NOVEMBER 2014

NOVEMBER 1st – After making Teal and El Luca each their own “special” oatmeal on this cold morning (Teal’s – McCann’s steel cut Irish Oatmeal topped with a small pad of butter, cream, maple syrup & homemade granola | Luca’s – Earth’s Best Baby Oatmeal), I was able to finally catch up and publish my post for October on here, yea!

Luca post oatmeal, loves hanging out with the doggies under my feet in the kitchen.

Luca post oatmeal, he loves hanging out with the doggies, all of them under my feet in the kitchen.  I refer to it as ‘obstacle course cooking’.

We spent the afternoon out at the ranch working on burn piles, relaxing, checking the cows and taking a walk.

Shortly into our walk, Badger took off as quick as his short legs would take him under the fence and into some brush in the neighboring pasture.  I was briefly stunned by this swift and un-stealthy burst; then, I spotted it.  An equally un-stealthy armadillo coming out the other side of the brush.   Badger does not move fast unless it involves food or armadillos.  He doesn’t budge for squirrels, cats or even look twice at bounding rabbits.  But, armadillos, he has a thing for.

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joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake

Teal did a logo for Davis Custom Hats and in trade had a hat made for each of us.  Teal ordered a standard black felt cowboy hat and I requested a open-road/gypsy style.  I love the hat he built for me but I have never worn a hat other than a ball cap and feel self-conscious sporting it…  In attempts to remedy my insecurity of wearing it in public and to break it in I have been wearing it around the house, on my walks and while working outside.

 

NOVEMBER 2nd – We drove down early to Decatur this morning and sorted Meme’s cattle for the sale barn.  We then drove down to Granbury to help our friend Brandon whom we met through his daughters (Lauren and MacKenna) with his cattle.  He and Lauren had them sorted and in a pen ready to go to the sale but when we arrived they had escaped.  Brandon’s arm is broken, he has a few panels, no horses and his property has a lot of brush that is not accessible via foot/vehicle.  Unable to get them back we opted for a brunch of Huevos Rancheros (Thank you Lauren!) and to leave the trailer until he had them penned again for the next weekend’s sale – fingers crossed.

 

NOVEMBER 4th – 2.5″ Rain!  Teal hired my brother and his friend Josh to come up and work for a couple days.  My brother called to inquire if they should still come up with the rain, I said “yes” and laughed on the inside as to how happy they were going to be that it had rained when they discovered the job Teal had planned for them…pulling out an enormous section of fence.

 

NOVEMBER 5th – 6th – Our old little tractor quit this morning here at the house, will have to wait and see what the repair man says.  Reid and Josh arrived mid-mornig and followed Teal out to the place.  They spent two days pulling out the huge section of old fence, t-posts, four sections of thick cable and broke down all of the old barbed-wire for the scrap yard.  I spent the two days building ads for clients and wrapping up a brochure for another client.

Josh (Teal just refers to him as 'The Hippie') and Reid

Josh (Teal just refers to him as ‘The Hippie’) and Reid

Teal worked along side them, cut down more cedar and lit a few of the many, many burn piles.
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Side Story/Note:  Before we moved to Montana I had lunch with an old friend (Meriwether – whom I grew up with ) and met her husband, Will Evans for the first time.  I think they had been in town visiting her family while she was finishing up an internship in Dallas at a law firm.  They were planning to move from North Carolina to Dallas permanently within the next year.  Anyways, I have known Meriwether for as long as I can remember and over the years she has always been someone that I regretted not being better friends with.  I had invited her to lunch in hopes of reconnecting.

At lunch I learned that Will worked translating Russian literature into English which I found interesting.  While in Montana I followed Meriwether’s social media posts about their move to Dallas, her work and when I became versed in Will’s long-term goal – Deep Vellum Publishing, their mission…

“Deep Vellum Publishing is a not-for-profit literary publisher that seeks to enhance the open exchange of ideas among cultures and to connect the world’s greatest untranslated contemporary writers of literature and creative nonfiction with English-language readers for the first time through original translations, while facilitating educational opportunities for students of translation in the Dallas community, and promoting a more vibrant literary community in north Texas and beyond.”

Out of respect and enthusiasm for this valiant endeavor I was thrilled at the opportunity to finally order a title from one of the first few publications –  ‘TEXAS – The Great Theft’.  With props from Roberto Bolaño and with both Teal & I having a thing for history I was thrilled when our copy of it arrived today.

