RELIC OF REBELLION


BEFORE  I think  how to respond to a stranger,  I  feel them;  the gestures,  expressions, tones of voice,  movement,  conversation, mannerisms, and the eyes.   I acknowledge feelings first, then I think.

UNMANNERLY  I can improvise a dance to any music,  except ballet and tango.  I don’t feel rigid and life’s burden lifts when I dance.   Lately, at dusk my day ends with vinyl soul and rock and roll music. It works wonders for the dinner hours on your own.

ISADORA DUNCAN

THE sense of sprite  or gloom in the city reaches me when I’m driving.    I feel a whirl of sensory  perception from the drivers faces.   To witness  the joyous reciprocal ink of friendship between shop keepers, cops and other cops, city workers, and service technicians trying to fix satellites, and cables  in a city of inconsistent infrastructure.

SOME of my principles are unsupported with experience,  but more with GROWING UP WITH GANGSTERS  training that I cannot erase.    My  theme is unbalanced, I take the extreme path instead of the path with arrows.  It is why writing settles my sea-saw.  As I sit in my antique wooden chair looking out, a  feeling  leaps to the clouds;   creamy linen-white like parasols floating through the radiant royal blue sky.  A  tiny thread of blush pink ribbons the outskirts of Santa Fe.  Beneath this canvass are the stick branches of winter trees, then a gust of wind blows the last leaves into a dance.  The sedate and quiet surroundings relieve my spinning head and I just continue to sit and not fidget.   Every pedestrian that passes becomes a source of study. There is a woman who walks weekly with a Parrot on her shoulder. This draws attention to her and she relishes the conversation with her Parrot, who appears to love to sit on her shoulder.  The old man with the bent back that walks with his chin resting on his chest is a storyteller.  I have a difficult time understanding him.

HE’S  told me that he knew Elliott Barker;  who owned my house for fifty or more years and was the  distinguished New Mexico game warden, environmentalist, and author who coined Smoky Bear.  After the cub was rescued Elliott took him to President Roosevelt and asked that the bear become the mascot for preventing forest fires.   Men and women with legacies like that leave some presence in their residence. I think that is why I feed the twenty-five birds, six doves, white-tailed hawk, and Homeboy, the squirrel.  I live in Elliott’s office.  Maybe even wrote where  he did.

THERE  is always commotion and a raucous of human emotion coming from the hotel across the street.  Staff workers chatter into laughter, truck loaders shout and spit,  deliveries stop traffic and sometimes a bad boy yells out obscenities.   Cops are always dropping by to check-on some hotel hiccup.  Dog walkers tug at their dogs and the Santa Fe street vagabonds dart by staring at the brick sidewalk.   This street activity is in slow motion pumping along with the beat of my heart.

SOME people appear to drag their bodies rather than the other way around. I wonder if all the global google news has weighted us down.  Young bohemian gals walk by  and turn towards the house when they hear the music.   Facial strain and deadness erase their youth,  even when the music is pumped up jam or rock n roll.   This nonchalant  detached  behavior  bothers me because I am an aloof!      The exchange of human voice and expression is our background symphony, along with the birds, crows, power saws, blowers, and sirens.  This street is part of my theme;  a juxtaposition of affluence and simplicity.  I am a 21st century flapper clinging to the roar of independence, self-expression and breaking rules.  If  we  feel the chord of festivity,  we should not hold back.  I am going out now to see if  I can feel Christmas.  images XMAS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE THINKER & THE PUPPET


After I  published this last story,  I spoke with White Zen, my palgal in Santa Fe.  She said the last paragraph of the story made her cry.  Juxtaposed between writers Zen of exporting such feeling, and the sadness we both shared. White Zen had a Thinker too. I guess there are more of them than I knew.

Having had six true loves in my life, who impregnated me with knowledge generosity, and loyalty is what made me so unprepared for the Thinker.  He does resemble Macedonio;  the first man to peel off  the woman in me. They both have charisma, mystery and good dark looks,  Macedonio is dead now, and the memories of him still glisten;  like the day in Golden Gate park under the cherry blossom tree.

What I miss most, is the giggling, dancing, folly-maker that the Thinker pulled out of me  as If I were a puppet. He called me Puppet because that’s how he saw me.  I’ve got to get my Jojo  by tomorrow. I live Thanksgiving as a day with admissions of selfishness and greed. I need  to be washed away into thanks that I am here with a mouthful full of food, and a napkin.

Thanksgiving with Rudy and Opus I his brother.DSC00512

PART TWO OF ADVENTURES IN LIVINGNESS


 

On shore the land felt liquefied and unfamiliar without the sensual spark swimming along side me.  The leaves glistened above my head, like golden gems you’d wear on a necklace. The Santa Fe river sang its song over rocks, branches and brush, while white butterflies and birds fluttered an awakening.  I passed cafes, watched couples and families luxuriating in the sunlight, Canyon road art hawkers snapped photos, gallery owners chatted on the courtyards.

20141021_150953_resizedThe stage of comfort as picturesque as a postcard.  I was outside the activity.  I rushed home, passing people who walked as if lost, and shoes stuck in tar.  Thoughts trotted like ponies all going in different directions. No path had an answer, or a reason, or an understanding of our endearment. 

The Thinker swims close by. Sometimes I feel him soaring past me, glancing for a moment, then he’s gone. The house is quiet, doors and shades closed. My nakedness is wrapped in blankets and the aroma of pumpkin spice from a candle.  My stage is empty, no audience of  any sort. These are  the moments when examination of behavior, discipline, and self-honesty rise above  the solitude.  A woman of lovers rather than husbands, beckons my heart to open to the odyssey of  love.

I appreciate all the new followers from the THE THINKER story. Thank you for

your comments and hope you return for more. 

 

 

 

SEASONAL BEHAVIOR & ROSH HASHANAH


The throw of the dice this week lands on adventures in contemplation. Before the day begins to intersect with my solitude, I sit at my desk in a pre-dawn crystal of clarity. Only the light from a candle shines on a journal of hand written notes. I walked outside to asses the damage of a devilish storm that ravished the night. Leaves dropped from trees and the street is slick with the residue of the storm. Autumn is rising from dormancy; she is painting the leaves pumpkin and cranberry, while impregnating the atmosphere with the perfume of seasonal change. The inversion seeps into my pores.
While shopping at Whole Foods last week, for my first stockpile of chicken tortilla soup, I noticed expressions of 20131003_160015[1]contemplation on faces. Not in the choice of their groceries, but a characteristic of preparation for winter. Pumpkins, firewood and potted mums have replaced the outdoor display of flower baskets and lavender.  The silence will blanket time beyond the hours of sleep. This is when contemplation is given the freedom to spread over my thoughts and feelings. September marks the disrobing of summer; as if the float of festivities,  parties, and outdoor markets were moved into storage.
Last week was the beginning of the new Year on the Jewish Calendar, Rosh Hashanah. Unlike New Years for the traditional American, is a time of contemplation and reckoning of ones faults. We are asked to examine our behavior and plant new seeds of integrity from within.
“Another popular practice of the holiday is Tashlikh (“casting off”). We walk to flowing water, such as a creek or river, on the afternoon of the first day and empty our pockets into the river, symbolically casting off our sins. Small pieces of bread are commonly put in the pocket to cast off. This practice is not discussed in the Bible, but is a long-standing custom.” Excerpt from Wikipedia.
What I do is to take my emotional and physical wardrobe, and move it from the closet in my casita, to the upstairs storage closet. The skimpy and sexy finery are replaced with turtlenecks, leggings and wool. The emotional wardrobe, is pressed down to the fibers, so it can be studied. In this examination, the reflection of myself is not as important as it has been, the stubble of age has bitten me but not in a bitter way. It has burned down my childish selfishness, insistence of acknowledgment, intolerance of behavior unfamiliar to me, and detached me from the wayward choices made by our government. I used to work with the news turned on and the volume down.

