Hola Fixers! It has been a while, sí? I’m now blogging as Barelas Babe, Ph.D, which has a nifty little ring to it, don'cha think? But no worries, this Bareleña isn’t going to get too big for her pantalones (or should that be calzones?)
(If that isn’t an appropriate expression for this Easter weekend, I think you need to get yourself to the Cathedral of St. John downtown this Sunday morning and breathe in the incense… The show is spectacular – there’s an art to whipping the thurible around during a full cense, and you can’t get more High Church in this town than the Cathedral on Easter Sunday – bells and smells, indeed.)
Could it be? Is the old DCF rising phoenix-like from the ashes – or at least, sputtering?
Did I just mix my metaphors?
These days my work is keeping me hopping on planes to places other than Burque, and after three weekends away sighting cherry blossoms and contemplating moral brains, I had to reconnect with la ciudad.
Here’s what I did. Started the morning off right, with not one, but two cups of locally roasted Villa Myriam java purchased at La Montañita Co-op (valley store). David’s Roast happened to be on my shelf, but Ron’s dark roast is pretty nice too. The beans are so smooth that I don’t need to add any half and half to my morning cup o’ joe, which is saying something!
Next up, after making sure my lovely daughter and her heat-straightened hair made her way to that Best of Burque charter school in downtown Albuquerque, I hit Golden Pride. Usually I get there early on a Saturday morning, so I was a bit flummoxed to see a weekday line of cars snaking out from Lomas, a bandana’d chica with a wireless handheld credit card machine near the preview board, and a line that moved so smoothly I forgot I was in line!
Until I ended up at the takeout window, where the guy handed me my number 1 breakfast burrito, and not one, but dos number 7s! He said the one had been sitting a round for a little while, so it was an ‘extra'. Just as he said that, I noticed what was bugging me… Golden Pride workers wear the same uniform as the friendly folks at the Frontier. And then I read my cashier’s hat – Frontier/Golden Pride.
How I have lived in this city all this time and never made this connection I don’t know. Except… I usually don’t hit the coffee until after I stop at Golden Pride. So maybe twice caffeinated neurons really do make a difference?
I cruised up Lomas to Pennsylvania, site of our first neighborhood and where mijito lives with his novia now. He’s getting ready to ship out to the Air Force next week, so I wanted to spend one full day with him before he leaves. He was happy to get his numero 7 burrito (carne adovada and red chile will be in short supply for the next four months) and polished that off long before we arrived at Elena Gallegos.
The parking lot was full (odd for a Friday morning), but we soon learned why, as we hiked up Domingo Baca trail. In addition to the usual mountain bikers and hikers, there was a church group doing the Stations of the Cross (I guess Tomé was too far?), and a backpacking Boy Scout troop heading up the trails with dads staggered through the line - in front, in the middle, and at the rear. (As a former Girl Scout and Girl Scout mom, I can attest: this is smart strategy!)
We set out to just past the little stone cabin remains, and stopped short of the waterfall, where the church group was hanging out. My son and I crossed the stream – icy cold snowmelt from last Tuesday’s "winter" storm is still coming down the mountain – and sat/reclined against the boulders in the shade, talking about gun laws, Trayvon Martin, media hype, and edible plants in the Sandias.
Just another wide-ranging hiking trail conversation with my son, but made all the more poignant since I sensed this hike was probably the last mother-son hike the two of us would take for a long time. We've been hiking together since he was one month old; our first hike was in Sequoia National Park, where we saw a bear and I learned that I had protective maternal instincts - all at the same time! I know we'll hike again, but this very much feels like the end of an era. Twenty-two years and seven months worth, to be precise.
After some writing and grading on the front porch that is my ‘office’, I don strappy spring-green high heeled sandals and pin a vintage spring-green fabric flower (courtesy of my grandmothers 40s era collection that she bequeathed to me) on my black cashmere hoodie. Rockin’ the Barelas Babe style, I top it off with green and black glass earrings with red and gold swirls - purchased in Venizia last year by mi madre (what can I say, the women in my family know how to accessorize!) and head to the university district (which is now apparently, along with downtown and Barelas, newly subsumed into ginormous city council districts...balkanization much, albuQuerque City Council?)
A stop at John Gallego’s art show Visions of the Poorly Described at the Outpost, where I chat with co-curators and DCF art mavens, Spring and Vashti. John’s pieces remind me a little of Kandinsky’s bioforms, and a little of musical notation –whimsical, with wispy tendrils like you see on pea shoots in spring. The show continues until May 25 – check it out!
Then jallab soda and vegetarian middle eastern fare at Sahara’s. The owner has made ma-mool fresh this morning, and I scoop up all the remaining date filled cookies, adding enough walnut and pistachio filled to make it an even dozen. I’ll bring these to Easter Sunday dinner – we’re doing our usual Lebanese/New Mexican/American Easter hodgepodge buffet, and I know that my mother of Lebanese descent will be especially thrilled that I’ve brought her favorite Easter cookies.
As I head home on Central, passing through the rotating light railroad underpass, I think to myself once more what a good idea that was to add some colorful playfulness to what was otherwise once a drab and sometimes forbidding pedestrian walkway. It isn’t until I arrive at First and Central that I realize something else is a bit awry on this Good Friday – it is almost 9 pm and there are no low riders cruising through downtown!
It’s been a bueno Burque kind of day – delicious, and a little odd, a little unpredictable, a little quirky. It's good to be back... Happy weekend, all!