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Santa Fe, New Mexico Museum Hill

It’s Summer! Explore Museum Hill.

By G G Collins          (Copyright 2017)

Four world-class museums to discover the Native American Southwest and all it has to offer: arts, culture and history. Lunch at the Museum Hill Cafe. Listen to music as it floats around the huge plaza, compete with its on contemporary labyrinth.

Enjoy the sculpture garden at Museum Hill.

Museum Hill Mountain Spirit Dancer

 

Labyrinth Courtesy Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, NM

And don’t forget the Santa Fe Botanical Garden just across the street. The Art Walk has changing exhibits.

Santa Fe Botanical Garden, Art Walk in Background

Have a great day exploring Santa Fe’s Museum Hill!

 

Santa Fe, New Mexico Famous Plaza

Summer is Almost Here

Santa Fe’s Plaza. Meet people. Watch people. Soak up the high dry mountain air and sunshine.

Santa Fe, New Mexico Museum Hill Photography

A Lovely Autumn Day in Santa Fe

Museum Hill Mountain Spirit Dancer

The Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer

Find the Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer in Milner Plaza at Museum Hill in Santa Fe. The big bronze is by Craig Dan Goseyun. The fringe seems to shimmy as the light changes.

Located at 710-708 Camino Lejo, off Old Santa Fe Trail; across from Santa Fe Botanical Garden.

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Christmas in Santa Fe

Happy Holidays From Santa Fe!

And the Reluctant Medium

Santa Fe Christmas Door

Santa Fe Christmas Door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meet Spirit Animal: Walk a Labyrinth

The Story of the Spirit Wolf

Excerpt from “Atomic Medium,” a Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery

by G G Collins          (Copyright 2016)

Rachel Blackstone, the Reluctant Medium, counsels with her friend former priest Eddy O’Brien. He advises her to walk a labyrinth to gain insight to her predicament. While doing so she sees the dead shaman Joseph and learns the story of her spirit wolf, Kiyiya. We pick up where Eddy encourages her to walk.
Labyrinth in Santa Fe, NM

Labyrinth in Santa Fe, NM

“The labyrinth will guide you. I’m going to wait here in the car. If anyone comes, I’ll delay them so you can complete your walk. It is your journey.”

“Should I ask a question?” Rachel asked, stalling. “Something specific?”

“Just walk and see what happens?” Eddy said.

Rachel nodded. At first she looked down at the heavily trod path edged in stones. The ground was hard and dry beneath her mocs. She was grateful for their thick lug soles. The red sun was sinking deeper into the cosmos. The sunset colors played across the labyrinth mixing with the dust in the air. She thought it must be what star dust looked like; fine particles in magic shades drifting through space. The shadows of nearby piñon crossed her path here and there, moving as she did. As she strolled the first circuit she was aware of not really wanting to do it, but as she moved deeper into the labyrinth she became more engrossed.

Like yoga, she found as her concentration increased, the distressing concerns of her day faded away. Rachel had heard of walking meditation and attempted to do that. There had to be some presence in the moment or she might stray from the path, but yet she needed to allow her mind to quiet.

As she finished each track a little more of the environmental noise dropped away: traffic, construction, all man made sounds. She was no longer aware of the rustling leaves or chirping birds. Rachel closed her eyes. For a moment she felt as if she floated among the enchanted airborne particles.

But as the quiet settled, another noise began to intrude. It was familiar. Just she had experienced in her living room months ago when she performed the ceremony to return the dead, she picked up on some subtle crackling almost as if the air overflowed with electricity. Yet she felt no evidence of it. Rachel held her ground and closed her eyes. There was a faint rattling.

Available at Amazon

Available at Amazon

“Oh no,” she whispered and opened her eyes, fearing what she would see.

In the gathering dusk, fog seemed to flow from all directions, despite the persistent dry air. She hurried.

“Should I get the hell out of here?” she muttered to herself.

By the time she reached the center, the vapor was meeting and began spiraling upward, each strand wrapping around what appeared to be an empty center, but it created a perfect human-shaped mist.

It’s happening again. And she was afraid. She closed her eyes once again and fought down the panic. Grappling for control so she wouldn’t run, she tried to prepare herself for anything. Would there be another Nazi to manage? Or was she dealing with another evil entity?

Calm down. Take a deep breath. Rachel tried to do this simple breath, but with her fight or flight instincts all amassed and at ready, she could hardly inhale.

