One of my favorite trail walks meanders past a small prairie dog colony, and facing the colony is a memorial bench in honor of “Molly.”  Molly was a dog, and I am sure she loved to watch “her” prairie dogs.  A few months ago, I saw something I had not seen before, and which I later learned was the characteristic prairie dog “jump yip.”  This was early summer, and I suspect one of the jumpers was pretty young: it jumped, yipped, and promptly fell over.  And because it was so much fun (?) it would do it again . . .

jump yip

Around the same time, on one of my other favorite walks, I met Nick LoFaro, a metal artist who was putting the finishing touches to an enormous sculpture called “Poseidon”:




A few months later, I commissioned my own (much smaller) sculpture from Nick.  I wanted the jump yip, but Nick could not build in the jump and still have it look like a prairie dog . . .  so he made him into the sentinel.  But I still call him “Yipper”:



Why yes, there are spoons and forks and gears and all sorts of reclaimed metal parts!  I am especially fond of the drill bit for the tail, and the blue marbles for his eyes.  These days, he either hangs out as a guardian/sentinel on our tiny front balcony overlooking the commons area, or in our equally tiny backyard overlooking the next subdivision.  And just think:  we are art collectors!

Bits of Happiness

Finding bits of happiness along the bike trail:

fish rock

A cunning fish!

art in public places1

art in public places2

art installation1

Vandalism . . .

art installation2

. . .  and Art Installation

art installation3

. . . of Found Objects

I would have liked to have known who was responsible for The Shed!  It was boarded up — and presumably all the found objects inside it was removed — within the week.  The Shed is along the railroads, in an area used by the homeless as “hang out” spot.

Santa Fe 2018

“I don’t go to Santa Fe anymore; it just isn’t what it used to be.” She was New Mexico born and bred, still lives in Albuquerque, and goes to Taos for what Santa Fe used to be.  I have been visiting Santa Fe for almost 20 years, and I have my own ideas of what Santa Fe is, and was: It is a city with many identities, and I don’t think it was ever what it used to be.

creative mornings (2)

In Santa Fe, I am Opie: I am open, I am kind, I listen.  It is an interesting persona for me, and for a few minutes out of their day, people can unload some part of their identities on a stranger who listens, who they will not see again.  On a whim I went to a Creative Mornings Santa Fe event.  The speaker was a physicist, and while he was interesting, it was the mixer before the talk that was stimulating.  I talked to Sharon for about half an hour: she  had seen someone fill in the name badge blank under “I’m curious to know about your . . . .” with “first love,” and she told me not about her first love, but about her last love.  A white woman who grew up in a tiny Hispanic village thinking she “fit in,” only realizing as she really grew up that she fit in only because of the kindness of her neighbors, and that then as now, she was never going to fit into her Hispanic lover’s world.

I think I fit in, until something happens that tells me I do not:  A look from someone who wonders what an Asian woman could possibly know about small town architecture, or multiple histories of settlement of the American West, or distorted symbolism(s) of the Alamo . . .  I think racism doesn’t apply to me, until it applies.

But then, on my last day in Santa Fe, a random act of joy:


A small act of inclusion and acceptance from a stranger.

In between, a thought-provoking interactive/immersive installation at the New Mexico Museum of Art: Pollination, by the art collective Postcommodity:


Enter a stall, insert token:


The shade goes up, and the show begins:


Nature, managed and controlled, not quite real, the object of desire in a land of little rain.

Santa Fe 2015: Sunflowers

A well-dressed tourist in this city of tourists, she stood in front of the still life of sunflowers.

“I was in Amsterdam years ago and got to go to the Van Gogh Museum,” she said.  “It was a privilege.”

“How lucky you were,” the artist agreed.

“I loved his Sunflowers painting,”  she continued, “and of course I can see his influence on your work.”

“You know, I get that a lot,”  the artist replied. “It’s the sunflowers, it’s the only thing people see.  But except that they are sunflowers, everything else really is different!”

“Yes, but you can still see his influence,”  the visitor insisted, turning to look at the artist.

Outside, a beautiful day of turquoise skies and spring breeze.

