Thanksgiving Weekend So Far: A Mixed Bag

Both got a bit of an early release. Monica used the time to make herself a birthday cake. Don't judge me! I'm just not a baker, she has the traditional family birthday cake recipe worked out for the altitude, and wanted to experiment with the frosting. Is this the time for me to try to learn something new? I thought you'd agree.

Dinner out a La Boca, a nice, tasty time after some seating problems. Back home for the aforementioned cake. Which was really, really good.

A nice sleep in. Sitting about catching up on newspapers(!) and Greytalk, watching parades and dog show on the TV. Time for some reading before heading over to Stacy and Jim's for dinner.

Joined again by her friend from Brooklyn and his girlfriend, Bernice, and other friends. A delicious dinner (which I failed to photograph this year) and a great time socializing.

Turns out Stacy was not only at Flash Flood last weekend along with Bernice, but was a volunteer; there's some of her and more of the event in this movie, though I'm still waiting for someone to post a video of the river turning blue.

Even more sleeping in, which meant a later start to the post-Thanksgiving hike. Not necessarily a bad thing, we were having some pretty cold temperatures; decided on Atalaya, not to go all the way, but because it was likely to keep us in the sun.

Unfortunately, the breakfast burrito before was betraying me; I was dragging the whole time and I don't think any of us were particularly into this hike. An hour up, then an hour back retracing our steps. To True Believers for their Blackest Friday sale, stocking up on gifts and few new releases. Back to nap, which the dog never really bothered to get back up from. Read some of the haul, but I called it an early night.

Shaky, but getting better, I was starting to clean up some when a call came in from a friend, out of state with his family for the weekend. His dog wasn't well and wanted to know if we could help his mother, house- and dog-sitting, get him to the vet. The pickup got complicated, I'd forgotten how big this dog is; we'd sat for him in the past, seen him some, and I wouldn't have characterized him as particularly active, but he was lagging noticeably. To the emergency vet where he was admitted for critical care.

Monica later noted what a weird time warp it is there. Simultaneously dragging and speeding, there's a rhythm of activity and sitting, never able to actually concentrate on reading. Noticing we were in one of the agitating cycles after a couple hours, we were updated on the tests' progress by a vet tech. And then, a while later, when the vet herself came out, we could tell it wasn't going to be good.

There was one more test to run, but he probably only had hours and would have to be put to sleep. We took a break, home to get some food, and Mon and I headed back to the office when the worst was confirmed. We were able to sit with him for about an hour, feed him the peanut butter, squeeze cheese, and turkey the doctor gave us, crying as we held him as he got the injections and went quietly and peacefully. He was a beloved family dog, 11 years old, I'm just sorry his people couldn't be there and hope we were some sort of comfort.

Another slow start, we're just really not doing mornings this weekend. In a little while we'll be J+J's guests for Circus Luminous, a post-Thanksgiving tradition here in town. We've never been — and, actually, have never even been to The Lensic, so looking forward to a nice time and dinner out this evening.


The Weekend So Far: Arty, Leafy, Houndy

Last night, one of the shows Monica's been working on for the New Mexico Museum of Art had its opening. Case Studies from the Bureau of Contemporary Art presents works from the permanent collection as if they were pulled from the files of the fictional department; her designs draw from historical sources.

Outside, Axle Art was set up, where we were certified as art lovers. Inside, the event was well attended, the crowds treated to performance art pieces by The Rubber Lady and Tim in his Orangeman guise.

Got to visit some, see the art, and still make it home at a respectable time. And then we were up (relatively speaking, for a weekend) early to participate in Flash Flood.

The plan was to turn the Santa Fe River — singled out in 2007 as the most endangered river in the country, what with it not actually having any water in it — blue for a passing satellite photo. Participants would hold up blue-painted cardboard to create a living river, flipping the brown side to animate the process.

We grabbed some takeout burritos and headed over to SFAI to pick up the shuttle (provided by the city with volunteer drivers), which arrived after some delay, to San Ysidro crossing for the event. It was probably 10-ish by the time we arrived and the staging was well underway.

Seems that somewhere along the line, blue tarps kind of started taking the place of the cardboard, so, for a half-hour or so, it was all about coordinating tarps for maximum coverage, practicing running the corners together for a dry river and then apart for blue.

Quite the festival atmosphere, with mariachi, Buffalo Dancers, a helicopter circling overhead, chanting, much laughter, and a crane with a videographer; the latter was there to capture our simulation of a running river. A gorgeous day, approaching 60° with a few clouds. Santa Fe New Mexican's saying around 1000 participants of all kinds, including the dog that walked on water.

At 10:53 the satellite passed overhead (we were told), so we all held up the blue for a while before and after; then it was turning the brown river blue, in various directions, a few times, following the directions of the organizers on the ridge and the runners with flags along the riverbed. I hope that video's going to be easily available sometime soon, would love to know how it all turned out.

Update: photos and coverage at 350.org

We were back home by about noon, in time to bring Monica and Cheyenne to GCNM's monthly meet and greet. I tackled the leaves that had finally dropped off the apricot tree. A trash barrel and two leaf bags later, I made it over to the greatly diminished crowd. Apparently had totaled 15 Greyhounds at one time, including the new couple in town with the two dogs, one of whom looks like Cheyenne, causing confusion (as it did on this evening's walk) among our neighborhood's dog owners.

Quiet night in, posole, the makings bought while the oven was broken earlier this week. Chores tomorrow.



The view outside right now.

Bonus: ghostly dog in the snow.


Of Course, a Sunday Walk …

tires a houndie out.


Sunday Houndie Walk

This time of year's rough for me. The early darkness, the cold; as impossible as it seems to believe, I get even grumpier when Daylight Savings Time ends. It takes just about everything I have (and many manufactured projects) to keep myself from just coming home and going to bed, skipping dinner. Especially on Mondays.

It kind of started the first year we had Cheyenne, and was institutionalized last winter: Sunday evening, she and I head out for a big walk.

Over a block, up the street; a short, but steep, climb up to the ridge. Through the open space to the dog park (the irony — a dog park within walking distance where, because of the lack of fencing, she can't go off leash). Down through the park and back up the other side, past the memorial and back into the open space. There's two paths out, and from there at least two routes, so plenty of room for variation depending on the weather and our mood. No girls allowed, except for the dog.

It's become important, this ending to the weekend. Something to look forward to, something that puts an end to the weekend's activities. Something where nothing happens except putting one foot in front of the other. And enjoying the sights and sniffs.

These first few weeks, nice; but winter sets in quickly and the walk gets cold. It's timed to make sure that we still have sun up on the ridge and, hopefully, a bit in the park. Though the sun can warm, the wind blows up on the hill. The park's protected — but dusk lingers, making distinguishing figures in the gloaming difficult; from what I understand, this is the way dogs always see. Through the dark neighborhoods on our way home, the sensible people are inside.

The season's changes become evident. Up through New Year's, it's rough, obvious why we have the holidays to bring us light at that time of year. But soon enough, it may not be warming or even nicer, but the sun's out longer. Still have to skip This American Life to make it, but the progress to the longer days is visible.

I romanticize, I'm sure — we'll be dragging ourselves on this walk soon enough, both bundled up against the cold. Muscling through to the solstice. Maybe we'll enjoy a little a snowstorm or two, maybe watch one just obscuring the mountains. The return to the warm, lit house for the evening's last chores, then dinner, always a welcome treat.

Last Sunday, Cheyenne was thrown off by the false start to Sunday Houndie Walk season, not particularly wanting follow me through the neighborhoods instead. Yesterday, as I worked at the computer, she came in to lie down in the office; not unusual, but unexpected. But, soon enough, agitated, egged on by Monica telling her to demand a walk. When we set out, there was no hesitation, no question about direction at the end of the driveway. She was, except for some distractions, at the end of the leash from the beginning to the very end (a rarity these days as she loses her conditioning). It's important to me, this walk; even moreso now that it is to her, too.


Too Nice Not Too, 2010 Edition

Seems that we were given another nice weekend this year. Sleep in, then a walk over to Tart's Treats. A long, leisurely morning out.

The Halloween Report
Much more yard- and housework last weekend, but wrapped up Sunday early enough to take the dog through the neighborhood to check out the various Halloween decorations.

Didn't get anyone until almost 6:00, I was figuring it'd start up earlier to take advantage of the light and nice, warm afternoon. James was over for dinner, disappointed he didn't manage to scare any of kids. Compared, I guess to that first year, it again seemed light, but we went through five bags of candy, dispensing one piece at a time, in just about two-and-a-half hours.

Some fun costumes, the only one managed to get a photo of was the skunk family. When Cheyenne ran out to see what was going on, I cautioned them that she was looking for some payback.

And How It All Worked Out
So the data's as back as it's going to get. Mozy had it all and was able to get it; but, even still, it's tough to give them an "A" for this — the retrieval was way more lengthy and stressful than it needed to be.

The backup's accessed through a Web interface; that first weekend, nothing was loading. Rather than risk being a foul mood for Andy and Liz's visit, just waited to get into it all until they left. To Mozy's credit, they escalated my problem quickly and got me on the phone with a senior tech guy. His opinion, which I have no reason to doubt, is that server upgrades were giving everyone access problems; and, again, to their credit, only the user can access the data, so they couldn't go about restoring it for me, but could assure me it was all there (though my worry at that point was what "all" was). There were days of workarounds, afternoons spent on the phone mucking about with the account. And then suddenly it worked and I could order a drive shipped with everything.

Which was another week of waiting, but a tremendous relief when I saw all our photos, portfolio, and music. Some stuff was straightforward to re-file; some, like the iTunes library, turned out to be a little tricky; some, like fonts, haven't even really gotten into. Quicken data continued to elude me for a couple weeks; how Mozy restores via disk or the Web doesn't agree with the format; but some more support, some re-tooling and an alternate method of retrieval, and it worked. Problem was — and I suppose I have myself to blame — I can't figure out for the life of me where the current data file is. Best I've got is a manual backup from mid-August, which looks like it will have to do.

So I've stopped carrying around that retrieved data everywhere, set up a new backup drive in a different room, and everything's backing up to Mozy again. Still waiting to hear from the insurance company about the settlement.

Moral: can't outright recommend Mozy, but it did all work out. So whether them, or Carbonite, or some other thing, take a cold afternoon soon and get your computer backed up somewhere outside your house. This would've been so much worse if we hadn't made, what seems like now, that pretty small investment.


more voting!

Hey everyone! Are you tired of campaign ads? Too bad! Here's one more: Please vote for my design (at left, there) that's in the current "Fabric of the Week" contest over at Spoonflower! All those other designs are Washington Insiders who Want to Raise Your Taxes and Eat Puppies for Lunch.

This week it's 2011 calendar towels. I hope Rula isn't angry at me for not entering her favorite!

All the designs appear in random order, so you'll probably have to page through a few screens (there are 10 total) before seeing mine. You can vote for as many or as few designs as you like (not just mine) by clicking on the images you like best. A green box will appear around the design(s) you select for voting. You submit all your votes on the last page. Any and all votes are appreciated!

The American Coalition for Awesome Tea Towels is responsible for the content of this post.

UPDATE: Made the top ten again! Thanks to everyone who voted!