Just finished off dinner with M+D; they'll be heading off tomorrow morning,

Will see about posting recent activities in the next few days. In the meantime, we're resting.


Solstice on Monte del Sol

So, M+D are in town, arrived Friday. This morning's activity was a hike up Sun Mountain, over by Atalaya near St. John's. We didn't make it all the way to the top; it was colder than the advertised forecast of 48°, and there was still plenty of packed snow and ice that made for some tricky going. Out about two hours, but given the day, seemed a good destination.

Yeah, we took a vacation day today. Figures I decide to take a day off on the shortest day of the year.

Yesterday was chores and such, but M+D over for dinner. And celebration of Cheyenne's Gotcha Day. A good thing that M+D were around with gifts, 'cause we blew it. Cookies from Barkin' Bistro and a duck stuffie:

Saturday was great fun, we spent the morning at the Farmers Market with Susan the dogsitter, then out and around. With any luck, I'm getting photos from from a few other sources that'll show the day.

Gray and colder today. Weather oracles are saying precipitation tomorrow, may be snow by Wednesday. Nothing like what hit the East Coast, but we've got hopes that it won't be a completely brown Christmas.


First (Real) Snow

Yeah, though it was irritating, I'm not counting that snow in October.

Storm rolled in last night, continuing on through the morning.

Snow was wetter, sky was less sunny, and it was windier than this usual sort of thing. I thought it was no fun … how about the dog?

Yeah, after sleeping in as much as she could, ran out into the snow and around …

then hurtled back in, about a minute later, after attending to her bidnez.

She did enjoy the subsequent walk, snuffling around all the new smells in the snow. And the sky cleared, the roads eventually got kind of sort of plowed, and the second hit of snow this afternoon never materialized.


Thanksgiving Treats

Again, lucky to spend our Thanksgiving evening at Stacy and Jim's for another Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat.

And somewhere in the air there is a cookie I was tossing Cheyenne, during our hike Friday morning on the Chamisa trail. Thermometer said it was cold, but it was a good temperature for getting out. Two hours total, including a break at the halfway turnaround.

Had James over for dinner tonight. Been a long time since we caught up, plus we think he needed a break. May be heresy to some, but ribs out on a grill or in a smoker just isn't possible, so been working on getting Bittman's oven recipe right. Might have hit it tonight — turns out the secret is just cooking it for hours and hours. And then a few more hours. Though it seems like a summer dish, but there's something about having that spiced meat slow cooking in a cold house all afternoon …

Apparently, Nothing Beats a New Straw Bed

Even on a gray, cold day.

With that, the last of the leaves and branches collected, and the rain barrels just about drained, we're done in the yard for the year.


Art Afternoon

Spent the afternoon at John's studio; a former exhibit designer, also an artist, he's due to have an exhibition of his past decade's work and Monica will be working on the show. A lot of his work involves resin, often combined with woodworking and/or found materials.

A beautiful, open, old adobe house (that they've done much work on) and studio that wouldn't look out of place in Marfa.

Also, Labs.

Yesterday, a day of chores. But we did start off at Over Easy Cafe, owned by a fellow Grey person; we won a gift certificate at the big Greyhound fest. A satisfying breakfast at a neighborhood joint that is not, unfortunately, in our neighborhood.


Wintry Weekend

New Mexico Open

The annual fencing tournament was this past weekend. Setup Friday night, and the foil competition was due to begin Sunday at the perfectly reasonable hour of 10:30. When the gray morning rolled around, with about an inch of snow on the ground (the unpaved part) … it was so tempting to just skip. But, up, packed my stuff, drove through the light snowfall to pick up some more gear at the club, and to Prep.

Had an easy start in my pools, and I kept it going from there — a few tough ones, and I turned around a couple. Won four, and lost one (in a pretty big way), my best showing yet. Seeded 7th out of 19 — which drew me Tony, who I fence with (and generally lose to) about every week at the club. At least I gave him a run; here he is, standing his ground, in the next bout:

Final standing: 9th. That wrapped me up around 2:00, spent some time helping clean up, back home to gather those yard debris piles out of the snow, and then back to the club to unload. With the extra-long conclusion to season four, it was a longish day.

