Search This Blog

Saturday, May 31, 2008

poor baby

Rick hurt his back at work the other day. It's kind of bad. Poor baby. I hate to see him like this. He's hooked up with a good doc, so I think (hope) he'll be feeling better soon. Meanwhile, there's lots to do around here, which I don't mind a bit. After all, he's my Sweetie and I want to help him. Maybe it's a little bit above and beyond, but today I've also volunteered to go to work for him and do some watering. They're really in a bind at the nursery without him, and of course he feels bad about that too. I figure by helping them out, I'm helping him feel less guilty, and that will help him get better faster. So... today the beadmaker goes to work as a gardener. Sort of. I'll just be hanging out in the greenhouses, watering the little plants, and maybe humming a little tune. This is new to me. I think it will be fun. Of course beads won't get made and dinner will be take-out. But sometimes we just have to be flexible, now don't we?


Well, hey. It was fun. My pal Karena came along with me and we spent about 3 hours watering the greenhouses and then the trees outside. What a gorgeous day. I would not volunteer for this in poopy weather. Today was like a vacation day, but with hoses for water instead of the beach. Pictures? Of course I have pictures!

If you're ever in Taos, and find yourself in need of a tree or plant, visit Petree Nursery. It's just lovely out there. And well watered.

Friday, May 30, 2008

tornado watch

We don't have tornadoes here. But on Wednesday afternoon a weather alert streamed across the bottom of the TV screen, saying that there was a tornado watch for a large part of New Mexico, including Taos County. I wasn't really worried, but it did get my attention. Nothing much happened, and as it turned out, I was outside filling a camping jug with water at the same time the worst of the storm was right overhead. Black clouds, wind, fat raindrops, and a few pellets of hail. Nothing newsworthy, although Chief Meteorologist Joe Diaz made it sound like someone was about to drop a house on me. A few minutes later, Rick and I watched a nice sunset from the patio...

Of course I'm always influenced by what's going on around me, so while I watched the scary weather reports all afternoon, I gradually found myself making Tornado Beads. I hope nobody finds this insensitive. I certainly don't mean to make light of the devastation the weather has been causing all over the world. Instead, I think it's part of my job to take fear and make it into beauty. That's where these beads came from...

And now that the storm has passed, I have to wonder if the prediction was actually for a more psychic sort of personal tornado. The last couple of days have been entirely chaotic here, at least for me. I have to remind myself that everything is temporary. Everything. And that according to the I Ching, "out of chaos, great dreams are born". So I'm holding on as tight as I can, and letting go at the same time. Anything can happen, and it's sure not up to me. Best to try to enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

a common thread

Lauren and I popped into the yarn store the other day, to see what was on sale. The owner of the shop is a lovely, happy 73-year-old woman who twinkles and laughs and tells stories non-stop. It's hard to browse in her shop. Best to ask for a general "something nice" and let her point you to just what you want. We bought some gorgeous green bamboo yarn, along with some of that confetti-ribbon-ladder stuff, to make a scarf for Lauren. I'm not much of a knitter, but I just like to make stuff. I have a sweater to put together somewhere, but that's not the fun part, so I might wait until next fall when I start to think of wearing it. I also ordered a book of patterns for dog sweaters. Heidi gets chilly...

Anyway, I finished the scarf in a day, and went back the next day to get more of the bamboo. The shop owner was there, and chatty as ever. We discovered some common ground. Nevada. She grew up there, and spent a lot of time working at Harold's Club in Reno, where there were family connections. I spent years - too many years - working at Harrah's in Tahoe, and living in Gardnerville, and I knew I recognized something in her that wasn't New Mexico. Nevada Girls are.... fiesty. We have to be.

At some point she asked me my birthdate, and told me my "card" is the six of diamonds. She said that means that I will always have more. More than before. More than last year or yesterday. It means I will never have less. I took comfort in that, bought more yarn, and went home to knit... some... more.

That was Monday. Yesterday was Tuesday, and interestingly, it was a day full of gifts. I went to Wolfgang's Spa Works to get some chemicals for the hot tub. As I turned to leave with my MPS, Wolfgang said to his employee, "Give this young lady a water bottle!" Aha! A gift, and a compliment all rolled into one!

