Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Passes

Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts on December 31, 2009.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One last look at the Christmas holiday in Germany.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)


When I visited in 1997, this church was only a pile of rubble. Labelled with identifying numbers, the remains were painstakingly reassembled to restore the building to its former glory before the World War II bombings.

Herrnhunter Sterne

These stars were invented as Christmas neared in the beginning of the 18th century by a Moravian monastic brother as he tried to keep children entertained in school. Now, these stars, which symbolize the guiding Christmas star, hang all over the city, in streets, church steeples and in homes. (Fortunately, I was given one for Christmas and will be able to bring some German Christmas home with me for decorating next year.)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Also for the late night.
These Germans can drink! After hopping some pubs, Matthias realizes that the train runs a different schedule at 4 in the morning.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Glüwein is one of reaons to celebrate a German Christmas. Hot, mulled wine can be purchased on street corners, with a deposit down for the glass. Drinking it whileyou shop or people watch, you can later keep the cup, or return it for your deposit back. Of course, you can also just ask for a refill!

Nele (left), Anne (middle) and friend pause before we head out into the wonderful winter snow.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Some potential decorating ideas...



Since I'm planning to buy a home in Albuquerque, I thought I should consider one in Dresden, too.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Vacation

Leaving for two weeks in Germany, followed by a few days in Boston with my godson and family. I'm sooooooo ready! Hopefully will get to post some photos while there.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our first billboard campaign went live today...

Monday, December 14, 2009

In the throes of getting down payment in place; inspection completed; home owner's insurance and all that stuff; board meeting tomorrow; two proposals due to the Governor's Deputy Chief of Staff in the AM; everything at work in place before leaving; Christmas gifts and cards signed sealed and delivered; laundry done; locate a suitcase for travel; and packing. I cancelled a workshop tonight that I was supposed to lead and referred a hypnosis client to another hypnotherapist.

Three days to go!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

You Might Be in the Southwest

...if you go to buy a windshield ice scraper at an auto store in the middle of December and the store has not yet decided to carry them.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Counter offer from seller of The Blue Goose has arrived. I am sending back an acceptance notification of the offer. There is still loads of paperwork, a house inspection, etc., etc. before anything is finalized.

All this before I leave the country next Friday morning!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Who's Dennis Lecturing Now?



Yeah, I finally managed the right night and time to be at the Governor's Mansion. That's Bill Richardson on the left, with whom I had some substantial conversation.

And now that my blog has recently contained the words "White House" "crashing party" and "Governor Richardson" I might as well use it to say hi to my friends over at the Secret Service...since I know that you are now reading this, too. (The SS guys frequent our shelter whenever a resident makes a threat against the president. That doesn't happen often, but we do have folks struggling with mental illnesses here that lead to some interesting encounters.)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Original house of interest, The Blue Goose, is back on the market. I submitted a bid.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

New Home Ideas

Still house hunting. Decided against an 1898 Revival style in downtown as it would need more money than I have to fix up. But...

Here's a style that I think I might want to emulate:

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Party Crashing

I met the woman whom the White House should have had as security to prevent Tareq and Michaele Salahi from crashing the party. She is the woman who stopped me from crashing Governor Richardson's home party last night!

I drove up to Santa Fe to attend a reception at the Governor's Mansion. Parked the van. Straightened my tie and proceeded in through the front door. Only to be stopped and told that my name was not on the guest list. Sternly.

Checked my invitation again. Oh, yes. It says that I'm invited to a reception alright...but not until next week! Hopefully, the same reception lady will not be present. Perhaps she'll be in D.C. training presidential security staff.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Precious

I'm thinking ahead to the Academy Awards. When they announce the nominee's for movies, they typically name the book that one is based on, if it is.

So with "Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" as part of its title, would they announce this movie as
"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire", based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire"?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Photo Gizmo Replaced

So I can upload pics again. These are from my flight with my parents in October.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Looks like the seller's realtor, Ida Kelly, snookered us. As soon as I made the offer, there was suddenly another one already on the table. When I moved to make a higher bid, they reported that the other offer was already accepted.

On to more house hunting.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Made offer. Seller's rep reported that there is another bid in on the house. Have to decide another offer in AM.

House Hunting

I decided back in October to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit, if it was extended. It was and I am.

I have been looking for three weeks at homes and, after one that was too big and was that was too small, have found one that seems just right. It is an adobe in the north valley (Los Griegos area). Two carpeted bedrooms, one brick floor bedroom that can be a great den area, a large eat-in kitchen, and a large living area with a kiva fireplace. Two full bathrooms, viga ceilings thoughout, an adobe doghouse and a blue goose on the chimney. I even found out that the newest next door neighbor is someone whom I know.

So far, everything has aligned itself for a good purchase. I am going to make an offer today at one o'clock.

Big weekend!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The little gizmo to transfer my own pics to the computer broke. In the meantime, here are some photos taken of my parents and me on a recent balloon flight here in NM.

Take off!


Abducted!


Celebrating!

Monday, November 02, 2009

I actually began taking some pictures to post here. Then my upload doohickey broke. So, all you get for now is text. (Guess what? "Doohicky" gets an auto spell underlining to check spelling; "doohickey" does not!)

I enjoyed planting bulbs in my garden and flower bed all day on Halloween. Then I carved a pumpkin while listening to "Something Wicked this Way Comes." Ray Bradbury is quite a talented writer. Since our book discussion in the dorm, I've been going back to read some of his writing that I missed in high school. Great stuff.

Pumpkin must have worked...no demonic visitations throughout the night.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Flatbread Pizza

I was reading the packaging while waiting for a pizza to bake last night. There was this very prominent warning:
"For Food Safety and Quality Cook Before Eating to an Internal Temperature of 160 F."
Where do I put the thermometer to check this? It's FLATbread, for cryin' out loud!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I don't think that my ink pen has run completely dry yet. (Or the ink ribbon on the typewriter, the blue smelly stuff on the mimeograph, etc.) But, I did get incredibly busy there the past few weeks and felt the crush. Then my parents were visiting last Thursday through Sunday.

I hope to be back in tip-top writing shape. So, in response to recent comment, no, I have not stopped writing my blog. Just had a little reprieve there.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Better Left Unsaid

I love Pandora, the Web site that lets you name a station after a song or musician and then it tailors a selection based on that.

I have one named "George Winston" that plays soft piano music. It's pretty good music, as long as I don't read the titles of the songs!

"Deep Within" "Eternal City" "Love Song to a Ballerina"

Ugh.

Friday, October 09, 2009

This Week:

Godson (Atticus) was here for his 10th birthday. Read as: dinners with friends, laser tag, Santa Fe excursion, swimming, zoo, etc.

Trying to finish MHP Annual Report.

Preparing for annual AOC BBQ.

Mayoral and city council elections swung to the Republicans. Funding for affordable housing did pass.

Winds blew mostly north and easterly; balloons from fiesta did not fly over my home.

My recipe has been steeping overnight for this evening's chili coo-off.

Obama won Nobel Peace Prize crushing my hopes, yet again, that I might be the humbled recipient.

Monday, September 21, 2009

You Know You're in New Mexico

...when helping a friend move involves digging up buckets of dirt and moving them, too!

I recently helped a friend to move and we did exactly that. We dug up dirt, put it into buckets and transferred it to her new house. Never in a million years would I have thought of doing that back east! But she was right. Here in New Mexico, you can spend a lot of money enriching the earth to get it bear fruit. You really don't want to leave behind an expensive flower bed only to have to replace it at a new place. (Just this weekend, in fact, I spent $35 on soil!)

