New Mexico – The Rest of the Trip

The remaining five days in New Mexico were mostly spent attending the conference that made the whole trip possible, but there were some events in there I want to share with you.

First, on Thursday night, Courtney came down to my hotel to pick me up and take me out to dinner. It was easy to spot her car because she has the bike racks on top, which is no surprise if you know her even a little tiny bit. We went to the Elephant Bar Restaurant and had some of the best service I’ve encountered while dining out in a long time. The waiter was very accommodating and even put two and two together that since I asked for no sugar in my main course, that the dessert menu wouldn’t interest me. I’m often surprised at how many servers don’t even come close to picking up on that. Anyway, Courtney and I had a lovely dinner where we chatted about a little bit of everything, starting with PayPerPost/Izea and ending with a decision to take a stroll though the cool shopping plaza (Winrock) the restaurant was located in.

I found the best tool in Williams Sonoma – a stainless steel pineapple corer! This thing rocks. I eat a lot of pineapple and it’s always such a pain to cut the whole thing up. This corer turns all that work into child’s play. Of course the store was out of fresh pineapples on my last visit, so I’ve only used it once. I’m looking forward to getting much more use out of this thing. And now I’m wondering what kind of cool crafts I can make out of the pineapple shells.

Here’s Courtney and I in the Elephant Bar. Our lovely waiter took our picture. Aren’t we cute? I just adored her. She was very easy to talk to and cute as a damn button.


The following night, I had a very interesting experience. I got to meet an aunt and a cousin that, until 3 years ago, no one in my family knew existed. You see, my paternal grandmother left her husband when my dad was just four years old. He was not a nice man – being a violent, active alcoholic and a raging gambler, so my Nanny (as we called her) was smart to get out when she did. My dad grew up without a father and without a desire to know his father or what happened to him once he was out of his life. Turns out, my grandfather kept up his sick ways, but still ended up marrying someone else and fathering two more children. Three years ago, my dad got a phone call from a woman claiming to be his half-sister who also informed him he had another half-sister besides herself. My dad knew he had an older half-sister from another of his father’s marriages prior to the one with his mom. He thought the woman on the phone was the half-sister he knew about (but lost track of), but she informed him otherwise. So my father has 3 half-sisters all told.

When I was making plans for my trip to Albuquerque, my mom reminded me about my dad’s sister. I told my dad to give her a call and I’d go meet her. And that’s exactly what we did. It was a great meeting. My aunt Pam is a very nice woman – so down to earth and sweet – and she brought along her daughter, Thea, who is just one of thirteen of my newfound cousins. Thea treated us both to dinner at the Texas Land & Cattle and we had some great conversations about the family history. Pam is really into genealogy and she’s done research on our family that goes all the way back to the Jamestown settlement! Very interesting stuff.

After dinner, they both came back with me to my hotel room so I could show them pictures of my family on my laptop. They loved seeing the rest of the family and it sounds like we’re all anxious to meet each other and have a family union, rather than a reunion, since the latter would really be a misnomer. The three of us spent about 4 hours that night just chatting and looking at pictures. Pam had a photo album with her filled with pictures of my grandfather. That was neat to see. My brother resembles him a bit. Pam definitely resembles my dad; I knew she was my aunt the second she walked into the hotel. Here’s the three of us inside my hotel:


Two days after we met, I was on a plane headed back to Philadelphia and life as I knew it. Spending 10 days in New Mexico, getting closer to my uncle, meeting new family, and experiencing many joys of recovery during my conference have slightly altered life as I knew it, though – in great, meaningful, and profound ways. I’m definitely the better for this trip and I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to take it.

Although I was sad to be leaving New Mexico and the wonderful experiences I had there, I was ready to come home, too. I missed my husband and kids… and my own bed, my own refrigerator and my own cooking tools! It’s always funny how much I enjoy a home-cooked meal after traveling for some time and eating out so many meals in a row. My body begins begging for some truly clean and familiar food.

So now I’m home – I’ve been back a week today which is hard to believe – and I get to process all of the events that happened there. I think it will definitely take some time, and hopefully I’ll have plenty of it!

One Response to “New Mexico – The Rest of the Trip”

  1. Deb says:

    it sounds like it was a rewarding trip. I’m so glad you got to go, and had so many wonderful experiences