Next stop, the dreaded gas station. I had the mail in the car, and opened a little puffy envelope from Jean Yates while I waited for the pump to suck my wallet dry. I can't remember exactly why I deserved these awesome earrings, but here they were, Gift #2, and I immediately put them on, right there at the Conoco. They helped a lot. I drove away happy, and who does that these days? I like them so much I even made a little video Thank-You to email to her. The wonders of the Flip Camera... These are truly fabulous earrings. Definitely Flip-worthy.

The rest of the mail waited until I got home. There was another puffy envelope that I wasn't sure about. I'd forgotten that one of my customers, Linda Lickenbrock, had emailed last week, asking for my address so she could send me a little something for Lauren's graduation. How sweet, I thought. But when I opened the package, I was just blown away. Look what she made for us. These are amazing and personal and just too darn wonderful for words. Her Etsy Shop is CupCakeGirl, and she tells me she likes making these for people. Maybe, if you're very lucky, she'll do one just for you.

About this time, I started to recall what the Yarn Lady had told me. "You will always have more." Trust a Nevada Girl when she tells you what's what. And go to the yarn store when you don't know what you need. You're likely to find it there.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

how old is your phone?

I think I have the world's oldest cell phone. My children mock me. Verizon constantly tries to entice me with upgrades. I am not taking the bate. I've watched my kids go through countless phones either because they abuse them and kill them, or because they just become dazzled with the hottest new technology. We are all carefully trained to "need" New Things before we actually need them. The retail world hates people like me.
I've had this phone for almost four years. It's an antique, but it's the best phone I've ever had. I'm on a mission to keep it until it dies a natural death, or becomes so obsolete I can no longer use it for anything but a paperweight.

Lauren has come into a bit of cash, thanks to her grandfather (my Dad), who felt compelled to reward her for her hard work these past four years in college. He didn't realize he was also helping me out quite a lot. Or maybe he did. In any case, this seemed like the perfect time to send her out into the world to open her own phone account. She resisted of course, but with a little bit of creativity and gentle negotiation, she is at the Verizon store at this very moment, taking advantage of my un-needed phone upgrade. In a few minutes she will call me from her very own new phone, making use of her very own minutes. The pool of minutes I've been sharing with her and Rick will suddenly bubble over the edges of its pond, and I will most likely cut it back by at least half, since I really don't like to talk on the phone anyway.

Things are looking pretty good today. Wouldn't this be just about the time the phone gods decide to get mischievous? If my phone poops out now, I'm just out of luck. But I don't think that will happen. I think it will live forever. Maybe I'll set the world record for the Oldest Cell Phone Still In Use. Cheer me on. Or compete with me! How old is your phone?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

viva las vegans

I just ordered a new cookbook. Veganomicon, by the same growly girls who wrote Vegan With A Vengeance. I've been a mostly-vegetarian for years, ever since we had the pizza shop, and I hit meat overload one day while digging my hand into a vat of sausage. But when I cut out the meat, I drew my own personal line at cheese, glorious cheese. I love cheese. I might even adore it. And while I do not actively participate in any formal religion, I do Praise Cheese Sauce. I also partake of the occasional fish dish, and happen to love most seafood. And with all the nice whole grains and fresh fruits and veggies, my diet it intensely healthy compared to that of most Americans. Still... I struggle with my weight, and I know I can do, and be, and feel better.

I've toyed with becoming a full-blown vegan for a couple of years now. It seems so extreme, and saying farewell to my beloved Cheese might just be too much for me. Then again, it might be just the thing I need. It might even make me happy. So I ordered the book. Soon as it gets here, I'll wander through it, try a few recipes, and see if it sticks. Even doing it "part time" would be better than nothing. And besides I hate it when people get all militant and fanatical about things like food. Moral Purity is an overrated illusion. And feeling superior to the steak eaters of the world is just plain stupid. I say this as I watch a beautiful turkey vulture fly over my yard. There are natural born meat eaters in the world, and I respect that. (I actually do think turkey vultures are beautiful. This is not a snarky comparison in any way.) I've even been known to take a bite of a fantastic, organic, perfectly grilled t-bone, just to prove I'm no saint. So if I do decide to do the vegan thing, I'll be sure to leave room for the occasional bite of brie with my crusty whole grain bread, while I share a perfect bottle of red with friends.

I'll let you know how it goes. And until the book arrives, I'm planning a few decadent, cheese filled days.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Did you notice the new ads here on my blog? I think it would be nice to get paid for all the valuable information and entertainment I present for you here. Google AdSense might be useful to me... or not... but it's worth a shot. I think it's amusing that they automatically choose these for me, based on the content they scan from my blog. I just saw one there for some miracle solution to sweaty hands. How in the world does that fit in with anything here? It's good to have something to wonder about... And if you'd like to become a sponsor of some sort, let me know. I'll bet we can work something out.


