A Gracious Plenty . . .

What in the world is a “gracious plenty”? You will learn that and a few other things in this post!

I was blessed in mid November with the visit of some very close girlfriends. Having looked forward to this for almost a year, I didn’t think it could be more wonderful than I was imagining.

But it was.

In our current environment of high stress and fear, it is almost a meditation to have a respite where there is nary a wrinkle of conflict.

We laughed with each other, learned from each other, shared with each other, and laughed a lot more.

All three friends came from highly populated, fast-paced areas (Oakland/San Francisco, and Nashville, Tennessee), where you can spend a large percentage of your time sitting in traffic and have to squeeze sideways through a grocery store aisle.

We have no traffic here, of course, and we don’t even have street lights where I live.

Eve actually said she felt a little apprehensive at times – like where IS everybody?

We head-quartered at my vacation rental, which is about the sweetest place you could imagine, and spent a LOT of time around the dining room table – Air Dropping photos back and forth, which sounded like a Poker game (I’ll take those glass bottles and send you this Vivian photo bomb). We exchanged art supplies and taught each other how to use them. We learned about some arty iPad apps.

We went out and explored some great local small towns and had Santa Fe’s best cheeseburger.

We drank Margaritas and wine. . .

And some of us tried to avoid having our pictures taken . . .

Vivian sketched on site and AMAZED us with how fast she could draw things . . .

Her subject here was this lovely renovated store in Cerrillos, NM. It used to be a very junky place called the “What Not”, but some new owners have made a big difference.

Here is the finished sketch.

Amazing, right?

Cerrillos (sir-re-ose) is Spanish for “little hills” and the town was famous for its Turquoise mines which are now played out. But the town remains, as an eclectic village where westerns are sometimes filmed.

The top photo in this post is taken from inside a crazy trading post/mining museum/petting zoo, whose windows are completely filled with antique glass bottles.

In the yard is a pile of rough Turquoise . . .

Cerrillos is located south of Santa Fe on a two lane highway called the “Turquoise Trail”.

A little further along is the little town of Madrid (MAD-rid), which was a coal mining town, then a ghost town, and is now an art town, having been resurrected by hippie squatters in the 1960’s.

The liveliest place in town is the old “Mine Shaft Tavern”, which is rumored to be haunted.

We didn’t see any ghosts, but we did see a bunch of local folks and other critters.

This guy never got up the whole time we were there. Not even to dance to some pretty good music by this all girl band. The folks in Madrid are a little laid-back, but not like this guy!

One morning when I arrived at the Casa (no room for me to sleep there so I stayed at home), I found Vivian and Eve in the courtyard with coffee and sketchbooks. I LOVE the sketch Vivian did and will use it in my VRBO listing.

Vivian also kept track of the best quotes of the week-end:

Ann; “My hearing’s so good I can hear a mouse pissin’ on cotton.

Jessica: “I just told you that story to show you I am not completely out of control all the time.”

Eve: “It’s like their heads are filled with cotton, and their personalities are dialed to LOW.” (Description of some folks we met in Madrid).

Vivian: “I need a lot of white space in my life.”

Ain’t that the truth!?!

Anyway, the gift of this week-end was way over the top in good stuff – a “Gracious Plenty” indeed.




  1. Sounds like a wonderful get together! Sounds like a wonderful area! And lol, I noticed you aren’t wearing flip flops!

  2. What a wonderful experience. I have a group of 6 art friends who get together once a month. We critique our work and talk about everything. It’s a very safe place to be.

  3. Absolutely wonderful, Jessica! I can’t think of anything better than dear friends, wine, laughter and time together!

  4. What fun! I love you four gals and wish I was still in New Mexico for events such as that.

  5. Your were here in spirit, Bets. I showed the girls where your house was and we all wished you were here.

  6. I am still smiling from that trip. By the way, I really like that photo of the bottles along with your title “A Gracious Plenty.” It works on so many levels 🙂

  7. I smiled from ear to ear as I was reading the post, jessica. You named it well.

  8. A gracious plenty indeed! That was sooooo much fun! Loved the camaraderie and adventure and art all rolled in one. I told everyone when I got back I was officially tired of laughing. And then of course, had to laugh at THAT. Can’t wait to go back!

  9. What a fabulous week!! Jessica was the ultimate hostess. Vivian and Eve were so much fun to be with. It was a time with no drama. . . unusual in today’s world. Everyday was an adventure. . . every evening a time of sharing. And Betsy, you were present in spirit. I love you all!!

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