Found on 4th Helping Houston

The time has come! The end of one era, the beginning of another. This will be my last official post for Duke City Fix as I transition to a new format for my blogs. Saturday we will shut down the blog forever.  What better way to make this transition than by showing how a community comes together!

As all of you know, the natural disasters in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, Mexico, etc., have been devastating and heartbreaking to watch from the sidelines. I was horrified by a photo I saw of senior citizens in a nursing home sitting waist-high in water in complete distress.  I knew I had to do something. I simply posted on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to organize a fundraiser for the hurricane victims. Keep in mind, this was prior to all the other natural disasters that came after Harvey.

Within a matter of minutes people were responding saying, “What can I do?”  Friends I know well, some not-so-well, and even friends from my childhood were ready to pitch in and help. I had all these people willing to help and no place to actually host the fundraiser. Luckily, the wonderful and generous women of Found on 4th said that they would be happy to host the event!

I met with Heather and Katrina of Found on 4th, and it was suggested that we combine the fundraiser with their second anniversary celebration. The date was set for Saturday, September 30, 2017.  We only had a month to organize! After our discussion, we decided that artisan vendors, a food truck, an art making station, live music, and a raffle and silent auction were in order. We set a modest goal of $2000 and decided that the money raised would benefit the Houston Food Bank and the Texas Diaper Bank.

Our friends sprang into action and slowly but surely the donation items started rolling in. Vendors were selected and all are donating something to the raffle. Posters and flyers were created and the word started spreading. Friends from all over the country started to spread the word and items from artists and businesses from as far away as Seattle and Maine started arriving. In addition to the raffle and silent auction, Found on 4th is donating 10% of their sales for the day!

It has all come together beautifully and effortlessly. In the current divisive political climate, it has been reassuring to know that when others are in distress, people will help…even New Mexicans helping Texans! Political affiliation doesn’t matter, skin color, religion, gender, age, none of that matters. What matters is that a group of community-minded folks from Albuquerque have come together and are making something beautiful happen.

I hope that all of you will join us for our Found on 4th Helping Houston Fundraiser. If you can’t make it, I hope you do something to help even just one person in need. It’s a good thing.

Here is more information about the fundraiser and some photos of the donations we’ve received!

Found on 4th Helping Houston

Raffles for wonderful artisan-made treasures, gift certicates, items from all over the country!

A silent auction of amazing art, jewelry, house concert!

Make and take art!

Live music from La Rondalla de Albuquerque (10am – 11am) and Seth Hoffman (between 3-5pm)

The Blazing Barn Food truck!

And so much more!

Raffle tickets:

$5 for 6 tix, $10 for 12 tix, $20 for 25 tix

Silent auction:

The silent auction will run for one week at Found on 4th ending October 7th.

Please invite your friends and let’s help our Texas neighbors! Check out our Facebook invitation and see photos of many of the silent auction and raffle prizes!

I.B. with Bowl #1 – oil on canvas by Mark Horst

Blue Orbs Necklace made by Renate Surh (granite and azurite from the base of Mt. Everest!)

House Concert by empress of the blues Joanie Cere and blues guitar god Darin Goldston

Gift certificates from so many businesses!

Time to help our neighbors!


I am a typical New Mexican. I don’t like Texans. It’s tradition for New Mexicans to not like Texans, right? It’s kind of hard to hold to that kind of thinking when you have family living in Texas and some of your dearest friends are from there.

I have a friend who lives in Rockport, Texas. We had a particularly ugly falling out. Things have somewhat simmered out to the point that we have at least re-friended each other on Facebook.

As the news reports were rolling in about Hurricane Harvey, I saw that the eye of the storm would touch down in Rockport first. My friend was hunkered down in her home, refusing to leave. It was shocking to me that she decided to stay, but since I’ve never been in a situation like that, who was I to judge?

