Friday, May 31, 2013

Spacey - Inside and Out -- Day 2/144

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (Star Trek: Into the Darkness)
Distance: 2 miles and private yoga

Thinking about 1. Pilates and 2. If I can get over future thinking and really just embrace my life as is.  That's a lot of thinking for ciwt - especially after going to the current Star Trek.  I've only been to one other ever but a Trekie friend called and I thought why not?  Luckily I had had a good night's sleep because watching and trying to stay remotely close to the action is a full time job.  From the Moment the movie began it was non-stop creatures, planets, death defying battles(resurrections even), gadgets galore, no sex, no acting, no depth, all action and violence.  Whew.  A far cry from my usual indies but very interesting to see what 16-20 somethings watch these days.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Downward Dog --- Day 2/143

Walk: Food, Inc. 
Distance: 1 mile

Maybe I should begin to call CIWT My Non-Yoga Diary - in honor of a friend's blog and my (temporarily) dwindling yoga practice. There's something addictive about practicing - or can be I think. Maybe that happens more to yoga teachers than other yogis and yoginis.  It can actually be scary to take time off - which is probably a good reason to do it.  Freedom.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Stalled Out --- Day 2/142

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (The Iceman), Trader Joe's. Curbside Cafe
Distance: 4 miles

A bit stalled out for today.  Partly because of The Iceman, the movie.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Keeping up with the Times,oops, no The New Yorker -- Day 2/142

Walk:  CPMC (all Good!), Whole Foods, Mindful Body
Distance: 3+ miles and teach yoga class

Is it just me?  I have absolutely no idea what this New Yorker cover is about.  That happens from time to time with the covers - and more and more often with the jokes.  A weird feeling; like the world has turned over too many times for ciwt.   But then I resume getting the covers and decide I have a better sense of humor than the cartoon selector (even enter the caption contest sometimes), and on I go.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Incidents and Anger, Coda --- Day 2/141

Walk: Not yet (so grey and windy..)
Distance: 0, long home practice

Got a follow up email from my journalist yoga student who was recently shot in New Orleans.  I'd commented about feeling angry and upset seeing the video of the incident.  His response:
Anger, I have found, is not usually a productive response, even to terrible injustice; it can get in the way of the real work that's needed--which is doing something about the injustice.
Probably an appropriate statement to consider on this Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Notes -- Day 2/140

Walk: Hi-Tech nails, Trader Joe's, Wells Fargo in Laurel Village
Distance: Maybe a mile

Odds and Ends

1.  I now have 330 readers of my Frances Ha CIWT (2/138) which is at least 300 more than my usual number.  So I'm guessing I'm getting hits from people interested in the movie in some way and not expecting to end up at ciwt's site.  This has happened - but not quite so many - when I've titled my post after a place I'm writing about (Mill Valley, Cavallo Point come to mind).  I feel kind of badly then because it might be a person planning a trip, looking for information or something.

2. I wonder if any of these 330 read the post and what they thought.  It occurs to me many people might consider their post college/launching years their favorites.  Or at least they might have lived them light-heartedly with happy roommates like the gang on Friends or cynically-humorously like Seinfeld and gang.  Not so, ciwt; it was over the top in many ways - all fraught as I recall.  Anyway, wonder if any of the 330 read the site they inadvertently got to.

3.  Saw The Great Gatsby yesterday.  I have many thoughts on Fitzgerald  , his writing, 'the Jazz Age,' but today isn't the  day.  It is the day to comment on Leo DiCaprio.  Actually to let A.O. Scott from the NY Times comment:  More important, it is impossible to look away from him. His charisma has increased as his youthful prettiness has worn and thickened away, and he is beautiful, sad, confident and desperate in exactly the way Gatsby should be.  

4.  Love that Sunday feeling when the plants are all deadheaded, the flowers are fresh, the nattery little details in the accumulated piles of papers are off the list.  Today to qualify for some $100 or so SF tax exemption I had to send copies of my driver's license, deed of trust, utilities bills and, just about, Callie (my cat).  Needless to say that project was put off until the last moment.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Incidents and Anger -- Day 2/139

Walk: Mindful Body, Vogue Theater (The Great Gatsby)
Distance: 20 blocks and teach yoga class

A yoga student/friend recently sent a link from her local newspaper about a woman bicyclist who was hit by a Negligent, Stupid (my words) driver and declared "Very fortunate to have survived."  She was that woman. This was difficult to grasp and take in.  She's very vital, bikes all over the place, the picture of beautiful health.  And.....?!

