Poem for the New Year

Life is Like a One Night Stand

I want to put my arms around Life

Hold it close, squeeze it tight

Climb on it

Wrap my legs around it

Twist with it

Explode with it

I want to dance with life

Though it pushes me around the floor

Too close to the edge

Keeps me in the dark

Does not say “Thank you”

Expects to take me home

Life is not a good person

And does not care what I think

About that

Life is a narcissist

With no intention of changing

Of course he has others

But we don’t talk about that

Life is a crude lover

He doesn’t “get” me

Or pay attention

Or take time

Life does not give me what I want most

Life only gives me what he feels like giving

When he is in the mood

But, hey, Life, I know you need me

To look you in the eye, to tell your stories

We meet up at the hot springs

In Truth or Consequences

Moonrise over Turtleback Mountain

Lights the Rio Grande silver

Life takes me to his beached Airstream

Has his way with me all night long.

@ Sharon Niederman, Jan. 2, 2012

My new year commitment: I will be blogging at least every Monday. . .appreciate your visits & comments.

Sharon’s 2012 New Year Letter

Farewell forever, 2011. Welcome aboard the good ship 2012.  I am wishing all my family and friends the very best health, happiness, and prosperity in the time ahead. I am glad to report I have survived the fires of Northern New Mexico with more peace, calm, patience, forgiveness, and ability to “get over it,” and, with less obsessing and need to get even. Books of old hurts have been closed and put away. And in this state of mind, there is a strengthening of the ability to intervene in negative thoughts before they spin me around.

Early 2011 was busy with promoting New Mexico’s Tasty Traditions: Recollections, Recipes and Photos, published by New Mexico Magazine. This book earned several awards, including First Place, Cookbook, National Federation of Press Women; Silver, Travel Book, Society of American Travel Writers; and Finalist, non-fiction and cookbook, New Mexico Book Awards. I was also busy putting together Signs & Shrines: Spiritual Journeys Across New Mexico, due out March 5, 2012, from The Countryman Press. The kickoff book signing will be March 29, 2012, 6 pm, Collected Works, Santa Fe.  I was fortunate to have outstanding book events at the Fiery Foods Show at Sandia Resort and at Black Cat Books in Truth or Consequences.

During the year, I worked with the Clavel family of  the five-generationTwin Creek Ranch, Harding County to produce a beautiful family history, and I researched and wrote The Hundred Year History of Santa Fe’s Scottish Rite Temple, due out in May, 2012. My current projects include a new beautiful color edition of The Santa Fe & Taos Book: A Complete Guide and a fresh updated edition of The Explorer’s Guide to New Mexico, both due out from The Countryman Press in 2013. I am also looking forward to a refreshed edition of A Quilt of Words: Women’s Diaries, Letters & Original Accounts of Life in the Southwest 1860-1960 during 2012.

In June, I was honored by the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society with their Dr. Alan Hurst Award for service, attended by my nephew, Ian Shlomo Solow-Niederman;  then, I delivered the keynote speech, “Reading Sholem Aleichem in Raton: My Life in New Mexico’s Diaspora,” at the NMJHS Annual Conference, in Albuquerque.

We have both been fortunate with our businesses: Chuck continues to grow his business of auditing small (no more than one stoplight) municipalities in New Mexico; and in addition to my ongoing work for the New Mexico Beef Council, I have added Taos School of Music to my clientele.  I especially enjoyed the week I spent at the Valles Caldera National Preserve with the first-ever Youth Ranch Management Camp working with a super-professional team from New Mexico State University. A grant from the Historic Records and Archives Board of the NM State Archives continues to support my work preserving vintage images of northeastern New Mexico history at the Arthur Johnson Memorial Library, and I expect to have a narrated slide show of this work complete in 2012.

The year started with a trip to Cottonwood Hot Springs in Buena Vista, Colorado with dear friend Irene Clurman and continued with travel to Silver City and the Gila Wilderness, Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial, Taos Wool Festival, Matachines at Jemez Pueblo, several trips to the hot springs of Truth or Consequences, Eugene, Oregon for the wedding of Na’ama Tubman and Kieran, and Tuscon, Arizona to meet up with my cousin Allison Lehman and husband Billy, plus an amazing  (in so many ways) trip to Phoenix, Arizona with Erin Quinn Bodine.

On December 10, we celebrated Chuck’s 65th birthday with a party at El Pinto in Albuquerque. Happily, Kevin, Andrea, Sarah and Eric were all able to be there.

