Last Blast of Winter

So, after the gorgeous, warm weekend last week, the snowstorm seemed inevitable. The news buildup began early in the week, and the predictions turned out to be true. Thursday night was a mix of freezing precipitation, Friday morning saw a few inches of snow to be shoveled. An additional inch or so over the course of the day, then it gave way to a bright, sunny (but still cold) afternoon.

The SFNM's article about the storm notes that there was 10" up in the mountains, about 5" in the city, and that the fruit growers in the region were optimistic.

But I'm pretty sure that's it for our apricot tree again this year.


St. Francis and the Birds

Took a slightly different path in to work (stopping off to stock up on green chile bagels), so my drive took me by the St. Francis and the prairie dog statue. But there was something different this morning…

And then, right on time, AM@MAIN had an explanation for it all.

Update: and a little something about the project in the Reporter.



As D noted in the Comments, apparently a group of Greyhounds is called a leash.

And there you go, at the top. The leash from today's GCNM Adoption Clinic. A lighter turnout than last month (and three dogs had already left by the time that photo was taken), both in the participants and passersby.

But it was still a fun time, everyone happy to see Cheyenne doing so well. We got to spend some time with Tina, who has Cheyenne's littermate Aztec.

Cheyenne, as with most dogs — and maybe moreso with her big brother — was ambivalent at best.

But she did get along with the rest of the leash, was very good and tolerant of all the little kids, and spent most of the day (as she did previous times), lying on some other dog's bed.

It was, however, a draining day for all of us (and I was up for saber at NMFF this morning). By this evening, though, we were all ready for a nice walk. It's undeniably spring here now, all bright and warm and welcoming and our apricot tree is blooming and hasn't been killed by the snow yet but there's still time. I mean, we kicked off sandal season today and headed out for a stroll.

Our route took us by Shelby and David's; when they saw us passing and came out with the kids to see us and meet the dog.

We visited for a bit, checked out their new raised beds. Cheyenne was just really, really, really interested in the chickens.


Austin — and STAPLE!, 2009 Edition

As we did last year, spent a long weekend in Austin to represent 7000 BC at STAPLE! and visit with Carol and Doug.

This we we started off with the comic show, arriving into Austin Friday afternoon. ExpressJet is no more, so we didn't have the quick direct flight; it was still uneventful, but late afternoon by the time we got in.

Dinner out that evening with Rob, an Austin-area writer we know from Bubonicon, and his partner Janel. When we were making plans, I suggested we sample the local barbecue, so they met us at the hotel and off we went to County Line. Forgot the camera that evening, unfortunately, so nothing to capture the hugeness that was the restaurant, and no record of the fun time we had with them. After the meal, they took us up to Mount Bonnell, at 785 big feet, the highest point in Austin. A clear, warm night, almost a full moon making the path up glow to a terrific view of the city (including the Tower lit up in orange, indicating a recent win). A nice way to ease into the weekend.

Slept in a bit late, seating at the restaurant for breakfast took a while. But, with the perfectly sensible start time of 11:00, a location right across from the hotel, such tight quarters that it's not worth setting up a display, and an attendee base that doesn't really roll in until after noon, we were just fine.

Show picked up right around noon and we had a steady stream of folks stopping by; at our first break, sometime after 3:00, discovered that, about halfway through, we'd already far exceeded last year's sales. Our success continued, selling out of some of our stuff, and I'd say selling at least one of everything on the table.


Again, took pitifully few photos — hey, we were busy. Our friend Rob and our neighbor Jennifer on the end there. (Click for larger.)

The video below from Texas Geek TV give a good overview of the show, though it felt like it was more crowded that it appears there. Our table pops up a few times; look for my microsecond of fame, scratching my nose.

STAPLE!'s got a really great vibe, it's an interesting — and, by and large, interested — crowd. We met all sorts of great people, had some fun discussions. Rob had less success at the show, but he's the one that really pointed out that the nature of the crowd changes over the day. Makes sense, with the small size, most attendees are going to spend probably two hours at most there, and the steady stream we were seeing meant that new people were showing up all the time, even into the last hour. We left that evening worn out and tired, but on a real high from our performance.

