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Simple request, “Could you pick up a new dust mop when you go to the store? Ours is looking a bit grungy.” 

“Can’t we just wash it?” No, that does not appear to be an option. “No problem! I’ll pick one up.”

Guess again, big problem!

You would think a Walmart Supercenter would have one simple dust mop. No, they don’t. They have all sorts of brooms and a large variety of wet mopping options, but no dust mops.

Next try, a Dollar General store. You can always find things there that are not found in other stores. No dust mop. 😦

Just in an off-chance, I wander to the cleaning section of a Walmart Neighborhood store. My expectations were low, but I held out hope for a miracle. No miracle. 😦

The lady at Dollar General had suggested a local grocery store. Might as well stop, I was near the store. Once again, my expectations were low.

Wait! What’s that? I spy a dust mop refill head. I look closer . . . I find the complete dust mop! It’s not exactly like the old one, but I think it will do the job.

Finally, the search is over! Who knew that such a simple common item would be so difficult to locate and replace?


Quietly the mist blew in as temperatures dropped lower and lower. The mist settled on every surface creating an unsuspecting hazard. The day remained gray and dismal, trapping everyone inside until sun rays returned to release us from this icy grip.

All schools were cancelled, the roads too slick and dangerous, in the morning. By noon the sparkling world dripped. As the wind blew, the ice became bits of glass flying through the air to land as shards littering the yards.

A bluebird searched for berries in the holly bush outside my office window. It must have been an icy treat.

A beautiful world melted away (unless it was caught in a shadow).

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Adventures in Dining

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

When one travels the same route multiple times a year for many years, one tends to know where to stop for each meal. However, when one alters the start time by five hours, one must find new eating establishments.

A simple search of “best places to eat in (insert name of city) on the phone yields choices one would never discover on their own.

Hungry for some barbecue? Check out Watson’s Barbecue inside the Tucumcari Ranch Supply store in Tucumcari, New Mexico. Soon Google maps calmly gave directions that led us right to the store. We had to laugh at the sign as we parked.

Opening the door found us in another world. If there is something you need, you can find it here. It’s not just a ranch supply store.

We followed the signs to find the barbecue spot. Soon our order was placed. While we waited, the owner came out with warm samples of green chili apple cobbler. It was quite good! Lunch arrived and we filled up on Frito pie (chili over Fritos) and a barbecue brisket sandwich. All meals included a cookie for dessert, so we had no room for the cobbler. Watson’s Barbecue did quite a bit of carry-out business while we ate.

Then it was time to get back on the road. Gallup, New Mexico was our destination for the night. We were able to return to 505 Burgers for dinner. I wrote about this burger place here.

The next day we were again looking for someplace for lunch.  Google found another fun place. Think Eagles song and here are a  few lyrics to remind you, “standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona . . ” Yes, we were at that corner because there’s a restaurant on the corner too, the Sipp Shoppe.

Green chili chicken soup was the soup of the day. Spicy, but oh so gooood! Another winner in our book of where to eat while traveling down Highway 40. In fact, we ate there on the return trip too.

Sometimes it does a body good to get out of the usual routine.

Other Worldly

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Turning a certain age this year allowed me (and my husband) to acquire a lifetime pass to national parks and we were eligible before the cost went up this fall. Now, the goal is to use these passes to visit and marvel at the wonders of nature found in our country.

For years and years, we have driven west on Interstate 40 and seen the signs for the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. “Someday we will stop there,” we said time and again, but we never did. On our way out, we were too excited and anxious to get to our destination. On our way home, we were too exhausted and just wanted to get home. Until this year . . .

Weather issues loomed as we planned our trip west in December. We decided to leave two days earlier to avoid snow and ice. This created the perfect opportunity to explore the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest.

We exited the highway and were amazed to find that the Painted Desert visitor center was just over the hill from the highway. The parking lot held only a few cars, no crowds today. The volunteer explained how the park worked and gave us a map to guide us through the park. Off we went with his recommendations and anticipation of sights to explore.

It was  windy and cold, but at least the sun was shining. We were not dressed to take any of the side hikes available. So as we followed the road, we stepped out at the vista points and marveled at the incredible landscapes that were so different from what was along the highway.

Several hours later, we reached the end of the road and found our way back to the highway to continue on our journey west. It was just the break we needed from the routine of driving west. Here are a few photos:

These red hills cannot be seen from the highway.

Look way down at the bottom, that’s a petrified log.

Here is a close up view of that log from above.

On our way back home, we returned to the park because the temperatures were better for taking one of the hikes and we were not in a hurry to get home to the frigid temperatures.

We returned to the Blue Mesa area. As we followed the trail, we marveled at the colors and land formations. Unfortunately, the camera didn’t capture the true colors. These hills (mesas?) really were shades of lavender, but at least you can get an idea of the color variations. Enjoy!

This is what the land looks like right before the Blue Mesa, flat and colorless. No hint of what was ahead.

Enter the Blue Mesa!

This is the trail that takes you down to the bottom of the Blue Mesa. You feel like you are walking around  another planet.

View from the bottom

Here is a close-up of the sides of the hills.

Another interesting view of the land in the Blue Mesa.

If you have the opportunity, stop and explore. It’s amazing!