Happy Birthday, Grammy!

(With great-grandchildren Will and Amanda)

28 September


first snow!

Overnight lows in the 30s lately + big thunderstorms last night = this:


I'm today's Find of the Day!

For those of you who don't know, Found magazine collects and publishes submissions of random, usually funny, often weird ephemera. They put out a magazine/book at irregular intervals, but also feature stuff on their website — including a "Find of the Day" on the home page, pulled from their huge collection of submitted photos, notes, and other miscellany.

Way back in March 2002, I submitted a note I found on Troy Street. Honestly, I thought they'd never use it. But I got an email late last night, alerting me that my "find" was going up on their website. Neat! Be sure to spend some time poking around, there's a lot of cool, weird, funny stuff there.



New Mexico Open

Or: It Could Have Gone Worse

Every year, New Mexico Fencing Foundation sponsors a two-day fencing competition, the New Mexico Open. Out here in the West, it can be a long way between competitions, so it attracted fencers from as far away as Colorado and Texas. But it was right here in town, at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center (our old practice location), so I couldn't pass this up.

Friday night, we joined other club members in setting up the metal (nonconductive, so that a touch on the ground doesn't register) strips. There was a full day of competition yesterday, but my weapon and age group was today. Registration closed at 8:30 this morning, the bouting got underway around 9:00. I was in a pool of seven fencers for the "seeding" round (which were 5-touch bouts) — the results of which would determine the ranking for the "direct elimination" round (15-touch bouts).

There's a lot of standing around and waiting in an event like this, but it's still really a blur once the adrenaline gets flowing. I won two and lost four in this round (there were probably two I could've won if I'd been able to adapt quicker, had better point control, and had, y'know, been to practice more than a half-dozen times since June).


That placed me 33 out of a field of 47 (?), the fourth highest rank for an "unrated" fencer. Had a good first bout in the direct elimination, but my second opponent — the #2 seed — made pretty short work of me.

Update: Placed 29th of 47)

There was an article in the Santa Fe New Mexican (registration required) this morning on the competition, and another reporter/photographer (don't know from what publication) there today.

Driving home afterwards, passed this on Cerrillos.



So, Baltimore, Then

The business trip went well, and we actually wrapped up the press check way, way ahead of time — original estimate was late Thursday, which means mid-Friday, but we were done early Thursday morning. Managed to finish up the last bit of business Friday morning and caught a flight to BWI, putting me at Raphael and Charlene's a day earlier than planned.

Walking into their house Friday, was welcomed with a wonderful dinner and sat down with the girls (Ava, Lana, and Ellie) to eat. But then it was time to head outside for soccer practice with Ava. That soon turned into just running around and spinning around in the late summer evening.

Saturday morning (after letting me sleep in, catching up from the press check), Raph, the girls, and I headed to a local church for their book sale. We all took our time poking around and came away with some finds. Back home, to pick up Charlene, and then off to Ava's first soccer game.

Instead of the usual soccer game of little kids swarming after the ball, this league has them compete 3-on-3 on "micro-fields;" that setup, plus frequent substitutions, means that the girls get a chance to actually play and show off their skills. That's Ava in yellow on the left doing just that.

Back home to cool off and rest up. Lana and I spent some time with the books from the sale.

Raph and I had planned dinner out at the Cattail Creek Country Club. So, after a little family movie night, we headed over there to eat and drink and hang out, closing the place down.

Sunday morning came, and we were on the road to Baltimore for the Baltimore Comic-Con. There before the doors opened, so we were well positioned to get in to meet some of the creators we wanted to see; overall, I was luckier there than Raph. We checked out some of the dealers for a while, then headed off to Capitol City Brewing to meet the Bankos for some lunch.

We had a great time, catching up, and they passed along some birthday surprises for me.

Back to the show, where we stayed 'til the end, both coming away with some pretty good finds.

We met up with the rest of the family (and Raph's sister and nieces) at El Azteca for some margaritas and dinner. Continued on for some ice cream, where we could sit (and the girls could run) outside. Back at the house, got to see Raph's new winery facilities, but then we called it an early night. Because Monday started awfully early.

Thanks to Raph + Char for being such great hosts.


and it was all yellow

Graveyards are different here. Most often, there's no grass, just dirt. The National Cemetery waters its grass, but Rosario Cemetery — which is directly adjacent — has been replacing grass for gravel, to conserve water (to much local dismay). Most smaller graveyards forego grass, and any watering is reserved for the trees. To my east-coast eye, it makes them look a little sad.

With all the rain we've be having lately, there have been a lot more wildflowers. Alongside roads, in the arroyos and open spaces. And in Fairview Cemetery along Cerrillos Road. I guess the seeds can stay dormant until conditions are right, but who knew this patch was primed for such a display?



so, Zozobra, then

6:00 pm The phone rings. It's Jett: "Where are you? We're drinking!" "Okay, I'll be there in a bit."

6:15 I leave, on foot, wearing jeans, a long-sleeve t-shirt, wool socks, leather shoes, a wool hat and rain jacket. The sky is completely overcast, but it's no longer raining.

6:40 I arrive at Jett, ShRiek, and Will's place. Jett and Will have nearly finished an entire bottle of tequila. ShRiek, Paulie, and I finish it (about a shot each). There is much preparing, and forgetting, and deciding of what to wear going on.

7:15 We leave (Jett, ShRiek, Paulie, Will, and I), on foot, for Fort Marcy Park. It begins to rain. There are snails everywhere on the houses.