 

Clay had been down the road in Bowie working on his chuck box and stopped by to drop off Teal’s new chuck box (Teal traded a painting for his).  Clay had been looking for a cleaver for some time now, so Teal got a neat old one for him…

Clay with his new cleaver Teal found for him, not scary at all.

Clay with his new cleaver, not scary at all.

 

 

NOVEMBER 7th – A very long but good day…. We drove the dogs down to stay the night with Buck (Tona is visiting all of her girlfriends in California for a few weeks), picked up artwork from the frame shop, then dropped off that same artwork at my parents, had a quick bite at J&J’s Oyster Bar, picked up Luca’s antique tin lamps I thought I had lost from the Cowgirl Museum,
joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, antique tin children's lamp

joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, antique tin children's lamp

made a mad-dash through Central Market (I have been a terrible cook lately and promised Teal that I would be adventurous this next week.  I have simply not been inspired – not even by you, Pinterest) and then on to Luca’s 9month check-up…

Teal waited outside for us, The Luca and I waited inside for his doctor for over an hour and a half, ugh.  This would not have been a big deal except that it meant having to hold a moving 20lb weight the entire time all the while keeping it happy.  The Luca’s report: (18.5lbs, 28.5″ tall/long) + healthy + his last set of shots!

4:15 We finally made it back to my parent’s house and were able to relax with them for a little bit.

5:45 All of us dressed and headed to Teal’s art show at the Doss Heritage and Culture Center just down the road.  My parents left at 8:45 with the babe in tow.  When the show was over it was nice to be able to stay the night at my parents instead of having a long drive home per usual.

 

NOVEMBER 8th – 5:30am My dad drove my mum to the airport for her Caribbean cruise trip.  Now that she is retired she has been traveling with her mom and aunt, both in their 80s.  I have always heard that if you want to “stay young” you should hang-out with young people, not sure if she is going in the right direction?

My dad made it back to the house around nine, cooked breakfast and spent time with El Luca.

We then headed back to Granbury, loaded the cattle sans hitch (thank goodness) and dropped them at the sale barn on our way home.

Then, the three of us went out and to the ranch, I walked with the babe and Teal hung out with his cattle, love, love this  fall weather.

Tonight I made Rick Bayless’s Classic Ceviche and a Crab/Shrimp Cocktail.  Both were great but I think ceviche is best as an appetizer, a little too much cold fish for a meal, especially a fall one.

We attempted to call Tona via FaceTime on her trip but no answer.  I hardly ever let Luca look at my iPad or watch the TV, thus his amazement seeing himself “in the computer”…
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NOVEMBER 9th – We went out to the place, sorted and loaded our calves for the sale…. back to Decatur….
Luca hanging out with his Papa in the studio/tack-room
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Since I had some crab left over from last night I made a very small portion of this Crab Spaghetti with Lemon Gremolatajoncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, crab spaghetti with Lemon Gremolata

Along with these Rib-Eye, Portobello and New Potato Kebabs which were awesome and very simple to make, plus Teal cooked the meat perfectly (outside in the dark I might add).  Next time I would use a little less rosemary and serve them with a simple salad.
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NOVEMBER 10th – The Menu for this evening was… this Chicken Schwarma with an Israeli Salad recipe along with toasted naan and hummus.  I think this will be a go-to next Summer.
joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, Israeli salad, Chicken Schwarma

 

 

NOVEMBER 11th – My filing that I had fixed last week fell out Saturday, ugh, luckily I was able to get an appointment for late this morning.

The Luca and I made the most of our trip and stopped by to visit my dad at his school.  He was thrilled to show him off to all the other teachers.  We have not come up with a grandfather name for him yet, I want Luca to choose but want to refer to him as something special in the meantime too.  My vote is for Pére/Pear, my father and I took French lessons together for years and in French grandfather is Grand-pére. I think Pére is simple, unique and sweet on its own.

My brother had to go and put out round bales for my dad’s cattle in Decatur and then met us at the dentist to babysit for me.  For once, they did not numb my face and I was good to go in under 20minutes, Reid said that Luca’s “stranger danger crying” only lasted the first 30 seconds.  Good to know.

Tona had not seen The Luca in over three weeks and I hate driving through Springtown back home so we swung by their place to visit for a bit.  Tona had a great time on her trip and brought us back some coffee, granola and Luca a monkey hat, I will have to take a photo of him wearing it which I am sure he will burn when he gets old enough.

