Sunday, September 30, 2007


Know what I love about air travel? Tarmacs.

Their painted lines and patterns, the strange vocabulary of their directional signs, arcana that only the initiated in their strange head gear can understand.

I love that tarmacs are mostly always concrete (is this for visibility? I read once that concrete roadways afford more visibility than asphalt; produce fewer nighttime fatalities. Or is it simply because most tarmacs were laid during the age when most roads were paved with concrete?).

I love the gridded blocks of concrete that make the wheels bump a bit when we taxi. Love the red and blue lights that line the tarmac, tiny little sentries that keep me safe from harm.

Love the long low grassy medians that define these crazy divided highways, these ultimate open roads; love the patient courtship that planes play with each other as they find their spots before taking to the sky: cozy, approximate, but never too close.


these boots

My godmom subscribes to the Australian tradition in which godparents are responsible for buying their godchildren a new pair of shoes every year.

Which means I'm heading home from a wholly nutritious and delicious weekend with my aunt, a.k.a. godmother, and her partner -- well-fed, -watered, loved good and long, and so. well. shod.

See above: Them's some shit kickin' trouble making that's what I'm gonna do boots.

Posting by cameraphone from the Minneapolis airport where my flight's been delayed by thunderstorms.

But I'm so sexy in these boots I hardly care.


p.s. See "but mom, I look so HANDSOME!!" for a little bit more of what that's all about.

(Update: Had to salvage this post from orbit where it spun endlessly without ever going anywhere -- seems Flickr’s set a text limit and is rejecting all of my longer mobile posts. Dang it.)


a found poem

from having writing
materials she
[wrote] poems

by carving
them into a bar
of soap


she read it again
and again until
she memorized it


she'd wash her hands
and the poem
would be gone

Found in Sy Safransky's "The Full Catastrophe" in a back issue of The Sun which my aunt tucked in to my bag as I was leaving her home, saying: "you need to make room for one more magazine."

"She" is the dissident poet Irina Ratushinskaya who was imprisoned in the Soviet Union during the 1980s. She wrote and remembered 250 poems during her captivity in this way.

Her story reminded me of an artifact I saw a long time ago in the Resistance Museum in Oslo: a diary written on sheets of toilet tissue with a straight pin -- each letter formed by a succession of pin pricks -- by a gentleman who was imprisoned for resisting the Nazi occupation of Norway. He tucked his diary away -- under the floorboards, I think -- and it survived his imprisonment, although he did not.

arthur over the guthrie

arthur over the guthrie
arthur over the guthrie
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Guthrie tonight. Jane Eyre. Cried.

The end.

Posting by cameraphone from Minneapolis, MN

Saturday, September 29, 2007

wiggin' at the walker

wiggin' at the walker
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Freaky video installation at the Walker Art Museum that none of us could figure out.

Hanging with my aunt and her sweetie in Minneapolis, MN.

Posting by cameraphone.

Friday, September 28, 2007

now playing

now playing
now playing
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Another cameraphone shot from
last night in Glen Ellyn.

The Glen Ellyn Theater

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Chin's Chop Suey
To Take Home

Posting by cameraphone
from Glen Ellyn, IL

tools of the trade

Found, quite unexpectedly, in my Visio template files.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

now breathe.

So much hate is radiating Iran's way from our shores with the visit of their president this week, the vitriol that his hosts leveled at him during his address at Columbia University, and the blind sort of insidious hatred that could only birth a statement like this: "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country. I don't know who's told you that we have it."

This whole situation is bigger than me, and I fear how my country's president might spin all of this, and more, to level our tanks in yet another direction, so I offer you only what I can: lovely images created by Iranian photographer Mohammadreza Mirzaei »

Because even if the bombs have leveled all that we've made for ourselves of this world (please god, no), the impulse to create will remain, and that's where the good stuff comes from: Love. Art. And yeah: that tumble in the sack, where the Creative comes to play.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


It's a fig thing.