Living With Art … On A Trial Basis

We've been looking to buy a painting from Jamie for a while now, but with this and that, it's taken a while to bring it together. Finally got together at his studio to discuss — where Jamie assured us that his acrylic paintings, since acrylics were first designed for signage, would be just fine on the big blank living room wall opposite the window. The one we could never quite figure out what to hang there.

He didn't have many paintings around though and, while just about anything of Jamie's would be great, there wasn't one that we immediately took to. Plus, not sure about the color or size … so he sent us off with one to try out, until we figure out what we'll be doing:

Ah, inevitably a dog picture. Oh, wait, an even cuter one:

In Other News

Saturday's 7000 BC meeting was held at Artisan, where they have a python named Delilah:

And the post's title may not be entirely accurate, but it's clear that the respite we've been getting for most of November is over. Sunday's snow melted, but it's now consistently below freezing overnight. Undeniably, winter's here.


Too Nice Not To

Nature, it seems, in an effort to make up for the snow a couple weeks back and a kinda disappointing September, has seen fit to give us nearly 70° days this past week with surprisingly warm mornings. I'm not willing to accept the tradeoff, but I'm still gonna take advantage of it.

A walk to Tart's Treats to enjoy an early lunch outside.

Upon returning, there was a (pretty darned trauma-free) dog wash. If you're lucky, maybe Monica will post photos and commentary.


It was another day of chores in the yard, clearing and cleaning and spreading more of the mulched Russian Olive. I've grown quite fond of mulch. Beautiful to be out, and an enforced end time when the stuff I had to throw away exceeded the space I have in the trash barrel. By a lot. Pretty much done for the year, maybe some more raking, but I'm going to be gathering piles and tossing them in the barrel for weekends to come.

Time for a dog walk through the neighborhood. And to see — for the first time since we moved here — the extent of some of the Halloween decorations around (click for larger):


Our across-the-street neighbor made the best of the road construction:


It all started around 5:20, a few families with really little kids. Most of whom, we think we were out on their first Halloweens. One group, we were their first stop on their first outing:

I'm not sure the dog helped with their apprehension there. We'd positioned a borrowed baby gate in the doorway and propped the outer glass door open (because it swings out into the way of any kids and, after experimenting, realized that the gate on the landing would only lead to a trip to the emergency for one of us). For those first couple, Cheyenne was very interested, even jumping up on the gate. Luckily, the novelty quickly wore off and she spent most of the rest of the night in bed.

I feel like there were fewer than last year, but maybe not by as much as originally thought. More little kids, a lower percentage of too-old teenagers, it seemed like a lot of ladybugs. Favorite costumes: one group that had two kids in one big jacket, each head with a fedora and Groucho glasses; the little boy with them, dressed in all white with a black and white plaid baseball hat, white beard, and a handwritten sign on his chest that said "God."



Really? That's how it's going to be?

The view of our yard yesterday morning:

And of the Plaza, around 2:30.

It kind of continued today. Nothing's been sticking to the ground, but we're in for a low of 17° tonight. So not ready for this.

And neither is the dog; here she is, having none of this walk thing:


Seven-inch Base

Storm that passed through yesterday (the side effect of some hurricane, I think) brought some cold, gray weather. Rain turned to snow that didn't stick in town — but the basin was another story.


whelped 10-19-2006

oh, hai dere! dis am cheyenne de dog.
yesserday mai hoomans kep saying "is yur birfday! hapee birfday!"
ah habs no idea wut dey meen, but dey is always makin stoopid monkey noises.

dey put dis stoopid fing on mai hed.

but wait, wat's DIS?!?
ah will wear da stoopid hed fing if ah gets cake!!!


scuse me, dat was not ladee-like.
ah will just lick up dese crums heer.

WOT?? ah also gets a STUFFY??? gimme dat!

here am a dark moovie ob one ob mah hoomans trying to play wif mah new stuffy.
she ibs doing it wrong.

birfdays are ok, ah guess.