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Shelter

So I had breakfast yesterday for breakfast with a handler of the incumbent mayor (election date is Oct. 6th). Thought I'd promote my personal (and communal) issues regarding homelessness. Then I bumped into his opponent who asked me to call him on his cell. Which I did and we discussed homelessness. Then, suddenly, it was an issue at last night's debate. Today it is in the paper and is part of the incumbent's run-for-mayor Web site. Funny, isn't it? If you just keep speaking truth with authentic passion, others pick up on it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Twitter continues to advance and I wonder…is society beginning to truncate itself to 140 characters? And, if so, what will that mean for th

Friday, September 11, 2009

I'll be house sitting next week and have access to the Web at home. So I plan to write/post more often than as of late. Until then, here is a really cool recycling village:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Job Applications

When you submit your cover letter (consider including one when it is requested!) and resume:

  • Don’t tell me that, although you don’t have the particular skills needed for the job, you still think you’d be a good candidate.

  • Don’t write that you didn’t pass your Spanish course, but you really did try hard and that is a good quality to have as an employee.

  • Don’t send in your meaningful-to-you-and-your-success-as-an-undergraduate poetry. Especially when the open position is not “poet”.

  • Refer to your interest in an interview, not "coming in for a sit down."

  • Don’t rush through your cut-and-paste job and leave “Dear Ms. McCarthy” in your cover letter when you are actually addressing “Mr. Plummer”.

  • Don’t generically refer to the position for which you are applying as “the position being offered within your company.”

  • Don’t begin your letter about a minority population by stating that you believe “it is the weather that brings them here.”

  • Don’t sign yourself as being my “humble servant.”

  • If you have to misspell or leave out a word, at least don’t do this in the sentence touting your writing skills.

  • Don’t list getting an annual raise as one of your big achievements in previous jobs.

  • Don’t write in your cover letter that you were dismissed by doctors as having no chance for rehabilitation and then list “dementia, schizophrenia and multiple personalities” as “areas of expertise” in your resume.
Yes, these are all actual things I've seen over my years of hiring people. At least it brightens my day with a good chuckle.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A local hair salon in having some signage problems; an "S" has fallen off of their title. I like the new message. It reads " HEAR MADNESS".

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Celebrity Status

I remember a somewhat slightly subconscious process that I used to go through when I would make trips back to my hometown from college. Prior to departure, I would mentally compile a list of everyone whom I should contact while at home. These were the people whom I could not miss visiting with whenever I should pass through town. They were close friends and former teachers who would all want to know what I was doing, how I was and to hear of the new and exotic places I’d been since away.

If I saw Chris, then I’d have to call Joe. If I called Joe, Ellen would want to see me. It would be rude if I didn’t check in on Mary and Darrin. And so on it went. I would have to schedule my time very tightly between group gatherings and individual coffees. After all, I owed it to everyone to see him or her if I was in town. They even said that they asked to see me when they heard that I was coming for a visit. I was popular.

Of course, when anyone from out of town visits, one wants to see them. It isn’t so much that you are dying to hang on every word of their time away. It is more a matter of it being nice to see someone you haven’t seen in awhile. When someone comes from out of town, it is fun to hear about the doings and goings on of other places.

But, at the time, the requests to see me all seemed as if obligations to fulfill. It wasn’t that I really thought about it. I didn’t analyze my motives. But, somehow there was a strange mix of my feeling that I owed it to others to see them and that I needed them to see me. It validated my own sense of having succeeded away from home. Hometown boy made good.

Consciously, I thought that this was about other people. I was doing them a favor. I could impart to those who had been living day-in and day-out old lives stuck in one place pieces of the great adventure that I called my life. It was incumbent upon me to share my adventures to enlighten their dull lives.

So they all asked for some of my time while I was visiting and, voila, I was a celebrity.

Nowadays, I view visits differently. I spend time seeking out those whom I wish to know. What have they been doing? I seek out and make time for the people whom I need and want to have in my life. They are the gift to me. I am no longer the celebrity gracing their lives.

