Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Whether we appreciate or collect art, create it ourselves or some combination thereof, we may all eventually face a dilemma once humorously expressed by internationally-renowned, Las Cruces-based artist Stephen Hansen.
“Ultimately, I’ve come to think of art as a storage problem,” he once quipped.
Stephen, whose latest works pay homage to iconic artists seem to be flying out of his studio as fast as he creates them, may not be facing storage issues these days.
I, on the other hand, am still collecting and I can’t seem to stop. (I make no apologies, but I do have a solid defense. If you got to see some of the great stuff I get to see every week, I’ll bet you couldn’t resist either.)
As a result, my home looks, as my friend Fred once diplomatically put it, as if “you’ve really moved into every room.”
Both of my bathrooms, my office, kitchen and bedrooms are festooned — very festooned — with entertaining objets d’art. So is my garage, which is currently featuring a semi-permanent show of many of my favorite kites, and a laundry room exhibit of rustic wooden sculptures and prints I have every intension of reframing some day.
At least 30 percent of my closet space is devoted to a multimedia melange of arts and crafts that I hope to someday find just the right place to showcase.
A few more file cabinets, bureau drawers and under-sink and pantry lower shelves are dedicated to art supplies for arts and crafts projects I hope to complete myself, eventually. They are everyday reminders — amidst the extra vitamins, steel-cut oatmeal and cleaning supplies — of the reasons I took up painting and sculpture many decades ago. At that time, I didn’t have access to the art I really wanted, so I decided to create a few things on my own.
A lack of access to art I love is no longer a problem. Finding places to display it, or even to store it, on the other hand, is becoming a major issue.
About a decade ago, I took a cue from my art-loving friends Sue and Tom, who decided to take a rotating exhibit approach to decorating their home.
I don’t know why that didn’t occur to me earlier. I’ve curated and hung shows in galleries, museums, shops and homes throughout the United States and even once supervised permanent and rotating exhibits at an international airport.
Actually, I’ve been managing my own little gallery most of my life.
And it’s likely that you have, too, if you’re a parent and have a refrigerator, or were ever a kid with parents and a refrigerator.
It’s a good bet that most of us have had our own solo shows before we made it out of diapers, or were part of a several thoughtfully juried group exhibitions, if we had doting parents and siblings.
I’m now on my third generation of carefully curated, rotating refrigerator exhibitions.
Not for me are those long-trendy, minimalist, modern kitchens with gleaming, sterile, stainless steel appliances.
I’ve always felt that a white, beige or even vintage gold fridge is the perfect backdrop for most refrigerator art.
I was pleased when innovative Las Crucens once presented a refrigerator art exhibition, at Rokoko Gallery. I have a few fine art magnets from that show, proudly part of my rotating collection, which includes sunflower and roseate spoonbill magnets I created.
They help display my favorite photo of son Ryan and me, taken in the Badlands when he was a baby. I was in bellbottoms, and the family was headed westward. There is also grandson Alex the Great’s sketch of a pensive eagle contemplating a tiny cloud, which has held pride of place the past decade. He’s heading this way soon and I hope he’ll appreciate his long-term popularity at the venue and contribute some new work.
There’s always room for more great art.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at dmoore@lcsun-news.com, @DerricksonMoore on Twitter and Tout, or call 575-541-5450.


Some people think of luxury in terms of expense and extravagance.
I prefer two out of three definitions of luxury from Merriam-Webster.com: “a condition or situation of great comfort, ease, and wealth;” and “something that is helpful or welcome and that is not usually or always available.”
Personally, I’d just as soon eliminate that dictionary’s other definition of luxury: “something that is expensive and not necessary.”
I’ve been around the planet for a while, and I’ve never really understood the lure of coveting something just because it costs big bucks, for status or for competitive, slap-in-the-face, dog-in-the-manger motives.
I’ve learned that some luxuries, like many of the best things in life, are free. Several zillionaires in their penthouses in the Northeast were still suffering from dreary skies and frigid temperatures when we were weeks into an early spring, enjoying bright blue skies and flowering trees and shrubs. True, those folks have the means to escape, but they still have to make arrangements to get away and trudge through the gray snowdrifts to get to their helicopters or limousines to transport them to their private jets. We have the luxury of merely opening our doors or looking out our office windows.
