Bob + Claire

Thursday morning, I met up with M+D at Santa Fe Baking Company to see them off. Their flights on Friday were uneventful, and they're back in warm Connecticut now.

We weren't able to spend the afternoon with Bob and Claire, in town visiting her family, but we were still able to meet up with them at Ten Thousand Waves. Claire had suggested that we get a private tub there, something we haven't indulged in since moving here, so we booked one for the evening. We got what is probably the coolest one (temperature-wise, I mean), the one that's most like a natural spring. With the low temperatures we've been having, it had us a bit worried.

But we didn't need to be concerned. Though the day was cold and snow was falling (looked like about 3-4", judging from the roofs of the cars coming down from the ski basin), it was plenty comfortable. And the adjacent sauna provided a pleasant break, and the perfect way to warm up and dry off when our time was done.

But while we were there, the steam was rising off the pool (and us), a light snow was falling and had been dusting the trees and the Japanese-style buildings all day. The golden evening light gave way to a clouded dark night as we soaked, visited, swapped stories, and caught up. It was a singular experience.

To finish it off, we brought Bob + Claire to Bert's La Taqueria, always a satisfying meal in a nice setting. We shared a giant sampler of their signature Mexican (not New-) tacos and rounded out the evening. We had to send them on their way after, but it made for a wonderful end to the holidays.


Happy Birthday (one with a 0), Dori

Sorry about not posting 'til we read your post. Kinda lost track of the days here.

(That's Dori on the left, from her visit this September.)


Flying Farolitos

After last year's outing to see the farolitos on Canyon Road, we decided that we didn't really need to do that again. And with our own house and kitchen and dining room, we didn't need to go out for a big Christmas Eve dinner.

Monica hit on the idea of going to see the "flying farolitos," which we'd heard about and maybe seen a glimpse of in past years, and then return home for dinner. We knew they were launched from Acequia Madre Elementary School, we thought around dusk. No details were available in the papers or online. Got underway late afternoon, perhaps a bit too early, so we were walking Canyon Road (the school is a few blocks off it) as people were out lighting and preparing. It was fun to see, and we were beating the crowds, but still way early for the flying farolitos. Stopped off at Downtown Subscription, a coffee shop/magazine store, for some hot chocolate to warm us up and pass some time.

Made it to the school just around sunset; the building and the grounds out front were covered with farolitos, a huge peace sign made of farolitos decorated the athletic field, and a tent was set up in the parking lot — the sign hanging in it lead me to believe that a lack of published details about the event is not unusual: "Celebrating 18 years of Flying Farolitos (and 17 years of the Santa Fe Reporter refusing to inform people.)"

Soon after our arrival the organizer/creator of the flying farolitos asked for some volunteers to help. The crowd (maybe 20 or so) clustered close to help block the wind. D and Monica were two of the three people holding the top of the light paper farolito; the organizer lay down underneath and attached a styrofoam cross with birthday candles stuck in it to the bottom, lit them, and then used a torch to heat the air some more and fill the bag up.


The volunteers walked the farolito out, the crowd spread out, and on a count of three, it was released.

And away it floated.

As the organizer noted, "the finest 15th century technology."

We stuck around for another launch as a few more families joined the crowd, then we headed back out, through some nicely decorated back roads into the throngs already starting to fill Canyon Road. We did wind up outside for a while in the cold, but made it back home soon enough for our "snack dinner."


Christmas morning was pastries and presents here, then the traditional trip to Cochiti Pueblo for the dances. Snow was coming in, so we left Santa Fe in the warm sun and got out in Cochiti in the cloudy wind. Stayed for a bit over an hour, and came back home, where Bob and Claire soon stopped by for a brief visit. Posole for dinner.

Today, a visit to the Wheelright and some meals and dessert out. I'll be joining M+D for breakfast tomorrow, and then sending them on their way. We meet up with Bob and Claire in the afternoon to spend the rest of the day with them.

Best Christmas Envelope

Great cards from folks this time of year — but this, from Jeff, was undeniably the best envelope.


Cerro Grande

Cheese fondue for our 12-22 Fondue on Saturday night.

And Sunday, we drove up to the Caldera to see about a hike up there. I figured the view would be pretty and snow-covered, and that the snow on the trail would already be pretty worn down from other hikers. Getting to the trailhead, looked like one, maybe two, people and a coyote had been on it since the snow, leaving us about 6" of powder to slog through. None of us were really equipped for that, so we drove on to one of the overlooks to see the Caldera, then turned around and picked a more popular trail on the edges of Bandelier.

