Sunday, September 30, 2007


The grand finale to In-Law-A-Thon is our visit to Wife's oldest brother G1 and wife B. They live in lovely new house they bought recently after an efficient 17 year search in the country of Medina County Ohio (south Medina County). The purpose of this trip was to do a dry run of a whole pig roast which we are intending to duplicate for the In-Law family reunion next summer. So here in pictorial fashion is our event.

Production of the Tool

Master engineer and mechanic G1 in his shop working on Friday to get the Pig-Mauler 1700 ready for operation on Saturday

Another View of the Pig Mauler 1700

G1 and Miss Piggy

After going to the meat market and picking up our 94 pound date for Saturday morning we were left with the problem of keeping in cool over night. G1 the ever resourceful suggested a nice relaxing ice bath for Miss Piggy

Miss Piggy Resting Comfortably for the Evening

Proper Operation of a Pig Mauler 1700

If your Pig Mauler 1700 is roasting correctly it should cook your pig at a low temperature for long period as seen below

Incorrect Operation of the Pig Mauler 1700

There is a great temptation to let the heat get to high when roasting your pig which can cause the fat in the pig to incinerate as below.

Pig Preparation

Miss Piggy being prepared for the spit

Being mounted in the "pig firm" (tm), an exclusive feature of the Pig Mauler 1700

Hmmmmm, 94 pounds of roasting piggy goodness

de-Intimdator was pleased to have a guest appearance from that maven of higher scientific style, Styling with Renee Michelle. Does that put us on the social map or what!

Removing the Roasted Pig is a Snap with the Pig Mauler 1700

G1 and son Shaun the Geek (click, click, click...I don't know why you can't connect to the Internet Dad) show how easy it is to get Miss Piggy out without losing a morsel

Takes One to Know One

Here Mr. D a razorback from Arkansas and friend of Styling shows no mercy to one of his brethren. Please note Styling homme de apartment, Charles the First of somewhere west and north of Bath before he dives (literally into the porcine carcass)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

In-Law-a-thon Interlude - Eat-a-thon

We've been in Chicago for three days. I've been working. Friends Steve and Lady Di from CA are here - he for business with me. Wife and Di had day running around town. If it's Chicago it must mean the over consumption of food and drink.

We started on Monday night at Custom House where Steve and Di met up with us, MR and J the Armenian. It was the second time we've been there and it was very good again. Steve and I selected two Pinot Noirs, a French Pommard from Burgundy and one from Oregon. The difference in styles was so notable. The nod when to the Pommard.

On Tuesday, after Steve and my meeting, we went to the PG wine tasting networking event where Wife and Di met up with us. These events are going really well. It's too bad the owners of venue where we have them are so lacking in customer service. Unfortunately there venue is almost one of a kind and perfect for what we do. Afterwards, Lakeview, Ricardo, young friend T, and the Wife-Di-Steve group all went to dinner in Greektown at Pegasus. A much more laid back meal but Lakeview and Ricardo both thought it was better than the average in Greektown which they labeled as pedestrian. Steve had bought two more Pinot Noirs to bring with us for dinner again one French, a Nuits-Saint-Georges, and one from near where he lives in Salinas, CA. Once again a notable difference in style with the drier French one being the preferred.

Finally on Wed I was introducing Wife to Ricardo's wife J. We (Wife, I, and Lakeview) had cocktails at the Ricardo mansion then retired to Cafe Matou, a totally French place in Wickham Park. Food was fabulous, very French. The wine sommelier/GM was very pretentious to begin with but softened to my relaxing pitch and we ended up with two great wines from Languedoc. The whole thing was $291 with three appetizers, 5 main courses, two desserts, two coffees and two bottles of wine. Not bad. Put this up with Lula Cafe on the price value chart. I thought the food was every bit as good as Custom House, maybe better.

Finally a couple of short notes. Congrads to J the Armenian for passing his RE exam. And to Lakeview - no problems with the early exit, we totally support you.