That seems more real and accurate, and I like it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I am trying to eat more and more within my home state of New Mexico. This practice has connected me to my life here more than anything else in my six years here. I like it best when I am part of the history and culture around me: part of the bounty of New Mexican earth, its food, traditions and native cultural life. It is a tasty land.

The complexity of Native Americans living with Spanish-lineage Mexicans living with Aztec/Mayan ancestral lines living with transplants from all other parts of the world (including this Hoosier) yields a fascinating mix of experiences. Catholic saints are celebrated alongside sacred mountains. Creator and Coyote slip seamlessly in and out of one another. Fry bread and sopapillas alternate as dessert. Today it is the corn dance of Pueblo Indians, tomorrow we dance Day of the Dead commemorations. We burn Zozobro, then turn and crawl with penitence eight miles to Chimayo. We sing rancheros with the mariachis, chant in pow-wows and listen to European operas.

It is as fluid as the air around us. When breathed in, when taken in as local food, the molecules of our bodies change. Food and oxygen naturally convert into energy within us; so is it that our very selves become unique to our particular time and place. Our habits conform to the surroundings in which we place ourselves.

I am choosing to forego the imports. The pre-packaged convenience. I do not want to become someone else’s energy from some unknown and distant other.

Instead, I stand on this soil. I eat its flesh. I soak in the lifeblood of this people and allow it to shape and connect me to the ancients before me. To some young Anasazi boy who danced by the banks of the Rio Grande in 1107. To the curandera who shared her herbal healing by candlelight. To saints who surround us, unseen. To bison almost extinct. To rhythms that have pulsated throughout generations and back to me. I become part of it. I connect again with myself.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Coming Home To Eat

By author Gary Paul Nabhan.

"No wonder that some of those who survived the depression and the Dust Bowl later indulged themselves in conspicuous consumption, in being proud of the fact that they had the leeway to "eat out" now and then. It is as cut and dried as an obituary column in a small town newspaper. For the three decades following the depression, Americans used their hard-won prosperity to purchase more and more of their food in ready-to-eat fashion....

"But the generation of kids raised by survivors of those dark and dusty times accepted that luxury as the norm. From the seventies through the nineties, as the average American's disposable income increased by 40 percent, so did their consumption of processed food. Even though they had the economic slack to immerse themselves in the pleasures of gardening and fishing, baking in wood-fired ovens and fermenting their own home brews, Americans spent less time preparing meals, and more time buying precooked packaged foods." p. 258

"...folks of Italian descent gain health benefits from integrating elements of ancient Mediterranean cuisine into their contemporary diet...cholesterol and blood-pressure levels plummet when Mexican Americans...return to the nopalitos and baked mescal of their Nahuatl ancestors...native Hawaiians lose weight and control of their diabetes when poi and tropical fruits regain prominence on their dinner tables. of course, some are hurt by the absence of traditional foods more than others are; although my mother's family suffered through famine and feast cycles much like those that O'odham neighbors did before government food assistance arrived, only one of my cousins suffers from diabetes, while nearly all my Indian neighbors do." p. 260

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I grew up in Delaware County, named for the Delaware tribe. We shopped in Muncie, named after Chief Muncie. I attended Wapahani High School. Sometimes we would drive south to play in Mounds State Park, so named because of the mounds that remain from the Mounds Indians. There were no Indians around. I never met one growing up. In fact, there was not even any Native American culture around.

Here in New Mexico, history is alive and pervasive and wonderful. I spent last Tuesday at Santo Domingo Pueblo celebrating its feast day. Over 400 dancers and 200 singers filled the long, rectangular plaza between two very large Kivas and danced from sunrise to sunset. The length of the dances, the steady boom of the drum, the native chant and the unrelenting blaze of sun on a barren, dusty desert floor without so much as a blade of grass or even a cactus, all combined in a meditative and trance-like experience.

