Awesome! It was also minus 10 degrees according to our car's thermometer as we drove out.
On to the main show. Jeff and Valerie had planned a Saturday pm party, following the UNM-Texas Tech basketball game on TV. Unfortunately, Valerie's mom and stepdad couldn't come due to some health concerns that kept him at home in Santa Fe and my nephew Kevin and his family, who recently moved to Castle Rock, CO, couldn't make it either, so we were it!
Lobos won, then it was dinner, presents, and cake.
For contrast, if you go way back in this blog to our China trip last December, you can see Malia celebrating her first birthday, just a few days after "we" got her. Also, see Jeff and Valerie's blog: http://bringinghomemalia.blogspot.com/ for more then and now pictures.
Next day was pretty relaxed. Susie and Malia had a tea party. Malia got Tucker involved in play-time, too. Jeff cooked a version of the Chinese meal he had planned or Saturday.
Monday noon, Susie, Jeff, and I had lunch with friend, Karen Kafadar, a statistician at the University of Colorado, Denver. Well, she still has an office there, but she's just about formerly UCD. She's doing a sabbatical this year at U Cal-Berkeley and then this summer is moving to Indiana University. We had a nice lunch at a downtown "modern" Mexican restaurant across the street from UCD, discussing, among other things, the statistician's lament: We don't get no respect -- in a Math department, in particular. Susie commented that she hadn't met many "bouncy" statisticians; except for the three she was lunching with, of course, I interjected. See what I mean?
After lunch we went to a birthday party at Malia's day care, where Valerie is the Assistant Director. (Monday was Malia's actual birthday.)
Then, now in late afternoon, we headed out. Plan was to stay the night in Walsenburg, about a 2.5 hr. drive, then head west the next day over La Veta Pass into the San Luis Valley, then south to home. And that's what we did.
The motel was a bit of an adventure. Had a choice of a room with one queen bed for $40 or two beds for $50. I went for the cozier, cheaper choice. Turns out though, that the one-bed room was on central heat -- you couldn't control the temperature. Two-bed rooms had their own furnaces and thermostats. I paid for the room, but said we might want to change. Went to our room, but it seemed cold, so I went back to switch rooms. We had not been quick enough, though. Lady said, Did you use anything? Did either of you go to the bathroom? Well, I had to say, Yes. Lady frowned. In that case, if you change rooms, I have to charge you for both.
What a dilemma! Well, we decided, somewhat reluctantly, to stay in the one-bed, no thermostat room (as opposed to now paying $90+ for room with two beds and thermostat). We had some extra blankets in the car that we had brought along for an emergency. This was it. We piled those on Susie and slept quite well, though I think I may have damaged my reputation as a big spender.
Nice trip home the next day. No pictures of the motel, but here's the county courthouse in Walsenburg.
We drove west into the San Luis Valley -- temperature 1 degree as we went through Alamosa. Here's a shot of 14,345 ft. Mt. Blanca en route. Years ago I climbed that sucker. Susie asked, Why? Because I was with a macho group of guys who wanted to climb it and couldn't very well wimp out, I said.
The drive south from Alamosa on US 285 is another scenic, pleasant drive: Tres Piedras, Ojo Caliente (where we stopped to check out the hot springs resort - looks like a place we'd like to spend some time -- Susie suggested monthly trips for spa and massage; there are no $40 rooms there, though).
Next we're off on a Christmas trip: Las Vegas for the weekend and Christmas Eve with Heidi, then red-eye flight at 1:00 am to Raleigh for Christmas afternoon with Mike and family. A few days there and then we'll fly to Nashville for New Year's with Mandi and Paul. Family is precious year-round, but especially so at Christmas.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!
Susie and Rob