Unsolicited Advice #3

Love! Not that I exactly feel qualified to talk, much less advise about love, but I wish someone had told me when I was still in the process of becoming a woman that love does not just happen. We make ourselves vulnerable and available for love of a certain kind for a reason. Those reasons, or motivations, better be good. Love does not have to be a coup de foudre, a follie a deux, a singular or shared state of insanity. Love happens, usually for a reason. It behooves us to inquire, to wonder and to tread cautiously. We are magical, multi-faceted, wondrous beings. It is a good idea to bring our various facets in to play with another, rather then present one aspect alone. It is good to take our sweet time in getting to know another and through it ourselves.

Nothing compares to the sweet sense of overflowing goodwill towards the focus of our affection. Nurtured along properly the positive flow may continue rather then flip in to a malignant, maybe disappointed, destructive, powerful negative torrent. Love rejected can turn in to hate all too easily.

Do not allow the festering of hate, do not close your heart. It is our life long challenge to keep an open and soft heart, no matter what.

Unsolicited Advice #2

Trust has to be earned!

I had the very good fortune of having come upon a wise and wonderful woman who taught me many things, one of them that trust is not to be given freely, but needs to be earned. As a girl, not yet a woman, this was a revelation to me. I guess I had an idea that somehow we intuit if someone is worthy of our trust or not. And we do, but not just. Remember the saying "trust in god, but bind your camel?" I say trust in your intuition, but put it to test too.

There are many reasons why good people become untrustworthy. Addiction comes up as maybe the number one reason. Chemical imbalances can wreck havoc. A less then ideal upbringing, or the choice of bad company can easily lead one astray as well. So I say don't be a fool, test the recipients of your trust and affection!

Unsolicited Advice #1

Learn to say NO! You can not say yes, if you can not say no. Learn to say no. Say it nicely, but firmly. No need to be rude. I say this from one woman to another, maybe less experienced woman or girl.

In the news a french woman just confessed to having killed 6 new born babies of hers. You bet this woman did not know how to say no. We do not know if she could not refuse her husband, or maybe the Pope, who still insists that sex with protection is wrong. But we do know that since the woman could not say no, she denied life to her offspring. In the same way when we can not say no, we deny an aspect of ourself, we kill an aspect of ourself, and eventually grow in to a farce of our self, an idea of self with little resemblance to who we really are.

Society teaches us, especially us women, to be pleasing. Naturally being more empathic then men, we women tend to give up ourselves in favor of the other. Have we not heard of oral sex given by teenage girls - in hopes of, yes, love. We older women shake our heads, what happened to women's lib? This is not what women had in mind then. This is most certainly not how to win a man's heart. (Not that with all my experience I really would know how.)

In order to say no and mean it, we have to know who we are and what we want. This knowing of oneself takes time to develop. There is no need to rush, not even in this culture of instant gratification. Remember you can say yes fully only after you have learned to say no!

The Cry for Justice that Reeks of Revenge

The cry for justice reeks of revenge. The mobs on the comment boards lust for bloody murder, sounding not unlike what the hecklers may have sounded like in ancient persecutions of say early Christians and later witches and throw in the french royalty as well. This spectator sport seems of a childish mind with little to no connection to a real live heart. What makes people delight in so much cruelty? Does the suffering of one's own family members justify such sentiments? The cries for  so called justice persist, as if the death of one man can reinstate another's life. There is no justice! Life can be terribly unfair. Stop already the cry of revenge, it hurts my heart, eyes and ears - and yours!

I admire the path the South Africans chose after apartheid. They held hearings, they aired their grievances, they listened to each others stories. It must have been cathartic, profound and healing. They moved on. We need more of that kind of wisdom, that kind of whole making process, that kind of humane encounters between perpetrators and victims. We need a being held accountable, a telling of our stories, a listening to each others pain, and eventually a forgiving and letting go, but never forgetting! 

Farmers Market

These days I go to the Farmers Market not so much to buy produce, but to watch people. Why have basic food items like potatoes, bread, salad and fruit in season become so expensive? I used to pick and choose a few stems of flowers for a few bucks, now the bouquets are way out of my price range. I do believe in buying local and organic, but the costs have become outrageous.
Last week though I treated myself to one of my favorite items I have had a hankering for, maybe because it has been my birthday month where always I seem to indulge myself even more then usual.

