land of enchantment

I wrote this end of March last year, but somehow never posted it.  As it has a recipe and 2 babe pics, I thought I should share it even now, over a year later.

It was to be the last roundup.  My brother-in-law Bob, our excuse to visit Santa Fe for over a decade, was moving to Athens, GA, to move in with old flame Wendy, whom he’d lived with in Boston in the 90s.  Now Athens is a cool college town – I Ioved the B52s – but it’s not Santa Fe.  Our direct United flight left 650 Detroit to land in snow flurries.  Finding our AirBnB in the dark in a residential neighborhood was an adventure, as the #417 seemed not to land us .  As we were driving around SF, our landlord landed us by phone back at the same place on the corner of Buena Vista and Don Diego, peering at the gate at the easternmost unit of the stucco two story triplex where the gate bore a subtle 417 and the key entry let us in with the 5 digit code.  What seemed like a boonie neighborhood location in the middle of nowhere turned out to be close to everything, a few minutes up an alley to “Modern Hardware and Coffee Shop” where we not only got coffee but enough breakfast to last our stay.  Whole Foods wasn’t much farther, which turned into the source for wood for our kivi fireplace (organic, free range, no doubt, and of course, expensive).  The railroad yards and farmers market were less than a half mile away and the Square itself less than a mile.   We were sitting in the catbird seat.

Our AirBnB was spectacular.  AirBnB’s can be a crapshoot, but we hit a home run with this one.  Inside the stucco edifice that looked like very other place in SF was: kivi fireplace, Joey’s “Mid century modern” masterpiece, wood floors, two stories, comfy beds, even mint green matched appliances that would have looked right at home in our folks’ kitchens, except they didn’t have microwaves then or teakettles programable to 6 temperatures.  Morning found us fetching coffee and food, then seeking to lay in the essential firewood and stock up the wine cellar, the latter venture accounting for our only COVID crisis, as a forgotten mask led us to a nearby drugstore to get new one’s before we could enter Kuane’s grocery.  I annoyed Kathy by pecking at my laptop for a couple hours before we pulled up to walk the mile and a half to Bob’s.  Afternoon found it time to hook up with Bob, who had nostalgic photos spread over his dining room table to review.  We then connected with his relatively new friends.  Ana was the attorney who helped Bob with some difficulties as he was trying to shed his Los Companos house with a minimum of pain.  Ana’s an ambulance-chasing shark who’s turned her considerable talents to other causes, notably those crushed by COVID regulations, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.  Oh, and she’s beautiful.

She ended up dating Bob for a while (he’s a handsome, charming guy) but ended up with Guy, who ended up being Bob’s landlord on his new place, and occasional roommate.  To say we all hit it off is a huge understatement.  Between bar hopping around the Square that afternoon and evening and dinner at their place the next evening I don’t think we ever stopped laughing.  There were some serious interjections (Bob has early dementia and they are assisting in his cross-country trip to GA, and Ana was intrigued by my virology background and interest in her cause).  Guy, an excellent Italian cook, taught me a few things as we swapped kitchen tales and, oh, scrutinized his wine cellar with my Vivino app.

Additional players in this trip were to have come from Albuquerque.  Carol, my Grandpa Ike’s oldest niece, my oldest cousin, settled there with husband John after stretches in American Samoa and Texas.  In my attempts to reopen our relationship, I misinterpreted that a Grand Rapids girl brought up in the Christian Reformed Church and living much of her adult life in Texas would turn out to be a sympatico conservative like me.  Ah, no.  She’s busy examining her “white privilege”.  And on COVID it was even worse.  She could not fathom how someone – regardless of my virology, immunology, and medicine background – could be so at odds with what the “experts” were saying, all obviously working tirelessly for our greater benefit.  Her daughter, a “journalist”, was aghast at my neanderthal opinions from the get go, wondering if I was so smart, why wasn’t I working for Fauci?  Tenure at a top notch international medical center wasn’t enough.  It got to be too much for Carole.  When she took to heaping insults, I said “enough” and she seemed relieved.  I’m sure she has some great pictures of Grandpa Ike.  Maybe I’ll see them someday.  I hope it’s not after her funeral.

