Between the first of 2023 and February 14, I painted many watercolor sketches to give to friends and family for Valentine's Day. The bulk were mailed around February 7, with one mailed after the day. Here are a few of the paintings I made into cards. About half were actually painted on watercolor paper postcards. But, due to the weight of the paper, I chose to locate envelopes that the cards would fit into and mailed them as first class letters.
Thursday, February 23, 2023
Sunday, October 03, 2021
Thanks and hugs to Amit Ghosh, editor of the project and founder of the Bordersenses Literary Journal. May the memory of my friend Donna Snyder be a blessing to us all.
It's a neighborly mix of adobe and cinderblock houses with fenced-in courtyards, small local businesses, large industrial workshops and warehouses, and El Chuco’s Chicano Park that sits beneath the confluence and flyover bridges of US 54, Loop 375, and I-10. If you look up at the exact right moment, you can see semis, amber running lights flying low along the bridge connecting I-10 to Loop 375 West. They look as if a small aircraft is about to crash land onto the International Free Bridge.
An interesting warehouse compound, Old Sheepdog Brewery’s set of graffiti painted boxcars and patio with a food truck fronting its entrance set before an inviting lounge. It sports tall stools and tables and picnic tables outside the bar with a low slung bench made of more boxcar parts. The food truck sits off to the side, its cook chopping fillings for quesadillas and frying up good portions for loaded fries. Before i read around 9:30, we tried their loaded french fries and quesadillas served with a Hot Bastard red sauce. MJ enjoyed their Be Reet porter, while our table mates fancied the Mango and Cash New England IPA, and i had red wine.
Once warmed up, several good rappers and a few acoustic guitarists played and sang covers and original songs. Then came a young comic who works at the brewery, and who looks and sounds like he’s 13 (srsly). He built his funny set around the experiences of a minor-looking and sounding kid who’s over 21 and working in a bar. One nervous electric guitarist performed a lively and much appropriate cover of Green Day’s Good Riddance. Fun.
At our table sat our good friend Donna Snyder, a beautiful woman and wonderful poet. Donna runs and facilitates the Tumblewords writing project. She read her piece from the book and a couple of other poems. Poet Kit Wren, a regular facilitator and presenter at Tumblewords and his mom, the poet Robin Scofield, were also there and once Kit finished his readings, i was the next to read after a wonderful singer songwriter who sang original songs about Amarillo and Houston. NB Unfortunately, between the time of writing the original post draft and now, Donna passed away from cancer. It took her quick, which is what she hoped. Her diagnosis of stage 4 cancer came but a few weeks after this event, and left us all in the arts community shell shocked. Donna was a gift for us all and source of strength and encouragement to me.
Sunday, June 27, 2021
Will there really be a morning? Braiding the lives of Frances Farmer, Britney Spears, and Sara Crewe
WILL there really be a morning?Is there such a thing as day?Could I see it from the mountainsIf I were as tall as they?Has it feet like water-lilies?Has it feathers like a bird?Is it brought from famous countriesOf which I have never heard?Oh, some scholar! Oh, some sailor!Oh, some wise man from the skies!Please to tell a little pilgrimWhere the place called morning lies!