This winter weather in May is dragging on my disposition. One day of clouds and snow was an interesting novelty. Two is just gloomy. If it's like this tomorrow I might just spend the day in bed. Gray sky is why I left Seattle. It gets to me in a big way, and there isn't enough caffeine and prozac on the planet to make me want to go through that again.


And as we step off the edge of Friday afternoon, into a holiday weekend, I think we should all consider staying close to home for our bar-b-ques and other possibly, but probably not solemn Memorial Day observances. Remember...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

coffee, snow, harleys, and dog treats

Today is our one day off this week, so we're calling it a weekend. Sure, I consider blogging part of my job, but I like it. And besides, the lines between work and home are pretty blurry here. We do what we want.

It was a warm and sort of rainy morning, so we took our time getting going, and then loaded Heidi in the car, and headed out for a drive around the Enchanted Circle. (Lucy pouted, but it's her job to stay at home and guard the Bead Ranch. She gets extra treats, which usually evens things out for her.) The first stop was Eagle Nest, a teensy town in the nearby mountains, with a nice little fishing lake, several RV parks, a few cute shops and restaurants, and not a whole lot else. We were looking for our friend Lisa, who is busy helping her mom open a nice new cafe, Judy's. It was easy enough to find. The entire town is basically one main street, about two blocks long. Town was still quiet, being only Thursday, so we had time for a nice long visit and a good couple of cups of coffee and tea. I hadn't seen Lisa in several years, so it was fun to catch up. And interestingly, she's not just some random friend, but also happens to be my ex-husband's second ex-wife... we had a few things to talk about...

Anyway, tomorrow they'll have food, so drop in if you're there. It's a nice cozy little place, and from the prep I saw going on, you'll be well fed there too. Here's Judy and Lisa, at Judy's.

Back on the road, we thought about a lunch stop in Red River. We go up there most years over Memorial Day Weekend to see the thousands of bikes that gather in the wild west-y little town. We have an annual semi-fantasy about buying Harleys and hitting the open road. But since literally hitting that road is an unappealing possibility, we aren't really serious about it, especially on days like today. The closer we got to Red River, the worse the weather got. Here it is, the end of May, and we were in heavy snow. What fun to ride a motorcycle in that, huh? We quickly traded in our biker daydream for a more practical, comfortable one that includes a motor home... and a blender...

Since I had the great foresight to wear flip-flops this morning, wandering around Red River in search of lunch seemed like a bad idea, so we wound along the mountain road back down to Taos and home. All that snow had us singing Christmas songs in the car, and that got me thinking about this past Christmas when we had loads of people and dogs at our house. That and Heidi sleeping in the back seat made me think of the yummy dog cookies I made for them in December, and that I've been planning to make some more this week. So I did. My dogs love these more than anything - so far. I've been trying to teach Heidi to "sit", which I realize is sort of silly, since she's already so close to the ground. She wouldn't do it for any of the good store-bought treats we have, but for these, she sat and sat and sat. Then she and Lucy danced. Now they're sleeping.

I'll share the recipe, since we're in serious cookie mode this week. I found this on

Cheese Treats

4 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tsp. garlic powder
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cup shredded cheese
1 1/4 cup milk

Combine flour and garlic powder in a large bowl.

Gradually stir-in vegetable oil, cheese, beaten egg, milk and blend well. Roll-out dough to desired thickness. Cut-out treats and place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 25 minutes at 400°F.

Cool before storing. Note: cooking time may vary depending upon thickness.

They also post a note about onions: "When baking for your dog, always be sure to check all ingredients (especially prepared foods, i.e. baby food, bouillon) that are added, to insure that onions are not present. Onions, and chocolate can be very toxic to dogs!"

It's also been suggested that garlic is bad for dogs. I've Googled-about quite a bit, and found much more information to the contrary, but if you're concerned, leave the garlic powder out!

Since I like to have tiny training treats handy, rather than use cookie cutters, I just cut the dough into little 1/2 inch cubes. Dogs don't care how big a treat is, as long as it's food... And know what? They're good! And since they're made from good healthy stuff (no chicken feet), if you need a snack, these will do in a pinch. If I was actually baking them for people, I'd add some salt to the recipe...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

dog training

I feel like a proud new mother. Heidi is just the smartest, cutest kid in the world, even though she's a dog. If you don't know who or what I'm talking about, back up a blog or two. It's all here.

