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Eddie Pacheco, of the Santo Domingo Pueblo October 14, 2009

Posted by Michael in Personal Experiences, Religion, Travel.

I’ll get to Eddie eventually, but first some background information.

Cathy and I are on vacation right now in Santa Fe.  I’ve been learning about this area.

First thing I learned about is the geography.  See, I drove north and west from Dallas thinking I would enjoy the fall colors of the stately New Mexico forests.

Boy was I wrong.  Turns out that Santa Fe is basically a desert valley surrounded by low mountains.  Here is the view from the patio and garden behind our “casita”  about five miles out of town, which means we are in the boonies and there are coyotes howling every night.

This is what I see when I'm outside smoking.

This is what I see when I'm outside smoking.

We’re staying at Casita Venado.  I think “casita” means “little house.”  Just guessing — I don’t really know Spanish.  I have no idea what “venado” means.  This place is actually an adobe-style cottage which is the guest house in the back yard of this humungous adobe mansion.

Cathy and I actually got access to this mansion a few hours ago.  The property manager gave us the keyless entry code so that the WiFi tech could get in and fix the broadband access for the property.  (This is why I have been offline since Saturday.)

We walked around this place with our mouths hanging open.  Everything is brand new. It is one story, all 14′ open beam wood ceilings.  The beams are actually all perfectly hewn  and evenly proportioned round logs.  It has a cistern system to conserve rainwater from the roof and gardens  to water the yard when it’s dry.  Heating is radiant warming of the floor tiles, just like in our casita.  I estimate the construction cost alone of the main house, exclusive of furnishings, is over $1.5M.  On top of that, it is professionally decorated throughout and has super high-end appliances.

Long story short — Cathy and I still have the entry key code and we are now in a position to host a fabulous party at an adobe mansion in Santa Fe this week.  We can accommodate 80 to 120 people.  There is a hot tub.  BYOB.  Let us know if you are interested.

Aside from the geography, I have been learning about the culture and history of Santa Fe.  It boils down to this — there are a lot of Catholics here.  Lutherans are very scarce.

No seriously, I am not making this up,  This town is pretty small, and it is lousy with Catholics.    They are everywhere.  Despite it’s small size, it rates an archbishop because of its historical significance.  Apparently the Catholic missionaries got here early, before the Lutherans.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

That picture was taken by Cathy from the second-floor outside deck of a bar where we stopped for refreshment.

The church dates from the early 1700s.  It’s worth a visit, just to go inside and see the art and the unusual two-tier baptismal font.  When we were leaving, Cathy put some money in the offering box, even though I was giving her the stink-eye,

To be honest, I did not really mind.  Cathy and I have visited fabulous cathedrals all over the world.  Most of them give off the vibe of a museum.  This one in Santa Fe was different.  It gives off the vibe of a lively and active Christian community.

A block away from that church is The Plaza, originally the heart of colonial Santa Fe.  One side of the plaza is now dedicated to Native American artists, the side that is actually the back portico of of the Governor’s Palace.  By long-standing tradition, that portico is treated as reservation property where you can buy crafts, mostly jewelry, free from sales tax, and closely regulated so that you are actually buying from the artisan.

We bought a  bracelet for Cahy from Eddie Pacheco, from the Santo Domingo Pueblo.  The bracelet is beautiful, and the price was modest at this market.  Cathy and I were both attracted to an unusual stone he uses.

Eddie was an engaging and informative jeweler.  The stone we liked is called Picture Jasper, and it is only mined at a single ranch in Oregon.  Eddie considers it a challenge, because it is so hard that it burns up his diamond saw blades, and you have to cut it just right to get the sky-land picture.   He had a chunk of the ore on display, just in case anyone asked about it. According to Eddie, there are only three local artisans who even try to work with this stone.

After Eddie does the  cutting, his uncle has to process these stones in a water-sand agitator. Eddie says it takes three days to polish them, which is more than usual.

Maybe Cathy will post a picture of her Picture Jasper bracelet. Not me. I am trying to make a point.

Eddie Pacheco of the Santo Domingo Pueblo is the paradigm of the American entrepreneur. He was totally engaging as he talked about his art and his family. He is the antithesis of Obama’s vision of America, as he sits in the portico of The Plaza, patiently waiting for a tourist to notice the work of his hands, a tourist that will give him a chance to explain what he has done, and negotiate a price.

See, that’s what I love about traveling.  If you slow down, take a little time, and show some respect, you meet some awesome people.