In early 2006, we made a trip to SPACE, a small press show in Columbus. Got to talking with a writer there, picked up some of his books. One, I got a particular kick out of, and sent an email to the artist. Well, Marc have been corresponding ever since, swapping comics, collaborating, and occasionally talking on the phone — but had never met. He made the four-hour trip to STAPLE! with his daughter to check it out, spend some time in Austin, and hang out with us. Which we did over a long dinner.

Great fun, talking comics, showing artwork, sharing stories, comparing experiences. They're both a ton of fun, real bundles of energy; Dani spent most of the time chatting with Monica, but was sketching and passed along one of her drawings.

A leisurely start to Sunday, quick breakfast and laughs at Kick Butt Coffee (motto: "Coffee Brewing 6:30am-11pm …Trouble Brewing 24/7"). It was founded by a Tai Chi and Kung Fu master, so the shop has a real tongue-in-cheek martial arts/Chuck Norris thing going.

And then on the road, an hour out of town, to Carol and Doug's. Arrived a bit after noon and greeted up at the main house by Carol; we went down to the creek to check on Doug, who was, as Carol joked "playing:"

He was working on clearing brush (which seems to be the Texas equivalent of Santa Feans' endless fiddling with drip irrigation) and cleaning up the creek's flow. We took a quick tour of the land to check out all the improvements they've been making over the year, including the (about?) 39,000 gallon cistern and new deck on top, and even stopped by the neighbors' (where, Raph, we also got a picture of their Kubota; no, I'm not posting the photo on the main page, I've already put enough tractor here).

A little lunch, then a quick tour of the 5-acre vineyard (click for larger):


The grapes were just starting to bud, it was early enough that it all didn't need to be netted yet. They've got … 5 (?) varieties out there, San Geovese, Syrah, others.


Spent the rest of the afternoon — and the evening, too — out on the balcony, sitting and visiting, talking about our respective interests in the history of espionage. Around sunset, back down to the barn for feeding; got to meet Shine, their new horse (a 14-year old former rodeo performer) and see the Gray Daryl and Brown Daryl again. Hawk is also still around and doing well.


Temperature that night was perfect for an al fresco dinner of barbecued chicken and more catching up and swapping animal stories.

Another late start to the morning the next day (this has gotta be the most rested we've ever been on a convention trip, even with the loss of an hour). A delicious, hearty breakfast, where in the 70° morning, we checked in on the Plaza webcam and watched the snow coming down. A little more visiting with Carol and then on the road to the airport.

Home, where our dog spent a good weekend with a couple other Greys.



(Spent last weekend in Austin at STAPLE! — another great time with some terrific people — and out at Carol and Doug's. More to come later, including pictures of the tractor and the vineyard there.)


Dog Park! Now, with actual running!

Spring seems to have come early to Santa Fe — it's welcome, but we could use the water that more snow would bring. But, we'll see … plenty of time for it to turn again.

Brunch with James downtown, then a visit to the museums for a whirlwind tour of Through The Lens, Pulling Strings, and Alternative Spaces.

With the afternoon free and a sunny day, we drove Cheyenne over to the dog park at the Santa Fe Humane Society. We took her there New Year's afternoon; they have a big, fenced 22-acre space for all the dogs, and then a few smaller runs reserved for one group. We spent some time in the latter that day, with a dog who had no clear idea what she was supposed to be doing there, and not really enjoying the mud and ice on the ground.

Started off in one of the private parks again and actually got her to run — something we've not gotten to see yet — a bit between us, or when chasing a ball (though, then, only as fast as the ball and stopping when it did). So we moved over to the big group park.

Where she did fine, having a good time walking around the edges. She did kind of have a fondness for chasing after the smaller dogs (y'know, the prey animal sized ones) and could get a little rough when there was a scrum of activity around them. But she handled herself well, ran and frolicked around, chased the odd ball, and really wore herself out over the course of the couple hours we were there. We visited with plenty of nice dog owners and a wild assortment of pets, from the about-to-be-retired assistance Golden Retriever to the scrappy, one-eyed little (and I mean little) Rocket, to the rescued Westy, to the "family" of Husky-oids.

A lot of fun to have her off leash, to see what she does (and learn not to worry too much about it), and watch her run. I think we may have seen a bit of her going almost all-out — which is more than enough to leave us in the dust. Literally.