Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Mexico 4

Oh, my, what a day. We began at the little village of Chimayo with its lovely little chapel which dates back to the early 1800s. Many legends surround this church and many healings have been associated with the soil where a crucifix was found. The church is traditional style with vigas in the ceiling and five elaborate reredos, two on each side of the nave and one behind the altar. These are painted in folk santero style. In a tiny room off the nave is a hole where one can dig some of the sacred soil, said to promote healing. In another room are crutches, pictures and gifts from those who have been healed. There is also a niche with a statue of the Santo Nino de Atocha. It is said that at night, the Holy Child would leave his throne, visiting the sick and the unjustly imprisoned. He feeds them bread made by "Mama Mary" and water with the promise to set the captives free. He travels so much that he wears out his shoes. Many people leave shoes by the statue.
We visited two weaving shops -- Ortega's and Irvin and Lisa Trujillo. Beautiful, beautiful weaving -- Ortega's more of a large-scale operation, the Trujillos concentrating on one-of-a-kind artwork.
I have had several wonderful experiences with Native Americans this week -- today at the Pojoaque Pueblo. Lunch in their restaurant was fantastic and the Cultural Center was outstanding. Their story is told through a series of rooms depicting periods in their development corresponding to the seasons. I'm so sorry I couldn't take pictures there -- the three-dimensional exhibits were exceptional. Artist Roxanne Swentzell created all the figures used in the exhibits.
Next we went next door to her gallery. I'm so sorry I didn't get to meet her in person. Her art is compelling and with such a sense of humor! I did get pictures there and will put them up when I get home.
After tonight's dinner at Red Sage, I'll pack and in the morning hit the trail back to Oklahoma. This has been a long but wonderful week with so many photos, memories and things to write about. I thought I knew a lot about New Mexico but I know now that I have only scratched the surface. I have seen so many places that I want to come back to -- and spend more time.

New Mexico 3

This has to be fast -- we leave in 9 minutes for Chimayo to visit the church there and to stop in at several artists' studios. We'll be seeing some famous weavers and potters. The last three days have been amazing. I'll blog more when I get home but the highlights included a tour at Ghost Ranch to see spots featured in Georgia O'Keeffe paintings,

a narrow-gauge train trip from Chama to Antonito on the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad and a jeep trip from Red River into the Wheeler Wilderness. The aspens are a glorious gold and, highlighted against the dark green pines and spruce shine like heaps of coins. More when I get home -- and, hopefully, some good photos!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Mexico 2

What an amazing day! We went to Bandelier, a gorgeous national monument in a canyon -- home to ancient Pueblo people. I was dreading the hike -- but it was great. Some climbing, but not too much. I even made it up a ladder to a kiva. I was so proud of myself that I passed my camera down and asked Cathy Admire, one of the Geiger associates, to take my picture. I was very specific about her waiting until I turned around to snap it. She took not one but three shots of my butt backing out of the kiva! Looked like a giant blue bear coming out of hibernation. I don't know where; I don't know when, but she will get hers.
Later this afternoon we met a delightful brother and sister, Krieg Kalavaza and Diane Jenkins, at the San Ildefonso Pueblo. They are potters and gave us a detailed demonstration of their art. I wish I could have bought one of their pots but someone asked the price of a medium sized pot on the table and their answer told me I probably couldn't even afford a thimble! The process to make the pots was extremely time consuming -- they even gather their own clay -- and the finished products are truly works of art so the price wasn't unreasonable. Just didn't fit my purse!
They were so gracious about sharing traditions and beliefs. When they gather the clay, they only gather as much as they will use for one project. Krieg said that the clay didn't belong to them but to Mother Earth. So, even though it means many trips with small containers, they have this deep respect for the source of their materials. They also prepared iced tea and cookies for us. The demonstration was in Kreig's home where they grew up. We were also allowed to take all the pictures we wanted. It was a real honor to be invited into their world.