My life is better because I met Eddie Pacheco of the Santo Domingo Pueblo.


1. geoff - October 14, 2009

Long story short — Cathy and I still have the entry key code and we are now in a position to host a fabulous party at an adobe mansion in Santa Fe this week.

Heh. That’s not so far away, you know.

2. Michael - October 14, 2009

Dude, think it over.

3. Dave in Texas - October 14, 2009

>> I have no idea what “venado” means.


4. Mark in NJ - October 14, 2009

Venado = deer

5. MCPO Airdale - October 14, 2009

Wonderful story, how long did it take Cathy to write it for you?

6. geoff - October 14, 2009

O/T: Monty at work over at Ace’s, regarding Senator Snowe’s ridiculous “history is calling” statement. Entertaining and dead-on.

Somebody should remind Senator Snowe that answering the call of history is not part of the job description.

7. Joey Buzz - October 14, 2009

Nice, I have only been through that part of the country once…would love to go back and spend some time there.

If you get too removed from the ways of the world this little school vid will bring you back down to earth.

8. lauraw - October 14, 2009

My life is better because I met Eddie Pacheco of the Santo Domingo Pueblo.

Oh my God you are such a faggot.

9. Dave in Texas - October 14, 2009

I spent a month one week at Kirtland AFB.

10. Pupster - October 14, 2009


*raises coffee cup to Lauraw*

*starts wiping coffee off of monitor*

11. geoff - October 14, 2009

Dude, think it over.

It’s tempting, but I don’t think we can swing it right now. Too much kid stuff going on. But it sounds like it could have been a ton of fun.

Thanks for the offer.

12. lauraw - October 14, 2009

Back atcha, Pups.

13. Enas Yorl - October 14, 2009

Dude! I can’t believe you didn’t mention the The Miraculous Staircase at Loretto Chapel. Definitley a must-see there. In the surrounding areas there are some “artist communities” in little towns on the way to Santa Fe that looked like they barely survive even during good economic times.

14. Cathy - October 14, 2009

Enas, my sister mentioned the Staircase a few weeks ago and then again on the phone last night.

You say A MUST? Sheesh!

15. skinbad - October 14, 2009

Los Alamos and Bandelier are worth a visit. IMO.

Another memory from a Santa Fe visit many years ago: My wife and I found a parking place on a very busy street during daylight hours. We wandered off into the city to see sights and find some dinner. We ended up being out quite late and made our way back to the car long after dark. As we approached the street our car was on, it got brighter and brighter and louder and louder. When we came off the side street, we saw the street our car was parked on (on the other side) was bumper to bumper, both directions, as far as the eye could see with music-thumping, low-speed-crawling, cars full of youthful Hispanics. They greeted each other as they passed, some would get out of cars and walk over to another car and talk for awhile, or get in. I stood there in my JC Penney casual/travel clothes looking longingly at my car on the other side of the street and not feeling very fly for a white guy.

After several minutes, some of the pedestrians weaving around the cars caused enough of a gap for us to make a break for the car. We waited in the car for another chance to ease out into traffic. Some sort of park was on our right and turning left across the other side of the parade was impossible, so I drove the powder blue Maxima at 3 MPH all the way to the end of the route where the kids were turning around to head back in the opposite direction. There we found a place to get off the thoroughfare and a meandering way back to the hotel. A funny memory. An instance of massive cultural disconnect. I never found out if it was a weekly thing (must have been Friday or Saturday) or if something special was going on.

16. skinbad - October 14, 2009

My life is better because I drove in a low rider parade while celebrating the diversity of this great land of ours.

17. daveintexas - October 14, 2009

My life is better because I met the guy who hides behind a bush on Pier 39 in San Francisco and yells at people when they get close.

18. Pupster - October 14, 2009

My life is better because I met a female bartender who takes your mixed drink back and over-pours after the bar owner goes back to the kitchen.

(Although ‘better’ is a matter of perception.)

19. Cathy - October 14, 2009

My life is better ’cause I’m with Michael.

20. Pupster - October 14, 2009

Michael’s life is better through roofies.

21. Cathy - October 14, 2009

My life is better ’cause I sucked orange Jello off my plate hands free.

22. Lipstick - October 14, 2009

Michael’s life is better because Cathy can suck orange jello off her plate hands free.

23. Dave in Texas - October 14, 2009

My life is better because I have met the enemy and he is us.

24. Pupster - October 14, 2009

There is always room for Jello.


