Settling In and Some Good News

Tomorrow marks a month since I arrived in Santa Fe. In that time, I've overseen the kitchen renovation (when the back splashes are installed Wednesday, that job will finally be finished) plus installation of a new furnace. Almost all of my furniture is now here–I'm still waiting for dining chairs and two bookcases. I've unpacked, set up my office, and given away four dozen moving boxes. 

My cozy living room, with couch and easy chair, and a very happy Arabella, who is in full bloom right now. 

I've met some of my neighbors who also walk at dawn every day, along with their canine companions. (The photo at the top of the post is sunrise shot from my walking route, with the Cerrillos Hills and Sandia Mountains in the far distance.) I am learning to recognize coyote tracks in the arroyo, and to discern which rabbitbrush clumps hold desert cottontail dens. I listen for spotted towhees' "meh! meh!" calls as they scratch for insect larvae in the duff under the junipers, and smile at the chickadee chatter from the branches overhead. 

Tomorrow, I'm having a belated holiday open house for my circle of writing women-friends, a group that welcomed me to their monthly gatherings long before I had any idea I would be here for good. I'm grateful to these creative women for their friendship, inspiration, and their enthusiasm for my move to their midst.

Eggnog in progress (and missing back splashes!)

Today I finished a batch of my Sinfully Delicious Holiday Eggnog, the first I've made since the move. I say "finished" because it takes two days to make the eggnog, along with a dozen eggs, separated; a quart each of heavy cream, half-n-half, and whole milk; a pound of confectioner's sugar; three cups of dark rum, and other decadent ingredients, finishing with freshly grated nutmeg. 

And I baked a Lavender-Lemon Cheesecake to celebrate a birthday in our circle. I know I'm settled and happy when I take the time to make eggnog and bake a cheesecake! Both require a serious investment in time, and an organized kitchen. 

Lavender-lemon Cheesecake just out of the oven… 

I confess to being wildly optimistic about how long it would take me to make this transition. I was sure that by New Year's, I would be back to writing fulltime, and would have checked off at least one of the big projects I need to finish in the coming weeks: an essay due at Wildflower Magazine, a presentation to write for the Landscaping With Colorado Native Plants Conference next month, and a book proposal that my literary agent is waiting for.

My corner office, as in the corner of my master bedroom suite. It works for me!

Um. No. But in between moving and renovations and settling in, I did write a commentary based on the book proposal. The title of the commentary summarizes the idea: How Gardeners Can Help Grow the Green New Deal (and Stop Climate Change). After I rewrote the commentary a few times, I sent it out to various friends in the writing and garden worlds. And then revised the commentary again several times in response to the their comments. (Special thanks to Priscilla Stuckey, Alia Malek, and Marielle Anzellone!)

Then I wrote a pitch and sent the whole thing off to an editor at the New York Times. He emailed back within an hour! He had a couple of questions and said he'd pass it around to colleagues, and get back to me. I haven't heard back yet, but really: I. got. a. personal. response. from. an. editor. at. The. New. York. Times. That made my year… 

My other bit of good news is that my Cody house is under contract, with closing scheduled for a month from now. I have my fingers crossed for a smooth sale process. The inspection is Monday, and then there's the appraisal and financing and other details. It will be a huge relief to know that someone is happily living there and loving the place.  

Wish me luck with both the commentary and the house sale!

Oh, and one more bit of good news: My "Natural Partners" feature that took the cover of the fall issue of Wildflower–thanks to the gorgeous illustrations by Samantha Peters–is now online. It's not as pretty as the hard-copy version, but it's readable. (To see the original layout, go to Samantha Peter's website. Her illustrations are outstanding!)

Illustration by Samantha N. Peters, from Wildflower Magazine, Fall 2018

In the meantime, Monday I'm going to settle in at my desk and get back to writing and working to further my life-mission:

To heal and restore this glorious living Earth, and we who share the planet–that all may thrive.