This summer, beginning just after my adventure in Malibu with my friend Chantel, my grip on aloofness towards Santa Fe,  frustrations associated with publication, and narcissism dissipated. It is possible that one month in the company of Chantal, her vibrancy and generosity softened my reserve. In the last four months, I’ve at last given up tightening against the unmanageable forces that intersect with me, and meet the pleasures of humanity in nakedness. I stood in my doorway, shaded by trees and shrubbery, naked – simply to feel the sensation. In return for this placation of behavior, I was invited by my vacation rental guests into their gatherings and parties; a wedding couple and their twenty-five guests included me in their after party. We cajoled, roused, sang and danced until my neighbor, JD, shamed our festivity and ordered me to shut the party down. It was one-thirty in the morning. I wrapped my arm around his neck, and whispered, ‘Oh, you are so right; I will take care of it. Don’t worry.’ JD, a man with twenty- three civil complaints for noise ordinance disruption against the La Posada Resort across the street, replied ‘Well LouLou, if you don’t, I’ll have to call the police.’ I hugged him tighter, and said. “Of course you will, and you have every right.’ This is not the behavior that guided me last year. I returned to the party and made the announcement to the guests, who were by now leaning against the walls, drinking shots of whisky in bowls, and I said:
‘ Party to dawn kids, but keep your voices down.’ The lights went out at four-thirty in the morning. When I left the house, empty bottles, uneaten meals, flowers, shoes, and scarfs scattered everywhere. This disruption of my polished tidy home would have erupted me into a silent rage a year ago. After they checked-out, my new pal and assistant Marc, entered the house. Stepping over pillows, popcorn, sticky wood floors, and into a kitchen of stained counters and food crumbs; a counterfeit of my dear old hollering father shouted;  ‘ This is outrageous. They’ll pay for this!’
“ Stop. We were part of it. It was a wedding party. What did you expect?”

“What the heck is that? Marc said pointing to a clump of food stuck to the wall.
“ Looks like salsa and chips.” I said with a sponge in my hand. By the time we reached the rooms upstairs, I too was chuckling. Two days later the house  converted from slipshod to spotless.
The spell of silence has now been broken. The sidewalk blowers stir the leaves, doors open, the clatter of buffet trays wheeling down the street from the kitchen at La Posada pushed by employees in white jackets, swipe greetings, and converse in Spanish. My birds are screeching for more seeds, and the candle is just about burned out. The unknown outcome of our state of affairs in government and society has padded me with extra elasticity, tolerance, and love. Maybe our collective kindness will intercede with the poisonous bitterness and vengeance that titillates through the news.

OUR HOME FOR LEASE: LIVE WORK-GALLERY-OFFICE-B & B- SHOWROOM-


OUR HOME FOR LEASE: LIVE WORK-GALLERY-OFFICE-B & B- SHOWROOM-

5 BDR/3 BATHS. FORMAL DINING ROOM. PRIVATE GATED. GARDEN MOVIE THEATER
ACROSS THE STREET FROM LA POSADA RESORT & SPA.
HISTORIC EAST-SIDE OF SANTA FE, NM
2 BLOCKS TO DOWNTOWN PLAZA

 

CATCH THE ART IN SANTA FE PART ONE


 

Portrait of Eugenia Huici (Eugenia Errázuriz)

Portrait of Eugenia Huici (Eugenia Errázuriz) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CATCH THE ART WAVE OF SANTA FE    

Living in Santa Fe is a fertile landscape of more than sage, lavender, mud and ancient dwellings. It is where art branches out in new directions of livingness.

Along the path of adventures in the arts, I attended “AT HOME WITH FASHION, presented by ShowHouse Santa Fe in collaboration with Artgraze; a league of interior designers, artists, and galleries to embellish our homes with, “the art of living with art.” They patterned classic and chic Fashion Design on Interiors selected by ShowHouse Santa Fe founders, David Naylor and Jennifer Ashton. The Santa Fe Interior Designers set up shop in a quintessential Santa Fe home and opened the doors to the public to eat, drink, dance, get lost, or be discovered.  Along the interior paths of the home, artists, designers, home buyers, and sponsors conversed while behind the scenes; funds were dispersed from a generous monarchy to support the Community Foundation of Dollars4Schools. The designers worked for eight weeks, to transform a modest décor, into a stage setting of flamboyance, élan, and their secret design techniques. The designers; Jennifer Ashton, Jackie Butler, Gloria Devan, Pam Duncan, Emily Henry, Edy Keeler, David Naylor Annie O’Carroll, Lisa Samuels, Paul Rochford and Michael Violante. They schlepped all the furnishings, and accessories, including wardrobe accents, and art work to the home and coutured the house as if it was a model.  The epervescese of this lively group spread outdoors, onto a glittering garden patio designed by Catherine Clemens where the best Barbeque chicken I ever tasted permeated the painted postcard silhouette of sunset on the mesa.  Who was there?  A man in yellow rubber suit, fashion models, filmmakers, photographers, art collectors, and Antique Activists. In the crowd I noticed a distinctive gathering of men and women stylists bearing: squash necklaces, Concha belts, O’Keefing hair styles, and jewelry to stop traffic at Paseo Peralta and Cerrillos Road. The 4747 square foot Las Campanas Estate is listed with Ashley Margetson of Sotheby International Real Estate.