25. skinbad - October 14, 2009

Ha! My Orwellian work overlords blocked Pupsters Jello Wrestling pron. If you never hear from me again, it’s because I’ve been fired and the wifi beneath the overpass isn’t up to snuff.

26. geoff - October 14, 2009

Speaking of vacations, I think we’re going to spend a week in Steamboat Springs this summer. It’s a beautiful place, most of the restaurants and shops are open, and they’ve got a lot to do there (hikes, a reservoir, hot springs, rodeo, alpine slide, etc.). We’ll probably aim for a weekend with a wine festival.

I mention this in case anybody else is interested.

27. Mrs. Peel - October 14, 2009

Oh, that reminds me. There is a Texas State Fair in Dallas every year, and I think Michael & Cathy should organize an IBTSF party sometime. Not this year since that would be ridiculously short notice (it ends this weekend), but maybe next year.

28. Michael - October 14, 2009

Peel, that’s actually a pretty good idea. Earlier (late September) would probably be better for weather.

29. Lipstick - October 14, 2009

Earlier is better. I ain’t going to sit there and look at that fabulous pool and not be able to swim in it another time!

Michael - October 14, 2009

If the water temp is a little cool, I’ll heat the pool for you and the IB Babes if you promise to use it.

Just ignore me if I disappear behind the banana trees for a few minutes.

30. Lipstick - October 15, 2009

Heat that baby up!

And from what I saw, those banana trees won’t hide much. 🙂

31. Lipstick - October 15, 2009

Wait, that sounded wrong.

32. Lipstick - October 15, 2009

It’s just that your banana trees were pretty small when I was there.

That’s all.

Crap, this all sounds bad.

33. Michael - October 15, 2009

My banana trees are big now.

Bigger than Dave’s.

34. Lipstick - October 15, 2009

Do you two compare?

35. kevlarchick - October 15, 2009

Life is better when you slow down and listen. People are interesting.

I was outside LAX digging for my cigarette lighter. A man nearby strolled over and offered me a light. We then had a long conversation about anti smoking laws and the nanny-state.

We both agreed never to quit smoking on matter of principle. We bumped fists and went on our way. Now that there is a life lesson.

36. Dave in Texas - October 15, 2009

>> Do you two compare?

He keeps asking. Dunno why.

37. Mrs. Peel - October 15, 2009

My banana trees are like 20 ft tall and actually produced bananas last year. So, where does that put me in this hierarchy?

38. Dave in Texas - October 15, 2009

Actual nanners?

You win.

39. Michael - October 15, 2009

20 feet tall?

*slouches off stage*

40. Burkee - October 15, 2009

Are you sampling the local food? Have some local fare: green chili burgers, sopapillas, posole, etc. You’ll love it. Maybe….

Grew up in Albuquerque and sure miss that stuff.

41. lauraw - October 15, 2009

Peel, do me a solid? Will you use a tape measure and get the actual height of those banana trees for me?

I’ll tell you why later, when you give me the number.

42. Mrs. Peel - October 15, 2009

Um…ok, will do, when I get home from class. If it’s not too dark and I can keep the tape measure straight. Is ±6 inches ok, or do you need a tighter tolerance than that?

43. BrewFan - October 15, 2009

Is ±6 inches ok, or do you need a tighter tolerance than that?

I love it when you guys talk dirty!

44. Dave in Texas - October 15, 2009

Isn’t that the difference between voting “yes” and voting “present”?

45. Lipstick - October 15, 2009

Hey, I’ve got 9 inch biceps.

Fear me.

46. Mrs. Peel - October 15, 2009

It’s super dark out there and smells like skunk, so measurement will have to wait. Are you planning to move to TX and want to know how big you can expect your banana trees to get, lauraw?

47. Michael - October 15, 2009

Don’t worry, Lauraw. If you move to Texas, you can easily grow some nanner trees that are bigger than Dave’s.

48. Michael - October 15, 2009

Also, Cathy can tell you about the Super Secret Palm Tree Fertilizer that Dave does not know about.

49. lauraw - October 15, 2009

Within a few inches is fine, Mrs Peel. I appreciate it.

50. Dave in Texas - October 15, 2009

If I had a dollar for everytime….

