Sad side of Santa Fe

Driving into Santa Fe we were listening to a radio show about the homeless in this town. I did not verify these figures, but it was stated that there are 500 homeless children here and very few programs for homeless families, kids and women. Many of these hidden beings are sleeping in cars and couch surfing. This is especially alarming with winter arriving soon. Last year 25 people froze to death!

I met a woman at the Santa Fe Baking Company and she said last year she saw families living under the bridges near Canyon Road. She is very concerned about the homeless kids and has been trying to get some attention for this with the mayor and the city, but no one was really reacting. The radio show mentioned that the city has only contributed like 1/10 of the money needed to run the couple of existing shelters which are more set up for men.

What is ironic about this is Ander played a benefit on Saturday for the Animal Humane Society. Many of people attended at $60 each and also more money made on a silent auction. I have no criticism about this, but sounds as if homeless human beings need help too.

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Art born of a need to tell

The Los Desaparacito/The Disappeared installation is an outstanding collaboration of nine galleries around Santa Fe, NM. They are all part of this exhibit of artists whose lives have been profoundly affected by the political upheavals in Latin America over the last thirty years.

I went to the opening of the exhibit at Site Santa Fe.

“The works by 27 artists from seven countries in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Uruguay, and Venezuela) brought together visual artists’ responses to the tens of thousands of persons who were kidnapped, tortured, killed, and “vanished” in Latin America by repressive right-wing military dictatorships during the late-1950s to the 1980s. The artists in this exhibition approach the phenomenon of “disappearance” from personal perspectives. Their paintings, photographs, sculptures, and videos express individual experiences of the turbulence and chaos that rocked their countries in the mid-decades of the twentieth century.”

Since I too work in the realm of remembrance, I was especially touched and awed by this show.

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Oscar Munoz of Colombia created ghostly images from the obituaries on six steel discs in his piece, Breath/Aliento. “Through the simple act of breathing, we endow a personal and collective memory with life, presence, and meaning, ” says the artist’s statement. He also created a series of videos called, “Project for a Memorial” in which he sketches the faces of the dead with hot water on stones and they disappear as quickly as he draws them.

The collaborative group, “Identity/Identidad”, from Argentina, is made up of 13 artists. They created a heart breaking maze of over 200 black and white photos of abducted expecting couples side by side with a mirror which stood in for their unborn child. I could not even walk through the whole piece which snaked horizontally through a few rooms. What is incredible is that eight people have discovered their own identities by walking through this installation when it was displayed in Argentina and Uruguay.

All of the artists in the SITE SF show were outstanding and is a must see.

The other galleries who are in this city-wide exhibit are:
Center for Contemporary Arts
Center for Contemporary Arts Cinemtheque
College of Santa Fe – Documentary Studies Program and Marion Center for Photographic Arts
Institute of American Indian Arts Museum
Lannan Foundation
National Hispanic Cultural Center
Santa Fe Art Institute
SITE Santa Fe

I definitely will be making it to a few more of the galleries and hope to report back on this very important, timely, and devastating exhibit.

my favorite shop

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Every time I go to Santa fe (I think I’ve been here at least 8x) I stumble upon this shop and then remember that I love it. The place is call Mira, which means “look” in Spanish. I like the eclectic nature of the store. It is full of treasures and interesting clothes. They sell oil cloth by the in kitschy patterns, as well as skeleton and skulls ala day of the dead and more.

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Dena and Amanda were manning the store the day I went in. They were very informative and fun to hang out with. In fact I got the names and directions to a couple of authentic New Mexican Mexican restaurants to go to. Miguel and Chula, two cute and dressed up chihuahuas were in force alsoo. Too bad my photos of them were to blurry to post.

MIRA
101 West Marcy Street
Santa Fe, NM
10- 6, m-sat, 12-5 sun.

Shooting stars and cocoa

Saturday night we went to a magical party in Santa Fe. We heard that it was a star gazing party. After driving around in the dark and making a few u-turns, we found the marker on the road, a blue star on a white sandwich board, and then we found another blue star which marked the dirt road and the driveway up to the house.

As we walked into the house of Dave, we were immediately offered some hot chocolate. We had 2 choices, a milder one and an intense version. I took the intense elixir and it was incredible. Turns out that our host is a chocolate scientist and in a room with a large glass window, he had all these beakers and scales and canisters of different kinds of cocoa from around the world. Being a chocoholic, it was heaven.

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As we meandered into the kitchen, I saw Ander’s eye’s light up as he said, “a piano!” And this was not just any piano. Dave had integrated the grand piano into his kitchen. The top of the piano had a sink in it and a cutting board and it was covered with food – (Mauro and Esther would have been shocked considering their no drinks on the piano rule). Hanging above the piano were pots and pans. Talk about true integration of art and life!

