Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ready for the Mundo Nuevo Rainbow Fiesta?

By S. Derrickson Moore LAS CRUCES — This could be the fiesta to end all fiestas, literally. Though some of us think it’s really a beginning. Planning is under way for a new fiesta: Mundo Nuevo, Una Celebracion de la Vida, (New World Fiesta, A Celebration of Life) for — you guessed it — Dec. 21 and 22, to celebrate fresh starts and new beginnings. Fred Stern and I decided it was a fiesta whose time had come when we were strolling around Las Cruces during a recent Downtown Ramble. He’d just returned from a trip through Europe and South America and we were reviewing the global talk about Hopi prophecies and the Mayan calendar and assorted apocalyptic theories. We decided some counter-programming could be in order and I asked Fred if he’d be willing to make a rainbow that day. Fred, who’s been based in Silver City and Las Cruces for most of the past two decades, is a rambling guy with an eclectic background in arts and science who can, as he puts it, “make natural rainbows in the sky. I work with local fire departments to pump water into the air to create an artificial rainfall, which refracts the sun’s light to form rainbows as large as 2,000 feet across.” Fred’s made rainbows for American Cancer Society Relay for Life events, the Make a Wish Foundation, Camp Quality for Children with Cancer, Camp Sundown, the Alzheimer’s Association, the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Portland Blues Festival supporting the Food Bank, the Potsdam Eutopia Festival, Sweden’s Stockholm Water Festival, The Hague Appeal for Peace, a Palestinian-Israeli Peace Conference in Israel and Gaza, and the Colorado River Tribes protesting the placement of a nuclear dump site on sacred land, and a rainbow over the United Nations Building in New York City “as a visual metaphor for world peace.” In Las Cruces, he’s created rainbows for Court Youth Center, Hospice and Alzheimer’s Awareness Day. We got to talking and decided it would be nice to recruit other artists and kindred souls who see Dec. 21 as a new beginning. Fred will go to the Las Cruces City Council at 1 p.m. Monday on behalf of the nonprofit Rainbow Around the World Foundation to ask for “the use Young Park and the help of the fire department to once again create a Las Cruces rainbow. The event will be dedicated to the Children’s Crisis center and Jardín de los Niños, who will benefit from any proceeds stirred up by the day,” he said. He’s looking for entertainers, artists and anyone else who’d like to help with the event. If you’d like to be involved, contact As Las Cruces Style regulars may recall, I’ve always taken rainbows personally, and tend to round up coworkers and anyone else in the territory to take a break and appreciate whatever bow appears. Las Cruces remains the only place I’ve even seen triple rainbows. I even saw a snowbow here one frosty day. I love the Biblical pledge of a rainbow covenant in Genesis 9:13, after Noah and the floods. In these troubled times, I think it would be a nice gesture to make a rainbow and pledge our own covenant with higher powers — and our best selves. If, as I suspect, the world goes on, what better beginning than a covenant to build a new and better world, to care for the next generation, clean up and get ready for a new start? S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at (575) 541-5450. Follow her on Twitter @DerricksonMoore.

Counting your blessings

By S. Derrickson Moore LAS CRUCES — The time of year when we celebrate giving thanks for what we have is, paradoxically, the season when many are obsessing about what they do not have (or can’t afford to give). In a decade when black Friday has edged forward to blacken Thursday, when many feel compelled to leave the Thanksgiving table to camp out (and cop out of family gatherings) in search of bargains, I think it’s time for a gratitude time-out. If spirituality is an important part of our lives, it seems like we are shortchanging the meaning of the season, the meaning of life, and indeed, our very souls. Growing up in mid-century America, the time famous for keeping up with the Joneses, the more thoughtful curmudgeons of my childhood were righteously indignant when people started putting up Christmas decorations the first week in December. Then it moved to Halloween. Now Christmas in July sales and celebrations are common and holiday acquisition campaigns seem to last almost as long as presidential campaigns. And this year, I find that my head and heart are filled not with visions of sugarplums, but with counter-programming concepts. I’ve been thinking about the “attitude of gratitude” concept that I’ve heard so much about from friends and relatives who have successfully navigated 12- step programs. (And a personal aside: I can’t think of any material thing that has ever generated as much gratitude and joy as the news that a loved one has made it through another year of clean and sober recovery). I think about the Biblical advice to consider the lilies of the field and I’m grateful that such wisdom is available to us all in a land and age when arrogance and greed seem to have a stranglehold on society. I think of Biblical nuances that have become clearer to me with age: that it’s the love of money (stress “the love of,” not the money) that is the root of all evil. I know the truth of wise sayings like: “Happiness is not getting what you want, but wanting what you have.” The admonitions come from many times and cultures: ancient Zen Buddhist maxims, artistic philosophies that focus on the beauty of minimalism. Less is more. Gratitude has also become a popular precept of new age and pop psychology, and some scholarly studies have shown that it can be an important part of happiness and basic metal health. People who keep a gratitude journal, recording each day things for which they are grateful, reportedly seem to be happier and more successful than those who don’t. (And, I’d venture to guess, several times more joyful that those who hoard grudges, slights, wrongs, dashed dreams, bitterness and unforgiven sins). I think I’ll try it myself, in a blank 2012 datebook I found with the Christmas stuff. Every day, from Thanksgiving through Dec. 31, I plan to list five things for which I am grateful. I’ll let you know how it works out, and if you try it, I’d love to hear from you, too. Some see gratitude as a route to enlightenment and even bliss, and crucial to a quest for communion with higher powers and our higher, best selves. In fact, some sage souls have said that if our prayers were limited to nothing more than “Thank you,” that would suffice. I’m doing my best to remember that, this holiday season, and to give gratitude the top priority this year, all year around. Happy holidays to you all. And thanks … y mil gracias. S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; 575-541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style. Follow her on Twitter @DerricksonMoore.

