Sunday, April 25, 2010


Moira went to Prom.  She went with friends, including Christian.  I am so glad she went.  She had a great time.  It wasn't monumental.  She said, if it was my money, I wouldn't have gone. So often, Prom is talked about, and raved about as the thing to do.  It is a special day though.  And it's a day you have to make good yourself.  I'm glad Moira went.  She has good friends.

This is PQ, aka Paul.  What a nice guy.  All of them are so nice.  It makes us parents so crazy happy to see our kids happy.  There's a million stories in these pictures.  Paul and his bow tie.  Moira's dress is from Sarira's sister.  On and on.  It just makes me happy.

I remember for me, I wasn't all that interested in going when I was in high school.  As it turns out, a friend really wanted to go, and invited me, and actually took me.  I was so flattered, and will never forget it.  How special.  Anyways, more pictures to come.

Mount Tam Ride and spill

This is last weekend's ride.  I have to get pictures up.  It was probably the last for my camera.  I crushed it, along with tearing myself up, ending up with stitches.  It was a fantastic group, about 10 or 12 of us.  We rode about 3.5 or 4 hours, a big day.

The cool effect with the pictures is because the camera lens thing does not open all the way, and covers the picture.  I think it's messing up the shutter speed too.  Anyways, great day on Tamarancho.

Santa Clara Pueblo, Puye Cliff Dwellings, Connections

I am just excited about my renewed connection with Native American Indians, and their heritage.  It's a common feeling for me.  Being somewhere unique to me.  Wanting to know more, and knowing, well, it's not my heritage.  I think rather than feeling like I am out of place, our tour with Porter made me feel so connected.

I was moved by the whole thing and I am trying to understand why.  Porter was a big part of it.  I felt close to him.  He shared a personal part of himself.  Yes, he was knowledgeable.  No question.  But what made him attractive was hearing his personal stories, and interpretation.  He took the risk of sharing part of himself.  Actually, some important parts of himself.  Very sensitive too.  The more he shared, the more I liked him, and wanted to be a part of his community of friends.

Jib Jab
Here are some of the 'coincidences'
- Dan, my brother met Porter through his job at Crow Canyon Archeology Center
- Porter's mother is the famous Roxanne Swentzell, sculptor.  We saw her works at the Poeh museum.
    She is so impressive, in what she shares in her sculptures.  I thought she looked familiar, and it turns  out my in-laws have 3 of her pieces, one they had commissioned.  I need to re-look at them!
- Here is her website
- Another 'guide' on the tour, Linda Tafoya is also an interesting tie-in.  She used to play hide and seek with Porter in the Puye Cliff Dwellings when they were kids.  Now, Porter takes her youngest son under his wing, and he is also a guide.  Linda is a native American ceramicist.  Linda is the grand daughter of the famous Margaret Tafoya.  It was great talking with her, not as a native American, but as another human.
- Since then, Dan sent a video of Roxanne's daughter talking about archeology and ancestry.  The video piece is on respect, and how to visit an archeology site, respectfully.  Essentially, don't touch anything, or more specifically, if you touch it, don't move it from where you found it.  It changes the archeology.  Rose Simpson is also a potter, and sculptor like her mother.

Jib Jab
Anyways, not sure what it all means, but I like it.  We all struggle with our communities, our families.  It's that darn connectedness.  The picture is Linda Tafoya.  I was pretending like I was getting a shot of the cliffs behind her, but I knew I wanted a picture of her.  Later in our conversations, she shared her family ties with her grand mother, Margaret.  All said, it was so nice to meet her.  It made for a special day.  Another interesting piece to me. 

Before we started, we just met Porter.  We are at the Harvey House, which is sort of the museum, gift shop area.  Along with these rooms, there is someone in the patio area, selling Native American Indian jewelry.  Porter says if we are interested, take a look.  It was such a subtle endorsement, but I was intrigued. 

The jewelry totally caught my eye.  Beadwork, and some silver and semi-precious stones.  I was asking him about the jeweler, and he couldn't remember.  I could see how this might have sounded hmm, sketchy?  For whatever reason, I felt a connection with this person.  I felt strongly about the beauty of the pieces he was showing, and said so.  I ended up getting 3 or 4 pieces, and got so excited about it, I was shaking.  He was sharing with me.  He let me see the best in him, and when he saw I could see it, he let me in.  He kept making it easier and easier for me to purchase his work.  I judge, he was comfortable it was going to a 'good home'.  In the end, I thanked him, and complimented his pieces.  I was leaving and he stopped me and gave me another pair of earrings I was looking at.  I was beside myself with appreciation.  Not primarily for the jewelry.  Because he shared.  Anway, he suggested I wear the jewelry during the tour.  I wore a really cool turquoise and silver beaded necklace.