Once we made it home we all went out to the ranch, I went for a walk with the babe and Teal hung out with his cattle, so funny.  Came across two new baby calves!

one of them that Teal found, let us pet her, adorable when they are little.

one of them that Teal found, let us pet her, adorable when they are little.

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The can we shot a while back when we tried out our new shot guns.

The creek on our walk.

A view of the creek.

On my ‘Things to Make This Week’ were these Grilled Lamb Pitas with Pistachio & Mint Pesto along with the leftover Israeli Salad.   They were very simple and one of the best things I have made in a good while.  I might be inspired to enjoy cooking again – Thank you!
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NOVEMBER 13th – Teal went a gazillion places today and, well, went shopping…  He went by the frame shop in Weatherford, the shipping place, and then to Ellis Equipment and bought a new Kubota tractor along with all the implements (auger, spike for hay, box-blade), then, on to Fort Worth where he met up with Clay to pick up a new-to-us flat-bed trailer we bought from one of Clay’s friends, and then, he took the interstate down to Santo and picked up 1,200 cedar staves, and then, he finally made it home.

Teal sent me this, the flat-bed and half of the cedar staves.

Teal sent me this, the flat-bed and half of the cedar staves.

 

NOVEMBER 14th – I was positive Luca’s lovely ear infection was returning, again on a Friday.  Concerned that it would become worse over the weekend and previously regretting taking him to the clinic up here and not his “real doctor” in Fort Worth I called in and was able to get him an appointment for 4:20.

The truck was still hooked up to the new trailer loaded with cedar staves so I followed Teal out in the ranch truck, he unhooked the truck for us  and we headed for Fort Worth for Luca’s doctor appointment and Teal stayed to work for the day at the ranch.

After another over and an hour wait to see the doctor I found out that his discomfort was not his ears but two little teeth in the front on the bottom, were days aways from making their official appearance!  I was very happy that it was not his ears again.

We left her office at 6:24 in perfect time for rush hour on I-35 north, yippee!

Teal had spent the entire day working and tying up his new fancy new cedar staves…

You can see them on the back fence of the pens.

You can see them on the back fence of the pens.

 

NOVEMBER 15th – So, Moby still has the depression.  For months now, he has spent his days laying on “his” ottoman, solemenly looking out the window daydreaming of slitting his wrists.  Teal and I finally caught on to his ploy.  He has been putting himself up for sale in the window (to any family that would take him without children).  Moby must have learned this “how much is that doggy in the window…” tactic back at his days in the pound.
joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, moby

This afternoon I made the last recipe on my list of ‘Things to Make,’ Black Bean Soup with Roasted Poblanos topped with crumbled feta, salted & roasted pepitas, a squeeze of lime and toasted sourdough for dinner.  It was simple, healthy, different and satisfying.
joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, black bean poblano soup

This evening it began snowing, yes, snowing!  There was not a 1/2″ of it on the ground and a snow plow drove by our window (shocked Saint Jo even owns a snow plow).  Its rumble made it difficult to be in denial about our circumstances outside.  Obviously, this was nothing in comparison to the snow tunnels we had endured in Montana but we also had no desire to ever see snow again.

I am not sure how to pin point the emotional toll that overcame us at the sight of the snow.  An inkling of shear panic perhaps.

 

NOVEMBER 16th – Checking on our cows, very chilly out.

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NOVEMBER 18th – The babe and I drove to Dallas to set up for my show, the Chi Omega Christmas Market at Fair Park where they hold the annual Texas State Fair.  My brother met us over there to help carry everything in and to set up. I did not have that much or anything that I could not carry myself but I needed two hands and could not exactly leave my child in the parking lot or in the booth unattended, etc.  Set up went quickly and we were done within an hour.  Reid headed home and The Luca and I had fun exploring Dallas for the rest of the day and then checked-in to our hotel/home for the next few days.

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Some of Tona’s 1930s Navajo pillows, Astrology pillows and a couple of my blankets.

It is hilarious to me to, observing people as they inquire about the symbols on Tona’s astrology pillows…

Tona will cordially begin to explain that they are simply “good-luck astrology symbols,”  and you can document their friendly expressions switch to fear.  Their bodies tense into fight or flight mode as they attempt to save their good souls as they are under the impression that astrology = witchcraft.

 

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joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, moby, dallas, chi omega, monty studio

joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, moby, dallas, chi omega, monty studio

 

Back in Saint Jo my brother and his friend Josh drove up to put in a couple days working for Teal.  Also, out fancy new tractor was delivered!