Then a few days later I took Callie to the vet where another student/animal worker was in a cast and just back from 5 weeks off because she had been run into in the middle of an intersection by an Idiotic, Careless driver Who Didn't Even Look. The day after that a student wrote to say he hadn't been to class because his bike got tangled with the streetcar tracks and he was badly scraped and bruised.  His wrist is still ailing which brings me to my student who recently tripped while walking and severely broke her wrist in several places.  This was a lot; yoga teachers care about and feel protective of their students.

Now today, a student who hasn't been able to come to class for a while came into the room then asked if I could come out and speak with him privately which I did.  Hope I didn't turn ashen when he said "Please don't be alarmed--I'm feeling ok now--but I got shot during the Mother's Day street parade in New Orleans on May 12 that put 20 people in the hospital.  You may have seen the news coverage." The bullet is still in his leg because the doctors feel this is the safest way - to let it make its journey out on its own rather than cut into healthy tissue.  Like my first student/friend, he had sent me a link about this ahead of class.  But, turns out, instead of sending it to me, he sent it to himself!  Tells you something about where his mind still is - and he's a journalist for whom filing reports is probably a way of life.

The Incredibly good news is that every single one of these students is on the mend.  For all of them it will take time, but the injuries will not be permanent.  I'm honored that they all included me in their healing - by keeping me informed and in some cases, counseling with me about their yoga during the healing.

One thing I've noticed though is a tendency by everyone to feel they should 'discount' what happened or 'forgive' or do something other than what their bodies/beings/whatever authentically do: Get Mad!  It's like its politically incorrect or something to respond authentically - with anger!!  Well, I am very, very clear that I welcome their anger!  I think it is Exactly Right, the bedrock, true response.  First comes the anger - then who knows?   Depends on the person.

In his CNN interview, my journalist yoga student said loud and clear things like "This was a Senseless, Stupid thing..!" and "These were two - maybe three - Idiots who did this!  Shooting into a crowd. Shooting into a crowd where there were children. There were women.  To think you aren't going to hurt others...!"  He was legitimately furious as well as talking about possible remedies, possible steps the various people with some power might take.  But, first and foremost, he was very clear about his anger.

And I thought "Hurray!"  It actually helped me with my own overwhelm and anger about all these Stupid, Idiotic accidents that are affecting my excellent, wonderful students and friends.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Frances Ha Thoughts --- Day 2/138

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (Frances Ha)
Distance: 2 miles and at home yoga

I think Frances Ha is a movie that will feel more and more brilliant over time.  The tone is so offhand, the fluidity of life so present, the main character so in motion that you only catch the subtle details - like the momentary just right lyric - on the fly.  Also I was very busy sorting out the poignancy from the humor, the tears and the clown are so intermingled.

The setting is New York (and sometimes elsewhere) and the Big Apple is a character.  But the movie doesn't depend on it because the life stage explored plays out world wide.  It's that time just beyond college (or whenever you launched whether you went to college or not).  You don't know what you're doing really and you don't even know what you don't know.  Every day can be heartbreaking.  You don't really have professionalism so maybe you get fired.  But, whoa, weren't expecting that and you don't have any money - really. Well maybe you have parents with some, but you can't ask, can't let on to them - or anyone - what's really going on.  If  you know it yourself.

You're truly faking it; not at all clear what making it is but dancing as fast as you can. And so is everyone else.  Every foothold is so precarious.  But the one thing you have is the youthful energy, idealism and naivety (and compulsiveness) to keep putting on that game face, roll with the punches you don't really grasp, fake it (lying if necessary), blindly put together relationships with only the thinnest veneer of adulthood about them.

