Archive for June, 2011

The Midnight Ride of Steve

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2011 by Jenny Kimball
Steve Wimmer

Steve Wimmer, La Fonda on the Plaza's Chef Concierge

Today’s post is written by guest blogger and La Fonda’s Chef Concierge,Steve Wimmer who has been with us for more than twenty years.

The wildfires near Santa Fe and Los Alamos are making me neurotic and have disturbed my sleep cycle, so what did I do? I took a midnight ride. But, to what purpose? I remembered my early years in New Mexico when I was studying to be a shaman. So I circled my beloved spaces, the Santa Fe Opera that was glowing brightly as there had been a dress rehearsal for kids; Angelika’s house just to the north-east of Black Mesa; Black Mesa and my friends at San Ildefonso Pueblo. Then I rode on to Santa Clara – who when they dance, can really make it rain. Why weren’t they out at midnight dancing? If anybody can save us surely they are the ones.

I completed my ride by driving by Angelina’s in Espanola -home of the best lamb burritos in New Mexico. Finally I stopped at McDonald’s to get an iced tea.

Then I rode past Chimayo Trading Post and our old friend Leo Trujillo. Did it do any good? I have to believe a bit.

Today the winds are blowing heavily as they were last night. During my drive I could see only a pale orange glow in the distance – nothing frightening and dramatic as the first night. Only one fire vehicle passed me on its way to the scene. There was very little traffic out, but boy, the casinos were busy.

The radio says it’s up to 60,000 acres. The road 502 is closed into Los Alamos. The fire is close to town burning on the Pajarito ski hill so it’s only a half a mile from a house. The great fear is it will get into the Los Alamos canyon that did not have fire in 2000.  Oddly no one says boop about the Pacheco Canyon fire.

I believe that Cochiti Pueblo is being evacuated. I am afraid to tell you the fire went into Dixon’s Apple Farm, home of the delicious and much-loved Champaign apple. News reports say the family lost the house and 150 of the trees.

Yet as I drove last night, the most frightening thing was all of the temporary tents selling fireworks. Is there any limit to man’s stupidity?

So there, that’s my tale.

Over and out.


Just Imagine!

Posted in General on June 21, 2011 by Jenny Kimball

Does imagination play a role in running a hotel? I hadn’t given much thought until I was invited to participate in a panel discussion put on by the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission, part of a nationwide series sponsored by the Lincoln Center Institute that looks at the importance of encouraging imaginative thinking in children. I was honored to be included with such distinguished academics as Eric Blinman, director of the state office of Archaeological Studies; Denise Johnston, associate superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools; conductor John Kennedy, artistic director of Santa Fe New Music; artist Dolly Naranjo Neikrug, principal of Santa Clara Day School; and Laura Mayo Rodriguez, a sixth-grade teacher at Nava Elementary School. The discussion was moderated by artist Peter Chapin, retired chairman of the Drew University art department and former director of the New York Art Semester.

I was happy to find that I had something to add to the conversation. Because it does take imagination to respond effectively to daily changes at La Fonda, and to keep the business of hospitality fun and engaging for both guests and employees. I find that the artistic environment of Santa Fe itself inspires me every day to think beyond the tried and true norms, to provide creative ideas to energize our staff. Rather than painting or playing music, I get a creative workout by gardening. Each plant I add contributes to a vision in my mind of how to add beauty to the world for all to enjoy. La Fonda is like that, too. Every solution or project contributes to a vision – but in this case it’s a shared vision. Our diverse staff, with their varied cultural backgrounds and experiences, contribute to collaborative solutions that really demonstrate the benefits of creative thinking. I believe this is the best example of how imagination is used in business: working together as a group to come up with creative solutions toward a shared goal. The Conversations, like the one I participated in, will culminate in America’s Imagination summit, to be held at Lincoln Center in July 21 and 22, 2011. The day-and-a-half-long conference will be attended by representatives from all 50 states, Imagination Conversations national sponsors and other elected officials, legislators, education experts, business leaders, artists, and scientists. The event’s centerpiece will be the presentation of an action plan for policy makers, educators, and community activists to put imagination at the forefront of our school curricula. To learn more about America’s Imagination Summit, visit the Lincoln Center’s website.