The 4-legged Audrey is gracing us with her presence, while Janie + Joa are in Albuquerque overnight for some Dia de los Muertos festivities.

awwww.... wshoozzacutie?



After an unsucessful attempt to go to Nambé Falls/Lake on Saturday, we ended up at Tsankawi instead. The 1.5 mile trail winds up to the top of a mesa, where there are unexcavated ruins of a settlement built sometime in the 1400s.

Try to find Bram in this picture:

In many sections, the trail is worn down into the rock by quite a bit:

The hike was pretty easy, mostly level, except where the trail dropped (or climbed) between the 2 levels of the mesa. There, you could see the old "rock ladders" — hand- and toe-holds cut into the rock. To reduce wear on them (and because they were kinda scary), there were ladders to use instead:

About halfway, there were little caves to explore. Apparently, the Tsankawi people added on an additional structure at the front of each cave. All that's left now are smoke stains on the cave ceilings, and holes in the rock where the roof support beams were. Here's the view from one of them:

It was a really nice day and hike. Click on the panorama for a bigger version:


Sod Poodles

To my great relief, I did a little research and discovered that prairie dogs do hibernate. That explains their absence from the median strip at the bottom of the hill. Their condo — I think it's too small to call a town — is in the divider between the highway into town and the little road that leads to our place. This also explains why they weren't out at Jackalope when Monica and D— were there last week.

So, until the spring, we have to make do with P. Dawg, the mascot for the Santa Fe New Mexican's poll for favorite teen spots in town.

Unfortunately, no illustration credit given in the paper

(Yeah, we got a scanner. Some brief research revealed that we more than paid for one with all the scans at Kinkos these past few months).


Both Ends

Look to the left.

Look to the right.


visit from D—

Due to insane amounts of rain last week on the east coast, D—'s flight out of Philly was delayed to such an extent that it would have left after her connecting flight from Dallas to Albuquerque. Bram followed her flight info on the Internet all morning, and was home for lunch when D— called from the airport, ready to kill anyone wearing a Continental logo, to tell us that she was going to have to travel Friday instead.

Drove down to the Albuquerque "Sunport" Friday evening, after Bram got off work, met D— at the airport with a travel mug full o' margarita. Proceeded on to Zia Diner for some comfort food.

Kind of grey weather. We started off at the Farmers Market (still roasting chiles) and then headed up to Bandelier National Monument. Did the main loop trail, which starts at the Visitor Center and leads through excavated archeological sites and up along the cliff walls and caves.

Then we walked about half a mile up the canyon to the big cave, which is about 140 feet off the ground and reached via a series of ladders and steps. Along the way, we saw a couple of Abert's squirrels:

D— on the climb up, almost to the cave:

We had our fluffernutter sandwiches at the top. Here's a view from the cave:

Started to rain on the way back. Cold and wet. Decided to stop for hot drinks at Starbucks in Los Alamos. Then back home, and later, dinner at Harry's Roadhouse. Super yummy food, and we got the table next to the kiva!

Much sunnier. Brunch at Cafe Pasqual's, shopping for fetishes at Keshi, kicking around the Plaza. Late afternoon drinks + snacks at La Fonda:

photo by D—

Thus fortified, we headed up to the Folk Art Museum up on Museum Hill. There were Day of the Dead festivities just wrapping up as we got there; kite making (?), sugar skull decorating, pan de los muertos for snacking. Mmmmm... bread of the dead... (actually nice brioche-type sweet rolls, not scary at all) Finished up as the Museum(s) were closing (5:00 pm), spent some time out out on the plaza there, enjoying the sun, and the sculptures, and the views:

Dinner at home (pork loin, potatoes, roasted acorn squash).

D— was originally going to fly home on Monday, but managed to get her tickets changed (without penalty!) because of the colossal screw-ups from her trip out. So, after Bram headed off to work, D— and I went to Jackalope, then met up with Bram for lunch at The Shed. Mmmmm... red chile...

One of the things she'd originally scheduled for Friday was a few hours of pampering at Ten Thousand Waves. Luckily, D— was able to re-book for Monday, so I dropped her off there after lunch. When I picked her up later, I needed a bucket to pour her into the car.

Dinner at Cowgirl:

photo by D—

Drove D— back to ABQ, via the turquoise trail. Left early, so we were able to stop for a few photos here and there, and to poke around Madrid a bit.


something else to waste my (your) time

I've been posting a photo a day at another blog for the past couple of months. How long can I keep it up?


Cracking Movie, Gromit

Made it out yesterday to see Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Been waiting for it for years, and, as expected, enjoyed it a great deal. Solid, through and through, nothing wasted (as one would expect with such a labor-intensive production).

Unfortunately, in their weekend of triumph, there was some bad news for folks at Aardman.