The Cerro Grande trail leads to the edge of Frijoles Canyon; last year, when Jorge and I went skiing, we ended our day on the trail.

Set out into the woods. The snow trail was kind of packed, cross-country skiiers, snowshoers, and other hikers had been through, but it was still kind of slow going. Air temperature was around freezing, but it felt warmer in the sun and especially once we got going.

We made it to the overlook, stopped for a bit, and then headed back; out for about two hours total. Definitely earned our stop at Starbucks in Los Alamos.

Merry Christmas!

May you all know the joy of of a wind-up squirrel this holiday season.


Snow, Parents

Probably about 3-4" of snow since last night, enough to cover everything and make it all picturesque for the holidays — as long as it lingers, or that 30% chance of snow showers on Christmas Eve/Day pans out. Looks like that was about 7" up in the ski basin, according to their current conditions.

M+D arrived into Albuqueque Wednesday without too much incident, and into Santa Fe on Thursday. We've met up with them for lunches and dinners, and have sent them off on their own today so we can catch up on our preparations for the next couple days. Tonight will be the traditional 12-22 fondue. There's talk of heading up to the Caldera tomorrow to see that in the snow.

Bob and Claire are due to arrive into town today to meet up with their family, but we've got plans to see them some this week.

Also, our guest appearance on Mouth of Wonder is now posted at PRX.



The tree thawed, we brought it in, set it up, put lights on, made some Chili Blanco, prepared the traditional Mai Tais, and had a crowd over to decorate.


Serena, Poalie, Ryk, Tyrrell, and Danny came over, Jett joined us later in the evening after work.

Serena, Jett, and Poalie got us a little devil ornament.

And Joan, helping move our tree closer to "Joan-ness," sent along a turquoise ornament.

It all turned out pretty well, I think.


Mystery Tree

All the Christmas trees at the Delancey Street Foundation lot had been bundled up and were now frozen in that position from the snow and cold. We picked one that seems about the right height, brought it home and set it up out in the sun. Hopefully, in a couple hours, we'll see what kind of tree we got.


Rue de Purgatorie

Q: How long is this street?
A: It depends on the person....

Seen (in Geneva), photographed, and annotated by Raphael.


Finishing Touches

Great Show!

The show was a blast and flew by — the first time I looked up at the clock, we had less than ten minutes left. Much chatting with Stacy at the beginning, and we got to contribute to her Cookbook Corner segment.

We should be getting a CD of the show next week; I've got a half-formed idea of how it might be possible to post it here. Or it might appear over at PRX. We'll see.



On the Radio Again

Monica and I are both due to be guest hosts on this Saturday's broadcast of Mouth of Wonder. The current plan has us sharing some of our favorite cookbooks in an extended Stacy's Cookbook Corner segment, along with the usual co-host duties and discussion of our food-related activities from Friday night. 'Cause, like Monica's first appearance (and contrary to the usual MOW MO), we'll be live.

There's been some problems archiving past shows on the PRX page, but KSFR offers streaming on its site. The show runs 11:30-noon MST.


Another look at New Mexico

A few months back, M+D's friend Jerry was looking for recommendations for places to photograph during his first trip to the area. We provided him with suggestions, and now he's posted the pictures he took, including Kasha-Katuwe and a few other of our favorite spots.


Happy Birthday, Monica

. . . yesterday. We headed out to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument to see it in the snow.

On the trail around 1100, a fair number of other folks out there as well. It looked like there was more snow on the ground than the 2-3" we got in town; odd, 'cause Kasha-Katuwe is off the mesa, probably about 1000' below Santa Fe, and consistently warmer. There were also all sorts of drifts where the snow fell down the canyon and blew against the walls.


The snow had settled into the striations and crevasses along the canyon walls and on the tent rocks, lingering where the sun wasn't melting it. Made for some beautiful patterns all along the trail.


Temperature must've been around freezing, but warmed in the sun. In the shadows of the canyon we felt the cold, but even the trip up to the top of the mesa wasn't bad, and with less wind than we've experienced in the past.