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While working Teal found a hog skull…

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NOVEMBER 20th – Received an e-mail from Clay this morning letting us know that their baby was born, Miss Bleecker Louise Bebee.
Tona and I spent the day at the show, my mom came by with The Luca and they strolled around for a bit.

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NOVEMBER 21st – The show has been a complete bust so far, Tona sold a few of her pillows (not the astrology ones, haha) but all of the women were more interested in buying pre-mixed chili packets and styrofoam cups – yes, they still make those.

I would have felt better about myself and been more productive as a human-being if I had spent my time at the show picketing for Mother Earth in front of the styrofoam cup booth.  Instead we took booth selfies….

My mum, me and The Luca

My mum, me and The Luca

Mummy Tona and I

Mummy Tona and I

By 10am this morning Tona was done with the show, by 6 we had discreetly moved out our entire booth and said adios, skipping out on the last day of the show.  As we were packing up my mom pulled over to park closer to us, the only spot that was open was reserved for Santa.  My mom asked the cop if she could park there and he said it would be fine, apparently Santa had to leave early because he was drunk.  Are all santas like Bad Santa?

Side Note: I was going to use the word hoosegowed instead of drunk but after a little research I learned that it does not mean what I thought it did.

British Dictionary definitions for hoosegow:
hoosegow
/ˈhuːsɡaʊ/
noun 

1.

(USa slang word for jail
Word Origin
from Mexican Spanish jusgado prison, from Spanish: court of justice, from juzgar to judge, fromLatin judicāre

By 6:30 we were all on our separate ways home.  There was a massive wreck on my route turning my ‘already a Friday night rush-hour drive home’ from a 1.5hour drive into a 3 hour drive, grrr.

 

NOVEMBER 22nd – Mmm, coffee in bed with my boys, so happy to be home.

Luca and his new best friend.

Luca and his “Tiger” (aka Geronimo) playing in Teal’s studio.

It was grey out and rained most of the day which made unpacking and doing laundry not so bad.  I made a Carrot Soufflé for the early Thanksgiving at my Meme’s on Sunday.  It may sound odd/complicated but it is simple to make, seems impressive and I needed to do something with the enormous bag of carrots I bought before leaving town for the holiday.

 

NOVEMBER 23rd – Early Thanksgiving at my Meme’s in Decatur, home, checked on our cattle and put out hay.

SIDE – NOTE: What we have been watching…. You’re the Worst and re-watching Californication

 

NOVEMBER 24th – I left The Luca with Teal this morning while I drove to Weatherford, dropped off our doggies at Buck and Tona’s, had my filling fixed yet again (no, I do not use meth) and picked up a painting from the frame shop we needed to deliver on our trip out to Santa Fe.

Made it home to discover that the boys had survived just fine without me.  Now planning my solo, one-way trip to Mexico…

There are a ton of leaves in my grandmother’s yard/our yard, specifically around the back door entrance and porch which is the entrance we use the most.  I have no idea how she handled them in previous years because they are overwhelming.  Teal decided the best option would be to burn them in our little outdoor pit.

Teal lighting the slightly damp leaves.

Teal lighting the slightly damp leaves.

The Luca, "Yeah, fire"

The Luca, “Yeah, fire!”

This is prior to the smoke becoming overwhelming.

Just as Luca and I went inside and we could hear sirens in the distance.  As I looked outside the town POPO flew into our yard.  I was not surprised by his appearance, I mean, there was A LOT of smoke.  Seconds behind his arrival a fire truck pulled in, proceeded by a mini fire truck, six firemen and the fire chief unloaded.

joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, moby, fire, popo

joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, moby, fire, popo

Me peering out from the kitchen window in fear of how much they were going to write us a ticket for.

The cop had already lost it on Teal stating that what he was doing was illegal and had him put the fire out with the water-hose.

Two minutes later, the Fire-Chief (in front of the cop) after evaluating the situation stated that Teal was not doing anything wrong and that we could burn leaves in the fire-pit all day long.
joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, moby, fire, popo

After all the commotion packed up and went home Teal drove out to check the cattle and to put out hay before we left town for Thanksgiving.  He returned quickly, grabbed us, cut off a 5′ section of an old water hose and instructed us that we were going to assist doctoring one of our calves with bloat.

