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Good morning, Santa Fe! The handsome hubster enjoys the little yard at our casita. We’d already walked to Dolina’s Bakery, where the service is adorable and patiently kind, and the pastry choices difficult to make. We bought croissants and a slice of amazing coffee cake.

Silly Juniper would not run through the tunnel! We tossed the ball halfway, and she darted in and backed her way out. We also forgot to bring her water to the dog park, so she made due with snow. Eeek, that dog is so stinking cute!

I am slightly embarrassed to admit that we haven’t spent much of our Santa Fe time on Museum Hill. We got to work on it, with a trip to the glorious Museum of International Folk Art. What fun that was, with every manner of joyful treasure I adore: amazing rugs, guitars made from license plates and cigar boxes, straw dolls, miniature after miniature, treasures from trash (the moose made by kids from Santa Clara Pueblo), and a memory of my time at Standing Rock. Woot!

Greg makes use of the overlook…
Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer
Craig Goseyun

We spent an evening at the Rail Yard, enjoying The Gentlemen at the Violet Crown. We’d never been, and were sure glad to go. Everyone was super friendly, the snacks and drinks top notch, and the theater was pretty posh, too, with those seats that make you feel you aren’t really at the movies. The fil-um satisfied, providing laugh after laugh, in an uber-clever Guy Ritchie caper way.

The pointilist-ish sky was on the scene for hours….
Fisher’s Peak on the verge of a fresh dusting of snow.

I vacillated on my decision to show you our treasures, mostly because I feel slightly boorish saying, “Look what I got!!” The more I thought on it, however, I realized I want the people behind them to get their due. It is their bread and butter, after all. These are in pretty random order, so get our your magnifier and use your beautiful eyes!

The Anasazi beans (so delicious!), mild green chile powder, and Chimayo chile powder (only a few families in the area grow them – pretty special), as well as the barely discernible tiny spoon charm came from El Potrero Trading Post in Chimayo. They ship, should you have a hankering and not be lucky enough to go.

The other charms and strings of beads came from Glorianna’s, the oldest bead shop in Santa Fe. Chockablock with every manner of beautiful bead, I had a hard time restraining myself. The woman who runs the shop is Starr, the daughter of Glorianna, who passed in 2018, and is so kind and helpful. She was wearing a beautiful velveteen suit her mother made in the 50s – a stunner! What a treasure of a place.

The blue corn pinon pancake mix from Santa Fe Culinaria is delicious, but contains soy flour which makes my tummy scream, ruh-roh! Greg is luxuriating in a selfish pancake moment. The milagro heart and cross with pink flowers are from the Palace Hotel in Las Vegas and look fabulous among their New Mexico kin on my basement bathroom wall.

Fun and yummy red chile chocolate bar from Los Muertos. Another round of the best cola in the mundo – Zia Pinon, as well as several more bags of our favorite Casa Blanca Red Chile Jerky. The magnet with the car is from El Zocalo in Las Vegas, a very dangerous place for me. They have a stellar selection of paintings, jewelry, pottery, just about everything an art lover wants to take home.

The ornament was made by Rita Johnson, a Navajo Sandpainter we met on the plaza. She doesn’t have a website, but if you’re interested in her work, as she does more than ornaments, message me on my about page, and I’ll hook you up with her phone number.

Oops! I nearly forgot the wee Huichol bowl, purchased at the Folk Art Museum and the super cool thunderbird belt Greg bought at the Tin-Nee-Ann Trading Post in Santa Fe. It’s one of the old school places that’s been open longer than I’ve been alive. We finally made it in. A trip of firsts…

The beautiful weavings! The top right was from the Mora Valley Spining Mill, and does not indicate the name of the weaver. The remaining two were done by Victoria Verry whose work is available at Centinela Traditional Weavers, and send my heart singing, especially the one on the left, as it has yarn with plant dyes from indigo, madder root, and chamisa (a.k.a. rabbitbrush). So cool!!

And finally, a wonder of a painting by Gwen Wilemon from El Zocalo.


Not since living in Colorado have I marveled at the thunderous spectacle of a spring storm. Pounding and rumbling, water sluicing quickety-quick down gutters and shimmering streets. Pittsburgh weather is, thus far, the best I have ever known, elementary school definitions of the elements, fall-winter-spring, at least. We’ll have to see about summer. That may be the rub. This delightful downpour rolled through Monday, evocative petrichor, giant splashy drops, and thunder of the variety that welcomes rather than terrorizes. Air thick with humidity lay in its wake, just right, I thought, fans churning lazily, at least for now.

