Pretty - Ugly

"You don't have to be pretty. You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend, spouse, partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't owe it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked ' female'." 
- Diana Vreeland, writer and editor for Harper's Bazaar and Vogue, both magazines I rarely ever cared to lay my eyes upon.

A startling quote to me, I have never heard it put quite this way. Current culture puts an inordinate amount of emphasis on looks, be that in regard to women, nowadays even men, products or produce. I discovered the quote on facebook under which a lengthy discussion ensued about the use of make-up or not. This clearly is not the issue, the point is women should no longer feel compelled to have to spend inordinate amounts of energy and time into prettifying themselves. It should be a matter of choice.

In my career as a professional massage therapist at various spas, I had several clients confess to me their disappointment in not having gotten one of the prettier 'masseuses' - followed by gratitude for provenance that had brought us together and gave them exactly what they needed! This is because I did not touch them skin deep only, but I managed to connect to deeper aspects of themselves. Emotions, sensations to full-fledged memories those men had no idea existed within them, but I welcomed all of those often neglected aspects of being human. They left often feeling relieved, relaxed, profoundly moved, and grateful. To those clients, I suddenly looked beautiful and given a chance they would request my expertise again and  again.

This is still the week of the Donald having been accused once again of another attack on a woman, this time of fat shaming by one of his beauty queens. He has fired back with ludicrous early morning tweets for us to go and check out some porn sites! Overweight, white, male, slob's demands on a latina woman to work out just will not fly, certainly not with millennials, the latin population or women in general. Wide girthed, patriarchal, white males such as Trump, Guliani, and Gingrich, that treated their wives horribly, coming to Trump's defense and attacking Hillary for her husband's indiscretions will surely not fly either. How ludicrous can this election season still get?

Santa Fe Charm

After almost 10 years of walking my 'hood, downtown Santa Fe, on foot with dogs and camera,
I am still able to discover such as this charming window above and the lovely nicho below.

An Abomination #NeverTrump

Demand an investigation of Trump by the Secret Service or FBI.
These irresponsible, dangerous incitements from this joke of a presidential candidate have to stop!

Scored Again & Again & Again

Today I followed the invitation of a client and scored big time.
A lot of overripe apples, some still hanging on an ancient looking tree.

 Those plums were perfect, ripe & sweet, with no blemishes, delicious in pancakes.

 My tart-making skills have suffered from disuse.
Below Zvieri was taken 4 years ago, today, September 19th. 
2012 was the year I discovered that fruit picked in public places taste better.

Today's apple tart crumbled and buried my preferred little fork, the one I have used since I was about 2 years old, the one that is perfect for desserts.
Where is the goat butter when needed? Sesame oil does not work very well for crusts. I used about 1/3 coconut flour, 1/3 spelt flour and 1/3 whole wheat flour and a bit of wheat germ. I added Braggs for a nutty flavor that I like, to a mix of water with oil and rolled the dough out over oat bran.

Love Is Found In The Details

Isabella, my bigger dog, insisted we go check out an antique gallery, no doubt lots of intriguing smells. Since it was late and all galleries were already closed, we followed Isabella's nose along the building and down an alley and I discovered this gem. Wow, what detail on an old, funky antique cart sitting there among an array of antiques possibly to be restored! Isn't that face just gorgeous? One can only imagine how splendid and impressive this cart once looked. Surely this does demonstrate that love is truly in the details.

Golden Yellow

Occupy Wall Street Started 5 Years Ago!

Occupy Wall Street started 5 years ago.

Concepts such as the 99% versus the 1% helped articulate our frustrations.

Money Out Of Politics!
A growing awareness of corporate power corrupting our democracy 
no doubt made Bernie Sanders' success possible.


My American Dream

38 years ago yesterday, I entered the United States in the middle of the night never expecting to become a US citizen. I wore wide trousers my best buddy Joe had made for me from curtains and a wide comfy wool/cotton top and on my feet cheap chinese tai-chi canvas shoes. I carried only one shoulder bag Joe had created from old carpets that had 3 compartments. The middle held another set of clothing, the back side pocket held a pack of miso and chopsticks and toiletries and the front held my red Chinese-style diary and special fat coloring pencils. My valuables I wore in a belt around my waste underneath it all. Pay from a 1 1/2 year stint in a psychiatric institution as a nurses aid, I imagined then would be enough for half a year of exploring the US. 

