The Game

So, we're sitting for a neighbor dog for a couple days — Sabine, some sort of border collie-oid.

And I'm just trying to figure The Game. According to the owner, many have tried over the years. Sure, it starts simply enough. She brings the ball (stick, or thing) somewhere in your general vicinity, and drops it. Throw it so it bounces and she can chase it. OK, then the rules change. She drops it near you. And then ducks under (in that border collie-like crouch), after having made a counterclockwise circuit of the area, some sort of thing. Like a chair, or a table (she was doing this the other night in her own yard), or bush. Sometimes something she can peer around, like a planter. And then she usually doesn't chase the ball if it's bounced near her. I've discovered that if I roll it, boule-like, towards, her, she'll go for it. Unless she doesn't. It's clear that I don't understand the rules yet.


Santa Fe All-Stars at Tiny's

After reading this article in the Santa Fe Reporter last week about the Santa Fe All-Stars, we decided we needed to see them. One of Monica's co-workers is in the band, we've heard a bit of their music here and there, and they're well-respected around town.

Last night went to Tiny's Restaurant for a little dinner and stuck around for the show. Stacy and Jim joined us a bit later.

Great music; a little tough to describe — some country, some swing, some rockabilly, some bluegrass, some of their own stuff, some unique covers. A bunch of really talented musicans, got a lot of folks dancing — several of whom really knew what they were doing.


Attack of the Neighbor Cat

A friend was over a few months back and, noting the proliferation of cats around our yard, asked us, "do you have cats?" In retrospect, the answer we should have offered was: "if by 'have cats', you mean it like 'do you have pet cats?' then the answer is no; if you mean it like 'do you have an infestation of termites?' then the answer is yes."

We have several cats that roam the neighborhood, our yard, and occasionally try and get into our house. At first, they seemed to be using a corner of the yard as a litter box, but that stopped once we took up residence. We still generally try and shoo them away; being cats, even when they do go away, they make it seem like it was their idea.

This morning we're heading out; Monica's getting in her car and I'm locking up the door. She tosses some stuff in the back seat and I hear a yell of surprise. I look up as she shouts "cat!" and Overly Friendly Neighbor Cat jumps out of the car window that had been open overnight. It looked, from the large pile of fur in the back seat, that he had spent the night.

Attempting to chase him out of the yard, he retreated a few feet and laid down.


Bubonicon 39

Update below.

Peter and Paul had picked the inventory of the group's work from us on Friday and made it to the show in time to do a little setup. Jamie joined us later in the morning, and Jeff arrived a little later. Among that group, we worked the table, some folks headed off to check out the panels. We visited with the vendors around us and had a great time. Traffic seemed lighter (and there were fewer people in costume) than last year, but sales were impressive — it's shaping up to be the most successful show for the group, and for Raised By Squirrels.

We wrapped up Saturday evening, hung out for a bit, then headed off to (at Jeff's suggestion) a pretty amazing dinner at Thai House. Great food, and we had the place pretty much to ourselves. Got to have a leisurely dinner and all catch up some. Monica and I stayed at Paul and Beth's newly purchased house (Beth was away for the weekend), along with Peter. Stayed up a bit too late visiting.

To Owl Cafe for breakfast, then a dash to the show. We hadn't planned to staying too long, but wound up lingering. We were having a good time, making some sales (including to folks who had bought the first volume last year; gratifying). Headed out a bit after 1:00.

Stopped by the Apple store store on the way.

Update. Just noticed that the first paragraph of this got dropped somewhere along the line, probably in placing that top photo. It went something like:

Saturday morning, we were up bright and early to head to Bubonicon 39. We had staffed the 7000 BC table on Saturday last year and had a pretty great time, though sales were kind of slow (but later found out that Sunday's sales really picked up). We grabbed some donuts for our fellow hucksters and drove to Albuquerque to be there when it opened.

but it was much better, as I put more time into it instead of just trying to quickly post this.


Jamie Chase Opening

After work tonight, walked from downtown over to the Deloney Newkirk Fine Art gallery on Canyon Road. Our friend Jamie, with whom we worked on Death, Cold As Steel, was having an opening of new work at the gallery where's he's represented (which seems to be an annual event). He does these wonderful abstract, figurative paintings, usually really large scale, but also smaller studies.

A late anniversary dinner after at Jinja pan-Asian restaurant.


Quest for Donuts

When I left my small hometown 20 years ago, it soon became clear that I was not likely to ever again easily find three culinary staples of my childhood: fresh kielbasa; homemade ice cream (seemingly around every corner); and real bakery donuts.