Bloat is fairly common but this was our first experience treating it.  There are typicaly two ways to treat bloat, 1. you/a vet puncture the stomach with a trocar to release the gas, 2. you insert a rubber hose through their mouth until it reaches their stomach allowing for the gas to be released.  We went with option 2 because it was after 5 and if Teal used a trocar the calf would also need to see a vet in order to be sewn up.  Bloat must be treated ASAP because it can result in death within a few hours depending on its severity.

On our drive out Teal laid out the plan for what would need to be done and in what order.  Once we got out to the ranch, we were able to get him to come into the big trap, sorted off into the alley and then Teal was able to tie up his back legs.  Luca sat in his carseat next to me on the trailer while I held the rope holding the calf’s feet tied up so that Teal could cordially shove the length of the garden hose down to the calf’s stomach until we heard the gas release, thank goodness.

we returned home and finished packing for our trip….

SIDE NOTE: Months ago Teal and Matt had discussed flying to Wyoming to fish the North Platte River out of Alcova, tentatively over Matt’s Thanksgiving break from the TCU Ranch Management Program.  Matt never got it together.  Teal began talking to Andrew about them and Matt going to fish in Santa Fe instead so they would not have to worry about buying plane tickets, etc.

At some point, Tona overheard Teal say “Thanksgiving” and  “Santa Fe” and chimed in, “Thanksgiving in Santa Fe?, how fun, I’ll make us all a reservation.”  Now, we could not go to Santa Fe for Thanksgiving without also inviting my parents…  What was once a fly-fishing trip that just happened to fall over the Thanksgiving Holiday for Teal and a couple friends had turned into everyone (including Matt and his parents) going to Santa Fe for Thanksgiving.  We were all happy about the trip simply funny how swiftly plans changed.

 

NOVEMBER 25th – 8:24 Packed and on the road to Santa Fe, yea!  For around four hours of our drive we listened to the Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang audiobook which was amazing.

We were the first of the crew to check in at the Hotel St. Francis, it sits a block off of the historic Plaza.
joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, santa fe, hotel st. francis

joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, santa fe, hotel st. francis

The porch out front.

I have always loved their lobby but this was our first time to stay, we had dinner out on their patio several years ago.

joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, santa fe, hotel st. francis

The lobby.

The rooms were quaint, had a calming vibe and suited us perfectly.
joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, santa fe

joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, santa fe, hotel st. francisMy parents arrived shortly after us, after unwinding in our rooms for a bit we all concluded that after spending the day on the road going downstairs for dinner at Tabla De Los Santos sounded genius.   There was a brief wait for a table so we all paused in the Secreto Lounge just off of the lobby area.  My parents and Teal each ordered one of their Smoked Sage Margaritas (Republic Anejo Tequila+ with Brazilian Orange Liqueur, lime juice, and sage smoked into the glass with a hickory smoked salt rim).

7:30 we were seated for dinner.

We started with their award-winning Poutine (French fried potatoes with white truffle oil, grana parmesan and green chile infused sea salt, green chile braised short ribs, mozzarella curd, rich bone marrow gravy), more than a bite forced one to consider their heart’s current health.

For dinner…
Dad: Herb Crusted Lamb Chops (Naturally New Mexico, Northern New Mexico) – 
Garlic mashed potatoes, strudel with spinach, mushroom, feta & oven dried tomato,
minted lamb demi glace, chive essence

Mum: Butter Lettuce Salad – Point reyes bleu cheese, blueberries, candied walnuts, royal gala apples, champagne vinaigrette

Teal: Pork Chop (Prairie Farms) – Pan fried wild mushroom spaetzle, warm beets and braised kale, roasted blackberry & green chile demi glace

Myself: Parmesan Crusted Trout – Garlic mashed potatoes, peas, bacon & sage, lemon+ cracked pepper+ cream

The food was stellar, we were stuffed and ready for sleepy time.  9:00? Buck & Tona finally arrived and pulled up chairs to sit with us.  Buck had decided to take the longest way possible in order to reach Santa Fe and Tona just short of killing him.  Instead, she ordered a very tall, double, double vodka something and we offered both of them the food we had left.

 

NOVEMBER 26th – Like good children Teal, myself and the babe went on a very chilly walkabout in search of coffee for everyone.  Our favorite spot (Ecco Espresso) was closed for the holiday, luckily we came across The French Pastry Shop which we had always been curious about.

