23 Dec

I’ll explain that number in a bit.

We woke this morning to find about 6 inches of snow on the ground, which added a magical look to the city (this photo taken later in the day, after a bit of melting).

The car did not look particularly magical, and it looks even less so now after driving around  in slush all day. Give the little Fit credit, though, it handles the snow like a champ.

The two hour time difference makes us uncharacteristically early risers, so we went downtown to the Plaza and had a great breakfast at The French Pastry Shop at the La Fonda hotel, which was – true to its name – quite French and very delicious. Afterwards we walked around the square, where we came to a block-long stretch of Navajo vendors selling turquoise and silver jewelry. As we were browsing we struck up a conversation with one of the vendors, Coral Guerro, who explained to us that the waiting list to be a vendor on the square is now ten years out, and that most of the people who have a space are 3rd and 4th generation silversmiths. (Coral is 4th generation). She also explained the requirements that must be met, including that all the stones must be natural – not dyed or altered in any way, and that the silver must be sterling or higher. In addition, the vendors themselves must be Native American and must demonstrate in front of a committee that they are in fact silversmiths and make the jewelry themselves. This is to avoid natives selling imported pieces and passing them off as genuine.

One pair of earrings caught my eye, and Coral explained that they were one of her original designs created to honor her grandmother, whose native name means “warrior.” The two silver balls between the turquoise pieces are meant to represent her upraised fists – she’s ready and able to fight off all adversaries who come her way. JJ & I both had feisty grandmothers, so we immediately connected with the representation. When Coral told me the turquoise came from the Kingman mine in Arizona, I was sold. (Kingman is a town on the Route). So, early Christmas present for me.

Next we spent some time in the Georgia O’Keeffe museum (spelled with two “f’s” – I learned today I have been spelling it wrong for years). The woman who taught JJ to paint learned from Georgia O’Keeffe, so it was particularly meaningful to him to see the museum. We listened to a docent talk and learned that Georgia was highly offended by the critic’s and general public’s commendation of her early abstract work as being strongly vaginal. (Perhaps tomorrow we will make it through the blog without a Lebowski reference, but I doubt it). Ironically, this interpretation is what led her to begin painting more representational pieces such as flowers and cow skulls, which arguably are even more evocative of the um, female form.

Once we’d had our fill of famous, expensive, floral vagina art, we headed over to Canyon Road to see other expensive, far less vaginal art. And that brings us to the title of this post. At dinner tonight, JJ & I calculated how much we would have spent today if we could afford to buy every piece we wanted. We came up with $162,702, not including sales tax or shipping fees. And this was being really strict and only including pieces we would really like to own if we could, not just pieces we kind of liked. As an example, of all the work I saw today I only would have purchased four pieces (assuming unlimited funds), but those four would add up to over $70,000. It was quite inspiring to see the variety of the art represented and the enthusiasm and appreciation of art that permeates the city. And incidentally, I don’t think anything we saw today could be considered overpriced.

We didn’t leave empty handed, though – JJ spotted these “stackable cattle” sculptures that he really liked, so he got an early Christmas present as well. Between our two purchases we spent less than 1/100oth of what we would have with our imaginary budget.

By late afternoon we were “arted out” and decided to seek out more delicious native New Mexican food. We found a nice local place that makes the best margaritas I have ever had, made with agave wine instead of tequila, which means they are relatively safe for me to drink. (Those of you who know me well know that tequila + me = instant idiot). The only bad thing about these drinks (and the food) is that I will now crave them on a regular basis and not be able to satisfy that craving.

More updates tomorrow – we enjoy another full day in Santa Fe before heading to Flagstaff on Chrismas day.


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