I was thinking of those first two definitions of luxury on a recent Saturday morning. I lingered in bed for an extra hour or two (a luxury after a few years of working on Saturdays), before ambling downtown to check out the Las Cruces Farmers’ and Crafts Market. I picked up perfect tomatoes and chose thick stalks of purple asparagus from my two favorite sources. (I won’t reveal booth locations; you should have the luxury — and fun — of discovering your favorite vendors yourself.)
The world was my luxurious oyster. I had the free time, the energy and the mobility (my sometimes-achy knees were cooperating that day) to do whatever I wanted. I could walk the acequias, shop, or stroll around the Mesilla Plaza, one of my favorite places in the world.
I could go swimming for $1 in our beautiful city aquatic center or stop in at my health club where monthly dues (including pool, two whirlpool hot tubs, saunas, fully-equipped workout facilities and an assortment of fun fitness classes) are less than a night’s parking at one of my favorite luxury hotels in Santa Fe. And by the by, that upscale hotel doesn’t offer spa facilities.
And speaking of resorts, I’ve been fortunate to stay in some multi-star doozies. But I’ve never experienced quite the degree of great comfort and ease I’ve felt on a good day in my own cozy little semi-adobe abode, particularly after I’ve done a major cleaning, stocked the fridge and pantry with healthy goodies and maybe cooked and decorated to share a nice dinner with friends and family.
In spite of (or maybe because of) exotic trips, upscale resorts, drinks, meals, yacht cruises and adventures I’ve enjoyed all over the world, I’ve come to realize there’s nothing quite as luxurious as an environment you’ve created to suit yourself.
After a productive day at work, a long walk, or creatively doing nothing on a sunny weekend day, a just-right bed awaits me with soft, clean sheets, colorful quilts and down and memory foam pillows. I once stayed in a place with a pillow concierge, but I’ve “curated” my own perfect collection over the years, thank you very much.
Every piece of art is exactly my taste. The shelves are stocked with intriguing books. The flowers I love most are growing on my back patio. I know how the TV and remote work and how to choose my favorite movies. I can enjoy a very fresh salad made just the way I like it with what I have found to be the world’s best tomatoes and asparagus.
The ultimate luxury in life just might be the ability to appreciate and enjoy what you already have in your own little home, sweet home.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at dmoore@lcsun-news.com on Twitter and Tout @DerricksonMoore on Twitter, or call 575-541-5450.


April 5
It was my 2015 New Year’s resolution to ride the artistic range once again and visit some of my favorite haunts and CCCs (Certified Colorful Characters).
For more than a decade, it was my routine to visit southern New Mexican towns, particularly where we have sister newspapers, at least once a year, and also check out the art scenes in Santa Fe, Taos, Albuquerque and Truth or Consequences.
In recent years, that hasn’t happened as often as I’d like, due to a shrinking staff, escalating workloads and migratory friends and relatives. My Albuquerque BFFs moved to Utah. Grandson Alex the Great, now based in Idaho, was more interested in visiting Las Cruces amigos than going on statewide tours.
Mostly because soulmate Dr. Roger still loves the City Different, I usually get to Santa Fe once a year, and sometimes Taos while we’re in the neighborhood and T or C on the way home.
But somehow, it’s been a few years since I’ve made it to Carlsbad, Roswell, Ruidoso, Silver City, Alamogordo, Hillsboro, or even Deming, and my favorite border towns of Columbus and Palomas.
It’s a shame, since most on the list are within easy day-trip distance. In March, I proved that proximity again — to myself and our new photographer Jett Loe — as we made a run to the border that took us to the Deming Art Center and the Luna Mimbres Museum in Deming, and then south for a trip to Columbus and Palomas.
We missed a few of my favorite attractions. The City of the Sun, a fun, funky and inspiring ecological little borderland community is no longer scheduling visits, according to a resident artist, Maya, who nonetheless sent a friendly message: “But it’s good to hear your voice again after 20 years.”
I can’t believe it’s been quite that long, Maya, but I’ve thought of you and your imaginative adobe home often and wondered how those bricks you were baking in the sun during my last visit have been incorporated in your abode.