On to Cleveland today for the resumption of the In-law-a-thon.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Pictures From In-Law-A-Thon, Part 1

Band Playing on the Danger Stage

Wife and Sister at Restaurant

View of Foliage from top of Hill

Wife - Super Photographer

The Waterfall - Note on left how the rock has dropped as a result of the fault

Nieces in Crime
(There are so many GP2 nieces we use Borg designations)

3 of 4

2 of 4

4 of 4

1 of 4

Hayward Niece

Monday, September 24, 2007

More From Hayward – de-I, Sherpa

After the exertions of Saturday everyone slept in Sunday morning. Even I didn’t get up until 8:45 which is about as late as I’ve slept in as long as I can remember. T the Oil-guy made a fine breakfast of pancakes, Canadian bacon and eggs. We decided to go for hike. Wife’s sister had researched an area about 45 minutes from us where there was a nice rise and a great view. I call it a rise because with the full arrogance of a westerner who hikes in “real” mountains, going on a hike taking us up 500 feet to 1,500 feet in altitude isn’t really going up a mountain. That having been said, it was a very nice trail with lots of shade and surface that for the most part was much more forgiving than the loose rock and hard pack I’m familiar with. While we only went 3.5 miles round trip, I made up for it by packing up and down most of Wife’s camera equipment including her tripod and her incredibly heavy telephoto lens.

This far north the leaves are already in full color change. When we got to the top there was an incredible tableau of color for miles in front of us. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it in my memory of recent times. Wife had a great time taking her shots and used every lens so I felt my efforts were rewarded. On the way down there was a side trail to a waterfall, a very interesting structure that looked like it was formed by a slab of rock that had fractured and dropped leaving a narrow passage for water to flow down. The children of Sister-in-law the elder and T who love being out-of-doors were climbing all over and exploring the stream.

We didn’t get home until 6 PM. Sister-in-law had wonderful beef and barley soup ready for us (memories of my Mom) so we were able to eat quickly which was just as well since we were all ready to crash. T and I suffered through the Bears loss to Dallas.

Special note to Lakeview Coffee – you are in for a loooonnnngggg season. You might want to think about some sort of support group with son-in-law Tim de Buffalo.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Helluva Good Day in Hayward!

Say what you will about the hassles of travel, there are certain things that only are experienced if travels. One of these is the unexpected experience. We had a great day to day in the northlands of Wisconsin. My brother-in-law T the Oil-guy agreed to take me out for a day of kayaking. We went down the Namakagon River. The Namakagon is part of the larger St.Croix National Waterway system and is therefore, protected from development. So there is no development allowed along the waterway an while not totally wilderness it has that wilderness feel.

What a blast. I had never done this before. Going in I had some minor (maybe major) trepidations about my ability to navigate a kayak (read stay upright and dry). In fact it wasn’t that bad and was truly enjoyable. The only thing that was really challenging to me was getting in and out. That required a sense of balance that seemed to escape me so I was very glad to have T’s assistance. The waterway itself was a combination of mild rapids (Class One – Training Wheels Rapids) and long stretches of slow tranquil calm water. So you had areas where you had to concentrate and had the rush of fast water followed by periods where you could just flow with the current and take in the beauty.
The weather was perfect. We saw a blue heron, king fishers, merganser ducks, and teal ducks. With the exception of my getting stuck under a fallen tree limb during one white water section, I managed it without a hitch.

For dinner we went to a place that was suppose to be a tapas place. It wasn’t in the Spanish sense but it had some nice wines at reasonable prices and live entertainment. We tried two Australian wines (a Shiraz and a blend) that were very reasonably priced. The second was recommend by our waitress. I was very inexpensive ($24) and also quite good. Unfortunately I don’t remember the name (it was the second bottle you know).

The physical set up was like an old European place with a small narrow building. The upstairs was a narrow area with only room for four tightly packed four tops with the outside seats of the table banquets. Across from stairway leading up to the upstairs dining a stage called L’Etape de Danger (the stage of danger in French) that was no more that six feet in width. There was a three-piece band (actually four pieces because there was a drummer on the stairway with some bongo/congo type drums. How they managed to play (70-80’s rock for the most part) with as much vigor without falling of this stage was a mystery to me. When the band members wanted to refill their wine glasses, they put the into a bucket, lowered it to the bar below, and hauled it up. We had a wonderful evening of listening to music and enjoying wine.

In-Law-a-thon – Two

I have a lot to do in the morning before we join the GP2 clan – meditate, exercise, make reservations for a complicated October trip – so we don’t get there until 9:30. The GP2 have four lovely daughters (we will use Borg designations 1 of 4, 2 of 4, etc.) and they have always made a major commitment to their education. GP2 wife has at various times taken the children out of public school and home schooled them in frustration over the educational system. It was wonderful to see these girls who are so into reading and mechanical things. They had a set of Lego stuff that any junior engineer would die for – and they spent hours putting things together. Unfortunately our schedule this trip is very tight and we only had the day together. Then it was on to northwestern Wisconsin to see Wife’s next oldest sister. On the way, we are running a bit late (an unfortunate incident with some fried chicken at a locally noted bakery restaurant) and it is getting dark as we are headed north towards the north lands of Wisconsin. Calling sister-in-law we are informed that we need to watch out for the deer! Evidently this area is known for multitudes of accidents involving deer and cars. So the next hour and a half is a drive of terror. But in spite of one deer crossing and one deer sighting, we get to sister (in-law) two without problems.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

In-Law-a-thon – One…Maybe Blog Name Should Be de-Travel Catastrophe?

On Thu Mrs. De-I and I headed out to start the In-law-a-thon (three siblings, four states, in 10 days). Our first stop is her youngest sister who lives in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park. I have been on a roll lately with my last two trips being wonderfully benign from a travel perspective. I thought that karma was going to give me a nice respite from all the problems of this summer. I should have known that it was an anomaly.

Our first flight from Albuquerque to Denver was without problem and quite empty. Our flight in Denver was ready and waiting and pushed back on time. We were on the runway when the pilot says that bad weather was going through Minneapolis and that we were on a 40 minute ground hold. 10 minutes later he says that the hold is up to an hour and half and he’s going back to the gate so people don’t have to just sit on the plane. The entire wait ends up being 3 hours. We get into Minneapolis at 4:30 rather than 1:30, just in time for the evening rush hour.

People complain about O’Hare in Chicago but I find Minneapolis to be a very annoying airport to go in and out of. The baggage carrousels are very tiny and when there are three flights disgorging at one carrousel at the seam time, it is chaotic. Getting our rental car we drive out into the traffic. We hear these strange sounds that we found out later are tornado-warning sirens. Then the rain hits. It’s a downpour. One of those rains where you can barley see ahead of you while your creeping down the road at 25 mph. We only had to go through one underpass where we thought the car might stall. It took about twice as long to get to GP2 house. We went out to a local Italian restaurant that Wife had researched that turned out to be very nice. The caprese salad had good tomatoes and nice fresh mozzarella with just a light wash of dressing. I had a main course of Salmon cooked with artichokes and olives in a light wine and tomato sauce with spaghetti. It was different from anything I’d had before in that the fish was cooked with the spaghetti and sauce en papaillote, or encased in a paper (or in this case aluminum foil) tent. When it was served they cut the tent and slid out the dish onto the plate. Wife and I shared a bottle of a nice Valpolacella as the GP2’s don’t imbibe.

We got to our hotel pretty late and crashed.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Week Seven of Eight

We're coming down the home stretch of two weeks of intense travel. I'm in LA today through Wed, get home Wed night and leave on Thu to go on a 10 day personal/business trip to Minneapolis, Hayward WI, Chicago and Ohio. What three of these have in common is siblings of Wife.

I got to see the Pulisha clan on Sunday. Tim de Buffalo was totally depressed as the Buffalo Bills evidently are on track to be the worse team in the NFL. It's sad to see a zealot when he realizes that his master is in fact a charlatan.

Leftovers from the weekend

I had a hawk land not five feet from me while hiking; totally cool.

We've decided that the war against the squirrels is a lot like World War I with much going over the top and loss of life but not any real victory. The latest squirrel residents seemed to have succumbed to another dose of chemical warfare and I got harvest a bunch of my tomatoes as a result.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Chicago Eats

A trip to Chicago would not be complete without the usual round of gastronomic activity. On Wednesday I had dinner with MR and J the Armenian at Timo. MR had selected this because of it supposedly has a great outdoor patio. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate. Our review was mixed. We loved the idea of the whole cured hams that were in the dining room but the amount given was small. We liked the gratis scallop pre-appetizer. But MR was not so happy with her tilapia and I thought the sauce on my pork too sweet which overpowered a nice piece of meat. J loved his steak and I agreed. I was particularly upset by the mark-ups on the wine. They were selling bottles that I have bought retail for $10-15 for $40-50 which is a bit outrageous.

On Thursday Ricardo and I ate at Lula Café in Logan Square. The weather cooperated and we ate outside which was lovely. We had a great meal. Ricardo started with a nice cheese selection and I had heirloom tomato salad. We both had the hanger steak at the recommendation of our server and it did not disappoint. The alcohol was treat. There was a wide selection of interesting wines with many in the $20’s and low $30’s. You had to really search for something over $50. To top it off they had a 15-year-old calvados at only $10 for a nice pour.

Finally a note on Greek pastries, a lawyer contact of ours near Greek Town set a meeting at a coffee shop bakery on Halstead (I’ll get the name). I had a fine cappuccino and version of donuts. The fresh fried dough was served on a plate that had a slightly sweet syrup on the bottom with chopped nuts and cinnamon. The key was that the fried dough was fresh and the syrup not poured over the dough so they didn’t get soggy. Yum.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Ride to Elmhurst

(With apologies to Alfred Lord Tennyson)

Half a car length, half a car length,
Half a car length onward,
All in the morass of Traffic
Rode the two.
"Forward, Podolnyites!
"Get to Elmhurst!" he said:
Into the Traffic
Rode the two.

"Forward, Podolnyites!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the consultant knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to wait in traffic:
Into the morass of Traffic
Rode the two.

Cars to right of them,
Cars to left of them,
Buses in front of them
Crep’t and inch’d;
Idling by inches,
Boldly they waited,
Into the jaws of Motionlessness,
Into the mouth of Statsis
Rode the two.

Up Milwaukee, over to Western,
Let’s try Lawrence or maybe Lincoln,
How about Touhy, oh pooey,
Surely success on Dempster
No we’re in the dumpster:
Plunged in the traffic hardly moving
Right turn the traffic broke;
Commuter and student
Reel'd from the driving stroke
Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode on, but not on time
Not the two .

Cars to right of them,
Cars to left of them,
Buses in front of them
Crep’t and inch’d;
Idling by inches
While the appointment fumed and cell calls were traded,
They that had driven so well
Came thro' the jaws of Motionlessness
Back from the mouth of Stasis,
All 15 minutes that was left,
Left of an hour and a half.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild ride they made!
All the world wondered.
Why they didn’t leave enough time,
Honor the Podolnyites,
Noble two.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Karmic Payback - Of the Positive Kind

Through the summer I have had a whole series of unfortunate air travel experiences with delays, cancellations, rerouting, etc. Let it not be said however that I am an ingrate and do not give praise to The Great Air Travel Deity (honored may his revenue maximizing software ever be) when He (She or It) decides to repay my sacrifices with a small boon.

I was on my second leg Tuesday late afternoon going from Atlanta to Chicago. I got to the airport. I had gotten to the ticket counter at 4:30. I had hoped to catch an earlier flight as mine was 7:20 PM. I figured this was out. But Tuesday afternoon is not peak time and I breezed through security. So I sauntered up to the gate 15 minutes before the 5 PM departure not expecting anything. Come onboard they told me. “You are one lucky guy, your plane just got diverted to Denver because of a mechanical problem and there are thunderstorms moving into Atlanta. Not only did I get on the plane but I got a primo seat in Economy Plus on my preferred isle with no one in the center and a place for my bag overhead! This is the air travel version of winning the lottery.

All Praises to the Great Air Travel Deity May His (Her, Its) Load Factors Always Be High (as long as the seat next to me is empty).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Anachronism, C'est Moi

As one slips down the slippery slope of deterioration and decrepitation known as the aging process, one is constantly subjected to a barrage of life’s insults telling you that your niche in the ecological hierarchy is coveted by a throng behind you. The songs you loved, your generation’s statement, are now the theme songs for a myriad of product advertising. Most of the cereals you ate as a kid – gone. Whatever happened to the toothpaste I liked? All I can find now are a selection of multi-colored variations of ‘cool’, ‘fresh’, and ‘cinnamon’.

