Tanzanite, spotted lynx, and other New Mexican treasures I crave but shouldn’t (or, the REAL cost of being a High Maintenance Newport Housewife)

“I KNEW I shoulda took that left turn at Albuquerque.”

Bugs Bunny: I knew I shoulda made that left turn at Albuquerque

Bugsy sure had it right; I shoulda turned LEFT at Albuquerque rather than heading north to shopper’s paradise in Santa Fe.

That wrong turn made me lose more than the median annual income of a person living in Sweden, Slovenia, or Spain.

It all started with an innocent stroll around the square in Santa Fe’s Old Town.  If you haven’t been there, it first strikes one as rather charming with all the adobe shop fronts and cute galleries.

The Square in Old Town Santa Fe - donkey sculpture

But don’t be fooled by the old world rustic charm … they know how to wrangle you out of your money here!

For instance, the sales clerk at the very first store I stop at forces me to try on a tanzanite, diamond, and opal ring:

tanzanite, opals, diamonds and gold!

tanzanite, opals, and diamonds – Oh My!

Everyone oohs and ahhs, and insists it’s a perfect fit … The price?  A mere $14,000.  But wait … they will give it to me for just $11,000, IF I buy it right now.  (Plus, no sales tax!)  What a bargain …

How can I say no?

And I’m on a roll … right around the corner at the next store, I try on the softest, most luxurious, exotic spotted lynx fur coat you can imagine:

spotted lynx fur coat

I can’t stop petting it.

(Nevermind that I don’t live in the right climate for wearing fur.)

I HAVE to have it. 

(And I’m too embarrassed to  tell you the price.)

So I walk out of the store, draped in my new jewels and fur.  It’s about 90 degrees outside.  The ring feels tight and I’m starting to sweat.  Are people looking at me a little oddly?

Meanwhile, Hubby texts me a picture showing that he and my puppy are at home breaking all the rules:

naughty dog

And, knowing I am in Shoppers’ Mecca, he also texts me the warning: “the more money you spend, the more rules we’re going to break.”

This gives me pause.

In screenwriting, the protagonist almost always discovers that WHAT SHE WANTS IS NOT WHAT SHE REALLY NEEDS around the MIDPOINT of the movie.

I’m forty-four years old … could this possibly be my midpoint?

I lovingly stroke my new fur and admire my sparkling gems.

It’s getting damn hot out here.

I take off the coat and visualize what a living spotted lynx looks like:

smiling spotted lynx


And suddenly I feel like Cruella Deville (and NOT because of my Botox):

Cruella Deville and pups

Botox … you too can have eyebrows like mine!

And I’m forced to ask myself a tough question:  I wonder if I can get a quick Botox fix anywhere around here?

Am I a Travel Writer, or just another bored Real Newport Housewife on a shopping spree?

I so much want the answer to be the first one. 

This is my moment of truth …

So, like any heroine who has just had her epiphany, I find an as yet untapped source of inner strength and race back to the stores, doing my best not to spill my Starbucks all over the spotted lynx.

I arrive at the shops sweaty and breathless, yet strangely powerful — I am the protagonist of my own life, after all.  I somehow manage to pull together every trick I remember from my litigation days to negotiate the return of my splurges.  (And getting that ring off was no mean trick!)

Whew, that was close.

I collapse into my rental car and TURN RIGHT this time, heading straight to the refuge of a Writer’s Retreat in Taos.  I’m checking myself in for rehab here for the next week:

2012 Writer's Retreat in Taos, New Mexico

room with a view

I’ll be camped out here, diligently working on my writing projects for the next five days.  Because this is what I NEED right now: time, community, and space to develop my creative voice.

As Mick Jagger said, “You can’t always get what you want, but  if you try …”

WAIT!  Someone just told me that Taos is filled with galleries and jewelry stores too?  I’m sure no one will mind if I leave my room for just a little while …


Question: Have you ever bought something you thought would make you happy, but discovered something else instead?  

7 thoughts on “Tanzanite, spotted lynx, and other New Mexican treasures I crave but shouldn’t (or, the REAL cost of being a High Maintenance Newport Housewife)

  1. BTW, I have to confess that I didn’t actually purchase these treasures (just coveted them!) … never let the truth get in the way of a good story. 😉

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