Friday, January 30, 2015


By the time you read this, I will have started 2015 right, with several sessions of lap swimming, water aerobics, walking and circuit training and a total of 1,100 sit-ups, and some heart-to-heart visits with loved ones.
No sugar, flour, white rice or dairy products shall have passed my lips, but I will have consumed a colorful array of fresh veggies, in salads and soups and steamed with a little device that was a Christmas present to my new, improved self. It's shaped like a cute piggy, something I don't wish to be myself this year.
I will have recorded 55 things for which I am grateful in my daily gratitude diary, and spent some quality time each day with mediations and uplifting reading projects. I hope that will include some books by Las Cruces authors I've been wanting to investigate.
This scenario of success is officially predicted as 2014 draws to a close amidst the last of the office sugar shock bounty of cookies, cakes, pies, pastries and fudge.
Then again, I look toward the future as I wonder if it's really too cold today to do laps, even in a heated pool, and wonder if I really should be hiking until the bruises from a recent stumble have fully healed. And shouldn't I really get in one last enchilada feast before my favorite restaurant takes a holiday break?
What are the odds of sticking to my resolve and stated goals for the first days of the new year? And then long enough to make a real difference?
Pretty darn good, I think.
Most resolutions for the new year are things I manage to do, generally, consistently anyway. I think the key is in the "generally."
With my body type and metabolism, when you get to a certain age, losing weight seems to be almost like solving a complex scientific puzzle involving chemistry, math and physics, never subjects in which I have shined. (Talking a good game, does not, alas, seem to burn many calories or increase muscle mass.)
I am resolved to devote the time and study necessary to solving that puzzle in 2015. I've assembled a file of diet plans, videos and programs that have been personally successful in the past, along with methods that have worked for trusted family members and friends and ideas from usually reliable sources.
I'm going to go through them one by one, until I come upon a program, or combination of programs, that work.
Most of us who have fought avoirdupois for decades are surprisingly skilled in self-denial. I've come to look at the process more as self-preservation. I know what I'm allergic to and what to avoid. I know I feel better when I eat what's healthy for me and that it's not the same for everyone.
I also have learned that there are ways to have treats and savor life if you put some thought into it.
When I became allergic to garlic and onions, I discovered ways to make my own magically delicious meals with celery, green chile and other spices. (As all New Mexicans know, chile makes everything better.)
As with so many things in life, a few perfect bites, slowly savored, are considerably more satisfying than mindlessly wolfing down stuff you don't really want in the heat of battle.
And successful exercise programs, which I'm generally pretty good at maintaining, also involve a kind of mindful approach. I love swimming and have to push myself to more frequently cycle in the treadmill and circuit training sessions, reminding myself that I always feel more energized on those non-aquatic days, even if I'd much rather be in the pool.
In 2015, I've resolved to focus less on goals, though I still have some, and more on the journey. To eschew stress and take time to experience and enjoy each day, to discover and appreciate the new adventures that can surprise and delight each of us, and be shared with those we love.
I'll let you know how it goes. Happy New Year, and may we all have the health and awareness to savor and make the most of whatever life has to offer, each day.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at, @DerricksonMoore on Twitter and Tout, or call 575-541-5450.