Needless to say, her house, and pretty much all of Rockport, has been destroyed. She and her partner and their dogs all survived and are planning to rebuild. While keeping tabs on her and her family, I watched the news. I was stunned at what Mother Nature was capable of. As I was scrolling down my Facebook feed I saw the photo that brought me to tears, the one of the senior citizens waist deep in water with nowhere to go.

It was at that moment that I sprung into action. I immediately posted on FB that I wanted to do a fundraiser and asked if anyone wanted to help. Within an hour a dozen friends said they wanted to help and I even had a local business woman who owns one of the coolest stores in Albuquerque tell me that she was willing to offer her place of business to host the fundraiser!

We met, created an outline of what needed to be done – all within one month – and set a goal of $2000. We decided the money would go to the Houston Food Bank and the Texas Diaper Bank. Within a few hours, friends were emailing to help, solicit donations, and offers of raffle items and cash.

Ultimately, in a horrific situation like this, you have to do something…even if you are a gal from Albuquerque and you are helping Texans. If y’all want to help, come by and buy raffle tickets, win some prizes and support a neighborly cause. Here are the details:

Found on 4th Helping Houston, September 30th from 10am – 5pm.

Help us help Houston. Seeing the devastation in Houston and wanting to do something, we have banded together a group of community members for an event to bring a slice of hope and help in the best way we know how – through music, art, and beautiful handmade and vintage treasures. Please join us for a day of celebration with Found on 4th as they dedicate their second anniversary to raising money for The Texas Diaper Bank and the Houston Food Bank. We will have raffles for wonderful artisan-made treasures, a silent auction, make and take art, music, food and more.


Big Changes to the Fix!


We LOVE Albuquerque! We love the people, the food, the events, the hot air balloons, Chevy on a Stick! Duke City Fix, from its inception, has been all about showing our love for our fair city.  It has also become a place for this community to come together to vent and discuss not only the good, but the not-always-great side of Albuquerque. What Duke City Fix has done, has been to create a community of people who care about this city.

It’s no secret that great friendships (and even weddings!) have taken place as a result of people coming together on this site; or that local news outlets have kept an eye on us and have done stories as a result of our insightful volunteer writers; or that we have uncovered the best places to eat and cultural events to attend. The list goes on and on.

What else is no secret, is that social media has exploded in a way that we never could have imagined. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are social media sites that most people now use. They are all free and accessible to huge audiences.

Duke City Fix has been a labor of love for many years. It has always been run by volunteers. Every story, every Morning Fix, every daily photo, every poem, has been posted by a dedicated volunteer. Think about it, Dee Cohen posted a photo a day, every day, for how many years?! All those Morning Fixes that you love to read are by an incredibly devoted group of folks who seek out the most interesting stories to get your day started.

What this all boils down to is that we are making a shift. We aren’t going away, but rather, going where the most action is and right now that action is on Facebook and Instagram. This shift will take place at the end of this month. There will be no new content on DCF after August 31, but we will keep the site up through September so that you can still access and reread some of your favorite stories.

We will begin to post local news stories, events, photos, all the usual DCF stuff, on Facebook and Instagram, instead, starting September 1st.  We still have a dedicated group of volunteers who have accepted the challenge of helping us out to continue posting all the things you love to read about Albuquerque. Some of us will be starting our own little blog sites with new stories and also archives of old stories! We’ll be sure to give you links to those sites from your favorite writers.

Sophie and I have been incredibly blessed to work together with a group of fabulous writers, poets, and photographers. We are beyond grateful to everyone who has volunteered, who has commented, or who has simply read what we have put out there. We truly appreciate the love and we hope to see your continued support for Duke City Fix on Facebook and Instagram!


Sophie and Lita (Adelita)

Originally posted August 16, 2017

Time To Get To Work

No secret that I’m a big old bleeding heart liberal.  I admit that the POTUS has made decisions in his first couple of weeks that have made me angry.  While I do post political stories on Facebook and make lots of political comments on Twitter, that seems to be, really, a waste of time.  Sure it lets me blow off some steam, but I think it’s lazy and not productive. I decided to take some action instead.

Yes, I participated in the Women’s March with my niece in Albuquerque. There is no denying that it lifted me up in a way that I hadn’t felt in a long time. I feel motivated to take action that counteracts the mess that those in power are making.

Instead of making my usual lose-weight-exercise-more-be-nicer-to-everyone New Year’s resolutions, I made a New Year’s action list that will directly impact my community. If you think that your single voice doesn’t make a difference, think again.  Sometimes the smallest actions make the biggest impact.

Here are are few things from my action list:

Support Local Music and the Arts

Our Burque Music Scene writer, Lynn Marie Rusaw, introduces us to the who’s who in the Albuquerque music scene. I used to always to go out and listen to live music.  Music is an important part of my life and I miss listening to and dancing to my favorite local bands.

As a teaching artist, craftsperson, and all around art lover, I am taking steps to become more involved in the arts community. Honestly, I’ve always shied away from the art cliques. That being said, I can be involved in ways that don’t require me to be part of any group.  Art and music and theater and poetry are important to the survival of our culture. Imagine the world without any of these? Check out a new band in town, head out to a local gallery or craft show or take a class! Buy the cd, buy the handmade product. Albuquerque has a wealth of talented artists of all kinds.They need you to show them some love!

Welcome new people in my community

One of the promises I made to myself after hearing so many people’s ignorant views of refugees was to get involved with the refugee community in Albuquerque.  There are large numbers of refugees here from various countries – Republic of Congo, Senegal, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Syria.  My niece teaches English to a group of refugees and I will follow suit by volunteering my time. We were invited to a potluck with families from Syria, the Republic of Congo, Sudan, Afghanistan.  The language barriers didn’t matter. What mattered was that we all broke bread together and we communicated with smiles and laughter. The potluck was so much fun that a group of women from the Republic of Congo spontaneously starting singing and then dancing.  The whole room buzzed with applause and smiles from ear to ear.  And not to be outdone, a group of Syrian men started dancing a traditional dance around the room. Scary people? No way. They have come from devastating circumstances and yet, were so full of hope and joy.  I will be writing about the refugee community in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned!

Patronize businesses along central while ART is being constructed

I am working on patronizing businesses on Central Avenue and surrounding areas while A.R.T. is being constructed.  I read an article a few weeks ago that said Olympia Café may close because business has been impacted so much and that The Frontier’s business was down 30%.  Small businesses like Cheese and Coffee, located just off Central in the Old Town area, are struggling. I can’t imagine Albuquerque without any of these businesses or any of the many other businesses along Central. We can’t let them die. Please join me and make the effort to do the same. This weekend a group of Duke City Fix writers got together at Scalo and checked out their Bloody Mary Bar. We will be back! Support all your local bookstores, coffee shops, art galleries, movie theaters, and restaurants!

These are just three small things I am working on to improve and hopefully impact my community. Small steps, to be sure, but if each of us took small steps to do something positive, it would make big changes.

Right after the Presidential election I bought a charm to salute a huuuge good bye to 2016.  It is a large silver hand flipping the bird.  The hatred and vitriol of the election left me so numb and angry, it is a small gesture to let go of all of that. It’s time to get to work. Now, I have to ask, what will you do to make a difference?

Originally posted February 26, 2016

100things: Why we love Albuquerque

Last Thursday evening I got a text from Sophie that said, “100 things we f…..g love about Albuquerque. Go!” Over the course of about half an hour we texted back and forth all of the things we love about the Duke City.  After I compiled the list, there were far more than 100 things! Here’s what we have so far.  What would you add to the list?

