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Uncle Markie out and about.

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Dec '15

Trip Report: Annual Pre-Christmas Trip To Santa Fe

It seems over the last couple of years that I’ve always ended up in Santa Fe early to mid-December. It’s the combination of cheaper tween holiday’s airfare and my work schedule on said holidays. This year was no different, except that I’m down to two people to visit in Santa Fe – my sis and bro-in-law. Mom died last July, and the last niece is out of the house – back east for her first year of college.

Had a good meal the night before with friends, including Roxy who has gone from vegan before I knew him, to vegetarian, to pescatarian, and now to “freegan” which means he’s feeling a money pinch and will eat whatever (including pork ribs) is put in front of him.

And they were good considering it was the convection oven, not the smoker that produced these.

It being the holidays (anytime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’ve broken out the pussprint Santa hat for my travels. It’s hard for fellow travelers to be grumpy with a dumpy Santa in pussprint (and a Red Baron in the Board Room).

And you get better service onboard as well:

That would be a Cobb Salad with blue cheese, a cookie, and a cocktail. And while I prefer the aisle, a freebie upgrade a First Class bulkhead window is fine considering the view:

The original plan was to take the Rail Runner north, but the lateness of my flight meant getting a rental car was easier, and it allowed me to do some shopping on the way north.

Tiny, but it worked. Here is the stuff I’m planning on taking back with me:

That would be Mom in the middle, well, the ashes of Mom – she’ll be joining Dad in the Rattan Elephant they bought in India in 1976,

Good to see sis and bro-in-law, though the house is so oddly quiet without any teenagers around! We ate in the first night, but the second night we went to Harry’s Roadhouse and had a meal that started with an appetizer of Latkes – which in the Seattle tradition should always be accompanied by tequila because of a tradition dating back to the Great Snowstorm of 1999 in Seattle. At 3pm, everyone in the Seattle Metro Area looked out the window and said, “Oh, shit!”, and all got into their cars to head home at exactly the same time. Result? Instant snowy gridlock. It took me an hour to get around the block and back into the parking lot at Microsoft where I promptly requisitioned a magnum of bubbles from the storeroom and popped the cork. A concerned co-worked expressed worry that I was going to drink all that and then drive. My answer, “I’m planning on sharing this with everyone else who is going to be stuck here sleeping under their desks for the night.” In the end, one of the woman in our department who lived snowshoeing distance took in a dozen of us for the evening. It being the last night of Chanukah, what she had in the house was a bag of potatoes, Costco-sized apple sauce and sour cream and a ½ gallon of Tequila. Hence, a tradition was born, but I’ve forgotten the lyrics to the Chanukah songs she taught us in Hebrew. Here is this year’s celebration:

No Commenortivo Tequila, think it was Hornitos.

It was a quick visit – Thursday morning I got an email from the tasting room at the Gruet Winery in Albuquerque responding to my late Sunday request for a behind-the-scenes tour of their winery since we had just featured their Blanc de Blanc Method Champenoise the previous Saturday. Since I hadn’t heard back I was still in my robe! Up and out the door to the winery I go.

Since the bottling line was running and the Production Manager busy, they started be having me taste ALL their wines, both still and sparkling:

And that only HALF of them – the full list (with my notes) below:

There is a much more in-depth report on my trip to Gruet on the Madrona Wine Merchants site.

Time to return the rental car and get the hell out of Dodge (I mean Albuquerque)., but I have to share this sculpture that is outside the fire department the exit before the airport – it’s too damn cute:

Got through security and up to the observation lounge to do the blog for the shop, post some entries on other sites, catch up with mail. The nice thing about the Albuquerque Sun Port (the name of their international airport) is that it’s also a working military base, so you get to see lots of interesting planes and helicopters:

Sorry the contrast is so bad – nothing like shooting into the sun. Four-prop bulbous nose military plane of some sort.

Got the last night upgrade to first on the way back – even a last minute bulkhead aisle – and some of the flight crew even remembered my Santa Hat! And even better than that, Mr.Whippet gave me a ride home from the airport, and in exchange I took him out for dessert (dinner for me):

At the end of the day, my parents were reunited in the rattan elephant in my living room…

Dad’s is the dark set of ashes, Mom the lighter set.

Guess I need to build a pedestal for them now.


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