A Day In Burque

Been a while since we'd caught up with Bob and Shannon down in Albuquerque, so on Friday we headed down to have lunch. They'd just wrapped up their big family visit, and Shannon was (briefly) in between business trips. We had a good, large, carnivorous meal out, and spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out at the house, having a great time catching up and playing with the dogs (+1, as they were dogsitting Sadie, a black lab mix).

A few errands in the big city (including a stop at the used CD store in Nob Hill, where they had the new Reckless Kelly), and we were off to a party thrown by one of our fellow comic creators. A small, low-key affair, but we got to meet the artist of the little painting Monica got me for Christmas. There were supposed to be no presents this year, but this is kind of for both of us.

A few weeks back, 7000 B.C. held another fundraiser. Sol Arts, who hosted the event, put up a show of illustration to coincide with it, and this acrylic painting was a part — Safe In Bed by Rebecca Salazar. We both really liked it, and when I wasn't looking, Monica went and bought it.

Only fair, 'cause, without authorization, I had already bought a watercolor by group member Jamie Chase from the silent auction fundraiser.


Coyote Calls

The unseasonably warm weather continues, and that made today an ideal day for a hike.

Off we headed to the Valles Caldera, always a favorite spot. Our destination, the Coyote Call trail, which we were thwarted in finding on our vacation in September 2004. It was an unusual opportunity; MB noted that we shouldn't be able to hike in the Caldera at this time of year.

A late-ish start got us to the trailhead around noon. Los Alamos is a few hundred feet higher than Santa Fe and, on a mesa, is even more exposed. Probably in the high 40s-low 50s when we got out of the car, but the wind cooled things. The beginning of the trail is exposed and uphill, but pretty quickly it leads along a ridge in the pine and aspen forest. Shady, but protected. There were still little spots of snow, very granular, and barely enough to cover the ground, where the sun never quite reaches.

The trail runs parallel to the road, a few hundred feet up. The forest is pretty dense, though the aspens are all bare. Every so often, there was a view of the caldera.

I never tire of looking at that.

The whole trip was about three miles — an easy three miles. Still, at around the halfway point, a rock in a sunny place was a welcome spot to sit and have a snack.

Down the hill, the wind picking up more, a steeper descent. Looks like this might be a cross-country trail when there's snow.


and the winner is...

... for funniest card:

Best. Photo. Ever.


happy birthday, D—!

27 December 1967


Christmas Wrapping (up)

The elves showed up around 915 with the presents.

(What's that laptop doing under the three with Dad's name on it? No, he didn't get the old computer — watch here for an announcement.)

Monica had put out a tray of cookies and sweets (Oma shipped in lebkuchen, Grammy sent along candy and dried fruit, Mom brought cookies from the family cookie swap, and Monica had made some as well), so we had a tasty time opening presents. Mostly a Christmas of warm, fuzzy clothing. Followed by a breakfast of the Wolferman's English muffins that M&D sent ahead.

Per Janie and Joa's suggestion, we then headed out to Cochiti Pueblo to the dances there. There's been a spell of unseasonably warm weather here for the holidays, so we were due to hit almost 60º — welcome, as the dances take place outside in the town plaza.

About a half-hour to get there. Photography is prohibited; this isn't a show for the public, though it is open. We found some space on the benches built into the side of a slope to watch the dances. Maybe a 150 or so people on the benches, and more residents in front of the other buildings there.

It was a buffalo and elk dance. The dancing alternated between two clans — each with about 20 drummers and singers, and about another 20 dancers in the roles of buffalo and elk in colorful ceremonial clothing. A clan would dance for about 20-30 minutes, then head off behind the buildings behind us, and the next clan would come in. Along the way, at various points, members of the tribe would make a blue corn offering on the ground, and then bring laundry baskets of presents to the dancers. The gifts were mostly food, some things were wrapped, and then the remaining presents were thrown into the audience. Snacks of various sorts, cookies and candies and brownies, apples and oranges, cans of soda, and even some toilet paper.

The dancing was mesmerizing, aided by the throbbing heartbeat of the drums that reverberated right through you. We left after about two hours, a bit sunburnt.

Home to cheese and crackers from Mom & Dad Banko. We wrapped up the evening with some posole (a traditional New Mexican holiday meal) that Monica made. We've been eating way to much (but way too well).


Today, Janie and Joa were kind enough to host us for brunch, so we (and by we, I mean Monica) baked some quiches, and we brought bagels and fruit salad over. A wonderful time, visiting, touring the grounds, and eating even more (including their marvelous egg nog cake). Drove up to the Santa Fe Ski Basin so M&D could see the city from above; an afternoon hike was shelved in favor of a break for naps. Concluded the day back here with tomato soup and grilled cheese for dinner.


farolito fotos

El farol is Spanish around here for "the light" (and also the name of a tapas restaurant, but that's another story). So, farolitos are "little lights" — paper bags with sand in them for weight, and a lit candle set into the sand. Here's what one looks like from above:

Unfortunately — because I promised to post photos of the farolito walk — our digital camera didn't do too well. The farolitos put out a nice, warm glow that — although plenty bright to see by — just wasn't enough light to get large-scale photos of all the people and buildings as we walked up Canyon Road:

If you used the flash, they just looked like paper bags:

Although that didn't stop us from trying, particularly Jim and Marsha;

It was a nice, brisk walk: flickering faroilitos lining walls, roofs, gardens, and roads; small piñon bonfires here and there; wandering carolers; and musicians performing at some of the open galleries and restaurants.

