Showing posts from October, 2010

Haiku and Halloween

Great party. It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway. Another Dia de los Muertos Poetry Party success, thanks to Deborah and Thomas, who really know what a party is all about. Good food and drink, good friends, new friends, poetry, music, and some dancing to shake it all up. I, for one, had a blast. The honored dead poet this year was Basho , and the poetry style, haiku. I like the concise, small, format of haiku. It's kind of like making jewelry out of words. I wrote a few in preparation for the party, but then I became timid when I found myself in a room full of real writers. So I wimped out and read a few silly poems I found on the Pirate Haiku webpage. It was totally cowardly of me, but Rick, my ever-lovin' hero, took my notebook from me and read a few of my own haiku for me. It was good to set them free. I wish I could have done it myself, but man, there were some heavy hitters in that room. Nobody threw rocks at me though, and I do enjoy writing those tiny

Taos Zombie Stagger

The Taos Zombie Stagger was a great success, especially for a first time event. We arrived to find a jam-packed Plaza, filled with creepy zombies and curious onlookers. Everyone milled around for a few minutes, and after some brief instructions, the parade began, right on time. That never happens in Taos, so a lot of people were late catching up. Straggling zombies ran after the pack, and befuddled locals with cameras murmured, It started on time...? The best costumes made use of some pretty gruesome makeup techniques. And of course some of the kids were just too cool, and too beautiful, to make themselves look ugly on purpose. Because this was a last minute decision for us, and because we don't know a thing about scary makeup, Rick and I decided to take the easy route and just wear masks. Being fond of embellishment, even if it's creepy, I added some rubber worms to my already hideous face, and wore a lavender wig, a fabulous hat, an old strand of toy pearls, and a fres


To continue a bit on yesterday's topic, because I keep hearing from more and more discouraged friends, I think it's important to say that I know I'm one of the lucky ones. I have Rick, and my health, and not one, but two roofs (or rooves--I looked it up--both are correct) over my head. I have plenty to eat--you can tell that just by looking at me! And I really do have everything I need . After reading my post yesterday, a friend called to talk about all this, and to relay yet more stories of friends who are "in it," as we like to say. In It, and in it together , even though it can feel pretty lonely at times. We came up with something that seems like it might be helpful, at least to us. When we're feeling discouraged or picked on or just plain surly, we need to recognize it as something temporary, acknowledge it as some sort of guidance, and then go do something else. The New Rule here is No Wallowing. Yep, times are tough. Let's have some fun anyway.

Participation - Audio Version

Friday, October 29, 2010


Rick got a job yesterday. It's just a temporary, part-time, fill-in sort of thing, back at the Sagebrush Inn, where he used to work. This should make me very happy, and on one level it does. He went out there and asked, and they said yes, and now we'll have some money coming in. Rick is my hero in so many ways. So the part of me that's not so thrilled has nothing to do with him.  I guess it all feels sort of like a commitment to Taos, and in the past, that has also felt like entrapment. It's icky. That's my best word here. Icky. It's like a surrender, or even a defeat. We went away, we came back, and now we're stuck again. What we came here wanting, is not what we're getting. Isn't that the way it goes? How does anybody even know what they want? I'm beginning to feel a little silly living in a trailer in my driveway, while our big house sits there empty. But we still have good reasons for doing it this way. We hold on to the hope that we'l

Discouragement - Audio Version

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Exploring Taos - Part 2 - Dwellings Revisited

Halloween in Taos is more about the Mexican holiday  Dia de los Muertos than trick-or-treat. Sure, the kids here dress up and demand candy, and a lot of adults get into the spirit of the season with costumes and parties. But the focus around town is really on Day of the Dead , a time when we celebrate and honor our departed loved ones, and also invite them to the party. Cemeteries are decorated with new brightly colored artificial flowers and tokens of a happy life on earth. Altars, called ofrendas , with photographs, flowers, candles, food, and special mementos, are set up everywhere from private homes to shops, restaurants, and galleries. Everywhere you go, there are reminders of the holiday, of the shortness of our stay here in this life, and of our connection to those who have passed before us. It's a holiday of celebration, not sadness. One of the most festive shops in town is actually dressed for the holiday all year round. Dwellings Revisited , on Bent Street, is a fun p

Mud On My Hands

I spent the weekend playing with clay. It's something I haven't done in years, and it was a really fun change from glass. My friend, Deborah Rael-Buckley , is working on a large sculptural piece for a rapidly approaching show at the Parks Gallery , here in Taos, honoring the Daughters Of Juarez . Not the book, but the actual women, hundreds of them, who have been murdered there. Deborah's piece will be one of her large chair forms--which I really love--filled with a tangled, random pile of smaller chairs, representing bits of everyday life left behind by these women. Similar to the Holocaust Museum's photographs of huge piles of shoes, this will be a personal, haunting piece of sculpture, certain to have a powerful impact on those who see it. With the November 1st opening coming up fast, Deborah mentioned the other evening that she could use some help making the small chairs. Maybe it was the martini talking, but I immediately volunteered. Sure I can make little chai