7:23 We reach the intersection of San Francisco and Guadalupe, and see our first other pedestrians. Loud shouts of "¡Que Viva Fiesta!" are traded. Discussion of if it's actually Fiestas yet, or do they not begin until after Zozobra's burned? It's still raining. The thighs and bottoms of my jeans are damp.

7:30 Corner of Grant and Paseo de Peralta. The beginning of blocked off streets; many, many pedestrians. Still raining. The water sheeting off my jacket has now completely soaked patches on the thighs of my jeans. ShRiek's eyeliner is running in earnest.


7:40 Standing in line (ticket-collecting + checking for contraband), waiting to get into the park. Still raining.

8:00 In the park now, working our way through the crowd. Jett is on his cell phone, yelling over the din: "Where are you? What? Where?" The baseball field is packed. Someone has the bright idea to sell those trash-bag ponchos, cleverly printed with: "Rain won't save him!" My jacket is completely wet now.

8:15 We actually manage to find Jett's friend in the crowd, and stake out a spot to, well, stand. Normally people go early in the day, bring picnic food, set up blankets and lawn chairs. Not much of that going on tonight, because, you see, it's still raining.

8:30 - 8:45 Several cell phone calls berating Ryk, who — having decided for some reason that he didn't want to stand in the rain with us (go figure!) — was on his way back to Española. The band is still playing. Shouts from the crowd of "Burn him!" are becoming more desperate. My jeans are soaked and my shoes and jacket have reached saturation and are starting to leak. Yes, still it's raining.


8:54 The band stops! And! The baseball field floodlights lights go out! Big roar from the crowd. Spotlight on Zozobra! The rain has stopped! YAY!

9:00 - 9:15 Liturgical dance. Please, please make it stop. BURN HIM, ALREADY!!!

9:16 - 9:24 YES! Fireworks and Zozobra is BURNING!! WOOOOOOOOO!!

9:30 We make our way out of the park, after Will tries (unsuccessfully) to find an open food vendor still selling BBQ. Somewhere near first base, I step in a mud puddle which turns out to be 4 inches deep. Jeans are now muddy, as are my shoes.

9:42 Arrive at big, open-house, post-Zozobra party. Hostess is CeCe (or maybe Cissy?), friend of Jett and ShRiek, and, it seems, nearly everyone in Santa Fe. She is maybe 5 feet tall, probably in her 60s, wearing a blue plastic cyalume necklace, and near as I can tell, kinda drunk. I introduce myself. There are 15 pies in the kitchen (it's a contest); a DJ in the driveway; a bar, food, and a piñon fire in the backyard. The place is bumpin'. We stand around the piñon fire in an attempt to dry off.

10:53 I decide it's time for me to go — I still have to walk home. Discussion ensues about whether or not I will be allowed to walk home alone, and who will come with me. Explaining to Jett that: a) although he is large and male, he is also quite drunk; and b) I am not drunk has no effect on his insistence to see me home safely. We say goodbye to CeCe/Cissy. It begins to rain again.

11:00 In front of the Albertsons, it is decided: Will and ShRiek will walk home together; Jett and Paulie will walk me home; I will drive them back to Jett's, where Paulie will spend the night. Raining harder now.

11:01 - 11:20 Walk back to our place. It's mostly uphill. Two cell phone calls from ShRiek to make sure we're ok. Still raining.

11:25 Drop Jett and Paulie off. Rain.

11:34 Call ShRiek, as promised, to let her know I am home safely, and not dead in a ditch an arroyo somewhere. Remove wet shoes, socks. Is it possible that I could have trench foot?

11:49 Hot shower. Bed. Goodnight gloom.


happy birthday, Opa!

8 September 1919


burn him!!

Spotted this morning: the big flatbed truck holding the disassembled-not-yet-assembled Zozobra, en route to Fort Marcy Park. Escort (with lights + sirens going) of a fire department SUV in front, four cop cars following. Lots of honking.

Like last year, Bram will miss it. Unlike last year, I'll have some company; Jett + ShRiek have invited me to come with them. I'll be meeting up with them at their place around 7:00.

Of course, it's raining right now.


happy birthday, Bram!

Today is not only Labor Day, but also the day Bram has to spend on planes and in airports, traveling to his quarterly press check. Please give him some love in the comments, people.

[Photo by Evan Kafka]

4 September 1969


Hyde Park Circle Trail Hike Rained Out

Wanted to head up to the mountain to see what changes the recent rains have brought, but wasn't in the mood for anything too ambitious. The Circle Trail at Hyde Memorial State Park seemed like it would work out well.

It had been rainy last night, and this morning was cool and gray. But it had started to clear when we were heading out — until we started heading up into the mountains. Clouds hid the mountaintops, there was a bit of a breeze. The hike claims an elevation change of more than 1000', and it seemed to us that it was all happening right at the beginning. But pushing upwards gave us moments to stop, catch our breath, and enjoy the view, glad that we weren't doing this in the heat of the summer sun.

You can see the clouds. You read the title of this post. You know where this is going.

Sure enough, the little drops turned to big drops which turned into a not insubstantial rain. It rolled into the valleys, where you could still see the sun beyond.

When it started hailing, we turned and headed back the way we came.

We noted on the way up how the rains had washed out parts of the trail. On the way down, we got to see it in person. Thoroughly soaked, we found shelter at the visitor center, about an hour-and-a-quarter after setting out. Got into the — freshly washed (yes, I'm the reason it rained) — Golf and headed home to clean up and dry out.

Note: when those clouds around the mountain make it look like it's raining up there, it is.


Happy Anniversary, M+D

After renewing their vows, along with Lucy and Louie Lobo, Valentine's Day 2004