In his 1983 trace, Estrin attempts to sort Frances Farmers’ life and travels along the road that led to two biopics about her life that were released at that time. The attention that Farmer's life garnered then could be a prototype of the "Free Britney" movement, though it came too late to rescue Frances from her family, the studios, and herself.The Unraveling of Frances FarmerBy Eric EstrinJanuary 23, 1983FORTY YEARS after her name began fading from public view and 12 years past her quiet death from cancer in Indianapolis, the entertainment industry is at last attempting to give actress Frances Garmer a little compassionate understanding. Not many people made that attempt during her lifetime.Her domineering mother, a stern, super-patriot, constantly frustrated Farmer by ranting against her idealistic career goals and political beliefs. The Communist party used the young actress in a much-ballyhooed attempt to gain sympathy for its cause in mid-'30s Moscow. The Paramount studio chiefs asked her to grind out one frothy feature after another, disregarding her consuming thirst for artistic growth....But Farmer, who as a schoolgirl had scandalized her hometown, Seattle, by winning a national essay contest with an entry titled "God Dies," and again later, when she traveled to Russia as winner of a contest sponsored by a left-wing newspaper, could never make herself comfortable as a Hollywood "star." She had angered Paramount by refusing to change her name to something more glamorous; she favored old clothes, little makeup and a rattletrap jalopy as personal effects; and she became associated with unpopular political causes--like migrant workers and loyalist Spain.In her ongoing battles with Adolph Zukor and the other Paramount power brokers, Farmer made up in ardor what she lacked in clout. After her success in "Come And Get It," she became increasingly critical of the fluffy roles she was offered, and candidly spoke of her disappointment to the eastern press. The only good thing about Hollywood was the money, she said.
In turn, the cosmopolitan stoic and orphaned hero in Frances Hodgson Burnett's YA book, A Little Princess first published in 1905, a few years into the Edwardian era.
In Burnett's A Little Princess, Sara becomes destitute upon hearing, with her headmistress, of her father's demise. In turn, she immediately is relegated to a garret above the boarder floor at her former school. She starts life as a scullery maid cum French tutor. Yet, as with Spears, Sara stoically works and remains regal throughout her reduced circumstances. As such, both strive to "go high" when others seek to see her fail and fall. And in the fictional end, it does work for Sara. It's as if she has willed the universe to reverse her economic and social situation and restart her the life she was destined to live.
...Sara looked rather pale, and it was not to be denied that she had grown very thin, her proud little spirit would not admit of complaints. She had never confessed that at times she was almost ravenous with hunger, as she was tonight. She was growing rapidly, and her constant walking and running about would have given her a keen appetite even if she had had abundant and regular meals of a much more nourishing nature than the unappetizing, inferior food snatched at such odd times as suited the kitchen convenience. She was growing used to a certain gnawing feeling in her young stomach."I suppose soldiers feel like this when they are on a long and weary march," she often said to herself. She liked the sound of the phrase, "long and weary march." It made her feel rather like a soldier. She had also a quaint sense of being a hostess in the attic.
What awaits Ms. Spears and her personal and professional freedoms, only time will tell. But if her recent Instagram post is any indication, what comes after her court hearing is that she will continue to work and be the person she sees herself to be. In her mind, believing in the fairytale seems to actually help a person weather any storm, and mirrors the attitude that Sara Crewe presented to the world.
Overall, I hope everything it works out for Britney and that she goes on to life the life she wants.In her post, Spears writes:I just want to tell you guys a little secret 🤫 … I believe as people we all want the fairy tale life and by the way I’ve posted … my life seems to look and be pretty amazing … I think that’s what we all strive for !!!! That was one of my mother’s best traits … no matter how shitty a day was when I was younger … for the sake of me and my siblings she always pretended like everything was ok. I’m bringing this to peoples attention because I don’t want people to think my life is perfect because IT’S DEFINITELY NOT AT ALL … and if you have read anything about me in the news this week 📰 … you obviously really know now it’s not !!!! I apologize for pretending like I’ve been ok the past two years … I did it because of my pride and I was embarrassed to share what happened to me … but honestly who doesn’t want to capture their Instagram in a fun light 💡🤷🏼♀️ !!!! Believe it or not pretending that I’m ok has actually helped … so I decided to post this quote today because by golly if you’re going through hell … I feel like Instagram has helped me have a cool outlet to share my presence … existence … and to simply feel like I matter despite what I was going through and hey it worked … so I’ve decided to start reading more fairy tales 👑🧚♀️🦄 !!!!!