 

 

 

REARRANGING AND REMEMBERING


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September is the month to rearrange; wardrobes, patio furnishings, and thermostats. Heaters go upstairs, fans go downstairs, down blankets are released from plastic zip lock bags, and coverlets are removed. We seal the windows with weather stripping and my list notebook follows me everywhere.  If you live in the seasons then you understand that the menial work goes deeper as our bodies prepare for winter’s residency.
The interior change, what Anais Nin refers to as; ‘our emotional landscape,’ wakes to a chime of awareness. Now that I’ve completed all those mindless tasks, I’m ready to listen to the chime and renew the organism of emotion. On this brilliant film shooting day in September shadows of light, glaring light, brush the feathers of my wild birds as they tap dance from tree branch to feeder. Between the leaves that drop like confetti from the trees, the New Mexican sunlight feels like ten thousand flashlights in your face.
Summers postcard days flash on and off  as I write; Natives dancing at the Plaza in the wildness of fiesta to Latin and Mexican music, while Anglos freestyle a sort of slow rock and roll hippie dance.  I meet strangers and we exchange our exaggerated cheer and humor, during festivals, fiesta parades, and the burning of Zozobra.  These yearly events chisel the face of Santa Fe into a collage of New Mexico colors; magenta, orange, lime, and yellow surface on paper Mache flowers, streamers, and costumes.
     The phantasmagoria of my summer thumped one night in July during a Monsoon thunderstorm. My summer vacation rental guests were in the main house and I was in my casita sitting at the desk writing, with the door open. It was pouring rain, the kind of shower that explodes from the rain gutters like a tub faucet and those huge blue and white La Posada Hotel umbrellas seemed  race up the street unattended.  When the skirmish between warm air and thunderstorm collided, lightning seared the charcoal clouds and thunder bombed me out of my swivel chair.
      How rigid my body felt;  like hardened cement, but the phone rang and released me from this state of shock.
     “ LouLou, I think we have some issues in your house.”
I rushed over in my kimono (a writing uniform) and found the three of them stiff as statues. Young headlight deer eyes, all piercing me at once. 
     “ We saw sparks, and all the electricity is out. I think the lightning hit your house. ” 
     I didn’t’t know what to say; suddenly I was responsible for this rarity of nature’s behavior.  They clung to their cell phones, and watched as I feigned authority and calm by checking the blackened outlets. The electronics were silenced, appliances deadened, circuit breaker inoperable. I called my friend, White Zen, who doesn’t fluster easily.
      “I have to get help now. Right now! What should I do?”
     “I’ll call my electrician. He’s really good. Are you all right?”
     “No, not at all right.”
     “You want me to come over?”
     “No, but thanks anyway.”
     A few moments later, she called back.
  “ I pulled Phil out of Smiths Grocery. He’s on his way, she said with humor, enough to release a molecule of laughter from me.
     “ I can’t believe this. Do you know the chances of being hit by lightning?”
     “ No, but don’t take it personally.”
The funny thing is, I did. Other house disasters; like the time the plumbing backed up, or the historic windows wouldn’t’close didn’t’t have any comparison to this cataclysm.  Then my next door neighbor, the Architect, and professor of all topics informed me, “ Oh you’re in bad shape; you’re going to have to rewire the whole house.”
     Phil arrived within ten minutes, and I greeted him with a hug, more for support of someone’s appearance with tools than anything.While my quests and I tried to answer his questions, all of us at once, he went down to the basement, as we followed behind. Phil replaced something in the circuit breaker, and the lights came back on.  I clapped my hands but they didn’t’t join in;  they went back to texting.
     Then he tried the TV and stereo. The stereo is fried he said, but the television is okay.
     “What about our Wi Fi connection?” I asked.
     “The surge protector fried too. You have to call your provider. Good luck on that.  I’ll come back tomorrow, after you get PNM (City Electric) out here to check which panel.”
     “Which panel what?” I said.
He went into a Wikipedia explanation about the two hundred and fortyhouse voltage, and who is responsible for the outage. I followed Phil  outside after failing to soft stroke my tenants.  What made it even worse is they are musicians with the Santa Fe Opera and live sensitive structured lives.  One gal remained board stiff and and unblinking, the young man offered all of his technical support but his hands were trembling. The leader of the pack, who greets life with radiant optimism, was busy eating crackers in rapid succession.  I felt the responsibility of a mother, and so I assured them of my competence. Then I  slipped into jeans and T-Shirt, almost falling over as I raced across the street to La Posada and gulped a Martini. While I was still trembling, staff and guests gathered around me.
     The concierge said, “The lightning hit your house; I saw it from the window! Are you all right?”
     “ On no, a bar guest remarked and rubbed my back, ‘Oh Loulou, something always happens when you have guests, a waitress commented, and another broke out in a euphoric smile and said, Wow LouLou! What was it like?”
    “Ahhh. It’s not a humor story Ed; it’s a disaster!”
The electrical company showed up late that night, and poked little metal toothpicks into a box outdoors; a box I didn’t’t know existed.
     “Sorry Mam. Our panel is working fine. You’ll have to get the electrician to make further repairs. Wow! That lightning sure hit hard. Have a nice night. ” Ha Ha, I said and stumbled into my room. No Internet, no television and no music.  I slept with a pillow over my head.
     The next day Phil returned to trouble shoot everything.  My television and the house stereo blew out, so did the surge protector to our modem, and the electronic gate was broken. The guests couldn’t get their cars out of the driveway.  We pried the gate open, and they backed out in jerky anxious motion.
          A week later, in between substantial attempts to behave normally, all of us were still irritable, prone to trip, biting nails, and voices wavering over the tenseness that clipped our tongues.   It was never the same after that; our simpatico shared residency turned into staged friendliness.
     That’s the thing about lightning, it gets inside of you, and you are involuntarily rearranged.  My emotional landscape is naturally in a state of alarm. I startle easily, imagine voices, and see too much in the dark.
Too be continued.   
 