  1. The #9 at Golden Pride
  2. The Sandia Mountains
  3. Chevy on a stick
  4. The bosque
  5. Duran Central Pharmacy’s Red Chile
  6. Tamarind
  7. Frontier Rolls
  8. Don Schrader
  9. Tinkertown
  10. Rail Yard Market
  11. Al Hurricane
  12. Summerfest
  13. ABQ Museum
  14. Tumbleweed snowman
  15. The Shins
  16. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
  17. Vivian Vance
  18. Bart Prince
  19. Great artists like Frank McCulloch Sr.
  20. Zoo music
  21. Tingley Beach
  22. Hanging of the Greens at UNM
  23. Watermelon Mountain Ranch
  24. Downtown Grower’s Market
  25. Monte Carlo Steakhouse
  26. Las Posadas in Barelas
  27. The Tram
  28. The Guild Cinema
  29. Dion’s Ranch Dressing
  30. Glass graveyard
  31. Poetry community
  32. The Pit
  33. Rudolfo Anaya
  34. Blake’s Lotaburger
  35. UNM Duck Pond
  36. Gertrude Zachary castle
  37. Balloon Fiesta
  38. Those insane peacocks at the Zoo
  39. Self Serve
  40. Old Town
  41. The North Valley
  42. Tables at Anodyne
  43. National Hispanic Cultural Center
  44. Car Show at ABQ Museum
  45. Jennifer James
  46. Marigold Parade
  47. Globalquerque!
  48. State Fair food
  49. Gathering of Nations
  50. The Launchpad
  51. Revolutions
  52. Green chile everything!
  53. Dinosaurs at the NMNH&S
  54. Bookworks
  55. Jessie’s house on Breaking Bad
  56. Sprockets
  57. The Trolley
  58. Sandia Family Day
  59. Rebel Donuts
  60. Isotopes
  61. Zimmerman Library
  62. Taqueria Mexicana on Lomas
  63. Neil Patrick Harris
  64. Empanadas at Golden Crown
  65. Shopping in Nob Hill
  66. Sunsets and clouds
  67. Petroglyphs
  68. Dog House
  69. KiMo Theater
  70. Carrie Tingley
  71. Los Poblanos lavender everything!
  72. Molly’s in Tijeras
  73. Butterfly Pavillion
  74. The Press Club
  75. Powdrell’s building on 4th Street
  76. Chatter Sunday
  77. Mark Horst’s chicken mural on Monte Vista
  78. KUNM blues show
  79. Great breweries
  80. South Broadway Cultural Center
  81. Pop Fizz paletas
  82. N4th Arts Center
  83. Old Albuquerque High Building
  84. BioPark
  85. The Co-op
  86. Le Chat Lunatique
  87. Holly Holm
  88. Great bike paths
  89. Antique Malls on Central and Fourth Street
  90. Lynette, La Burquena
  91. That little cabin up on the peak
  92. 4th of July Canon
  93. AM Spices
  94. Elena Gallegos Open Space
  95. Resilience Mural at Washington Middle School
  96. First Fridays Gallery Scene
  97. Johnny Tapia
  98. Barelas Coffee House
  99. Alburquerque mural at Artisan’s
  100. OffCenter Arts Puppet Parade and Folk Art Fest

Dear Adelita: Luminarias vs. Farolitos

Dear Adelita,

Please don’t laugh, but every year when my relatives from Northern New Mexico come to visit for for the holidays we argue about silly stuff.  One of the things we don’t agree on is the age old luminarias vs. farolitos debate.  Being from Albuquerque I’ve always known them as luminarias.  My primos from Santa Fe insist that they are farolitos.  What the heck is the difference?


An old bag

Dear Old Bag,

Oh boy!  This is a great question! I, too, am from Albuquerque and I call them luminarias.  I know in Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico they are called farolitos.  Let’s see if we can figure out the “right” answer.

Luminarias/farolitos are little brown paper bags, folded at the top, (I’m a stickler for folding down twice) with enough sand in them so that they don’t blow away in the wind and a lit votive candle inside. Please, no seams showing; those always go to the back.  They are little lights of beauty that you put around your house on Christmas Eve.

So let’s break it down.  First, why do New Mexicans do this?  I found a great blog on the New Mexico History Museum website that tackles this very question.  From the blog:

In a Dec. 3, 1590, journal entry, Spanish explorer Gaspar Costaño de Sosa mentioned the small bonfires his cohorts had lit to guide a scout back to camp. Luminarias, he called them, thereby casting the first stone in a 400-year-old, northern-versus-southern New Mexico debate over the little paper bags that light up our holiday nights.

