Monday, July 16, 2007

Home Again!

It's the first Monday morning since my vacation. I stayed in bed an extra six minutes getting reacquainted with Darcy. She has forgiven me for leaving her at A Dog’s Day Out while we were in New Mexico. Arlo is still giving me the cold shoulder. In an effort to mend fences, I left him out of his crate when I left for work this morning. If I come home to find the leather couches in shreds I will have some “splaining” to do to John. Speaking of John, I dropped his truck off at Craven Tire this morning to have the front passenger tire checked out. It is leaking air, he says. The truck is huge. A full one-ton diesel. When I got to Craven I knew immediately that behemoth was not going to fit in one of the lined spaces so I just left it in front of their door. They were very understanding. Must have realized the damage I could have done had I tried to park it. The walk from Craven’s to the Dunn Loring Metro was a little over six minutes. The tire store guy would have given me a lift, but it was a beautiful morning and I enjoyed the walk. When I got to the Metro Station the illuminated sign told me there was a six car train arriving in two minutes and an eight car train arriving in six minutes. I let the full six car train go by and waited for the eight car train so I could be assured of a seat. I wanted to read Rob Wilder’s book. I laughed out loud when I got to the story where he changes his daughter’s diaper in the men’s room of the Macaroni Factory. Laughing out loud tends to draw curious stares on the Metro. There was a six minute delay between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom, allowing me more time to read the story about the baby monitor resulting in more laughter and more stares. The walk from the Farragut West Station to my office is less than six minutes. Farragut Square was filled with bike messengers and the usual haze of marijuana. Well not a haze exactly, but definitely a miasma. It took me about six minutes to remove the price tags from the gifts I bought for my co-workers in the Albuquerque Airport and another six minutes to distribute them. I gave Carol, Webb, Ted and Scott Matchbox Shrines. The rest got candles. I would have bought more shrines if there had been any more. I bought the last four so I had to settle for candles (made in ABQ). Now it is 11:13 am. I have been writing for about six minutes. My coffee is cold. The way I like it. I have told everyone how much fun we had in Taos. John has called me on a six minute break from his retirement seminar to tell me the truck is ready to be picked up (It was a valve stem) and to complain that the woman who was conducting the seminar was ex-military and was driving him crazy. I have a lunch meeting with an annoying client. Vacations can’t last forever


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Day 4

I sit (actually I am reclining) on my sofa in my room here in Taos where I am about to begin the 4th day of my week at the Summer Writers’ Conference regretting – that I do – in fact – have to work for a living. Life would be so wonderful if it was made up of yoga practice, reading, writing, good food and beautiful sunsets. I awoke at 4:15 this morning to finish the “homework” I hadn’t finished last night. I had opted instead for a date with John since my poor husband has been sorely neglected because of my involvement and commitment to my writing. We treated ourselves to dinner at The Stakeout where I enjoyed a scrumptious meal of pepper-encrusted halibut with yams while relishing an equally scrumptious sunset. Sadly, the horrible forest fires in California, Nevada, Utah and South Dakota heightened the beauty of the sunset. We neglected to bring a camera to record the sunset. Our fellow diners took turns standing near our table to have themselves photographed before the sunset. (Our host – Mauro – owner of the Stakeout – had seated us in the prime sunset-viewing spot his patio.) Mauro – a charming man from Italy’s lake region – entertained us at regular intervals with stories about his son, his parents, and a fellow Italian who had learned English in Houston and now spoke Italian with a dreadful Texas accent. Now I have to stop writing because John is awake and he is talking loudly on the cell phone to the salesman who sold him the Boston Whaler about towing packages, seven pin plugs and electrical connections and bottom paint and I have been abruptly evicted from the space where I believe I am really a writer.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Morning - Day Three - Taos

Ahhh! Luxury. To start the day with a yoga class in a grassy courtyard and then move inside to a breakfast of oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar - and plenty of coffee and conversation with a new friend from my "to tell a story" workshop. The great thing about writers is we all have such interesting stories. Now I have the morning to myself to read and write and walk and nap if I choose. John is spending the day on an authentic steam engine that snakes through the mountains from Chamba, New Mexico to Osio, Colorado. Yesterday he went flyfishing and caught some beautiful rainbow trout in Culebra, Colorado. Tonight - we will sit and watch the sunset at the Stakeout Restaurant and tell each other about our day. Like I said - Luxury!