Open your eyes. Slowly, looking down first, she glimpsed a pair of bare feet. Having expected something military in nature, this confused her. When she raised her line of vision, there was Joseph standing before her, smiling with some amusement. His skin was brown from decades in the sun and his eyes laced with lines from squinting. He was a slight man, but a giant spiritually. Rachel could see aura glowing around him. Usually he wore the white aura of a spiritual guide, but today he it was the purest of blue which she knew to represent harmony and great understanding of people and other creatures.

While he never spoke aloud, he was telling her a story. At first, she didn’t get it, but then it became clear he was talking about her spirit wolf, Kiyiya. The white wolf had been different all his life. Although his parents had been alphas in his family pack, and therefore he was deserving of respect, he had been aware that others judged him as unusual.

One day while drinking at a stream he took a moment to look at his reflection. He felt both exhilaration and shame at his differentness. He wanted to be like the other wolves. Troubled, he asked his mother why his fur was white as snow. She recognized his need for reassurance and told him white wolves were destined for greatness in the spirit world. Someday, he would understand why he had been created this way.

For several years, he lived with his pack, hunted with them, played with his siblings and howled into the night. It was a good life, but something seemed to be missing. On a particularly cold, crisp winter day, he arose early and strode up the rocks in search of food. Just as he was about to catch a rabbit he felt a sharp pain in his chest.

Meet Yikiya, Reluctant Medium's White Spirit Wolf Photo Public Domain

Meet Yikiya, Reluctant Medium’s White Spirit Wolf
Photo Public Domain

The falling was more frightening than painful, but as he continued to fall his rate of descent slowed and the terrain changed from mountainous to cloudy and then to night. He slowly righted himself as if he were a cat and landed on his feet in a place he didn’t know. A woman stood outside of a car in the middle of a big road. Confronted by a ghostly figure, she was alarmed. Instinctively, he knew she must be protected. His presence frightened the spirit away but also the woman. When he showed her no aggression she returned to her car to continue her way. Somehow he knew her journey was important.

In his new world he would shield others as well, but this woman was to be sheltered at all times. As he grew in the wisdom given by the Great Spirit, he learned ways of helping her when she was confused. His body could glow when light was needed. His shadow could change in size and shape. When he howled she knew that danger was near. She had much to learn, but he felt she had vital work to do.

And so he came to understand what his mother had told him. He was destined for greatness and he would do his very best to make her proud.

Rachel became cognizant of where she was and the tears streaming down her face. She began to sag but strong arms caught her.

Let me help you. Joseph found this way into her mind again. She felt sleepy and foggy and tried to shake it off.

“But what about the threshold?” Rachel said aloud. “Should I cross it?”

You will receive a message from the other side. It will come from an unlikely source. Be open to it. It will be true.

He was gone.

Rachel stepped over the stones and sat on a nearby bench. She was exhausted, drained. After resting for a few minutes, she returned to the parking lot where Eddy waited.

“Did you get what you needed?” he asked. “Was there an answer?”

“Yes,” she said. “It wasn’t the answer I was looking for, but it was something I wanted to know.” She described meeting Joseph and what he said.

“That’s the way labyrinths work,” Eddy said. “In mysterious ways they channel knowledge we need.”

“I’m so tired.”

“You had a spiritual experience,” Eddy replied. “You have arrived.”

All the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries are available at Amazon. Thank you for reading.

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Atomic Bomb Trinity Test 70th Anniversary July 16, 2015

Atomic Bomb Test Successful 70 Years Ago

 

Trinity Test July 16, 1945 Courtesy Dept of Energy

Trinity Test July 16, 1945
Courtesy Dept of Energy

The Trinity Test had to be pushed back to 5:30 a.m. due to rain at the Alamogordo Bombing Range at White Sands in New Mexico. The area was known as the Jornada del Muerto or Journey of Death. As early risers went about their ranch chores, sorted mail for delivery and stocked grocery selves, none knew their world would change drastically in minutes.

Those who would be watching this scientific achievement huddled in bunkers made for that purpose. Earth and sand covered the concrete bunkers on three sides and on top. There were viewing holes in the wall facing the test site.Welding goggles were handed out to protect eyes.

The atomic age began with a pinprick of light so bright it lit up the desert with the power of several midday suns. It could be seen for 180 miles. If you closed your eyes, you could still see the light. The energy sucked up tons of desert sand, the dust muddied the light as it rose and churned into a fireball.

Bunker at Trinity Site Courtesy Dept of Energy

Bunker at Trinity Site
Courtesy Dept of Energy

Heat came next to those huddled in the bunkers. It was as if someone had opened an oven door. People dropped to the ground the heat was so intense. Then came the sound wave, as the earth beneath them shuddered with the force of 21,000 tons of TNT. This was followed by the now familiar mushroom cloud. The cloud created by fission rose and undulated to the substratosphere and spread across the heavens.

