Scarlott Letters

Just some stuff I find funny…


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Questions…pedicures to seat belts…

Julia woke up this morning wondering if you get a discount on pedicures if you only have one leg. These are the questions we ponder on our last day in Santa Fe. Not only that, we had a long way to go, a short time to get there…and not a particularly early start. What’s new?

Our first stop was the basilica, where true to form, there was a funeral going on. It seemed bad form to tour the place, so we went on to our next stop, San Miguel Mission. It is the oldest church in the United States, dating back to 1610. There is a bell, almost the size of the Liberty Bell, in the chapel and legend has it that if you ring the bell of San Miguel you will return to Santa Fe, so of course, we had to ring it.

We had a bit of good luck by discovering that The Pink Adobe was right across the street from the mission…lunch! We ate out on the quaint patio and when offered a margarita, did I let the fact that my friends declined in favor of iced tea stop me? No, I did not. It’s really inspiring the way I’m growing as a person.

Around the corner from the restaurant is a hotel called The Inn of Five Graces, which is one of the neatest hotels I’ve ever seen. Will I let the fact that the rooms rent for around a $1000 a night stop me from staying there sometime? Yes I will (I’m not an idiot).

Since we were on the plaza anyway, we did a little shopping and then headed back to the basilica for a quick tour before trudging back uphill to the condo. There were just enough margaritas in the freezer for us each to have one…after all, wouldn’t want it to go to waste…before packing up and heading to the airport in Albuquerque.

The trip back took us close to the fire burning near Los Alamos. It rained on us, while the mountain was on fire just a few miles away. We got to Albuquerque early enough to meet an old roommate of Julia’s for a drink (are you surprised) before catching our flights back to Texas. I don’t think there is a city on earth where Julia doesn’t know someone. Turns out, she is the daughter of one of my mother’s friends and her brother was in my high school class…small world.

You know how you always wonder why they give a seatbelt demonstration at the beginning of each flight? Well, wonder no more. It is for the sixty year old woman that was sitting next to me that had no clue how to fasten the thing. She was also making quite the fashion statement by wearing pantyhose with her flip flops and carrying a Hello Kitty backpack. Gutsy.

We all made it home safely and had a great time. And, the best part of all…I didn’t gain any weight. Miracles do happen!

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Topless nuns and glassblowers…

After a slow moving morning (yeah!), we headed to Tesuque Glassworks where we watched glassblowers at work. There were some beautiful pieces in the shop, some of which were cast glass using a lost wax process similar to that used to make jewelry. Afterwards, we went to a nearby cafe for lunch, which was quite good. The cafe was part of a little general store that was quirky and cute.

Back in Santa Fe, we decided to do some shopping at Jackalope’s, which is an odd conglomerate of plant nursery/pottery store/tourist trinkets/furniture store/prairie dog town. The part devoted to trinkets contained some very disturbing things…carved figurines of topless nuns, a flying baby angel that was all white except for his pink boy parts dangling down, a skull eating a man and a giant ‘Linda’ who was not nearly as cute as our own personal Linda. I am scarred for life. We also hit a high end furniture consignment store called Recollections. I wish we’d had more time to explore before they closed. I’ve discovered that merchants in Santa Fe open late and make up for it by closing early. You would be hard pressed to find a store that is opened passed 6:00 p.m.

For dinner we went to Cafe Pasqual’s on the square. OMG, what a great meal. Thank you Paula for insisting that we try it. I bow to you in all things culinary. We started by sharing halibut ceviche, which was excellent. Entrees included carne asada, halibut in coconut lemon sauce with spinach, pan seared scallops with saffron rice and fried leeks, and mole chicken enchiladas with jicama slaw, cilantro rice and polenta fritter. Did we stop there? No, we did not. Did we split dessert? No, we did not. Julia had pineapple ice cream topped with grilled pineapple salsa and a ginger cookie and the rest of us indulged in a decadent creamy dark chocolate mousse cake with sea salt and olive oil. I know that sounds like an odd combination, but it was devine! After dinner, we walked around the square, or maybe I should say waddled, before heading back to the condo to rest up for our last day in Santa Fe.

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“Nekked” baths and chicken coops…

Son of a bitch. I didn’t sleep again last night. You would think that three margaritas, two Benadryl and three Advil would be enough to put down a bull elephant, but apparently I am made of sterner stuff. I haven’t slept more than two or three hours a night for the past three nights. I don’t think Julia or Cathy slept either. I guess I’ll be calling our family pharmacist, my daughter Courtney, today to see how many Benadryl I can take tonight and still wake up. We slept, and I use that term loosely, with the patio door and windows open last night. The weather was lovely and we were able to enjoy it and the cricket outside our door almost all night. Julia threatened to spoon me if she got cold. Hmmm…maybe that’s the reason I couldn’t sleep.