When I arrived in Atlanta and got my rental car, I was exposed to yet another example of why my bones are probably being scoped out for fossilization as we speak. I’ve been upgrading my rentals recently because I got tired of the three gerbil powered engines in the smaller cars. For only a few dollars more a day, I can get a car that actually responds when you step on the accelerator. Also once again my long-time rental car company, Hertz, seems to be upgrading me because when I went to my spot there was a nice new Infinity G something. (I really wasn’t paying attention but my host in Atlanta was impressed.)

Not be used to this kind of fancy schmancy vehicle, I get in the car and immediately take not that none of the controls make any sense to me. In particular the key is on the left of the steering wheel. And when I turn it, it doesn’t turn. Hmmmm. Wouldn’t be as bad except it is 95 degrees. I look around and after about five minutes finally locate a button to the right of the steering wheel. It says A/C – Start. That seems like it might work. I press said button. The A/C light goes on. I press again. The Start light goes on. The car doesn’t start. I press again. Everything goes off. Hmmmmmm.

I start the process again…and again…and again. I’m getting a tad frustrated. No I’m getting totally pissed. It’s hot. I’m in dress cloths sweating like Gatorade commercial (without the colored sweat). I’m getting very tempted to ask someone for help (which would be sooooo embarrassing). Finally by total accident, I put my foot on the brake pedal when I am going through the pressing rotation again and voila, success. Engine on.

I won’t go into the 30 minutes it took me to figure out the air conditioning or the continuing mystery of the information system. After all I’m turning it in on Tuesday and how much does a Triceratops really need to know?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Week Five of Eight

Ah the delights of home have come to an end. It’s back on the road again. This week it will be off to Atlanta on Monday, then on to Chicago Tuesday night and back home on Friday.

The weekend was pleasant. I did a good hard hike on Saturday. It was cool when I started (59 degrees) at 7:45, but got hot real fast. I was doing one of my favorites, the South Crest Trail, and even though I didn’t feel great I did it within five minutes of my best time. On Sunday, we had our friends KA and JA (of the Minnesota Mafia) over for dinner. It was a fairly modest affair by our usual standards focused on grilled country pork ribs in an oriental…oops I mean Asian, ASIAN, see PC cops I remember ASIAN… inspired marinade. They were muy good. As usual we had a lot of good wine, two from my collection, a Ribbon Ridge 2003 Pinot Noir from Oregon and a 2001 Havens Bourroquet which was about a 50-50 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc from California.


Mankato Vacation Homes

If you know and are familiar with Mankato what does this say about you (other than you are a part of Wife’s extended family? Evidently KA and JA are thinking about buying a place on a lake near there. Hmmmm Mankato or France, hard choice.

Wine Buy

Hats off to KA for introducing me to Berringer’s Founders Estate Pinot Noir. He picked this up at Trader Joes months ago and has been raving about it. He gave me a bottle to try which I did a couple of weeks ago and it certainly lived up to the advanced notice. Then just this last Friday, the Wall Street Journal wine reviewers were doing low cost Pinot Noir and the Berringer came in the top tier and at around $10-12 is an unbelievable bargain. Stock up on this Lakeview and Ricardo!

Remember the Frugal Gourmet?

Jeff Smith aka the Frugal Gourmet was hotter than hot in the 1980’s on PBS and with successful books, talks, etc. Then came the scandal where he was accused of improper acts with boys when he was a minister. Of course nothing was ever proven, just the destruction of his career. One of his geniuses was extracting great results from minimalist ingredients and actions. I was looking for a simple potato dish to go with my pork yesterday and looked at one of his books for the first time in years. There was a recipe for a warm potato salad with pesto. Pesto is easy in the blender. I had lots of basil in the garden. Just boil some cut up potatoes and add pesto. After sitting for an hour or so the sharp pesto flavor mellows out. KA scarffed them down.