I settled in the back on a bench at Kennedy airport and dozed off as I waited for public transportation to resume. A caring black worker noticed me and alerted me to the first overcrowded bus then guided me into Manhattan. The man insisted I show him an address and as I pulled out the only one I had on me for New York he got us on the A-train that bypassed 72nd Street. So he got us to turn around and he was not satisfied until he had brought me safely to the nearest subway station to my contact, despite my on-going protests. What an outstanding, kind and generous introduction to the people of New York!

With nothing better to do, I called my one contact, the actor, teacher and therapist Alec Rubin, the inspiration for my jump across the ocean, and as luck would have it he had just returned from Fire Island, invited me over and asked me to stay until I got my footing in what was once Billie Holliday's digs. I was so lucky, or blessed, or else had a watchful, protective eye over me. I was young, white (a revelation then) from a relatively protected upbringing in a Swiss working class environment. I was a Hippie, a drop-out, at a loss of how to fit in, but in search of my soul, my creativity, my bliss. Well, I had a taste of it all, and I wanted more, hence my adventure to the US. 

32 years ago yesterday, almost broke, we arrived in The City Different in The Land Of Enchantment, in a funky pick-up truck. He found work the very next day, I was at a loss. I had overstayed my visa, I had never learned to drive (no subways and at that time no bus service to speak of either in the City Different.) I was unfamiliar with American mainstays such as Wal-Markt, K-Mart or Walgreens, in short, everyday American culture.

Only 2 1/2 years later I owned my first and my only home, my tiny studio on the wrong side of the tracks in the Railyard, I have been inhabiting for almost 30 years, the last 10 years with my furry buddies. In 1992 I became an American citizen and promptly experienced what seemed psychosomatic symptoms of a painful split right through the middle of my body (a psoas contraction that kept me upright for that one whole night.)

I am still feeling like a mermaid out of my element here in the high arid desert, in a foreign and very strange land that speaks in very strange tongues. I am a first and only generation immigrant. I own my own home free and clear, but I live an existence below the poverty level. 
Am I living The American Dream? Better yet, am I living MY dream?

A Takedown of Trump by Keith Olberman

An outraged Keith Olberman requests we listen to the whole of his rant attentively to grasp the enormity 
and I would say the absurdity of a Trump nomination for US President.


Laboring on Labor Day

Woke up at 5 am and was up by 7 am laboring away at home as I had decided the night before it was time to tackle the rearrangement of my long overdue bookshelf. One change in my tiny studio leads to everything else in need of repositioning. Perfect activity during a mercury retrograde period and perfect it seemed for Labor Monday. Especially for a woman out of a job in need of income with plenty of anxious energy to dissipate.

By late morning I had managed to move my lovely round, recovered teak table back into the corner to switch places with this solid pine dresser which makes a perfect match with the pine of my ceiling. Except, I really don't care for dressers and drawers that need to be pulled out by the handling of two arms. Should I try and sell it after all? 

I managed to move half a bookcase of my favorite books accumulated over the last three decades, to make space for new cookbooks I mostly been gifted with so as to inspire me toward a more balanced diet. No doubt, one should not live on chocolate alone! Ah, the accumulation of dust, as I was reaching toward the further corner of the top of my 8-foot bookcase I must have strained too much. The rest of the afternoon was spent lying down in hopes of unwinding and releasing what otherwise might become a full-blown sciatica episode. I personally was taken by surprise by such an attack only once, but I have treated many clients with sciatica successfully. I hope to never have to experience such pain again, along with such wretched helplessness. On top of that a perfect stranger, a seemingly nice woman, berating me for not picking up after my pups, when I was barely able to walk, think, much less bend over! Careless cruelty from and to strangers with limited understanding of what truly is at stake. I am all for holding each other responsible but please, with kindness.

By evening I managed to get up, at first walking gingerly, but soon enough I felt good enough to take my pups out for their walk into the glorious light of our land of true enchantment. Magic was in the air with rainbows, pinks and purples, the whole glory of it. But there also was a breeze that blew off my hat, slippery streets for my worn Crocs, and drizzle that threatened my camera, plus two pups overly eager with one pulling and the other dragging. I had enough and was glad to make it back home and back to bed, enough labor for one day.

Chris Rose, 7 Years, but not forgotten, RIP!