The Wrong Trousers is still my favorite.

tiny visitor


Leaves, Then Metal

The aspens, I was warned, peaked last weekend. And the forecast calls for gray and thunderstorms tomorrow (where are we again?). So, this morning, we headed up to the Santa Fe Ski Basin. They run the chair lift for a few weeks this time of year for the leaf-peepers. The drive up was pretty amazing, even though it was clear that we were past peak; seems to be a pretty narrow window.

Parked, got out, checked out the lift, reconsidered the hike down versus the ride down, and got our round-trip tickets. And got on the lift.

The ride was maybe ten minutes up, skimming the treetops. Took us a while to get used to it, neither of us ever having been on a ski lift before (and figuring that the ground was much further away than when it's covered with snow).

Disembark at the top, around 11,000 feet. And cold. It's been cooling here, but the altitude and the wind — we were unprepared, basically, And my autumnal denial outfit of shorts with fleece wasn't the best choice. A few other people at the top. But the views were just amazing. The city below was covered by clouds, the remaining aspens dotted the trees around.

After a few minutes, headed back down.

The grill was open at the base, got some hot chocolate and stretched out in the sun, watching the hikers with their dogs.

The drive down gave us a few more spectatular sights.

Back home, download the photos and clear the camera, change, and head north to the town of Española (Spaña) for Spañapalooza. Ryk, our friend from the local comic group, was involved in the organization of this event (primarily for the local kids), which took place in a town park. (Note, by this time, and at a lower altitude, it was getting hot).

We'd heard about, but hadn't yet seen, Ryk fronting his band GLORYHORDEORCHESTRA.

We arrived just before their set, and kind of continued to hang out with Jarrett at the True Believers table, which was about 15 feet from the speakers. A good vantage point to stay for the DJ and more metal bands. There were a whole bunch of tables from community organizations in one half of the park. We spent the afternoon over in the music area giving away comic stuff and enjoying the theatrics of GLORYHORDEORCHESTRA, poetry from a particpant in the National Poetry Slam, a pretty large skate park, and, after a while, a respectable mosh pit:


Apple Picking

Sunday found us heading out with Kathy for some apple picking.

Started out heading south on The Turquoise Trail to San Marcos Café, probably about 15-20 minutes out of town. Combination small, funky restaurant and feed store, complete with various fowl (roosters, chickens, peacocks/hens, turkeys) wandering the grounds. Good food. We'll have to return with bigger appetites.

From there, cut across the washboard dirt roads and picked up the interstate, exited by Cochiti Lake, and continued on to Pena Blanca.

The end of the road drops you, kind of nestled in among a couple mesas, at Dixon's Apples. An unexpected setting, an apple orchard in the desert, but pretty spectacular. It's apparently a big local destination, and there were plenty of families there, getting apples. We picked a bag of Sparkling Burgundy — more specifically, we picked one up; it's not one of those pick-your-own places. We split it with Kathy, and now we got pie cooling in the kitchen.

Yeah, we left the camera behind.



happy birthday, Mando!

2 October 1974


well do ya, punk?

FedEx Follies

We had to ship back a bunch of stuff from our trip to SPX last week; we were able to take some back in our luggage, but Monica had to FedEx a box back home. 20 pounds, no signature required.

Through the magic of the Internet, we'd been tracking its progress. And, Thursday morning, it was on the truck and slated for delivery and remained that way throughout the day. We got in later that evening (taking the Nissan to the shop for a new battery; the 14-year-old original seems to have finally gone), and no box yet. Checked online, and it was marked as delivered, about the same time we got in. Nope, no package outside.

Call FedEx, the automated system offers no insight, but some odd automated message in the "signed by" area. Call back, get an operator. Yep, there it was, delivered to apartment 4__ instead of 11__. March on down to apartment 4__, no box outside, nobody home. Back home, call FedEx operator again. With no signature required, they don't even record if someone signed for it, so there's no way to know if they left it with the resident or just outside. Until tomorrow, when they can check with the driver, and can call me back. Back down to the apartment to leave a note.

A couple hours later, a call from the resident. She's got the box. Turns out, she's expecting a piece of furniture, and so signed for it and didn't even look at what it was before heading out. Gratefully, I lug the box back home.

Friday, a kind of defensive message on my voice mail from FedEx, insisting that the package was delivered to 4__, as it said on the package.

That evening, we were heading to an AIGA Santa Fe reception, in honor of a weekend-long visit from Jim Sherraden from Hatch Show Print. That was a pretty great time, got to speak to Jim again (and, again, couldn't have been nicer) and visit with some other designers (including another recent DC-area transplant). Took place in the courtyard at the Palace of the Governors, out in front of the letterpress print shop there.

Headed back home, pull up in front, and there's a FedEx truck in my parking spot. Wait a minute, he comes running out, acknowledges that he's in my spot, pulls out. We pull in, get out of the car, and peer up to our apartment — big box outside. FedEx guy gets out of his truck, asks if one of us is (name of resident from 4__). No, I reply, but I think she's in 4__. Does it seem like it's a piece of furniture? Yes, it does . . .