Saturday, July 7, 2012

Settling in the Southwest

I've lived in northern New Mexico for three weeks, and I can't get over the view.

My dad explores the canyon beyond my backyard.

 My townhouse from my cute little scrubby backyard.

I feel much more settled in Los Alamos. It helped having Mom and Dad with me for so long! Besides the backyard, we explored the grocery store, all two main streets, and the fabulous Bradbury Science Museum.

The last weekend they were in New Mexico with me, we visited Santa Fe to catch up with about ten of his junior high and high school classmates! Mom and I got a huge kick out of seeing Dad with the friends we've heard about for years.

In front of the Railrunner.

Mom, Dad, and the St. Francis Cathedral

The gang of about twenty people had dinner at Tomasita's--a delicious New Mexican restaurant near the railyard in Santa Fe. After many sopapillas, we trucked off to the Cowgirl BBQ for baked potato ice cream: vanilla ice cream rolled in chocolate powder, topped with whip cream, pistachios, and banana "butter."


The next day was Mom and Dad's last with me in the Southwest. We headed to Albuquerque, where we visited:


It's a fabulous museum of, well, nuclear science and history! After the Dulles Airport branch of the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum in DC, the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, TN, and the Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos, this beautifully capped off a very cohesive road trip of science, energy, and technology museums. 

Many people pioneered the understanding of the atom.

Chemistry teacher mom wants this floor.

I'm just saying hey to my great-great-great-great-grand-advisor, Ernest Rutherford.
For reals. I can trace my academic lineage to him! 

After that, we had lunch in Old Town Albuquerque and they flew off to help my sister plan her wedding. You know. This is kind of a busy year for our family. No biggie.

 Once the parents left, I had an ENTIRE week before work started on the 25th. I had hoped that everything would be so brilliantly timed that I'd spend that week unpacking and calmly preparing to be a postdoc. Oh no. The moving company further delayed my shipment from the 14th to the 18th to the 22nd to FINALLY the 29th. Yes, it is here now. Praise the Lord.

I amused myself quite well, however. I got a library card and borrowed books and DVDs.  I saw THREE movies at 1pm during the week! At the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, I was the only person under 50 (most were pushing 70). At Snow White and the Huntsman, I was one of three people total. BRAVE had an extremely diverse crowd in a packed theater. Pixar appeals to everyone!

I also finished a present for the soon-to-be-born daughter of my dear friends, Rachel and Ben.

Child better appreciate her.

I visited the Los Alamos Historical Museum. Before there was a National Lab, there was a boys' school on this mesa. Fuller Lodge is one of the remaining buildings from the school, which was commandeered for the war effort.

And of course, I hung out with Faraday quite a lot while waiting for our stuff to arrive. He's certainly claimed the house as his own.
 Stairs? HIS.

Boxes? HIS.

Windowsill and doggie (Hank) next door? HIS.

Hall cabinet thingy? Definitely his.

The new Keurig, however, is mine. I have a well-documented fondness for coffee, and driving to Starbucks twice a day became both a time sink and a budget drain. Once the moving company stated firmly that my shipment (and thus neither my espresso machine nor my French press) would not arrive before work started, I called up my buddy Amazon and the next day, he sent me this.

Finally, two weeks after promised, look what pulled into my narrow street?!

The unloaders were fantastic. Finally, a happy ending to this moving saga! They carried my heavy, heavy boxes of textbooks upstairs, they dragged my patio furniture to the backyard, they even put my bed back together for me. I know it's their job, but it was super hot and they did everything with a smile and friendly conversation! I appreciated it so much.

Faraday was locked in the bathroom during this time, of course, and I'm sure hearing strange men and the bang of boxes on the floor gave the poor dear flashbacks to packing day. He seemed pleasantly surprised to emerge from his cell to find familiar furniture!

He rubbed his face on every table and chair.

"Uh-oh, my nemesis, The Vacuum, survived the trip..."

I'm thrilled to be unpacking finally,  so only finding broken things could truly upset me at this point. Nothing major so far! I am quite often amused/perplexed/disturbed by the lack of correspondence between what the label on the box says and what the contents of the box are.

Case in point. I had a box labeled only, "BAKING PANS." Sure, there were a few pans in there. There were also some bowls and utensils. Fine, those are kitchen items. But these?

Really? Baking Pans?

Also, I realize that my last name is difficult and often mangled (I found at least four different spellings of it on boxes), but, World: my name is JESSICA. 


By the way, Felicity was in that box. She's apparently "misc stuff." Sigh. At least the movers didn't mangle my almost 22-year-old doll.

So, now that work is moving along and most of my boxes are empty (even if a lot of the items are only in piles in the rooms they belong), I've been trying to make new friends and get back to running. I'm nowhere near fully acclimated to 7300ft elevation, but I am at least walking five days a week, and running is slowly coming along!

One of these days, this pile will be gone:

And more of my walls will be decorated:

But first, let's have some more coffee.

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