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We did an echocardiogram and, immediately, my cardiologists ordered me back for a nuclear medicine stress test early tomorrow morning. Great way to celebrate 90 days, no?
Actually the echo was our first set of imagery since I stopped the smokin’ and drinkin’, so I’m not surprised they’ve spotted a problem or a trend. I was well past my shelf-life when I started drinking – and I drank a helluva lot. It’s a miracle I’m still breathing and able to run around in the hills.
I owe my friend Amelia a huge debt of gratitude as it was obvious I was going to drink myself to death when we lived together and she took action, albeit the beginning of so much sadness in my life; I’m pretty sure I would already be toast. I wanted so badly to see her in Taos last week but I know it would have been extremely stressful for her so I didn’t even try.
I understand clearly that I am now living on borrowed time, that prayer and meditation are my most indispensible activities of the day, and that SOMETHING has my doctors concerned enough to order a very expensive and dangerous test. Short of getting catheters into my heart to measure internal pressures, this is the most accurate test we can do. Last time we did it they accidently triggered a failure event and rushed me back to CICU; but I agree that we need to get good metrics as we proceed with my sober life.
Since all the smoking and drinking is behind me, I’ve been working again on diet. My ldl cholesterol has increased a few points but I’m allergic to statin drugs, so diet is my only option. It’s been a good/effective option for me in the past, but I’ve gotta really be mindful when I cook/eat.
Deb’s been helping me clean out the fridge, freezer and pantry (thank God); and she’s helping me move toward a real vegan diet.
Don’t like it. Not at all.
As long as I can help my sponsees, paint and play piano, I’m a grateful and active participant in this life God has willed. Losing a lot of stamina, though, and still very haunted by thoughts of my time with Mia.

Meanwhile in Taos…

Kalya Scintilla played Saturday night at the Startribe music festival on Taos Mesa – and his show was excellent!  The whole Startribe experience was an ideal introduction, for me, to the local scene.  Playing music outdoors here is complicated by our infamous wind (especially out on the mesa!), but I thought the sound system was up to the task.  We were on our feet wigglin’ for nearly all of Scintilla’s set.

I was pleased to see so many splendid dancers live in the community, and thrilled by all the fire dancing and poi!

There was a cool mystic quality, too, in the full moon on all the surrounding snow-capped mountains and the fires & lights on the desert.  A strangely peaceful, surreal, and spiritual experience!

I have to be back in Bernalillo next week for a few days, namely to pick up a car, then will complete my move to the house here on the Rio Hondo.  Our weather is becoming much prettier, though we’re having little rain showers in the afternoons which remind me more of the weather we expect here in Fall; but the late mornings and midday hours have gotten warm & sunny.

Much to the chagrin of locals, we’ve been named the most scenic place in the state by online travel guides; and, sure enough, there’s been an increase in foreigner sightings.  I’m inspired to spend a lot of this Summer with the cameras and recorders to capture what I can of the place before more development occurs!

Like I said, it still gets cool in the afternoons and pretty darned cold at night; so I’ve not traded the axe for a fly rod just yet!  Still gotta keep enough wood cut to run the stove at night – though we’ve had a few nights without it these last two weeks.

The wonderful things I’m discovering about living in Taos are coming to constitute a rather long list!  I definitely like the music and dance scene, the peace-first attitude of all the local starchildren, the spiritual communities that converge so well in such a spectacular place, the availability of outstanding organic food at the local market, and the sheer magnificence of the wild surrounding country!  We’re only half an hour from access points to the Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area, ten miles from the peak itself, and very close to Red River and Eagle Nest.  We’ve made some good trips already – mainly out on the West mesa and in the Rio Grande Gorge itself around the John Dunn crossing – but we’re really itchin’ to pack up the camping gear and disappear into the hills!

Sheesh!  Between painting, taking photos, playing and recording music, fishing, camping, pokin’ around in the mountains, going to raves, and simply participating in a really cool community, I am going to have a busy Summer!



After Midnight

In loving memory of the late J.J. Cale, my new “After Midnight” cake features Swiss chocolate, coconut, dark Mexican chocolate and a hint of Indonesian vanilla. 


Chile Puya

Puya ChileI don’t recall ever finding Chile Puya in Texas or California markets. It’s common in Southern Mexico, where I remember buying it in the market at Tecomán, Colima.

Spicier than New Mexico or Pasillas but not as hot as Chile de Arbol – and almost a cherry-like fruitiness. Delicious find in Albuquerque at Los Altos Ranch Market on Atrisco.    

Taco sauce:

2 cups loose chile puya without seeds or stems
1 Tbs cominos
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tsp kosher salt

Cover the chiles with water in small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Crush cumin seed and add, reduce to simmer for one hour.  Dump all into blender and add garlic, oil and salt.  Puree on high for 30 secs.

Italian Chicken with Kraut

32 oz crispy sauerkraut
2-3 boneless chicken breasts
16 oz your favorite red pasta sauce
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Small container plain greek yogurt
black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Dump the sauerkraut into a collander and mash out all the liquid
3. Cut chicken breasts into portions
4. Cover bottom of dutch oven or baking dish with olive oil
5. Place chicken in bottom of dish
6. Cover chicken with a light coating of red sauce
7. Fork about half the sauerkraut evenly over chicken
8. Cover with about half the remaining red sauce
9. Add the rest of the sauerkraut, then the rest of the red sauce
10. Sprinkle or grind coarse black pepper to taste
11. Cover and bake for 80 mins at 350 degrees

Serve chicken with sauerkraut on top, with a dollop of greek yogurt.
Compliment with an artisan bread or mashed potatoes.

Notes: I like the Classico red pepper flavor of pasta sauce for this recipe but any spaghetti/pizza sauce should work. If you’re not concerned about fat content, then substitute real butter for the olive oil in the bottom of your baking dish.  I’ve always served this with mashed potatoes, but it works fine with a good artisan or fresh bread.



10 oz bag New Mexico red chile pods
12 oz bag frozen chopped spinach
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
3/4 cup cooked pinto beans (drained)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil

How to do it:
1. Carefully remove the corazones, or “hearts”, from all of the red chile pods. Throw out the seeds and outside stems for the birds, and save the flesh of the chiles in an airtight container for making enchilada sauce. This is a tedious process, but the flavor of the corazones is wonderful, subtle and unique. I like the hot red chile pods for enchilada sauce, but the corazones are extremely spicy so stick with the mild chile pods for this recipe (consider yourself warned);
2. Saute the onion in a large skillet over medium heat until clear;
3. Add frozen spinach, corazones and pinto beans;
4. Stir until spinach is no longer frozen, then add garlic;
5. Cover and reduce to low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently;
6. Remove to serving dish.

Eat hot with green chile corn muffins or fresh corn tortillas. If you eat pork, then quelites are a sure-fire compliment to grilled pork carnitas.  I don’t cook with salt but a little bit of sea salt will help enhance the subtle flavor of the corazones de chile.

I sound a lot like this when I eat my quelites: