Meanwhile, back at the farm…

The last of the little things I found in the bag of Mother’s stuff. First, two little bunnies.

I’m not sure why she held on to these. Did she think they were sweet? I keep so much stuff of my own for purely sentimental reasons. My intuition tells me someone gave these to her.

She also had these. Did she paint them? Buy them? Receive them?

All bunnies and chickens have joined the space in my curio cabinet set aside for the barnyard. Thus they are with these two.

My late friend Jeff liked chickens, and I painted these for him during what I call the Ceramic Years (they fell between the Painted T-Shirt Years and the Resurgence of Mattel: 1990s Version). Shortly before he died, when I was fired as his friend, he returned almost everything I’d given to him. Time heals–it did long ago–and these little reminders of the vagaries of friendship only make me smile now.

Another reminder: The bin of Jeff stuff has been set aside as the next to be purged. I suspect I’ll get a blog post or two out of that.

Yes to this

I don’t think I’ve mentioned on the blog what a pleasure this book is. First, Michael Thomas Ford never disappoints me, whether he’s writing fiction or non-fiction, and in whatever genre. I was one of the people who contributed to the Indiegogo campaign in 2012 to help him finance his writing of this book. The original plan was that only contributors would receive a copy upon its publication.

Fortunately for the reading public, editor Steve Berman was persuasive in getting MTF’s approval for Lethe Press to publish Lily, meaning more of artist Staven Andersen’s illustrations could be included and also ensuring the novel’s wider circulation.

It is a fairy tale and while that might not be the first thing I’d pull off a shelf in the bookstore, as I said, MTF’s writing never disappoints, so I was glad to go on this journey with him (as a writer) and Lily (as a character). The book Lily is beautiful and sad and creepy and funny. The character Lily, who has an ability that makes her “different,” has a foot in two worlds–both of them magic, but only one that will embrace and not exploit who she is. There’s a lot of sadness here for me as a reader at the cruelties creatures both human and supernatural are capable of. But there are also moments of unexpected kindness that help Lily move toward a better destiny than the one she thinks she deserves.

Michael Thomas Ford’s touch is as magical as Lily’s, and so is this book.

Button Sunday

Yep, it is. How about another throwback photo?

Me with Timothy and Timmy

This time to April of 2001. We’re back at Baba Yega Cafe–I guess it was a tradition. I didn’t know it, but Jim would be a surprise visitor joining us soon. We all had so much fun together being in the same place at the same time.

I’m sharing this because these guys know one fast track to my heart–ART! Both of them gifted me with art on the latestĀ celebration of my birthday.

Another fascinating artist from the Bayou City Art Festival was Jennifer Lashbrook of Lashbook Studios and her Swatch Paintings. She uses tiny paint swatches to create these. When you view them with the naked eye, you see pixels, but you can view them through your phone’s camera and the image becomes defined. There’s a better explanation on her website, of course.

Timothy gave me this one for my birthday.

Viewing it on your monitor doesn’t have quite the same impact as viewing it in person, but if you look at the monitor through your phone’s camera, you can see how the image emerges.

This painting below I first saw online. I think I said something like, “That one’s mine, right?” And my other Timothy–Timmy!– who painted it gave it to me for my birthday. I need to start demanding more of these. šŸ˜‰

Serpentine, 2016

You can check out more of his work here (I LOVE the mole paintings so much): his Whiting Mills site, his Saatchi Art site, or follow him @forry_t on Instagram, where he frequently posts photos of his art.

Inside joke this painting reminded me of just now, Timmy: “I was becoming a snack.”

I’ll have more birthday memories to come, I’m sure. After all, you don’t turn 135 every day. Just every year.

Follow the yellow brick road

On Friday, Timothy and I met our friends Ashley and Angela at the Bayou City Art Festival in Houston’s Memorial Park. I saw so much that I liked and admired–I love the way creative people’s minds work. But hands down, my favorites were the works of artist Amy Flynn. They are “found object robots,” or FOBOTSĀ®. Seriously, go to that site. Look at her photos. Look at her blog. She is AMAZING, and one day I will have some of these critters. In the meantime, how about a little Oz action?

Later that night, Lynne and Ashley joined The Houndstoothers for a cookout and some delicious chocolate cake baked by Debby. It might be someone’s birthday soon. I can’t keep up during birthday season.

You say you’re an Aries…

My beautiful Aries friend Lisa has a birthday today. I’m DYING that this photo is seventeen years old. How the heck is that possible? I rarely want to time travel for the purpose of do-overs. After all, if I did things differently, who knows if there would have been a better outcome? But sometimes I would like to time-travel to moments when I laughed and loved people so hard just so I could tell them in the moment how much they mean to me. I think these three knew it then and know it now, though.

Timmy, Lisa, and Jean-Marc at Baba Yega Cafe in Houston.

Happy birthday, Lisa!


Here you go, Lynne. I found it where I hoped it was.

This is a quilt Mother made in the early 1980s. Many of us signed squares for her. Some drew pictures. She embroidered those pictures and signatures to make them permanent–in some cases more permanent than the people who were part of our lives in those years. I’ll probably photograph individual squares of this and post them over time. But not all of them because it’s good to let sleeping dogs lie (thought not on this quilt!).

Missing You

Today is my friend Riley’s birthday. I miss him so much. I want to read a new poem from him, hear a new song, and tell him all the ideas I have in my head for things I want to write, the main one using our adolescence together in a ghost story.

Tom and I started going through those bins on our carport that so desperately need purging. I have an action plan for some of them, so I’m on my way. But mostly I wanted to find all my Riley correspondence. It stretches back more years than I will admit to. I’m lucky that he liked to draw and write and gave me so much of his work.

None of his stuff, of course, is part of the purge. Somebody else can trash it after I’m gone. It still means too much to me.

circa our junior high school years

I love you, John Riley. Thank you for an amazing history.

Button Sunday

Happy birthday to my friend-since-college Debbie. Who’ll never see this here, because she’s wiser than I am. Shunnnnn the Internet. Shuuunnnn-nuh.

Bonus button!

(I miss Charlie the Unicorn and his twisted “friends,” but not as much as I miss Debbie.)

P.S. Thank you to my readers who, like me, have not shunned the Internet and still come to my hate-free space.


Tom has a knack for finding random things on the ground and making them into little gifts. Usually they’re something from nature. But a tiny toy is always welcome.

Today is my mother’s birthday. She’d have been 91. That astonishes me. I have stories of her from every age, including her childhood during the Depression. Her great joy was being able to go to a Shirley Temple movie with her brother for a nickel. Toys were things she and her six brothers and five sisters made out of whatever they could find. A stick became a sword for a fencing match. A scrap of fabric and some straw became a doll. They hung vines from trees to swing on and play Tarzan.

I’ll bet something like this little guy, dropped in a parking lot and left behind, would have been a treasure to them.

Related: Happy birthday, Timmy! A treasure to all who know you.