Shot in my backyard. Just. Before. I ate it. (Without regret.)

family ties

When you're traveling you have a lot of time to page through your old cameraphone pics and think about all the things you meant to blog but haven't yet...

This is my niece M. I took this shot in early August, twenty minutes into a 45 min wait for a roller coaster ride at an amusement park in Vallejo, California. It would be her third roller coaster ride ever: she and I rode the first two earlier that morning, and left the lines of two others in disappointment because M is a little pixie of a girl who didn't meet the minimum height requirements.

("Green means I can go," she explained to me as she measured herself against the height charts. "Red means stop -- no go -- and Yellow means you must be accomplicated by an adult." A beautiful malapropism which, of course, I immediately twittered, thinking "kid, if you only knew...")

Forty five minutes is a long time to wait when you're 8 years old, so I checked in with her every little while to see if she still wanted to wait it out. She did. We played "I'm going on a picnic..." to pass the time, and imagined how wonderful it would be to ride the ride; how we would scream during the scary parts.

And then it was our turn. M stepped up to the gate that would soon fly open and let her take her seat in the car where the bar would clap down on her lap and shoot her up and over the perilous screaming heights. She stepped right up to the gates that separated her from that pure delicious fear that we had been talking about all day.

The car screeched to a halt, its riders tumbled out still buzzing with adrenaline and then, with our gate still locked shut, came the announcement.

They were closing the ride.

"What did they say?" asked M.

The announcement came again: they were closing the ride for inspection; something mechanical; they needed to look into it; no word on when the ride would reopen.

We waited 45 minutes to be told they were closing the ride.

We discussed our options. We could wait for them to reopen the ride, but there was no estimate of when that might be. I was crushed that the thing we waited so long for wasn't going to happen, and expected she would be crushed too. But she amazed me by uttering one sad, long "ohhhhhhhhhh -- that's too bad." And then she said: "let's go."

That was it. She was over it. No fits, no tantrums, no whining, no tears.

I was seriously impressed. Thinking this behavior highly unusual (who are these beautiful self-possessed children that my brother has spawned anyway? can we really be related? or is this that eerie stillness that so many of my friends complain about -- that feels not so still to me, when the emotions are roiling beneath the surface, but is, I'm told, invisible to the naked eye) so I did the aunt-like thing and offered her a tonic to lessen the blow.

That is, I offered to buy her something. With sugar.

"Let's get some ice cream -- you were so patient for so long and that was a huge disappointment." (What -- am I trying to train her to pitch a fit? Teach her that, for every disappointment, she must be mollified? Oh the hell with it -- I'm her aunt, which means I'm entitled to certain privileges.) "Let's find D & K" (her sister and my sister, who were off somewhere else riding the tall girls' roller coaster) "and get everybody some ice cream. Ice cream always makes everything better."

M's face brightened -- she's a big fan of ice cream, she comes from a long line of ice cream lovers -- but then she did the thing that for me crystallized the character of this self-possessed little girl who knows precisely what she wants and will work it work it work it to negotiate her way to having precisely that thing.

That, and I suspect (or maybe projected) that she understood context is all and local is best and there are some things that you can come by at an amusement park that you simply can't come by anywhere else. Who might understand, maybe, that the best way to experience a place is to taste it.

She said: "Okay. But can I trade my ice cream for cotton candy?"

That's my girl.

Monday, September 24, 2007

inbound to manhattan

inbound to manhattan
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Midtown bound.

Posting by cameraphone,
surrounded by traffic,

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Most (elderly) people are not interested in robots. They see robots as overly-complicated and unpractical. They want to be able to get around their house, take a bath, get to the toilet and that's about it.

Ruth Campbell, a geriatric social worker at the University of Tokyo, as quoted in the Reuters report Robots turn off senior citizens in aging Japan.

The emailing kettle remains a big hit, though »

back in black

And, yes, this took a long time.

Armin Vit in Dark and Fleshy: The Color of Top Grossing Movies, on the design site Under Consideration, commenting on the exercise in which he maps out the dominant color palettes in historically high-grossing films.

