Friday, December 25, 2009

Bonfire, Bonfire, BONFIRE!

Greetings from the high desert! I am writing this from Abiquiu New Mexico and it is COLD here. The train ride here was blessedly uneventful and the scenery (while it was light out) was pleasant. It snowed almost the whole way here. Or at least, there was snow on the ground almost the whole way here. The peanut butter filled pretzels were just right.
Mama Bird and I came to a deal last night. I won't make disparaging comments about her buying expensive, well made items ($40 socks, for example), and she won't make fun of how I tend to over prepare for travel. And the reason she won't make fun of my preparedness is we had to stay in Santa Fe the night my train came in. See, it snowed here. A lot. And the roads were horribly bad. She didn't want to be driving in that PLUS it would be dark before we go to the cabin. But, she hadn't planned on staying in Santa Fe, so she didn't have things like a toothbrush and toothpaste. Or lotion. I had all those things. Plus a few more (I also had a wine key that came in handy last night). I won't be making any more disparaging comments about her expensive well made things because I realized that I too tend to spend a lot for things that are worth it (I want a $30 garlic press).
Last night was one of the best Christmas eves I've ever had. It was cozy, we had good food, we sat around and sang Christmas songs. The church across the plaza from us has a bonfire every year. A great huge thing that has to be visible for miles. We had never been to it so we figured we would go this year. Midnight Mass was at 10, and so we kept peeking out the window, and sometimes walking over to the church to see if there was anything to see. Nope. So we finally figured that the fire would be lit after Midnight Mass, and we settled down in the living room to reminisce. Mama Bird got up to get something out of the kitchen and all of the sudden I heard her say "bonfire". I had to ask her what she meant and she said "bonfire, bonfire BONFIRE!" What we hadn't noticed was the piles of wood in front of the churches fence/wall. Quite a few of them in fact. And now they were all lit. It looked like the church itself was aflame. People were gathering and going in, and the processional was getting ready to go in. We were outside to watch them all go in to the church and watched the fires for a bit, but we didn't think we could stay up another hour to go see the big bonfire. We walked back to our cabin under a cloudless sky filled with all the stars you can't see when you live in a city. It was perfect.

I have just been informed that next year for Christmas, Mama Bird wants an axe.

--Little Bird is prepared for this

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Christmas came to my nest early this year. My grandfather sent me a HUGE check, and that really helped me finish purchasing all the rest of the gifts I needed to buy for others (of course, now I am committed to go to a family reunion in the summer). I didn't manage to finish Roosters "craft gift" (a cross stitched throw pillow with his favorite Star Trek quote) and he already knows what it is as we have already exchanged gifts.
For Rooster I bought a leather messenger bag, it sorta has an Indiana Jones vibe to it and looks as if it will last forever. He also received the movie "Inglorious Basterds" and two tiny books - one of dirty limericks and another of weird factoids - both for the bathroom.
From Rooster I received the first season of "The French Chef" with Julia Child (!) and two sets of salt and pepper shakers, and then he blew me away with the totally perfect dove stick pin! It's a prop replica from the movie "For Your Eyes Only", and when we watched the movie, I saw it and told him I would love to find one of those because of this blog and my failblog name. AND HE FOUND ONE!!!! He totally gets brownie points for being so thoughtful!

For my step-father I picked up a stainless steel liquid soap pump. He had this ugly plastic bottle on his bathroom counter. He has very good taste in the things he chooses to surround himself with so I thought that maybe he'd appreciate something a little less... fugly. I also got him a jigger for when he and Mama Bird make martinis, and some black gum. He always gets something black from me, it's a long standing gag with us. But I don't think I'll ever top the year we found black toilet paper!
To Mama Bird I gave a set of black micro-fleece base layers. Basically long underwear, but slightly nicer than that. She too, will get a cross stitched pillow. She has requested the quote from Alice Roosevelt Longworth -- If you don't have something nice to say about someone, sit right here by me. Yes, she already knows, and we looked up the quote together so it would be right.
FROM my parents, I received a 6 piece set of Le Crueset cookware!!!! A stock pot, a sauce pan, and a 4(?) quart french oven!! Each one has a lid (and the lids count as three of the pieces). And they are ORANGE!!!!!! I can finally throw away my old, beat up, no-longer-teflon-coated pots and pans!!! And the new pieces look so pretty in my kitchen with all my other orange stuff. I haven't cooked anything in them yet, but I will tonight.
Gift giving was done early this year with Rooster because I will be out of town on Christmas proper, and I wanted to share that moment with him. My family and I exchanged gifts early because no one wanted to lug a 6 piece set of enameled cast iron across the country, and some of the items might not have made it through airport security.

So now it's just one more day to go, and then it's onto a train and one week of quiet, crisp New Mexico mountains. I think I'll take fried chicken to eat, and I picked up peanut butter filled pretzels for snacking. Along with the soda, beer and propel packets. Maybe I'll find some candy of some sort to also bring along.
I've been packed for two days already because it's one of my little quirks, I want to be prepared. I don't want to forget anything. I always forget something anyway. Also, this train will be ridiculously packed, and I need to make sure I have what I need to have a pleasant train ride. Here's hoping I don't get stuck sitting next to a creep. Also, here's hoping I can get a window seat.

--Little Bird has achieved cookware nirvana

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What To Pack

Once again I am preparing for a trip to New Mexico. This year we'll be staying in a different place, one I've never been to before. And, once again, I'll be taking the train there. This is the 21 hour trip. Not the 27 hour one that always seems to turn into a 32 hour trip. Still, this trip requires some advance planning. Not just the usual packing stuff either. See, 21 hours on a train is a bit of a long time. And I leave right before Christmas. The train? It will be PACKED. Chances are they will somehow mysteriously over-book*.
So, what to bring on a packed to the gills train? Books. At least two and of different genres, because I will get bored with one of them at some point. My cross stitch stuff, the small hoop and maybe a pattern. Music, this year I have to use the personal CD player as both iPods are out of commission. The travel Scrabble game. Food. And basic amenities. These include wet wipes, hand sanitizer, a bitty bottle of Febreeze (try it once, you'll never travel without it again), a toiletry kit (remember, this is 21 hours I'm talking here), and slippers. I haven't decided if I'll bring the blanket and pillow, they take up precious space, but then they are really helpful once sleep is needed.
The food situation is still up in the air. I don't really know what to pack this time. Other than soda and beer. Propel packets are good, small and easy to pack, the water bottle is also a good thing since there are water fountains in each car, thus being free. Now, for actual food? I'm kind of at a loss. I might just pack a few Lunchables. That's what Rooster and I got on the way back home from St. Louis.
I'm open to suggestions.
* When a train over books, no one gets bumped off the train. Not even the extra person, assuming of course that they only over booked by two or three people. They just seat those extra folks in the observation/snack car until a few seats open up. That's kind of the cool thing about the train. All those stops, picking up and dropping off all kinds of different people. You never really know what kind of person is going to end up sitting next to you. Sometimes it's a great person (the trip back from Colorado on year was particularly nice). Sometimes it's a harridan (the trip back from New Mexico once was unbelievably awful). For some reason, I love to travel by train. I may be a glutton for punishment.

--Little Bird is getting prepared

Friday, December 4, 2009


The other day I called a friend, just to see what she was up to. Apparently not much, as she felt terrible. She said her stomach was really bloated (enough to look preggers she said) and that she had taken about 10 to 15 antacids. The first thing that went through my mind was, that that many antacids can't be good for a person. I told her that maybe she shouldn't take any more and possibly call a doctor. She didn't take any more. Neither did she call a doctor. She went out and had a glass of wine and a bite to eat. The next day she still wasn't feeling any better (this was after she did some work stuff) and spoke to a doctor. Today she is in the hospital having her appendix removed.
She has asked me to feed her cat and to bring her some things from her place. You know, reading material, reading glasses, and MAKE UP. There are cute doctors in hospitals you know.
It took me a bit to figure out just how to get to the hospital she's in. And it will take a bit more, once I actually get there, to find her.
I was told that the pain associated with her appendix was like shards of glass in her belly. I hope my appendix decides to stay nice and calm.
So now that I've finished cleaning my parents apartment, it's off to my friends place to feed the cat, gather some reading material, and her make up. What did you do today?

--Little Bird is on a mission