. Last night while I was working on a stamping class for tonight, we left the door open. The warm air wafted in bringing the scents of spring and the sounds of crickets. The evening sunset was warm and springlike. It made me truly content.

But if it snows again next weekend…

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The post below this one is for SkyWatch.

This is the week-long (ish) tale of where I was a year ago today, which was on a Bermuda cruise with Prince Charming.

For Part 1,  go here.

For Part 2, go here.

For Part 3, go here.

For Part 4, go here.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

The sunrise was wonderful our last morning in Bermuda. (Mind you we had been to the midnight buffet the night before, so I was wishing I was not the type to be awake when the sun rises, but I am that type, so might as well take a few photos.  We did not stay at the midnight buffet; it was far too crowded. I only elbowed my way in for two pictures; we did not eat even one delicacy. But in our short time there, two Dean Martin songs were played on the sound system: “Mambo Italiano” and “Sway.” It was great because those are both two of the favorite songs of  Chic and Chicklet. Had I been able to, I would have called them and awakened them from their slumber just to tell them. I am sure they would not have been impressed, but the purpose of Moms is not to impress children, then, is it?)

Our goal for our last day (partial day at that because we had to return our scooters around 2 p.m.) was to find a beach so yours truly could really get IN the ocean–not just get her feet wet. This turned out to be not such a good day for it, but even though cold-blooded, I can be a hardy sort when it comes to doing something I really want to do.

We found one beach that we did not like, so we checked the map and tried another. It was a goldmine! There was a really nice old fort there that we checked out before making our way to the water.

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After that we tried to find a path to the beach, of which there seemed to be no evidence. So we climbed down over some rocks.

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At first this is all I could do with getting wet. The temperature was probably between 50 and 55 degrees (Fahrenheit). It was not only cloudy, but foggy (as you can see in many of the photos). My how dedicated I can be about the ocean!

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The beach was small, but fun to explore for tiny shells and other marine life. I waded to another tiny beach away from where we climbed down the rocks. This one was made just for two, but alas, Prince Charming is not as enamored by the ocean as is his wife, so he did not even take off his shoes that day.

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I eventually adjusted to the coldness and started gradually jumping waves to get farther and farther out.

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If you go here (scroll down when you get there) you can see a picture of when a wave (painfully) smacked the back of my head. Prince Charming obviously knew it was coming but did not bother to warn me. He instead pretended to be doing a photo shoot and got a pretty good picture of it.

Eventually I made it out far enough to swim, but it was so very cold. Maybe I lasted fifteen minutes, but it was not a day for swimming. The fun part (imagine all sarcasm in my voice) was getting on the scooter all wet, but what else are adventures for?

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When we were leaving, we found quite a different path than when we arrived. It was a much nicer exit.

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Our ship left port around 4 or 5 in the evening. I got a couple of pictures, then took a nap.

It was the last formal  night.

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I took this dessert delivery photo for my girls. This probably would have been the highlight for them had they joined us. At this point we were missing them a lot.

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There was nothing but a day at sea and day in airports left, so we were finished and wanted to see our girls. But lucky for you, there are still those day to cover in this story, so stay tuned tomorrow and Sunday!

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

Winter is cold for me. So far I have not gotten around to posting about the reasons it is so, SO cold, but it is COLD. My house is cold. My house is actually cold in the summer which is not such a bad thing, but in the winter, most people think it is cold even when I turn the heat up… a lot.

So even though my house is cold, we have had a relatively mild winter. And also a relatively mild spring which means that the wind has not been as bad as it could be.

Spring is not my favorite season in New Mexico; in fact, it is my least favorite season. There is always wind. The defining things are how hard the wind blows and how often. This year there have been only a handful of really bad days, and it did not start early. But the problem this spring is that we have had some FABULOUS weather. It is sunny here most of the time, so that is nothing new, but we have had a lot of sunny and WARM (a week or two–not together) of mid-70’s or at least upper 60’s.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

Seventy degrees (Fahrenheit) is an optimal temperature for me whether it is sunny and dry (like here) or cloudy and humid (like my Missouri home). We have had plenty. But the windy days this spring have always brought “weather.” In an 8-day period we had rain three times.  THREE TIMES. This is the DESERT! This is SPRING! (Rain comes in isolated showers in the summer here.) OK, we need rain, so who am I to complain? But it was cold rain. And without sun, my freezing house is unbearable. (This might be a slight exaggeration since I am obviously still bearing it.)

Last week when my niece and nephew were here, our weather was perfect. Sunny every single day, and high 60’s – mid-70’s for temperatures. (Which did produce more than one mild sunburn.) Being a realist, I do not get my hopes up in March when it is warm. I have seen snow in April both in southern Missouri and here, so I know it can get cold again. But the older I get, the more those warm days take me into their arms and cuddle me. They lull me into a bliss so complete that little thoughts about spring and summer creep into my head. Maybe THIS year, we’ll have a long, warm spring. Just maybe. And during those seemingly kind days, the weather claims me as its own. There is no acclimation to it, only happiness to be in it.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

But she is tricky, that weather.  Reader, it is supposed to SNOW here tomorrow. Granted, spring snows are the kind that are either light, and it warms up in a few days, or the biggest snow of the season which will be entirely gone the next day, but still… This winter is the coldest I have kept my house. (The heat was ALL the way down.) When the days finally started getting at least 10 degrees warmer than the temperature in my house (54 in the warmest spot), my house would warm up. There were nights when I would go to bed and it was actually 73 degrees in the normally coldest part. (Which turns into the warmest part in summer, but who am I to quibble about that?)

So tomorrow it will be in the 20’s and snowing. My house will be 54 degrees again. I will have 4 shirts and a jacket on and fingerless gloves.  If I have to take something upstairs, I will eye my bed with longing. I will want to  climb in and take a warm nap. (Maybe read a little before I drift off to sleep.) But it will not be meant to be. I will plod along as usual in my freezing house and wait–not so patiently–for a few days to pass and it to be warm again.

I do not think it is necessarily the cold that bothers me so much (but in a house like mine, it does), but the teasing of the weather. I lived in Iceland for seven months once and wore my coat every. single. day of my time there. (Below freezing was considered very cold there, but we had a record-breaking winter for cold and snow.) It did not bother me at all.  The fact that I did not see the sun for days (and for months, when I did it was either rising or setting because that is all it did in the winter) did not bother me.  It was just the way things were, and I was used to it. But 70-something for five or six days in a row, then rain and cold, then SNOW… it is almost too much!

In the meantime, I will think about the sunflowers that will be around me in a couple of months. The photos here are from last summer. These sunflowers are called Lemon Queen and are in my neighbor’s yard. They grew as volunteers from seeds birds took from MY Lemon Queen sunflowers two years before. They are about 12 feet (4 m) tall. Maybe I will just print these out to cheer me up as the snow is falling outside. Maybe I will go to the garden center and buy some sunflower seeds. My car is always warm!