Mud On My Hands - Audio Version

Monday, October 25, 2010

Even If I Don't Get Paid - Audio Version

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Even If I Don't Get Paid

The first and only time I was fired from a job--and I've had many jobs--it was Rick, my own sweet husband, who fired me from our pizza shop. I've told this story before. He knew I was miserable making other people's dinner, and out of love, and maybe self preservation, he set me free to find something I'd love doing. It was terrifying. And that was when beadmaking found me. It was wonderful for a long time. Then it was less wonderful. And finally, recently, I got to where I couldn't stand the idea of sitting at that torch for another second. And so a few days ago, after months of wondering, I finally knew ... it was time to fire myself . There's a terrifying, thrilling freedom in cutting loose from something that's been part of me for a long time. Fourteen years, to be exact. A lot of people only know me as a beadmaker, but I'm so much more than that. I don't know exactly what I'll do next, but I know something at least as wonderful as beadma

Guest Blogger - Rick Vanderburg

  I like the idea of inviting Guest Bloggers to join me here now and then. Who could be better as the first than my own beloved husband? I know you'll give him a warm welcome, and I hope you'll also become a regular visitor to his blog, Scattering Birdseed . ~~~~~~~~~ Kim has been asking me to be a guest writer on her blog for weeks. I've been trying to do my own blog for several years but can't seem to get going. So what's been the problem? Well I'm scared; I'm afraid of sounding like I think I know what I'm talking about when I don't. My passion is spirituality and I've been studying and exploring matters of the heart, awakening and expanding consciousness for years. There are plenty of books out there written by people who DO know what they're talking about and I don't what to try to sound like one of them. I'm only interested in sharing my experiences of this journey along the "long way home". It seems to me that ma

Rainy Day in Taos

Weather matters, doesn't it? It does to me. It's been absolutely, splendidly beautiful here in Taos since we arrived almost a month ago. Couldn't ask for better. Today is cloudy though, and it rained most of the night, but that's a good thing. It's a blessing, in the purest form. Water in the desert. Back in our Seattle days, and even last winter in Ashland, a rainy day was not a novelty, and certainly not a comfort. Not to me. But here, when we get these days, they're actually kind of nice. As leaves turn yellow around town, hollyhocks and roses continue to bloom, and the small lawn we lost to the renter's chickens is sprouting new green shoots, thanks to a sprinkle of seeds and Rick's careful watering. But we all know that it could turn to winter any day now. Nights have gotten colder, and there's snow on the mountains this morning. I'm still wearing my flip flops, still in denial, but my boots and warm socks are close at hand. A rainy day

Rainy Day in Taos - Audio Version

Click the arrow on the left of the player to hear this audio blog.

Can You Hear Me Now?

New Ideas will flow through like the Rio Grande if we let them. Some are worth grabbing with a net and pulling out for a closer look, while others are better left to drift on down to Mexico. I guess the trick is in knowing which is which. What works best for me is to try just about everything that presents itself, and to be willing to let it go if it doesn't seem "right" after a pretty short time. Forcing things never works. Allowing them to unfold often works beautifully. Without too many expectations or limits, sometimes a New Idea can take on a life of its own, and surprise us with what it really is. My idea today has been treading water for about a week, and I think it's time to see if it can really swim... or even fly. I've been thinking about "audio blogging", which is also known as "podcasting", "voice blogging", and even "vogging", although I think maybe vogging includes video too. I'm really not sure. There'

Sudden Apron Obsession

I don't know where it came from, this this sudden, urgent urge to shop for aprons . I recall Mom sometimes tying a pretty gathered half apron around her waist if she was prepping for a party, but it's not really something that's buried deep in my psyche. I don't recall grandmothers' aprons of any sort, but those are the ones I'm in search of today. The big crisscross kind you drop over your head, with lots of clothing coverage and big pockets. Maybe reversible. Certainly out of a beautiful fabric that's both washable and not too froufrou. Something like Auntie Em would wear, but with an edge, you know? I am a messy cook, and I'm cooking a lot more these days, as the weather cools and food is part of the warmth and comfort that coaxes us through the winter months. A messy cook with a limited RV size wardrobe needs to cover up when the olive oil starts to splatter. I don't have a big closet full of changes, or a washing machine to toss a favorite top

Exploring Taos - Part 1 - Ranchos Church Plaza

This is the first in a series of small adventures in and around Taos, New Mexico. My idea is to go out and explore favorite places as well as places that are new to me--well known, and obscure, tourist spots, and local haunts--at my own pace, which is not necessarily that of a typical travel writer. I want to show you this wonderful place from the perspective of one who has lived here for years, and is still discovering it. My hope is not to make you feel that you've been here, but that you want to come here to see it for yourself.  The old San Francisco de Asis church is a well known part of Taos history. It's the first stop to make at the south end of town, as you drive into Taos from Santa Fe. The subject of countless photographs and paintings , it's a must-see when visiting Taos. Living near it, I've stopped to look at it numerous times, usually with visiting friends in tow. The other day I decided to wander over by myself, to check out a local craft fair being h