Merry Christmas!

Noodle Angel

Kathy sent M+D and us off with these after our Christmas Eve brunch at her place. A nice start to the holiday

Soon, off to Ristra for an early dinner and then the farolito walk along Canyon Road.


twelve two two fondue with the Meehans

Bram's parents arrived safely — if late — Wednesday night. Made cheese fondue for dinner tonight. Before...

... and aftermath:

Dang that thing is shiny. Thanks, Sherry!


by request...

My parents got our Christmas card the other day, and Mom was curious about the photo. I had to fess up that it was actually one of five that we took in the arroyo out back, the morning after the first snow. The combination of desert plants with snow on them seemed appropriate. She suggested that I post all of them to the blog, so that everyone could see them all.






Your chances for getting the cactus are higher, because I printed 6 photos out on one page, and that one was on there twice. Feel free to comment if you liked another photo better than the one you got... but if you do, you also have to tell us which one you should have gotten, and why.


marionette show / party

In addition to the woodcuts for which he's most famous, artist Gustave Baumann made a set of over 60 marionette puppets. They're now part of the Santa Fe Museum of Fine Arts' collection. Some of them have been replicated for use in the marionette show at the Museum's annual Holiday open house. Joa heads up the group of puppeteers, and alerted us to the show.

The puppet stage was set up on the larger auditorium stage.

The story involved two mischevieous sprites who cast spells on Miguelito, the burro, causing him to eat so many apples that his "stomach was on fire." There was much moaning and staggering and burping and farting on the burro's part. The kids (including us) loved it.

Between shows, Joa operated the "southwest Santa" marionette at a photo station — Santa sits on your lap! We waited until the children were done, then posed ourselves. Janie snapped a photo of us and Joa.

Jett's birthday/Christmas party was later that night. He got a passel of vintage ties from his Mom.


the getting of the tree

Yesterday was Bram's office holiday party — lunch catered by Cowgirl, everyone's favorite restaurant — then the rest of the afternoon off. Sweet! We decided to go get our tree. Went to the corner of Cerrillos and Guadalupe and Paseo de Peralta (where the Farmer's Market sets up in warmer weather) to the tree lot operated by the Delancey Street Foundation. We found a nice little (Douglas?) fir, and trussed it to the roof of the Golf:

After driving it around town a bit (other errands), we got it home, where Bram demonstrates just how short it is:


Once the wee fir was inside and in the stand, Bram made us our traditional tree-trimming Mai Tais (thanks Paul + Tess). Thus fortified, the decorating began. I did the lights, then we both dug into our ever-expanding collection of ornaments. Thanks to my Mom, we had even more this year. She sent a box of ornaments from my childhood, some from Germany, some deeply '70s (why were made-of-wood-beads, abstract mini-creche ornaments so popular then?), plus some new ones:

Not too shabby:

And it smells great. Merry Christmas!

happy birthday, JRDR!

17 December 1971 1970


New Mexico Spaceport?

The big news out of Santa Fe today: Richard Branson's planning on locating his spaceport in southern New Mexico.

I'm not a fan of these private ventures that get funded with taxpayer money, but there's something about this one . . . it really captures the imagination in the way a sports stadium can't. And wouldn't it be amazing if it's everything they say it will be?


more snow today

Last night's weather report predicted "flurries" for north central NM. Woke up this morning to a couple of inches on the ground, and missing mountains. Wet snow, stuck to everything, but quickly melting. The streets are wet, and everything is white and foggy.


Back Home, Where It Is Warm(er)

Returned from Milwaukee a day early, passing through the snow in Cincinnati to make it home late Thursday night. It was cold in Milwaukee — now, I understand that pretty much everyone's been suffering from the cold air the Canadians have been exporting, but I still insist that it's a special kind of cold out there at 3 AM.

The schedule of being at the printing plant every 4-6 hours left little time to explore the city. But what I did get to see was pretty nice. On Andy's recommendation, spent some time at The Eisner American Museum of Advertising & Design, which is an amazing converted warehouse. The current exhibit is a retrospective of Nike's agency Wieden+Kennedy; for me, the best part was seeing TV ads I'd only ever read about.

And, before heading to the airport, I managed to swing by Usinger's to bring home some kielbasa.


I am the lizard king!

Jim Morrison, 8 December 1943


Going 2 Milwaukee

I'm off for a business trip to Milwaukee, checking on the printing of our quarterly publication. At the Albuqurque airport now, and if everything goes according to plan, I'll be returning on Friday. I'll see about blogging from the road, but in the meantime, play along at home and and watch the temperature plummet.

Note for future reference: high-speed wireless at the Albuquerque airport, courtesy of the city.

happy birthday, Mrs. Colonel Greg! (retired)

4 December 19xx 1958


and the winner is...

... for first card:

Clocking in at exactly one week after Thanksgiving, the first card to arrive is from the Gardners!

Also arrived today, the box of lebkuchen from Oma + Opa.

This means now I have to get out the Christmas decorations.