Still, we didn't linger long at the top. Colder on the trip back, more in shadow and wet from scrambling up and down the snowy trail. Parking lot was pretty filled up, lots of people arriving and setting out as we were leaving.

Continued on to Albuquerque to check out some furniture stores, trying to figure out what to do with the fireplace room. We tested it out on Friday, and it'll be a nice place to sit and read, once we get some decent chairs in there.

Hearty pork loin and roasted root vegetable dinner at home.


Happy birthday also to BJ! You still out there? You know how to get in touch.



For Thanksgiving dinner, we were invited to join the party over at Stacy and Jim's. There was quite a gathering, including several of their friends and co-workers (including one who made the trip from Brooklyn), and Stacy's newly relocated mom.

The meal, was, of course, wonderful — most of it from Stacy's catering kitchen, but also included artichoke pie imported from New York and Bernice's legendary Potato Nick.

A terrific time with a great group of people. Much laughing and enjoying the wonderful meal.


By the time we were heading out, around 1030, it had begun snowing. This morning, we've got maybe two inches on the ground, with the possibility of another one accumulating with snow showers during the day.


A Thanksgiving Message from Dori . . .

. . . appeared on our cell phone this morning.

We're just back from our dinner at Stacy and Jim's new house.

And the snow has started.


Fallen Fruit Followup

Following up on an old post about finding public fruit downtown. The Fallen Fruit guys have updated their Web site with their recent projects, including the Santa Fe visit last year. They've posted the map from their tour of the Second Street neighborhood.

We spent yesterday clearing the fallen leaves from under our fruit tree.


Pale Lowrider

Our friend Ryk, along with a couple of his buddies, is converting an old building up in EspaƱola into a community art space. They had a fundraising event yesterday with lowrider bikes on display.



Found in Albuquerque

Last night, we dashed out of town right after work. The guys from Found Magazine were in Albuquerque.

As one of the 65 stops on the There Goes the Neighborhood tour, Davy and Peter were appearing at the Guild Cinema in the University area.

We made really good time, had a few minutes to stop off for a drink at Kellys Brew Pub; an old converted garage where they brew their own, reminded us of the soon-to-be-demolished Dr. Dremo's.

Got our tickets, got our seats. It's an old movie theater, narrow, probably seats only about 120. Around 8:10, with no signs of the event starting, one of the owners came out and told us that Peter and Davy's van had a breakdown. But they were on the way, probably about a half-hour out. To pass the time, they played Casablanca, but with the soundtrack off and the Ramones playing instead.

Sure enough, around 8:40, Davy came bounding in with his bag of stuff. A few minutes to set up, then he started by sharing the day's adventures. Seems that, outside Soccorro, seemed like their van had a flat tire. But, upon examination, discovered that the axle was glowing red and smoking, and the wheel was at an angle. Already running late, they called a towing company which told them it'd be any time between 1 and 5 hours. But Davy was able to get a ride, from a woman who pulled over to see if they needed help. She went out of her way, driving him in the van she lived in (and sometimes had raised her daughter in) up to Albuquerque. She declined Davy's invitiation to stay for the show; she was already late for her bridge game.

So he launched into readings from favorite found stuff, from a few "greatest hits" to things that he was given on the tour. About a half-hour later, Peter made it — the tow truck had picked him up and they made good time into town. He set up his acoustic guitar and played three songs based on found material. Like the spoken word parts, it was mostly funny, but also a bit poignant, given some extra weight by one-man-and-a-guitar delivery.

Davy rounded out the show with a piece he just wrote for a magazine about growing up with a deaf mother. He noted that when he was commissioned to write the article, that it was probably expected he would turn in a sentimental, touching piece. So he chose to write about how he and his family took advantage of her deafness for all sorts of mischief, and ultimately got caught.

Like the found stuff he reads, the article was mostly funny; laugh-out loud at spots. But in the end, was a very personal glimpse into others' lives. There's plenty of humor, but there's also points where you connect, maybe seeing a bit of yourself or your life in there.

It's a really simple premise — collecting and reading notes, lists, letters that are found. But it's amazing the mileage they get out of this "communal art project." Mostly, it's played for laughs. But there are moments that really get you.

After it wrapped, we got to meet Davy briefly and get him to sign our Found book. It was late, but there was still time for dessert at Flying Star, where we met up with Jeff for a few minutes.

(Some of you may remember when Monica was "Find of the Day" a while back.)