1000 Visits!


If you notice my little counter on the right nav bar, it counts 'unique visits'.  The idea is, if you have been to the site before, it doesn't recount you.  It figures this out, based on 'cookies'.  The thing is, it's not very precise.  I haven't read anything on the accuracy, but based on my experience, it's off by about a factor of 5 or even 10, meaning, actual number of unique visitors may be more like 200.  Anyways, it's all relative, and what's exciting to me is, the more I write, the more visitors, which makes me want to write more...and so on.  I really am motivated by connecting with all of you.  Thanks for reading!  ...So glad to have you as visitors.

A special thanks to those who comment!  I read all these enthusiastically, and I haven't been consistent about it, but I will try to comment back on all of them.

Add yourself as a follower too.  I love these!! The concept is cool.  To be honest, I am not sure what it gets you.  Somehow it seems like you would be notified if I repost, but I don't think that is a given.

Jib Jab
It's been kind of interesting to watch.  I get a few different web metrics, like the geographic location of all my visitors on a map.  It's pretty fun to know people from across the US are reading my blog.  Okay, fair enough, there are some concentrations where my siblings live...  SF bay area, Denver and Cortez CO, and then Ellicott City, MD.  So, those were some of my first, and then, in addition, I notice a bunch of hits around Denver, the bay area in general, the northeast coast, and then some good traffic around Portland and Seattle, my Pacific NW contingency.  And then, I also have visitors as far as Australia, and Germany too!!  Very cool!  I haven't looked to see what gets read the most, but if I had to guess, the mountain biking stories seem to draw a lot of visitors...

Extra Jib Jab
I am watching the SF Giants game as I type.  They are playing the red-hot St Louis Cardinals, and so far, are ahead 2 games to zero in the 3 game series.  Go Giants!!  It's the 4th inning, and we are behind 2-0, so we will see.


I am determined to get my blueberries planted today.  Yes, I should be out there now, but if I commit to my blog, hopefully, I will get it done.  I bought my first blueberry start about a month ago.  Maybe more.  I got it in a small tube, just a stick with a plastic bag of dirt around it.  I got it at Whole Foods of all places.  It was like $6.99 and I thought, wow, cool.  I am getting it, and then go to the Nursery to get some more.  So, a few weeks after that, I finally get to the Nursery, and they don't have any.  I go to another, and yes, they do.  $27.00 each (now they are in 2 gal pots).  Mine in the little tube has since sprouted a huge set of leaves.  I got 2 others from the nursery too.  Here's what comes into play with blueberries:

1)  they like acid soil
2) they need something like 600 hours of cold or up to a lot more per winter (somehow, that's not freezing, but the hours of cold make a difference)
3) they have varieties that apparently grow in Northern California
4) they need to be planted together, at least two plants, preferably 3 different ones.

So, I have 3.  They are a early, mid and late season plant.  Hopefully I can find the types.
One is a berkeley.  I forget the other two but will check into it.

I am planting Misty (from  Whole Foods)
Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County has some good information
Yes, I am planting 3 types for cross-pollination.
Some serious N Cal blueberry growers

Jib Jab
Okay, so I am thinking about this, and I do a search.  The Internet is such a cool thing.  I find a great posting by another blogger when I was looking to plant around here.   So, first, the information is great.  Some nice pictures and so on.  He, like me thought it would be cool to have blueberries here.  We picked some in Michigan, growing wild, one vacation..and they were so good, and fun.  So, anyways, I notice, dang, nice site altogether and start looking around, and notice he has over 1M visitors!!!   Okay, now I am a bit jealous.  He has all these comments on his posts, and he comments back.  It's a whole connectivity thing.  I am impressed, and admire the whole thing. 

