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Most of the time I can’t help but be a bird person. In college I used to find dead birds that had flung themselves into the glass windows of my dormitory and, still being warm and limp, I would take them up into my room just to stare at them on my desk. Morbid- yes, but birds are such amazing creatures, and such delicate beings, I can’t help it. Just the other day I ran into the middle of a highway and scooped up a pile of feathers and bones that used to be a proud hawk. Fascinating stuff you can’t learn in school. …though highly illegal to mess with migratory birds.

The same problem I have with dead birds, I have with old embroidered (dead) textiles- handkerchiefs, napkins, table runners… anything adorable, delicate, and seemingly impossible to recreate. I hope someday to make a crazy quilt with all their beauties, but there are yards left to find. No problem. I love looking.

Another collection of mine is rapidly becoming a problem as I find less and less space for it. Chairs. I dream of having a house with all mismatched beautiful chairs bursting with personality and age. But where to put them all? Someday, with a house, I’m sure there will be plenty of places for chairs. At the moment, however… Too many places to sit. Too little time.

Lastly- things. Magical things. Found things. Things you find in the cracks of boardwalks, or in the gutters, or parking lots. Rusty washers, sea glass, watch parts, perfectly smooth rocks, feathers, pieces of cars that fell off, crow skulls, and a plethora a strange, unidentifiable rusty metals. Why do they call to me? What am I going to do with them? …I wish I knew…

It brings me great joy to collect things. Maybe it’s materialism, and maybe it does more harm than good on a psychological level, somehow, but I think I’ll continue to do it until the day I can no longer physically pick up a stunning blue jay feather I see on the sidewalk…

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On cold nights, nothing comforts me more than hot chocolate. Marshmallows help, of course. I have an uncle that buys me different gourmet chocolates every Christmas. I’ve even had Elvis Peanut Butter Banana Hot Chocolate. Whaaaaaat? Yeah, you heard me! This year I got Dagoba Chai Hot Chocolate. Whew! Spicy!
Still, all my years of hot chocolate drinking experience couldn’t prepare me for this:

Drinking Chocolate!
Not hot chocolate. Drinking chocolate! Found in a small shop in Santa Fe, New Mexico called Kakawa.
It’s thick, it’s rich, and it’s delicious. I tried spicy ones, sweet ones, and ones that hardly resembled chocolate they were so flowery! They call them Elixirs.
This is the way the Aztecs drank chocolate. They even had the recipe for the way Marie Antoinette drank her chocolate! You can drink about the amount you commonly find in an espresso shot, but not much else unless you’re a die-hard sweet tooth! That’s okay, because that’s all they offer.

This is my uncle drinking chocolate in their earthy, cozy shop. Don’t you love their porcelain? They really thought about their mode of transport for this stuff. They could have used a teacup and been all wrong!

Though I haven’t been there in a few months, I keep thinking about that smooth, flavorful chocolate, and I know it’s the first place I’ll hit next time I’m down in the painted desert. Maybe I can will myself there if I dream about it hard enough…