When the summer sun arrives in earnest and I am out and enjoying it, hopefully not merely melting and cursing the humidity that I now enjoy, I will be protecting my skin with Block Island Sunscreen. What is this, an advertisment? It is, indeed. I will admit that I never thought it would happen, but Kelly, one of the kindly women who runs the company, got in touch. She asked me if I would give it a whirl and report my thoughts. Since it is a product I would actually buy, I decided to go for it. I received my SPF 30 bottle earlier this week and honestly did not expect much. Though I am a natural-leaning sunscreen shopper, I am very picky about textures and fragrance and zinc-white glowing skin. Goldilocks comes to mind, but I think even she would say this stuff is just right. Block Island scores well on the Environmental Working Group’s safe sunscreen guide, has no nasty chemicals like parabens (very bad news for a gal with endometriosis, as they mimic estrogen in the body, and I’ve got PLENTY already), phthlalates, dyes, artificial fragrances, or nano-particles. It smells nice, but the scent doesn’t linger at all. Most importantly, it goes on like regular lotion, no furious rubbing and no greasy skin, and it does the job. Holy frijoles, it’s a win!



The Kindle Edition of Polite Society is FREE today!

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Happy Reading!

Some ever so random bits and bobs for you today. My mind is a wandering one. Its oft preferred state, which, after some overly obsessive and incredibly tiresome thinking suits me fine. Uh-huh.

First, a little more leg than I anticipated, but whatever. Call me a slut, but my neighbor beat you to the punch on whore. Because if a little leg, using birth control before having my internal lady parts removed (read about it here: 1, 2, 3, 4) , and enjoying sex with my husband make me one, I say, in for a penny, in for a pound. Anyhoo, the socks beg to be seen! They are from Gumball Poodle (oddly, I bought mine at New Seasons) and are perfect for roller skating, even when hidden under cropped pants, with many other neat-o options. Meat, anyone? Beer? Bacon?

Second, a little listening. Do you know about Poking Smot? I must say that I, in no way or shape, like this moniker. Really? That’s the best you got? Well, I shall forgive you because your website is so freakin’ awesome that it nearly makes my head spin. Music, so very much music: new, old, jazzy, synthy, rocky, poppy (currently jiving and toe tapping to Sandy Bull’s “Blend”). Merde et zut alors! This place could be the site of my downfall. I’ll just listen to one more song and be on my way, oh and another, but wait, they’ve got that? Down for the count peeps, d-o-w-n!

Third, a little reading. This is a shout out for local writer K.B. Dixon who sent me a copy of his book, The Photo Album. It is a very quirky, Colleen-style tale. A warm breeze of an afternoon read and well worth the time, it’s an imaginary photo album (hence the title) with captions. What was happening there? What was intended? What don’t we see? Filled with details of places I love and very much home. It made me think, laugh, and sigh with wonder.

Fourth, a little watching. And contrast. First, another one of my man-crushes, Zach Galifianiakis (I’m not kidding), in a supporting role (with Jason Schwartzman and Ted Danson – a fine trio if ever there was) in a truly awesome and also very Colleen-style comedy series, Bored to Death. I think I’ve mentioned this bit of kooky before, but dang, do I love it so. The hubster can’t get enough of it either, I might add. We laugh until we cry and always want more. Luckily we’ve got DVD number two waiting for us to-night. It’s on, bitches! (Just for you, Amber)

Now to the contrast, The Yellow Handkerchief. It follows Brett (William Hurt) after his release from prison, searching for a new hold on life and remembering May (Maria Bellow), the love he left behind. Then there is Martine (Kristen Stewart) and Gordy (handsome Eddie Redmayne), young and inexperienced, escaping home, awkward and yearning for a connection, to no longer be outsiders and first forgotten. They travel in Gordy’s car, through the post Katrina aftermath, taking ill used highways and discovering unexpected places, especially within themselves. Sweet and sad and happy.

Fifth, a little love, for you, sweet readers, and Friday. Have a tip-top, hat’s-off, groove-on weekend!

This final Hawaiian post is a long one.  Grab a beverage or a snack and sit for a spell, won’t you?  We’re starting out in Hale’iwa on the North Shore, the surfing capitol of the world.  There are lots of charming shops selling all kinds of goodness, and equally charming people.  We’ll definitely be back here.