Besides traditional dancing, a feast day is about, well, feasting, of course. Friends from the pueblo had invited me to stop by their home. This host family kept huge quantities of food--pots of posole and chili, tamales and horno-baked bread and mutton stew filled to the brim and steaming--on the table. Guests and friends flowed in and out of the house throughout the entire day, filling our stomaches before returning to the dances, the artisan booths and the carnival.

Just before sunset, as sweat trickled salt down foreheads and burned into eyes that were squinted half shut against a blazing desert sun, the winds came. Dust swirls appeared and swept the length of the plaza. Plumage of head dresses and rabbit furs faded in and out of sight. Our mouths tasted grit and still the drummers drummed on. Moccasin-clad feet kicked sand as the dancers continued snaking patterns before the statue of St. Dominic, shaking rattles of honor each time they crossed the path before him. The toll of 12 hours of dancing seemed to reveal itself, not in the noble faces of dancers, singers and onlookers fixated by rhythm and sound, but rather in this final surge of heat and light. The defiant adrenalin of a desert that was itself a participant of the festival.

Clouds then. And relief from the heat. Breeze cooling. A respectful hush as bells jingled to a stop and everyone present held his or her branch of pine with appreciation for the blessings of the Creator and saints, the good earth and its bounty and the communion of friends and family.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I lost my camera. Perfect timing. The last two events that I would have wanted to have photographed both prohibited cameras anyway. The first was a pueblo feast day (tomorrow's post). The second was last night’s concert. Since there are photos in this post, I've obviously and without scruples picked and plucked from around the Web. (Which I'll probably continue to do until I find or replace my camera.)

Opening act at 5:30 were TheWiyos, a sort of Cajun-influenced Squirrel Nut Zippers with a front man whose body antics made it apparent that he misses vaudeville. Willie Nelson followed. The 77-year old pot-promoting man still has a fantastic voice and is quite amazing on the guitar. He was the only lead, but as my friend said, “I kept looking for another guitar there was so much sound coming from him.” (Check out the wear and tear on the guitar!)


Then John Mellencamp blazed onto the stage. Short, and probably with a Napolean complex, this guy projects attitude to the back of the lawn seats. Just pure rock n roll, complete with staged choreography of all four guitars fronting the lip of the stage as the electric violin and accordion players wove in and out. The drummer had enough crispness and volume to match Nelson’s guitar. Mellencamp built a great wall of sound, pounding out mostly classics, one a capella, and one new one that was recorded during this tour.

Then came the act which had attracted me: Bob Dylan. As far as I can remember, this was my eighth Dylan show, and it was among the top three performances. He seemed to take energy from the three previous acts and actually enjoy himself. He even struck a pose from time to time while playing harmonica.

I also realized that a lot of people want to see Dylan, but they don't really like his music or want to hear it. About a third of the folks left after his first song. Gravely and often undecipherable words is not everyone's idea of music. But I enjoy coming to a concert to see how he lets his voice become part of the sound of the music. He doesn't focus on being the front man with the voice. Instead, I find that his concerts are explorations of textures.

Dylan opened with “Mr. Jones” and moved on to such a grooving rock interpretation of “It’s Alright Ma” that, even after it was finished, I still wasn’t sure what I had heard but knew that I liked it—a lot. I wish that I had a copy of last night’s rendition of “Highway 61.” The innovation and re-interpretation of his own music is what makes a Dylan concert so interesting. He opens up the music and you can see him as the great conductor improvising on the spot with his impeccable responding with on-the-spot precision. He closed with “All Along the Watchtower.” I’ve heard him do this one before, and tended to like the Hendrix and Bono versions better. But last night, Dylan made it clear that he owns this song. It was dark and mysterious as his pacing of lyrics and progressive chord structures emphasized the emotion of the song.

The sky was a soft, pastel blue. The air cooled with a fiery-orange sunset. The wind added adrenalin as it billowed through the huge stage curtains. I was outside listening to Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp for 5 hours.

Need I say more?