It must be a big adjustment for this little sorority dog, to go from two rooms and a little patch of patio at Kappa to the run of the house here, along with an acre to explore. She's already got a pretty good rhythm going in the day time. Something like run, sniff, pee, sniff, sniff, bark, run, poop, sniff, sniff, wrestle with Lucy, eat, sniff, drink, sniff, roll in a dead earthworm, take a nap, repeat. She likes to hang out with me in the studio too, and comes in and out as she pleases, through the cat door that the cat won't use.

It's the night time sleeping thing that needs work. Heidi likes to sleep on the people bed, with the people. And for such a tiny thing, she sure knows how to take up space. We've let her do this in the past, when we were just dog-sitting for a week. But now, realizing that the habits we help create now will stick for years, we see the need to make adjustments.

I bought her a cool little cave bed. She's a burrower, and likes to be covered up, so this is perfect. She also has her favorite blankies, which I suppose will be too hot soon, but for now, it's all snuggly and familiar. The first night, she wouldn't have anything to do with the very wonderful dog bed. She curled up next to me and slept like a baby. I didn't sleep at all though, so the second night we put the dog bed on the foot of our bed, and convinced her to sleep in it. That seemed like a reasonable compromise, so we tried it again last night. But somehow, someone (let's sat Rick) kicked the dog bed off the people bed, and totally freaked out the little dog inside. No way in the world was she going to get back in that thing if we put it back on the bed-cliff. She shot straight for the spot between our pillows, which actually would work OK, except for the fact that even this little, sweet doggie had horrendous Big Dog Farts.

So... I put the dog bed on the floor next to me, and put Heidi in the dog bed. In less than a count of ten, she popped back up onto our bed again. I put her back, and mumbled that I figured I'd have to do this a hundred times or so. But the third time, she started to understand what I wanted, and she stayed put for almost an hour. Then, pop, back between our pillows. I persisted, and so did she, but I think I might be just a touch smarter, and pretty soon, she settled in for the rest of the night. OK, it was a short rest of the night by then, but it was at least three or four hours before something spooked her and she darted out of the room barking like a little doggie alarm clock.

I gave up, and crawled out of bed, groggy as the mother of a brand new baby. Fortunately, my work day looks pretty light, and we're taking tomorrow off. I'm feeling pretty good about the sleep thing. I think we'll have it figured out in another day or two. Today I'll just take care of a little business, and then read some more from my favorite dog training book, "Outwitting Dogs", by Terry Ryan and Kirsten Mortensen. And then, because I've learned that food is the big motivator in dog training, I'm going to make a batch of their favorite cheese-garlic dog treats. Lucy loves them too, and she's being really good about sharing her humans with Heidi. One big happy family. That calls for cookies.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Well, she did it. We all did it. Twice. What a busy, crazy couple of days, and now my girl is a college graduate, which I don't suppose I'll ever be, and so I'm really quite pleased and proud. Go UNM!

We headed down to Albuquerque on Friday, getting there in time to check into our hotel and clean up for the 5PM ceremony. This was the small ceremony, just her department, so it was pretty compact and painless. The first picture is of Lauren in her room at Kappa, ready to get that gown on and go grab a diploma.

First stop, the ceremony, in a very crowded little hall on campus.

Afterwards there was, of course, lots of hugging and laughing and picture-taking. I have some video too, but that will wait another day or two... I have to figure out how to edit it into something tolerable.

Lauren and Mom...

...and with some of her friends. Aren't they all just so darn beautiful?

Sisters - Julia & Lulu...

And of course, the Proud Parents with their Graduate...

Possibly even more impressive than a college degree is the fact that she managed all those stairs in these shoes...

On to an evening of celebration. We were joined by our friends Eleanore Macnish (famous beadmaker and wonderful friend), her husband Tom, and daughter Elizabeth, and Lauren's Kappa Sister, Estella. Dinner was at the Nob Hill Bar & Grill, which truly is an "upscale joint". We had a a great time!

