Friday, November 28, 2008

The We of Me

Did you have to read Carson McCullers' The Member of the Wedding? I did long, long ago and far, far way at Picayune Junior High School, back in the dark ages. At least we had electricity and didn't have to read it by lamp light! I don't remember much about the book except for poor lil Frankie's angst about family and well just about everything else. What actually stuck with me most is that phrase, the we of me.
I've been thinking about it lately as I read all the posts about gratitude and the lists of what people are thankful for. I am thankful for so much and not just the people in my life right now, but also for the we of me. And I think that includes so much more than friends and family. It includes artists that inspire me, teach me, and those that encourage me. It includes other bloggers and chance encounters in everyday life. It includes brave souls who put themselves out there and allow me to learn from what they are going through. It also includes those whose words have inspired me, stuck in my brain, linked me to other places, people and life lessons that I would never encounter in my own life.
And I have been thinking about how the we connect to make a me. Paying attention is needed and although I have never been really good at that, I am trying. In all parts of my life, not just art or daily life but even in the things I choose to read. In one of the high schools I went to (and no, I am not a Sarah Palin kind of student, we just moved often!) I learned of Rupert Brooke and his poem, The Great Lover
"I have been so great a lover: filled my days so proudly with the splendor of Love's praise..." I memorized the poem, made my own lists and went on to enjoy many other poems by people I wouldn't have read but for Rupert.
A random library pick in my twenties introduced me to Elizabeth Goudge, and her wonderful books about English life. She wrote The White Witch about the English civil war and the role that gypsies played in that war. I love this book! I read it every year in the fall for many, many years. I read it last year in the fall and was so surprised to understand how much it has influenced my life! It didn't hurt that there was a character, a small gypsy child, whose name was Cinderella. My daddy's said his mother's name was Florence Cinderella and boy did I love that as a child. I knew of no one else ever to lay claim to that name. But back to all of those literary connections.
A book club purchase in the 80s ( the decade, not my age!) introduced me to Jean Hersey and her lovely book, A Touch of the Earth (couldn't find a link except where to buy the book) It's a wonderful little book, a little like a precursor to blogs I think, just a month by month look at her life, little snippets of her days in North Carolina after retirement from Connecticut. She throws in some wisdom, cooking tips, craft projects, road trips and planting advice as well. And to bring the whole connection thing to its conclusion (you were waiting for this to all make sense, right?) she mentions both Rupert and Elizabeth!

It was like finding out your friends know each other outside of their connection with you. Don't you find that happening often in the blog world these days? I love it and it brings me back to that whole we of me thing...we are all part of each other and I am grateful to have you all in the we of me.

PS: did you know you can get a literature map? You put in the name of an author you love and it will give you other authors that you might like! How cool is that?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Only in New Mexico?

Is it my imagination or is this saint holding a ciggie and a flask? As well as a sporty price tag as a bracelet? Cool.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fall things

My children's "other" grandparents were lovely people who always welcomed us with special food and delicious teas and always loved our visits. Gordon was the cook, Edith the baker, but one thing Gordon did make were these amazing Cheese Crackers. We loved , loved them and always asked for the recipe. After one visit, I received a small envelope in the mail and inside was this lovely note:
Dear Leau, So happy to see you both - what a handsome son you have! - Love, us
And on the reverse in Gordon's spidery handwriting was this:

Cheese Crackers

2 Cups Rice Krispies
2 Cups flour
1/2 lb. margarine or butter (we use margarine)
10 oz. block of EXTRA sharp cheddar cheese
Tabasco - drops?? maybe 10?
375 degree oven
8 - 10 minutes - or until lightly brown

Make small balls - about the size of a walnut
Press firmly with a fork both ways. #
When DONE, put on a cooling rack for about 5 - 1 minutes
THEN - we put them on paper towels for about 1/2 hour.
To pack - put paper towels in between layers

These are the best crackers, I generally end up using about 20 drops of Tabasco and make them these time of year for some reason. I miss Edith and Gordon very much and making these always makes me miss them more, but the good kind of missing, ya know? Grateful to have had them in our lives, influence us, love us. Other people seem to like the crackers as much as we do.

The leaves are finally colorful and today, it looks like we might have some moisture soon. That would be good for our very dry area. That's all for my fall report. Enjoy the crackers.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

And now back to our regularly scheduled....

Finally some color around here!! This was last week on my way home from the library. Why was I at the library you ask? Well, did I tell you I have been falling out of love with New Mexico lately?

