The Albuquerque Gathering

Spouser and I went to Albuquerque for a family reunion.  P. and M. (her husband) did a very wise thing:  they had all of us extended family members come in shifts.  Thus, nobody was overwhelmed by teeming throngs of relatives and friends.

One welcome person there was the large, pumpkin-colored cat.  My goodness, what an animal, a fully card-carrying person if there ever was one!  I saw a cute cartoon (since lost) showing an overview of a cubicle farm.  Each cube had a person it, looking at a cat that was sitting on the computer keyboard.  The caption said something about that being the first, and very last, Bring Your Cat to Work day!  I knew a kitty once that lay across the keys and apparently enjoyed the vibrations coming from the keystrokes.  It would stretch from time to time without budging its midsection from the keys.

P. and M. are beekeepers, as well as Master Gardeners.  I have enjoyed some of the honey from their hives and the produce and herbs from their garden.  At the moment, they have 50 teeny, tiny Brussels sprout plants.  They were a little over 1 ½ inches tall under the Growlight in their dining room when we were there.  Each had a nice, strong stem and a beautifully formed tiny leaf at the top.  One day M. put them outside in the cool air to “harden” a bit, then returned them to the indoors for the cold night.  I haven’t seen the beehives up close, but P. has told me how interesting it is to watch the colony go about its business.  She doesn’t feel threatened by them at all—in fact it’s kind of relaxing to watch them work.

Spouser and I visited the Museum of National History and Science.  It’s stupendous!  I thought it was where that was an exhibit about vertebrate evolution, but it’s not.  Wonder where that was:  I did go back to that display a couple of times in years past but never actually copied its information.  And now it’s lost.  It diagrammed how a mutation affecting a given body part could affect the creature’s body plan.  For example, consider legs.  If the leg extends in line with the hip and away from the body, that’s the route that many lizards and crocodilians took.  If the leg extends perpendicular in front or in back of the hip, think dogs, cows and similar four-footed beings.  A gene or group of genes changes a little, the shape of a body system changes, and the creatures that do really well with the new configuration go forth and multiply. Now that we have the Internet, maybe that chart will turn up.

My sisters and I experienced a moment to treasure:  the three of us were together in the living room.  We’d been talking for a while, and it was time to rest a bit.  The three of us were reading and sharing the comfortable space with one another.  The feelings of calm togetherness and belonging were lovely, and I gave spiritual thanks for Family.

P. and I visited a bit just before Spouser and I left for the train home.  B. and R. dropped by later, after we were gone. Travel has always had a reputation for being taxing, and we were more than ready to get back home.

Our hotel experience was disappointing. The manager knows about it, so the place will not be named here.  The bulbs in the nightstand lamp were burned out.  The electronic lock for the safe needed fresh batteries before it worked.  The small complimentary bottle of mouth wash was slick, having been handled with somebody else’s soapy grip. The elaborate TV system was so proprietary that we never did figure out how to watch what we wanted to.  And, to top it off, I got food poisoning from the room service fish dinner!  Fortunately, the stomach ache was gone by morning.  We carefully noted hotels close to M. and P.’s home for future reference.