Thursday, August 28, 2008

Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations; by Lois Ellen Frank

We had an opportunity a week ago to hear a talk by a remarkable woman at our local library here in Eldorado. I was just out of the hospital, but I wanted to hear this speaker so much that we took the chance and went, and I am SO GLAD .. It was a wonderful evening.

Lois Ellen Frank is a resident here in Eldorado. She is part Navajo Indian, a cultural anthropologist, photographer, author of the award-winning cookbook, Food of the Southwest Indian Nations: Traditional and Contemporary Native American Recipes, and proprietor of Red Mesa Catering, as well as a gardener and herbalist. She currently also teaches here in Santa Fe. And she is the photographer of many of those posters of chile, sunflowers, corn, etc. that some of us are familiar with. And she certainly lived up to her reputation!

Her talk was mostly about her background, her cookbook, and her work in researching and promoting a return to a healthy and traditional Navajo diet based on a culture of corn, chile, beans and squash, as well as piñon seeds, juniper berries, prickly pear cactus, healthy churro sheep, etc. She also spoke at length about the damage to the health and diets of Native Americans from unhealthy foods introduced by our government into the cultures of native peoples.

As a diabetic, I heard some really exciting information, such as the natural sugar-reducers in the membranes of prickly pear cactus and the potential for improvement of Type 2 diabetes in the general population.

As an added bonus, Ms Frank brought some samples of her recipes, such as cactus jelly, a prickly pear dessert, and pumpkin-piñon cookies. All delicious! I have not purchased a copy of Ms Frank’s cookbook yet, but I plan on doing so soon. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about the healthy native foods of the southwest part of this country. We left realizing how fortunate we are to have such a treasure living here in Eldorado!

(Photo from Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta 2002: Lois Frank and her partners Walter Whitewater and Sam Etheridge)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Eating Ice Cream in Eldorado

The big event of the year here in Eldorado is the Ice Cream Social every August to benefit our Vista Grande Public Library.

It's a wonderful event: ice cream, music, more ice cream, a raffle and an auction, ice cream, lots of activities for the kids ... and ICE CREAM. I have always wanted to go to the ice cream social and this year was going to be my first chance. My illness made us think it over for a few days, but we ended up going for a couple of hours. I am still weak, but it was pleasant sitting in the shade and eating ice cream.

The picture is of a marimba band that played and was REALLY talented. Imagine listening to marimbas in Northern New Mexico!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

St. Vincent's Hospital in Santa Fe

When we moved to Santa Fe, we knew there was one hospital and that we would lack a choice for our health care. On top of that, we had heard pros and cons about the services and reputation of the hospital. We were a little nervous but really too busy with our move to think much about it.

Then! Three months into our residency here, everything changed. I ended up in St. Vincent's as a patient in the Emergency Room and Intensive Care Unit for a almost a week. What happened to me there still feels like a miracle. From the afternoon that the Santa Fe County ambulance crew took me to the hospital until I was discarged 7 days later, I experienced a level of care and professionalism that literally saved my life. Even though I remember little of it, the people there could not have been more wonderful to my husband who was in the tough position of having to stand by and watch and wait and hope.

From the doctors to the nurses and support personnel, we are blessed to have St. Vincent's Regional Medical Center of Santa Fe as our hospital, and to know they are there should we ever need them in such a drastic capacity again.

I am recuperating at home now, I am sitting in the sun and getting back my strength and and looking at my mountains and thanking God for my life.

Viva St. Vincent's!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I post on the New Mexico forum of the City-Data website.

Today a member named GregW posted this:

"Sometimes you get to heaven without having to die first."

That struck me as profound ... and the way I feel about living in New Mexico.

(The above pictures were taken by my husband in the Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos, NM in February 2008).

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bloomin' New Mexico

(Picture taken near Pecos, New Mexico - unidentified flower at the roadside)


We have never been in New Mexico in August before. So we were unprepared for what the July monsoon season brought: flowers and bushes in brilliant bloom!

We have many things we can identify and some we cannot.

Our Russian sage is in full brilliant purple bloom and attracting hummingbirds.

Butterflies are coming to our fern bush and butterfly bush.

Something called a Blue Spirea is about to burst into bloom in our courtyard.

There are other flowers here which I cannot identify as I never saw them before in Kansas.


(Fern bush in our yard)


(Russian sage in our yard)