My other ABQ woman is a far different story.  We’re not related, although we tiptoed once to be so by marriage.  I love my old girlfriends.  Nancy was the one responsible to show how such relationships are not only possible but sustaining.   Martin Mull sang it “I’ve slept with 1000s of girls.  I remember all their names and don’t make fun of them.  Please be one of them” (1). I’m of a few orders of magnitude from Martin, but I do have warm memories of all my old girlfriends.  Nancy (ABQ) was more than just that.  When I met her she was a tall knockout drug rep with a pharmacy degree.  When we broke up some months later – after some wonderful times together – she was off to MSU DO school – maybe after seeing how her idiot clients could navigate this stuff, she could too.  She’s carved a career as a family practitioner, now doing telemedicine and getting over her father’s death with COVID.  Hers another family with relationships riven from differences over how to approach the virus.  I was interested to hear of those problems from her over lunch at Tomasitas, as I got to again hear her lovely voice and gaze at her ever-pleasant face, however age has changed it.  Message: she’s still a looker:

I even picked up the bill.  I expected no favors in return.  But a second date was in the offing.

 She’d booked tickets for me, Kathy and her at “MeowWolf”, an outfit I couldn’t get my head around until I actually experienced it (2).  It’s the project of some crazy artists which is actually a dizzying extended funhose of very weird stuff.  It might be even better on drugs.  I’m sorry I left my edibles at home.  Some of the very cramped passageways involved provide satisfaction to the elderly boomer still able to negotiate it.  We negotiated all the contortions before it was time to pick up Bob for the basketball game, allowing some time in the Railyard.  Vivác wasn’t offering tastings, but I bought 2 bottles for dinner (3).   The Bosque Brewery nearby was sufficient for a short sit and a beer (4).  Nancy, alas, had to settle for a cider, as she does not like beer (am I discovering belatedly a source of our rift?).

After, it was time to head for the game.  Long ago, we eschewed any public viewing, much as we enjoy frolicking with liked minded in the appreciation of our Wolverines.  I’d learned that the only U of M Alumni gathering in all of New Mexico was in Albuquerque, and at an establishment now closed.  Our townhouse had a fine wide screen we’d never used to that point.  Machinations 15 minutes before game time found us frustrated, as there was no direct cable hookup, all channels coming through ROKU.  ROKU required a PIN nether our landlord – camping in Colorado – nor wife could provide.  So Kathy and Bob were off to his place to watch the game, missing about the first 10 minutes.  I stayed behind to hear the game streaming  on my phone through a Bluetooth speaker while fixing diner.  All in all, not a bad deal.  We creamed FSU and the Clark kids sat down to an excellent dinner, served on our patio in the bright sunshine, all washed down by some true Santa Fe wine (Vivác).  We lingered for a while inside by our kiva, listening by iTouch to our Sunday evening favorites, left with Fiona Ritchie with the time change.  Bob had to be taken back home while I cleaned up.  He happily took up all the leftovers.

As Kathy got home and we nestled into bed, Hearts of Space “Six String Spring” wafted over us as we contemplated what had been a pretty good day, and trip.  We’ll be back, likely to this same place.  While Bob will no longer be here, June – Sam’ s widow (5) – lived in nearby Los Alamos for years and loves SF.  She’s expressed her enthusiastic desire to drive down from Northrop CO sometime and join us.  We figure September.  Much to be covered: waterfalls, hot springs, etc.

Our day back was an early, early morning o.k., maybe not by EDT standards, allowing one last kivi fire as we ate real breakfasts, my oatmeal plus Kathy’ leftover from Modern Hardware and Coffee Shop up the alley, AeroPress coffee all around.  Guy and Ana had lent us their CRV, so getting to the little airport was easy peasy.  Their car awaits them, keys in console, a few minutes from their house.  The only glitch going through security was an inordinate number of Buckeyes, with whom we were obligated to spar.  Nonesuch in DEN or DTW and it was smooth to home.

So here’s the recipe.  It’s a double, so if you print it out, you’ll be stuck gluing one side to the back.  If you’re wondering about the name: the hangar steak, obtained in the SF farmers market, is taken from the cow’s diaphragm, hence an important actor in every belch.

Here’s page 1

And ’tis the backside


1.         “Thousands of Girls” by Martin Mull as mentioned in “Waiting for the Real World to Catch Up!”.  YouTube 5/13/13.

2.         MeowWolf.

3.         Vivác winery.

4.         Bosque Brewing Co.  Santa Fe Market Station: Public House.

5.         see Sam.  WordPress 1/14/20.

Published by rike52

I retired from the Rheumatology division of Michigan Medicine end of June '19 after 36 years there. Upon hitting Ann Arbor for the second time (I went to school here) it took me almost 8 months to meet Kathy, 17 months to buy her a house (on Harbal, where we still live), and 37 months to marry her. Kids never came, but we've been blessed with a crowd of colleagues, friends, neighbors and family that continues to grow. Lots of them are going to show up in this log eventually. Stay tuned.

One thought on “land of enchantment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: