Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Photo Tour of the 70's and 80's... and Cake.

I just returned home from a 6 day trip to Illinois to visit family. Whew! 6 days includes the two travel days getting there and back again so I was really only flashing around town in Rockford for 4 days which is really not long enough to do things I would have liked to have done. I haven't been there to visit since last July so there are a lot of people I should have tried to see and say HI to but did not get the chance. Time goes by too fast. I was also seriously lax in taking photos while I was there. I did however shoot a bunch of quick pics of old photos from the picture box so that I would have them on my laptop here for the long haul. These are not scans.... I just took a picture of the picture with my little point and shoot so some of them look pretty shitty... but I am posting them anyway because they are funny. These are in absolutely no particular order.

       My Dad and I at a wedding circa 1977. 

A 25 year old Billy on Nantucket. 

My Grandpa Pete. The coolest guy you could have ever known.

My friend Andrea and I with her new baby Max... this pic is about ten years old. Andrea is battling breast cancer right now and she is one of the people I went home to see specifically. Love you lady! 

One of my super fly school pics from middle school. This dress was a favorite though and if you can score one of these nowadays they sell for hundreds on vintage sites.  Why didn't somebody comb my damned hair before they took the pic? 

My Mom and Dad & Billy and I when we first came home from living in Hawaii about 9 years ago. 

My Mom teething on a Schlitz beer can.

My Gram's family out in the field of their Arkansas cotton plantation. My Gram is the second person in on the left. 

My Mom rocking some fierce bell bottoms and platforms in the early 70's. 

Here are a few from my brief stint modeling when when I was about 14 years old in the 80's. Hilarious. 

Mom and Gram. It still cracks me up to see my Mom with a cigarette in her hand. 

Annnnnd this will be the one that my Mom will kill me for. Sorry. Had to post it. Rock on Gold Dust Woman. 

My Mom and I with our cat Xanadu. Because you named your pets after Olivia Newton John movies back then. 

And finally my Mom dressed up as a witch (vampire?) for Halloween in the early 80's. Look at the tv.... and the fact that there is an actual macrame item hanging on the wood paneled wall. Love it. 

I did snap a couple shots on my last day when we had lunch for my Gram and my Aunt Rose.  

My Gram and I. 

I baked a fresh strawberry cake with strawberry buttercream and Mom made a Thomas Keller mushroom quiche recipe. 

Here's Gram pretending that she baked the cake. 

This is a crappy photo but it's my Mom, Gram, Aunt Rose and I. It was so much fun to have the chance to get together like this. 

Gotta run for today! Hope your Wednesday is shaping up to be a good one. It's gorgeous here in Santa Fe. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Unfocused Blogging and Stunt Idiots

It's time for another random act of blogging. Hey... at least I am trying to reach out.... to make the connection... to impress you with my scattered, noncommittal ways. Because nothing is more impressive than being scattered and noncommittal. It's a form of self sabotage really. If I get my act together then I have to try to keep it together and honestly the thought of it is more than I can bear. So. The topic of todays blog is this.... Stuff We Did Lately. This has also been the topic of almost all the posts from the past two months. There you see, is the level of consistency I offer you as a reader. You can always count on me to tell you about some stuff. Stuff that happened lately. And when you get right down to it that is the essence of what a blog should be, right? Sure. Let's go with it!

Where to begin? Let's start with Rudy. Lately he has been fussy. He barks at people in the yard, even people that he knows. He leaves mouthfuls of dog food all around the house on the floor. He makes calls to Bermuda on my cell phone and then tries to blame it on Rochester the neighbor dog.  Here is a picture of Rochester.....

And here is a picture of Rudy. I will leave it up to you to decide who looks more guilty.

Here is a picture of Rudy attacking Billy in bed at night. I think you can clearly see by the look on Rudy's face that his intent is to be a menace for pure sport. He is sinister and thinks it's funny.

That's really all I have for you about little dogs at this time. Little dogs think that the whole world should be a party just for them all the time and Rudy is their ring leader.

