Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Dinner With Wally And Linda!

My friends Wally and Linda invited me over to their house last night for dinner and to celebrate my recent retirement from the Tattered Cover Bookstore.  It was a feast fit for a king - huge steaks, baked potatoes, salad, the works. Wally, of course, recently retired from the University of Denver Bookstore, where we both worked for many years.  Wally stayed there after the bookstore was outsourced to Follett Higher Education Group, while I was given my walking papers after a contractually enforced one year grace period.   I shouldn't complain, since I received one more year of 401K contributions, but I still do anyway.  I guess that's just me.  In any case, we had a very nice evening catching up with each other on what we have been doing.

I also got to visit with Wally and Linda's cat Stella and their dog Sailor, seen in the photograph on the right, ever vigilant in guarding the backyard from intruders.  Sailor was sent to a Colorado women's prison for obedience training - twice.  The first time didn't take, and so he was sent back there a second time for more training.  I think the term for that is recidivism. In any case, I was excited to hear than Linda and Wally are going to attend a wedding in none other than Stuart, Florida, where my sister Susan and I have a condo that we inherited from our parents.  I am planning on drawing up an itinerary for them, but unfortunately they are only planning to go for the weekend, and that won't be nearly enough time to see the sights I will be recommending.  I guess that means they will have to skip the wedding.  No matter - weddings are always pretty damn boring, right?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Cheers To Beers!

My friends Stuart (on the left in the photo) and Mark (on the right) and I went to the Blue Moon Brewery in Denver's RiNo (River North) neighborhood last night for a screening of Cheers to Beers, a Rocky Mountain PBS documentary about the history of beer in Colorado.  Not only did we get to see the film and meet the people who made and starred in it, we also each got a "Colorado Experience" pint glass.

Not only that, but during the trivia part of the evening, Stuart guessed correctly what the longest running PBS science show was (Nova), and won a free beer tee-shirt, seen in the photograph on the right.  Not a bad way to spend the evening.  The documentary lasted only 26 minutes, while the trivia and music portion of the evening took up the rest of the time.  There was also a question answer session at the end.  One person asked one of the participants what his favorite beer was, and he answered that it was the one he was currently drinking.  That guy should definitely should go into politics.

Monday, September 17, 2018

September At The Zoo

I decided to spend a few hours at the Denver Zoo Sunday afternoon, and since the Denver Broncos were playing during that time, I almost had the place to myself. Everybody else was home watching the game.  It was sunny and damn hot out - 92 degrees - and if that didn't tie a record, it must have been close.  In any case, many of the animals stayed in the shade, or in their enclosures, during the afternoon, but a number of them came out just as the zoo was closing and things were beginning to cool down. I took the photo of the lion in the collage above 10 minutes after the zoo had officially closed.  I assumed they were inside to stay until I heard one of them roaring and found they had finally come out to play.  I still say they need to send an intern in there with a stick to get them out sooner.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Cowboy

I always think of New Mexico as heavily Hispanic, but it also is a western state with a strong cowboy tradition. I took the above photograph during the Santa Fe fiesta parade. I think (but always can be wrong, of course) that the northern part of New Mexico is heavily Hispanic, while the south is mainly cattle ranches - hence the cowboy influence.  The Spanish, by the way, were the ones who first brought cattle to the Americas, just as they did with the horse.  And a final word on New Mexico - it is not named after the country of Mexico, but named by Spanish settlers after the Aztec Valley of Mexico, a full 250 years before the naming of the present day country of Mexico.  Who says this blog isn't educational?

Saturday, September 15, 2018

A Stop At Chimayo

My sister Susan and I left Santa Fe Monday morning and made a stop at Chimayo, located about 25 miles north of that city in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains.  It has been many years since I have been there, and I had a bit of difficulty finding Rancho de Chimayo, but find it we did, and had brunch outside on their patio.  The food was great, the weather warm and sunny, and the service friendly. The Jaramillo family, which owns the restaurant, has been living in this area since 1693, and the house in which the restaurant is located was built in the 1800s.

After lunch my sister and I walked the grounds, enjoying the day and the nice atmosphere.  I have a watercolor of this place hanging in the den of my condo, showing the patio in back, which seems to have expanded up the hillside over the years to accommodate more diners.  A good thing, too, since the place was pretty crowded, even on a Monday September.

After brunch, we drove over to see El Santuario de Chimayo, a church built in 1816 and known as a healing site (the dirt in a room in the back is said to be able to heal physical and spiritual ills).  There were also a fair number of tourists here, too.  The grounds are quite beautiful, and the location is pretty stunning, too.  Afterwards, we took the High Road to Taos, a 56 mile road through high desert, mountains, forests, and small Spanish Land Grant villages.  This is a great road to drive, and well worth the extra time it takes to get to Taos.  And in fact, Taos is not all that great a place to arrive at.  It is not very tourist friendly, and not nearly as interesting as Santa Fe.  We basically let the dogs out of the car to piss on the place and drove on back to Colorado.  And no disrespect meant.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Hispanic Culture Still Thrives In Santa Fe...

I was happy to see that despite it's popularity with the rich and famous, Hispanic culture still survives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. That was very evident at the fiesta parade this past Sunday, at the Palace of the Governors, where Native Americans sell handmade jewelry underneath the portico, and even in the restaurants, most of which serve traditional southwestern cuisine.  And of course, most of the people working in the shops, hotels, and restaurants speak Spanish, which of course adds to the Hispanic vibe.And by the way, southwestern cuisine is indeed excellent, but I must say I will be happy not to be eating it for while.  Variety is the spice of life, after all.  You can quote me on that.  I just thought it up.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Viva La Fiesta!

The highlight of Santa Fe's annual fiesta is the big parade, which takes place on Sunday afternoon.  My sister Susan and I stood under the portal of the building housing La Casa Sena to watch it, not realizing that it lasts about 3 hours or so.  As far as I can tell, virtually every resident of Santa Fe participates, shouting "Viva la Fiesta" at frequent intervals.  It was a lot of fun watching all the locals enjoying this Santa Fe tradition, which has taken place every year for over 300 years now.  This is a truly unique part of the U.S. and I am very happy to see that these traditions continue to survive in these fast changing times.  Viva la Fiesta! Viva Santa Fe!