After dinner, Tom and Eleanore took us to the Press Club. It's a members-only sort of place, but it's not what you'd expect... Right in the middle of Old Albuquerque, on top of a hill that once overlooked miles and miles of sagebrush, sits a three story log cabin that was built by an architect for his family. At some point he apparently built another one just like it at the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Years later, the cabin became a fraternity house, and later was turned into this "club". The place still looks like a frat house. They added a well-stocked bar, a pool table, a ping-pong room, and a gas grill on the patio. Members pay $200 a year, and I'm told many of the members are doctors who work at the nearby hospital. What a strange and perfect spot to wind up our graduation night. Here's a ghost-busting website that tells more of the history. And here's Estella, Eleanore, and Lauren - at the bar of course!

Later that night, Lauren called to say that she'd decided she wanted to do the all-school, big ceremony the next morning. This was a total surprise to me, and I have to admit, I wasn't very happy about it. We'd just finished all that graduating and celebrating, and I was tired. I was hoping to do something fun like go to the zoo on Saturday. To get up early and listen to a bunch of boring speeches again just seemed mean. So we compromised. Rick, Julia, and I went to get some unhealthy-but-fun breakfast at the Waffle House, and then arrived, after most of the speeches were finished, at Graduation II, The Sequel, in time to watch Lauren walk and get her (way better) diploma. We sat so far away, I couldn't see her at all, and was totally caught off guard when they called her name. But you know, now that it's all said and done, I think it was good that she did it. This one seemed much more real, and now she won't have any regrets or feel like she missed something.

After another fine meal at the Range Cafe (I'm going on a diet today), we loaded up a few bags and boxes of Lauren's things to store here at home. She has to be out of Kappa today, and is moving into a friend's cute little house to spend the summer. I get it - she doesn't want to come home to Taos and work the same job she had all through high school. It' time to do something new. Very exciting. So now I guess our nest is officially empty... sigh...

But wait! You remember Heidi, the little wiener dog we've puppy-sat for several times? Her Kappa Mom is also moving on, and needed a new home for Heidi. We raised our hands high, and jumped up and down, saying, "Pick us! Pick us!". And she did! So Lauren has moved out, sort of, and Heidi has moved in. We're so happy to have her. And I think she's adjusting well here, for her first day back at Camp. Here she is in her new bed, just hanging out next to me in the office, while I show you my world, in words and pictures...

Congratulations Lauren!!!
And Welcome Home Heidi!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

honeymoon cookies

Back in September of 1992, Rick and I moved from Gardnerville, Nevada to Seattle, Washington, with three kids and a truck full of stuff. By January 1st we had gotten married, gotten the kids settle in school, and opened a little bake-at-home pizza shop. We had a really hard time coming up with a name for the place, and "tried on" darn near everything we could think of. While we were on our brief little honeymoon in Victoria, B.C., we spent one rainy afternoon in a pub, drinking beer and tossing around more names for the shop. We agreed from the start that three kids between us was plenty, thank you, and so the pizza shop was "our baby". We needed a good name for it. There we were, looking out the window and turning everything we saw into a business name... Cloudy Day Pizza, Red Car Pizza, Spikey Shoes Pizza, Another Beer Pizza... and at some point, one of us, we can't remember who (but I think it was me), said - How about Honeymoon Pizza? And that was that.

A couple of years into it, we had built a pretty nice customer base and were always adding new pizzas to the menu. Then we decided we needed salads and our own dressings. Poof! The Bag O'Salad was born, along with Lemon-Pesto Vinaigrette and Pinenut-Blue Cheese dressings. Another hit! Soon we realized that the only thing missing was dessert. Having a tiny and limited kitchen, we couldn't even bake the pizzas - hence the "bake-at-home" part of the deal. So we needed a dessert that fit in with the whole "cook it where you eat it" scheme of things. Cookie dough! Duh!

I spent a lot of time going over recipes, trying things out, and having minimal success with a dough that could be chilled and baked into something miraculous later. We were looking for something way better than poppin'fresh, if you know what I mean. Eventually I ended up taking several recipes apart and combining them into a new one all my own. The result was Honeymoon Cookies, and they sold like crazy.

I've recently started making them again, with Rick taking his lunch to work every day, and people looking at the house fairly frequently (I leave cookies out for the Lookers, like they all were Santa Claus or something). Once again, poppin'fresh just won't do. And now, today, my Lauren's Graduation Gift to you, so you'll have something fun and tasty to occupy you while I'm celebrating with my kid over the weekend... I'm going to share with you the...

World Famous, Top Secret, Honeymoon Cookie Recipe!

