Sunday, January 21, 2007

Would you like fries with that? Gotta love those Crackheads.

My neighbors are absolutely, undoubtedly, indubitably on crack. And it’s actually kind of hilarious. I told Lupe today that she looked like a beauty queen after she dyed her hair tomato red, and she pointed to her missing row of teeth. “Yeah,” she said. “A toothless one!” And then she started crying. I held her hand and stroked her ultra-red hair until she stopped sniffling. How could you not be sympathetic to a crying crackhead? Poor woman.

As I was coming home last weekend, I discovered an unpleasant surprise in my driveway: an emaciated crackhead. (Stumbling, with shopping bag, in the sand. I had to pull in really carefully, so as not to mow her over.) The contractor says that this should be the title of my next book: There’s a Crackhead in my Driveway. Has a certain ring to it, I think. Kind of a Babs E. expose, keeping in line with my other projects.

My other favorite crackhead development?: The drive-thru McCracky Meal. All day and all night, horns beep, blaring for crack. And the crackheads get roadside service. The dealer pulls up, curbside, like a McD’s drive thru, good are exchanged…and there you have it -- a McCracky Meal special. Beep, beep. Where’s my crack, bitch?

That said, I had an alarm system installed, which is pretty worthless, except it may deter a break in – along w/ my scary-looking dogs (who, by the way, terrify the crackheads…one of them practically fell off of the sidewalk after Blue started barking ferociously).

The contractor and I have a deal: The house will be in reasonable shape by March 1st, so that I can get a HELOC to pay off my Home Depot debt. The place is a total construction zone at present (sawdust, nails, tools spilled on the floor), but it’s coming together. And we’re finding cool relics of the past – newspaper clippings, photos, and ticket stubs from the 1940’s. Fucking cool!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Livin' la vida buena

Imagine my glee this morning upon finding the high school parking lot EMPTY. I’d woken up at 6:30, snoozed until 7, then rushed around like a maniac trying to make it to work on time. (Inevitably, I was late. My manana attitude didn’t prevail, since my boss has insisted I get to school by 8am, which is still way later than everybody else, but super-early for me.) It was my first day back at work after a LONG vacation, and this morning proved to me precisely why I must find a way to work for myself: feeling harried and stressed from the moment my feet hit the cold floor; no time for coffee, walking the dogs (we run, like retards, around the block); reading the news. I don’t even swipe on some mascara (make-up in the morning? No way). I’m tired of eating my breakfast out of a Tupperware. Fucking Tupperware.

My gleeful discovery? School was cancelled – and is, possibly, all week. (The janitors, when I asked them if school was closed: "Don't you watch TV, lady? It's been all over the news." Me: "I don't have a TV." Foiled again!) It’s been almost a week since the last snowfall (it’s a beautiful, sun-bright, New Mexico morning), yet the city deemed the roads too dangerous for school to reopen. Outrageous! (And TOTALLY wonderful.) As in kid in coastal MA, school was on during the worst of Nor’ Easters. In Albuquerque, a few flakes and people hole up with hot chocolate and pinon fires. (When I walk the dogs at night, my hair ends up smelling like firewood, which I love.)

I think I’m happier now, as an adult, to discover that school is cancelled than I ever was as a kid. (Not that I liked school. For the most part, I didn’t – despite my dorkiness.) And now I won’t take the extra time off for granted, as I tend to when I have extended vacation time. Today: maybe a snowshoe hike w/ Rex in the Sandias (AWESOME, esp. covered in snow), finally finishing that Mother Jones piece (slacking and obsessing, alternately), maybe getting back to my ms, catch-up emails (I know, I owe you!), and some work on the house.

It’s hard to believe, but today marks a year I’ve lived in New Mexico. It feels like forever that I’ve been here, in a sense…but in a way that feels really good. My NYC life feels really far away, and it’s hard to imagine that I lived in such a different way for so long. It’s funny, too, that I never meant to stay here. For now -- at least, for the next twelve months, I can’t imagine leaving (except to travel, of course). “New Mexican” doesn’t sound quite as illustrious as “New Yorker,” nor does it have the cache. Nevertheless, it’s a pretty sweet life…VIDA BUENA!