After years in the DC area, I had discovered that you could mail order kielbasa from Usinger's. And eventually Lazy Sundae opened up a few blocks away, offering all sorts of great flavors of homemade ice cream. (Side note: and it was always busy — I mean, really, what took so long for someone to decide to open an ice cream shop? Virginia? In summer? Who would possibly want ice cream then? But I digress).

And we were introduced to Heidelberg Pastry Shop, with its amazing assortment of Old World pastries, including fresh donuts.

In Santa Fe, it was like we had to start all over again. We've discovered some local ice creameries — few, far between, but good. No European bakeries, but it didn't really concern me much, what with the other local breakfast delicacies we discovered.

But during Andy's latest visit, it occurred to me I wanted donuts. The way that Saturday morning was going, it made sense to just have some stuff around that everyone could eat as needed. Plus, I think having a New Englander around got it in my head. So I headed out to Dunkin' Donuts. They were fine, they got us through the morning, but not all that satisfying. At some point, driving along Cerrillos, Andy spotted a small (non-chain) donut shop in one of the plazas that we'd never noticed before. I filed that away for future reference.

Back in New England a couple weeks back where, especially around Boston, there seemed to be a Dunkin' every few feet, decided I wanted some of the bakery donuts I used to have growing up. M+D have gotten out of the donut habit, but were game — and, in calling around to the local bakeries, discovered that America (or at least Wethersfield) does, indeed, run on Dunkin'. None of the bakeries made donuts anymore.

This past week, we were dropping Monica's car at the shop on Cerrillos, I ducked over to the donut shop — Kip's Donuts — to note the hours (Tuesday-Saturday, 6am-noon or until they run out).

So this morning, headed there to pick up some breakfast.

A small place, a good selection. Baking going on right behind the counter. Sweet smells.



More Mountain Lion

A follow-up article on the mountain lion found downtown in today's Santa Fe New Mexican.

We wound up amusing ourselves — way too much — creating our very own lolcats* from the (uncredited) photo of the poor thing.

If so inclined, you can click for larger. We got that working again.


And D was moved to write a haiku:

Haiku to a Trapped Puma
What is the sound of
an enraged mountain lion
while being flushed out?

* Yeah, never heard of the phenomenon either before a few weeks back. Had to research it ourselves.


house pix update... kind of

While I was visiting family in NC last weekend, I promised to post some new house photos. As you'll see, we haven't made a whole lot more progress unpacking. Instead, here's more of a virtual-type tour. My group!

Here's the view from the foyer into the original part of the house, which we sometimes refer to as "the north wing." Because we're nerds.

Immediately to your right, you will find the dining area, with the kitchen next to it. The sliding doors in the dining room and the kitchen windows both face east, into the backyard. As you can tell from the retinal-searing amounts of sunlight, I took these photos in the morning.

To the left of the dining area is the living room. If you were sitting on our couch, this is what you'd see: on your left, the window facing the street (west); one of Jim's lovely shelving units; the teevee, partially obscured by; the red chair; the closet door; the hallway, sporting a; stylish little fan; and the office beyond.
[click for larger]

Making your way down the hall, the first room on the left is the guest room. It's on the corner, with one window facing the street (west) and one facing our next-door neighbor's house (north). This room is also known as "the one with all the boxes and crap we haven't put away yet."

All right, move it along, nothing to see.

Next is the office. I hung the "Silence" poster this weekend, cleaned up, and filed a bunch of paperwork. Including our individual and joint tax returns going back to 1991. Why is it that one sheet of paper weighs nothing, yet a box full of paper is so heavy that not even light can escape its gravitational pull? Why?? Sorry, I digress.
[click for larger]

The office windows face the neighbor (north) and the backyard (east). Next to the office, and the last room off the hallway, is the bathroom. Yes, I know the shower curtain doesn't match the tile. Shut up! The window faces the backyard.

Back into the living room, and facing the couch, with the door to the foyer next to the other shelf from Jim. That's it for the north wing. Onward to the converted garage!
[click for larger]

Here's the view, from the foyer, down a mysterious, blurry hallway. Be not afraid! Enter!!

To your right is the room we sometimes call "the other room with all the boxes and crap we haven't put away yet" or "the fireplace room" or "the library." Window faces the other neighbor (south).

So where's the fireplace? That's it there, the dark, curved thingus, behind the mirror. As is the style here in Santa Fe, there's a built-in bench (called a banco) in front of the fireplace, so the hearth is raised up about two feet off the floor. Not that you can see any of that, what with the junk in the way. The back of the fireplace faces the street. It's where the garage door used to be.