Stress Free Tips for the Holidays

By S. Derrickson Moore LAS CRUCES — Stressed out yet? You’ve made it throught most of the fall costume occasions, nearly all of the state centennial commemorations and a big chunk of FTFS — Full-Tilt Fiesta Season. But for many of us, the best (or worst, depending on your attitude) is still to come: Thanksgiving. Black Friday. And a whole month of holiday, family, shopping and fiesta occasions. School and community pageants. Benefits and bazaars. Reunions. Decorating. Entertaining. Updating the card list. There’s gifting and all that entails: shopping for or making presents. Wrapping. Packing. Sending. Getting together for gift exchanges. Recently, I was talking with friends and family about things that get easier with time. Fiestas never seem to fall within that category. I know. I’m a pro. I’ve written about, organized, invented and coordinated festivals for most of my life, which seems to stretch back to the Jurassic Age, this time of year. And whether I was planning a week-long bash for thousands in the capital of arrogance and greed (which shall remain unnamed) or a sit-down dinner in my hometown querencia for a small group of motley amigos, many of the same survival principles apply. Here are some of my favorite tips for making the season merrier and brighter: • Plan ahead: No matter how much you like to think of yourself as a carefree, spontaneous sort, this is not the time to go rogue. Do as much as you can as far ahead of time as possible. Double recipes and freeze half. Stock up at holiday bake sales and bazaars. Freeze goodies and be prepared to thaw for surprise guests and gifting occasions. • Eliminate: Maybe you don’t have to give gifts to everybody on your list. Talk it over with your friends who have everything. Maybe they would be just as relieved as you are to cut it out. Especially if you offer a: • Substitute: Instead of a gift exchange, suggest an informal lunch, brunch or breakfast. Instead of a home party, get together at your favorite restaurant. Let someone else do the work and cleanup, which brings us to: • Delegate: If you’re hosting a big holiday meal or a party at the office and people offer to help, say “Yes!” Accept food offerings, decorating and clean-up help. • R & R: Plan some alone time, for yourself and with close friends and your immediate family. Don’t skip workouts. Fit some exercise into your holiday routine. Walk, rather than drive, through decorated neighborhoods. Get to the mall 30 minutes or an hour before stores open and stroll briskly. • Have a backup plan: That idyllic outdoor/mountain top Christmas event that you agreed to host because it almost never rains or snows here may surprise you with the weather bomb surprise of the year. Be prepared to move inside. • K.I.S.S.: No mistletoe involved here (though it can’t hurt). We’re talking Keep it Simple Stupid philosophies. This time of year, people are more apt to remember warm-hearted feelings than intricate frills and painstaking details you agonized over. • Hugs and humor: can ease all kinds of stressful situations. Kids or grandkids acting up? Entice them with a hug into a time out and some quieter activity. In-laws and outlaws insist on sharing their irritating political views and instigating family feuds? Download some funny, politically neutral jokes and when people start laughing, switch the subject. • Blooper fiestas: With the right attitude, even minor holiday “disasters” can be fun. Turkey burned to a crisp? Order a pizza. Faux or real tree looking mangy? Twist and prune to exaggerate its non-traditional personality even more and refer to it as a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. In the family history, the bloopers are likely to be remembered more fondly than attempts at perfection. • Sing: Even if you think you can’t. Even if you don’t feel like it. Start a carol at home or the office. You might be surprised at the talent that will be revealed. • Spirit: Remember what the season is all about. As Tenny Hale said, “When you feel most like giving out, give outward.” It always works. Always. Happy holidays. S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style. Follow her on Twitter @DerricksonMoore.