Preheat your oven to 350. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. I use PAM.

In a big bowl, mix up:
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
Give it a good spin with the mixer for a couple of minutes, until it's all nice and fluffy.

Then mix in 2 cups of flour.
I use whole wheat now, but we used white back in Seattle. Both work great. Don't over-mix at this point! They'll get tough and you'll wind up skipping them across the nearest lake. Just get the flour mixed in and put the mixer away.

Now stir in (by hand) 2-3 cups of anything else you like. I use coconut, chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, oatmeal, dried cranberries... whatever I have. The coconut makes them nice and moist and chewy. Oh! And those little mini-peppermint patties are terrific. Get them in the chocolate chip aisle.

Roll the dough into nice fat cookie-size balls and place them on the cookie sheet. Don't squash them down. They know what to do. Bake them at 350 for about 12 minutes or so. Don't over cook them. They're done when the edges are turning brown and the tops no longer look wet. Remove them from the cookie sheet right away. A metal spatula works best. I'll bet you and your helpers can eat 'em all up before they're even cooled off.

I'm off to Albuquerque for the weekend!

Like it used to say on our Honeymoon Pizza T-Shirts...
Good Things Are Cookin' At Home Tonight!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

in print

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from High Country News, asking my permission to use a photo from my blog in an upcoming article about Mud Season. Of course I said yes. Not sure if I got photo credit in the magazine, but by my rules, this makes me a published photographer. I haven't actually seen it in print yet, but I found it online here. (It's in the May 12, 2008 issue.) They didn't include my picture in the web version, but I just happen to have it here, from a post a while back, called "walking the plank".

Also notably in print is my friend's beautiful earthship, in an article on Mike Reynolds in the gorgeous magazine, Culture + Travel. I might need to subscribe. It just takes me away... And what the heck is an earthship, you ask? It's a totally off-the-grid, self-sustaining house, built of tires and cans and bottles and mud, into the side of a hill. Google them. Read up on Mike Reynolds, the pioneer of earthshipism. And when you visit Taos, drive out there across the Gorge Bridge to the wide open mesa and visit the one that's open to the public, or even rent one to stay in for a few nights. Lucky me - I get to visit my friend's ship (friendship!) any time I want. It's just at the other end of town from where we live, but it's really like going to a whole other world... or planet.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I don't think I've ever mentioned my love of bowls here. I love bowls unreasonably, and I can always justify buying new ones. After all, they're useful, and I really do use all the ones I have. Everything from tiny little things that are meant to catch a soggy tea bag to the big, glorious green and pink bowl Rick carried home for me on a plane, back from a business trip to D.C. when we first met. I had never mentioned my thing for bowls, but somehow he just knew... isn't that romantic?

Over the weekend I went to friends Dean and Abby's open studios. Dean Pulver makes the most beautiful wooden furniture I've ever seen. Honestly. It's simple and quirky and elegant and solid and graceful. It makes my eyes happy, and it's wonderful to see it in person because touching it is as much fun as looking at it. One day I will own a piece. I promise.

Dean and Abby share a big territorial-style studio building that's larger than their home. Because Dean does wood and Abby does clay, there's a wall between the work spaces, but it's still a cozy and lovely set-up, where they can be together and alone just as much as they need to. I spent most of my visit on Abby's side. Abby Salsbury is the artist behind Butterpie Productions.

I had seen her work around town before, but had never been out to the studio. I made the trip specifically to buy bowls and I wasn't disappointed. The room was crowded with playful dances of color and form. It took a long time just to let my eyes wander through and see it all. There's magic in the simplicity of clean lines and bold color. And so I eventually settled on four small bowls in pink, orange, yellow, and red. They're a perfect size for all sorts of things. I've used them every day since I brought them home... The pink one full of cottage cheese sitting next to the orange one filled with Fritos... Seafood bisque in the pink one, on a turquoise Fiestaware plate with a grilled many-cheese-and-walnut sandwich... Even a humble bowl of cereal takes on new meaning in a truly good bowl...

Am I conveying how much I love these bowls? I won't even put them away in the cupboard. They live on the hand made tile (Jill Rounds) countertop, where I can smile at them when I'm not eating out of them.

And see those cookies in the jar on the left? Those are my own secret recipe, invented back when we had the pizza shop in Seattle. It was romantically called Honeymoon Pizza, and so... these are Honeymoon Cookies. Yes, I will share the recipe. But not today.