We are having a heat wave here this morning…it’s 63 degrees and beautiful. A perfect start to our 10,000 Waves spa day. First up was the kabuta bath, which is basically a hot tub in a three sided enclosure, open to the forest on the fourth side. There was also a cold plunge next to the hot tub area where the water was a mind-numbing 54 degrees…brrrr. I’m not a prude…I even go commando quite often…but I am modest, so I wore a swimsuit. One other person wore a suit, probably just to keep me from feeling like a wimp, and the other two were ‘nekked,’ as they say in Texas (and Tres wasn’t even here). I like the phrase plausible deniability and by not telling who the other suit wearer was, the two bluejays (as in ‘naked as a’) can claim it wasn’t them. Lastly, I’ll tell you that it’s hard to believe men’s cold water “shrinkage” claim after seeing my sisters come out of that cold plunge.

After the baths, we all headed off to our individual treatments. All of us had a Japanese facial and Julia and I tacked on a cryogenic DNA laser treatment. We look 10 years younger than when we arrived….so, in our 20s. We also all had an 80 minute massage of some type. Linda had an interesting Thai massage with a very cute male masseuse. Cathy had a Master’s massage and Julia’s was called a “Nose to Toes” massage that included a peppermint sea salt foot scrub and a loofa body scrub. Mine was a therapeutic massage which was simultaneously heaven and hell. It hurt so good. The masseuse said that many times she gets a client and wonders how she can possibly spend 80 minutes on them but with me she wasn’t going to have that problem. Apparently, I’m a “mess”…but you probably already knew that. It’s a good thing that I haven’t found anything on my shopping excursions because I’m now $450 poorer…but I’m so relaxed I don’t care.

This evening we had dinner at Debbie & Jim Maloney’s house. They moved here several months ago from Wichita Falls, where both Julia and I knew them. They live a short distance from town and have a lovely adobe home, with fine art work, two Pugs, a Golden Retriever, a cat and a fancy chicken coop. Yes, you read that right. Debbie has started collecting, for lack of a different word, exotic breeds of chickens that lay different colored eggs like blue, green and brown. Must come in handy at Easter. Anyway, I have to admit the chickens are cute. One is fluffy and white, one has long feathers on his head and looks like one of those so-ugly-they-look-cute Chinese Crested dogs and one, called a Frizzle, has curly feathers. Speaking from experience, that chicken wishes she had straight feathers.

The dinner Debbie cooked for us was out of this world good…pesto dip (which was to die for) and crackers, oven fried chicken (a Barefoot Contessa creation), deviled eggs, cole slaw, roasted potatoes, rolls and chocolate pie with the highest meringue I’ve ever seen. Any one of those things by itself would have been excellent, but put them together and they rival the finest meal at any four star restaurant. I speak for all of us when I say that we can’t thank them enough for a lovely evening and a wonderful meal! It was a highlight of our trip.

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Swollen feet & tummies

Day two started with sitting on the patio, drinking our coffee in 61 degree weather. It definitely doesn’t suck. Those of you in Texas can hate me now.

This day gave new meaning to our slogan “flying by the feet of our pants”…feet being the operative word. As I write this it’s 6:30 p.m. We just got back to the condo and have been on our feet, except for lunch, since 9:30 a.m. Maybe we should change that to “flying by the swollen feet of our pants.” Luckily, there were margaritas waiting in the freezer for us.

Our first stop this morning was the Opera House. Apparently, the Santa Fe Opera is ranked as one of the top five operas in the United States. That’s in a town of 75,000. They take their opera seriously here. The venue was stunning and the views breathtaking, despite the wildfires visible just a few miles away. At one point during the day we actually heard the civil defense sirens going off because of a new fire closer to town.

Next up, believe it or not, was the Flea Market. Santa Fe-ians take their flea markets seriously too. I found a gorgeous antique dhurrie rug to use as a table runner in Midland. The only problem, it was $650…but they would “ship it free.” What a bargain! Another thing you will find hard to believe, I walked away. It did brighten my day that I was able to talk Cathy into a beautiful orange spiny coral ring. I have awesome powers of persuasion.