I couldn’t seem to make a connection through the only phone number I have for Gina Beadle, the last of the Southwest Surrealists. I thought I just might rudely show up at her door unannounced, but I found her wonderful hacienda surrounded with locked fences and we didn’t have time to track her down through the village grapevines. I hope I’ll find a way to get in touch and discover what artistic antics Gina’s up to these days. In the meantime, we can still admire the colorful walls and signs she’s created in Columbus.
I’d been raving so enthusiastically about some of our borderland wonders that I figured cosmopolitan world traveler Jett was experiencing some reasonable skepticism.
He was a believer long before we reached the second floor of the Deming Luna Mimbres Museum.
“Is this place famous?” he asked our tour guide, Virginia Pool. “Because it should be. This place is amazing.”
Like many of my favorite spots in the Land of Enchantment, the museum must be seen to be fully appreciated.
La Tienda Rosa, aka The Pink Store, in the tranquil-again little town of Palomas, is another place that is best experienced in person.
All the things I remembered fondly were still there — especially Ivonne Romero, who runs the Pink Store with her husband, Sergio. She gave us a tour of a brighter, more vibrant — and considerably more paved — Palomas than I remembered. The tour included a visit to a beautiful new library and the lowdown on everything from custom bootmakers to new pharmacies and supermarkets.
I’ll be writing about some fun day trips in the region, and I plan to return soon myself. If you’ve been hesitating, I hope I can entice you to get out your passport and make a border run of your own soon.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at dmoore@lcsun-news.com,@DerricksonMoore on Twitter and Tout, or 575-541-5450.



They were the kind of hometown moments anyone who’s lived in the same place from childhood to senior citizenship can appreciate.
My Las Cruces BFF was reminiscing about her high school prom date and their adventures at the old Las Cruces Country Club. I went to another high school, but she’s a great storyteller, and it almost seemed like I was there, especially when I realized another amigo — who also happens to be my doctor — is the brother of her prom date.
Another friend, Charlotte, who moved here from New York, surprised me with her knowledge of anecdotes about my childhood, many decades before we met. I shouldn’t have been surprised. One of her best Las Cruces friends, Linda, was my next door neighbor during my K-12 years.
What’s amazing is that that was in Muskegon, Michigan, and Linda and I had been out of touch for many decades, until we were astonished to discover we were neighbors once again, just a block apart in Las Cruces’ Las Alturas neighborhood.
It was comforting to know that, 1,600 miles from our old hometown, I’m just a few minutes away from someone who knew and loved my mom, dad, sister and brother — and even my Brittany Spaniel, Duffy. In fact, Linda used to pet sit for my grandparents’ dog, Duffy’s dad, when they went south each winter.
A few days ago, when the health club I frequent was almost deserted, it seemed former Muskegonites were everywhere. Susan and I shared snow war stories in the locker room. In the pool, I chatted with Mark, who, we’d discovered, actually worked at Continental Motors at the same time as my aircraft-engineer dad.
After more than two decades here in Las Cruces, I know so much about the families and friends of my best friends here, and have so many friends who have lived in places I’ve lived and known and loved people I know and love, that it’s sometimes hard to believe we haven’t all grown up together from the beginning.
If I start absent-mindedly humming “On the Banks of the Red Cedar,” I’m never surprised when several people chime in. Our symphony director, Lonnie Klein, went to Michigan State, and so did one of my doctors and assorted other people I run into on various beats, from artists to government officials.
Speaking of which, at a Las Cruces’ friend’s New Year’s party, I met a local government official and his wife, and realized we’d once shared some dinners and great conversations at the same isolated resort in Port Antonio, Jamaica, where I was an artist-in-residence.
Funerals of parents, friends and spouses. Shared triumphs and ordeals of kids and grandkids. There are all those family and friends moments that develop when you live somewhere you love for more than two decades.
The love is infectious and many of my favorite friends and relatives have come to visit for memorable vacations, and later decided to move here themselves.