Once 'through' most of us don't look back or do so in a sketchy way.  You're just glad to have survived.  At least I was - and, like the main character, I was wobbling around on my colt legs in New York City.  So the movie moments - while very contemporary - were challenging as I identified with the fragile strength and masked heart and soul of the main character - and probably all the people in the movie.  And, even today, I/ we all still encounter moments when all we can think to do is fake it and hope.

A very good movie that seems to be about one youngish main character but touches most adult lives. It also has an incredibly cool cast starting with the amazingly fresh Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner (Sting's excellent daughter), Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips (who -as Dean and Britta - contributed perfect music).

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Day in the Life, with emphasis on Life -- Day 2/137

Walk: de Young, Peacock Gap golf course
Distance: 1.5 miles and hit bucket of balls

So busy catching up with a friend's blog to see how she is (Fine, Yea!!), I almost forgot to check in with CIWT after coming home from hitting golf balls and dinner with co-hitter.  Felt good to be hitting.

Excellent lecture on Richard Diebenkorn at the de Young this morning.  I've heard, read and seen a lot of RD, and this lecture was exceptional and filled with interesting and new insights.  There's a show of his Berkeley years coming up at the de Young in June so most likely you'll be reading more of ciwt's thoughts re: RD another day.

Richard Diebenkorn, Seawall, 1957. Oil on canvas, 20 x 26 inches.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fun With Lists and Values --- Day 2/136

Walk: Union Square
Distance: 1.5 miles

Heard some discussion of motivating values on a local talk show yesterday.  Some researcher maintains that all people hold 16 basic values dear but rank them individually according to genetics, background and other factors.  Once in place, according to him, they do not change over time.  Here's the list.  How would you prioritize it?

  1. Power – the desire to influence others
  2. Independence – the desire for self-reliance
  3. Curiosity – the desire for knowledge
  4. Acceptance – the desire to be included
  5. Order – the desire for organization
  6. Saving – the desire to collect things or to save
  7. Honor - the desire to be loyal
  8. Idealism – the desire for social justice
  9. Social Contact – the desire for many connections
  10. Family – the desire to raise one’s own children, to have a system for living
  11. Status – the desire for social standing
  12. Winning – the desire to compete
  13. Romance/Beauty – the desire for sex and/or beauty, harmony, and high quality
  14. Eating – the desire to consume food (beyond the minimum needed for survival)
  15. Vitality/health – includes physical activity as well as self-care
  16. Tranquility – the desire for emotional calm

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Birds and Brights II -- Day 2/135

Walk: Presidio and Mindful Body
Distance: 2 miles (Veerry slooowly, like bird watchers go) and teach yoga class

Went bird watching in my 'backyard,' the Presidio with a docent+ friend who has almost 2,000 birds on her life list.  In other words, she has been birding for a long time and is very knowledgeable.  It's the first time I've genuinely enjoyed birding: it was nearby, the weather was lovely, I was with someone who could tell me immediately what bird we were looking at and any lore about it.  No not seeing the bird, being with people who have contempt for you if you even ask what the bird is or any questions about it, freezing as I stand stationary in the howling wind as everyone else zeroes in with high powered telescopes on tripods, or flipping through pages of bird books trying to locate some brown and tan thing that has long since flown away.  We saw 12 species. More another day possibly.

Concluding (maybe) my brights thoughts which I know is a source of great interest to readers - or maybe just a ciwt momentary obsession.  I like colors very, very much.  Colors are often on my gratitude list.  But I'm finding this year of colorful clothes that many are so fully saturated they are hard to 'humanize' - at least for older (?), fairish skin and hair humans.  They never blend with you/me or with themselves. They stand alone and the energy of one color 'demands' to be met with the energy of another - from head to toe.

I think the 'problem' started with the brightly colored pants that are so available and pretty this year.  I'm learning that if I start with those as my 'foundation,' I must carry the energy all the way through.  I can't just throw in a neutral - or really even a black.  It's actually kind of interesting - and if I were K. Libbey Nash, I would probably master this - or sensibly know in advance the brights will win and they will demand to carry from head to toe and will be wearing me.  Or my head would need to change so I'm comfortable walking around in the day time with intense colors. It's like a statement hat: buying it is one thing, being comfortable wearing it is another thing.