Dear friends Carl and Becky Calvert of Taos and Mike Taylor and Joan Clark of Santa Fe have generously provided me with homes away from home, and I cannot thank them enough.  The same to Eleanor Bravo of Corrales and Kathy Matthews of Albuquerque, for their ever-welcoming hospitality.

Our darling pups, Buckley and Samantha, continue to bring us joy (and exercise) every day. As 2012 approaches, I look forward to stepping down as president of New Mexico Press Women and handing the job on to the very well qualified and talented Sari Krosinsky. I have been fortunate to work with a dedicated board, and I am grateful to each one.

As I anticipated when I moved up north, some friendships have fallen away, while others have grown and deepened. I continue my love-hate ambivalent relationship with Raton. While I am not by nature a small town gal, I appreciate the clean air, blue skies, sunsets, artists’ light, good water, closeness to nature and lack of traffic, while I miss the people, parties, shopping, movies, lunches, Jewish community and stimulus of Albuquerque.  As I have said, Raton is either a trap or the best place in the world to write a novel. I am happy to report that my novel in progress, Morpho Blue, inspired by a trip I made to Ecuador with a University of New Mexico medical team, is well underway, and it is my leading ambition to have a presentable draft ready to go in 2012.

I don’t know where this year will lead, but if your journey leads you north, please stop by for a meal or a stay in the casita. We love company.  We are blessed with good health, good work, and good friends and wish you the same.

PS – To those who, with whatever intent, reproduce this letter in all or part, thank you in advance for driving traffic to my site.










“You Can Set Your Calendar by the Curlews”

Spring is in full swing on the three-generation Copeland and Sons Hereford Ranch 18 miles north of Nara Visa in Union County, New Mexico. “The curlews always nest here. You can set your calendar by their  arrival on April 1,” says Cliff Copeland, President of the New Mexico Beef Council. The gramma and buffalo grasses are still mostly brown, but a little rain will bring the green shoots close to the ground right up, Cliff says.  “We can hear the migratory birds now, the Canada geese and sandhill cranes flying north, and the mallard ducks that nest here are arriving.”
But the best signs of spring are the healthy baby calves now arriving. Calving season from Feb.-April is one of Cliff’s favorite times of year, along with the branding season that follows. That’s  when the Copelands  and nearby ranchers “neighbor up”  the old-fashioned way to help each other get the chore done while they visit and catch up.
Part of the Copelands’ daily ritual is a morning  family visit, often by phone, between Cliff and his photographer wife Pat;  son Matt and his wife Kyra; and Cliff’s parents, Cliff Sr. and Barbara, to prioritize and divide up the responsibilities that need tending that day. “Day off is not even in our vocabulary,” Cliff observes. “This is a hard and healthy lifestyle. My Dad is 79 and he still puts in a full day’s work. He is still active in every part of the ranch.”
Cliff grew up on the ranch and never thought about being anything other than a rancher. He left home to study Animal Science at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces and returned with a knowledge of genetics. He is able to see the genetic selection process, the results of their choices, every year with the arrival of the baby calves.
“The weather has been cooperative,” he says of this year’s calving season. “It’s too dry now. We could use some rain, and that may be coming soon”

Cliff Copeland

Signs & Shrines: Spiritual Journeys Across New Mexico
Text and Photos by Sharon Niederman – Forthcoming from The Countryman Press, 2012

SIGNS & SHRINES: SPIRITUAL JOURNEYS ACROSS NEW MEXICO takes the reader along  the ancient pilgrimage trails that crisscross this enchanted state where a rich multiplicity of cultures continues to thrive. The mysteries of sacred sites, natural wonders, power spots, feast days and festivals are explained by one of the state’s most prolific and knowledgable authors, and the book is illustrated with soulful images from her travels.  In addition to providing  cultural context that answers visitors’ questions about the history and practices found only in New Mexico, the author provides clear directions, maps and guidance on the best places to stay, dine, shop and recreate. SIGNS & SHRINES  is an innovative guide that will enrich the experience not only of spiritual seekers but of every visitor drawn to experience the marvelous Land of Enchantment.


Put on your love dress

take off your other garments

the ones that cost you most.

Wear your heart out.

Become a transvestite

for love. Dress as a heart.

Establish a municipality

with eyes you meet on the street.

Enter the election for darling.

Let kindness reign.  Put on

no airs. Be plain as feet

which can also carry you away

along the love highway.