Feb. 8 FINE ART Photography center
It’s been building for decades and now I think it’s time to call it.
Las Cruces is becoming a world-class center for fine art photography and photographers.
Those in the know were taking note, long before my arrival in the mid 90s, when I soon learned of several legendary sharpshooters.
Mike Groves and his father L.C. (many don’t know that Mike started shooting first, and encouraged his dad ) already had stellar reps and popular studios and galleries. Frank Parrish was attracting attention for his remarkable wildlife images. Mary Daniels Taylor was eloquently chronicling life in the Mesilla Valley with her photos, as well as her historical research.
As in so much in Cruces, academia has given the arts a boost, too. New Mexico State University’s historical archives collected and preserved some landmark photos. The University Museum and the NMSU Art Gallery also showcase fine art photography in exhibits and collections. Former NMSU Gallery director Charles Lovell, a fine art photographer himself, helped nurture an appreciation for photography as a diverse and rich art form and talented journalism instructors have inspired generations of promising photojournalists.
And I think the Sun-News deserves a pat on the back for hiring photographers with that something extra that crosses into the realm of fine art photography. Many of our photogs have the awards, exhibit credits and in some cases, internationally-acclaimed studios, to prove it.
The late Dale Fulkerson comes to mind, and more recently Vladimir Chaloupka, Shari Viapando Hill and Norm Dettlaff. Currently our staff includes multi-award winner Robin Zielinkski, and our newest photog: Jett Loe, an award-winning  photojournalist and director whose credits include a long stint with the BBC in the UK.
Jim Turrentine at Main Street /The  Picture, is a talented and innovative fine art photographer in his own right and has also helped other photogs with advanced  printing and processing technology and a gallery space that searches out and showcases the work of some of our region’s top photographers.
Our museums have done their part, too. with exhibitions of internationally-renowned photographers’ works, including some world-class photogs who have recently moved to southern New Mexico. The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, Branigan Cultural Center, the Las Cruces Museum of Art, the Museum of Nature and Science and the Las Cruces Railroad Museum all incorporate photography in both permanent and rotating exhibits.
Preston Contemporary Art Center in Mesilla may have been a bit ahead of its time, but before it closed, renowned photography instructor Paul Schranz had established a cutting-edge series of multimedia workshops and gallery shows. Schranz has also taught at Doña Ana Branch Community College, where a variety of multimedia classes, in concert with programs at NMSU’s creative Media Institute, are preparing new generations for careers in everything from movies to video and game design.
We’ve even come up with ways to use photography as a way to nurture and heal and to help build bonds with others.
Former Las Crucen Cecilia Lewis, helped by several regional photographers, established Fresh Eyes, a photography program designed to help both prison inmates and juvenile offenders learn artistic and social skills. Fresh Eyes became a model for similar programs throughout the state and eventually, the nation. The project resulted in a first: a fine art prisoners’ photography exhibit in New Mexico’s State Capitol Building.
The Las Cruces Photography Club (formerly Camera Club) offers regular meetings, critique sessions and training workshops. They welcome photographers of all skill levels. Several members have told me that the camaraderie and encouragement of those in the group and annual competitions have helped them reach new levels.
And speaking of competition, Wayne Suggs of Las Cruces just received grand prize honors in the prestigious annual New Mexico Magazine Photography Contest. Another Las Crucen, Gary Kaiser, won second place honors. Check out their spectacular work in the magazine’s February issue.
There many others that deserve credit and acknowledgement for their own innovative work in photography and for teaching and inspiring others. The fact that at least two dozen other names spring to mind is indicative of what is now more tradition than trend here.
Las Cruces has become a world class center for fine art photography.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at, @DerricksonMoore on Twitter and Tout, or call 575-541-5450.

For the Love of Art Month

It’s that time again.
Today marks the beginning of 28 days focused on celebrating what some take for granted here, and many of us appreciate all year long.
It’s For the Love of Art Month, an enduring tradition that has thrived for nearly two decades, thanks to dedicated volunteers in its sponsoring nonprofit organization, ArtForms Artists Association of New Mexico.
We should all doff our hats (which really should be handmade this month, or at least festooned with handcrafted hatbands, pins and broaches) to those dedicated souls who envisioned the celebration and the stalwart souls who have kept it going.
I have fond memories of some of those seminal meetings at the Mesilla Park home of multimedia artist Myriam Lozada-Jarvis. She and sculptor and multimedia artist Kelley Hestir were among a core group of talented founding artists that also include Roy van der Aa, who continues to be involved in coordinating and promoting the unique event.
Their mission has also been embraced by more recent proponents of FLAM, including sculptor John Northcutt and David Jacquez, a retired educator, artist and gallery owner who has served as FLAM president for two years.
I can tell you from first-hand experience that it’s a lot of work to wrangle artists and arts events into some semblance of accessible order for this ever-evolving month, with a cast of characters and venues that change every year.
I’ve also been in on FLAM since the beginning and my colleagues will attest that I can get a little crabby and exasperated just trying to round up and write about everything that’s happening. Like many dedicated arts aficionados, I don’t want to miss anything, and I don’t want you to miss out either.
The FLAM volunteers do a great job of producing an annual guide that lists official ArtForms FLAM events, FLAM Artists Studio Tour weekend locations and participating galleries and other venues. Pick it up this month at art galleries and other sites around town, or download your own copy from the group’s website,
But success begets success and it has come to pass that the official guide is just the beginning.
Just about every official arts organization tends to identify with FLAM spirit, and even the overworked ArtForms volunteers agree that’s a good thing. I’m thinking we should all send a check to ArtForms this month and become members, whether we have an official event to promote or not.
In the meantime, the Sun-News is working to keep you informed about as many arts happenings as we can, from popup galleries and art exhibits to plays, concerts, poetry readings, dance and performance art pieces and lots more.
And don’t let the proliferation of events stop you from plotting your own. As always, feel free to organize an office gallery show, a Valentine’s Day caroling group in your neighborhood or participate in my continuing cause: FLAM-WAPP (For the Love of Art Month Wearable Art Promenade and Parade). Just dress up in some kind of wearable art (raid your closet, or better yet, buy something new from a regional artist) and strut your stuff.
Next Saturday, Feb. 7, is always a good FLAM-WAPP occasion, at the Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts Market on Main Street, where I’d be on the lookout for a surprise art happening, or at For the Love of Art Day in Mesilla.
Don’t miss Friday’s Ramble, either.
Be romantic and artistic on Valentine’s Day.
And what the hey, why not go full-tilt and get down with your artistic self and amigos all month long?