I love the expressions on their faces. The image was captured in July 2009 by Susan, a tourist, a world traveller, an artist, an empathic and artistic woman. I had watched this photographer in tears, focused on blind Bonnie Hearn on stage, sitting on the side, no longer able to perform with her husband, tenderly petting her guide dog. As Susan's heart was touched, so was mine, we talked, we became friends and Susan mailed me these images, my favorites among her many wonderful photos. (Susan graciously gave me permission to share her photos with the public.)Sunday morning September 6th, Christopher Rose was found lying face down along the Santa Fe River at the DeVargas Park, a victim of a violent, crime.

It is disconcerting that he may have been there for a while, somewhat hidden in the brush, along a route I take all the time, so I may have passed him unknowingly. This is also the place from where I watched him steal a few roses from the Santuario de Guadalupe's magnificent rose garden in bright daylight only about 6 weeks earlier. I chastised him for it. I figured someone ought to speak out and tell him what is not right. Defensively he mumbled that the flowers were his, and he was Christ, and he needed them to sweet talk the ladies into dancing! I did not respond too kindly. It was obvious that he was excited and in a hurry to get to the plaza where the music and dancing were happening in full force. I had seen him there before and here Susan captured him with his grin that clearly shows his pleasure. It reminds me how music and dance can bring out the best in us and bring us together and almost bridge gaps of social rank, age, and at least for moments unite the fringe elements of society with the establishment.

Christopher Rose, 45, the victim of a premeditated murder, stabbed to death, had arrived in Santa Fe only about 4 months prior and was considered homeless even though he had family members in town, and is remembered by at least someone as a dear and kind uncle.

"George R. wrote: I knew Chris as a friendly guy who never harmed anyone, always had a smile, who sometimes went a little overboard in his remarks to people. He was boisterous, but mostly in a fun way. He carried a guitar and was always ready to belt out a tune whether he could play it or not. He knew more pop songs than I have forgotten. 
Vaya con Dios, Chris"

Sara commented in the New Mexican: "He was a sweet man. He came to Santa Fe for rehab and it didn't work. Rest his soul."

August 2. I was hanging out with my buddy at the fountain on Water Street involved in intense listening to his concerns about work. Chris came stumbling along, almost falling over my pups who, uncharacteristically, barked at him. In no time some tough looking and acting biker duds took offense to Chris and it looked threatening enough for me to insist to call the cops. As usual by the time of their arrival the tension had dispersed and the guys had moved on, no harm done.

Afterwards one young street kid came up to us and apologized for Chris, saying something like that he did not know how to hold his liquor. We got in to an exchange of alcoholism, family problems, willpower and seeking help with AA. On our leave my buddy expressed surprise that Chris had not been harmed yet by anybody, as he seemed to manage to offend others rather easily. This was said only a bit over 1 month prior to Chris' demise!

My heart goes out to all those that suffer violence, addiction and mental illness. As a community we have a responsibility to provide adequate care to the fringe elements of our society. Some readers of the news jumped to premature conclusions, condemning the police, condemning the day workers that hang out in the area where Chris' body was found, condemning the illegals and the transients and the local and the national figures in politics. I sure wish we were less quick to condemn and more readily available to empathize and to seek working solutions for ongoing problems, that are not just local, but world wide. This homicide was Santa Fe's fourth for 2009.

P.S.: The lady dancing with Chris is German and after years of living in Santa Fe, I believe she returned to Germany. She was always to be seen near where there was music and dancing, I miss her unmistakable presence in our community as well.


Following a suggestion on where to locate apricots, I scored big time in finding these apples ripe for the picking 
right near a nature preserve, still hanging from the tree, but in easy reach for me. Such luck!

Next will be the baking of 'Oepfel Waehe' or my kind of apple tart.

I can now, a few days later, attest to the deliciousness of those apples.
No, I am not about to nibble on a dog treat. 
Such are near always when eating in the company of my canine companions, 
as leaving them with a sense of deprivation is not an option.

My casual breakfast out on the patio while it is still warm enough 9.8.16.

Break of a non-existent fast 9.6.16 with my own home-made pizza topped with pineapple.

Zvieri with an apples-cranberries tart topped with whipped cream from 5.1.2011.

Oepfel und Zwetschge Waehe, meaning apple and plum tart from 4.6.2011.

Living the good life with Oepfel Waehe or home made apple tart while gazing at pretty orchids 8.16.12.

W21 Facade

The Facade of our Warehouse 21 teen center in Santa Fe serves as a canvas for their fountain of creativity.

"A big SHOUT OUT to IFAM, W21, and the NEOGLYPHIC CREW (an indigenous aerosol professional group from LA and AZ) 
for bringing contemporary native arts and culture to the Railyard." - Santa Fe Railyard via fb