“They’re farolitos,” folks north of La Bajada Hill insist.

“Luminarias,” everyone from Albuquerque on down says.

Over the years, even linguists have disagreed. Their arguments for and against fill a fat file at the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library at the New Mexico History Museum. Among the certainties is this: Before the 1872 invention of flat-bottom paper bags, before the ready availability of votive candles, and before electricity and strings of “icicle lights,” New Mexicans marked the paths to their doors and the local church with small, Sosa-style bonfires on Christmas eve—symbolically lighting the way for the Holy Family.

Chinese paper lanterns found their way to Santa Fe via the 18th-century Manila galleons and El Camino Real, but the paper was so fragile that outdoor use was rare. Once cheaper paper bags arrived on the Santa Fe Trail, locals discovered they could fold down the tops, anchor them with a few handfuls of sand, and set a small candle inside for a more subtle display that didn’t deplete the winter woodpile.

Before his 1996 death, Fray Angélico himself waded into the debate and essentially concluded, “Whatever.” 

So there you have it! Both terms are right!  Call them what you want. As a Burqueña, I call them luminarias.  I also call them beautiful!

Originally posted December 15, 2016

Handmade by Mom

I’m not ashamed to admit I was a spoiled kid. I was lucky enough to have parents who indulged both my and my sister’s artistic endeavors. When we entered UNM, we each were able to go to Langell’s Art Supply and buy what we needed for our art classes because we had an open account there. Spoiled, right? To have parents that encourage your passion for art is pretty darn cool.

I’ve often wondered where our “artistic-ness” came from. My mom has always been a stay at home mom. It wasn’t until recently that I realized she was the spark for all of our creativity. She had us making art all the time, like making felt ornaments for our Christmas tree, embroidering, stringing beads, sewing, you name it.

I remember when my mom decided to enroll at UNM and started taking drawing classes. I always remember prior to that, she would draw little faces they way she learned in high school. She was so happy to learn new techniques  in college and was so proud to show us her work. She understood the desire to be creative.

When I enrolled at UNM I took a small metals class. I was hooked. I’ve forever had a love of jewelry and this class took my simple jewelry making to the next level. I was so passionate about it my mom converted our utility room into a little mini jewelry studio for me. Her brother, a contractor, came in and made a little jeweler’s bench for me and I had all the supplies I needed. Did I mention how spoiled I was?! She was and still is my biggest cheerleader and always wears pieces that I’ve made for her over the years.

As I’ve mentioned in many of my posts, my mom has dementia and I notice that making art with her makes her really happy and also really focuses her attention. Sometimes I’ll take her over to my house and ask her to help me with simple cutting projects or organizing beads. Recently I purchased a couple dozen plain wooden snowflake ornaments and took over some paint and brushes.Together we watched Golden Girl reruns and painted the snowflakes. She was hooked.

I went out and bought all the wooden and papier-mâché ornaments I could find along with glitter and rhinestones. I took everything to my mom’s house and let her and her caretaker go crazy.  They did!  The next day I went over and they were completely covered in acrylic paint and glitter.  They were so excited to show me all the ornaments that they made! Bright colors galore, matching or complimentary glitter made them festive and fun.  She has given them to nieces and nephews as gifts this year.

My mom’s caretaker is off for three weeks to spend time with her family and so now it’s up to me and my daughter and niece to keep her entertained.  Tonight is one of the nights I will stay with her and I have all the supplies ready for her to make those last few “fancy” ornaments I’ve been teaching her to make. We’ll make a giant pot of posole, shout out answers to Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune and also get the luminarias ready for Saturday night.  I like to think of this as my way of supporting my mom’s artistic endeavors.  Merry Christmas, Mom.  I love you!

Fancy ornaments I’m teaching my mom to make!

Originally posted December 22, 2016