S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at, @DerricksonMoore on Twitter and Tout, or call 575-541-5450.


Strolling Picacho Avenue this week got me in the mood to do something I haven’t done in a long time: list my pet peeves.
Maybe I’m mellowing, but even in January, traditionally my crabbiest time of the year, the list is not long, but poignant. Right now, it’s focused on the way-lengthy street repairs and “improvements” that can damage — or even destroy — promising developments and quaint neighborhoods.
Like visitors and returning Las Crucens I’ve talked with recently, I’m delighted at the positive changes that have come to my querencia, from new buildings and downtown revitalization to the boom in visual and performing arts.
Still, I’m sad that Picacho Avenue is going through a rough transition these days.
When I moved here in the mid-1990s, it looked like my fave stretch of Picacho was on the verge of becoming a stellar attraction, a fun and trendy district, comparable perhaps, to Albuquerque’s Nob Hill District and some of the quaint neighborhoods like Goose Hollow and Multnomah that made life a creative adventure in my longtime home in Portland, Oregon.
There was a time when things were really hopping on Picacho and it was a great place to spend a few hours or most of a leisurely Saturday. Mel and Sandy Hester’s Coyote Traders was a sprawling wonderland of exotic finds that took up most of a block. Coyote Traders, Bob Gaines’ S,O.B. Antiques, Small Mall Antiques and a few other stalwarts anchored a stretch of antique, vintage and specialty shops that started just west of Main Street and stretched nearly to Valley Drive.
Wayne Hilton established The Gen!, a unique blend of old and vintage costumes and objets d’arte, and then renovated a building across the street that housed one of the most original home decor and gift shops I’ve encountered in a lifetime of international power shopping.
Other exotic emporiums followed. I can’t remember the name of the artist, alas, but I can still remember her vision for the sprawling rock building on Picacho, She decorated a patio, set up an art gallery, and assembled an eclectic group of vintage goodies for sale and was well on her way to establishing a kind of artists’ salon, with a tea room and restaurant on the horizon.
Then, a street “improvement” project began on Picacho Avenue.
At first, the creative souls headquartered on my favorite stretch of Picacho Avenue were enthusiastic and optimistic.
But the project dragged on. And on. For years. Those in charge were threatened with fines, which were eventually imposed, but nothing seemed to stop the delays. I lived in Picacho Hills in those days and the frustrating commute during that long repair era convinced me to settle in another part of the city.
Finally, the project was finished, but many of the fun little emporiums couldn’t survive the long siege that daunted even their most loyal customers.
Some of those who marginally made it through the transition couldn’t cope with the street reconfigurations and barriers that made it difficult, if not impossible, for customers to casually drop by and park at a favorite shop.
There have been some bright spots since then.
I loved Eyedazzler Gallery, the inventive enterprise of Bert Crisp and Jesse Williams.
In 2011, they brought new life to the street when they moved into the  old adobe at 1150 W. Picacho Ave., the longtime home and shop of the late Ross Bell, one of the region’s best-known estate sale managers and purveyors of vintage and secondhand goods.
In 2014, they decided to close and move to northern New Mexico. Maybe that would have happened anyway, but I still wonder what the street would be like today if that sincere and innovative burst of creativity had been nurtured, rather than strangled and nearly extinguished by a poorly planned street project.
I hope we’ve learned something, and that those creative seeds planted by Picacho pioneers will bloom again and flourish.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at, @DerricksonMoore on Twitter and Tout or call 575-541-5450.