And This Weekend

We all slept in Saturday morning, relishing, for the first time in four weekends, not having to drive to Albuquerque at least once. Again, beautiful fall weather, so made a Santa Fe kind of morning out of it. A walk to the Farmers Market, hanging out with the dogwatcher there, making some new friends, and picking up some root vegetables — golden beets to have roasted and over salad, and a black radish that we have no idea what to do with.

But look at it, how weird … how could we resist?

Kicked around some and then stopped by Teca Tu to restock Cheyenne's treats. And to get her an early birthday present: a grunty hedgehog that she carried home for all of a couple minutes.

It's now in the closet, "recharging."

The rest of the weekend was all chores. That afternoon, we finally uncovered the compost that we'd sealed off in the winter when Cheyenne got too interested in it. And … soil!

Huh. It works.

Still needs more time, though, so turned it all, rebuilt the straw walls, and rewrapped the pile, now about 2/3 the size it was. Maybe will be good enough in the spring.

Then it was returning that Russian Olive to the back yard. In its mulched form, from the pile that's been residing in our driveway. That picked up again Sunday afternoon, after cleaning and groceries. Monica, off from work Monday, set about scraping and caulking and painting the canales … we're looking at a lot of chore catch-up this month.


Andy and the Weekend that was Last Weekend

Retrieved Andy at the airport Thursday night, one of the last flights in. Friday arrived, earlier for some of us than others, with better weather than threatened — no hard freeze overnight, and clear blue skies and the promise of '60s for the day. Mon was working, but Andy and I discussed the plans over breakfast outside at Tune-Up. It was too nice and too yellow to not head up the mountain, the only question was, "to do what?" Hike, stroll Aspen Vista, ride the ski lift? Andy opted for the latter. And, once there, suggested we just buy the one-way ticket.

Ride was start and stop, probably almost 20 minutes to the summit (11,250', not the 12,075' mistakenly identified below; that came later). Where it was plenty cold and windy.

A few photos, some binocular viewing, and, though we were layered up, had to get moving. Andy pointed up to the adjoining peak with the cell phone towers, and off we went. Those thousand or so feet took us a while, stopping to admire the view, watch the controlled burn, and trying to breathe.

But at the top, felt good enough to walk the ridge and find another way down. The return path might've been even tougher, loose rocks and a steep slope making for some extra-cautious going, with the destination in view, seemingly so close.... About three hours out total, chili dogs at the grill at the base area. And, on the drive down, a short stop off to soak out some of the soreness at Ten Thousand Waves.

That evening, after some resting up, out to High Mayhem for Tim's gallery opening.

Stuck around to watch some Cake In Ya Face, then off to Lan's for a big dinner. Which left us all too logy to continue on to Cowgirl to catch Joe West — so back home for some of the long-awaited Middleman DVD that Andy brought us.

Saturday, all dragged ourselves out for a walk in the cool autumn morning with the dog who, while pretty well-behaved, had clearly not been herself with the stitches that needing biting and the scrapes that needed licking and the subsequent necessity of wearing a muzzle and/or shirt most of the time. Eased into the morning from there, then set out, beginning with a walk through the Farmers Market to Flying Star for a big breakfast, then driving off to Puye for a tour of the cliff dwellings.

The site recently re-opened and it now requires a guided tour. The fee is a bit steep (as is the paved path up), but if it goes toward the further restoration of the site and expansion of the tours, it'll be worth it — as our guide noted, "we don't want to be Bandelier." Gone are their Harvey days of "free-range tourism," in their place, a short but interesting overview (both kinds) and a look at some amazingly preserved ruins and petroglyphs.

Returned for an early start to our last grill of the season. Fired up the pit early on, as it cooled once we were in the shade, and continued out there into the night for cigars and dinner and s'mores (some made with the chocolate cookies Mon had baked … mmmmm).

Stopped by Counter Culture on our way out Sunday morning for the egregiously large cinnamon bun and breakfast, then off to the airport. Returning, Mon and I were able to swing by the Harwood for the tail end of the 24 Hour Comics Day event there to see what everyone had been up to and help clean. Like we did, you can follow the activity from the blog and the Flickr site.

Because she'd been so good and long-suffering, an extra-long walk with Cheyenne that evening.