SNOW DRIFT TO DANCE


SMILEY’S DICE-ADVENTURES IN LIVINGNESS

White Wolf introduced himself to me when he worked Valet at La Posada Resort. He was the kool one with enough style and manners to attract attention. I learned he also provided private airport transportation and luxury limo service. A trip to Albany, New York was on my schedule, so I asked White Wolf if he’d drive me to the Albuquerque Airport.  When I told him my flight left at 6:30 AM, he didn’t flinch, ‘I’ll be at your house at 4:00 AM with Starbucks-what’s your drink?’

He showed up, loaded the car, asked me to select my own music, and off we went. I felt like I was riding with James Bond; smooth shifts, minor breaks, all the time engaging me in conversation. The combination relieved my pre-boarding stress and woke me up. From then on, I chose White Wolf’sairport service. When he picked me up from Albuquerque, he had Fiji water, Travel & Leisure Magazine, chewing gum, and he played Vic Damone. ‘Chill, sit back, tell me all about the trip.’

At my kitchen counter, on a twenty-below morning, White Wolf leaned back against a bar stool too petite for a swarthy 6’ 4” man. His Johnson & Johnson silky blond hair is swept back, and I want to touch it, but we don’t play with physical affections. White Wolf’s forty, looks thirty, and thinks like he served an attitude and values apprenticeship under a wise guru. He’s on a break; from plowing snow at Albertsons, the Yoga Center, and private homes. This is before he reports for work at Geronimo Restaurant, where he not only parks the cars, but walks the ladies indoors, keeps the Zapata’s outdoors, and directs traffic on Canyon Road until midnight. He’s wearing a sheet white Polo turtleneck and black slacks, his day look, and I’m about to serve pesto, prosciutto and feta cheese frittata for late breakfast.

White Wolf is sipping a sixteen-once Chai and unwinding his broad shoulders in a circular motion as he considers current consciousness of Santa Fe.       

     “It’s a different kind of materialism. You really want it but you can’t have it. The most simple things; a toaster, a new phone, pinion wood–cause we’re cold–it’s so cold! The guy in front of the Homeless Shelter was near frozen when I drove by to drop off a bundle of clothes. Why is it so cold? Even the valet has to wear BMW beanies. These are some funny times.”

     “What’s so funny about not having money?” I snapped.

White Wolf breaks into a full body laughing recess. His sailor-blue eyes are just slightly turned up when he laughs. This transmits his effortless humorous pitch on life.

     “It’s different,” I said. I mean everything feels unfamiliar.”

     “Yea, its okay to feel,” White Wolf said. “Things are rattling around. That’s why the Gorge Bridge felt so stable the day I drove up to Taos.  I think it’s the most stable thing in my life right now! Hah.”

I had placed the frittata in front of White Wolf, but he hadn’t touched it yet. Even when he’s starved; he lets the food sit there and cool off.  I’ve never seen a man not eat when food is placed in front of him. I was already biting into the frittata; relishing a real meal.

 I found a momentary silent inlet and asked him if the food was cool enough. White Wolf looked down, touched it with his index finger, and then his appetite fired off. After a few pensive moments, as if he were saying grace, he took a proper bite. He takes the food seriously, intensely. He’ll make a remarkable husband for some woman. He talks a lot about marriage, and the songs he’ll sing to his bride’s mother the day of the wedding. He confides in me uninhibitedly, as if we were two teenagers, cutting class. I feel youthful when he’s in the house; the absence of masks, emotional camouflage, and exaggeration is how I remember adolescence. When you’re so much yourself, even the most serious student, is humorous in his self-absorbance.   

    “What’d you say Wednesday was–on your new schedule?”   he asked.

    “Wednesday… I forgot since you showed up. I know! It’s Gallery LouLou marketing.”

     “We have to give out two cards a week. I want you to pass out two everyday.”

I nodded my head and bowed.     

     “Geronimo been slow, no A-list celebrity types, no mothers and daughters; cause the daughters don’t want to come here anymore.”  

     “Neither do single me, I interrupted.  And if they do they’re from Los Alamos. Can you see me with a scientist or an engineer? I’d make them crazy.”    

     “Listen–someone asks you out for an Ecco latte, don’t be a bitch. Just do it! You reverse sweat it. If he’s a jerk; deebo him.”  Deebo is the guy who shows up late, and should have been on time. His quip is unabashed, and he handles himself like Sean Penn; smoking and all smiles while he reverses blame.      

     “Can we change the subject?” I said.

     “No! I want to know why you’re not even trying to hook up?”

     “Because I’m convinced the man I want isn’t in Santa Fe. The ones I’ve met are looking for a caretaker, a fly-fishing partner, or a biker. Look, there are two types of men: one loves a woman because she’s not a man, and the other one seeks a mother who he can bash around.”

     “I want to rat those guys out–like the ones that pinch and don’t tip. Give a name to that.”  

      “ Listen to this; the newly coined slogan for New Mexico is Truth.” I said.

     “ Truth. About what?” 

     “ Exactly! What truth are they referring to? How bout’ the naked truth? Picture a Native American woman out in the arroyo in a leather crop top, her black hair elevated in strands by the wind, dust on her cheekbones. New Mexico is naked, isn’t it?” I asked.

     “It’s isolated. If you can afford to come to Santa Fe and not blow your brains out, or go broke, you deserve to be here. Right?”  He is smiling. Even the painful truths, are reformed as tests of endurance rather than complaints.   He developed his own poetic rap dialogue that I suppose comes from growing up in two cultures: one in the hood, and the other in the wealthiest homes in Santa Fe. 

      “ Then it’s a good place for you. Like your friend that takes her poodle to Hospice. I really respect her for that. That’s what she’s doing with Santa Fe.” He said.

     “What do you do with Santa Fe?” I asked.

     “I’m the union organizer for luxury limo drivers. Like, iron your shirt and shine your shoes, have CD’s in the car, and water. You know–like this is New Mexico but we can spell Burberry. On the weekends I’m the ladies traffic controller!”

     “ What is that?”

     “At the clubs. Some of the guys are okay, all suited up, hoping for a dance, but some are like, I’ll buy you a cocktail if I can follow you home. Someone has to protect them. Ladies can’t drive home cause they’ve cocktailed all night, or they can’t find their car keys, or they want to impress their friends with the Viking chauffeur. It’s chill; they’re good girls during the day.” 

The morning turned into afternoon, and now I was cleaning dishes, and watching the birds from the kitchen window. Every hour or so I stop responding to White Wolf, and let him talk. I can feel the rush of his life; how he sprints from limo driver, to Geronimo valet, then to Albuquerque, the gym, and his family. People who live intensely engaged in a variety of relationships; stir their surroundings like a human wind.  Every time White Wolf leaves, I’m bouncing through the living room and dancing.  

When I tuned into the conversation he was recounting his day in ardent animation. His laughter echoes; almost like he’s singing a song and it last a long time.

     “I don’t mind giving back to our greedy city tax roll.  I feed the meters at the Lensic; that quarter made a difference. Huh?”… more laughter and he repeats, ‘we’re down to quarters.’