Action shot!  The North Shore seems to be the shave ice capitol of the world, as well.  If I do say so myself, our combination of lemon, coconut, and vanilla was pretty darned awesome.  Soft, almost creamy, no ice crystals, and that touch of vanilla ice cream in the bottom of the cup was divine.

Anahulu stream bridge in Hale’iwa.  I love bridges.

A cute cottage for island living.

Smack-dab in the middle of the Dole Plantation.  I have never seen so many pineapples!

Highway 99 south to Honolulu.

Dining at the Kapiolani Farmer’s Market.  We indulged in an omelet with asparagus and island sheep cheese, super refreshing sparkling beverages, macadamia flower honey from Kaneohe, and abalone.  Despite being slightly worried that we were the only haolies in line for them, they did not disappoint: garlicky, buttery, slightly chewy, a bit like escargot.  What a pretty bit of “garbage,” as well.

The Kapiolani Community College (the location of the farmer’s market) has one of the most beautiful campuses I have ever seen.  There are a myriad variety of flowers…

And cacti…

And more flowers.  This was actually part of a hedge.  A hibiscus hedge.  It is paradise, after all!

This amazing banyan is the neighbor of the Iolani Palace.

The Hawaiian Crest, it reads:

Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono

The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness

The grand entrance to the Iolani Palace.

Still pretty grand is the back entrance, where our tour started.

The barracks – can you tell Hawaiian royalty was deeply influenced by Europe, and, in particular, Great Britain?

What a fine porch to take in a luau…

Or wait for a tour wearing our special shoe covers.  No photos allowed inside.  Trust me, it was worth it.

Twin Palm trees and a beautiful view.

The state capitol building is unlike any I have seen before.  I really liked the architecture.  It is open to the elements,  with offices around a courtyard.  The handsome mosaic, reminiscent of the ocean, is at the center.

Also on the grounds of the capitol is this quite fine and modern rendering of the gracious and giving Father Damien.  A sainted man who cared for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of those with leprosy (Hansen’s disease).  He worked tirelessly for sixteen years before contracting and succumbing to the disease himself.  Mahalo.

Greetings from his Majesty King Kamehameha, responsible for uniting the Island Kingdom of Hawaii.  You can see the real cape he wore (made of thousands of red and yellow feathers) as well as other gorgeous finery on the tour of the Iolani Palace.

The grand mausoleum of King William Lunalilo, elected popularly and by the legislature.

Lunch time at the Hawaii State Art Museum.  The restaurant was highly recommended by our tour guide at the Iolani Palace.  The chef takes a “local first, organic whenever possible, and with aloha always” approach.  It is mighty fine.

A tribute to Hawaiian Firefighters.  Mahalo!

The Honolulu Brewing Company building, circa 1900.  It actually went under a $25 million dollar renovation, but, quite unfortunately, I guess they used some super stinky wood sealer, and the building remains unoccupied.  Talk about a bummer.  It was, however, used in LOST, in some scenes where Charlie was meant to be in England.  This also reminds me, we had one LOST sighting on our island adventure.  In the airport on our way home, we saw Jack’s father Christian.  He is more handsome and shorter than I expected.  Go figure.

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel grounds.  As we were walking by, we saw a couple readying for their wedding ceremony.  What a place to tie the knot!  For my Uncle Chris, and a shout out to Rick, too: we couldn’t find the place you guys had a cocktail, but no worries, we indulged in more than one delicious tropical drink requiring an umbrella and a maraschino cherry.  We also had stunning views from the Punchbowl (see below).

Pineapple County Store

An Oahu icon, we had really good burgers and the equally good company of a local who dines here every night.

Leonard’s makes Malasadas, the best doughnut-like baked good I have ever tasted.  Trust me, with a particular fondness for fried dough, I have A LOT of experience in this area.  We tried them plain, filled with chocolate (like a really good pudding), and a silky coconut cream, of course.  Is there a Hawaiian term for Ooh la la?

We’re at the Punchbowl National Cemetery.  Located in a crater above the city, the cemetery is a stunning memorial to the sacrifices of our service men and women.  Lady Columbia holds a laurel branch and represents the grieving of all mothers.  Inscribed beneath her are the words of Abraham Lincoln:

“The solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”

Amen to that.

It is a somber place of gorgeous vistas, encompassing Diamond Head to Pearl Harbor.

The small chapel.

One of the marvelous maps detailing World War II battles.

A final view of the sea.

Mahalo much, dear Hawaii!


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