And where are the books in this so-called "library" you ask? Why right here! It's our remaining pieces of Ikea Akrobat shelving! And, yes, they're mostly full of graphic novels. I blame you, Raphael!

Back to the blurry hallway. The double doors on the left hide the washer + dryer.

Next room on the right is the "master bath." The stepstool is in the shower because I've been stripping the water-damaged varnish off the wood window and window frame. The plan is to tung-oil the heck out of it, then hire a contractor to build the wall out (in? I mean away from the window), so that it's more recessed, and have the shower tiled (it's peeling, painted concrete now). First step is me doing the window, for some reason. Window faces south. Still no mirror(s). Makes putting my contacts in more fun that way. Also, the gold-tone fixtures...? Gotta go.

Our bedroom is at the end.

We figure this little alcove-ey bit was added on to the back of the garage when the place was renovated. Widows face north, east, and south!! Sun's up! Why are you still sleeping??

There are sliders opposite the foot of the bed that face north, out onto the patio. So bright! Go into the light!

Wait, let me adjust the exposure so you can see better. There you go:

Next time: the yard.

Mountain Lion Found Downtown

"A state wildlife officer tranquilized a mountain lion inside a Plaza jewelry store early Saturday morning before relocating the big cat to the Chama area." From today's Santa Fe New Mexican.


Happy Birthday, Maddy

(Showing where she'd planted beans.)


New England Trip, Part 3

Day 7: New Haven Through the Haze; Visiting

Wanted to go on a hike while on vacation, something usually done at a national park. But there's a lack of those in Connecticut, though there are plenty of state parks. We chose Sleeping Giant. Again, a place we all had a vague recollection having gone, but couldn't remember any specifics.

D's pretty much covered the hike in his essay. The trail's about 1.6 miles up and back. Verdant, shady, and increasingly humid. Until reaching the "castle" at the peak, where a nice breeze accompanied the hazy view of New Haven.

Some snacks up there, then picnic lunch at the base. Stopped for homemade ice cream at a little roadside stand, 'cause you can do that in New England.

Spent the afternoon catching up with Joan, and the evening with John and Darlene. Telling stories of the move, the new house, and extracting promises to visit.

Managed to sneak in a quick look at the old library, the Cora J. Belden Library.

Day 8: Fresh Fruit; Olde Houses; More Art

Started out early-ish in the morning, off to pick fruit at Rose's Berry Farm Belltown Orchards. Had been snacking on peaches picked from there previously — and blueberries (oh, the blueberries) from M+D's plants. But it's that time of year to stock up on them and enjoy them. Managed to bring a (too-small) container of blueberries back here.

A quick walking tour around Old Wethersfield; M+D now volunteer at the Wethersfield Historical Society, so D was able to give a more historical overview of the area than I ever had. Mostly, nice stroll, again reveling in the New England-ness of it all.

We managed a quick visit to the New Britain Museum of American Art. Turned out to be a real treat; one of the highlights of the museum is its illustration collection, those folks I'd read about/studied from the golden age of magazine illustration.

We grabbed some pizza and had a farewell dinner at G's

Day 9-10: And Then It All Went Awry

Had an afternoon flight out of Bradley, with a tight connection through DFW. Minor delays getting out, but that's to be expected these days. Some more travel time added as we had to reroute; but we were assured that every flight was affected, so making the connection shouldn't be a problem. Dashed to my gate with time to spare to discover that my flight was cancelled. As was one of the two others to Albuquerque that evening. As were a whole bunch earlier in the day. Seems they had some storms and shut the entire airport down for an hour in the afternoon, delaying, stranding, and redirecting planes throughout the system.

Waited 'til sometime after 9:30 to discover I wasn't going to make standby on the 6:35. So, waited to get rebooked (and a hotel), waited to get to the hotel. Did meet and commiserate with a nice couple on the way back from the Con.

Up at dawn, after a couple hours sleep, to try my luck on standby again. And I made the second flight out, along with a whole bunch of others waiting for the first available seat. Made it into work in the afternoon, but it made for a long day.


New England Trip, Part 2

Day 5: Mystic; The Bells

M+D were up for it when, sitting around over breakfast, I said "Mystic Seaport."

And, so after getting some directions, off we went.

Can't think of the last time I've been there. It's kind of a pieced-together seafaring village, with buildings and ships from all around the region, giving a sampler of life during the heady days of the whaling/fishing industries in New England. Many of the structures and vessels were moved there from points around the area, showcasing the various methods of getting around on the water and the (not necessarily easy either) life on land. Had a great seafood lunch, poked in all sorts of exhibits, and saw the Charles W. Morgan in person (and heard stories of what live on a whaling ship was really like).