Mrs. De-I Stars as Pharaoh

We have come to conclusion that the story of the Exodus is being replayed in Wife’s garden with Wife playing the role of Pharaoh being inflicted by plagues. The aphids are back in the newly growing artichokes and are killing off the rhubarb. You know about the squirrels (btw the latest poison seems to be working). The tomatoes have curly leaf virus because neighbors around us let their yard run wild. Just about everything is less than usual because of the unusual weather this year (wet early when it usually is dry, hot late when it is usually cooler).

Friday, September 7, 2007

Squirrel Wars Return!

Two more of the furred buggers have moved in under the deck. They've now taken a liking to my beloved tomatoes...And one of the monsters was sitting on post along the garden retaining wall, holding one of MY tomatoes in its paws and eating it in broad daylight. Needless to say, we have recontacted our sources within the former Baathist Party of Iraq and obtained a new load of chemical weapons. Our garden will once again be a bastion of freedom for vegetables!

Special Foodie Post Re: Agriculture

While no where near the blog hound as archivist and daughter MotherRocker is I have become a fan of Michael Ruhlman. Doing quite a bit of consulting in agribusiness, I found this post on his site one of the best explanations of what the reality of our food system is.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fab Weekend - Part Four

Our last day was devoted to full day of group cooking - Tapas Day

On the Menu

  • Spanish Style Shrimp Cocktail
  • Asparagus, Shrimp and Mushroom Salad
  • Stewed Zucchini, Pepper, and Onions
  • Chicken and Cured Ham Croquettas
  • Meatballs in almond sauce
  • Sautéed Pork Loin
  • Mushroom Caps Stuffed with Ham and Garlic
  • Tortilla Espagnol
  • Granita

This was matched by an excellent contingent of wines:

  • A sauvignon blanc from California that Agent W brought (which unfortunately I failed to get the name of but we loved)
  • A Juan Gill Jumilla 2003 – very good
  • A Clio Jumilla 2002 – the star of the evening

We invited friends Wild Bill and Jill and had a great time.

Gaius Derf Saluting the Imperial Throne with the Symbol of his Proconsulship

Agent W Showing She Knows How to Take Constructive Criticism

Hmmmm, if I need 30 minutes to prepare the croquettas....

The Cold Tapas

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Fab Weekend - Part Three

Sunday was Derf and my hiking day. GD and I did the Three Gun Spring Trail, which I’ve written about in the past. Both of us had been unable to do any serious hiking over the last three weeks so we just took our time. The weather was fabulous.

Monsoonal Clouds over Sandia Peak

Gaius Derf Contemplating His Exile from Imperial Albuquerque to the Far Province of Salt Lake City

After lunch, we both took naps. For dinner I decided to experiment. I came up with the idea of making a meat ragout from beef jerky. This came about in a search for pure, unadulterated jerky for O-I. In so doing, I found some products that were just meat and salt. They had a great meat flavor that I theorized I would create a great meat base if cooked long enough with water. In practice, I didn’t leave myself enough time. I got the flavor but needed much more time to get the texture. Thank goodness for food processors.

From Wife and my last trip to see O-I, we were introduced to the joys of Belvedere Vodka. Knowing the GD and AW both love martinis, we decided to start with a couple of those.

Wife and Gaius Derf Enjoying Martinis
(Wobbly picture on account of my intake of martinis)

After a Martini or 2 even Agent W can be convinced that peeling roasted chiles is fun

I followed up with a first course of sautéed fennel and Parmesan cheese, followed by farfalle pasta with a sauce based on my beef jerky ragout finished with flash fried fresh tomatoes and garlic. Everyone agreed that it had potential but needed further refinement. We went into the wine closet and had a1999 White Burgundy that was quite yummy and a 2003 Rhone that was ok.

Note to self – drinking two martinis on an empty stomach after a long, dehydrating hike and following it up with copious amounts of wine is not the wisest of ideas.