This works:

So does this:

And this:

Actually, don't know what my concern is with 'older' people and brights:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Brights -- Day 2/134

Walk: Union Square/MOMA
Distance: 1.5 miles

It's official:  I'm sick of bright colored clothes. Or of trying to tame them.  I don't know what to wear on the top, bottom, near my face, away from my face, whether I'm dressing too young, and a host of other dilemmas.  After decades of slipping into and looking at lots of black, I think I have to cry 'uncle' on the brights.

CIWT gives up; CIWT will just never understand brights the way these (Absolutely Fabulous) gals do. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fantasy Gardening --- Day 2/133

Walk: Presidio Golf Club Cafe
Distance: 20 blocks

Yesterday I went to Golden Gate Park on an unusually mild evening, walked on fresh grass, heard the leaves gently rustling, smelled the various flowers in bloom and my mind returned to some of the beautiful gardens around the homes where I grew up.  Particularly my grandparents' Lake House garden where I spent Many hours (another story) as an infant and up to age five when we moved to the East Coast.

Since today, Sunday, is CIWT's flower arranging and deck gardening day, I started in a frame of mind of Boo Hoo, Poor Me, I have to live in a city and only have a deck.  I was nostalgic particularly for the pansies at the edge of the Lake House garden 
and the morning glories climbing the trellises at the back. 

Why I thought can't I have something like this? 

Or just something simple like this?     

Then I remembered things like my grandparents' caretaker working for hours daily on the gardens and grounds, the weight and back breaking unweildliness of carrying just one bag of dirt up the myriad stairs to my deck. I remembered older people in Inverness where I spent some time beginning to sell their houses because their bodies could no longer take the strain of constant gardening.  And of course talk to any gardener in Marin and they are in some kind of state about the deer having eaten their prize flowers or trees - again!

And as I began to get tired from the effort of dead heading and cleaning up the flower boxes on my deck, I became more and more pleased with the concept of the abundant, professionally maintained public parks that are all around me and glad that all I had to do was fluff up a few boxes.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I Can Hear Music --- Day 2/132

Walk: Mindful Body, de Young Museum
Distance: 2 miles

Remembered tomorrow is Bay to Breakers, our crazy footrace where people come in elaborate costumes and, of course, used to race nude until times caught up with the race.  It will be impossible to get across town   to the de Young Museum to take in another viewing of the Rembrandt's Century show of etchings and other types of prints and works on paper.  So I raced over at the end of the day and had the show virtually to myself.

Communing with Rembrandt is an art lovers heaven.  The more you encounter him, the more deeply you are touched. By his hand, so 'pure,' delicate and expressive it is difficult to understand his works were done on plates with tools.  And by his humanity, the tenderness with which he portrays all of his subjects.  And of course by his magnificent virtuosity, mastery and inventiveness with all aspects of the printed medium.

His Strolling Musicians put me in mind of another touching group of musicians you can visit on the link below:

Rembrandt van Rijn, (Dutch), Strolling Musicians, 1685, etching

the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Cheesy -- Day 2/131

Walk: Pacific Endoscopy Center/Laurel Village
Distance: 1 mile

So for about a year I've been starting my day with a gratitude list (awww) - first thing.  If I hadn't already written it today, cottage cheese would be right on it.

Don't know if he had such a list - he certainly had others - but Richard Nixon also famously liked cottage cheese.  That is, he didn't like cottage cheese, but he Loved it with ketchup on top.  This was a big scandal before we all learned what scandals really are.  "Cottage cheese and ketchup" people said, clucking their tongues and rolling their eyes.  I was too embarrassed to say I liked it too.  Now of course I would, but when you're really young, you keep such things to yourself - and wonder what everyone's problem is.

My list doesn't usually embrace things like cottage cheese.  I'm only allowed 10 items, its early(ish) in the morning and, you know, cottage cheese (?).  And it probably won't be on there tomorrow because I'll be on to other things.  But, it was the first thing I ate after an enforced 45 hour fast, and boy did it taste Great - even without ketchup.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Clear -- Day 2/130

Walk: No
Distance: a few blocks and a little at home yoga

Ciwt is (pre)occupied with a day of clear liquid diet, etc.  I'm not that much of a foodie but can not wait for food tomorrow afternoon after routine procedure.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tiburon --- Day 2/129

Walk: Not really
Distance: a few blocks around Tiburon and Sausalito

A short trip to Tiburon today to visit an excellent antique store, Custom House II.  Whenever I go there  (@20 minutes from San Francisco) I feel like I'm in Florida or the Mediterranean.