So, I am, (after this post I hope!) over 1,000 unique visitors.  I know.  Unique has a different meaning on the Internet, but I've been growing my audience little by little.  So, I start reading around on this guy's site, who lives pretty close to me, in Sunnyvale, and he has all these topics I am interested in, like marketing, high tech, and it turns out, did you guess yet?  He is the founder of Linked-In.  Okay, fine.  Adam Nash on growing blueberries in the bay area.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Puye Cliff Dwellings And Roxanne Swentzell gallery

Wow.  What an amazing day.  I am trying to put myself back in the moment.  This was last Monday, in Santa Fe.  Dan works for Crow Canyon, and a fun part of his job involves working with Native American Indians, including Porter, who was our tour guide out at the Puye cliff dwellings.  (Pronounced Poo Yay - if memory serves me).

So, before I go too far, Porter's mother is Roxanne Swentzell.  On top of that, also on the tour was Linda Tafoya, Margaret Tafoya's grand daughter, a famous potter from the Santa Clara pueblo.  We had a start  time with Porter at Puye at 1pm, and I think we were about an hour's drive from Puye.  I digress, oh so quickly...  So, we met at the gift shop/base of the Puye Cliff Dwellings.  It's a rustic museum, with a few books and cards and so on, along with a museum describing some of the Santa Clara Indian lifestyle and traditions.

Jib Jab
First of all, Santa Clara was the name given to the tribe, during the spanish... times?  Shall I say.  I don't remember the Indian name.  I need to look it up.  Anyways, Linda was following our gang of 10, and another family of about 6, also on the tour.  She seemed to be following at a distance, with clipboard in hand.  Other than keeping stragglers from getting too far back, I guessed she was on the job training, and was taking notes as we followed Porter.  She was taking the tour with us, her 2nd or 1st time.  She was being all studious, with her clipboard, and sticking to the back of our group, at a distance.  So, even at that, it didn't take too long before I had to ask her a question or two.  It wasn't much longer and we were in full conversation.

Anyways, I felt like I had 3 conversations going at once.  Listening to Porter, my family, including my nieces, who were hanging from my arms, and then Linda as well.  All three were tremendously fascinating to me, and the only thing that I felt a tiny twinge about, was missing any of it.

Porter is telling us about how, a 100 years ago, a European 'archeologist' discovered the remains of the cliff dwellings.  As was relevant at the times, he dug up skeletons from the sites, throwing the remains he wasn't interested in, into a waste pile.  These remains were sacred Indian burial grounds.  Keeping the bones and remains intact is important.  And, well, they were desecrated every way possible.  Essentially, this guy, dug up bones, especially skulls to do what turned out to be experiments to study the brain capability of different human races.  For example, did Europeans have more brain power than Indians?  So, he measured hundreds of Indian skulls, filled them with sand, and low and behold, all the skulls from the same period, have the same size brains.  Wow.  Shocking news.  We are all humans.

Cliff Dwelling Jib Jab
So, along the way, I am talking to Linda, and it turns out, she is a famous potter, and even more so, is her grandmother, Margaret.  So, we are talking and she is telling me, she used to run around the ruins just 10 or 15 years ago, with Porter and other friends.  They played hide and seek.  Right here.  It was particularly exciting, hearing the present day stories, while Porter explained what he knew about the traditions, from his parents and family, as well as his college studies.   All of it was so, how do I say it?  Alive.  Relevant.  Exciting.  The Indian use of the land, and respect for it.  The Indian community, the politics.  The pueblos.  The land for food, hunting and growing crops.  Living in the cliffs, and the multi story dwellings on the mesa itself.  There seemed to be so much we could learn, and at the same time, it was tough knowing how European civilization impacted these people.  On the one hand, they could not recover from the European diseases, but at the same time, we treated them like animals, or worse.  Porter was amazing.  His descriptions created an image of his heritage, and another of the European impact.  He wasn't blaming.  Still, it hit like a sledge hammer.  Our heritage does not seem to have as much we can learn from.

I felt honored to be in Porter's tour.  Hearing him share was such a treat, and adding Linda's commentary was really special too.  She showed me a book in the museum, about her mother's pottery.  She was in it too.  Both carrying the tradition forward.  Using the customary techniques, including digging all the clay from the local area.  So, while I was learning about Linda's pottery, Porter's mother is also famous.  Roxanne Swentzell.  I have seen her stuff before.  To be honest, I was never really drawn to it, until, meeting Porter, I wanted to see more.  So, I think it was the next day, we hit the Georgia O'Keeffe museum, and then the Roxanne Swentzell gallery.  I loved both, so much!! Ironically, much for the same reasons!!