Grandson Alexander the Great shook his first maracas in Mesilla at the tender, rockin’ age of 10 months. His family moved here and I got to enjoy many memorable abuela moments during those prime grandparenting years when he was ages 3 through 10. My most vivid Christmas memories are of Alex in his little footie pajamas, opening presents with his mom and dad and beaucoup cousins, in Las Cruces living rooms or presenting holiday pageants with his Hillrise classmates. My friends and colleagues here often bring up memories of our shared adventures at art openings and museums, dancing on Main Street, or close encounters with the lad himself. (Who, by age four, was introducing himself: “You may know me from such Las Cruces Style columns as...”)
Though Alex was born in Spokane, Washington, lived in Oregon, moved on from here to California and now lives in Idaho, I was touched when I checked out his Facebook page and discovered he still lists Las Cruces as his hometown.
It’s our querencia, our soul’s preferred place. Our new, true hometown.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at dmoore@lcsun-news.com, @DerricksonMoore on Twitter and Tout, or call 575-541-5450.


MARCH  8: You can go home again, but should you?

It’s one of those big, monumental high school reunion years for me, and I have the phone calls, emails and Facebook postings to prove it.
Maybe that’s why the title of one of my favorite books during my high school years — Thomas Wolfe’s “You Can’t Go Home Again” — keeps drifting through my mind.
And I still remember all the points Wolfe made about the futility of trying to recapture times, relationships and eras that are gone forever.
In real terms and real time, after altering my vacation schedule and booking a flight, I could go home again.
But should I?
The truth is, I haven’t seen most of my high school classmates since we were all 17 or 18. I went off to college. My parents died young and most of my closest family members moved from my home state. Except for a few months working at my hometown newspaper, and a few visits home when my parents were ill, I never went back.
Since then, I have moved to interesting and lovely places — lively New York, the trendy Pacific Northwest, tropical Florida, enchanting New Mexico — and my loved ones seemed to agree that it was more fun to visit my relocated family than have reunions on our old, often frozen stamping grounds.
I enjoyed high school, as much as any thoughtful old soul could enjoy adolescence on this planet. I have fond memories of fun times with good friends, of my favorite teachers (English and music). I liked being editor of the school paper, appearing in a few plays, playing in concert, pep and marching bands, singing in the chorus and several fun road trips to music competitions, which we usually won. 
Thanks, I suspect, to some multi-talented classmates who excelled in both music and sports, there was no “Glee” stigma at my high school: the arts were high status.
We baby boomers were the third graduating glass in a brand new high school, affording some unique opportunities. Our beloved music teacher Carl Borgeson wrote our school song, and the lyrics were written by Wayne and me. Class clown Wayne (we never dated, but muddled awkwardly through a scripted kiss in a school play) grew up to marry my best friend, Linda H., and become a Methodist minister.
Skills from those  days pop up in surprising ways. Humming tunes from long ago. Resurrecting my woodwind instrumental chops to do an impromptu melodic riff on a little ocarina shaped like a Gila monster. Teaching my grandson how to do a foot-first dolphin maneuver learned in my high school synchronized swimming days.
I’ve heard many interesting tales of people who did go home again, who resolved tormenting issues, or reunited with old sweethearts and happily remarried as senior citizens.
Rekindled romance is not on my bucket list. Contacts with college boyfriends over the decades have convinced me we were right to part ways. Somehow, I always knew my soulmate was not to be found in high school, confirmed when I finally met him, a few thousand miles away.
Every now and then, contact is made with an old classmate: a CD proves that Dave U.’s  beautiful baritone is better than ever. I learned another favorite Dave, a poet, also moved to the same  Pacific Northwest city  where I spent two decades, and also has a son in a band. I was surprised by a phone call one day from another favorite Linda, still her fun and funny self, and was saddened to learn of her death.
And there have been quite a few deaths in my large class: some early, like lovable Steve while we were still in high school, some in Vietnam, some lately: Laurie, who was on the newspaper with me.
My brother, who still lives in the city where we went to high school, gives me the headlines, and periodic phone and Facebook contacts offer information without the time-travel culture shock of encountering senior citizens who live on in my mind as teenagers, still.
I've realized it’s a long-gone, if cherished, part of what has surprised me by being longer, richer, busier and considerably farther-flung life than I ever expected. I’m still working and have a long list of family members and good friends to commune with in a finite amount of time, and this year’s schedule is very full.