51. Mrs. Peel - October 16, 2009

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about tallying me bananas. Ok, I couldn’t get very close to the banana trees (they are grown close together in this huge bunch, and there was a seriously awesome spiderweb about 2 ft across that I didn’t want to disturb), so I had to use trigonometry. It was about six feet from my head to the trunk, horizontally, and if you want to measure the absolute top of the highest leaf, that had to be a good 10 ft up from my head diagonally. So that means the height of the trunk above my head is…100 – 36 = 64…8 feet. Since I’m 5 feet tall, that makes the tree about 13 feet tall. So, not quite 20, but still pretty impressive. I wouldn’t say my measurement was accurate to within more than about 2 feet, though. And the trees didn’t produce any bananas this year (that I saw, anyway). That doesn’t surprise me because we had such an insanely dry summer.

Also, my backyard looks absolutely atrocious. Where is Will when I need him?

52. Cathy - October 16, 2009

And the trees didn’t produce any bananas this year…

Blame it on global cooling.

53. Will - October 16, 2009

Also, my backyard looks absolutely atrocious. Where is Will when I need him?

Did you buy all the tools and what not, or am I gonna have to bring my own?

54. lauraw - October 16, 2009

OK, the reason I asked for you to measure the banana trees was because of the way you tossed out the 20 ft. figure.

I have people call me while they’re looking right at goods that need to be measured, and invariably what is actually18 inches wide they describe as ‘three feet’ by eyeballing it. I’m always asking people to use a tape measure, and the difference between what the tape says and what they had guessed is always huge.

It’s odd. I can understand us being inaccurate, or merely wrong. But most people are not just wrong, but wildly wrong when they estimate dimensions by eye.

I was curious to see how you did.

55. geoff - October 16, 2009

MIT version of old joke:

Q. Why can’t Harvard (used to be Radcliffe in the joke, but I’ve updated it here for the sake of intellectual rigor) women park?

A. Because Harvard men have been telling them for years that this [hold fingers 5.95″ apart] is 6 inches.

56. Will - October 16, 2009

Laura, here’s a third-party reply from Mrs. Peel:

I hadn’t looked at the trees for weeks when I threw that number out. If I had gone outside and actually looked, I probably would have guessed 15 feet because they are about 3 times my height (and I don’t have a lot of confidence in the 13 feet number due to the difficulties involved in extending a measuring tape that far without support). I don’t think I’ve been in my own backyard more than 3 times this semester. Also, I think I might have lost a tree or two to Ike…the one that actually grew bananas, as I recall, was way back in the corner and much taller than any that are present now. I distinctly remember that the bananas were waaaaaaay out of reach. I don’t see a tree in that spot at all now.

And to inject my own bit to discussion. There are a whole lot of people who’ve never had much need or opportunity to use a tape measure. Eyeballing dimensions is a skill like any other, and it requires practice to get good at it.

57. Will - October 16, 2009

More Intertubes Comment Relay…

But yeah, I do suck at estimating distances. Don’t ask me the size of a room unless I’ve already measured it – I *might* get within a couple feet of the linear dimensions, but that’s only because I would be comparing it to known linear dimensions (i.e., my room at my parents’ house was approximately 11’ x 14’ [iirc], so I can guess that this room is…). And weight. Hoo boy, do I ever suck at that. I know my Aggie ring weighs 12 grams because I weighed it once, but even knowing that, if you handed me something similarly sized and asked me to estimate its weight, I probably couldn’t even get within 50% of the correct value. I’m best at comparing small measurements (e.g., if my first tablespoon of baking soda was a little too heaping, I can correct for that by having the next tablespoon be a little too concave), and I did pretty well on this timewaster Jonah linked the other day.

58. lauraw - October 16, 2009

I bet we were all a little better at it as kids, when we had to use a ruler all the time in class.

Again, I’m not surprised that we’re so often wrong. I’m surprised by how much we’re wrong by. Yeah, estimating dims is a skill that can be honed. But we’re all pretty well acquainted with what ONE foot looks like, right?

But anything bigger than that – literally just a few inches more- and everything goes haywire.

It’s so very very strange.

59. Dave in Texas - October 16, 2009

This thread is eleventy seven feet long.

60. Pupster - October 16, 2009

‘Sbout yeah big by yeah wide.

61. Lipstick - October 16, 2009

You’re just a skosh off. . .

62. Dave in Texas - October 16, 2009


63. Mrs. Peel - October 16, 2009

I actually read an interesting study a while back about tall, skinny glasses versus short, wide glasses, and how people were totally incapable of pouring the same amount in each glass (they overpoured in the short glass). Even professional bartenders couldn’t do it, though they were a lot better than the regular folks.

I just went in the back and took another look at my banana trees. Those fuckers are huge. I think the one behind the 15-foot one might actually be close to 20 feet.

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