We ate a late lunch in the famous Square, at La Plazuela which is in the La Fonda hotel. I have to admit the Square is more my style than the flea market. Again, the food was fabulous. I had crab cakes with fresh jalapeƱos cooked in…spicy and yummy! There was also a pork sandwich with avocado and spicy jalapeƱo mayonnaise, an artichoke, grilled eggplant and roasted red pepper panini, and finally pollo real chicken quesadillas. Is it just me or do we seem preoccupied with food?

After lunch we went to the Loretto Chapel where there is a famous spiral staircase that contains no center or side supports. Legend has it, in the 1870s, when the choir loft was built they forgot to add a staircase. How in the hell (pardon me Sisters) do you do that? Many carpenters were called in for advise and said that because of the height, it was an impossible task without rebuilding the loft. The Sisters made a Novena to St. Joseph and a mysterious carpenter arrived nine days later. He constructed the circular staircase with just a saw, carpenter’s square, hammer and tubs to soak the wood. When the staircase was finished the carpenter disappeared without seeking payment. (www.lorettochapel.com/staircase.html)

Unfortunately, that Devine interlude did not bring me any luck while shopping a short time later. Is there a patron saint for shopping? If not, I’d like to nominate St. Neiman Marcus because I’ve had a dry run so far. Maybe I’ll have better luck tomorrow…

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Flying by the feet of our pants…

First, my attorneys insist I get this disclaimer out of the way first thing: I apologize in advance to all our sainted mothers for any offensive language you might find in these stories. I write conversationally, like it’s going through my obviously somewhat warped mind, and in my mind I cuss…a lot. I will do my best to keep it at a minimum, but if I were to cut it out completely, those who know me well would not believe that I wrote it. So in the interest of not being accused of plagiarism, there will be some cursing.

I have again been put in the stressful but enviable position of writing a blog about our girl trip to Santa Fe. It is somewhat stressful because sometimes at the end of a particularly long day, my creative juices may wan and I can’t think of anything funny to say. Also, I’m getting old and may not remember what we did by the end of the day. I’m thinking about getting one off those mini recorders to help me out. On the other hand, I can make shit up and there is no one to contradict my version of events. In effect, I get to write (my own version of) history. Along for the ride this time is Julia Ward, Cathy Stringer, Linda Lee and me. So, without further adios, here goes…

4:00 a.m. to 4:44 a.m., none of your damn business. 4:45, hit the shower. Leaving on a 7 a.m. flight is too damn early, but it does give us most of the day to enjoy Santa Fe. Hot air balloons were out in force flying into Albuquerque. Very cool. Julia asked me a few days ago if I was interested in water rafting. After I stopped laughing I said “not in this lifetime.” I would, however, be up for a balloon ride. I’m not sure why since I can’t fly any better than I can swim, but there you go.

I met the rest of the gang in Albuquerque since they flew from Dallas and I flew from Midland. The theme of this trip is “flying by the feet of our pants.” It almost makes sense, kind of like us. We don’t have anything scheduled for the entire trip except a spa day on Monday, so we are making it up as we go.

The lady at the rental car place suggested that we take the long way to Santa Fe so that we could stop by Madrid for a little shopping and lunch. In true “flying by the feet of our pants” style, we figured, “why not?” It turned out to be a great decision. Madrid is where the movie “Wild Hogs” was filmed and they have embraced the biker lifestyle wholeheartedly. The public restrooms were nothing more than glorified outhouses…no plumbing. It would have been nice if the hand sanitizer dispenser had been filled, but toilets aside, the town was a strange mixture of quaint high end artist studios, great hole-in-the-wall restaurants and a giant biker bar. It’s kind of like the marriage between Sandra Bullock and Jessie James. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s working…at least for now, and hopefully for much longer than they lasted.

The place where we are staying is a great adobe condo. In fact, almost everything around here is adobe, including Albertsons, Wal-greens and Allsups. It’s a nice change. Our first stop was the aforementioned grocery store for breakfast food and booze, but mostly for booze and before you ask, no we won’t be having the booze with our breakfast. We did, however, get our first gallon of Tres’ Supreme Margaritas in the freezer posthaste.

For dinner we went to Andiamo’s which is an Italian place. We had dishes that ranged from crispy duck legs to calamari pizza. Excellent meal! I have a feeling that we will be getting lots of good food on this trip. Maybe I should have packed my fat jeans. After dinner, we were almost back to the condo before Julia realized she didn’t have the headlights on. Her’s are automatic so it didn’t dawn on her that she needed to manually turn them on. Talk about living dangerously. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

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