Above: Hakim Bellamy gives a virtual reading and discussion of his book We Are Neighbors: Albuquerque, NM, on April 22. Photograph by Adam Rubinstein

The weekend should still feel like a break, even if we aren’t leaving the house. We want to help you squeeze the most happy juice from your days off, so here’s five things you can do without breaking any rules. Connect with your kids, read a book, learn to cook something new, and remember to abide by the Governor’s guidelines: Stay home and stay safe.  

Get to know Hakim Bellamy.  

Hakim Bellamy is beloved, locally and nationally, for the beautiful images and striking moods he creates with his poetry. Albuquerque’s inaugural poet laureate, now deputy director of cultural services for the city, he speaks Wednesday, April 22, at 5:30 p.m. as part of a web-only Creatives in Conversation series hosted by Mary Dezember’s Divine Studio.  

Bellamy will read from his 2019 book, We Are Neighbors: Albuquerque, NM, a collaboration with Albuquerque civil designer and photographer Justin Thor Simenson, which looks at lives and scenes in a neighborhood by examining homes and possessions, but not people. Bellamy’s mix of poetry and prose speaks of heartache, healing, and rebirth—topics that seem more relevant than ever.  

“Pueblo style fences aren’t meant to keep anything out,” Bellamy writes in We Are Neighbors. “They are open arms. … Pueblo fences aren’t there to keep you out, they are there to not let you leave.”  

In the Q&A that follows, Dezember expects to discuss with Bellamy how we can use this time of forced separation to think about neighbors, and what it means to be one. “The social closeness of this event in sharing creativity and what it means to be ‘neighbors’ is hopefully a way to ward off too much isolation,” says Dezember, an author and professor of literature at New Mexico Tech. “But it's also an inspiring way to think about our isolation as a time of artistic expression.” 

With a short open-mic event following Bellamy on the virtual stage, Dezember looks forward to what the format might yield. “People from all over the U.S. want to hear Hakim, so I am excited about that connection,” Dezember says. “The event allows him to share and talk about any of his creative works, so he might have works-in-progress or poems in addition to those found in We Are Neighbors.”  

Make history.  

The Los Alamos History Museum wants you and the kids to know that history is all around us. So, the museum has created an activity page with educational projects that can be done around the house.  

“While this is a difficult time for everyone, I also believe that it is also an opportunity for families to talk with each other and explore their personal history together,” says Executive Director Elizabeth Martineau. “Stories from the past show us how we are connected to others, provide strategies to build resilience, and give us hope for the future. Right now, we all need the connection that history provides.”  

The museum’s activities can help you document history as it happens by writing about your day, curate an exhibit with items you collect (dolls, rocks, baseball cards, etc.), or do a fashion history project by trying to recreate old looks from family photo albums. For families with children of multiple ages, Aimee Slaughter, the museum’s education director, suggests making a family time capsule.  

“Kids can work together to create and collect small objects that represent what's important to them right now, and together can decorate a cardboard box or other container that can be stashed away in a closet as a time capsule to be opened up in the future,” she says.  

All of these activities can help us form tangible connections to the past and pass a little time with the family in the present. 

Take a virtual trip.  

Our state is known for being chock-full of stunning outdoor experiences and unique art. While most of that is not accessible right now, you can still experience them virtually through New Mexico True 360, a New Mexico Tourism Department channel that carries high-definition videos from the most popular places in our state.  

Start out in the colorful glow of Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return. The interactive exhibit, with its 70 rooms of hands-on art, begins as you step inside the ribcage of a prehistoric beast that makes music as visitors tap the bones. Packed with so many intricate details, bright colors, crazy textures, otherworldly creatures, and portals to new dimensions, you would be hard-pressed to ever exhaust the fun.  

The 360-degree views can be a little disorienting, but that’s part of the intrigue at Meow Wolf. While you get a psychedelic taste of what you’ll encounter, there’s unfortunately no chance for a selfie to prove you “visited” one of the most photographed places in New Mexico.  

Order from the Downtown Growers’ Market. 

We want to support local farmers and growers through this tough time, but also want to keep everyone safe. Although Albuquerque's Downtown Growers’ Market at Robinson Park has been postponed until at least May 2, organizers are keeping the market going by providing an online buying and pickup option. You must purchase from individual vendors ahead of time, and schedule a time Saturday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  for pickup at the Fusion Theatre (708 1st St. NW). 

Participating vendors include EMS Farms' greens and flowers, salad and microgreens from NM Sprout House, eggs from Vecinos del Bosque and Veronica’s Egg Farm, local honey from Bees Farm, plant starters, living lettuce, and even fresh flowers from Mason Jar Flowers. You can shop selections from each vendor online, some of which accept SNAP benefits. Deadlines for orders vary. See the details here downtowngrowers.org

Sharpen your cooking skills.  

Green chile stew, chiles rellenos, cilantro jalapeño vinaigrette. Sound yummy? Good, because you can learn to make all three in one day by taking Cooking with Chris, a virtual class by the Cooking Studio Taos. Led by Chef Chris Maher, the class ($19) provides an email with all the ingredients needed to participate when you sign up.   

Maher, who had a long career in film and television, has a knack for performance. He has cooked for former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton as well as his holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama. Yet his classes are entertaining and easy to follow, so you won’t feel like you’re out of your culinary league.  

Maher and his wife, Valerie, have run the cooking school full-time since 2014, and they understand money may be tight right now. If you want to participate, but the cost is prohibitive, reach out to Valerie for assistance.