Roxanne and Georgia
We went into the Georgia museum just before noon.  Still, not too too crowded.  It's a wonderful place, and I will say, small in size.  Still.  It was perfect.  I got exactly what I wanted, which was a little background on O'Keeffe.  Her life, her style, her thoughts on her work.  I also wanted to see Roxanne's work too.  I wanted to see where Porter came from.  He was so impressive, I knew I would like her now.  Well, both were a success.  Georgia is a cool cat.  She communicated with paint.  With her art.  I like her quotes and comments around the gallery.  Like, I am so curious why people use words to describe.  I find color so much more communicative.  Another one that had me on my heels.  Singing is the most purest form of communication.  Since I can't sing, I paint.  It is her way of expressing herself.

Then there was Roxanne.  She sculps and makes pottery.  I think mostly she sculps now.  She is a grandmother, maybe 55 years old.  She looks like she is 35.  I am looking at her sculptures, and the descriptions she has about what they mean to her.  Two awesome women.  Geez.  I was weak in the knees at the power of these two, and their families and all they have done.  Every sculpture seemed to be Roxanne, coming from a place of extreme vulnerability, and rather than hiding it, like I might be inclined to do, she sculpted it.  She brought it out for public display.  Instantly, it drew me in, and I felt bonded with her.  Why is that?  Well, it was, a super strong communication, her to me.  Likewise, G O to me.  And my family.  It was a day of strong feelings.  Who we are.  What we are about.  What is important.  Anyways, it was an awesome day.

Porter, showing us the cliff dwellings on top of the mesa.  Some 1500 lived in this community.

Kallie and Uncle Tim

Petroglyphs.  See the Spanish/Catholic symbol there?  The cross.  It was a designation for the Indian children, who were kidnapped before they knew what tribe they were from.  On their return, they were called from Santa Clara.

Below is Linda Tafoya

Sheila and her darling daughter Kallie

The jewelry and other items.

Below is Roxanne Swentzell.  Depicting 3 generations, or mother and daughter.  I forget which.
Sorry, squeezing one of Moira, Sarira and Christian, going to the Prom.  Juniors.  Paul is coming.  He is having tie-tying troubles.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Santa Fe - A day in the City

Really fun day today.  We went into town, after much consternation.  The usual-  moving a city of folks, all in the same direction can be hard, and sometimes impossible.  It was a bit after noon, when a contingent finally got in the car and headed into the city.  We parked somewhere, not too far from the center of it all.  It's quite the tourist town, and there are some impressive artists and creative people here.  We hiked around, finally going by the big church, and then over by the museum, where native American Indians exhibit their jewelry and other art.

I am totally torn about the way current Americans treat the natives.  Even today, where we suggest we have some level of equity for Indians, and even help them.   Seeing these talented artisans, and displaying their impressive creations on the ground.  For me, selfishly, I love the display.  I love seeing the artist with the pieces they make.  I love talking to them, understanding what went into their creations.  Understanding them, even slightly makes all the difference in the world to me.  It's so impressive.   At the same time, what's up with this stage for their wares?  Anyways, it's difficult for me at times.  Then, I realize all the injustices in the world, and what?  I want to show these people how much I appreciate what they add to this world.

So,  after some shopping, we ended up at the Ore House.  A local point of reference, and tourist hot spot.  We got a table on the balcony overlooking the plaza center.  As it turns out, exactly in the corner where the musician, who played a flaminco guitar would be playing.  The Ore House does margaritas, so, well, yes we did, partake in what turned out to be our good fortune.  The giggle for the day.  Mom shared her appreciation for how fortunate she is, we are.  Coincidentally, she took another sip on her margarita, which I found unbearably humorous, and started uncontrollably laughing, and joking about good fortune.  The joke took on a life of it's own, and is now part of our vocab.  Can I get some more good fortune?

Jib Jab
I love my sister in law, Sarah.  My daughter's namesake, sort of.  I think we just knew.  Anyways, Sarah and I decided, while at the Oar House, you know what?  I think we would have so much fun cooking tonight, instead of going out to the fancy, where ever we were planning on going.  So, we started conspiring...  The ideas were flying... two that I was captivated with, mole and the other idea I had, which I probably saw somewhere else, but for the life of me, I don't remember when or where.  The idea was to make a chocolate hot sauce with chili powder.  Something with a little Southwest kick.

