• Poker Mom

    My mom's family had vestiges of old Spanish tradition. Mom rebelled against all of it. She got the confessional door slammed in her face by the priest at church, after which she simply stopped going to mass. I have no memory of sitting in the pew with Mom. I do recall Dad sitting with me and my brother Larry. Mom still prays the rosary. Or she did, up to a couple of years ago when mini-strokes brought on by a lifetime of smoking caused her to believe she's in a different place and time.
  • A Bug in Your Ear

    I've always loved insects. If I saw a centipede or--gasp!--a Child of the Earth, I was the kid squatting as close as I could to examine their many legs, big eyes, and mandibles. The more legs the better.
  • Jesus Christ Sacred Heart of Ear Piercings

    When I was about eight years old, my mom took me to her friend Tomasita's house to get my ears pierced. Tomasita must have been at least 20 years older than Mom. She had white hair that was always tinted in pale pastel colors--one month it would light blue, another month light purple. She had a big mole above her lip out of which sprouted a couple of stiff white whiskers.
  • The Squash Blossom Necklace

    I still remember when my Aunt Sophie held the 50th wedding anniversary party for my grandma and grandpa in her Santa Fe home. My mom had four sisters and two brothers; Aunt Sophie was the oldest. Her adobe home was beautiful, lots of interconnected rooms, walls filled with paintings by local artists, including several by famed self-taught artist Tommy Masiano. All the women, including my grandma and my mom, wore their squash blossom necklaces. Their arms were stacked with cuff bracelets, and fingers with rings. Grandma's earring holes by then were so big from wearing heavy earrings that I often joke that she had gauges (those large holes in ears that you see in certain African tribes and among young people today) before gauges were a thing with American youth.
  • Santo Domingo Depression Era Jewelry

    The 1929 stock market crash and Great Depression that followed impacted jewelry making in important ways. Huge shortages forced Native American artists to find alternatives to materials other than locally mined turquoise. The Santo Domingo Pueblo (Kewa) artists became especially creative in using plastics from unusual sources to continue making their inlay jewelry.
  • Baby Quasimodo

    The chick that was attacked by the hawk yesterday was hurt. I'm pretty sure the reason it was pressed down into the soft dirt is that the hawk had been on it, about to fly off. When Baby ran to Mama, it wasn't limping and it seemed OK. But as the evening wore on we noticed something was wrong.
  • The Growing Peacock Family

    It's hard to believe it's only been a little over two weeks since Mama Petunia's four baby peacocks were hatched. So much has happened in such a short span. Right now it's just a bit after 6:00 a.m., and Mama and the four chicks have just flown down from a very tall ponderosa tree right outside my office window.
  • Peacock Crazy

    I'd like to say we have pet peacocks, but the truth is, peacocks roam around our place and are anything but pets. Peacocks are feral. They won't let you pet them, although they'll sometimes eat ice cream from your hand. They might stick around if you tempt them with mealworms and blueberries, but they also forage for their own food. Peacocks roam a wide range of territory, and we've got lots of that.
  • On Being Jewelry Obsessed

    I recently talked to writer and jewelry collector Adelita Sandoval for her new blog Bangles, Baubles, Beads, about my shop, romaarellano.com and what drew me to selling jewelry. We covered a gamut of topics, from types of jewelry, favorite artists, and why I'm so obsessed with finding the best old and new jewelry possible. You can read the interview on her blog here, and continue on for the interview itself.
  • The Kindness of Saint Nicholas

    Saint Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra in the province of Lycia, and we celebrate the Feast of Saint Nicholas on December 6th. Saint Nicholas is remembered through legends as a charitable man who rewarded good children with small gifts of fruit, food or candy, and punished wicked children with coal or sacks of dust. Known for saving innocents and rescuing murdered children, blessing ships and calming seas, Saint Nicholas is admired for providing food during famine.

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