His conclusion: The movie posters for the highest-grossing NC-17, R, PG-13 and PG movies (with one exception -- Shrek) are all dominated by the color black, a color that is generally "feared" by design clients as being too dark and gloomy.

Flesh tones came in second. (Flesh is not so feared because baby, sex sells.)

What's missing from this analysis, of course, is the distribution of black across all the other movie posters. Without knowing that, it's dicey to conclude that correlation implies causation.

But it's kinda fun to speculate »

Friday, September 21, 2007

get a sqround

sqround (also squround): An industry term that describes the hybrid square/round ice cream carton that eliminates corners, reduces volume (subsequently increasing margin), and replaces flaps with a lid, thereby reducing the "knuckle muck" that occurs when you're scooping ice cream and your hand brushes against the sticky lid.

breathing room

Because every once in a while, you need a little.

New Breathing Room Flickr set »

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

a big warm kiss

Leica IIIf
Originally uploaded by selva.
a found poem

Nobody does bourgeois solidity
like the Germans

You can imagine coming here
for coffee and cakes with your aunt
but that would be the limit of excitement

By the time you reach
the town has petered out

Just before the railway line
there is a clutch of buildings
with a red dot on the sign outside

As fanfare
that’s it

But here is the place to go
if you want to find
the most beautiful
mechanical objects
in the world

Found in Candid Camera: The Cult of Leica, by Anthony Lane in the 24 September issue of the New Yorker.

Also in the piece:

Asked how he thought of the Leica, Cartier-Bresson said that it felt like “a big warm kiss, like a shot from a revolver, and like the psychoanalyst’s couch.”


I'm spending all day facilitating a usability
lab, talking to about ten different strangers
over the course of the day, from all walks
of life.

It's also "Talk Like a Pirate Day".

What would you do?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

more fluff. in french.

Originally uploaded by Patrick T Power.
”I love Paris.,” Zoe said as she studied the menu. “If I spoke the language, I’d live here.” She looked up at the waitress, who had appeared at the table. “Can you do crudité?” Zoe said. The waitress looked confused. “You did it yesterday. With cucumber. If not, I guess a salad, no dressing.” The waitress still looked confused. “You see,” Zoe said to me, “there’s just too much of a communication barrier.” Zoe took a sip of her English Breakfast tea. “I wish caffeine had vitamins in it,” she said.

Rachel Zoe, who commands $6,000/day as a stylist to the stars, as quoted in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine.

Flickrite Patrick T Power is having better luck in Paris -- language doesn’t appear to be a problem at all »

one more for the road

Cafe Carlyle
Originally uploaded by sarahsuannecox.
People drank then too, so if it wasn't exactly right, you'd have another drink and it looked fine.

Scott Salvator commenting on his recent renovation of the Cafe Carlyle in today's New York Times.

Nice of the boys to spruce things up a bit before litwit and I return for another round of Ms. Stritch sometime in the dead of winter.

Monday, September 17, 2007

fill in the blank: "home is where ____"

At first we thought it was a fluke, but we saw it repeatedly in children of all ages. Then we realized the internal schema of these children had changed. They weren’t drawing the house as a place of safety, they were drawing the roof.

Art Therapist Karla Leopold in today's New York Times, commenting on the way children of Renaissance Village, a trailer park for Katrina evacuees in Baker, Louisiana, collectively draw "house".

Sunday, September 16, 2007

renegades, all.

Brought the camera with me to the Renegade Craft Fair yesterday, but turned out to be too busy foraging to take any photos of interest. Too. Much. Stimulus. (No worries: plenty of folks on Flickr did.)

Spent far too much cash on far too many goods and goodies but haven’t an ounce of regret. All of it handmade, my heart steered me (as it so often does) to stacks and stacks of letterpress and screen printed goods (because you’re always going to need another birthday card, right? or print to hang on your wall. or a lovely hand-screened long sleeve tee from SuperMaggie...)

Rather than reveal all my transgressions, I thought I’d just lay down some links to a few of the more notable merchants. Many of them are Etsty celebrities, most of them have some kind of web presence. Some, miserably, do not, but at least put out an email.

Have to assume that the day was a good one for the around 300 crafters who lined up to show off their goods -- come near 5PM many of the folks had run out of business cards, and I came away with a handful of scribbled URLs.

Still kicking myself for not hitting the ATM to get the cash I needed to take home one of SuperMaggie’s sweet felt scarves (too labor intensive, they’re slowly going out of production and are no longer for sale on her site) -- my followup email came too late, and the one of a kind creation lives with someone else now. But her T’s are lovely -- took one home, will be ordering another one up soon. And a little trivia: SuperMaggie herself models many of them online.

Straps. For cameras, guitars and banjos. Belts too. They have my camera strap, I’m almost sure of it. A few at the show came close but didn’t quite hit the sweet spot, so I’ll be trawling them online until I find it. They have a build a strap feature online that unfortunately doesn’t extend to camera straps, but will do ya if you’re looking to strap up your instrument. (I’m guessing a well-directed email might just get me a customization.)

sonnenzimmer art & print studio
Brilliant silk screened posters. Gorgeous good stuff. Unfortunately you need to drill down to see any of them, and then they present in funky little popup windows. Checking out is a challenge too: you need to backtrack to add your shipping costs to the cart, but well worth the hassle. (Wonder if they’d trade art for a little online merchandising consultation...)

Extraordinary works in resin. The artist, Faryn Davis, was showing jewelry, mostly, at the show. A peek at her website reveals sculpture and artwork as well. The photography doesn’t do it justice: the pieces have a depth and luminosity that’s unreal. I would have dropped some coin if the booth hadn’t been so crowded. May have to contact her for a piece via email.

figs & ginger
More lovely jewelry; mostly sterling.

the small object
Sticker and stamp-like; Japanese influenced. The Loop Troupe Gang is a great example of what they’re all about -- sweet little creatures done up in vintage Japanese fabrics that serve a purpose unknown to me -- but simply make me happy.

avec mes mains
Handmade lamps in the tradition of Noguchi’s Akari, but utterly, entirely unique. And they take custom orders. Website coming soon (it’s killing me -- I want to show you how beautiful they are!) -- drop Catherine a line in the meantime: catherine [at] avecmesmainsdesigns [dot] com
Skirts are my favorite way to be, and orangyporangy’s opal skirt hit the sweet spot for me. A little bit more elaborate than I usually wear, but so sweet and appealing. Want.

Owly Shadow Puppets
Because you need a shadow puppet -- you know you do. Unlock dreams and stories for a bargain price.

Well-made, industrial grade messenger bags. Here again the online pics don’t do them justice. Hands-down quality.

katie parker
Porcelain and cut paper. Pretty.

Affordable art for the people. ‘Nough said.

PAPER! etc
Seems unfair to give these guys short shrift, since I spent the large share of my dollars with paper merchants -- so much good stuff. And many if not most sell more than just lovely letterpress and screenprinted paper goods. Wish I could go into the nuances here, but time is short: a linked list of notables will have to do.


Pearl & Marmalade

Pink Loves Brown


Yee Haw Industries


Giddy Up Press

Loose Leaf Collective

The Little Friends of Printmaking

Papered Together

16 Sparrows

So feed a starving artist: go buy a little something.

cast of characters

Bassist Dude
Singer at party
Heroin Addict
Lead Guitarist
Guy's Dad
Girl's Mother
Bank Manager
Man watching TV
Ex Girlfriend
Hari Krishna
Man watching TV
Timmy Drummer

Character list from the movie Once, as provided by

It wasn't until the credits rolled that I realized we never learned their names -- the busker and the Czech, Guy and Girl, who meet on the street and negotiate their friendship over a Hoover and manage to say everything circumstance won't let them say by just sitting down together and playing music.