Hello. What is your name?

I have forgotten it again. Remind me.     JSL 2.13.11

Love Fest:   Friday, February 18, 7:00-9:00 Center for Spritual Living, Santa Fe, w/ Mirabai Daniels this will be an evening of music, story, and poetry with Mirabai, Michael Kott, and Joan Logghe….divine cello, poetry of Rumi, Kabir, and yours truly.

New Mexico One Taste at a Time
By Pat Veltri, Sharon Niederman photos

Reprinted by permission of the Raton Range
Story appeared Tues., Jan. 25, 2011
It’s been said by a daily customer at Yum-Yum’s, a “mom and pop” restaurant, in Tularosa, that the brisket served there is so tender she has to take her teeth out to eat it! This is one example of the many culinary anecdotes, experiences, and traditions gathered throughout New Mexico by author, journalist, and photographer Sharon Niederman  while organizing and writing her latest book, New Mexico’s Tasty Traditions: recollections, recipes and photos.

Niederman’s tenth book is comprised of sixteen essays, each illustrated with colorful photos and each focusing on food legacies, histories, traditions, and recipes representative of New Mexico. New Mexico’s Tasty Traditions treats the reader to “an armchair tour of cafes, ranches, festivals, home kitchens and farmers markets through the eyes of a veteran food-travel writer” according to the back cover of the book. The book concludes with a special section providing readers with a ready-made schedule outlining the state’s fairs, festivals, and other food events for the coming year.  Continue Reading »

From the Desk of Randy Forrester, KSFR’s “Gotta Dance”

Sharon Niederman is another one of those ridiculously multi-talented New Mexicans who is the author of 11 books, an award-winning photographer, college professor, a former DJ, has served on the Board of the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, is a member of Women Writing the West, the Silver Spurs CowBelles and she’s recently been going around the state putting on a program she calls Klezmer to Swing and this Ratonian will be our guest on “Gotta Dance “ this Sunday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. M.S.T. at 101.1 FM and http://www.ksfr.org. We’ll be talking about the klezmer guild formed in 1541 in Prague, but take this musical tradition back to the Temple in Jerusalem. We’ll be chatting about the Klezmer revival of the past 30 years that has seen Yitzak Perlman recording with the Klezmatics and then follow its transition into swing music with Benny Goodman and a fellow named Israel Baline, whom you likely know as Irving Berlin and chat about the night that swing was born and which Midwestern city was its birthplace.

We’ll be starting off the program with a couple of mini-dance movie reviews and then we’re moving into some Christmasy and Hannukah two-steppers and waltzes.

December 25 is a major day for Pueblo dances and we’ll be talking about when you can see the Matachines and traditional dances at Santo Domingo, Ohkay Owingeh, Taos and Picuris Pueblos, as well as where you can dance to Michael Hearne & Friends, the Bill Hearne Trio, Savor, the Jimmy Stadler Band and South By Southwest, as well as Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks, the Holiday Milonga/Potluck at Double Time Studio, Noche de Bohemia, the Albuquerque Swing & Country Dance Club’s “Post Holiday Tea Dance” as well as a slew of New Year’s Eve dance ops.

Dance Correction

No milonga is taking place at the Scottish Rite Temple, on Saturday, December 18.

Dance Venue Change

Cathy Faber’s Swingin’ Country Band will be performing at The Lodge at Santa Fe this Sunday, December 19.

Dance Update

Friday, December 17 Jimmy Stadler Band The Alley Cantina Taos 109:00 pm to 1:00 am

Please contact Randy with any comments or suggestions that you have about “Gotta Dance” at gottadance@ksfr.org.

Randy Forrester
Co-Host of “Gotta Dance” Radio
101.1 FM KSFR, Santa Fe Public Radio
Sundays, 7-8 pm Mountain Time
Streaming live on the web at http://www.ksfr.org

Please join author and photographer Sharon Niederman at 8 am, Monday, Dec. 13, On NEW MEXICO STYLE, KASA Fox 2’s lively new morning talk show. She will be interviewed on her new book, NEW MEXICO’S TASTY TRADITIONS: RECOLLECTIONS, RECIPES AND PHOTOS, just published by NEW MEXICO MAGAZINE.

