Under Santa Fe Skies

by Susan Tungate

New Year’s Resolution: Be More Like A Dog

Happy New Year! Georgia the Dog here with a tip for 2013. Be more like me!

When my person walks in the door, my eyes light up, my entire body wags, I run around in circles, and stand on my back legs flapping my paws which cracks her up. In short, I let her know I am so very happy to see her.

At dinner time, I sit right there behind her and smile and wag my tail in appreciation for the food she is preparing for me, unless I see her place vegetables in my bowl, in which case I still smile.

If my person looks a little sad, I jump up on her lap, put both paws on her shoulders and lick her face like she is a piece of chicken. Other times I just give her that adoring look. You know the look, like the one Nancy Reagan gave to Ronald.

In the winter if my person looks cold, I snuggle up and put my little heater body right next to hers. I don’t ask her if she needs a blanket, I just give her one.

And after I see her eyes open in the morning, I place my head on her chest and wag my tail in 360 degree circles. Other times I roll on my back and wiggle while making snorting noises.  It’s very important to start the day with a smile.

I may not have opposable thumbs, which I can imagine would come in very handy, but I do know how to give unconditional love every day in copious amounts.  Be more like me, Georgia the Dog, in 2013. I promise you the world will be a better place.

My General Schwarzkopf Story

At the end of May 1991, sometime after the first Gulf War, I spent a long weekend vacation in New Mexico, traveling from my home in Atlanta where I worked for CNN. I had no agenda. I meandered. On the High Road to Taos I saw a sign that said something like “Oviedo Carvings & Bronze.” I turned right and up the hill.

There I met Marco Oviedo. After I admired his beautiful carvings, he introduced me to his enormous Andalucian Mammoth Jacks. At that moment I knew what had to be done when I returned home. It was my mission to let General Schwarzkopf know what I had discovered in the mountains of New Mexico. This is the letter I wrote to the General, who I heard had a great sense of humor:

This is the letter the General wrote to me in response:

As it turns out, the General traveled to New Mexico on vacation where he met both Marco and his namesake Stormy Norman. Marco said they had a great chat. The General much admired Stormy. Marco explained to the General that Stormy’s main job these days was providing stud service. In a spur of the moment decision and in tribute to the General, Marco vowed to contribute a percentage of Stormy’s next stud fee to the General’s favorite charity. And he did.

Rest in peace, General.

Your Good Luck Guide for 2013!

Last week three of my friends announced that without exaggeration 2012 was the most miserable year of their lives. I have to say, it ranks in my top three most challenging years. These challenging times must end with December 31. So what to do? After extensive research, I have a one word solution: EAT!

To improve your odds for good fortune in 2013, I suggest we follow the tried and true traditions of people all over the world. Stock up now.

1. NOODLES: In many Asian countries, long buckwheat noodles eaten on New Year’s day is the key to long life. The only caveat is that you cannot break the noodle before it is all in your mouth. Seems like a lot of pressure to me. Perhaps increase your odds by using a very large spoon.

2. GRAPES: The tradition in Spain is to eat 12 grapes before the clock strikes midnight. Each grape represents a month. Here’s the rub on this one: If, say, the third grape is sour, then the third month March will be problematic. There is a solution to this, people. Stack the deck. Buy only sweet grapes! I found nothing in my research indicating this will nullify your good luck.

3. FISH: Some say the silver skin of the fish is a sign of good fortune…except if you are the fish. Fish swim in schools which is all about abundance. The Danish eat boiled cod on New Year’s day. Those in Poland and Germany consume herring at midnight, but of course they have really scary dreams so I hope the herring is worth it. Folks in Asian countries may have some fish with their long, unbroken noodles.

4. POMEGRANATES: Pomegranates are associated with abundance. In the spirit of Zorba the Greek, Greeks smash open a pomegranate on the floor near a door. (I suspect the location was dictated by the woman of the house who had to clean up the mess.) The more seeds, the more good fortune.

5. CAKES: A less messy Greek tradition is to bake a coin in a cake. Whoever gets the piece with the coin will reap an abundance of money…or a broken tooth for which the abundance of money will come in handy.

6. PORK: Pigs are fat and fat symbolizes prosperity, again except for the pig. People in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary and Austria are big on roasting a suckling pig on New Year’s. Swedes aims for the pig’s feet. Germans are all about roast pork and sausages. At this point, this vegetarian is getting a little nauseous, but I will persevere.

7. GREEN VEGETABLES: Now we are in my territory. Since green leaves resemble folded money, greens like cabbage, collards, kale and chard are good luck foods. The Danish eat stewed kale with sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top. Got to love those Danes. The Germans add some sauerkraut (cabbage) to their sausage and double their chances for good luck. Southerners love their collards. The Irish eat cabbage.