Some people were temporarily blinded by the light. Others who rode out the blast outside the bunkers had been knocked flat as the super wind rushed across the desert basin. Those who witnessed this first splitting of an atom had various reactions. Some slapped their knees and cheered; others laughed or cried. Still others showed the horror on their faces at what had been unleashed. Although no humans were harmed directly, livestock and wildlife did not fair as well.

Scarred Earth After Test Courtesy Dept of Energy

Scarred Earth After Test
Courtesy Dept of Energy

The atomic bomb that The Manhattan Project developed was both an incredible human feat and the monster that would hide in children’s closets for generations to come. Although the bomb would end WWII, nothing would ever be the same. The era of fear had begun.

For more information: 109 East Palace by Jennet Conant, The Manhattan Project edited by Cynthia C. Kelly, The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes, http://www.losalamoshistory.org, www.atomicheritage.org/bios, www.lanl.govhttps://www.osti.gov/opennet/manhattan-project-history/Resources/photo_gallery/photo_gallery.htm

 

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Note on photos: From the U.S. Department of Energy. “To the best of our knowledge, all text and images on this web site are in the public domain. Almost all of the photographs were generated by government agencies, or by contractors working for the government, and as such are not subject to copyright. Most of these photographs were acquired from government web sites or government publications. In a handful of cases, photographs were used whose copyright had expired; these were acquired from the Library of Congress’s web site.”

New Release: Atomic Medium by G G Collins. Historical Fiction with a Twist.

Atomic Medium

 

Click on the book cover to read more about the new Kindle book. Takes the reader to 1945 Santa Fe, location of The Manhattan Project  office, the Atomic City of Los Alamos and to White Sands, New Mexico to experience the Trinity Test. Third book in the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series.

 

Travel: Santa Fe, New Mexico in One Day

Santa Fe in Only One Day

by G G Collins          (Copyright 2015)

The Shed Restaurant Copyright G G Collins

The Shed Restaurant
Copyright G G Collins

THE SHED: Eat at The Shed! It’s on Palace Avenue a couple of blocks from the Plaza.The Shed is known for their New Mexican cuisine: such as Carne Adovado. Inside or out, it’s colorful and fun. The chocolate fudge sundae for dessert goes beyond decadent. For more on the restaurant’s history and how it came to be called The Shed:

https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/on-location-with-the-reluctant-medium-week-two/

Rainbow Man shop Former office of The Manhattan Project

Rainbow Man shop
Former office of The Manhattan Project

SHOPPING: If you enjoy shopping until you drop, you can do that in Santa Fe. A good place to start is Rainbow Man. It’s on Palace too. Be sure to look for The Manhattan Project plaque dedication. It’s at the back of the courtyard under the portal (porch in Spanish). Despite being a historical site, there is no sign to indicate that. If you can’t find the plaque, ask someone at the store. They’re happy to point it out.

For more on The Manhattan Project:

https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/2015/06/13/the-manhattan-project-70th-anniversary-santa-fe-new-mexico/

At Wind River, you can enter on Palace, walk through the store (this may take a while with all the jewelry, Native American art and chickens, yes, chickens), and exit on San Francisco across from La Fonda. From top-of-the-line clothing to kitchen items to kitsch, it’s all on the Plaza. The Marcy Card Shop on Marcy Street (a couple of blocks from the Plaza and close to the convention center) has a lot more than cards!

La Fonda, the Inn at the End of the Santa Fe Trail

La Fonda, the Inn at the End of the Santa Fe Trail

LA FONDA: Now, cross the street and walk through the lobby of La Fonda. This hotel has a loooong history in Santa Fe. Both the famous and the infamous have walked these Saltillo tiles. Look in the restaurant. See the fountain in the center? That used to be a well in an outdoor courtyard. A business man down on his luck threw himself in it and was killed. His ghost is said to still walk the halls. Oppenheimer and fellow scientists relaxed in the bar–under the close watch of federal agents. There is also a rooftop deck and bar for watching sunsets. Here’s more on La Fonda: 

https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/on-location-with-the-reluctant-medium/

St. Francis Cathedral Copyright G G Collins

St. Francis Cathedral

ST. FRANCIS CATHEDRAL: The St. Francis Cathedral is worth a look. It’s beautiful inside and out. There are usually members there to answer questions and give tours. And if you are a candle lighter, there are candle alcoves just inside the entry. A labyrinth is in front of the church for contemplation. More on the cathedral:

https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/2012/06/30/reluctant-medium-virtual-treasure-hunt-week-one/

THE PLAZA: And don’t just walk through the Plaza. Take a few minutes and soak up the sun, be dazzled by the azure skies. The light, and the vibe, is the reason writers and artists have flocked to The City Different for years.

