Monthly Archives: January 2015
This weekend, my flying couch and I spent time in Paris, Ystad, the English countryside and Chicago.
If it’s Monday morning however, it must be Albuquerque.
I am so sad for the people lost in the AirAsia crash; for the Nigerian babies, women and elders killed for the convenience of a hideous force called Boko Haram; for the murdered in Paris and for everybody in Syria and all of the other places where violence reigns supreme.
So to counteract the hopelessness I feel which many of you probably share, I offer a photo of my mom in 1929; she was 22. I am thinking of mom tonight because she was the wisest gentlest person I have ever known. She was also a devout Christian. The history of devout religious people of any faith being especially wise is spotty and being gentle even more so. It seems religiosity can indeed inspire great empathy and kindness and, equally as likely, zealotry and self-righteous violence.
I was blessed with a mother who was completely of the kind, gentle, non-judgmental variety of believer. If history or literature could show me that Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hindi, Mormonism…even Buddhism produced more people like mom I might feel a little more hope tonight.
Here’s mom, Ovidia Mathilda Floren Neset, somewhere around her old home in the Sioux River Valley of South Dakota. She loved the forest and the hills and the river, everything about the natural world. Except spiders. She especially loved birds, seeing in them perfect creations—beautiful and fragile and brave and always singing.
Tonight, here and there, extraordinary people like mom are carrying on, doing good, bringing joy, providing sustenance and hope, all in the name of one belief system or the other. Hope there are more of them than the bogus believers who caused so much agony this week.
Thanks to my pretty mom back in her much-loved valley home for always always being kind and standing for all things right in the world
Fortunately, for me I don’t suffer from Big-Shiny-New envy so in the course of my dance presenting life it was never a problem for me that most of my colleagues were inviting artists to prettier or bigger or grander performance venues then we could offer at North Fourth. Nevertheless most visiting artists seemed fairly content here—in fact some professed to be charmed by the color and warmth and intimacy and, for the most part, were probably sincere about that.
Now, as we focus exclusively on our Day and Exploratory Arts programs and community arts users, the center and the neighborhood seem even more appropriately steeped in that North Valley ambience of traditional New Mexicans in their traditional adobes; artists in more eclectic models or re-models of the traditional; too many used car lots, ‘easy’ financing places and nail salons to count; an elegant vineyard; and, just over there, the slow-moving shallow Rio Grande with its banks of cottonwoods and brush and the odd wildflower and a coyote or two.
It is Real Albuquerque around here. Not very pretty but with a funky, art-friendly, old New Mexico, working class sensibility.
The Morning View. Interestingly enough, as I did a quick edit of these photos, I realized how much our Center needs a facelift. Signs shabby, parking lot pockmarked, facade fading. And then I remembered the legislative session is about to begin. Wonder if there is the tiniest hope for some funding. To explore.
There is a difference after all between quirky downscale charm and pending dilapidation.
Getting up/Going to work early. Okay. Leave home at 6:30AM; Arrive at work at 6:45AM. I did that today. It’s perfect—a very private time to think about and make plans for the three primary arenas of life. There’s the personal part (like family and friends and “Downton Abbey” and “The Good Wife” and seeing if you can keep the plant alive and doing the laundry). Then there is work. Of greater to lesser engagement depending on the day, but always the activity that, even on the worst of days, gives your life purpose. Work may be about doing something exciting and/or interesting and/or meaningful; it may be about putting you out in the world with like-minded people; it may be about a paycheck—whichever or whatever combination thereof, it is always purposeful. Finally there are our ‘love’ lives—as in the personal pursuits that matter to each of us the most, that we love and of which we are proud and excited to be a part. These interests/loves may be a hobby, may even be the work we do for money or they may simply be what validates who we are because of the intensity of our feelings about them. In any case they are a very big reason to be up early.
For me it is only possible to keep all of this in perspective if I think about it early in the morning. Can be on my couch or at my desk, just has to be early and quiet and there must be coffee.
Resolution #1 is therefore declared valid for the year. Really? For the whole year? So never sleep later than 5AM. Unless it is a slow cold weekend and it really is okay to just roll over and drop back into a winter’s sleep under that great big fat fluffy reassuring security-comforter.
A diary of the first day of 2015 to consider as a guide to the rest of the year. I hope.
7AM. Snowed last night! What a comedown for a Minnesota girl to be out in her pajamas and socks taking pictures of snow. But it looks beautiful. And it’s cloudy besides. Yay for Weather.
9AM. The apartment is scented with spices and ham bone and warmth and a brand-new year. The black-eyed peas soaked overnight and went into the kettle with a lot of ham hocks, a giant onion pierced with cloves, salt, allspice, bay leaf, pepper and lots of water. The recipe was in the NYT yesterday: Black-eyed Peas with Ham Hock and Collards.
NOON. This recipe is Good. Just the right spices; beans and collard greens healthy, hearty, filling; only the ham hocks weren’t right. Flavored the beans and the greens perfectly but the many small chunks of fat and skin weren’t appealing themselves. So next time a ham, hambone or thick-cut bacon. If I make my cooking drink half white wine, half sparkling water I can happily sip all during the food preparation and eating. So far day going just right. 2015 looks promising.
2PM. I made myself spend a couple of hours organizing some Up North writing from my past classes. Then, as a reward, an episode of the British version of Wallander. Little house cleaning, little computer time, few New Year’s Day phone calls.
5PM. Going to work tomorrow after all. Shower, coffeepot ready for morning.
7:30PM. Post this Post. Watch another Wallander. Just to set myself a perfect example for this new year, I’ll re-enter one of those famously long Norwegian novels I’ve been trying to conquer for some time.
Happy New Year to me.