New Mexico vacation, Part Two

OK, moving on to our stay in  Ruidoso …

We spent one afternoon in Lincoln, home to what one president called the "most dangerous street" in the United States. (Home to Billy the Kid.) The kids and I are standing next to a bullethole from the Kid's escape from the Lincoln County Jail.

Sitting in downtown Lincoln.

Hubs and the kids standing in the spot where Billy the Kid's jail cell was.

Mom, Dad and Billy the Kid.

One evening, we headed to the Flying J Ranch for a chuckwagon dinner and western singing show. We had so much fun!

The kids enjoyed horseback rides before the dinner.

At the Flying J shootout.

The chuckwagon dinner was a hit with the kids.

And now for the entertainment!

The next morning, Tootie and I embarked on a mother-daughter trail ride.

I love Hubs' detail shots!

And off we go... (I spent the next two days hobbling around with sore muscles and a bruised butt.)

We ended our trip with a visit to New Mexico's Museum of Natural History and Science. The E-man was enthralled.

The E-man, Mama and a T. Rex


Storm looming over Lincoln National Forest ranger tower.

New Mexico vacation – Part One

Sledding at White Sands National Monument.


The secret to speed? Wax.

Mama couldn't seem to stay the course.

Just to give you some perspective ...

Oh, look! There's Hubs!

The kids watched sunsets from the top of our pickup.

Carlsbad Caverns. Just as cool as I remembered!

See those tiny figures? That's me, my parents and Tootie.

Gorgeous, no? And the caverns' temp stays in the mid-50s.

We felt very tiny in here.

Sitting Bull Falls National Recreation Area

We spent three nights in Alamogordo. My parents met us there and we enjoyed more luxurious camping than usual in their RV. While there, we visited White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns and Sitting Bull Falls. We also dropped by the Toy Train Museum and the New Mexico Museum of Space History.

My mom and I also visited Heart of the Desert Pistachios and Wines. That’s where I bought the Pistachio Rose’ I mentioned in my column.

Tomorrow, I’ll share photos from Ruidoso, where the humidity was 5 percent. Highs in the low 80s, lows in the mid-60s. You’ll see pictures from a mother-daughter trail ride, thunder clouds looming over mountains and the Flying J Ranch.

A horse crippled me.

My little Tootie adores horses. So I figured our New Mexico trip wouldn’t be complete without a mother-daughter trail ride.

People, I am so sore I can barely walk today. My butt is bruised. My leg muscles are screaming. Even my neck hurts. (please to explain that one?)

But oh how thrilled Tootie was to ride a horse — not a pony — all on her own. OK, well the trail guide led her horse, but still…

We rode for an hour, up and down rocky, rutted trails. My horse, Chaki, seemed to equate the trails to a buffet line, so I spent much of the ride urging him onward.

Tootie’s horse, Pancho, pooped in front of mine. It was, well, impressive.

We’re now on the way home and tonight finds us in a hotel. With a hot tub. Am praying I can get in and out of it.

Family vacation — whee!

We’re in New Mexico right now, packing as much fun as we can into a week. We’ve been to the dunes, Carlsbad Caverns (where the kids were sworn in as junior rangers) and a remote park called Sitting Bull Falls, which was gorgeous, and probably more so in the spring when the falls are running fast.

Whew, talk about a ridiculously long sentence!

I’ll offer more detail in my next Forces of Nurture column, including a description of how the E-man and I both managed to fall UP a set of stairs and injure ourselves. Let’s just say I have the mother of all bruises on my upper arm.

I’ll post some pics soon. Hubs needs to download the many photos he’s taken.

Back tomorrow with more!

Hooters girls — sexy AND maternal. A blechy combo.

I don’t begrudge the Hooters waitresses their gravity-defying boobs or cellulite-free thighs.

I do, however, object to they way they mama their male patrons.

