Sun Tea

 It is hot! 105 in Albuquerque yesterday, with the same expected today. And, after such a cool, rainy spring, I think we are all in shock, though June is usually the month where it reaches triple digits for a week or two, so we really shouldn’t be. Today I plan to make mint sun tea, write a short story, meet a friend at the pool, and be grateful that for the first time in over a decade, I am not outside, working on a film set in this heat! 

Producers love to shoot in New Mexico in the summer; long days full of amazing skies, desert vistas stretching for miles, 16 hours before you lose the light.  Pouring water over my head, wrapping a wet bandana around my neck, reapplying sunscreen again and again, holding the wool coats and petticoats of actors too hot to wear them, lugging garment bags up a mountain or into a canyon, eating bananas for the potassium, waiting for the sun to go down, trying to drink even half as much water as I should. 

Early in my career, I wore skirts and light blouses, but after ruining too many, switched to shorts and tee shirts, but after getting too much sun, switched to high tech UV fabric clothing that I rinse out each night, same outfit day after day, no skin showing. Only when the director goes down with heat stroke, do people slow and drink a Gatorade. 

I think of my dad, building a house out in the country. Watermelon for lunch, gallons of water sweated out, like a cleanse, year after year working through the summer. And of all the farm workers, road crews, and walking mail deliverers, working in the heat. My grandmother would meet her mailman at the door with a glass of lemonade. 

And six months from now, I might be writing the same post for cold. Bitter  and biting. Seems unimaginable now. 

Stay cool out there!


The themes of negative space, grey area, and the beauty of imperfection have been reappearing in my life lately. Blurred areas where it isn’t black or white or said or pretty or really even understood, keep drawing me in, whether through my current time off between movies, the need to infer rather than tell in my flash fiction class, the metal scraps left behind from jewelry making, or the book sitting on my coffee table, “wabi sabi: the japanese art of impermanence”, by  Andrew Juniper.  Each has led me somewhere totally different than I thought I wanted to go when setting out and it’s only now that I’m beginning to realize the grey and the negative were probably the point all along, it just took me a minute to realize. 

Frequently when I take time off between movies, I feel somewhat aimless and ungrounded, as if I’m on vacation, fun, but always aware there is an end in sight. But, this time, I’ve begun to switch my thinking. Maybe movies are the negative space, serving to support my writing, reading, traveling, blogging, jewelry making, hiking, cooking, and learning adventures. Maybe the space I’m in now is enough and should be viewed as important, necessary, and productive, if not more so, as the time I spend on set. 

I began my most recent foray into flash fiction on Wednesday night, with the great teacher Meg Tuitte, and was reminded again of the importance of grey area in this kind of writing. With most flash pieces being under 1000 words, it is necessary to jump into the middle of a story and trust your audience to keep up. Without time to give a background on each character and then curve slowly towards the climax, one sentence might have to do the trick. It’s a great exercise on being clear and concise. 

Likewise, in the small metals class I’m taking at Meltdown Studio, in Albuquerque, I began by making a brass cuff. When I didn’t like that, I stamped out a bunch of shapes with the idea to make charms for a necklace. And, in the end, it was the rectangles with shapes missing that were my favorite. Negative space.  (The words happen to say “she jumped out of the boat”, a little reminder to myself that once out, it’s almost impossible to go back in:)

And then, last night, I just happened to pick up a book that’s been on my shelf for years, but that I’d never read. Though only at the very beginning of Andrew Juniper’s “wabi sabi- the japanese art of impermanence”, I was drawn in with this idea, “the Japanese were to become masters of space, and have throughout their long artistic history stressed the importance of space or nothingness as a juxtaposition to things that presently exist”(p 9). I love the idea that that space is just as important as the existing object or idea. 

I am reminded of an interview I heard with Bill Gates on NPR, though not sure on which show. They were discussing the possibility that Gates real legacy could end up being The Gates Foundation and all that it has been able to do around the world, rather than Microsoft, though that too helped change the world. You just never know when this will lead to that and then to that. The thing you thought was the goal could end up being a mere stepping stone to something so big and amazing, your little brain couldn’t even fathom it back then. 

As I think about all of this and as examples keep popping up in my life, I am reminded to enjoy the ride. Not to be cliche, but it really is all about the journey. The grey negative inbetween might end up being the point in the end, so why not let go of some perceived goal, success, point in the future, just enjoy, and see where it leads?

Rocky Mountain High

I just returned from a quick, weekend trip north to Colorado, with my mom. Combining the desires to get out of town, visit family, check out some art, and maybe buy some legal pot, we took highway 285 instead of the quicker I-25 and wove our way from the high desert into the Rocky Mountains.  


We arrived in Denver just in time to check into our hotel before heading to meet my friend Brendan Picker at The Big Blue Bear. Picker is a Public Art Coordinator and, among other things, leads groups on public art walking tours through downtown Denver. For one hour, we were led by grates in the pavement that played interesting sounds, murals, statues, and other very cool pieces made to be enjoyed by the public, but frequently overlooked. For more info on these tours (and for info on artists) go to


The next morning, we left for Boulder and a stroll down memory lane. We drove by the Victorian house where my parents were married, barefoot, in the backyard and which they then proceeded to almost burn down while dipping beeswax candles in the dining room. Then, onto the falafel stand on the Pearl Street Mall and another driveby of the house where my sister was born and we grew corn in the backyard.

By Saturday, we were in Fort Collins and after buying some beautiful pieces from Made In Ceramics, at the French Nest Market, decided to see what all of the hoopla was about the shops now selling legalized, recreational marijuana. Well, it wasn’t as easy as we New Mexicans had been led to believe! After going to two shops which had either recently closed or only sold to those with a medical card, we finally ended up at what looked like any other college head shop. After checking our IDs, we were led into a back room behind a locked door and told to wait our turn. It all felt very illegal. Once it was our turn, two salesman were very helpful and suggested several types that might help with my ongoing insomnia. We’ll see! 

In the ten years since my grandmother passed, I’ve spent very little time in Colorado. A wedding here or weekend there. But it’s fun to remember that though it will always mean summertime, picking cherries, cool basements, rollerblading with my sister, frozen yogurt pie, baseball games, cousins, camping, high snowy peaks, smell of cut grass, nostalgia, and childhood to me, it is also a gorgeous, fun place just a few hours north, ready to be explored all over again.