The Santa Fe Plaza.

The Santa Fe Plaza.

 

If you have time and are museum people, the Palace of the Governors is fascinating. There are holes in the floor and no one knows why (carefully covered in thick clear glass for a look-see). Wallace finished “Ben-Hur” at the Palace while governor. The Palace was on high alert and he covered his lamp to conceal the light as attack was imminent.

https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/palace-of-the-governors-in-santa-fe-new-mexico/

All of this is within a few blocks. 

IF YOU HAVE A SECOND DAY:

Jackalope. Say hello to the prairie dogs!

Jackalope. Say hello to the prairie dogs!

JACKALOPE: Jackalope on Cerrillos Road is shopping, animals, oh heck, it’s a party. The owner’s story is a fascinating journey. The prairie dogs are a favorite with kids and adults alike. Check out Jackalope at: 

https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/reluctant-medium-virtual-treasure-hunt-tour-july-8-2012/

Museum Hill Mountain Spirit Dancer

Museum Hill Mountain Spirit Dancer

MUSEUM HILL: Is so worth a good look. If you’re not up to the museum crawl, just go out and look at the outdoor art, eat at the restaurant and listen to the music drift on a breeze.The new Santa Fe Botanical Garden is just across the street. Great views of the Sangre de Cristos. Here’s more on both attractions:

https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/2014/10/26/santa-fes-museum-hill-botanical-garden/

Tent Rocks, Public Domain

Tent Rocks, Public Domain

TENT ROCKS: If you’d like a far-out hiking experience, go to Tent Rocks. Made of ash from a long ago volcano, the tent-shaped rocks are eerie and magical. It’s south of Santa Fe near the Cochiti Dam. You drive right by the dam and it’s a bit scary thinking about all that water behind the dam; so don’t. The car you’re in feels very small and insignificant. Now you can’t stop thinking about it.

https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/reluctant-medium-virtual-treasure-hunt-tour-july-15-2012/

10,000 Waves Hot Tub

10,000 Waves Hot Tub

NEED DOWN TIME: If you can’t take anymore and need to relax, it’s 10,000 Waves time. Massage, hot tubs, facials and a gorgeous Japanese style mountain retreat. It’s on the way up to the Ski Basin, only a few miles. It’s heavenly.

http://www.tenthousandwaves.com/

Whatever you do in Santa Fe, remember, it’s mañana time. 

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The Manhattan Project: 70th Anniversary of the Atomic Bomb

The Building That Changed the World

By G G Collins          Copyright 2015

Rainbow Man shop Former office of The Manhattan Project

Rainbow Man shop
Former office of The Manhattan Project

On Palace Avenue just steps from the famous Santa Fe Plaza is a small building that changed the world. It was the headquarters for The Manhattan Project, the top secret mission to build the first atomic bomb and end WWII. Everyone, scientist and secretary alike, passed through this building. They came in the front door and left by the back door where they were secreted off to the Atomic City. No one left by the back door unless Dorothy McKibbin gave them a pass to “The Hill.”

McKibbin was looking for a job in March of 1943. She was offered employment at the First National Bank for $120 per month. Working at a bank wasn’t really what she wanted to do, but income was income. Then she met Joe Stevenson in an awkward conversation in the middle of the Plaza. He told her there was a secretarial position open that would pay $150 per month. But Stevenson was mysterious about what the job would entail.

She did accept the job and became the gatekeeper to one of the biggest discoveries of the last century. McKibbin kept that job until 1963 when she retired. She would remain a loyal friend to Robert Oppenheimer until his death in 1967.

Courtyard at Rainbow Man

Courtyard at Rainbow Man

The historic site, originally constructed in the 1600s as a Spanish hacienda, is now home to Rainbow Man. The shop is filled with Native American hand-made items, blankets, photos and folk art in vivid colors. The courtyard is beautiful rain or shine. Flowers brighten the entrance in vibrant hues. The old wagon only becomes more silvered with each passing year.

At the back of the courtyard, under the portal and behind the chile ristras is a plaque dedicated to those who split the first atom. Shoppers visit the store to take home a little bit of Santa Fe. Historians stop by for the history and wonder what it must have been like in the 1940s when The Manhattan Project was in full swing.