Yes, I'm a sucker, and maybe a frustrated romantic, and yes I plugged into iTunes to download the Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova soundtrack as soon as I got home. But dang it something's up with their cart and I can't check out.

Like I said: Frustrated.

Updated: All good. Apple was kind enough to take my money earlier today.

Friday, September 14, 2007

makes me happy.

More of that beautiful just because shit.

bacon bits

It's been a while since we talked about bacon.

I've haven't tried this bacon chocolate bar. This is not an endorsement but, rather, a public service.

Also of note: Zingerman's Bacon of the Month Club. Because Christmas is coming.

Update, 10.24.07: Friends, I have tried the bacon bar, and it's everything that a bacon chocolate bar was meant to be.


OLSEN: Actually, I remember it not being daisies, but Lazy Susans, you know—the yellow with the...

CONELRAD: But everyone called it the Daisy ad.

OLSEN: Yea. I always wondered about that later because I remembered distinctly what kind of flower it was (laughs).

Birgitte Olsen, the four year old girl in the LBJ Daisy Political Ad, a "masterpiece of manipulation," that aired in 1964. All grown up and interviewed by Conelrad in Daisy: The Complete History of an Infamous and Iconic Ad.

Video: The Daisy Ad

Thursday, September 13, 2007

venous rising

Originally uploaded by underbunny.

I like it to be fairly red and dark and not too bright.

Director David Cronenberg speaking of blood with Terry Gross, during today's Fresh Air broadcast.

Cronenberg's preference is for venous blood, not so oxygenated, and not so bright.

In case you're wondering.

His film, Eastern Promises, opens this weekend »

dr. bronner wisdom

Enjoy only 2 cosmetics, enough sleep & Dr. Bronner's "Magic Soap" to clean body-mind-soul-spirit instantly in One! All-One! Absolute cleanliness is Godliness!

From Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap Bottle.

I guess 1 out of 2 ain't bad: at least I bathed. But 1 out of 2 doesn't get you to beautiful.

Went to bed at 3.45 AM; up again at 7.45 AM. Long row to hoe ahead; so not beautiful.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

how to build a dry stone wall

Our wall in Ilmington!
Originally uploaded by Corydora.
Flickrites Corydora and Ramones Karaoke have been busy building a dry stone wall in the Cotswolds, courtesy of the patronage of HRH The Prince of Wales.

I'm not entirely sure how they did it (for which I blame the website dedicated to the building of dry stone walls), but it's awfully interesting to watch them work »

working on it.

One of those spots. One of those days.

Kiva Interior
Bandelier National Monument, NM

double jointed

It’s funny: The double teeth came when I did my first drawings. Ridley Scott told me to make it so that it could move. I hadn’t studied any animal. My instructions were that it should be somehow frightening and horrible, and I did my best.

Artist H. R. Giger who created the alien for the movie Alien, which, it turns out, has a jaw remarkably like a moray eel, as reported in yesterday's New York Times.

Update: Mr. Giger is Swiss.

hold me

dorothy torivio ceramic
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
The technology that women in these societies developed to assist in their gathering activities -- digging sticks, hand axes, grinding stones, shell knives, string bags, carrying baskets, and cooking pots -- gave rise to science, medicine, and language.

One can argue that the most important tools were not weapons but containers used for gathering, and the baby sling, which allowed women to carry infants while using both hands to hunt or collect plants.

From Barbara Tedlock's The Woman in the Shaman's Body: Reclaiming the Feminine in Religion and Medicine

Tedlock is an anthropologist who, through a remarkable series of events (which she outlines in the book), was pulled into a Mayan Daykeeper apprenticeship with her husband Dennis Tedlock.

She's written a fascinating book on Shamanism around the globe from the unique perspective of both a scientific observer and a participant in the traditional practices.

baby bundle

c'mon c'mon get happy

Smiley Eau de Parfum

Spritz on a little happiness.

The Smiley Eau de Parfum contains psycho-stimulant substances that work against stress. Phenylethylamine creates a feeling of euphoria (it's no wonder; it's extracted from cocoa), and theobromine decreases the effects of stress by blocking adrenaline receptors. Smiley's scientists call it olfactive euphoriant bio-mechanics.

(via ThisOne and

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

the wait

the wait
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
More from Detroit International.

Sun's thinking about setting.

Flight's thinking about getting here.

Posting by cameraphone.


Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Some poor guy dropped his jacket
on the way to his gate.

Posting from Detroit International
by cameraphone.
Smith Terminal. The dumpy one.

Monday, September 10, 2007

you are living in the future

You are.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


quit bugging me
Originally uploaded by JKonig.
I come from Volkswagen people.

So browsing through JKonig's stream this little gal grabbed me, because she's just the color of the little Volkswagen bug we called Feff when I was a kid. My dad and stepmom imported her to Denver from NYC and named her after her license plate -- which led with the letters FEF.

And I was reminded that, giant 5 foot 12 girl that I am, I was once this small, that I could fit comfortably in the back seat of the little V-dub with my older sister and younger brothers, in the days before we knew seat belts mattered.

All four of us would snug in, skin on skin, an extension of the way we used to fold around each other with that easy kind of intimacy that comes best to kids and is shed somewhere, awkwardly, around adolescence.

And I was remembering the sticky waffle marks that the plastic seats made across the back of my legs on summer days going to and coming from the neighborhood pool. The smell of chlorine and volkswagen which is not nearly a new car smell but is also not nearly like the smell of anything else.

And I was reminded of the old funky logo of the fox perched on the castle parapet that lived under clear plastic in the center of the steering wheel; a logo that made Volkswagens live, in my mind, in the same fairy land with Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. Where the castles were.

We upgraded at last to a Land Rover when we moved to the mountains -- or maybe it was because my dad saw that we had booted my brother G (the blonde one below, between me and A) into the wheel well in the very back.

(G was a good sport about it, anyway. Like he is about most things.)

Feff is the only car I remember like I remember a family pet, and I mourned her in the same way. And I think I may have closed my heart, just a little bit, to loving cars in the same way after that.

hitting high C

Excited and happy, but with a strong undercurrent of fear. The moment I actually hit the note, I almost lose consciousness. A physical, animal sensation seizes me. Then I regain control.

The great, late Luciano Pavarotti describing the feeling he got when he hit a high C, something he did better than any other tenor, as quoted in today's New York Times.

For a long time now my mantra has been travel in the direction of your fear. It's never let me down, but it's sometimes taken a good amount of terror to get my attention. C.S. Lewis said something once about pain being God's way of getting your attention -- I think of fear like that. A certain kind of fear.

Not the "best to avoid this burning building because you'll probably get immolated if you go in there" kind of fear -- it has a different quality altogether, like a dark basement, or a deserted road at night, when the moon has just tucked behind a cloud. It doesn't signal aversion like a burning house does, but it sure as hell doesn't sound a welcome either. It just says: Come on. I dare ya.

Sometimes it apes T.S. Eliot: Do not ask what is it / Let us go and make our visit.

It doesn't start smiling until after you've owned the challenge and passed on through. And once you're on the other side? It offers up a beer or a strong cup of coffee -- because then you're friends. Then you're pals.

And you have just enough time to hang out and rest up a bit before the next big fear materializes.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

flickr humor

Silly sheep
Originally uploaded by jakerome.
Found in Flickr's Explore.


Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
I don't know what this marvelous thing is.

It was living in the landscape near Taos and I would have missed it if we had driven right by, given the way it folds into the shapes and colors of the land it lives on, but we stopped the car to walk back up the road a bit and take a shot of a wonderful little trailer (that didn't quite work out) and then coming back to the car I saw this, with a little mate alongside it.

Made. Beautiful. Just because.

Here's another shot of the pretty little thing »


weiner bench 02
Originally uploaded by
Upcycling: The process of taking something that’s essentially waste and moving it up the consumer-goods chain.

