Archives for category: writing

Wish You Were Here

My old-fashioned ways of writing letters and sending thank you notes have led me to a pretty awesome collection of stationary and postcards.

In this electronic age, it is safe to say that some may never pick up an ink pen again.  But I don’t care how in love you are with your cell phones and laptops.  A handwritten card will forever produce a thrill.  (That is, until some idiot succeeds in nixing snail mail.)

For those of you who still write letters, you might appreciate my latest batch of outgoing mail – thank you notes to all the people I saw on my recent visit back home.  My favorite element of this primitive art?  Choosing the right card for the right person.

Baja Birds

My first trip outside…..

Baja Cactus

To Dad, who likes the desert.

Bob Marley

Bob – to my favorite hair dresser.

Boston Massacre

Sent the Boston Massacre postcard to the sister with whom I may never stop fighting.


I see you down there Jim and Joni!


Newport Beach has mermaids.

Simpleton Pass, Reading The Bridge of SighsBedouins

John Singer Sargent, a favorite artist.  Jim took me to his exhibit in Boston.

Todos Santos

Todos Santos, home of the original Hotel California.  Still have to make it there.


Convinced a bookstore owner to sell this off the wall of his hippie section.  Thanks, bud.


William in the Woods

Upon finishing my latest read, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne, and upon starting this post I realized something.  I must change the title of this quotation series, Cheerful Thoughts, immediately.  Not all thoughts are cheerful, and if all I ramble on about is cheer, no one will ever learn a damn thing.

A coworker warned me to prepare to cry, and so I assumed I would.  I cry over everything.  I cried watching Remember the Titans as a child and again last week while dog-sitting for Michael (the only time I have access to television).  After countless watches, I still ball every time at the end of Moulin Rouge, Big Fish, and Almost Famous.  To Kill a Mockingbird (novel and film) brings on the tears, as does One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (novel and film).  The most hysterical crying I’ve ever unleashed during a film or novel was as an eleven-year-old when mom took me to The Pianist in theaters.  Oh, man.  “Honey, should we leave?”  She must have asked me five times.

I cry hardest when the story is most gut-wrenching, most unbearable, most real…which is why I’m surprised The Boy in the Striped Pajamas left me dry-eyed.  The perspective of the story comes from nine-year-old Bruno, a sheltered and naive little boy with a grand heart.  There are no cold, hard facts as to the setting and time of Bruno’s story, just the little bit of evidence he provides from his experiences and your own historical knowledge of the cold, hard world.  I could have guessed the unspeakable ending, but I didn’t because it is impossible to believe.  Bruno’s beautiful innocence is why I did not cry.  But in the absence of wet eyes I was left with a heavy heart and bewilderment from not knowing what to do now.

Do something great, and don’t ever lose your sweetness.  And never be so naive to think that only love makes up this world.

I leave you with the words of Randle P. McMurphy:

“Which one of you nuts has got any guts?”

FùtbolNiño de El Salvador El Salvador Fans

After finishing grade school, I would rarely remember Señora Ruiz or those Spanish lessons that were forced upon our class.  In high school I would give up Spanish for French because I was obsessed with Vogue, fashion, and romanic visions of traveling abroad..and my name is Chloe.  French has not yet stuck.  There was nothing “French” about my community to reinforce the language…and my French teacher hated me.  (But Paris is still in my future!)

Goalie Fooling Around Amigas

Eight years later, I’ve returned to Español.  Picking it back up was easy, thanks to my adolescent brain and my newfound commitment.  I am devoting honest attention to learning a new language and I am expanding my ability to communicate with the world.  It’s incredible!

Immersion is key, truly.  In eleven months  I’ve made serious progress in this quest.  I’ve fallen in love with the language and the culture without ever having left America.

Parking Lot BBQ Las Vendedoras FireCrowd

I am a server in a busy Washington, D.C. restaurant where much of the kitchen staff, true to restaurant stereotype, are Latin.  I started teaching myself by being quite annoying, actually.  Every few minutes, I ask one of my new friends, “¿Como se dice blah?  ¿Como se dice blah blah?”  They reply and I use the newly-learned phrase over and over again until everyone but me is sick of it.