Source: @britneyspears, 06/24/2021. https://www.instagram.com/p/CQhP9A7gIzE/
To me, the book department was a secret club hideout for one, with the bonus that its stacks overlooked the accessories and greeting card departments. I was a spy. While reading, I was comforted by the elevators softly dinging bell when it stopped on the floor nearest to my dad's departments and the book, camera and sporting good, luggage, stationary, and fine china departments. Sitting amid the paperbacks I read, listened, and absorbed it all. The book department was my hide. It was time away from school bullies, homework, and helicopter parents even though they were nearby. The store had no literary gatekeepers, unlike the librarian I encountered at the downtown public library. (How could the life of some random nun become saint be off limits for someone under 12? And, I know it wasn't the life of St. Augustine.) At the store, I could read Shirer's tome, which I carried around for weeks, but a random saint? Guess not.
Beginning with a paperback by another Frances (Hodgson Burnett) and her YA fairy tale A Little Princess, a book about a "stoic" young girl named Sara Crewe, I surreptitiously read books by Heinlein, Hesse, Maugham, Tolkien, and William L. Shirer. The reading list was of my devising and what drew me to them most likely were their fascinating covers. There were no guides or adults interfering with what I chose to read or buy. And, all this reading later lead to my attraction to Francis Farmer and her startling autobiography. Farmer’s memoir made a deep impression when I first read the book, much like Norman Maclean’s, “A Run Runs Through It,” Toffler’s “Future Shock”, the Ballantine editions of The Hobbit and LOTR, and my precious, “Native Funk and Flash” with its $1 remaindered sticker and winsome looks by another "bad girl," the late Laurel Burch.
Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien, cover illustrations by [Barbara Remington]
(https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/15/books/barbara-remington-dead.amp.html). Ballantine (1965).Native Funk & Flash: An Emerging Folk ArtBy Alexandra Jacopetti, Jerry Wainwright · (1974).
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
These are great sidelong glance readings in the time of Corona. In addition, check out this 1995 New York Times article about Theroux' second color book and how easy one can be found to have not sourced their quotes correctly.
Rulers of the ancient Mediterranean loved Tyrian purple. Roman magistrates wore white togas with a purple stripe. Emperors wore solid purple with a gold stripe as a sign of victory. But the colorful dye was exceedingly hard to get, as it was derived from Murex sea snails, which excrete the bromine compound to protect their eggs and ward off an attack.
For a single ounce of color, manufacturers had to milk or crush 250,000 gastropods. Once they’d collected the snail’s secretions, they placed the dye in a vat of urine and fermented it for 10 days, according to Kassia St. Clair’s book The Secret Lives of Color. Once they applied it to fabric, its brilliance reportedly never faded.
But the elaborate process was eventually Tyrian purple’s downfall. By the time Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453, the Byzantine emperors could no longer afford to source the dye, according to St. Clair. The recipe was lost until 1856, when a French marine biologist rediscovered the snail species and their signature hue.
Thursday, July 04, 2019
Bus rides 🚌 to Pershing Drive, shots 💉, and arroz con frijoles 🌯, with a bowl of hot, red Jello water 🥣
Thursday, June 06, 2019
as “the mutt of the beekeeping world,” Beepods
Domesticated bees are social creatures. They gather pollen to make their home, honeycombs, and honey to house, feed, and care for their queen, her worker bees, the her one-act male drones. All the while, they prepare for their new queen. As a colony, they appreciate a calm quiet place near moving water.
A drowsy remaindered bee. The next morning, she was
gone. She must have recovered, washed herself up,
and flew off to find a new hive.
Over the course of several years (I don’t think before October 2016 as that’s when the injured owl stood on the green box trying to be invisible) I believe the bees did their bee thing inside the green rectangular box that sits beneath a pine tree that needs trimming.
With the help of friends, I hunted for someone who could use a few new bees. That’s when I discovered the Paso del Norte Beekeepers Association.
By submitting a form on their website, I was contacted a few hours later by a beekeeper named Josh Meier. He meet up at the house, and successfully relocated the queen and her colony. It took a while because that box was packed with combs, bees, and honey.