Commemorative Plaque to those who worked on The Manhattan Project

Commemorative Plaque to those who worked on The Manhattan Project

July 2015 is the 70th anniversary of the Trinity Test at White Sands, New Mexico.

Book Cover Atomic Medium 6-2015New book, Atomic Medium, takes place in Santa Fe during 2015 and 1945. It is the third installment in the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series. Get it at Amazon: http://amzn.to/1SWkjde

For more information, try these books:109 East Palace by Jennet Conant, The Manhattan Project edited by Cynthia C. Kelly, The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes.

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New Book Release: Atomic Medium

Atomic Medium

Third Book in the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series

Atomic Medium Available at Amazon

Atomic Medium Available at Amazon

A time warp has opened in a popular Santa Fe retail store. The building housing the shop was the main office of The Manhattan Project during its development in the 1940s. Only one person has witnessed the departure of two dangerous men through the doorway to the past—reporter Rachel Blackstone. Although she is certain they are evil she has no idea how they left 2015 or where they landed on the other side, only that she saw them do it. But the office on the other side is certainly a very different place than the showroom with the neatly arranged inventory of gifts and Native American art. When she discovers the mystery of the room, it becomes apparent at least one man is an alien force wearing a Nazi uniform—and intent on changing the balance of nuclear weapons in the world. Rachel and friend Chloe time travel to a world of subterfuge, secrets and danger. If they can’t stop the two men intent on sabotage, history will be changed. For Rachel and Chloe, it’s no small task: just save the world.

For an explosive read:  http://amzn.to/1SWkjde

Quirky Santa Fe

Keep Santa Fe Weird

by G G Collins     (Copyright 2014)

Every city has its quirks. These are some of my favorites in Santa Fe.

Every Year We Burn Zozobra Copyright G G Collins

Every Year We Burn Zozobra
Copyright G G Collins

This strange looking guy wearing the dress is Zozobra. This petite version can be found at the Convention and Visitors Bureau on Marcy Street. Every autumn Santa Feans burn him–along with their worries. The next year, he is constructed and once again set on fire to screams of “Burn him, burn him!” For more on Zozobra see https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/?s=Zozobra here on Reluctant Medium at Large in Santa Fe.

Santa Fe Current by Colette Hosmer Copyright G G Collins

Santa Fe Current by Colette Hosmer
Copyright G G Collins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fish might be the last thing you’d expect to see in downtown Santa Fe and yet, here they are. The monumental sculpture is “Santa Fe Current” by artist Colette Hosmer. It features Rio Grande Cutthroat trout. Each granite fish is 2′ x 3 1/2′ in size. Right outside the Convention and Visitors Bureau on Marcy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ojo Optique Sign

Ojo Optique Sign

You might find a sign in New Orleans that includes a skull, but this one uses the Spanish word “ojo” which means “eye.” But “optique” is French, meaning vision, so go figure. Find it near the Plaza on Lincoln Ave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even the Crows Eat Chiles!  Copyright G G Collins

Even the Crows Eat Chiles!
Copyright G G Collins

 

In Santa Fe even the crows eat chiles. This guy, who lives in a sculpture garden along Canyon Road, appears to have a notoriously hot chile called a scotch bonnet (100,000 – 350,000 Scoville Units). Turn onto Canyon Road and make a quick left. There is parking, shops and art everywhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prairie Dog Enclosure at Jackalope Copyright G G Collins

Prairie Dog Enclosure at Jackalope
Copyright G G Collins

In a region where prairie dogs are sometimes cursed, this lucky family of the little “dogs” lives at Jackalope. Find it at 2820 Cerrillos Rd. Pottery, rugs and furniture doesn’t begin to describe everything that you’ll find here.

To learn about the history of Jackalope, click https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/reluctant-medium-virtual-treasure-hunt-tour-july-8-2012/

The Shed Restaurant Copyright G G Collins

The Shed Restaurant
Copyright G G Collins

The Shed restaurant is famous for its excellent New Mexican cuisine. But did you know that The Shed serves French bread with every meal? It also offers a decadent Italian dessert called a zabaglione, a rich custard made with Cointreau and white port. Find the shed on East Palace just steps from the Plaza.

My characters Rachel Blackstone and Chloe Valdez meet at The Shed often to solve paranormal mysteries.

Learn about the humble beginnings of The Shed at https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/on-location-with-the-reluctant-medium-week-two/

Santa Fe is one of those places with lots nooks and crannies. Don’t be afraid to explore. You’ll miss the most beautiful places and its quirky surprises.

How is your city “weird?”

 

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