No? Well for the first time in 27 years, I wanted to be somewhere else in the fall, I craved the colors of Vermont or the smell of the ocean. I was even being lured by New York City! I was homesick for somewhere I hadn't been before. I longed for the south and ate pimento cheese on everything. I applied for a job in North Carolina and tried to imagine a fall there. I left my beloved New Mexico for Colorado in October, something unheard of in the past. And lusted after the beauty and color of my home state. It's not that the whole state had disappointed me, just where I live. I went to Magdalena and enjoyed the mountains and the rains. I went to the North Valley and saw old wonderful houses with character. But where I am? Dull, boring, dry and hot. Yes, hot! Not that I am itching to get into socks, but I wanted it to be a little cool in October. How else can you appreciate the smell of chilies roasting or see the trees turn? So, what was I to do? Well, thought I, do something and do it quick 'cause this ain't any fun. Think, think, think as Pooh would say and this is what I came up with...I rented The Milagro Bean Field Wars and started watching it on a kind of loop. I went to the library and checked out Death Comes for the Archbishop and hunted up my copy of If Mountains Die, I started writing down everything that brought me to New Mexico and still, I was flirting with other places, feeling a little disloyal to the place that won my heart so many years ago. The Dia de los Muertos celebrations began and I started to feel a little rekindling of the light and as I played, I started to remember, I love that whole colorful, wonderful, aspect of living here. Then, last Sunday, there was this...
plumbing and faith framing orange hair and a pink tutu and put me over the top. Until...
this moment. Perfect! Made me realize that nothing is really this black or white, right? I'm back baby and more in love with my chosen home than ever. And on Tuesday, when we became a blue state? LOVE, LOVE that! I'm in for the long haul now. You will be sick of all my New Mexico love fest posts. Tomorrow? The Marigold Parade in all it's glory.
Love from the Land of Enchantment,
a sorta kinda native girl

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yippee Skippee Dance has started!!

What she said!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Dia de la Bloglandia...Remember?

Do you remember?
Remember giving me roses?
Remember window shopping and planning a future?
I do,
I remember.
When I look in the mirror, I see the changes
but my heart is still the same.
You were so handsome and I was so beautiful,
at least that's the way
I remember it.
The house looks the same, the woods haven't changed.
I remember the way the dirt smelled when the sun was so hot in the summer
and the smell of the moisture in the soil when it rained in the fall.
I remember the way the wind whistled in the rafters and the way I complained about it!
I do remember.
The truck is in the same place it always is.
I don't think anyone is taking care of it anymore.
Isn't there anyone who remembers how much fun we had?
How many dances that truck took us to? How many picnics? Trips to visit family?
Are we completely forgotten?
I remember.
I still make the bed up each morning,
I remember how good clean sheets and smooth cotton feel in the heat of our high desert.
I remember the warmth of a good blanket when it got cold and the softness of feather pillows.
I remember.
Remember our dreams? Of travel? Ah Paris! Mexico City!
Of children? And how those dreams came true?
And how we coped when they didn't?
I remember.
Remember how much fun we had sharing that box of Cracker Jacks and the ring at the bottom? I love that ring. Where is it now?
I remember.
Oh how I loved to get all dressed up and go dancing. Remember?
The music, the people, the feeling of community? And the food!
I remember.
Remember how proud you were when you could afford to replace that Cracker Jack ring with a real one? And you bought those ruby earrings as well.
I remember.
And the combs I had for my hair and my fancy dress.
We did well for ourselves, didn't we?
I remember.
And how you loved to surprise me with hair ribbons.
You knew how much I loved color and how drab our lives sometimes appeared.
But those ribbons brought such joy to me.
You always remembered the little things.
I remember.
There is no death as long as someone remembers.
I remember.
(this is the piece I did for the South Broadway Cultural Center Show tomorrow)
Go here or here to read other tales of Dia de la Bloglandia.

And now for some New Mexico Dia de los Muertos

The Tome Gallery just south of Albuquerque in ah... Tome, is a lovely cooperative gallery and they hosted a Dia de Los Muertos show reception last Sunday. It was great fun to see all of the interpretations of this great traditional holiday. I was in hog heaven, or should I say, skull heaven! There were painted ones,

quilted ones

plastic milk carton ones,

Shrinky dink ones,

Felted ones,

Fused glass ones

Pottery ones,

This fabulous altar all made out of glass, yes each and every one of the marigolds, bones, skulls, food everything was individually made out of glass!!

Some etched on copper,

And a really cool ofrenda that had been put together by a welder.

There was also a "make and take" station for the kids. I'm telling you, I'm not going to parties any more that don't have a crafts table. It's the best ever! The kids could choose to make jewelry out of beads or shrinky dink plastic. Pati had circles cut and holes punched and made some great templates with all kinds of Halloween and Day O'Dead choices, but most of these kids were only interested in making Obama jewelry! It was great, they made buttons and necklaces and earrings and anything else they could think of with the Obama logo or just Obama on them. They pretty much used up all of the red and blue markers. Can you tell they were at the rally in Albuquerque the day before? It was wonderful to see.
Gobama or as they say in Louisiana, Geauxbama!! And Go Vote, too!!!
Tomorrow? The show at the South Broadway Cultural Center (I have a piece in this show!!) and the Marigold Parade this year called the Recession Procession.
And...Dia de la Bloglandia..right here and all over the place. Watch for the links to have a mighty fine time traveling around the globe to see all the different ways people celebrate.