So I have talked about bootcamp here... it's the exercise class that we go to three times a week. We are still going and it is still kicking our asses. We have two weeks left in this 8 week session, then we get a week off before the next one begins. The good people who run the camp are having a photo contest where you can win 30% off the cost of your next session. The only rule for the contest is that you are wearing your bootcamp t shirt in the snapshot. Billy and I set out a few days ago to take our winning photographs. I really can't stand the idea of anything less than 1st place. They are giving 2nd and third place prizes of 20 and 10 percent off but those amounts are for someone else who is not willing to look like a complete idiot in their photo.

We decided to hike up to the top of Atalaya mountain which is right up behind our neighborhood. It's about 9,100 feet in elevation so it gives an awesome view of the city and the surrounding landscape clear to Albuquerque. I wanted the epic view behind us for our series of pictures we had in mind.

Let's start off with some super idiotic looking shots of me doing a side plank (sort of) on some boulders on the edge of a cliff! Normally side plank would be done on the floor and from your elbow not up on your hand like how I am here.... but sometimes you have to make modifications when trying not to fall off the precipice and die.  I think these two pictures scream out "TA DAAHHH!" Don't you?

Next we have Billy jumping. Jumping can look very dramatic at 9, 000 feet, no? You may wish that Billy was wearing a parachute or that he had wings here.... but it's all an illusion. He only hurt himself mildly upon landing.

And again with the side plank. Man, are we happy or what? Try to imagine what other hikers passing by must have thought of us if they caught a glimpse of our activity. Also... try to imagine me getting in to this position within the ten second time frame the camera gave me before firing off.

This is a favorite. I can almost bet that you have not seen this before. Or at least not lately. This is Big Bill McLane's fancy stunt version of a head stand. Whaaat?! And again.... done near the edge of a cliff for dramatic effect. People... do not try this at home.

Finally.... Billy posing as a tree limb. Anther amazing feat not many people are probably prone to even try to do.

What do you think? Is the winning shot in there? 30% off worthy stuff? I hope so. We had a few risky moments involved in getting these pics. For example this one....

At first glance it may look like I am running through the scene like a champ. But NO! On closer inspection (see the bottom foot) I am falling sideways off the boulder into an area of smaller rocks and a drop off a few feet beyond. Why did this happen? Because I was trying to do this pose....

What does this pose even mean? It seemed like a good idea at the time. Really though... it's more of an ice skating maneuver don't you think? Yes. And then I fell sideways (it was Billy's fault... he told me to twist my upper body toward the camera more so he could see the shirt better) and nearly died. Somehow while falling, as my life flashed before my eyes I managed to twist in mid air and ended up sticking the landing with both feet and came out unscathed. Bootcamp. It can transform even the biggest idiot in to a strong, balanced and capable idiot.

OK! That's all I have. I hope it was enough. I will report back on the outcome of the photo contest. Cross your fingers for us that nobody has images of themselves lifting a baby hippo over their head while riding a unicycle in their bootcamp gear or something. Have a great weekend y'all.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Another one bites the dust...

Another one meaning the spring bloom that has already gotten off to a rapid start here in Northern New Mexico. Check it out.... this is happening right now.

Whatever. I know it pretty much happens every year. But still! Bullshit! Why can't we just get RAIN!? I think I can count in one hand how many times it has rained here in the past year. Ok. Rant over. On the bright side this should squash my allergies for the next two or three days which is actually just shy of being miraculous.

In other news.... we are still working through Greg's passing. We had a memorial service and party in his honor this past weekend. I had a chance to sit quietly one last time in the living room late one night before the majority of Greg's personality was removed from the room.... the next morning many of the carpets, furnishings and paintings departed to new homes.

And you know you are at the right party when there are clay sculptures of Conquistador heads, empty whisky bottles and homemade nutter butter cookies filled with peanut butter buttercream.

Max and Greg's brother Steve continue to unearth the most fabulous old pictures of Greg.

What a total and complete ham. And cool cat. Right? Like I have said before... Greg was a gem. I am so glad to have known him the little bit that I did.