San Francisco Yacht Club in Tiburon

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pause, then Continue.... 2/128

Walk: Fillmore Street, Mindful Body
Distance: 3 miles and teach yoga class

Here's what I think is happening in ciwt's little mind:  the reality of age and death are becoming more real, closer.  There's the goodbye I just said to a friend's dog, Callie of course, my face in the mirror, friends, acquaintances, friends of friends, famous people being comparatively incapacitated/'not themselves.'  For ever and ever this has gone on without a deep sense of me being part of the process.  Ie, with denial.  But denial is definitely lifting of its own accord- in dreams certainly.

CIWT is not going to be a morbid place but seemed appropriate today to at least mention 'all this' - get it out in the open.  Sometimes it is kind of relief to really get it, stop fighting, stop freaking out at the mirror, respecting what is or assimilating it a bit more.

Of course, sometimes not at all.  A lot of the time not - which is just fine with me.

On another note, Prince Harry, who is visiting the States, seems much cooler than I realized.

Monday, May 13, 2013

New, Wrong and Yay -- Day 2/127

Walk: Waited all day for deck furniture delivery which happened the minute Callie's groomer arrived
Distance: 0 but worth it

So I got to be the exception that proves the rule.  I love my new deck furniture - already.  Plus the guys that delivered it and took away the (sad, dirty, thank you) old were really nice, even with all my stairs.  So here it is:

Nothing to do but decide which side of the lounger to put the
side table on.

This side?

Or as seen on the top? these kinds of decisions.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Out With The Old --- 2/126

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (The Hunt)
Distance: 2 miles

One possible hazard of living alone is becoming attached to the things in your environment - so much so that you lose sight of things like shabby appearance or just don't care.  Such is the case with my 13 year old deck furniture that has withstood numerous storms, heat waves, cat claws, city grime in its 24/7 life on my deck.

Here's what it looks like:

Pretty cute yes?

Here it is a little closer:

 Notice the arm and cushion.

Now here they are even closer:

The cushions (all of them) are soiled, hopelessly dirty and, even worse, the coating on all the pieces has either delaminated already or is just sort of balanced on the surface and flicks off at the slightest touch.

In other words it is (and has been for several years) just fine - not extravagant or anything -to replace this furniture.  And finally tomorrow I will do that - with very nice furniture from an old time and excellent patio furniture manufacturer.  The new will look lovely and be the highest quality but come tomorrow I'm sure I'll be devastated.  I will miss the curlicues that seemed too froufrou when my friends the present furniture arrived.  I'll forget about the grime, the peeling surface, the comments from my cleaning girl and gardener and others about 'maybe it's time for new cushions, and maybe you could repaint the furniture.'  For an undetermined amount of time I will have no idea how I could have made the horrible mistake of getting rid of this 'wonderful' 'old friend' furniture.

Apparently virtually everybody does this decorating misremembering.  I may have already told CIWT that I once worked for a decorator to some of the 'rich and famous' of San Francisco.  As is often the case with decorators, she also socialized with these people and many times would run into them at parties just after their new furnishings had arrived.  At first she would go over to them to 'share their excitement.'  But she stopped doing this because consistently the response she would get was "I hate it!  I never should have done it!  What was I thinking!"

So then the decorator would see these same people at another party a few months later and go over to apologize and commiserate.  This time the response was "Why would I be sorry?  I Love my new look. Just love it!"  She shared all this with me in case I went on in the field - which I didn't after seeing all the tension and nastiness involved - but I'm glad I'm armed with this information so will have some grip on the tailspin I'll probably be in tomorrow....