Generally, bees have a range of between three to five miles. So from our backyard they roamed. They could get as far as the greens of the Coronado Country Club, all the fountains and swimming pools in between, to vegetation, whether native or planted flowering trees and plants. They could roam a bit up the mountainside and gather pollen from the wildflowers blooming since March, and bring back bags of pollen on their legs. Back they'd fly to their green sprinkler control box hive.
|Possible range of our backyard bees. |
Map courtesy, Beepod, Honey Bee Forage Map
In time, the colony grew until our neighbor noticed the bees and how much they appreciated his new fountain. This being after the house stood empty for at least five years. Before then, the pool the new owner replaced with his fountain was covered with a slipshod and highly problematic cover. There was no pool water there or routine sprinklers running.
|Timestamp sidebar: In October 2016, a male great horned owl (one of a mated pair) suffered a broken wing and stood on the sprinkler control box trying to be invisible. Didn’t work. Caught beneath a sheet and stowed in a large box for transport, he was relocated to Stick House Sanctuary for rehab and was later released|
|Josh Meier moves bees for you.|
Up above us on La Posta, someone lounged by a pool and played random pop songs on their tinny iPod speakers (millennial boombox.) Two doors down, a neighbor’s dog barked continuously. The late afternoon light filtered by the smoke of pine needles render the bees drunk and drowsy.
Josh cleaned out the sprinkler control box and collected about five frames worth of combs. In the end he had to vacuum the remaining stray bees who stumbled upon the bee relocation program as they were returning home from a long day gathering pollen in the neighborhood and mountainside flora. He noted any remaining bees will either move on to find another hive, or wait for the queen to return. Sadly, they will live for but a month in all, and may not have long to wait to meet the many earlier queens and other bees who went before them.
He used pine needles to create smoke that make bees drowsy (drunk). Immediately, the backyard smelled like we were smoking a brisket.
|Raw combs straight from the hive.|
Tomorrow, he will cut into a wall to remove another feral hive somewhere else in this county. In addition, he noted our hive was about three weeks away from swarming.
Swarms occur when bees can no longer sustain itself due to its population and must therefore divide in two. One group heads out with the reigning queen, and the remainder stays in place with a new queen in waiting. Chances are they wouldn’t have re-established themselves very far away. Perhaps, just over the fence inside the next green sprinkler control box they found. Good luck bees. May you multiply and divide and make as good of honey as you left here today.
Thanks to Josh for his quick, careful work. And thanks to Ray for alerting us to their existence. And most of all, thanks to the rehomed bees for not colonizing in my courtyard wall, and behaving as sweet as their honey tastes.
Two jars of Backyard Honey™️ 🍯 as @prepgirl77 calls it. In all, we collected about one pint from the combs Josh gave us!
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Twitterscope: You may begin a project with an assertive surge, but conditions are quick to temper your approach...Work with the cosmic momentum, not against it. You can reach your destination if you’re willing to take the scenic route.
More for Capricorn bit.ly/A5KmeJ
#ADHD that’s been happening my whole life... #cosmicmomentum (wtf?) #ego most assuredly that... #caution? Never. #ScenicRoute? Forever and a day.
BTW, everyday when i went by #scat (sun city area transit aka shuffling chicanos around town) aka the bus, to go to downtown El Chuco, to the old school retail department store where both my parents worked, was #bringyourchildtoworkday. That actually was the cheapest form of after school childcare ever.