As Ander jumped on the piano and began serenading us with his jazz tunes, I got into a conversation about kitchen building with a very informative woman named Vera from the Czech Republic. She had just taken on this task herself and recommended Lowe’s because they cater to women as opposed to Home Depot where you can hardly get anyone to help out. Anyway, Vera was very cool, but I’ll have to write more about her in another blog entry.

Vera led me out to the back of the house and down a dark path and many stairs to the observatory. It was pitch dark out and we entered a very small white dome by bending down and going through a little hatch door. There in the still very dark room were about five people looking through a very large telescope. As my turn came up, I saw the Pleiades looking large and clear and bright. Stepping out of the dome, I finally got to meet Dave, the host, and we watched shooting stairs in the lovely night, in the crisp air of Santa Fe. I felt so fortunate to be alive and in the right place at the right time.

candlelight and whirling red skirt

Our friend Tantric Paul took us to a wonderful place called the Green Tea Palace. It is a little place near the Santa Fe plaza, is 2 months new and run by Leland and Vera. The cafe was beautiful in candle light and spiritual art from around the world and also the art of their daughter Beri adorned the adobe walls. Regular tables and chairs are interspersed with cushy pillows and low tables. While a very pregnant Vera cooked all the healthy food, some of it raw; her husband Leland , (with one daughter on his hip), ran around and made space for every person who stuck their head in the door, drawn to the wonderful live music like moths to a lantern. He rearranged chairs, and asked people to make room in such a gracious way, that everyone complied with a smile. Their kids, Beri and Rose ran around and enjoyed the music, while baby Jasmine slept in a stroller near her mother. Watching this family navigate their business and enjoy their customers was very heart warming.

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The incredible music was provided by “The Shiva Brothers” who played together for the first time. Musicians included Danesh – sitar and guitar; Paul – bells and percussion, Adam – urdu, and our own HMBer Ander – electric bass. They had a special guest, Sita, a wonderful woman who chanted and played harmonium. The music was very moving and special. I do not think one could listen to it without feeling glowy (is that a word?).

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One gentleman, Oma, got so into the sounds that he put on his dervish red skirt and twirled up a storm. He’s from the Carolinas (can’t remember which one) but looks like he is from Morocco and specializes in sculpting pregnant women using clay. When asked why pregnant women, he answered, “How else will more Goddesses come into the world?”

The Green Palace Tea House
209 East Palace Ave
Santa Fe, NM 87501

gold on the mountain

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We drove up to the top of the ski mountain to see the aspen trees which are in their full glory right now. Ander and Jim told me that the aspens grow from one main tree! So I looked Aspen up on wikipedia and they are an incredible plant!

Colonies
All the aspens typically grow in large colonies derived from a single seedling, and spreading by means of root suckers; new stems in the colony may appear at up to 30–40 m from the parent tree. Each tree only lives for 40–150 years above ground, but the root system of the colony is long-lived, in some cases for many thousands of years, sending up new trunks as the older trunks die off above ground. For this reason it is considered to be an indicator of ancient woodlands. One such colony in Utah, given the nickname of “Pando”, is claimed to be 80,000 years old, making it possibly the oldest living colony.

Why do they quake?
The unusual ability of the leaves of Populus to twist and bend due to the flattened petioles may not be fully understood. It is thought to help protect the trees from severe winds, perhaps by helping dissipate energy more uniformly throughout the canopy. It is also thought to improve the rate of photosynthesis throughout the tree by reducing the exposure of the outer leaves to extreme sunlight (thus reducing photoinhibition) by presenting the leaves at an oblique angle to the sun throughout the day, while at the same time allowing more light through to the lower leaves which are generally overshaded. This would enable leaves throughout the tree to photosynthesize more efficiently.

Cultural Aspects
The aspen tree’s quivering leaves are, in Christian lore, said to be the result of arrogance at the Crucifixion because the aspen did not tremble like other trees. A German version claims that the aspen was the only tree to refuse to acknowledge the divinity of Jesus. Another old saying was that aspen leaves are made from female tongues, and their quivering is due to women’s inability to stop talking.

The wood is white, and soft, but fairly strong, and with very low flammability. It has a number of uses, notably for making matches, where its low flammability makes it safer to use (easy to blow out) than most other woods. Heat treated aspen is a popular material for the interiors of a sauna.

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eldercare for animals?

Where else but in New Mexico would they think of this? Elder care and hospice for dogs, poultry, and horses! The mission statement for Kindred Spirits is:

“providing life-long care of older, unwanted dogs, horses and poultry in a sanctuary setting. In addition, our educational programs focus on the beauty of animals as teachers of unconditional love. We believe this facilitates a better understanding and appreciation of our individual and collective aging processes where we feel privileged to return this love and care to these most vulnerable members in our community.”

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In their most recent newsletter they write that they are concerned about, “what makes quality of life “ for so many individual seniors with histories of abuse and abandonment. High on the list is a natural environment with a safe and orderly unfolding of the day. The animals’ favorite is brush & cuddle. In the poultry yard this translates to “being with” in a receptive presence where many stories of need are made known, listened to and acted upon.”