Heidi's Raspberry-Chile-Ginger Jam is the best! None other come even close. This kid happened to be a good sales man (not that I needed any convincing) with a sense of humor. Isn't he, I want to say cute, but cool really ought to be the adjective.
This virtuoso violin player was at it again last weekend. He reminds me of Picasso's blue period, looking sad and forlorn, although I doubt this is how he truly felt.
Soon this proud farmer will bring again his seriously hot Chile Peppers for roasting on the spot. The  beloved scent of roasting red and green peppers is so characteristic to our farmers market. Some eat those  hot peppers straight others add them to everything, not just eggs and beans, but bread. Not me.
While some like to point fingers,
others like to dance.
Blessed are those kids that get to have special time with their Dads at the market.
Ray managed to crack some smiles from some kids, as he blew them balloons for free,
while his service dog watched and his sign informs that tips are customary.
I did not mind that I got dripping wet as I picked up this gorgeous, irresistible flower pot.  I was relieved that I did not incur a traffic ticket, as I was woefully parked the wrong way.  This arrangement brightens our of late overcast days and spreads cheerfulness, so must be well worth it's weight in gold.

A Dripping and A Dropping

Sitting in the dark
door wide open
I listen to welcome rain
dripping and dropping 
in to a half full barrel
music to my ears.


Art ain't about paint,
it ain't about canvas.
it's about ideas.
Too many people died
without ever getting their mind out to the world.
- Thornton Dial Sr. 1993

on the wall in the Folk Art section of the Smitsonian American Art Museum
according to Dr. Andrew Weil

The idea of Art has befuddled me for a good long while. Connecting it to the arena of thinking is not much comfort to me either, but I am all for expression, preferably of the higher Self.

I would think it is not so much a matter of what aspect of self we are using, but of how much of ourselves we pour in to our expression or simply our being our selves, that makes or breaks ART.

Too much importance is given to doing and thinking while being tends to get neglected. I have met Zen masters that seem to be real works of art! I do not mean this in a sarcastic way, which no doubt would be possible too, having heard some saucy stories. But no, the flowering of the human potential through meditation or any other means sure most be a form of high art.


Today, in the spirit of celebration, I treated myself to not one, but two new Orchids. I placed them together with my  now crestfallen white Easter Orchid inside the milky white glass top of a now defunct lamp, which happens to fit perfectly in to this old, but favorite bamboo basket. I hope the glass container will be suitable in holding the moisture for these plants which show over 30 potential blooms, now still in a bulbous state. Did you know Orchids grow naturally up in trees and love the feel of circulating air?

Since it is my birthday today, I got up with the dawn of light and made it out to the dog park by 7 AM, before the heat of the day and undeterred by the lure of the internet. An hour later we were hanging at the coffee shop, me with a double Cappuccino and my pups with treats they provide. On impulse I stopped by the adjacent book store where I had seen The Lazy Dog's Guide to Enlightenment and snatched up the second to last copy on sale. While the images in it are not of the greatest quality, they convey the message and one page after another makes me smile from one ear to the other.
We all make mistakes, but who we are is not one of them.
Will it do it's intended service and inspire me to a compilation of sorts of my own making?

Despite my expenses in an intolerable, unsustainable race with my laughable, defeated from the outset income (not because) I recently acquired objects I predict will stay close to me and my heart for a long time to come:

My 'Kentucky Derby Hat' makes me feel more, rather then slightly ridiculous wearing it, but at my age that is no longer a deterrent. The truth is my Anglo light skin is in dire need of protection from the sun when walking my pups and this to me justifies the expense. The Video Librarian's encouraging "go for it" helped me too in my decision to splurge.

A heavy duty wooden black shelf of folders, so necessary for the endless flow of papers that threatens to overtake my tiny by some measures space, proved irresistible. The introduction of this shelf necessitated a rearrangement of my whole working space, a work in progress. The heavy duty serious leather bag, hanging now on a heater that has not been used in decades, is actually what I have been missing when taking my laptop to a nearby coffee shop on bike. It is in perfect condition with all zippers working, I bless the writer lady that no longer wanted it along on her journey, may she travel safe and that much lighter to Hollywood and find the success she undoubtedly is seeking.

I sign off with another quote that I hope will make you smile and a shout out to Nancy who inspired this post with her request, thank YOU and thank you all for reading! 
Leave no door unopened ... unless it's time to nap.

International Folk Art Market II

This Thai booth was the hardest one for me to resist. I loved the style of their creations, their indigo fabric, made to look and feel a lot like silk with the use of egg whites, then worked in to lose fitting clothes. The kind I would love to wear.
This Thai woman, focused mostly on her sewing, gets my vote for most attractive woman in the sense of my pleasure as I watched her appearance, her calm and centered energy while she kept herself busy and created articles of artistry, beauty and usefulness, that my heart might covet.
This shockingly beautiful woman, graceful inside and out, gifted me with a bag of Frank Incense when I expressed my pleasure about the scent that filled the air from their booth. Her eyes were truly awesome, I could not help but exclaim how beautiful she was (something I do not usually do as it is a sensitive issue with so many women.) She gets my vote (even though their is no contest) for most beautiful woman at this year's Folk Art Market.
Sitsemiso Simelane from Swaziland gets my vote for most charismatic. I thoroughly enjoyed my exchanges with this most expressive and exuberant man. He should work for Swaziland's Tourism Bureau, he gushed with such enthusiasm about the  beauty of his country, not so unlike Santa Fe, he admitted.
Most exotic to me were these ladies, there were four of them, all dressed in those bright purple robs, from the Ottoman Sultanate. They made me so curious about their life styles. Most gracious we were offered a taste of their coffee, delicious, along with date paste. These ladies danced, and painted intricate, delicate designs on bodies with Henna.
Last but not least, the by far most dazzling smile, in my not so humble opinion, goes to this Tuareg Silversmith who lit up my world and lifted my spirits as he directed it at me.

I might ad that the most ingenious creation goes to the watering object, that submerged, with the hole on top closed off with one's thumb, will hold water and then sprinkle it where so desired with the release of one's thumb, awesome, if not exactly cheap earthen ware for fifty bucks, but well worth it I would venture to say. Especially when making use of rain water collected in barrels with no spouts, like mine.

Learn more about this one of a kind International Folk Art Market where the artists take 90% of their proceeds home to make a real difference in their communities. Visit their website and/or my  related flickr set and/or my prior post below, and please offer us your feedback, I would be delighted.


Yesterday's grand opening ceremony of this year's Folk Art Market on the plaza was most exciting. 
The plaza was packed, the music great, the dancing inhibited due to limited space but the energy was way high.

My canine companion Isabella-girl smiled from ear to ear, I swear. I never seen so many dogs on the plaza. Two gorgeous Party Poodles, of course always those favorite Chihuahuas, but also one lumbering huge Bernese Mountain Dog and a variety of Mutts like mine.
Tuareg Artist

More recent photos with more explanations will follow.
These are from prior, cherished events, now in it's 7th year.

You can visit the Folk Art Market website and learn about the astounding details of this market's success.
A beautiful weaver from Guatamala

Patriotic Pride and/or Shame

The man with flag delighting in what unfolded up on stage, swaying and smiling, to me is what this fourth of July is all about. Mindless, uncritical, innocent, simple and pure pleasure. To enjoy this patriotic display of emotion one has to suspend one's critical function, knowledge of foreign affairs, disdain for two wars and despair in regard to hopes for real change.

I am disgusted with our country that accepts war as reasonable and necessary answer. I hate all this money going in support of war and away from the real needs of the people of the US. (I know several no longer young women personally that are about to lose their homes and all their belongings.) While I do believe in the primary importance of security, I am not even close to being convinced that these wars are necessary. A handful of Taliban in Afghanistan simply do not warrant our endeavors there (to my very limited understanding.) Nuclear power in the wrong hands no doubt must be one of the worst case scenarios. But what if we waged an effort of to build up those nations, got our youths to work for Afghanistan and Iraq rather then fight them. In Iraq the infrastructure is supposedly worse then before the war! What if we gave them more reasons to like then hate us. Which would mean ending the uncritical support (especially financially) of Israel and demanding just solutions that grant rights to the Palestinians. By the way being critical of Israel does not equal wishing them back to Nazi camps. But it is a well known fact that those that suffered trauma tend to inflict trauma, unless they got debriefed. Without US financial support Israel would likely have had to find a solution for peace already.

Sadly, while I was proud at the election of our President Obama and felt maybe for the first time patriotic stirrings, I no longer feel that way. I fault our president for not being able to convince us of the necessity of those wars and not getting us out of there either.  The health care reform that did come to pass lacks a public option, because President Obama did not stand  and fight for it. While it does good for a few, I see it mainly as a give-away to corporate greed. The poor will now have to come up with insurance money they will not be able to afford, because the power is still with the corporations rather then the people. 

Further I bemoan that our  President is not using the oil 'spill' for serious efforts to advance clean, green and renewable energy. It seems like so many good opportunities to forge ahead towards a more sustainable, peaceful existence fall by the  way side and with it the goodwill of so many that not so long ago were so eager and ready to embrace and work for change. All this said, I am greatly relieved to find President Bush out of the picture and out of the news. 

