Monday, June 23, 2008

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Well, it's been quite awhile since I've posted on our blog.... but my time has been spent in an enjoyable life routine of home, work--as a dental hygienist in Fullerton-- and meeting people in the area. I've been enjoying commuting to work via scooter just a mile from home. With gas prices what they are, it helps the budget, too! Case's commute has been considerable less fuel-efficient. He spent the winter months temping in South Dakota, and now he's posted to the high desert of Las Cruces, New Mexico. (Talk about weather extremes.)

In between these jobs -- actually, while waiting for his Las Cruces practice privileges to come through -- he spent time completing his "IFR training" so he can fly his plane on instruments (in the clouds). He says it's all about being a safer pilot (he knows how to sell to me), but I bet it's also about having more excuses to fly. In any case, he's putting the new rating to work as he commutes home on weekends, and we have the comfort of knowing that, if we do get days of marine layer overcast here at home, he's now "legal" to "file IFR" and come home through the clouds.

I had the week off recently, so we (Case, Jack, & I) flew out on Sunday for his 2nd week of work in Las Cruces. I was pleasantly surprised by the attractions of the area. This photo looks east across the Rio Grande River Valley to Las Cruces, backed by the Organ Mountains. The New Mexico sky was constantly changing from a vast clear blue expanse to ranks of towering thunderheads, and everything in between. In the evenings, the rays of the setting sun painted the rain drops an electrifying pink as they fell from the thunderheads, then evaporated in the dry air, leaving the desert floor dry and thirsty.

While Case worked, I settled us into the small apartment his work rented for him. I decorated with table cloths, place mats, curtains and candles, from the local Marshalls. Case appreciated my presence in the apartment, saying, it made it feel a little more homey "and a little less like camping!"
I was quite proud of my loot from Marshalls to spice up the patio. A twenty dollar table cloth, dollar each place mats, seven dollar center piece and an hour-plus of sweeping and cleaning transformed the patio into a haven for outdoor relaxation in the cooler parts of the day.
While I was making the apartment a home away from home, Case worked just a few miles down the road (pictured below) . In the evenings we took walks around the neighborhood, admiring the desert landscape, Southwest architecture, and dramatic sunsets. (Sorry, no photos. We've largely lost the shutterbug infection since returning from Europe.)
Below is a photo of Case, "minding the store", as he calls it. Some days can be a bit slow, but things tend to get busier as he settles in. He usually finished in the four o'clock hour...leaving the evenings to us. Adjacent to Las Cruces is the "Old Mexico" town of Mesilla, which we visited one evening. The 1850s Spanish-American feel is preserved in its town square, adobe buildings, and excellent Mexican food!
I am looking forward to another 3 week visit in mid-July and am thankful for wonderfully flexible working situations that allow us both to travel and split the difference of being apart!

I'll post more pictures on my next visit!