“New Mexico’s Tasty Traditions, written and photographed by Sharon Niederman and published by New Mexico Magazine, is a beautiful homage to the multicultural gestalt of New Mexico culinary heritage as seen through the eyes of someone who chooses to be a participant, and not just an observer. This book carries tri-generational weight and, because I see food as a sensual language, you have expanded the regional vocabulary with a richness I can only hope continues to flourish in your voice. And you can quote me on that.”
Rob DeWalt, Food Editor, Santa Fe New Mexican

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Little History, Travel, and It All Tastes Good

<!–COPYRIGHT:Copyright 2010 Albuquerque Journal–> By David Steinberg
Journal Staff Writer
“New Mexico’s Tasty Traditions — Recollections, Recipes and Photos” by Sharon Niederman
New Mexico Magazine, $27.95, 136 pp.
Sharon Niederman’s long-standing interest in food and travel converge in this engaging quilt of a book that is part travelogue, part cookbook and part cultural history.
A former Albuquerque resident who lives in Raton, Niederman takes the reader on a ride to eateries, homes and other locales around New Mexico.
In one section, she heads to Pietown, where she introduces the Daily Pie Cafe and the Pie-O-Neer Café. She interviews Kathy Knapp, who runs the Pie-O-Neer. The book contains her recipes for New Mexico Apple Pie and the French Pear with Ginger Pie.
The town, as the book explains, is on a 102-mile stretch of U.S. 60 west of Socorro. “In a refreshing change of pace, not a single fast-food establishment is in sight,” Niederman writes of the roadway, and then pursues a bit of sightseeing.
Check out, she writes, the “haunted ruins” of the Kelly Mine, Magdalena’s deserted stockyards and Charles Ilfeld’s warehouse. Isn’t the warehouse abandoned, too?
In another segment, Niederman writes about the popular watering hole Chope’s Bar & Café, in La Mesa, south of Las Cruces. She relates Chope’s family history and serves up its recipe for Chiles Rellenos.
Then the book declares enigmatically, “Las Cruces may be the New Orleans of New Mexico cuisine.” Huh? Niederman doesn’t support this throwaway speculative comparison; Chope’s is the only restaurant mentioned here.
The book also takes the reader to private homes and public events.
For example, you enter Tuda Libby Crews’ kitchen, where she is baking bizcochitos. She lives on the family’s Ute Creek Cattle Company Ranch in Bueyeros. The book, which includes her recipes for bizcochitos, discusses the origins of the cookie and the Great Legislative Debate in 1989 over the spelling, with a “z” or an “s.” Niederman says that “old-fashioned traditionalists (isn’t a traditionalist old-fashioned?) held out for “biscochito.”
One family event mentioned is the Glenwood Dutch-oven cookoff. That gives Niederman an opportunity to discuss the Dutch oven’s role in New Mexico cooking. The Dutch oven recipe here is Jane Shafer’s Arroz con Pollo. She is part of the Shafer Gallacher Ranch in Lincoln County.
The book refers to the public food-buying events known as farmers’ markets.
One section talks about urban gardening, focusing on the prolific, diversified, award-winning fruits, vegetables and flowers of the Albuquerque couple Jeanne Whitehouse and David Kammer.
Among other sections are those on the horno and a narrative about latkes, with the author’s recipe for the traditional Hanukkah dish.
David Steinberg is the Journal Books editor and an arts writer.
Sharon Niederman discusses, signs “New Mexico Tasty Traditions” at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at Collected Works, 202 Galisteo, Santa Fe; at 3 p.m. Dec. 5 at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW; and at 2 p.m. Dec. 12 at Tome on the Range, 158 Bridge St., Las Vegas, N.M.

Teatro Paraguas in Santa Fe, which produces multicultural performances, will stage three readings of Jim Sagel’s works in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Espanola in December.  Below is a link to the theatre’s website with information about these performances.  For further information, contact Argos MacCallum at 505-424-1601.


In his recent book about Espanola, UNM American Studies professor Michael Trujillo wrote a chapter about Sagel.  The book is entitled Land of Disenchantment: Latina/or Identifies and Transformations in Northern New Mexico.  Dr. Trujillo will speak about his book at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on Saturday, December 4, at 2 PM.

I learned of the works of Jim Sagel while living in Santa Fe in 2001-2003.  I saw a film in progress about his life by Pilar Rodriguez Aranda that was shown at the Juan de Onate Monument and Visitors Center near Espanola on the road to Taos, State Route 68.  I then looked up news articles about Sagel and read of his death by suicide in April 1998 at age 50.  Continue Reading »