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Taos - Day 2

I am addicted to writing workshops so imagine my surprise when I heard a term yesterday I had never heard before in a workshop - organic prop. Eureka. I was able to use my new tool to breathe life into a piece I had given up for dead. Just goes to show that my grandmama was right. What you are looking for IS always in the last place you look!

Last night John and I took a long, long, long ride looking for a restaurant that wasn't there. It was a beautiful ride - along the high road from Taos to Santa Fe. But we never found the restaurant we were looking for. We doubled back and stopped at Embudo Station on highway 68 about 17 miles south of Taos next to the Rio Grande. I had been there before. Once a few years ago on my way to a workshop with Natalie Goldberg - and long ago in 1971 when I lived there with a small group in what could only generously be called a commune. This wasn’t the kind of commune that is made up of idealistic hippies in geodesic domes, raising their own food and having mudding parties. There were communes like that - New Buffalo and Morning Star – but this was really a collection of cabins inhabited by a bunch of strangers with nothing more in common than empty pockets and a distrust of authority. There were ten of us. Most of the men all carried guns and they were kinder to their dogs than they were to their old ladies. Alan and Frank were the leaders. It took me a few days to get accustomed to the sight of Frank roaming around the grounds with a pistol in his hand. He was tall and wiry with long curly black hair and a beard. Alan was shorter but solid with close cropped blonde hair. He looked like he had just gotten out of prison or the army. Alan assigned us one of the small cabins behind the main house. There were 6 cabins connected to the main house by a wooden walkway. Our cabin had a narrow bed, a table with one chair and a stove made from an oil drum. The cabin was freezing in the morning. Since I woke up first I would get up and start the fire using brush and pinion wood. There was one window. It looked out on the rocky hills behind the commune. I passed the days wandering along the trails that ran behind the commune. On warm days when the sun warmed the rocks I would lie down on them and watch the clouds.


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Land of Enchantment - Day One

We're here! Only glitch was a speeding ticket north of Santa Fe. 77 in a 65 mph zone. Because it is a "reservation" offense(?) it won't go on John's driving record. Yes. He got the ticket. Not me. My record is still clean. As I remind him each time he gets a ticket: "I have never in my life gotten a ticket for a moving violation!"

Couldn't see much on the trip from ABQ to Taos. It was midnight when we got here. Rock Star Cola and a Snickers Bar kept John awake on the drive to Taos. I'm still half asleep.I woke up at 5:20 AM Mountain Time, determined to get the most out of this week at the Taos Summer Writing Conference. John is still sleeping. The room is a little stuffy and it looks like every other Comfort Suites - I guess. One of the first things I want to do is get a real coffee cup. I didn't lug good coffee with me for 2000 miles to drink it out of a paper cup.


Monday, July 02, 2007

There is only one of me.

There is only one of me...but there is power is that one if I choose to move out of the crowd, off the couch, into the street, into the fray. There was only one Mother Theresa, only one Martin Luther King, only one Charlie Chaplin, only one Mae West, only one Hitler. I am just me. And there is only one of me.

"There is only one of me, dammit!!" How many times have I screamed that (sometimes out loud sometimes under my breath) to the hundreds of people that have placed too many demand on me? How many times was I the one making the demands - on myself? The answers are in the questions.

Maybe the Beatles said it best..maybe.."I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.....Don't you think the joker laughs at you?" They recorded I Am The Walrus the year I graduated from high school. It has been forty years since the Beatles played at the Coliseum here in DC. Where does the time go? Things can happen quickly. In a recent article on, Thom Hartmann wrote that core samples taken from glaciers indicate past ice ages may have occurred over a couple of years instead of over thousands of years and that it might be happening again. It might be time to move to Costa Rica. The Northeast US may be uninhabitable in a couple of years. Some say it is uninhabitable now. Things happen quickly.

Am I the same "only one of me" that I was when I curled up on Aunt Gladys' couch at 1365 East Norcova Drive and watched Ed Sullivan introduce the Beatles. I am the baby that lay on her belly on an army blanket in front of her house at 3437 South Woodlawn Avenue and saw - for the first time - the spiny gumballs that covered the ground..saw them clearly because they were at my eye level. Today I can't hear a Beatle song without thinking of that green nalgahyde couch. I can't see a gumball without seeing that brown army blanket.