Either Bassett Center or to downtown #ElPaso, and itoccurred at least 3–4 times a week. If i went to town by myself, I didn’t have to make supper for us.bit.ly/A5KmeJ
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Glad to hear of its return, and reminds me of #MilagroBeanFieldWar with its disembodied apendage, #elbrazoOnofre like a milagro charm depicting an arm, truck, or guitar.— 𝖈𝖍𝖆𝖈𝖆𝖑 (@chacal_lachaise) February 6, 2019
Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan Finally Reunites With Stolen Guitar. ^@RollingStone https://t.co/LK3sdD725G pic.twitter.com/JWAkMCoO4m
On Tuesday, Corgan’s fortunes changed. A friend of his contacted him with a picture of a guitar that looked like the stolen instrument. But he was still incredulous because he’d been tricked before. “Somebody sent me a picture a couple of weeks ago of another one of my guitars, and I wrote the guy back and said, ‘How did you get my guitar?'” he says. “And he wrote back,
‘Oh, it’s a recreation.’ He’d literally gotten the same stickers, worn them down in the same way and scraped the paint so it looked worn. You could have fooled me.” So he decided to check it out in person. Sure enough, it was the early Seventies Fender Stratocaster that he had been looking for for more than 25 years.
Corgan knows it’s his guitar because it had certain distinguishing marks beyond the psychedelic paint job he’d given it. He recognized the place where a previous owner had carved the initials “KM” into it, and he remembered the placement of certain cigarette burns on the headstock “that I always thought were unsightly.” These were things he’d never talked about in the press, so it would have been impossible for someone to copy them.
Perhaps the most incredible part of it all is that the guitar was ostensibly stolen in the first place; it’s an instrument worthy of a story by Homer. Corgan recalls that about 10 years after Chamberlain sold him the instrument a person he didn’t know asked him if he still owned his guitar. He then described the one that Corgan just got back. “He said, ‘I lent it to Jimmy, it was actually my guitar,'” the singer says. “And I said, ‘Oh, I feel so bad.’ And he wasn’t mad. He was like, ‘Oh, that’s OK. Jimmy’s my friend. If Jimmy sold it to you and you used it, that makes me happy.’
“But that’s the guitar’s circuitous history,” he continues. “Jimmy procured it and somebody procured it from me, and now it’s back. This guitar has a certain magical mystery to it. It changed the fortune of my life. So that’s why I felt it would come back to me. It was like the talisman or something, like in Lord of the Rings. It was meant to come back to me.”
Tuesday, February 05, 2019
What Is and Why the Need for Superb Owl Sunday?
That's roughly $175,000 per second.
This year's host network, CBS, is charging a record $5.25 million for just a 30-second spot during the championship match-up between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots, reports CNBC's Julia Boorstin.
Here is a collection of backgrounder articles and cautions at the CommLawBlog:
The Atlantic Photo (@TheAtlPhoto) February 3, 2019
Huddleston, T., Jr. (2019, January 30). This is how much it costs to air a commercial during the 2019 Super Bowl.
Retrieved February 5, 2019, from CNBC Make It website:
Jauron, V. (2019, February 3). A snowy owl rests on Jones Beach on Long Island in New York [Photograph].
Salmi, Z. (2019, February 3). A barn owl in Galyat, Pakistan [Photograph]. Retrieved from
Tag archives: Super Bowl trademark [Blog post]. (n.d.). Retrieved from CommLawBlog website:
Taylor, A. (2019, February 3). Superb Owl Sunday III. The Atantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2019/02/photos-superb-owl-sunday-iii/581917/
TheAtlPhoto. (2019, February 3). Superb Owl Sunday III - 28 photos of these magnificent nocturnal hunters.
If you have some time today before the big game (or are skipping the event entirely)...
https://t.co/G1aX9U9JFR [Tweet]. Retrieved from
Thursday, November 22, 2018
Tuesday, November 06, 2018
Non nobis solum nati sumus.
Not for ourselves alone are we born.
― Marcus Tullius Cicero
And sometimes, it's time to return and be part of the larger world. Between the first of 2023 and February 14, I painted many watercolo...
Current Conditions: Fort Bliss National Cemetery Originally uploaded by chacal la chaise . While I will always try to enter photos ...
Accompanying an announcement reminding students a draft was due soon, this image was included with a note about the deer that live nearby....