Jib Jab extreme
We ended up going out to the local co-op, which turns out to be 100% all organic.  Yes,  a whole grocery store.  Actually, it was pretty impressive, and we got maybe most or half of our shopping there, and finished at Whole Foods.  Both stops were nothing but fun, with my bud, Sarah.  Then,
on getting home, we both cook similar too.  We just start going, and improvising is all part of it.  It's not comprimise, its opportunity to make it better.  And we did.  Chicken mole.  Salmon tapas,
Aspargas grilled.  Califlower broiled.  Delicious margaritas.  So good.  Pictures coming.  The whole meal was a constant sampling of whatever was ready.  The finishing touch was making the chocolate sauce.  My bro in law, Louis signed up to do this sauce I had in mind.  He was awesome, and went with it, adding butter and what else?  I had him add sour cream, and plenty of cayenne.  I am telling you, it was so good.  So good.   So, I kept going, finishing off the tequila with a nice dessert drink of tequila over ice, triple sec, a little sip, lime, all over the rim, and finally, tangerine juice.  A splash.  Not too much, as Dan says.  Otherwise, it would ruin it.

Can't wait for tomorrow.  We are going to Puye Cliff Dwellings.  I hope the Georgia O'Keeffe museum too.

Siblings in Santa Fe

Okay, two of my siblings are here and two aren't.  Dan and Sheila and their families are here.  It was a total scramble to get here, and I wish I would have made more effort to get at least Kirsty here too.  I ended up flying SFO to LAX to ABQ, but it was smooth enough, and took about 4 hours, and we drove here to Santa Fe, which is about an hour drive.  This is the view out the back.  So Southwest.
Chris, Lauren, Kallie, and Emil in Albuquerque.

Jib Jab
This is Kallie and Lauren in the snuggle pile.  The 4 of them slept on air mattresses.  As you can see, they like texting, and sending photos.  After about ten words of explanation, Kallie was texting and sending photos to her nieces and nephews and aunts.  Her favorite cousin Lauren was also interested (as shown), and Kallie taught her, and in moments she was doing the same.  Non-stop, all night, then again, all morning.  We already had a hot tub last night.  The water was only 93 degrees, but no one seemed to care.  Virtually the minute we got up (6am my time) we were back in the hot tub.  At least it was 104 degrees.   It's so awesome to be with my nieces and nephews.  There's so much to catch up on.  We all shared our favorite breakfast, lunch, dinner, favorite birthday cake, favorite snack...

Below is the snuggle pile at around 645am.  The boys are already up watching cartoons.  They went to bed after me (duh!), and were up just like that.

Chaco Canyon

Louis and my sister Sheila's family came to the Southwest for a little recharge.
Best cousins.  Kallie and Lauren at Chaco Canyon.  The Weltons made their way from Albuquerque to Cortez and back to Santa Fe.  This was before I met them in Albuquerque.
Chris and Emil, best cousins.

Chaco Canyon, Dan's favorite wall.  There is no mortar.  The stones are small.  It's 1000 years old.  Amazing structure.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Happy Easter, or Pass Over, or happy weekend.

I know, it's the season.  Rainy season that is, in Northern California.  And it did just that, this weekend.  We had a lot of fun, and it didn't rain the entire time, but definitely our fair share.  There were lots of bikes in the picture, but none of us rode.  Chris went out in the kayak, and I think, as much as they down-played it, got the bajesus scared out of them.  The boat went over, and shot into shore, while they were left to fight the surf back in.  I was teasing when I asked Chris if he saw his life flash before him....and he said, yes.  It wasn't as funny as I was thinking it would be...

Today he dropped off a new paddle.  One got lost in the shuffle...eesh.

Well, we did get some sun for the Easter egg hunt.  Yes, the teens are getting a bit old for it, but still, they didn't hesitate...

A lot of the weekend was impromptu fun, as depicted in this picture.  Teens, dog, food, games, festivities. 
We did get some beach time too, though.  Can you see Ellie's ball?  Can you see Ellie?  Can you see why Ellie loves this beach?  It's not always this empty.  I think this was about 830am, on Easter... but it's not too busy a lot of the time.

Here's my weather shot.
And the beach would not be complete without the sunset, supersaturated colors shot.
And the artsy shot of the Madeira we had.  Kirsty's parents had some well aged Madeira, from 1971.  From Portugal, was it?  It was a gift from a dear friend, from about 11 years ago.  Even then, it had already aged over 20 years.  I dusted it off, and got the cork kinda fell apart.  None-the-less, the port was great.  Basically, I found it delicious.  See the chick on top?