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When we visited Santa Fe last year, I bought a Dryland Wilds Sagebrush Plantwater, so I could mist my face with one of my very favorite scents on the daily. After using it a short while, I wondered what other wonders I was missing. To my great luck, the lovely Robin Moore and Cebastien Rose make much more than plantwaters. They are high desert wild crafters, sustainably foraging native and invasive flowers, leaves, and resins, and harvest plants that would otherwise be discarded to make the most exquisitely intoxicating scents of New Mexico.

It’s no surprise I became a huge fan. In addition to the sagebrush, I purchased pinon plantwater, luxurious soaps, evening primrose and copper mallow lip balms, and beauty oils infused with willow and loosestrife, sagebrush and snakeweed, rosehip and thistle. Each is evocative, efficient, and positively uplifting!

Imagine my delight upon learning they offer a perfume making class. And what great luck to have the date correspond with our anniversary! So we planned our trip to Albuquerque around a Sunday afternoon. Cebastien is a fantastic teacher, educating about the various perfume notes, and encouraging us, via scent combining exercises, to try what would normally make us run for the hills. It culminates in the exciting creation of our own scented oil.

I call mine High Desert Morning. An infusion of ruby red grapefruit, balsam fir, honey mesquite, and labdanum. Initially, it only contained the first three, as I imagined peeling a grapefruit to the rhythm of the rising sun. It was lovely but lacking. So I pondered Cebastien’s teaching and decided to go for a run-for-the-hills essential oil. I tried the labdanum, and that drop on my perfume card made it all come together, for the missing element was Greg. Labdanum is on the musky side and reminiscent of his sweet bearded cheek. Crazy fantastic!

So if you need a reason to head to Albuquerque besides fabulous food and turquoise, treat yourself to a class. If you are less adventurous, try a soap, beauty oil, or plantwater, and inhale the magic of the high desert.

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Happy Tuesday!

As part of my day rave experience, I received Belong, a book written by Daybreaker co-founder Radha Agrawal. It’s all about creating communities where we feel valued and thrive. By completing a series of written and exploratory exercises, the reader creates the shape of her life by filling it with the people and activities that spark the most joy and connection.

I’d been plugging along with it when a friend texted to say she needed some girl time and really wanted us to hang out. Since I started doing the Belong work, I had some doubts about our relationship. She had a habit of not allowing space for me in conversation and making fun of me or Greg but had other qualities that I enjoyed, so I started to make plans, which sent a flag up for me.

This friend also had a habit of saying I was missed but never seemed to want to do the work of making the connection. It fell on me to choose the date, time, and activity. So, I wondered what would happen if she had the responsibility, offering ideas but leaving the execution to her. This was weeks ago, and I never heard back.

As I am wont to do, I fretted and found ways to make myself the bad actor. Then I looked back on one of the Belong exercises that asks what I do and don’t want in a relationship. I reread the qualities and was gobsmacked to realize she has ALL that I determined were deal breakers. And so I quit, not in an instant, see above(!), but over a few days, culminating by unfriending her on Facebook. I still feel a tad twitchy but know the relationships I am currently building are keepers, where positivity reigns and I am valued equally and treated respectfully.

Thank you, Radha, for helping me get to this place!



Have you ever felt so drawn to a place that it defies explanation? Round a bend of highway where you have never lived and felt the most incredible sensation of home? That, to me, has always, always been Southern Colorado and New Mexico. For fellow travelers who know where I-25 bends just south of Larkspur to reveal Greenland, this is the where my heart goes positively aflutter. I had always thought it was the anticipation of visiting New Mexico where my Nana lived most of her life, and my Grandpa and Mom were born. It turns out, there’s more.

In conversation with my dad last week, talking about family, he casually mentioned that my Great Grandma Tillie was part Comanche – she is second from the right, with her mother to the left, and her siblings Clifford, Henry, and Lula.  Her mother’s maiden name was Serna, so I always assumed that part was solely Mexican (or Hispanic or Latina, depending on your persuasion). But, as a Catholic, her family had taken a Spanish name, so it’s difficult to know much there was of each in her. But that knowledge!  I am part Comanche! What a delight to think upon my ancient sense of home when rounding that bend. My ancestors of the Comancheria had likely made camp on the very spot.

And today’s photos, of last Sunday, spent with our cousins Brent and Bronson, sharing more of our history, along with delicious food and even better company and that incredible view of the Spanish Peaks – home to my heart and ancestors, the ancient and recent.

Hello, and happy Monday to you!

Friday afternoon, I had the very special pleasure of attending a Mandala dissolution ceremony honoring the Compassion Buddha. Monks from the Ngari Institute spent three days creating this exquisitely fine and intricate work of art. It was then swept into a pile, distributed among attendees (anyone who so desired), with the remains scattered into Monument Creek.

Why destroy something so beautiful, you may ask? To show the importance of sharing compassion with all beings and reflect the impermanence of life. It also encouraged everyone in attendance (and the world) to let, just as we do each breath that comes, every little thing, joyful, beautiful, sad, and angry, GO. To the winds. To the water. Let it ALL go.

Before the ceremony, I had the privilege to sit with one of the monks and ask about the mandala. It was quite fascinating! The mandala is a two dimensional representation of a three dimensional house or temple, with the Compassion Buddha at the center. Each of the four directions is represented, with food and flowers offered to the Buddha. The copper cups hold water, two of which for cleansing (the mouth and feet), the third, with an added flower, for perfuming the body. This is an offering of our best selves to the Compassion Buddha. The water also represented rain; as rain falls, it cleanses the body, not only of grime, but of unhealthy thoughts and patterns in the mind. The more it is cleansed, the more it benefits the individual and the world, spreading compassion to our minds and others. So wonderful!

Happy Monday, dear reader, and welcome to our June 2016 garden! Though, it would be far more accurate to say our 2016 weed patch. A very small portion of the plants here were anything but the insidious and horrible little boogers. This was after pulling the mega weeds that were as tall as the hubster and filled one third of an equally mega dumpster with their remains. It is before we replaced the cool looking but falling down and totally lacking in privacy fence or jack hammered the hideous and quite unsafe patio. And people wondered why we weren’t inviting them to tea. Our house was a shit hole, that’s why.

Here we are a couple of weeks ago, with all the latest plants in the ground, and the majority of last year’s (seen here – scroll down a bit) doubled in size.

Fifteen TONS of rock delivered!

We got super serious and rented a Bobcat! As you can see from the photo above, it was a rather spritely one, the actual smallest of the lot, at 36″ wide, but perfect for maneuvering around plants and in and out of our back gate. In a hindsight is 20/20 world, we would have done this first, but honestly, the thought never occurred to us before our backs were sore and tired of digging. Hopefully I am now saving you much, much time, and aches and pains, of the bodily and pain-in-the-ass to shovel variety.

The dumpster was 4.5 feet tall, 8 feet wide, and 18 feet long. We filled it about one-half of the way, mostly with rock from the unsafe patio. It was a LOT of trips down the alley. A LOT.

This morning, under the shade of our neighbor’s massive cottonwood. The paths are made from the rock we had delivered. It’s called Sunset Breeze, and we are both super pleased with it!

In front are my hail-mauled peonies, looking rather sad. The two patches of crocosmia are going like gangbusters and making our resident hummingbirds (Rufous and Calliope, mostly the latter) very, very happy! Also pictured, but not easy to discern: milkweed, horehound, foxglove, yarrow, iceplant, mallow, feverfew, honeysuckle, red birds in a tree.

I really couldn’t be more in love with the way it’s coming along and delight in thinking about every plant growing bigger and even more beautiful. Our red hot pokers, for instance, only made five flowers last year. They’re on their way to more than fifteen this time around! It is worth every bit of effort to walk along the freshly laid paths and admire the flowers teeming with bees and butterflies and to watch the scores of birds, squirrels and rabbits flitting happily about. As our friend Travis says, “It’s like a Disney movie!”

There is still much to be done, like moving the rock that delineated the paths before the addition of sunset breeze, putting weed barrier and rock down in the fenced garden, planting more plants, moving a couple shrubs, finishing the woodwork on the patio, building a shed for our bicycles (currently stored in the basement), and possibly getting a wee patch of grass for Juniper Beulah to roll in. Soon, I hope!

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