Buen Provecho

In early December I came across a post on Volunteermatch.org by the non-profit usimmigrantcafe.org looking for volunteers who like food and to write. Um, yes, please! They describe themselves as “A nationwide non-profit platform showcasing immigrant restaurateurs in pursuit of their American Dream.”

Just that week, I’d spoken with a friend about my desire to become involved within the immigrant community. I wanted to do what I could to help and express gratitude to those who I believe make this country stronger and who, at various points in the distant and not too distant past, every member of my entire family had been a part of.

I responded to the ad and learned that the site was looking for people around the country to interview and tell the stories of immigrant restaurateurs within their communities. Writing and food?! Me, me, pick me!

It was up to the writers to choose the restaurant and the interview subject. I asked a few friends for suggestions and ended up interviewing Kattia Rojas at Albuquerque’s Buen Provecho Restaurant. She makes a great Costa Rican tamale, among other dishes, and recently opened a restaurant in the newly remodeled El Vado Motel. I wanted to know more.

Here’s her story.

Buen Provecho!


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Mary Oliver

How I Go To The Woods

Ordinarily I go to the woods alone, with not a single

friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore


I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds

or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of

praying, as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit

on top of the dune as motionless as an uproar of weeds,

until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost

unbearable sound of the roses singing.


If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.

-Mary Oliver

Thank you for allowing us to walk in the woods with you. RIP.


Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But, that’s ok. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.

-Anthony Bourdain

Thank you for packing us in your suitcase, including us in your travels, for your humanity, stories, humor, words, for urging us to choose the adventure, eat the unfamiliar, explore, and for leaving so much good behind. You were my role model, inspiration, and my always crush.

Rest In Peace.

Hobbies Coming Home to Roost

Yesterday was a funny day. My hobbies, the things I do for fun, to keep my brain and creativity working and flowing, came home to roost.

Last year I took almost six months off from my job as a costumer. During that time I took several creative writing classes and began submitting work to various journals and publications. Yesterday I received a copy of the 2014 Santa Fe Literary Review and I am proud to have a story among the pages.

As I was flipping through the book, my phone buzzed to tell me that I had sold an apron on my Etsy site, fresastudio.etsy.com. I started this site years ago, as a way to justify my love of fabric and vintage table linens, but it has been sorely neglected for the past couple of years. It always shocks me when I sell something.

Sitting near me was an Italian dictionary and my guidebook to Amsterdam. Travel and the study of languages were favorite hobbies until, at some point in the past decade, I allowed them to take a backseat. In October I will be able to use both books when I cross the pond for the first time in four years.

It occurred to me that, for almost a decade, I allowed my film career to eclipse any unrelated interests as my life became a cycle of jobs and recovery. Upon realizing this last year, I counterbalanced by taking too many months off; too much time with too little structure. This year has been more balanced, with consistent, but short, jobs, most in town rather than on the road, and some free time to continue writing, making, exploring, and learning.



So, you want to be a writer, huh?


I’ve been having a bit of an identity crisis lately… Looking at all that I’ve spent years building and wondering if it’s really the direction in which I want to continue. I imagine this happens to everyone periodically, but since it’s been a while since I felt so unsure, I’m ready to feel clear and directed again and I know that’s not the way it works. Clarity can’t be rushed. Like Grace, it’s out of our control.

In my experience these times are a bit like a treasure hunt in a tunnel. You can’t really see where you’re going but you just keep following the clues, trusting that as strange new doors open, you’re still on the right path.

This most recent bout of uncertainty sprang out of getting dropped back into my life after working on another movie and realizing that for all my talk of an integrated life, it wasn’t really feeling like mine was. Spending much of my time on the road, often living happily as a gypsy, I was unsure what to do with myself once the frenetic movie pace stopped. And, no matter how tempting it was to simply jump on another show to avoid dealing with my uncertainty, I knew that wasn’t a good long term solution for myself.

I spent much of the winter feeling the same way and it was one of those empty days that led to the creation of this blog. I felt the need to write and take pictures and connect with other people and be able to bring my creative outlet with me, wherever I went. When the same emptiness hit me over the summer, I decided I needed to take it a step further and signed up for several writing classes.

So, here I am, learning about narrative, expository writing, plot, and character for the first time. Somehow I made it through 16 years of school with only the most cursory knowledge of basic writing terms. I spend hours mining memories and creating hopefully three dimensional characters only to go back and erase the whole thing. The image appears in my mind but the words fall short. I read books and stories with a new found awe for the authors who so skillfully find the words.

I find it somewhat amusing that in a need to feel connected, I chose an outlet that involves me sitting alone, in front of my computer, in my studio. But, yet again, I have to trust that for some reason this is what I am drawn to right now. Who knows if it’s the place I’ll end up or just one stepping stone on a path towards a destination I still can’t see. Maybe it will be so difficult, I will run screaming into the arms of my film career, never to wander again. Who knows? Sometimes we just have to wait and see, trusting that at some future time we will see that it was all necessary, that A led to B and then to C, that there are no mistakes, and that it is all exactly as it should be. Eek!