Finally I had a wonderful time hanging out on the plaza watching the lines for pancakes get longer, the non-organic strawberry toppings getting fewer, and the canine companions that made it passed security, illegally, behaving sweetly.

Happy 4th of July!

In Business

In the business of making others feel good.

On our way to the plaza we passed a guy sitting along side our busiest street downtown with a cardboard  sign that said something to the effect that he was hungry. He smiled at my pups and reached out to Isabella to pet her so that she took an instant liking and settled right in to his lap. I got curious and learned his name is Kyle, he is 18 years old, local and lost his job 2 weeks ago. Instead of applying the little money he had to rent he decided to spend 100 dollars on a tent and settle up on the mountain. Already he hopes to upgrade his shelter to a bigger and better 200 dollar tent that will allow him to stand up inside it. He had not yet eaten and had hopes for pancakes on the plaza. I had to shatter his expectations and tell him that pancakes were usually served in the morning of the fourth of July, not the afternoon of the third.

Last night we had a serious storm that made me feel real grateful to have a roof over my head and solid walls to shelter me from the fury of nature. (I am familiar with lone sleepless, scary nights, out in my VW Vanagon, pummeled in severe El Nino storms that would shake and rattle my relative flimsy abode.) In fact I was wondering how all the street folks spending nights in the arroyos and along the river were coping. Should there not be a task force out checking on them? Last year we did lose someone to drowning if I remember correctly. Those mostly dry river beds can be lethal during sudden flash flooding.

Next day, July 4th, I watched Kyle devour his plate of pancakes, without non-organic strawberries though, he came down from the mountain too late for those. My pups were happy to lick his paper plate and then tear it apart. In parting he gifted me with some kinda ancient seed. Sweet kid.

Last night Kyle's tent quickly filled up with water so he tore a hole for drainage in his brand new tent. In response to my straight forward question he answered that he did not drink alcohol and did not do heavy drugs, but used to in high school. I believed him. Passing out drunk in a tent filling up with water could be a major set back, or maybe rather propeller in to another dimension. But really I am serious, how come this nice kid is begging? He said it is easy and makes people feel good about themselves. He proceeded to quote the bible, but admitted to being an atheist. On the conversation went to include Hesse's Siddhartha, a tale he seemed to love, did not find out why exactly. Does he fancy himself on a spiritual quest?

As I was standing there having a ball talking to this kid, my two pups on lead near, one lady gave a dollar to feed the dogs! Money for my dogs, what was she thinking? We laughed. I suggested a 50/50 split for the use of my pups. We laughed some more.

He hopes to participate in a local program that helps youth find employment. Already he had sent out lots of resumes, but will learn how to present himself better. Said he would rather work then not. He mentioned the economy and sounded rather glum. This coming from an 18 year old kid!

The conversation took a turn to food, where to get it free, he seemed not very cognizant on the local scene (I had helped in the kitchen of one of our local shelters.) From him I learned that $4 are better spent on a fresh burrito from Whole Foods then one from Trader Joe's! Further he suggested to not adding blueberries to a pancake batter, but only later when frying in the pan. Life lessons come to us in the strangest and most unexpectet places, don't they.

Figuring the kid was hungry for real, I broke my own not very rigid rules, and gave him a bit of cash. I do not believe in begging and supporting beggars in general. I told him so. He has no problem with that, but says he is happy with making those that give feel a little bit better about themselves! We parted with a handshake, well wishes and exchange of names.

July 4th, the next day,  he happened to join us around the fountain near the plaza with his plate of pancakes, finally, without the non-organic huge strawberries, as by that time they had run out. My two pups got to lick his paper plate clean and then tear it apart. Before leaving he gifted me with a pod of sorts, nice kid.

July 28th: The kid has now an 8 week old puppy, cute, with some less then wholesome habits he is working on. We ran in to them on the plaza, me and my Isabella-girl just as we were leaving. I took the chance to thank him for sharing with me his tips on how to make good blueberry pancakes, they worked. We never know where our lessons come from, do we!

September 3rd: I happened to come upon Kyle and learned that his puppy got hit by a car and he did not have the money to save him. He still has no home, even though it is getting colder, close to freezing. He thinks of heading out to California by bus. He looked sadly hunched over. I wished him well.

Way Cool

My most recent, amazing find from Habitat's ReStore is this incredibly heavy, solid metal table top lamp. It features two settings bright enough to read under  with a very unusual, beautiful design that offers various knobs to fiddle with.  The lamp makes  for an interesting contrast to my warm, wooden furnishings and adds sparkle to my soft white accents. For seriously amazing, space saving multi-functionality in furniture check out this Italian site: