Embracing the ‘Burque

Ethan said it felt like we were going on an airplane. Unlike most mornings where the sun shines through the windows to help awaken sleepy bodies, today it was completely overcast giving the illusion of an earlier, darker hour. It did seem reminiscent of those winter dawns we greet in order to fly to Chicago. Consistent with that feeling, the sky littered tiny snowflakes on our way to school. Snow….in May….in Albuquerque! For a second, I wondered if we had taken a plane to Chicago. Many Albuquerqueans shivered, complained, and thought they had been unfairly banished with the abominable snowman.

I loved it. My morning coffee tasted even yummier steaming from my mug. No worries, the sun STILL shone its way through parts of the (relatively) chilly day. Rest assured, the 80 degree weather is due back in a couple of days. Keep calm, there will be months of hot sweaty sunshine shortly. I savored the chill. Snowflakes in spring is exactly the kind of quirky weather befitting quirky Albuquerque. I love when things are uncharacteristic and unexpected and challenge all my preconceived notions.

Albuquerque has definitely been eliciting the unpredictable in us. As already mentioned, I now like to run…for fun…for exercise…not because I’m escaping a mugger. Mike now readily agrees to go to art venues on his Friday’s off. He may still occasionally go see a movie where they blow up things, but I now can suggest any ARTISTIC venue and he AGREES. Stop and savor that unusual fact. It’s better than Baileys in your coffee. At first I thought he had worse ear wax build up than the boys and really could not hear all that he was agreeing to, like the Fun Friday events I wrote about here. Yet it has become consistent enough that I am as confident of his hearing as I am of his willingness to go where no typical male has gone before, where nothing gets blown up except my assumptions about my previously very predictable husband.

Me (6 weeks ago): “How about the International Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe?”
Mike: “Sure!”

Opera doll from China. Don't mess with sister and her sword.

Opera doll from China. Don’t mess with sister and her sword.

Besides the usual display, the Folk Art Museum had two special exhibits I wanted to see. One was the Japanese kite collection.

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The other was in the Gallery of Conscience, the museum’s experimental space where we were invited to be participants in the conversation on art and social change. This destination feature was on immigration. I marked our family’s trek from Chicago to Albuquerque on the large map showing where many visitors have settled to new homes. There were various stories in different mediums offering a doorway into the vast experiences behind each piece.

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I am drawn into and often get lost in exhibits like these. Meanwhile, Mike has forged way ahead of me having already completed his visit while I am stuck somewhere in the middle. Still, he is there of his own free will.

Me (last week): “How about a photography exhibit called ‘Sanctuary’ at some cultural center downtown?”
Mike: “Sure!”

Joan Fenicle's Seasons series

Joan Fenicle’s Seasons series

No art visit with Mike is complete without him loudly questioning something whether it be the (obscene) price of a piece for sale or the (assumed) possibility that he could have created the exact same masterpiece. Like with my boys, I encourage him to whisper those questions out of ear shot of a could-be artist and ask him to choose his favorite to keep him occupied while I engage. He chose the above photos as his favorite last week. I agreed and had we $1000 to spare we might have purchased them for our foyer. Well, let’s not get too carried away with our uncharacteristic behavior. Unless those four are marked on clearance at Home Goods, they will not be gracing our walls any time soon.

We are embracing quirky Albuquerque to the extent that it has made us more adventurous towards the unusual and slightly less predictable. Ok, we are still pretty darn predictable but do not be surprised if we surprise ourselves much more than usual in our new state. Before you know it, we will be planting a garden in our black thumb backyard! I HATE yard work and can never understand how people think it to be therapeutic. I kill every green thing to enter my presence except for resilient weeds which seem to multiply like rabbits in my neglected yard.

Enlisted the boys to help me tackle my Amazon jungle of weeds. I could not have done it without them.

Enlisted the boys to help me tackle my Amazon jungle of weeds. I could not have done it without them.

We are not totally ready to kill off so much nature but the thought of trying to garden has crossed my mind and being here in Albuquerque that shocking fact is a little less shocking. Still shocking but just a little less. Being here, who knows? Mike may become a pottery-making vegan, and I may be a gardening triathlete. Stranger things have happened…like snow in May in Albuquerque.

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