Once we returned to the hotel, and delivered everyone their coffee we touched base with my cousin and his wife (Robert & Deanya whom we visited back in August) and made arrangements to deliver the painting they had commissioned Teal to paint a scene from their ranch in west Texas.  It was wonderful to see them again and they loved the painting…
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We met back up with everyone including Matt, his parents and one of his friends from TCU.  The boys headed to the hotel bar while the rest of us enjoyed the fresh air and autumn weather around the plaza.  Once we all had made it back to the hotel my mum, Tona and I decided to go and see the matinee of BIRDMAN a few blocks away.

I had booked all ten of us a table at Osteria d’Assisi for our Thanksgiving celebration.  Since there are numerous first-rate places to dine in Santa Fe many of them were offering a special menu/event for the occasion.  It was difficult for me to plan because either the restaurants were super high-end ($90 per person) or offered a buffet.  A buffet sounded awkward to me and images of Luby’s kept popping up in my head.  Osteria had exceptional reviews, a nice three-course menu planned, an appropriate price and was within walking distance of our hotel, perfect.

The downstairs was a cozy European-style bistro, but we were seated upstairs (due to our group’s size) where it was a bit cold in ambiance and temp.  The meal was ok, not amazing but not bad either.  Happy Thanksgiving!

joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, santa fe, hotel st. francis, thanksgiving

joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, santa fe, hotel st. francis, thanksgiving

Teal undressing Luca after dinner.

Teal undressing The Luca after dinner.

NOVEMBER 27th – Teal’s alarm went off at 5:30am to meet up with his fishing crew for the day.  They planned to fish the Rio Chama below the El Vado reservoir.

The Luca and I could not go back to sleep after Teal left, we hung out in the room until almost nine and then headed out for a very cold morning hike.  We were the only two souls going up Canyon Road, we went almost 4 four miles up the Upper Canyon Road.  I had planned on us making it to the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary but as we got closer the road became very narrow and curvy.  I decided that it was probably not safe for us to keep walking up the wee winding road knowing that on coming traffic could not see us so we turned back.

Luckily The Teahouse was now open and we sat outside in the courtyard although it was still chilly.  I had their Teahouse Chai (Premium black tea & Masala spice blend) with almond milk and honey, wish I could wake up to that every morning.  After sitting for a bit and enjoying the morning we stopped in a few of the galleries and shops as we made our way back down.

We met up with my parents near the Plaza, I touched base with Tona and they had decided to drive out to Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu.

After walking around with my parents for a while and walking all morning The Luca and I decided to relax in our room for a bit before our historical tour!

I had always wanted to take one of the tours and decided this was my chance.  A guide was said to come by our hotel’s lobby everyday at 9:45am and again at 1:45pm for a two hour tour of the downtown area.

At 1:45 our tour guide Phill entered the hotel lobby, introduced himself and the three of us each paid him the $14 fee (The Luca was free).  The two other people in our group were a couple close to my age from New York.  The guy was originally from Albuquerque and had brought his girlfriend to visit his family in Albuquerque as well as Santa Fe.  He worked in finance and she in the fashion industry, she had moved to the states from France a mere nine months ago.

I enjoyed the tour and was educated on all kinds of significant trivia.  A couple of things that I personally found of interest were…

1. The Hotel St. Francis where we were staying is the second oldest hotel in Santa Fe (second to the La Fonda) –  well, technically the third, the oldest was the De Vargas Hotel but it burnt to the ground in 1922.  The rooms are now smaller because when it was built the rooms did not have individual bathrooms.  When the rooms were renovated to include private baths they obviously lost square footage.  Ours did not, but many of the rooms have a step up to either the tub/sink concealing the added plumbing.  We also learned that there were/are tunnels running underground allowing ladies of the night to make their way to hotels as well as numerous other discret activities.  However, during this same time period if you were a young couple checking into a hotel you would have to present your marriage license or be assigned to separate rooms.

2. The tour and tale of the staircase at the Loretto Chapel.

The mysterious staircase prior to the addition of a hand rail.

The original staircase.

joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, santa fe, walking tour, loretto chapel

Later on the nuns had the railing added.

We returned from our tour around the babe and I relaxed for a bit and then went with Mummy Tona and my parents to the plaza around 5:45 for the celebratory lighting festival.

