28 November 2014

Sleeping in My Own Bed Tonight

After 11 days and 10 nights in Colorado and Santa Fe, CA and I are happily at home and looking forward to sleeping in our own bed tonight. We had great beds and good sleep on our trips, but "There's no place like home!".

22 November 2014

Santa Fe, Day 1 and 2

Ever since DM's family moved to Colorado, we've talked about incorporating a trip to Santa Fe into one of our visits. We'd planned for last June, but CA's knee replacement was coming up and he really was in pain. So, we're here. Yep. And, guess what? You can revisit old favorite vacation spots and find them as good or better than you remember. We're here for four nights and that seems to be perfect, as we don't intend to venture to Taos or Albuquerque this trip.

We rented a casita this time through Home Away, and it's been a good choice. Modest, but well appointed. Totally Santa Fe in vibe. Our bed is comfortable, there's plenty of space for two, and the historic plaza is a short drive away.

We freely admit that our visits to Santa Fe are all about the food. Southwestern. Chiles. Fresh ingredients; freshly prepared. I'd expected we'd chose upscale dinners each night, but so far we've enjoyed mid-range. Really enjoyed.

We arrived late Thursday afternoon, and after settling in we headed to Tomasita's. Nothing fancy, but a popular destination for locals as well as tourists. We chose standard entrees--CA had Chalupas and I had a combination of Enchilladas and a Tamale. Excellent. But, the best part were excellent Sopapillas with honey butter. Perfection.

We decided on the Plaza Cafe (right on the historic plaza) for Friday's breakfast. This is a perfect diner. The coffee is excellent. Since we'd a leisurely wake-up, it was almost lunchtime when we arrived and we were offered the luncheon menu. Fortunately there are 4 breakfast entrees included.
I scared CA by ordering the Huevos Divorciadas (a Gluten-Free option; nothing to do with an actual divorce):
Two eggs on corn tortillas topped with chipotle and tomatillo salsa. Served with guacamole, sour cream, pinto beans, hash browns, and a flour tortilla.
CA had the Huevos Rancheros:
Two fried eggs on yellow or blue corn tortillas. Smothered red or green chile and topped with cheese. Served with pinto beans and hash browns.

We were soon wandering the streets surrounding the plaza, not shopping just people watching. Did I say Santa Fe has worldclass shopping? Oh, yes. And, worldclass people watching so we made sure to stop, sit in the sun, and do some serious observing. I'm guessing that any day, any time in Santa Fe you can see some real local characters, tour bus and/or convention groups, and day-trippers. We did. The local characters are the best.

On past trips I've shopped rigorously. This time I'm content to walk and observe, taking it all in. Santa Fe has a definite feel to it. Some consider this a spiritual place. We're at something over 6,000 feet, so altitude might impact attitude.

After a bit of time relaxing in our casita, we have dinner at Maria's. Apparently, Robert Redford has also dined at Maria's. Maria's is another local-favored restaurant, and this is our first visit. I need a bit of a break tortillas, etc., so I choose a grilled New York Strip Steak. It is excellent beef, perfectly cooked, garnished with just the right amount of lettuce-tomatoes-guacamole and two huge sweet onion rings. CA is attracted by the Green Chile Stew, but knows he'll never handle that and an entree, so he orders the appetizer portion of BBQ riblets--a very generous portion. We both are quite pleased with the taste and quality of our selections.

At each of these three restaurants we sampled the Sopapillas with honey or honey-butter. Our official winner is Tomasita's. Theirs are huge, light and tasty. And, only Tomasita's served the Sopapillas with honey-butter.

17 November 2014


[While there are photos available to give visualization to this post, I will
refrain from posting those to protect the innocent and faint of heart.]

I could entitle this post How I Spent My Autumn in Northern Illinois, but where's the poetry in that? Not that the following has any chance of any lyrical notes...

Through some fluke, I seem to have come in contact with some bacteria, specifically Staphylococci, which decided to manifest itself on my derierre. Completely out of my sight, but over a number of weeks I was aware something was brewing . Oh, I definitely took appropriate medical and sanitary precautions; everything Mr Google recommended for treating a Boil. But, this determined little "guy" was not to be tamed.

My situation became more advanced--sitting for any length of time was impossible, and the area surrounding the Boil was inflamed. I debated which kind of doctor to see. I'd recently seen both my Gynecologist and my Dermatologist for minor reasons. I could make a case for consulting each. While this was a skin condition, my Gyn is the only female physician in my current line-up. I shied away from seeing my GP as he's much more a consultant these days, and we're talking about baring my bum!

It all came to "a head" a few Sundays ago after I experienced a low-grade fever on Saturday. CA drove me to Immediate Care. I could only travel laying on my side in the back seat.

Then, the fun began... Utter pain and dislocation. That Sunday, the ER doctor shot-up my hiney with no less than 10 injections of Lydocaine, after first warning that it was going to be very painful. He didn't exaggerate. It was excruciating. He then lanced the Boil, now upgraded to an Abscess, with a thin scalpel. I will spare us all the description of what ensued (...). Then, he packed the grape-sized hole with guaze stripping to ensure the Abscess would heal from the inside out, and prescribed a strong antibiotic and narcotic painkiller.

I naively expected that the worst was over, and we crept home to recuperate. Monday, I had to go back to Immediate Care to have the wound repacked. OUCH! No Lydocaine this time. So painful. Crept home again--creeping home encompassed me laying on my side in the backseat, trying not to roll off.

Tuesday, it was time to see my GP. He said my wound (along with camera phone photos supplied by the first ER doctor) was quite impressive. He said you really never want to impress your doctor. He then repacked the wound. OUCH! Painkillers and antibiotics continued, plus he had his nurse immediately schedule a surgeon's visit. No one expected surgery, but a surgical opinion is warranted.

Thursday, the surgeon is also impressed. She indicates that the wound must be repacked daily, and enlists CA to the task. Really. It's right there in the wedding vows. He's my hero.

Reality slowly dawned. This will not be well in a couple of days. This Abscess developed over a few weeks, and is going to take at least that long to heal. I can do almost nothing. I can sleep--except not on my back. I can read--propped just so. I can watch television--propped just so. And, I can explore the world via my hand-held electronics. All of this through a haze of drugs and pain.

Two weeks goes by slowly. The second week I begin cutting back the painkillers, and am able to speedwalk a few days with my friends. I don't dare drive while on these drugs. And, I can barely sit long enough to go anywhere. My life exists in my cotton pajamas--fresh every day, after my shower and the tortuous repacking of my wound.

Who knew that a whole month of my Autumn could disappear into the abyss. All because of an abscess.