Until Tuesday, I hadn’t set foot in a Hooters for …well,  years. But on Tuesday, a craving for wings lured me and my friend Amy into the Land of Cleave.

We were the only women there, which seemed to throw off our waitresses. That’s OK. They startled me too.

The first surprise occurred when one of our waitresses opened our little plastic containers of blue cheese dressing for us. What are we? Three?

And then another waitress offered to debone the wings.

The second offer sent me into a fit of giggling as Amy and I made good use of that term for several off-color jokes.

And then we talked about how it’s no wonder men have such ridiculous expectations of their wives. And why they always act so helpless. (“But you wash the kids’ hair so much better than I do.”) I mean, these waitresses are not only sag-free — they hover over our husbands like a group of helicopter mommies.

Talk about an Oedipal environment. I mean, really. Forty-something-year-old men can’t open their own SALAD DRESSING? Or debone a wing?

The whole experience sent me spiraling back into my kids’ toddler years:

“Oh, let Mama open that for you, sweetie.”

“Do you need Mommy to get the meat off the bone for you, punkin?”

Normal behavior for a woman and child. But for a woman and a grown man? Eeew.

Hooters girls, you aren’t helping us out in the marital department. Childish men aren’t sexy. We already get turned off by their feigned inability to manage the children when we’re out for an girls-night dinner.

Sample phone call home: “Is that the E-man I hear laughing? Why isn’t he in bed? It’s after 9!”

Our waiters don’t plop down at our table and snicker appreciatively at our lame jokes. They don’t cut our meat or pour our ketchup. And if one tried such a thing, we would make fun of him and shoo him away.

So guys, we don’t care if you want to gawk at perky ta-tas. But please — learn to open your own dressing and *snicker* debone your wings.

Because now we know what really goes on at Hooters. And we are mocking you.

Arkansas flooding

I still can’t wrap my head around this — sleeping in your tent or RV, being awakened suddenly by a surge of water that carries you off, carries your parents and children off. Our state grieves for the lost.

Hubs, a photojournalist, said that at one point, he had to put his camera down because the scenes unfolding in front of him were so painful, so intimate.

This family just found out that their missing loved ones were among the dead.

More devastating news.

My heart hurts for them.

One of the area's cabins.

The floodwaters picked up RVs and tossed them around like they were toys.

Please keep these families in your thoughts and prayers.

The old girl ain’t what she used to be.

First, I must share the E-man’s assessment of Justin Bieber, which is on par with my own feelings toward the annoying little songbird-twerp.

“Mommy, is that Justin Bieber on the radio?”

“Yes, sweetie, it is.”

“He sounds like a struggling girl.”

Lest you think we’re cruel when it comes to young Justin, I dare you to listen to that freaking Baby song on your way to work. You’ll arrive with that horrid “Baby, baby, ohhhh … baby, baby, noooo ….” refrain lodged in your brain for the remainder of the day.

And now, having typed this, it’s stuck in my head. Argh.


And now onto our regularly scheduled blog post:


I love amusement parks. Growing up, I lived for trips to Six Flags, AstroWorld, Disney, etc…

As young adults, my sisters and I would plan excursions to various amusement parks, where we rode the roller coasters over and over again.

Speed. I need speed.

Which is why I’ve been eagerly awaiting the day my kids would be old enough to hit the bigger amusement parks and ride the good rides.

Well, they’re almost ready. Problem is, I’m not. Or rather, my 40-year-old body isn’t.

Last weekend, we headed to Funland, which is just a little kiddie park with non-scary rides. Certainly nothing on par with the parks that are home to my most beloved coasters.


I rode the Scrambler three times in a row with the E-man.We had a blast.

Unfortunately, my neck isn’t as flexible as it used to be and I woke up Sunday morning with my head cocked at an unnatural angle.

Hubs and I still plan on heading to Six Flags in the near future. But I’m betting we hobble out of there.

If, that is, we can still walk.

The Scrambler at Funland