     “Those meter guys were writing tickets like, here take that, and then on to the next car. Don’t bother coming back to Santa Fe, and it’s the weekend! That’s the barometer of my city—-hurry hurry write that ticket. Once it’s done it’s done.”  Suddenly he stands, positioning his legs a few feet apart, he leans over, picks up his keys, and his phone.

     “Come on let’s go for a quick creep.”

     “A what?”

     “Cruise the plaza, get you outdoors, come on it’ll make you feel better.”

     “I’m not dressed for outdoors..”

     “Put on a pair of low brow boots, and a jacket. Not fashioning this afternoon. You won’t even get out of the car. Come on.”

I listened because White Wolf is definitive in decisions. He doesn’t waver back and forth or want to argue. I rushed upstairs, zipped up my boots and grabbed a down jacket. He was standing by the window.

    “We have twenty-minutes.” He said pointing to his watch.

We hopped into his silver VW GTI and he told me to pick a CD. I shuffled through the stack, while he backed out. Just then I noticed a car pull out across Palace Avenue.

     “Wolf! Watch out!”

     “I got it.” He leaned back, shot eyeball calmness to me and asked what CD I wanted to hear. He didn’t scold me for my alarm and doubt. After that I knew my caution was unnecessary. You learn a lot about a man by his driving. It’s a graph of his responsiveness, confidence, and how he handles sudden movement. White Wolf cruised over the icy asphalt and into the empty Plaza, all white and brown like a two envelopes sitting side by side. He was now slouching back, one hand on the wheel, messing with something in the open compartment, and driving 15 mph. There weren’t a lot of cars, but I had the feeling White Wolf didn’t care if there was someone behind us. We drove past Santa Fe Dry Goods, and he stopped, “Empty– that’s sad. No one buying fuzzy boots or hats.”

He drove by every shop and looked in, as if he was monitoring shopping trends. His eyes swept the streets, the alleyways, and I mimicked him, because I knew this was for me. We went slow as a couple of tired horses, so the eyes could bring in the unknown: a homeless man on a corner, the Indian woman selling jewelry, the Mideastern jewelers smoking cigarettes, and a few locals trotting back to work from a break. I looked up to the sky and found a patch of blue, and pointed it out to White Wolf,” and he turned to me and said, “I’m happy you noticed.”

     “It’s two o’clock already.” I said.

     “How’d it get to be two o’clock?” White Wolf kept the engine at crawl speed all the way back to the house. “You have to go to Santa Fe Spa–at least go see people! And go after six.” I nodded my head as I got out of the car, went inside, turned on the Rolling Stones and danced. 

 

LADY OF PALACE AVENUE


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The throw of the dice this week lands on adventures in livingness; one day at a time. People with terminal illness, suffering from a shattered romance, a death of a friend, a natural disaster, always say the same thing; One day at a time.

Walking up Palace Avenue on a day spread with sunlight, and a continuum of power walkers, bikers and runners, passing by in whiffs of urgency, I took my time. I didn’t feel like flexing, just evaporating into the shadows, and the moving clouds. I walked by a little adobe, that once was a dump site for empty bottles, cartons, worn out furniture, and piles of wood. A year later, the yard is almost condominium clean. Just as I was passing the driveway, the little woman whom I’d seen walking up Palace with her bag of groceries, appeared like a gust of history in the driveway of her adobe casita. She wore her heavy blanket like coat and a bandanna on her head. Regardless of weather, she’s bundled up in the same woven Indian coat and long wool skirt. I stood next to her, a foot or so taller, and she unraveled history, without my prompting. She told me about the Martinez family, the Montoyas, and the Abeytas, all families she knew, all with streets named after them. Estelle asked me my name, and then took my hand in her weathered unyielding grip, ‘Oh I had an Aunt named Lucero, and we called her LouLou.’ She didn’t let go of my hand, and then she told me that the families, some names I’ve forgotten, bought homes on Palace in 1988 for $50,000, She shook her finger to demonstrate her point. ‘You know how many houses the Garcias bought? Five! Then they fixed them up and sold them.’

I could have stood there in the gravel driveway listening to Estelle all afternoon. She owns the oral history I love to record; but it is difficult to understand her, she talks with the speed of a southwest wind. We parted and I thought about the times in my life when the smallest of interactions elevates my spirit. In older people, who are not addicted to gadgets and distant intimacy, I’m reminded of how speed socializing has diminished the opportunity for a sidewalk chat.

PAIN OR PLEASANTRY- SHOVELING SNOW IN SANTA FE


WRITING BY HAND at my tiny Eurasian desk facing the window to the west; framed by time and familiarity into the branches of JD’s pine tree, today ward-robed in bacon colored leaves.   The black silky toned crows are still basking like prowesses on the branches, and waiting for the crumbs that fall out of the garbage cans at the hotel across the street. My bird family has already eaten through a full day’s feeding, and is fleecing each other to first place at the table. The silky drape of the winter sky sometimes adorned with lacy clouds is blue as sea and has shaken the clouds all night. N08041215581.jpgO SNOW. I am selfishly opposed to snow because  I don’t happen to get snow shoveling without gut-wrenching lower back pain.  How do you shovel snow?

I’m wearing one cotton camisole, one shapeless thermo  turtle neck, a down vest, and when I go outside I wear a down jacket. I’m so bundled up it feels like my limbs are bound in masking tape.  My teeth look whiter and my hair is flat instead of frizzy. Snow changes everything.   From my desk, I write, without thoughts predefined, just a drain of emotional threads from my heart, listening to Zap Mama as she takes me to the wild, naked, warm region of Africa.

This year isn’t like last year. The absentee man, fussing with the fireplace, making me afternoon espresso, kissing me when I cook, hugging me when I pull a folly, has excused himself from my adventures in livingess.  It is not at all like last year. Long time friend Rudy is in San Diego and so I am not interpreting the division of attention, between two men laughing at the kitchen table, and eating my blueberry pancakes, as they did last year.

I had the song of Judy Garland’s rainbow in my heart.  It was a time I will never forget, or regret, because I was satisfied for several years. Unabridged ecstasy poured out of body, and spread over my attitude, abundant spirit, mood, facial expressions, and my dreams were filled with amusement instead of nightmares.  I wander into unfamiliar snowy woods unsteady, juxtaposed between, acceptance and self anger for being so so… whatever it is that I pump into myself.  If I was judged by my adventures and not my accomplishments I would be a contender.

Growing up with gangsters teaches you to live with risk, to invite challenge, and  not complain if you loose. It’s wrong but it’s right.   Nothing is worthless; not one moment should be wasted because there is always that window of escape. Our minds are there to take us away. I’m escaping now, Zap Mama Pandora station on the headset, and writing. This is taking the moment out of frustration and into pleasantry.

My steps inward reply with emotional break-troughs, mundane tasks accomplished, solo ventures, match.com dates (another story) and a comedic sideshow as I wrestle with sealed boxes, make repairs, and toggle in my patent leather too stylish boots to actually be called snow shoes.   In these moments, I assure myself that evolving is never ending, and we do not ever know what to expect from ourselves.   If I write down the pleasantries surrounding my life, the blessings rise up and give me a softened comfort.  The sweet peace may vanish the next day, or be intercepted by the news, a wreck in the street, an unexpected phone call. The crossroads of everyday life comes and goes. Between all of these uncontrollable incidents we are writing stories that some day will be told in conversation, or written in journals and books. The essence of our changing lives is universal. Why am I doing this now, why am I feeling this now? Etc.

Remember your pleasantries, and bring them closer.   A few of my snow cold freezing feet remedies:  Kneipps Herbal Lavender Bath: Do not apply to the face!

Ralph Lauren Candles: I paid too much, but the scent is like having a man around the house.

Homeland.  Sunday nights Showtime. Clare Danes has replaced my empty strong female lead on television. I mean, this is one to Watch! ( season ended. Vegas on Tuesday’s is the other one to watch)

My friend Loren visits three times a  week at least: Snow means, silence, and hermitizing, so I  can’t wait to open the door to Luxury Limo Loren, and make him brunch.  We harmonize for hours;  on tones of fretful fear, wicked secrets, sex,  laughter, Santa Fe, immigration, buy American, and the crust of survival that is stale and must be reheated.

Treats: Snicker bars, Vodka and snacks that I can nibble on while indoors more than I’d like to be.

Bar Bells: For those combative moments on hold with Comcast, SWA or Verizon.

Books: Time for Virginia Wolf and Jack London.

Movies- Zorba the Greek, Auntie Mame, U-Turn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Once Upon a Time in America.

I AM PACKED FOR THE BEACH, JUST IN CASE.