‘Til manana,
Another week off!:
Albuquerque Public Schools News Release
Subject : Albuquerque Public Schools Will Be Closed Thursday and Friday
Author : Joseph Escobedo
Posted Date : 2007/01/03


[Albuquerque] – Albuquerque Public Schools will be closed Thursday and Friday (Jan. 4 and 5, 2007) because road conditions have not improved and there is still a great amount of snow that must be cleared from school grounds.
“We were hit hard with record amounts of snow fall and have been working since the storm hit to get our schools ready,” said APS Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Everitt. “Currently we have more than 200 APS maintenance personnel, about a dozen contractors, dozens of parent and community volunteers all working on removing snow at our schools.”
All after-school activities will be canceled until Monday, Jan. 8.
Albuquerque Public School bus contractors told administrators today that the road conditions are not safe for them to be out transporting students to school.
“Our main concern is getting the students to school safely and we hope that these two days will allow time for the snow to clear on the city streets,” added Everitt.
About 38,000 students are transported to school everyday by APS bus contractors.
APS administrative offices will be open as scheduled. Employees can take up to two hours to get into work, if needed, but if any employee feels that it is not safe to drive to work they may take 8 hours of personal or annual leave. Principals, teachers and other school staff do not have to report to work on Thursday and Friday.
“Custodians are being asked to help get schools ready for Monday,” Everitt said. “We thank the community for their support in this unprecedented storm for Albuquerque and the entire state.”
Every child has a right to a quality public education and APS is committed to providing that education. For more information about Albuquerque Public Schools visit"

Tuesday, January 2, 2007


This will be brief, and a digression from the Sledge, but I MUST divulge:

I just got home from yoga, and I'm left not with a sense of solace and wholeness, but with snippets of the hysterical conversation I heard in the women's room.

Why do yoga people have to be so predictable?

So, I'm toweling off my hair and pulling on my jeans, inch by inch over sticky legs, when I overhear two women talking about karma, past lives, and -- I kid you not -- His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. Now, I'm not one to knock any of these things. I don't rule them out (not that I ascribe to any of them, either...but that's my religion: the mystery of it all. My prayer: who knows?), and I still love Shirley MacLaine. But the WAY they were talking...ugh! Totally esoteric and fluffy, like, "Ohhhh, you'll just LOVE's soooo AMAAAAAAAAAAZING, your soul is just like, ohmygod..."

I'm sorry, but super-barf, girls.

My favorite part of the conversation? Afterward, when one of the chicks said, "My name is Marla." Pause here while she steps into her thong (probably made of breathable hemp). "But you can call me Mars." It was like an interplanetary yoga exchange btwn. Mars and her litte yogini suns. I love the yoga, but, man, get real!

Along similar lines, my contractor thinks I'm a hippie, which I find kind of hilarious, considering my black-clad past spent in swank Manhattan martini bars. People can change. Cheers, baby.

Also, because this hippie hates working for the man (and must return to work tomorrow after a LONG vacation), I've been thinking: if all goes well with renovating (and, eventually, selling) this house, why not make a habit of it? I need constant change (otherwise, I'm deadly bored...and v. quickly), love projects, and know that I need to work for myself. Even with a piece-of-cake job, I'm doomed to misery if I'm doing something for which I don't give a damn. (If I sell this house even at a marginal profit, I'll make TWICE my annual salary. How's that for apples?) I'm trying to get the freelancing off the ground (running in the grass, for now, at least), but if I can make some megabucks renovating homes, why not? It might be fun. It's been good so far, however stressful on my bank account (and brain). But, knowing it will pay off (faith!) is exciting. I like the impermanence of it. Maybe I'll live here for a few years...maybe not. I can do whatever I please; name myself Saturn, move to Kentucky, and start singing back-up for a bluegrass band. For now, though, still taking a whack at this place...still sledgin'.

I'll leave you w/ some photos of my trip to the Northern/central Cal coast:
Elephant Seals on the beach
Elephant seal pup
Santa smokin' up in Big Sur

Monday, January 1, 2007

good news

According to a report by CNN:

Albuquerque Real Estate
Projected price change, 2007: up 5.9%
Rank, Regional (ALL of the west, inc. CA, pac nw, SW...): 1st (yeah, baby)
Median home price: $180K

Installed French doors in my bedroom today...which look totally AWESOME.

Happy New Year to all!