My methods are broadening.  When guests from Spain or South America are seated at my tables, I ditch English as best I can.  My palette has expanded from the Mexican food on which California has raised me to Latin dishes from across Central America.  (Estoy enamorada de pupusas y horchata.)  At every pupuseria, Subway Restaurant, or carwash where the attendant is a native Spanish speaker, I practice.  I listen to Spanish radio and Mariachi Pandora.  I lust over the Salsa-dancing women with flowers in their hair at Latin-inspired nightclubs.  I now take a Conversational Spanish class — Level 3!!

And as if all that weren’t enough, I’ve even gotten myself a Salvadoran boyfriend (and personal Spanish dictionary in one).

Mi hermoso Mi guapo... William, mi novio William Chloe Chloe on the Water

Lo emocionado que estoy para hablar Español.

These photographs are from a New York/New Jersey road trip we took in July.  For his birthday, I surprised my boyfriend with tickets to a double header in the Gold Cup Soccer (ahem…Fútbol) Tournament. We watched his country take on Trinidad and Tobago and Honduras beat down Haiti.  Fue un fin de semana muy latino.  Qué emocionada!  ♥

Smithsonian Castle

According to


art [ahrt] – n., the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance; the class of objects subject to aesthetic criteria; any field using the skills or techniques of art; illustrative or decorative material; the principles or methods governing any craft or branch of learning; skill in conducting any human activity; trickery; cunning; studied action




Steps of the Smithsonian Castle Little Flat Man on the Crosswalk

I hadn’t felt the sun in two weeks but for the daily walk between Metro Center and my new job.  Starved for fresh air on my first free day off, I embarked on an art adventure at the Smithsonian.  It had been over two months since my cross-country journey finally reached Washington, D. C. limits and I hadn’t yet been to a museum!  So I went, with a Subway sandwich that I ate on a sunny park bench outside, watching quietly, the castle at my back and open grass before me, Washington Monument left, Capitol Building right, and strangers, squirrels, and birds rustling all about me.

Twinkle Tree Lights


With the last bite and a deep breath, I stood up and took my first step toward adventure.  Like viewing a photograph, my eyes followed the scene as I walked, settling with fascination on tiny details that hide in the depths of life’s story.  And I captured them – the little flat man stenciled in yellow in the crosswalk; the fringe of my scarf in shadow on the steps of the museum; the twinkle of the light distorted by tree leaves on bare hallway walls.  My camera in constant use, I collected images that I hoped would paint memories I would one day put into words – these words.  My steps seem to take themselves as I wove through a maze of galleries and artwork with countless pathway possibilities.  I never even looked behind me, never had to choose a route; everything there was to take in made its way through my stream of consciousness and all I did was follow, eyes wide, at whichever pace felt right.

Mythological Scroll Shiva Nataraja (Lord of the Dance) Shrine of the Parshvanatha Bodhisattva White Avalokiteshvara Turkish Tile

The thing about the museum, and the rest of the world, is that ‘art’ is what connects us, creates us, is created by us in everything that we do.  We see ‘art’ in almost anything.  Imagine that.  One trip to the museum heightens my senses, enhances those tiny details, magnifies them in meaning, giving me a deeper understanding of beauty – of art.  It’s a natural process – art of visiting a museum.

Art Gazing 13 Window Light

I went home in the evening with aching feet, filled my body with food and sleep, and woke up newly inspired and reenergized.  And here I am, writing this to you: Go to a museum on your next day off.

Ocean Waves Architecture Crinkled Leaves Washington Monument

Next stop: Imax film, Flight of the Butterflies, “to experience the most incredible migration on Earth” and the Live Butterfly Pavilion, where I will “walk among nature’s flying canvases.”


This tree found me.  It waits for me outside those doors.

Golden TreeAppreciate the LoveIt holds...Life clings to it

I could sit with it, appreciate it until sunset.  Brilliant, blazing, in a sea of bare branches, it stands golden.  Life clings to it like the vines on the trunk, enough love to stay alive through winter.

Alive in WinterBranching Out

This tree found me.  It waits for me outside those doors.