Not much else has been happening. We attempted a yard sale this past Sunday. It was stupid. We were disorganized and no one came. I made $34. I deserved to make less. People really should have been driving by and throwing water balloons at us for the audacity of pretending like we mattered at all out there in the driveway with our measly offerings. We will make a better effort again in a few weeks. I think. We shall see.

The last thing I guess I have to report (confess) is that I made THIS last night. We ate the whole thing. I gave one end piece to Max and then Billy and I ate the REST of it. Gross. Where is the control? I have no power where good toast is concerned. Therefore I must shy away from all things toasty. Especially when they involve buttermilk and currants. I actually added a fair amount of fresh nutmeg and lemon zest in to the recipe as well as brushing the outside of the loaf with buttermilk before it went into the oven. Hot diggety dog people. It's disastrously delicious and easy to make. Go make some. Right now. Join the club and eat the whole loaf hot out of the oven with butter. You can do it and I won't tell anyone.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Departures, Little Dogs, Anniversaries, Allergies and Yard Sales

Hi all.... it's been one heck of a weird week. Really sad in some ways and really lovely in others.

After my last post, the very next day we suffered a loss in our little family here at El Zaguan. The elder member of our group John Gregory Tweed made the leap to the other side late on the evening of the first day of spring. Having known Greg for the past 9 months or so.... I can say that he was as genuine an individual as one would ever hope to meet. He was a gem of a human being. Greg's health was failing him this entire past year but we still managed to have some wonderful times listening to his grand stories and hearing him sing in his amazing, beautiful baritone voice. Greg had the sharpest wit around and doled out compliments by the dozens. He was someone who made you think about the mysteries of life and made you laugh about all it's goofy pitfalls. It was an honor to have known you Greg.... and to have you as our neighbor. Bon Voyage kid.... see you around.

We had a get together at Max's place last weekend to celebrate Greg's life.... Rochester, Greg's Giant Pinto Chihuahua was always under foot. He has no lack of people to look after him in Greg's absence.

Rochester's fate has yet to be decided.... will he stay at El Z or will he go to live with one of Greg's close friends who lives nearby? He and Rudy get along quite well... so Rudy casts his vote for his buddy to stay of course. Little dogs have to stick together.

Billy and I celebrated our 11 year anniversary on Friday. We kept it simple and just walked downtown for a bite to eat at La Boca then came home and toasted our longevity with an apple martini. I am not usually a martini drinker. Yikes. It's just a bit too ferocious for me I guess. I'll stick with my homeopathic gin and tonics thanks.

Today we found a gift from our neighbor Brenda hanging on our doorknob.....

Inside was a huge cupcake. It was delicious and was a perfect sweet for after a big lunch of mole enchiladas at The Tune Up Cafe this afternoon. Pistachios, orange zest and a sweet cream cheese frosting on a perfect yellow cake. I think there was some lemon in there too.... it was really good.

I have to admit that I am writing this post through an allergy fog that is thick as pea soup. I may not be capable of keeping an entertaining story line going here. In fact I am pretty sure that this whole post is going to come off like dry toast. Sorry. I'm at a rock bottom low point for the season so far. I made the stupid mistake today of switching to a different allergy pill. No Bueno. I feel like a couple of banana slugs crawled up my nose and are mating up in there somewhere. See? That's what I mean. I should not be writing right now. Seriously though.... how much longer can this crap go on? I can't even think straight anymore.... I'm too cracked out on meds and lack of sleep from the struggle that ensues in the night (every night.) Nose blowing, parched dry throat. itchy ears and a pounding headache. So wonderful.

Spring has definitely sprung here in NM and the weather has been awesome the past few days. Brenda and I scooted out to an estate sale this morning and I grabbed a pair of Navajo moccasins for twenty bucks. I lovvvvee them.

We have daffy's popping up all over the yard... and if you want to get a real nice sunburn you can hang out in the orchard for twenty minutes and hook one up no problem at all. I could show you my face and arms as an example right now but I will spare you the imagery. 

The lettuce has been planted in the garden.... and we are excited to get a bunch of seeds started. This years garden is going to be a success... drought be damned. We will not be stopped. 

In closing, here's Rudy soaking up some rays in the orchard. Happy Sunday to y'all and enjoy your life people. Every day counts.