Monday, May 12, 2008

four years already?

It's just about time to stand up tall and be a Very Proud Parent. My baby, Lauren, will graduate from UNM in Albuquerque on Friday. If I had buttons, they'd be busting. She's a little less than excited at the moment because it's still Finals Week and she has two more tests to go. But in a few short days she'll be able to catch her breath, celebrate four years of hard work paying off, and then leap into action again as she moves out of Kappa and into her first shared house with a couple of friends. She's really ready to be out on her own. Of course she still needs to find a job, but I'm hoping that graduation gifts will tide her over for a couple of weeks until she can get organized. Remember being that young? We all made it somehow, and I know she will too. In fact, I know she'll be just fabulous!

Rick and Julia and I are heading down on Friday morning. Can't wait. This is a big deal, and besides, it's always nice to get out of town, if only for one night. And the other happy thing about the trip is that we're picking Heidi up and bringing her home with us. For keeps! So Lauren's moving out, but we'll have a new "baby" in the house. Nothing like a funny little dog to ease the empty nest blues.

I'll have a full report and pictures when we get back. And if anyone would like to send my girl a card or personal greeting, I'll be happy to forward them to her. Email me and I'll send you my address.

Friday, May 09, 2008

no regrets

So here it is, the morning after, and you know what? No regrets Coyote! Not that regrets ever did anyone any good, but how nice it was to look in the mirror this morning and go, YES. I feel like one of those guys who grew his hair long in high school and then forgot to cut it for 30 years. You know the guys. When they finally free themselves of the fur, they become whole new people. That's how I feel. New. Looking down at that pile of hair on the floor yesterday, all I could do was wonder why on earth I had been carrying that stuff around on my head all this time.

I had some fun help in this whole process. Lots of looking around at pictures until I finally stumbled across's a virtual makeover site, where you can pop in your own picture, and then try on thousands of different hairstyles, as well as makeup, jewelry, glasses, and other accessories. I'm now fairly confident that I would not look better blond, and that Amy Winehouse's look really only works on Amy herself...

Try it out. I promise you'll have fun. You can use a lot of it for free, or pay a few bucks to access all the fun things in the dress-up box. I paid. And again, no regrets.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

just call me shorty

OK, the Big News I promised yesterday, which might not be so big to you... I cut my hair today - or rather, I had it cut. Short. And I mean short. I went to see Kathleen Brennan - hair stylist, photographer, neighbor, friend - armed with a stack of photos and a well thought out description of what I did and did not want to have happen to my head today. She listened, took her time, and literally three haircuts later, gave me just what I wanted, a short but feminine haircut that makes me giggle and feel about seven years old... only a whole lot smarter.

Hair... we spend a lot of time, energy, and cash on our hair don't we? What curious creatures we are. I've wandered around for years with a mane of disobedient curls. Recently I began to realize that I was too identified, and still not happy with, all that hair. As we continue to weed our life here of things we don't want or need, I also find myself letting go of old thoughts and feelings, and old ways of seeing myself. It crept up on me gradually, but then I realized that my hair was just another Old Thing I no longer needed. Old and in the way. Time to let it go. I feel light and lit up. And I know better than to proclaim that I'll never have long hair again, but for now this shows on my outside how I feel on my inside.

So here you go... the Before...

And the After...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I feel like I'm in a holding pattern this week - like a plane that's circling, circling, waiting for its turn to land. I can almost feel the spiraling energy up there above my head, ready to turn into Something New at any moment. Timing is everything, and Presentation is very important. There's little to report right now, so while you wait along with me - and thank you for that - here's a website I just ran across in my travels... TorsoPants. Even if you aren't a T-Shirt Person, you might enjoy this site. It's so well done. I wish I knew how to build something like this. If I could, I'd be sure to include talking fish for you. And know what? If you are a T-Shirt Person, and buy one through my link here (I recommend the one that says "let's fight some ballerinas"), they'll give me some money. How thoughtful of them. I post a lot of favorite websites here, but most of them don't do anything for me in return. This is a lovely change of pace. Win-win, Give-Give, Receive-Receive. A fine moment in time.

And actually... there is something rather big happening tomorrow, but I'm not telling you what it is yet. I don't really want anybody's two-cents-worth until after the fact... very mysterious of me, I know. If you'd like to speculate, go ahead and leave a comment here. If you're right, you won't win anything, but you'll feel pretty darn smart.