Coined by architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart in Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, and cited in last Thursday's New York Times by Etsy founder Robert Kalin in Romancing the Flat Pack: Ikea, Repurposed

Shown: Jack Rabbit's Famous Weiner Bench


Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
The thing is: You see what you wanna see, and you hear what you wanna hear. Dig?

The Rockman, from Harry Nillson's The Point

Chaco Canyon, NM

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

hidden in plain sight

Somewhere near Taos, New Mexico

road food

Time's been too tight since returning to write about the trip -- the *real* trip -- and remains too tight this morning, so (for another 24 hours at least) I'll have to settle my blogging bones by writing up a quick snapshot of all the good eating that we did while on the road. Not every meal is here -- just the ones my tummy's still rumbling for.

With some embarrassment I have to kick this off with the messiest pile of velveta infused, jalapeno topped, ground beef smothered nachos from Invesco Field food services that wrapped up an otherwise unremarkable gastronomic experience.

Breakfast the next morning was ideal: The KM Special -- or the MK Special -- depending on whether niece K or M was promoting it. Homemade pancakes topped with strawberries, whip cream and chocolate chips. I stuck with strawberries alone, but reports were favorable regarding the whip cream and chocolate chips. (That's M, up above, taking our orders.)

Then there were the green chile smothered tamales from Casa de Mas in Monte Vista, CO which, while they weren't as good as the tamales that b1-66er ferreted out in Watsonville just a few short days before (yes. truly. the best.) it was my first dose of green sauce on the road, so it scored high happiness points. Plus the name alone: Casa de Mas? Yes. More please.

My brother A turned us on to some really good eatin' in Albuquerque: I can't recall the name of the joint where we had the Enchiladas Espinaca in blue corn tortillas, but the breakfast burritos are burned indelibly in my mind. Winnings for the first (and the coffee, tasty); The Grove for the second (sweet lord the roasted chiles in this one! and the coffee! gotta love a place that asks you: did you want three or four shots of espresso in that?)

And there was sweet M's pepper pasta with zucchini (pardon: I don't speak Italian, or I'd give the real name a try) and fresh green salad after a long day of hiking Bandelier: perfection. But if you wanna grab some of your own while you're passing through Albq you'll have to email me for their address -- and I'll call first to get you an invite.

And wine. Did I mention the wine?

There was more wine when we arrived in Grand Junction, where my dad was pouring the local Reeder Mesa wine. Tasty good. Solid body with a nice round finish and a fine flavor, not the first thing you expect when you're drinking local wine from a place you're surprised to hear grows wine grapes -- like the Western Slope. We had ours label-free -- dad's pals with the folks at the Mesa, and was pulling from a case that they provided him without labels. But somehow he could call out a Cab from a Merlot before the bottle had even been uncorked.

There we had the best meal of the trip: Ribeye steaks as big as your head, (topped mine with a sprinkle of cheese -- a funky blue cheese/cheddar mix. so good) fresh to bursting tomatoes sliced, salted and peppered; sweet corn; more of that good wine, conversation, starlight, laughter and tears. Dinner with family outdoors on a summer night when the bugs aren't biting. Nothing better.

Except maybe the pie: a Cherry Rhubarb scored with my dad in mine at Mad Mama's Pies that morning in Silverton, CO. Indecorously wrapped in tinfoil and plastic wrap and looking so good as they boxed it up that I said out loud, if under my breath, "I am a good daughter."

And oh sweet lord: how could I have missed that miracle of BBQ, Serious Texas BBQ in Durango, Colorado, stumbled on in a hot and dusty delirium after hiking all morning through Chaco Canyon. I had the smoked turkey with chipotle mayo and a side of lemon buttermilk pie. DC had the pork loin. And yes: It's worth going to Durango for, because it doesn't appear that they sell much of a selection online. Just go. Into the hills and the blue sky and the arms of dearly loved, dearly missed family, and you too, will be sorry you ever have to leave.
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