8. LEGUMES AND LENTILS: Lentils look like coins, so they are another key to wealth in 2013. You’ve got your lentil soup in Spain, sausages in green lentils in Italy and various lentil dishes in Japan. Of course Southerners eat their black-eyed peas (food group not band). If they add rice, it’s called hoppin’ john. For the 20 years I lived in Georgia, most people I knew ate black-eyed peas and hog jowls with collard greens. I favored the Southern adage, “Black-eyed peas for pennies, collard greens for dollars and cornbread for gold.”

Now, a word of caution on what NOT to eat. Don’t eat lobsters because they walk backward, and you know you don’t want to go there. Swear off all winged fowls because your good luck might just fly away.

I have done my part. The rest is up to you. I will add this one last wish: May your 2013 be filled with laughter, love, good health and abundance. Happy New Year!

Peepers Deserves a Happy Holiday


© LS King and S Mercer

This is Heidi, happily snuggling with Santa. A few years ago, the beautiful and talented Heidi was adopted by her people from a shelter. Heidi was just a little baby fur ball at risk since she was separated from her mom way too early. Her people nursed her to good health and adopted her. Heidi and her people cannot imagine life without each other. Heidi will have a lovely holiday playing and snuggling with her folks.

This is Peepers. I met him Sunday at Teca Tu where he is staying, hoping to be adopted. Peepers is a beautiful big boy with a purr that tells you how happy he is you stopped by to scratch his head. He is outgoing and very social. Due to his intelligence, he needs a secure and stimulating home.  I would have taken him home right then and there but for Harry the Cat who would not appreciate another large male cat in the house. This is Peeper’s story.

Peepers’ owner surrendered him to the shelter when the landlord reduced the pet per unit ownership to one. Poor Peepers was the one to go. He became anxious and stressed at the shelter. Wouldn’t you?  Felines and Friends, a nonprofit organization, was kind enough to take him in to try to adopt him. Teca Tu is kind enough to take a cat or two at a time into the shop to showcase the cat for adoption. Peepers was born in 2003 but has a lot life in him. His shots are up to date.

If you are interested in adopting Peepers, please call Randa at Felines & Friends at 505-466-3839. Peepers deserves a happy holiday and a happy ending just like Heidi.

There are hundreds of other beautiful and talented cats and dogs in your community waiting to meet you, just  like Georgia the Dog and Harry the Cat were waiting for me, who deserve a happy ending, too. They are the gifts that keep on giving.

Please give it a thought.



You’ve Got to Be Taught to Hate and Fear


As I watched the coverage of the massacre in Connecticut of 26 people, 20 of whom were just  6 and 7 years old, the words from a Rogers and Hammerstein song from “South Pacific” kept circling in my head:

“You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear
You’ve got to be taught from year to year
It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.”

Now, I don’t know how the mother of the 20 year old killer raised her son or how others interacted with him. I don’t want to be unfair to her. I did hear on the news that the mother purchased many serious weapons to defend herself  in the event of the economic collapse she feared imminent and the chaos she surmised would ensue.  I also heard on the news the son used his mother’s own weapons to kill her and all the others.

I can’t wrap my head around any of this. Why did the man take target practice on babies and teachers? How could he stand there and do it, shooting each person multiple times, according to the news?

Why are these mass murders happening with such frequency?

I  have questions, no profound answers.

My only thought is the one circling in my head since Friday: you’ve got to be taught to hate and fear.

Better to be taught that we are all brothers and sisters. You’ve got to be carefully taught.

It Snowed!

Georgia the Dog here. Miracles of miracles, just when I thought I would never see that white crunchy cold stuff on the ground again, it happened yesterday! Harry the Cat and I watched from the couch as white flakes started falling from the sky early Sunday afternoon and kept on coming. I couldn’t believe that of all times, my person was gone for the day. I wanted to go out and play in the stuff.

I waited and waited and finally she came home looking like a wet retriever. She was covered in the stuff and the stuff was melting. Her hair looked BAD! Before she had a chance to dry her hair, I started running around and around in circles and then toward the door trying to get her to take me outside.  I was getting dizzy. Finally, she got the hint.

I was thrilled she remembered to grab my winter coat. She bought it for me 5 years ago,  the first winter we were together. I am quite proud it still fits.

I know what you’re thinking. I know I look like a caterpillar in my coat, but I don’t care. It keeps my hair dry so I don’t end up looking like a wet retriever or my person.

Ah, the perfection that is me, Georgia the Dog!


Intrepid Women Collectors: Holiday Gift Bazaar!

Next Stop: Anger Management Class

I saw this car  parked in the co-op grocery store parking lot. The co-op carries organic produce and “green” products.  Has the green movement adopted a new take no prisoners approach or is the Jolly Green Giant  trapped inside this car trying to get out? What’s your take?