“Thank you,” the artist stepped back on a sigh.

Being a Collector

From the latest Santa Fe trip:

Little Dancer

Oil painting from Raymond Nordwalll, whose art gallery I have always managed to miss because it is tucked in a little alley off Canyon Road.  I went back four times to look at her . . . .

She is just a little girl, dressed up for her first ceremonial dance, and she looks at us and says: “I’m smiling and is this all right?”  It is the perfect expression, the one that little kids have when they are about 4 or 5 and they are asked to smile for the camera and instead of smiling, they do that fixed show-all-the-teeth thing that is half-way between a grimace and a smile.

I hope Raymond Nordwall continues to paint children — he is a natural at it.  One of the reasons I love this painting is because she evokes history and culture and spirituality without insistence.  She is at the beginning, when all things are possible.


CSA Share Week 21:  garlic, spinach, collard greens, leeks (gave away), green onions (gave away), flat-leaf parsley, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, kohlrabi, eggs

Recipes:  roasted root vegetables, spinach with pesto capellini, rice and beans with collard greens

The Question of the Day

On Facebook (where else?), from one of The Teenager’s “friends”:

Where can I get a pedicure and simultaneously use wi-fi in this town?

Where, indeed?

As it turned out, it was not hard at all to find a salon where one could stay connected while a total stranger worked on one’s toe nails . . .   I am sure Henry James would have had something elegantly derisive to say about such a situation — had he only lived another hundred years or so.    How much does a pedicure cost, anyway?

Probably nowhere as much as this:

This beautiful 12 inch tile is by Polly Whitcomb, and is one of the last pieces from her La Sala Pottery studio in Ribera, New Mexico.  Polly Whitcomb has moved back to Vermont, and the Santa Fe gallery on Canyon Road that featured her work, Clay+Stone, is in the process of closing  its doors.  It had become a ritual for me:  tea and dessert at The Teahouse, then across the parking lot to what was originally the Canyon Road Pottery before it became Clay+Stone Gallery, then later a short stroll down the hill to Deborah Gold Gallery to see my favorite oil impressionist . . . .  Clay for life, marble for immortality: over the years I have collected bits of both from the same gallery.  And now,  I wish Josh and Stacey the best in their next big adventure.

Becoming a Collector: Santa Fe, 2012

First, there was the “tour of Santa Fe hotels,” courtesy of Sandia Shuttle Xpress (which, by the way, has for its representative at Albuquerque airport one of the rudest desk minders I have ever encountered).  We were ten passengers with eight stops, and I got to see all sorts of hotels I had heard of but did not know the locations, and also got to wonder why the people getting off at the Hilton couldn’t get off at Water and Sandoval (the default location for non-hotel drop-offs), and walk across the street to the hotel.  But then that would be highly inconvenient, wouldn’t it, even in the age of rollie bags!

Then it began to rain.  Imagine, the land of little water, and it rained!  Thrilling, in a way, but somewhat discouraging at the start of a vacation.  I trudged up E. Palace Avenue with my brand new rollie bag — the smallest I could find that would fit not just under the middle seat, but also under the aisle seat — bumping along beside me.  A young woman came towards me, dressed in jeans and a parka with a fur-rimmed hood.  April in Santa Fe, I thought, and I am in a skort and a light weight, long-sleeved running shirt layered over a tank top.  On the whole, I may have been the one more inappropriately dressed, at least for the next half an hour or so.

At Deborah Gold Gallery I saw this:

. . . .  and I bought it.  I had been in Santa Fe less than three hours.

Six years ago we bought our very first painting, by any artist, from Deborah Gold — an impressionist oil of a vibrant Santa Fe sunset, all reds and purples.  Loved it then, love it now.  Since then, we visit her gallery whenever we’re in town, but have not had a gut “gotta have” moment since then . . . .  until last Thursday afternoon.  She has branched out into monotypes, and the spontaneity and energy required for her new process is obvious in these works.  The monotype I bought is not actually a monotype, in the sense that what I fell in love with was actually the second, “ghost” print.  If you buy one work, it’s one work; buy two works, it becomes a collection.  We are, officially, Deborah Gold collectors now.