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A professional writer's private thoughts

Archive for New Mexico

Goodbye is the hardest aloha of all

Two of my favorite people are due to leave Santa Barbara next week. They’ll be back, in fits and starts, but their time living here has come to an end. If the skies seem a little less blue starting next Tuesday, it might be because the Hammedillos have left the area.

Chris and Danielle – you have no idea how much we will all miss you. Me especially. Your good-natured, laid back, fun loving, kind and generous natures have been so appreciated. I’ve never had friends who fed me as many delicious meals as you have, or were so generous with their open door policy. Miso soup and quesadillas are going to be decidedly less delicious from here on out. There won’t be any more line dancing without you, Danielle, or Korean soap operas either. And Chris, I know I’m doomed to try less interesting beer from this point forward.

I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not that you both happen to be from my favorite state, the Land of Enchantment.  I’m jealous that you get to go back there, but happy for your families that they will be able to see you more now. And I’ll come visit, you can be sure of that.

I’m sad that we didn’t meet sooner, but so glad we got to have this year of hanging out together. I can’t finish this post without a thank you to Kelly, because without her I would never have known you. Be well and brilliant, and I know we’ll see you further on down the road.

Love, your friend and sister, Leah


New Mexico color

From Taos and the Enchanted Circle.













Santa Fe 2012

 I’m in Santa Fe with the fabulous Elizabeth Werhane for three days of sightseeing, chile eating, hiking, art observing, window shopping and history seeking great times.

I never fail to come back to this state with love in my heart – it’s just as beautiful as ever and the people have been fabulously nice to us. We met the nephew of the late Selma Rubin, the wonderful activist who recently passed away in Santa Barbara, and enjoyed a beautiful lunch at a new Canyon Road restaurant, The Tea Garden. We also grabbed breakfast at my favorite Cerrillos breakfast spot, Tecolote Cafe, also the best breakfast bet of none other than novelist George R.R. Martin. We’ve been threatening to stop by his house and ask him how book six is going, but alas, we don’t know exactly where it is.

Tomorrow we’re off to Bandalier National Monument and then driving the Enchanted Circle to Taos. It’s perfect weather for traveling!

Got in a five mile run this morning and we walked almost six miles during our sightseeing today.

Painting in the lobby of the Buffalo Thunder.

Another old favorite, a little more faded with time.

Cute donkey mom and baby.


On our way to raft on Friday we took a quick detour to Chimayo, which is the destination for an annual pilgrimage. The dirt beneath the chapel is believed to have healing powers. There is a little room to the left of the chapel where you can scoop up some of the “holy dirt” and take it home.

They were holding mass in the chapel while we were there, so we didn't go in.

The cemetary and church are nearly 200 years old.

The cemetary is within the walled courtyard.

Across from the chapel is a small restaurant.

More chiles.

There are crosses everywhere.

My guess is that the pilgrims carry the crosses with them when they walk, but I'm not sure.

This horse lived next to the parking lot.

Cochiti Lake Christmas

Nell got all her Christmas decorations (and most of her household goods) from garage sales. For $20, a tree and decorations can’t be beat! It even came with a pretty great star for the tip top.

Tree. Not real.

Shining star.

Outside the house. The snow is ice now.

Snow in Santa Fe

Last night it snowed about three inches. It’s beautiful and cold! I walked to the square and took a few photos.

Famous burro.

And his mural.

Kasha Katuwe – Tent Rocks

A National Monument located just outside of the Cochiti Reservation.


Snow in the slot canyon.

Tree growing sans soil.

Tent rocks.

From midway up the canyon.

Near the top.

On the way down.

Along the road out.