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Mexico 1

I arrived in Albuquerque yesterday afternoon and was picked up and driven to Santa Fe where we (other journalists and I) toured the New Mexico Museum of Art. It is in a beautiful pueblo-styled building with a picturesque courtyard. Their current exhibit, How the West Was One, is brilliant. The museum started as a studio and gallery where artists could create, show and sell their work and was open to any artists working in New Mexico. The exhibit includes works from the time of the railroad's arrival to the present and includes an amazing variety from Native American and Hispanic artists to Easterners who came here (like John Sloan, Marsden Harley and Georgia O'Keeffe) to work. Some of the contemporary pieces are real stunners. Upstairs, the curator has paired works. I don't have my notes, but trust me, the exhibit is top-notch.
Today we started with a 7 a.m. architectural walk, breakfast at the La Fonda (where I am staying) then visits to two museums (I'll get the names wrong so I'll put them in later) on Museum Hill -- one featuring Native American art and heritage and the other Spanish Colonial. Then the most spectacular lunch at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. We got to tour the museum which is currently closed while they install a new exhibition which opens Friday. Oh my, the fabulous O'Keeffes. And the curator went around with us and gave us great background material.
The weather is the most gorgeous New Mexican weather -- a sky so blue it's beyond belief, warm sun, cool breeze -- absolutely perfect. The 7000-foot altitude is telling on me -- hopefully by tomorrow I will be more used to it and not so short of breath. (Couldn't be those extra pounds from the great food we're having?)
Must go -- I leave in 50 minutes to eat again!!!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"You Gotta Know The Territory"

The Territory is a lovely golf/residential community on the west side of Duncan. Eventually, it will be totally private but right now, non-members can enjoy the facilities. So Jack and I and Pat and Ray Potts headed south Wednesday afternoon. We'd planned on a two-hour drive, but it was much closer to an hour-an-a-half. Since we were early, we detoured in Marlow to see the Marlow brothers monument. Wow, what a wild, wild west story -- but that's for another blog. We took advantage of The Territory's Stay and Play special -- and found ourselves in a lovely home -- 2400 square feet -- with all the latest in decor and technology. Our biggest problem -- we never did figure out how to work the TV, which was on satellite. Anything involving more than one remote is 'way over my head!

I got up early the next morning to catch the sunrise -- and it was spectacular. We all snacked on goodies from Panera's for breakfast then opened the front door to discover two golf carts waiting for us. The course was gorgeous -- and challenging. Since the disparity between Ray's handicap and mine is about 82strokes, we played our own scramble and had a great time. Memberships in the club a very reasonable -- by country club membership standards -- so, if golf's your thing and you don't mind a bit of a drive, you'll find a wonderful course, not crowded and a real feeling of getting away from it all!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Thank You for the Music

I've just seen the movie "Mamma Mia" for the fourth time -- last night was the sing-along version. The scenery is fabulous and I don't care what anyone says, Abba wrote songs you can sing. If you can sit through this movie and keep your feet from tapping, wake up, you're dead! Yes, the plot's contrived. Some of the acting is less than wonderful. Some of the singers are less than wonderful. But, taken all together, I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!!! And, it has the oh-so-handsome, be-still-my-heart, my number one tub-worthy COLIN FIRTH. Is the day gray -- go to sunny Greece with "Mamma Mia" -- I guarantee, you'll feel better. And so I say, "Thank you for the music...."

Friday, September 05, 2008

You Know You're Old When....

your friends take you sightseeing in a cemetery! Okay, this wasn't just any cemetery. It was Westwood Village Cemetery, sometimes called the "hidden cemetery." It's tucked behind office buildings just off Wilshire, between Beverly Hills and the San Diego Freeway. This lovely, quiet spot probably has more stars per square foot than any other location in Los Angeles (studios don't count). A stroll takes you by graves of such greats as Dean Martin, Truman Capote, Burt Lancaster and Natalie Wood. Visitors to Marilyn Monroe's grave have left souvenirs, coins and -- I find this very strange -- lipstick prints. Some of the epitaphs are very simple, just names and dates, others are poignant and a couple went for a last laugh.

In case you can't read these, Merv's says, "I will not be right back after this message" and Rodney Dangerfield's stone says, "There goes the neighborhood."

Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day Tradition

Jack and I have lived in Old Farm since 1972. We weren't among the first families in the neighborhood -- probably the first residents moved in in 1970. Ever since we moved here, there have been two traditions -- the Old Farm Fourth of July Parade and Picnic and the Labor Day Picnic. Neighbors have moved in and out but the traditions remain. Here are pictures from this year's celebration.