Finally, I figured out what I feel no particular compulsion to “go home again.”
The truth is, I’m already home.

In next week’s Las Cruces Style, I’ll explain some of the wonderful — and sometimes strange and synchronistic — ways the City of the Crosses became my querencia, my soul’s special space, and my true home town.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at dmoore@lcsun-news.com, @DerricksonMoore on Twitter and Tout, or call 575-541-5450.



For some of us, every day is Cowboy Day in Las Cruces.
And we’re ready.
In my early years in Las Cruces, my first thought when I realized Cowboy Days were right around the corner was, “Where is my cowboy hat?”
This year, I realized it’s no more necessary than asking about umbrellas. (Like all persons who have lived for two decades in Oregon, I always have at least four and I know exactly where they are: one under my desk, one in the garage and two in the car.)
When I moved to Las Cruces more than 20 years ago, I didn’t have a single cowboy hat, though I had a few straw broadbrims that kept the sun out of my eyes in Florida and Jamaica.
Now I have more than half a dozen cowpoke chapeaux suitable for a wide variety of cowgirl occasions.
There are the two Santa Fe cowgirl hats, one procured in the City Different and another, similar, wide-brimmed, leather-trimmed beauty picked up at Coyote Traders here that I like better. (And so, I’ve found, do Santa Feans, who always ask me where I got it when I’m hanging around Canyon Road or the Santa Fe Plaza). They decorate my guest room when not in use.
In my bedroom closet are two of my favorites. There’s a vintage Stetson I found in a shop in Deming. It’s chic and sturdy and suitable for just about any cowgirl occasion, from county fairs to outdoor music festivals. And there’s a big, corduroy ten-gallon with a really impressive feather band. I can’t recall where I got it, but it remains a cold weather favorite, because it’s large enough that a warm cap or tied scarf fits comfortably underneath. If I ever have to cover a cattle drive in cold weather, it’s just the thing.
I have something on the lighter side, too: my dude-ette, super-light, white straw cowgirl hat with a starfish-ornamented lace headband. It’s stylish, suitable and as cool-as-possible for those 100-degree-plus fiesta occasions in high desert country. It’s on top of my hall bookcase, lookin’ downright purty during cooler months, awaiting summer crochet matches and tea parties on the high desert frontier.
Always handy are a bright turquoise straw cowgirl number with wind-defying chinstrap, and my camouflage-patterned straw cowboy hat with the bendable brim. They’re both on hooks in the garage, easy to grab for emergency weeding on the spread surrounding my little adobe abode or for impromptu high noon ambles on the range (aka my suburban neighborhood).
Then there’s my go-to, hard-working, everyday cowboy hat. It’s black — or was once — and often a little dusty, and worn enough that less-discerning souls might opine that I probably should have thrown it out a few years ago.
But no.
I may rotate other hats through the seasons: the floppy cotton cloche with molas, the straw fedora, the floral baseball cap with wings.
But my basic, once-black hat is always there, in the back seat of the car, next to my favorite PTOSSD (Post Traumatic Oregon Shower Stress Disorder) umbrella.
I’ve worn it to Cowboy Days and state fairs and lots of fiestas, including the Renaissance ArtsFaire, one year when I didn’t have time to retrieve my costume. (I went as the Sheriff of Nottingham.) It’s been to wine festivals, beer blasts, rock and jazz and bluegrass festivals. It’s a hat that’s paid its dues and has a right to sing the blues.
I picked it up at a little outdoor hat vender stand years ago and I’ve never been sure what it’s made of, but it does the job.
Lots of jobs, in fact.
It shields me from the sun without being unbearably hot. It has a drawstring that I can fit tightly under my chin, so it’s windproof. It’s been through sandstorms and rain and sleet and snow and it’s survived. It’s been trampled by cows and horses and my grandson.
I think it still looks pretty good, if you don’t look too closely.
And most importantly, when I wear it,  I feel like the New Mexican cosmic cowgirl I have become.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at dmoore@lcsun-news.com, @DerricksonMoore on Twitter and Tout, or call 575-541-5450.