That’s quite a word, isn’t it? Meanings can vary depending on what situation you are looking at. And it has more weight or less weight, as well, depending on how you’re looking at it.

When I read Jim Belshaw’s opinion piece“Writer Given Gift of Freedom yesterday in the ABQjournal, the word freedom was used in a way quite meaningful to me.

I’m both happy and raging ass jealous to read about a lady named Summer who gets to live my ultimate dream. My personal definition of freedom. Congratulations to Summer who is the winner of this year’s A Room of Her Own Foundation $50,000 Gift of Freedom award.

Until today I was unfamiliar with A Room of Her Own, but I’ve now fallen in love with them based on this snip from their mission statement on their webpage, “… bridging the often fatal gap between a woman’s economic reality and her artistic creation.”

Which seems to be based on the Virginia Woolf quote in the middle of the page, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write.”

Brings tears to my eyes, really.

But back to Summer. She lives in San Cristobal and believes she can make this $50,000 grant last her for two years, giving her a chance to take a break from her regular hardworking job and allowing her to write for a living.

From the article: “The obstacle of having to make a living while you’re trying to write a novel or finish your short stories is gone,” she said.

Damn. It’s truly my deepest and fondest dream. To no longer be bound by gray cubicled walls, incessant emails, and the political bureaucracy. To break the bounds and let being creative be “what I do for a living.”

I have a currently unfinished book that still swarms in my head. The characters live there, keeping residence until I finish telling their story, tenacious little buggars that they are. This is my fourth novel so I’m familiar with the drill. I will be haunted by the characters, without respite, until I type the words “The End”. With that they will finally give me peace.

Taking two years off, and having the funds to do so. Ah. Yes. A little slice of heaven in my book.

So lots of props to Summer. It can’t have been easy to win this grant. I’m sure competition was steep. It makes me smile to see a writer doing it, making it work, taking the time to let the Muse be the only boss she answers to.

$50,000 wouldn’t run two years where I live but I’d sure love to have a go at it. Maybe in 2009? I see they’ve posted the application….hmmmmmm…..

Pardon me, I’ve got some dreaming to do on a no-wanna-work Friday.

End of days

Woke up this morning to a post-Apocalyptic looking sky. It’s creeping out the Bay Area.

Owing to some pretty bad fires down in San Jose, the Bay Area skies are filled with smoke. It makes for spectacular sunsets, but can’t be good for the lungs.

The sun this morning TOTALLY creeped me out.

Took a fast snap on my iPhone (below) which hardly does it justice. This photo in the SFGate doesn’t really get there either.

Imagine a blood run sun on a vaguely gray sky. : shudder :

One radio DJ this morning called it a Zombie Sun.

It is a sad comment that instead of commuting to work, battling zombies under a blood red sky sounded more fun. Get mah Buffy ON!


Back to battling paperwork and whining employees (upon which, by law, I’m not authorized to use a wooden stake….) instead.


Why do shorter weeks always feel longer? This week is interminable and I’m only a day and a half into it. That can’t be a good sign.

It doesn’t help that The Cute Boy™ is bad sick. Like fevery, grumpy, not sleepy, it’s-all-just-not-good kind of sick.

Nothing worse than being sick in the summer. Yes, I know that milestone of “Fall” has passed, but it’s not “officially” Fall until later this month. And the fact that it’s in the nineties here makes me definitely think summer, despite all the “back to school” hoo-hah that’s wandering about. Welcome to Indian Summer. My fave time of year, actually.

The New Mexico State Fair starts this weekend. I distinctly remember getting a day off from school to go to the Fair. Hot, dusty, questionable, but my mom and I always went. You ain’t lived until you’ve fought the bees to eat your honeyed fry bread while watching the Indian dances. Or until you’ve sat in rickety Tingley Coliseum singing along with Freddy Fender. Or Jerry Reed (“east bound and down…loaded up and truckin’…(see, I’m already tapping my toes)). Or yes, Roy Clark, a staple of the rodeo for years.

Ah….I can smell the cotton candy now.

Wish I could get a day off work so’s my mom and I could eat our way through the Fair. Sometimes being a grownup is NO fun.

Then again, I’m meeting a friend for dinner tonight at a Cuban place. Here’s the good part of being a grownup. Sometimes a Mojito cures a lot of whining.

So I guess this is really a blog post full of miscellany. No point. Just a bucketload of thoughts for a Hump Day afternoon.

Enjoy some early Jerry Reed:

Signs of growth

If there was ever a signal of burgeoning growth, not just in population, but devices as well, it has to be the area code split.

Soon after I moved to the Bay Area, we had a split. That was during that much ballyhooed Dot Com boom (remember that? Yeah…).

When I moved I had that coveted 415 area code (the area code of San Francisco). I had it a few months before it split, owing, they said to the cell phones, faxes, all the people working from home with extra lines and the fast growing population.

There’s been a few more splits since, though none affecting me. I’m still rockin’ the 650.

Our fair New Mexico had held firm all this time. I know there were rumors of an area code split a few years back, but it looks like it’s here now. The 505 will now become the 505 and the 575.

: sniff : Our little state is growing up!

I guess I didn’t think it was true, hearing only secondhand from friends, until I saw this article in today’s Albuquerque Tribune (while it’s still breathing).

Looks like it’s a’gonna happen this October. Ya can’t stop progress!

Rage on, Land of Enchantment! Rage on!!

On second thought…I’m not sure I’m happy about all this growth. Too many yahoolios jamming up the Big I yapping on their phones? Too many houses springing up outside of Las Cruces? People actually knowing what we know…that New Mexico livin’ is pretty easy? Ugh!

Slow down, Land of Enchantment! Slow down!!!

Blast from the past

I’ve made it no secret here in these pages that I am a rabid baseball fan. I believe I’ve spoken most frequently of the San Francisco Giants. But I actually have another love. A first love. The one that wooed my heart for the very first time.

But that…in a minute….

I also have another love (a second love, I suppose) here in the Bay Area. In fact, this one came to me soon after I moved here. Before I’d even starting going to the “big boy’s” club.

I had occasion last night to take in a last day of August game with the San Jose Giants. They are the single A farm team for the big boy Giants and are a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

When I moved here in 1997, I worked for a rough and tumble company and supported a team of folks who worked really hard doing very dangerous work. As such, it made them a tight knit group. I had the privilege of helping them in their work, and they took me on as “one of the family”, and that family loved to have group outings. So not long after I’d been living here, they invited me out to the ballpark. I was already a huge fan of baseball so I happily agreed.

What greeted me at San Jose Municipal Stadium was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Built in the early 1940’s as a WPA project, Muni had this amazing old school, Minor League charm characterized in movies like Bull Durham. Only better.

Muni comes with something called Turkey Mike’s BBQ. A glorious bbq area with picnic tables and ribs to make you weep. It was the *best* food I’d ever enjoyed at a ballpark (to this day, still is), and we, a large group of congenial coworkers, sat at long tables and ate, got sauce on our cheeks and enjoyed the sun.

As the game got underway, with events, contests and fun at each half inning (the “Smash for Cash” still reigns supreme in my mind. An old panel truck careens out to the field, stops, and three of the San Jose pitchers compete on behalf of three fans. They throw baseballs at the truck and if they smash out a headlight, the lucky fan takes home $100), I was overcome with a sense of melancholy. A memory. A flicker of remembrance of my first love. And being that I had just moved here, the memory was powerful and the homesick overwhelming.

Needing to stretch my legs, I walked down “in the tunnel” to use the restroom and get something to drink. I strolled around taking in this new-to-me stadium.

And as if by kismet, I saw it. This old stadium, like many others, honors it’s competition by displaying pennants representing each of the opposing teams in their same league. It is a pretty common practice. This stadium had them painted onto the walls, sort of a “walk of fame” as you go through the tunnels. And when I saw it, I had to weep. Literally, tears squeezed out and I stared, agog. It was a reminder, a sign, a connection.

I was a scared to death kid in the big town, just barely moved in, but fate saw fit to give me a moment of comfort, as if to say “it’s ok kid, you can still be a New Mexico girl in California. No need to become something else. It all fits together, wait, you’ll see.”

And having been to Muni hundreds of times since that first time, now over ten years ago, I still always stop, give thanks, and physically lay hands on that symbol, for luck, for solidarity, for a connection to that girl I was ten years ago. That piece of comfort still brings me comfort.

Last night I decided to take a photo:

Seeing it that first time made me all the more sad because The Dukes had already left Albuquerque, moved to Portland, leaving my fair city with no baseball team. I yearned for them when I first saw this reminder, knowing the Dukes were no more, but remembering them as my first love. The one that mattered. I remembered the crappy Albuquerque Sports Stadium where they played, but that was assuaged by dollar beers and dollar hot dogs. I remembered sitting in the afternoon sun watching the game. For a brief while on a co-op job from college, I worked downtown, and it was easy to jet out from work at the end of the day and take in an evening game.

In their time, The Dukes were good. Really good. I was always troubled that they were a farm team for the Dodgers (no, I will not give The Bums any linklove from my blog!) but was able to look past that. I was even able to look past the fact that the odious Tommy Lasorda once managed my beloved team, but that was well before my time, so I could try to forget….

So The Dukes may be gone, replaced in 2003 with the Isotopes (yes, I proudly wear a ‘Topes shirt around here, though have not yet had the pleasure of taking in an actual ‘Topes game), but the San Jose Giants make a nice replacement in my heart.

And that link is still there, that tie, that very symbol, to me, of the blending of my Albuquerque roots and my Bay Area branches. That Dukes pennant with the smiling Duke of Albuquerque is still there on the wall for me to see, touch and remember every time I’m at the Muni. And that gives me esperanza.

Remember the old radio ads? “The Dukes are coming up…coming up swinging”?? It still rings in my head.