Helloooooooooo! I’m back. Who missed me? Haha, hopefully all of you!

It’s been crazy here in Albuquerque lately. I’m great, though. It’s spring, which is a busy time for me and the plant business. I may only have time to post a pretty flower photo here and there in the coming weeks. That’s a good thing for me so I’m hoping you can understand that.

I’m not gonna lie, the last few days were a bit emotional here in the city with the police department protests and the tear gas and all. On Sunday evening, I was so sad! Seeing those images first on twitter and then on the news of the riot police, it was horrifying.

By Monday, I was totally pissed off about it.

I’m not going to get into the police shootings themselves – people are very passionate about this subject and I don’t want to speak up about it just yet. If ever.

(In case you hadn’t heard, people were protesting what they believe to be a pattern of police brutality, as evidenced by 37 shootings since 2010. Tempers boiled over when a helmetcam video was released showing the police shooting a homeless man about three weeks ago.)

But I would like to talk about the protests here for a minute. The second protest in particular. That’s because it’s related to my blog, and not in a good way.

On the 25th of March, there was an organized protest that drew about a thousand people to the police headquarters downtown. It was peaceful, it was civilized, it was organized. It lasted a couple of hours.

Less than a week later, this past Sunday, there was a second protest, which also drew large crowds. This protest started out peaceful but then turned chaotic. It lasted 12 hours. It eventually led the police to tear gas the crowd. Twice.

I said that I’d moved on from sadness to anger about that. That’s because I found out who “organized” the second protest.

Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned how the formerly affectionate term Burque had been hijacked by a douchebag on facebook and that I could no longer do my Quirky Burque posts because I didn’t want to be associated with him in any way?

Turns out, that’s the dude who was in charge of the second protest. That’s right, same douchebag.

The guy, his name is Leo, runs a facebook page called Inhabitants of Burque. We think he’s a douche because he steals photos and puts his own watermarks on them, he takes content and passes it off as his own, he whines, he preaches, he condescends, he insults, he creates tons of drama, and also because he took a good idea (which he got from Humans of New York) about interviewing people who live in Albuquerque and managed to turn it into the Leo show. He’s annoying as hell.

And he’s the one who created the protest event on his facebook page and asked his followers to come down. He has more than fifty thousand followers!

When I found out that he was in charge of the protest, I flipped my lid. No wonder it was such a mess. If you ask people who were there, they will tell you that during the day, it was peaceful and nice. But when it got dark mayhem ensued. The protesters walked back and forth between downtown and UNM, with no purpose. They walked onto I-25 right into northbound traffic. They climbed street signs. On campus, the climbed on top of the police substation and spray painted profanities all over it.

Guess who went home when it got dark? Leo. I know this because I looked at his facebook page to see what the hell was going on (I don’t follow his page anymore but it’s public, so you can look at it any time you want). Turns out he spent all afternoon posting about how the protest was getting ugly, that people were going down any second now, trouble was brewing, on and on even though nothing was happening.

Here’s what my friend Andre wrote about the protest:

“So, subsequent to the Department of Justice opening an investigation into the Albuquerque Police Department’s use of excessive force (i.e. manslaughter) in the Boyd case, what exactly was the point of yesterday’s disorganized protest? Oh, wait… There wasn’t one. Leo York, the perpetual imbecile behind the inane Facebook page “Inhabitants of Burque” (if you follow it, you should stop… your brain cells will thank you), decided it would be a good idea to extend his self-aggrandizing, self-important bullshit by hopping on the recent protest bandwagon. Being the de facto leader of Albuquerque’s digital identity, many online-jingoist simpletons were quick to jump on board. No wonder things went downhill with this level of genius involved. Activism is not walking up and down Central looking outraged. Activism is actively accessing and altering public policy. APD has a lot to change as far as hiring practices and training is concerned. The people of this city have the ability to forge these alterations without picket signs and pseudo-martyrdom by teargas.

I agree. There seemed to be no point to that protest, other than to serve Leo’s self interest and gain followers for his facebook page!

I believe that it’s a mistake to confuse popularity on social media with having a meaningful life. Having millions of followers on twitter doesn’t make you a good person, or a wise person or a kind person. Nor does it make you qualified to organize a protest. It just makes you a person with millions of followers on twitter. Which means almost nothing in real life. And facebook is even stupider! To strive for quantity over quality is misguided and immature.

What Leo did was plain reckless. People got hurt! Reporters got gassed when the winds shifted.

If you’re going to insist that having lots of facebook followers does somehow make you important, and you prove it by riling said followers up over a passionate issue, don’t you think you owe it them to at least look out for their safety? It’s unbelievably irresponsible. And asinine.

That guy should have to pay for the police’s overtime hours. And apologize to the city.


I’ll bet you out-of-towners didn’t expect that, eh?

Ok then.

So I’m not still mad about the protest gone awry. It’s in the past, plus I don’t stay mad or sad about things for very long – I bounce back fast!

You’re probably wondering if I’m EVER going to get to the Lilac story referenced in the headline.

Ok, ok, so I’m doing fine, feeling good, right? Back in the groove.

Then earlier this afternoon, I pulled in my driveway and saw my landlady across the street doing some yard work. I like my landlady, so I went over and we chatted, even though the spring winds had begun howling.

I asked her if she minded if I cut some Lilac branches to make a bouquet. She said sure, I should help myself (she has several large plants, she’s lived in that house forever). Then she asked if I wanted to hear something about one particular Lilac, and pointed to the one near her front gate.

Yes, I said with a grin, I would like to know about that Lilac by the gate.

She said that for years, that little Lilac bush was in the shade of two big Locust trees. Year after year, it would never bloom.

Then, a couple of years ago, those trees fell victim to the drought, died, and were removed. The Lilac suddenly began receiving more sunlight, my landlady said.

I nodded, remembering when those trees were removed.

For the first time, she continued, the bush produced a few blooms, but they were very small.

Last year, the neighbor’s big shade tree also died and was removed, bestowing even more sunshine on the bush. My landlady was grinning, too.

This year, she said, this spring, this is the Lilac’s time to shine, finally.

We looked at the bush, both of us impressed. I was still nodding.

Here’s what it looks like:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, ever-cheerful Lilac

We stood there a few seconds looking at it, and then my landlady looked at me and said, “It waited 25 years.”

Then she turned and walked away.

Cute, right?

That story made me super happy!

Know what else makes me happy?

Trying to illustrate spring winds with pictures. You remember how this works, you have to scroll really, really fast.

Ready, go!

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, ever-cheerful Lilac

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, ever-cheerful Lilac


Good To Grow, Liza's photos, ever-cheerful Lilac

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, ever-cheerful Lilac

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, ever-cheerful Lilac

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, ever-cheerful Lilac

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, ever-cheerful Lilac

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, ever-cheerful Lilac

Haha, every bit as fun as those old-fashioned flip books!