Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hither and Thither (and Now Older!)

Much has happened since the last post, although there is one constant - Noel is still not home from Florida, but at least he's on his way back now!  He should be back sometime tomorrow!  So yes, the Elvis Christmas Tree is still up.  But not for long!

Since Noel was going to be in Florida for such a long time, we decided it was time for a visit.  And seeing as I am doing really well with getting over my flying fear, we got tickets for me to go out to West Palm Beach for a weekend trip!

It was slightly chilly for a dip in the ocean, but we got to take a nice leisurely walk. 

Also. manatees!!

We even saw two of them!  But this was the only picture I could get.  National Geographic should be calling any day now.

Ok, so you know Vanilla Ice, right?  Doofy white rapper guy with parachute pants?  Popular in the 90s?

Take a look at this:

Everybody now:  A1A, Beachfront Avenue!  (That'll be stuck in your head for days.  You're welcome.)

Noel did some research and found us an Irish Pub to go to - Shindig, in Port St. Lucie.  They had fantastic reubens!  And great ambiance - these neat whisky casks in the walls were only part of the cool decor. 

(Isn't he handsome?)

Can't wait to see you soon, honey!  Drive safely!!

So one unfortunate thing about Noel being gone for so long is that he missed my birthday last week.  Yes, I am a year older and am almost in my (gasp!) late 30s.  But if 40 is the new 30, that puts me solidly in my mid-twenties, right?  Anyway, I took matters into my own hands and made myself a cake.  It was pink!  Yum.

I also got a pretty bouquet of flowers from some of my coworkers in Tennessee.  Wasn't that sweet?

I had them on my desk for several days, but then my allergies started acting up so I had to move them.

Then last week, I got on another plane in the other direction, and went for a work trip to the West Texas Town of El Paso!  (No worries - I didn't meet Fellina nor get shot by a wandering angry cowboy).

The airport had these neat copper yucca plants on the roof.  Pretty!  Also, Thing In Sky!

El Paso is the boot capital of the world!  The airport had displays of some really gorgeous ones - these are truly works of art.  I LOVED these black & turquoise ones:

I'd be afraid to wear them anywhere!

So when I got off the plane it was nighttime, and I thought "Wow!  El Paso is really big!"  Look at all these lights!

Then it dawned on me - those lights aren't El Paso, they're Juarez, Mexico!  El Paso is a border town, after all.  Now, before everyone panics, let me say that El Paso is very safe.  I never felt nervous or worried while there.  And my coworkers who are stationed in that office also said that while Juarez itself is going through some really horrible times, the violence hasn't come over to El Paso.  They said that they get frustrated when they hear about the media making it sound like El Paso is the OK Corral.  It seems like a really neat city, and very pretty!  Another misconception I had was that it would be flat desert.  It is desert, but it's high desert.  The mountains around it are very pretty and sparse looking!

So my coworkers there also took me out to eat, and of course we went for Mexican food!  We went to a place called Barriga's, which is apparently actually a restaurant from Juarez that came to El Paso years ago.  I decided to be adventurous and try mole (not the little gray underground critters - gross).  This is pronounced MOH-lay.  It's a spicy sauce that you put over enchiladas and such, but it's different from anything I've ever eaten.  The nice spices are mixed in with chocolate.  Yes, chocolate!  I hadn't tried it before because...well, chicken enchiladas in chocolate sauce sounds more like a dare than dinner. 

BUT.  This stuff has changed my life.  I now want spiced chocolate sauce on everything.  Seriously.  If you ever get the chance to try this stuff, DO IT.

Just looking at that picture is making me drool again.  One of my new coworkers taught me how to make it as well, and I might have to try it at some point.  It didn't sound hard. Of course, it's also not as easy as just going out to eat somewhere and getting it.  I know for sure, next time I'm in El Paso, I'm going there again!

So in non-travel related news, I came home from work one evening and found 5 cows in the back yard.  Sometimes they rub up against the fence and accidentally (?) open the gate so they can come in and chow down on the virgin delicious grass by the house.  (I smell a conspiracy).  I took my flashlight and went out (still wearing my work dress & shoes) to try to herd them out again.  In the dark.  Sigh.  Alas, it was not going to work.  They split ranks and went separate directions, and I just couldn't get them to go the way I wanted.  Cows are not known for their directional abilities. 

Know what they are known for?

Their pooping abilities.  Which they proceeded to demonstrate repeatedly in the front yard.  Yes, I took a picture of cow poop.  Please note that they aim for areas where we are most likely to walk, ie. directly by the gate or next to the sidewalk.  Tell me this is not coincidental.  By the time I went to work the next day, the yard looked like a cow patty minefield, and there were no cows in sight.  Guess they knew when to get out of Dodge.  Thanks, cows!

Look!  Synchronized napping!

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