With a few minutes to spare and to get out of the cold we wandered through Ortega’s where Tona pulled a bubbie move… They had a silver ‘Hot Apple Cider’ dispenser, Tona said “oh, hot cider!”, and excitedly filled her little paper cup.  Upon her first sip she abruptly ran over to the poor sales girl, informing her that the ‘hot cider’ was very ‘very hot’ and wanted to make sure that girl was telling people that the ‘hot cider was in fact hot.’  I put my head down and walked away laughing.

A variety of hoopla had been going on at the plaza since 1:00, different choirs singing, Girl Scouts selling their cookies and Santa, etc but the official lights did not come on until 6:00.  It was fun and I am glad we ventured out into the cold but not quite as enchanting as I had expected it to be?

I think he looked at everything but the lights.

I think he looked at everything but the lights.

joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, santa fe, hotel st. francis, lights

Teal and I had made a dinner reservation at the Coyote Cafe for 8:30, this was to be our first official “date” outing since The Luca arrived (over ten months ago).  Trying to kill some time The Luca and I took a bathe and then invited Tona to come over and visit for a bit.

I was thrilled to dress up and to go out to a “fancy” dinner and all with my love but at the same time hesitant.  On three previous occasions in Santa Fe and who knows how many times in Montana he has stood me up.

He returned early for the very first time.  Although I know this was due more to the fact that it is winter and dark by 5:30 forcing him to stop fishing than it was leaving the river to meet me.

From the boys fishing trip…

Dustin (Matt's friend from TCU), Brandon, Robert and Matt.

Dustin (Matt’s friend from TCU), Brandon, Robert and Matt.

joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, santa fe, fly fishing, el vado

joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, santa fe, fly fishing, el vado

 Coyote Cafe was a around the corner and a block down.  Dinner and service was superb.  The ambiance entailed techno and stark lighting which does not exactly go with a first-class meal to me, maybe not being able to have a conversation while you dine is the cool thing to do these days.  Nonetheless, I would have been thrilled to have the meal we had sitting in a dumpster.
Starters: They updated the menu since we went, I cannot even begin to describe.
Teal’s Main: Tellicherry Pepper Elk Tenderloin ~ Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Brandied Mushroom Sauce
My Main: Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass ~ Roasted French Potatoes, Chicory Salad & Citrus Caper Vinaigrette

 

NOVEMBER 28th – We met my parents downstairs for a small breakfast while Buck and Tona dined across the street at Pasqual’s before we all headed over to the winter farmer’s market.  The farmer’s market was fun and we bought a few dried chili powders and honey (yes, I have a problem).  Afterwards we all walked across from the market to an western antique show called Museo that was going on.  We bought an old serape to use on furniture later on, a mini Navajo perfect for the saddle blanket on Luca’s rocking horse and a small table.

I was in love with this table and was surprised that Teal liked it was much as I did…

joncee, joncee blake, joncee moulder, joncee moulder blake, teal blake, saint jo, texas, luca blake, santa fe, guatemala

We learned that it was a 19th century Nahuala (animal sprit) Cipres wooden table from Nahuala, Guatemala and the front legs are referred to as lion’s legs.  We paid $300 for it which seemed fair but still expensive for us.  After our purchase I did some research and could not find one for less than $2,000.

 

A few years ago Teal and I went to Guatemala (Guatemala City, Lake Atitlan and Antigua) to visit my girlfriends (Irene, Jimena & Lucy) whom I went to college with…

My friend Irene when she visited the US

Irene and I when she visited the U.S. @ Fred’s Texas Cafe

Teal and Irene at the market in Guatemala City

Teal and Irene at the incredible city market in Guatemala City

on of the hundreds of "chicken" buses

one of the hundreds of “chicken” buses

From one of the little villages around the lake

From one of the little villages around the lake

It was now 2:00 and we went with Buck, Tona and long time family friend Mary-Ann to Shake Foundation for lunch.  Had missed my fried oyster burger, so freaking good!  Buck, Tona and Mary-Ann all enjoyed their first experience too.

Afterwards we met back up with my parents and all walked around a few other shops that we like, The Raven Fine Consignments and House of Ancestors.  We finally went by and visited with Nathalie and Jim at her shop Nathalie, it was wonderful to visit with them and catch up.

It was a wonderful day but kind of a rush trying to get in all of our last minute favorite things.

 

NOVEMBER 29th – At 8:30 we were checked out, good-bye Hotel St. Francis.  We all decided to have a final parting breakfast together at the Tune-Up Cafe.  We made it to Buck and Tona’s by 7:00, pick up our doggies and by 9:00 we were un-packed and home.

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