Agent W - "Mike's taking our picture"
Gaius Derf and Mrs. de-I - "Mmmmph"

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Fab Weekend - Part Two

On Saturday, we decided to have a relaxed day. The Derfs enjoy art and would always go up to Santa Fe to visit galleries. So we decided that would be a good activity to get us all started. The weather for the whole weekend was New Mexico spectacular, the kind of weather that gets expats like us moved there to begin with. We enjoyed a breakfast of scrambled eggs with basil from Wife’s garden, toasted homemade bread, with preserves made from Wife’s fruit bushes (red currant, black currant, and gooseberry).

We started by driving the Turquoise Trail, a back road, to Santa Fe. There’s a town with a significant art colony, Madrid (pronounced mad-rid, it’s a New Mexico thing). Wife got to talk to a couple of photographers who were more than willing to discuss at great length printers and printing – eeks going to cost me money!

Wife and Agent W Peruse Art in Madrid

Gaius Derf
"Yeah, I like it but I already have one"

"They want how much for that?"

Mrs. de-I and Photo Maven
This bodes poorly for de-I's pocketbook

Then we were on to Santa Fe, we grabbed a quick lunch before going on to the Canyon Road area, a major location for art galleries in Santa Fe. Gaius Derf was on the prowl for significant painting purchase and took us to this very chi-chi gallery where he was playing the role pro-counselor role the hilt.
Wife and I weren’t really thinking of doing anything but accompanying the Derf’s. But we went to one gallery that specialized in artists from Russia and saw an abstract painting that blew us away…and we don’t even like abstract art. So Wife started negotiating and had the painting down 25% when we decided to hold off discussions for the moment.

Gaius Derf Gallery Wandering in Santa Fe

If You're Going To Make Me Get Rid of the Daisy, I Want This Instead in Front of Our House
Seen in the sculpture garden of the chi-chi gallery

We drove back to Albuquerque and had dinner at Sandiago’s, a local place with decent food and a great view.

Gaius Derf, Agent W, and Mrs. de-I Overlooking Imperial Albuquerque
The empty look of the wine bottle is an illusion

Fab Weekend - Part One

It was an event filled long weekend at the de-I household. Because of the volume, I am going to break this down into a number of posts.

Close friend and disgraced/exiled Procounsel Gaius Derf was called back to Imperial Albuquerque to discuss management of affairs in the province of Salt Lake City.

On Thursday we were graced by the early arrival of his mate and imperial undercover operative, Agent W. AW had other work related meetings in town so we were glad to have here stay with us for a while before Gaius Derf arrived. One would think after the affairs last month the GD would not let his spouse work with the de-I household un-chaperoned. And indeed, this was to be the case.

One of our activities is a day of cooking to prepare a tapas meal. Given the time to sit around and create mischief, we came up with the idea of creating a menu of items for Gaius to choose from that would be guaranteed to be totally unacceptable, deliver these strait-faced and see what was the reaction. The result was a list the included such things as:

  • Stuffed pigs feet in vinaigrette
  • Butter fried brains
  • Squid tarts
  • Blood sausage
  • Head cheese

GD arrived late on Friday (late plane, what a surprise) looking the worse for wear due to an earlier incident during the week with a bus and an armoire. So we let him crash that night. Our list was lying on the coffee table with the source recipe books.

On Sat we had a leisurely breakfast (scrambled eggs with fresh basil, homemade bread toast) before we headed off to Santa Fe for art gallery viewing. Sitting in the living room, waiting for the women, I see Gaius Derf perusing the list.

de-I - “So what do you think? That’s the list of things we all agreed we’d like but we wanted you to make the final choices of the ones you’d enjoy”
GD – (looking very pained) “I think the fava bean stew would be OK and maybe the fried smelt. What are smelt?
de-I – “Fish”
GD – (Showing the signs of torment as he struggles with a list of choices he believes we all really want to do and he is aghast about) “I just don’t know if I can eat blood sausage. Butter fried brains? Have you ever eaten brains?”
de-I – “Yes (I really have). They’re very good (they are).”
GD – (more pained looks)

While this is going on, Agent W and Wife are looking into the room. GD can’t see them because they are directly behind him. Agent W is doubling over with laughter and has to leave the room to avoid bursting out. Finally I decide to put Derf out of his misery and tell him the truth. Wouldn’t you like to have a mate like Agent W?