Keeping Up Our Fun Fridays

It has been a year and a half of Fun Friday’s for Mike and me. That’s a lot of dates, and we are eating our way through Albuquerque.

Valentine's lunch @ Mas Tapas Y Vino

Valentine’s Day lunch @ Mas Tapas Y Vino

2 weeks ago @ Sushi Hana

2 weeks ago @ Sushi Hana

Two weeks ago, we visited the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History for the first time. There were many parts of the day that reminded me that we were still Chicagoans in Albuquerque. I searched for the free days that most museums offer because this is routine when going to Chicago museums unless I wanted to go broke or leave a child or two outside to afford it. Unfortunately, Albuquerque Museum’s free days were never going to be on a Friday. I debated if we should go or not until I discovered that regular admission was only $3 per person. THREE BUCKS!! You can’t even park for 30 minutes on the limited street in Chicago for $3. Yet here, we parked for FREE on the street directly in front of the museum. FREE!! I (expertly, I might add) squeezed into a relatively tight parallel spot and wondered if the locals would think me rude for only leaving them three feet between us. While love taps from bumper to bumper are routine in Chi-town, I wondered if someone would call the cops were I to do it in the ABQ.

As an avid fan of Chicago’s Art Institute, I held off visiting Albuquerque’s art museum for fear of grave disappointment. Mike and I figured it would only take us a short while to view it in its entirety. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. We leisurely strolled through most of the exhibits but did not have enough time allotted to see everything. I had to skip parts and was disappointed to miss them. One gallery featured black and white photos by Robert Christensen of New Mexican architecture. It was vastly different from the impressive skyscrapers and rich architecture of the Windy City. However, it was beautiful in its stark simplicity, and I appreciated the timelessness of the images.

This painting seems to capture our current state. We are loving all there is to love about Albuquerque and New Mexico but are still acutely aware of the differences that newcomers experience especially coming from such a place of contrast. While we relish and embrace the vibrant sunsets, we are not without the plant’s imposed awkwardness.

IMG_4464

We have thoroughly enjoyed exploring the city we now call home, but it is getting to the point that we are having a harder time finding what to do on these dates together. While researching for this week, I ran across Trip Advisor’s Things to do in Albuquerque and discovered we had already done 20 of the top 25. So today’s adventure brought us to the City of Albuquerque’s Open Space Visitor’s Center. Did you know that Albuquerque has the largest per capita of open space? We didn’t either until today. The 29,000 acres are open to the public (like the trail on my running route) and dedicated to conservation efforts. I found online that there was an exhibit housed here called, Revived: An Upcycle Art Show. I guessed it might take us longer to drive there then visit, but it seemed worth the exploration.

“Upcycling is perhaps a hallmark of what is known as a ‘circular economy,’ a concept for an industrial economy that is, by design or intention, restorative in nature.”

"Earth Day"

“Earth Day”

Origami ball made from security envelopes. Mike's favorite but didn't want to spend $300 on it. :)

Origami ball made from security envelopes. It was Mike’s favorite, but he didn’t want to spend $300 on it. 🙂

This piece was made by discarded canvases found in a dumpster outside a NYC art school. My favorite.

My favorite was made by discarded canvases found in a dumpster outside a NYC art school.

The belief is that waste is a resource and all the works utilized this principle. It reminded me of a great catalog, Uncommon Goods, that sells unique gifts some of which also use this guideline. (Another bonus with the catalog is that with every purchase you make, they will donate $1 to one of four charities.)

After the Visitor Center, we lunched on French food at Le Cafe Miche. Then we ran an errand at Target since most Fun Friday’s include at least one or two such necessary tasks. We were conveniently close to the Chocolate Cartel, so we stopped and got some housemade gelato. This chocolate shop focuses mostly on wholesale to businesses like Whole Foods or (where I first heard of them) the Farm Shop at Los Poblanos Organic Farm (they partnered with the farm’s lavender to make lavender chocolate). So we ate in the car, but it was delicious!

Caramel mocha and salted caramel

Caramel mocha and salted caramel

Mike having every other Friday off for these Fun dates makes it difficult for us to imagine being anywhere else. This is how Sandia becomes the black hole! As long as we are here, we will take advantage of all this city has to offer. The fact that I managed to get Mike to three art venues alone gives me hope that I may be dragging him to an opera in the future. Until then, where to go next time for Fun Friday….????

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