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 Española 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.)


Pinon Jay Visitor

We were kind of remiss in bringing the pumpkin innards to the compost pile. But this guy didn't seem to mind.


Last Week's Hike

The early onset of winter gave way to a few days of unseasonably warm weather last weekend (like, the last one in October — not the one that just passed, though that was pretty nice, too). There were errands and such to be done, but with 70° predicted and some time since we got outside, a hike was in order. So Saturday was getting stuff done and Sunday was off to the Valles Caldera.

The plan was to head out to the Coyote Call trail, which is not actually in the Caldera, it's across Route 4. But it's one we've done, a good afternoon hike, and the drive and points along the trail would give views of the Caldera.

But Sunday morning, I checked the Web site, to make sure I knew where we were heading, and noticed the Calendar section, — which may have been there before, but was never that organized. And that afternoon there was a geology tour, down in the Caldera. We headed to breakfast and to the "staging area," the little headquarters in the park.

Turns out that the tour is a van tour, driving around some points of interest in the Caldera. We were the only two there for the tour, and it was actually the last day of tours for the season. The tour combines some of the geological history with human history, lasted just shy of an hour-and-a-quarter, and took us a couple miles further into the Caldera.

We saw some of the housing, dating back from when it was first used by Spanish settlers to graze sheep, up to the modern hunting lodge built in the 60s, as well as a few buildings from movie sets. We heard how the whole area was the result of a volcanic explosion millions of years ago — maybe from one mountain taller than Everest, or maybe a group of smaller mountains — that scattered rock and ash as far as Kansas. Subsequently, the land flooded and was an inland sea for millions of years; the resulting sandy soil is why it's not really forested in the bowl of the caldera. A couple herds of elk were there, away from the hunting happening in the surrounding mountains; way too far away for photos.


Kathy, our tour guide, was full of all sorts of anecdotes and information, some of pretty techncial (at least to me). She is also clearly very involved in the organizing of the programs and services there, so we got a good overview of what's offered. The Web site has expanded recently, but was still never quite sure how the hikes worked, or what the overnight accomodations are, but now we've got a better understanding. There will be some cross-country skiing (snow allowing; so far, shaping up to be dry, dry here) starting in early December, but otherwise we'll have to see about taking advantage of their offerings when they reopen in the spring.

We then headed across the highway and up into the trail. It begins with a pretty steep ascent and then levels off, following a ridge parallel to the highway that offers glimpses of the Caldera.

It was probably above 70° in the sun, but the shady spots still had remnants of snow the week before. About an hour-forty-five out on the trail, including a stop to snack on apples. Through Los Alamos for some reference photos, then home.

This past weekend was a little foil competition at NMFF, where I did about as well as I expected (7th out of 14), though it was exhausting; chores; and the monthly 7000 BC meeting.


...And The Party

So, it seems that, like M and unlike Andy, kids come from around town to our neighborhood for trick or treating. Around 8:00, we were down to our last five pieces. I answered the door and gave the girl there two; should've just dumped 'em all in, because I was left with the fear that we'd get a crowd of more than three. So we hung the "Sorry! We ran out of candy! Come back next year!" sign on the door. I think there was only one or two more groups out there. Anyway, it was time to get dressed for Serena and Jett's annual party.

For the third year, I went as Señor Muerto. I think that qualifies as a tradition. And, as I had to explain a few times last night, it's a different design every year. This time, it was based on the little guy below.


Monica, wisely, created a costume that wouldn't involve 30 minutes of face scrubbing at the end of the night.

There was quite a spread of sweets and treats at the party. A parade of some pretty great costumes. Serena and Jett were kinda doing a mythological theme, as Medusa and the Minotaur (with the homemade paper maché helmet).