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Sapphires --- Day 2/125

Walk: Mindful Body, Opera Plaza (The Sapphires), Laurel Village
Distance: 5.5 miles and teach yoga class

The Sapphires is so 'nice' and well meaning that you can't really speak against it.  Except to say it is a bit thin, not much depth.  At the end of the movie we were told that one of the real Sapphire's son was co-writer of the screenplay.  The picture with that announcement was of a boy about age 6, and you could almost imagine that a slightly older youngster who adored his mother and wanted to talk a bit about the 60's, Vietnam and the Australian Aboriginal situation might have had the main voice in this script.  It is light, very light.  Charming, enjoyable, appealing but oh so very, very light.

One thing I found interesting were the Vietnam scenes.  As shot in the movie, real life was going on, but at the same time helicopters were flying overhead and random explosions and gunfights signalled intense battles here an there on the landscape.  Usually when I've seen film of Vietnam it shows fighting but doesn't indicate that the land around the fighting is green and filled with villagers and other Vietnamese and American soldiers generally going about their business, engaged in their real lives.  I guess I didn't realize until this movie how much every day life co-existed with the war - if the movie indeed portrays reality.

There was footage of Martin Luther King, Jr., both assassinated Kennedys, references to James Brown, the Apollo, and other reminders of that fascinating time that was the 60's.  And this reminds me I will always consider myself fortunate - a complete lucky duck actually - to have been alive and just the right age during those times. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Other People's Places -- Day 2/124

Walk: Union Square
Distance: 1 mile and yoga at home

Thinking of a few more brief trips and looking at Airbnb and VRBO.  No matter how nice the place, some part of me hesitates to stay in someone else's place and starts thinking 'hotel.'  Other people's places come in on the same channel as eating at a fancy restaurant.  I think I'll have to spend time fluffing up the owners - complimenting them on their place, chatting with them in general, living and leaving things just the right way.  The way you sometimes have to sort of fawn over the waiter and the food.

Lots of people swap houses with strangers.  And love it.  I can't imagine - even though it would make travel so much more affordable.

I really have to laugh at the layers upon layers of my travel quirkiness.  Rather wish I could laugh; it is so pathetic and doesn't fit my once upon a time ego at all.  Oh well..

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hood Ornament --- Day 2/123

Walk: Corte Madera Shopping
Distance: 1 mile and hit bucket of golf balls

Just caught these pics of  President Obama's recent San Francisco visit (see ciwt 2/88) and Love seeing him on Crissy Field, one of my favorite and often walks.

Crissy Field looking toward city

Presidential helicopter coming in over Pacific Heights (but What?! is going on in the foreground?  New house?)


Bye, Bye....

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I don't WANT to be a Dullard - - Day 2/122

Walk: Around, Here and There
Distance: 8 blocks or so

My life is wonderful; I have everything a ciwt could ever want.  So what's up with the Santa Fe let down?  Am I one of those retirees but won't admit it?  They say if something bothers you about someone/something, it is actually something about yourself you've projected onto the person or thing.  Gawd.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

White Paper --- Day 2/121

Walk: Social Club Presidio, Mindful Body
Distance: 2 miles and teach yoga class

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mud, the Movie --- Day 2/120

Walk: JCCSF, Mindful Body
Distance: 2.5 miles, take yoga class, teach two privates

Speaking of Santa Fe, 69 year old resident, Sam Shepard is excellent in Mud.  And, Matthew McConaughey, is outstanding in his journey from pretty boy to more and more dark roles.  I love the dark Matthew and admire whatever decision he made to walk in this direction.  Not sure if the star of the film is Mathew or the amazing Tye Sheridan.  Tye is 16 now but younger when his nuanced, completely believable character was filmed.

Huckleberry Finn is one of my favorite books, and it is quietly at the heart of Mud.  But even if I had never read the book  and didn't pick up on some of the references, I would like and admire this movie.  Coming of age, essay on love, marriage, how we do or do not mature, and more.  Long, slow, worth it.

Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Matthew McConaughey

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Curmudgeon Meets Santa Fe --- Day 2/119

Walk: Trader Joe's, AMC Van Ness (Mud)
Distance: 4 miles

I'm a little reluctant to comment on Santa Fe as I know it is near the top of many people's Favorite Places list.  And I can understand this for the peace, tranquility, skies and desert hills  (if you can see them; another story), low, earthy and simple architecture, past/present feeling, art.  And at certain times of the year there are large cultural events - Opera Season, Indian Market and Native Dances - that are highly regarded in their fields and annually attract throngs.

But my soul did not resonate with Santa Fe.  To me Santa Fe had the presence of a glorified retirement community.  There was no sense of adventure or surprise.  Nothing caused me to be curious about the history because it was right there in my face with signage, guided tours, brochures - all albeit good.  And that history had a sameness in the telling; a sameness that didn't ring true or seemed tailor made for tourists.  In essence, first there were Indians, then the Spanish came and imposed their culture, then the Spanish were driven out (or something) but somehow the place didn't quite entirely return to the Indians and there were other white people, missionaries, East Coast entrepreneurs.  It is all glossed over and treated as if, oh well, everything is just fine today. 

But we all know things aren't 'just fine' with Indians anywhere, including the Southwest.  And looking around town the Indians I saw were doing things like driving buses, sitting around parks, cleaning rooms, sitting on blankets selling wares.  Doubtful they shop at the endless high end boutiques filled with silver belt buckles, fine leather boots, Edward Curtis and other five to six figure collectible photographers.  They man the front desks of the museums but I doubt they participate in the museum culture.

This odd secrecy, or vanishing history, echoes the way the Atomic Bomb was built (and exploded) near Santa Fe in an environment of bogus job offers, false store fronts and aliases so complete wives arrived and missed their rides at the airport because they hadn't been told they would be living under assumed names.  Many families had no idea what their husbands/fathers did when they were gone all day - or more -  for work.  Of course this is understandable considering the undertaking, but what is odd is the way it is presented/talked about today as if Los Alamos is a sort of local celebrity taken at face value. As if it is sort of darling the way scientists, spies and whoever slipped in and out of town and minds and souls were subsumed to the cause.  Hard to explain, just feels odd going down - along with the WW II internment camps.

 (Nothing political intended; these are just some of the things I happened to notice).

I never saw a grocery store, drugstore, gas station, deli, dry cleaner, or even liquor store so I don't know where people shop.  Real life was simply absent.  As are people under the age of, say, 45.  I can't remember seeing one child.

I also didn't see much of the truly gorgeous sky.  This goes to the 'adobe' architecture which is dim in the interior and omnipresent.  'Adobe' in quotes because much of what you see is built with 'regular materials' (cinder blocks, lumber, brick, etc) and then covered with stucco and painted a (prescribed) adobe tone.  The irregularity of architecture that is common in all naturally evolving towns and cities was consciously 'erased' beginning in earnest around the early 20th century specifically to attract tourists to an 'authentic' Indian/Southwestern environment.  Older buildings were torn down and all new construction - residential, legislative or commercial - must be strictly according to the 'adobe' code and colors.

Although less expensive than San Francisco and many other places, Santa Fe is out of reach for many.  Certainly for younger couples looking to raise families.  Where would their children go to school?  Who would their friends be when everyone else is over 45?  Where would they shop for real necessities?    Unless things change, it seems to me Santa Fe is entirely dependent on tourists and retirees with enough disposable income to stay in hotels and spas, recreate, buy art, silver, meals out, museum, music and opera tickets. 

All this begs the question: Why not cut Santa Fe some slack?  It's certainly worth a couple of days. I learned much more about the history of the American Southwest, Santa Fe and the arts and culture of the Indian tribes around Santa Fe.  I got to see first hand and form my own opinion.  So, what's the rub?  Maybe answers to that will bubble to the surface and be another ciwt.

Anyway, for now,  I ended up with a nosebleed which I don't think was from just the altitude and dry air. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Home to SF Ballet's Cinderella -- Day 2/118

Walk: Mindful Body, SF Opera House
Distance: 4.5 miles and teach yoga class

Home from Santa Fe. Pretty busy day so travel thoughts tomorrow.

Windy walk back from San Francisco Ballet's Cinderella which is just wonderful.  Light as a feather capturing the essence of romantic young love in a mix of puppetry, vaudeville, comic acting, fantasy creatures, gorgeous, imaginative sets.  Not perfect, but, so what?  I'm happy to settle for a complete delight and found it a nice way to return home.