“You belong in Mesilla. That’s where you should live. It’s like Santa Fe used to be,” said my Santa Fe artist friend Carole LaRoche, when she learned I was moving back to New Mexico.
I wasn’t returning to Santa Fe, but heading for Las Cruces, then, back in the mid-90s. I’d had offers for newspapers I’d worked for in the City Different and Albuquerque, but I’d been considering moving south when I took a seven-year detour to Jamaica and South Florida. I’d seen the Organ Mountains before I was shanghaied to the tropics, and I knew this was where I wanted to be.
And Mesilla was where I started out. The amigos who lured me here were finishing things up in Silver City, and my first Las Cruces friends were Elaine Szalay and Lou Innes, both of whom lived, then, in Mesilla.
The pretty little town, as it turned out, was a hard act to follow. Lou graciously gave me a guided tour of the Mesilla Valley, putting Xs on a map to indicate places I should avoid while I searched for a little apartment to live in until I could get my bearings.
As it happened, none of the places I’ve lived here, after those first weeks, have been in Mesilla.
But, like many of us who live in Southern New Mexico, I’ve always thought of Mesilla as my home base, the roots of my querencia.
“Mesilla is everybody’s backyard,” Lalo Natividad once told me.
Certainly, it’s where many of us are drawn to celebrate holidays, thanks to El Grupo Cultural, established by Lalo and his late partner Richard Meeks, who helped revive traditional fiestas like Cinco de Mayo and Diez y Seis de Septiembre.
I am a refugee from colder climes, born of uptight generations bred to never drop in without calling first, or better yet, an engraved invitation.
But Mesilla feels like an endless open house with loving friends and family.
My family album and memory banks, are, in fact, full of shots of Mesilla. Grandson Alex the Great as a baby, shaking his first maracas at Cinco de Mayo. Birthdays and anniversaries with loved ones. A final Christmas Eve with a very ill amigo who wanted to see the luminarias one more time.
One day, I hope not for some time, we’ll all be able to drop in every day at the rambling adobe where J. Paul and Mary Daniels Taylor raised their children. The cozy home, and the Taylors’ remarkable collection of art and artifacts, will one day become a museum, open to the public: the Taylor-Barela-Reynolds-Mesilla New Mexico State Monument. And it’s appropriate that it will be in a family hacienda, another welcoming home in everybody’s home away from home.
You might also attend one of the annual events sponsored by the Friends of Taylor Monument. Or be fortunate enough to catch a sighting of the dapper J. Paul Taylor himself, who at 94 maintains a schedule that would daunt people half his age, but who still finds time to meet and greet old friends and new visitors during his regular strolls around the plaza.
And there are lots of good reasons to visit the Mesilla Plaza: for a leisurely amble, a contemplative minute or hour on a bench alone or with friends. We flock to Mesilla for assorted fiestas, or to browse through shops, have a meal at Josefina’s, Emilio’s, La Posta or the Double Eagle, a drink at El Patio or to check out the vendors at the Mesilla Mercado on Fridays and Sundays.
Of course, you don’t really need an official reason.
When we have visitors, a trip to Mesilla is mandatory. It’s easier than trying to explain why we’ve chosen to live here, or why we’re so happy. One glimpse of lovely, historical, festive, laid-back adobe Mesilla under lapis blue skies is worth several thousand words.
If Main Street in Las Cruces is the corazon (heart) of our valley, Mesilla is its alma (soul).
Mesilla is everybody’s backyard.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at, @DerricksonMoore on Twitter and Tout, or call 575-541-5450