Soaking in the New England-ness of it all, with a nice breeze coming off the river on a picture-perfect* day. Caught the water taxi to round it out.

Stopped for homemade ice cream at a little roadside stand, 'cause you can do that in New England.

At home, we decided to head into the carillon concert at Trinity College, a mainstay of summer Wednesday evenings. Packed up a dinner, met up with some friends of M+D's, and hung out on the lawn. Wandered inside after a bit, a nostalgic tour of the spaces John and I used to clamber around, and ran into Classic Monica. Visited for a bit, then continued on.

Note: in the below photo, there's the resident red hawk up in the spires.

* Somewhere in here, realized I'd forgotten the cable to connect the camera to the computer to download images, limiting me to around 42 shots for the trip.

Day 6: Thwarted at the Wadsworth; More Old Stomping Grounds

Into the Wadsworth Athaneum, the site of many "forced culture" outings in my youth. Now, it's all remembered fondly, and a kind of magical place where galleries opened into other galleries and you never knew what was around the corner, though it all looked vaguely familiar.

Since I've moved away, I've realized what an amazing collection they have. So I wanted to explore it more — but mostly I wanted to see one of my favorite paintings, Max Ernst's Europe After the Rain II.

It was, however, removed to make space for a temporary exhibit. So I strolled the (reconfigured) galleries, visiting some old "friends," sometimes newly recognizing the names attached to them (hey, John Singer Sargeant, no wonder I always like that one).

M+D were off on some errands, so I headed to the local comic shop I used to frequent, Heroes & Hitters — still around after 15+ years.

For dinner, rounded up with some Les and the kids, Amanda and Will, and G for dinner at a Chinese buffet M+D are fans of. Got to visit some and fill up on (guaranteed MSG-free) "traditional" Chinese food, something I haven't done for ages.

New England Trip, Part 1

Day 1: Traveling to Logan Airport

Uneventful and close enough to on-time. Met at the airport by Andy and the girls, back to their house. BBQ dinner.

Day 2: Makin' Comics with Maddy; Wegman

Slept in, joined the familly for a big breakfast. Then spent the morning working with Maddy on making her comic, The Angry Squirrel (I had nothing to do with the naming, but I suspect there was some coaching beforehand).

Josie dressed up in shiny clothes and hung out with us.

Then, loaded everyone up and headed to the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy, where there was an exhibit of mostly recent work by William Wegman.

A lot of paintings and other non-photographic work, but also a number of the Weimaraner pictures for which he is so well known — including a room of the large-format Polaroids, which featured a few of his Man Ray images. It was interesting to see such a broad range, but best to see some of those dog photos up close.

A good permanent collection of American Impressionist and other American art, so spent some time walking through those galleries. And then there was a gallery of tall ship models, with insanely detailed rigging. Below, that's the Charles W. Morgan; you'll be seeing more of that later.

Stopped for homemade ice cream at a little roadside stand, 'cause you can do that in New England. Then continued on to dinner.

Day 3: Closed Mondays; On Freedom's Trail

After reading this article about the Institute for Contemporary Art, I had to go see it. Andy was going to suggest that for Monday, so off we went.

You know from the title where this is going.

As we parked, the gray turned to gray and rain, the wind picked up. We dashed to the amphitheater area to check that, and the view, out.

I actually kinda liked the gray and rain. Looking out over the Boston Harbor, a stiff, but not cold, breeze. The rain quickly tapered off to a driving mist. It was all just so New England-y.

We grabbed some seafood at a shack on the pier for lunch, then headed over into the city.

We picked up the Freedom Trail and followed that through historic Boston. Just strolling, catching up. Rain stopped, and it started to get a bit warm.

At home, wrapped up The Angry Squirrel and made travel plans for the next day.

Day 4: To Hartford and Stew's

Hopped the T with Andy in the morning, continued on to the bus station and got on the bus for Hartford. Finished off Wonder Boys — having enjoyed it a great deal — and then just listened to music and watched the landscape go by, as I would do back in college, visiting Andy at spring break.

M+D met me at the Hartford station. And immediately took me off to Stew Leonard's — for groceries for the week, but also to show it off.

Fun place; lots of samples, good fresh food. Kind of like Wegmans, with more of a farm theme and with animatronics.

Met up with G in the afternoon, and she treated us to a Polish dinner at Tatry. Oh, the bigos. Everybody's meal was egregiously large, but I couldn't stop eating mine.


New Photos at Chamisa

Monica's posted 48 (!) new photos at Chamisa.