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Archive for February, 2010

So we continue on with last weeks Project 365 that I’m combining with a little of the essay writing I want to accomplish. By God, I’m going to get this stuff on pixels!!

Moving on…..

Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010 – More than the eye can see    

So I spent Monday with my head in the old books, working on a post that isn’t quite ready, and realizing how much of who I was (though I’ve moved on from and discarded much of it) still impacts who I am in, I think, I very positive way. When someone talks about sexism, racism or religious dogma, I never tell them they don’t know what they’re talking about or worse that it doesn’t exist. I also have a tremendous compassion for the sexist, racist, and dogmatic religious “nut” because I have a deep understanding of how they got that way. Moreover, I fiercely love those very same sexists, racists, and dogmatic nuts. Then I realized I hadn’t taken a photo and started looking around my house. I didn’t make the connection until I chose the shots but here it is — my house (like my life) is much more than it seems when you know a little more about the pieces and how I got them.    

The grand piano is on “permanent” loan from my mother, the art hanging on the walls was a second-hand find. The candelabra on the piano were a wedding gift from a friend of my mothers who was the pianist in the first church I remember as a baby and my first piano teacher. The photos in the frames are (on the left) my father’s parents and family and on the right, Mike’s father and grandfather. I think, like me, it all works pretty well together. It certainly is “my style.” But is, in fact, pretty much a representation of me, a collection of ideas and things, modified and redefined to hopefully create something warm and beautiful.     

You’ll also notice there isn’t a lot of clutter. I’m ruthless about getting rid of things that are ugly or serve no purpose, that clutter up my home and give the place a cramped or oppressive air. I’m apparently the same way about ideas, and in fact, even people. People that bring ugliness into my life are out or at least limited in the amount of time and space they are allowed to take up.

I am delighted to receive plenty of compliments on how my home looks and feels; I also get plenty of positive encouragement from friends about who I am, the me they see, and the person I try very hard to be. My favorite of all, though, are people who come into my house and say “Wow. It’s so beautiful and so comfortable. I just feel great here!” But it’s understanding the back story, knowing how and why it got that way, that gives the space (and people, IMHO) depth and meaning.   

47-365_Not what it seems_Tues-02-16-10

 

  Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2010 – I miss you G’anny   

My father’s mother (G’anny) was quite different than my mother’s mother (Granny). Where Granny was active in the church, G’anny was pretty much a recluse. Where Granny held vices like smoking, dancing, and high-falutin’ TV shows in great contempt, G’anny smoked like a chimney and whiled away her nights watching Lawrence Welk or reading The National Inquirer. I wrote a post about her here.   

She was sad and morose and it wasn’t until long after her death that I started to get to know her though her diaries and long misunderstood family stories. As a young woman she worked, danced, and partied. After she married she amputated that part of herself with alcohol, drugs, and self-isolation.   

In this photo, from left to right, are a small cigarette holder (with a pink rose); a green perfume bottle along with an embroidered pocket ashtray, and a compact/lipstick combination set on a vanity mirror. Behind it is a brass ashtray. continuing to the right is a collection of her Zippo lighters, including one in a box that belonged to her brother, Uncle Buddy, that he carried in WWII. Reflected in the blown glass of the china hutch, you can see my mother’s piano and the candelabra.  

Like Andrew’s dual image painting from yesterday’s post, this is a dual photo that represents dual people. G’anny — who she really was vs. who I was allowed to see, but also her life — stifled and isolated, wanting glamor and experience but ending up with a form of benign self-destruction — and my life, that I believe was, prior to the Dogged Pursuit, on an oddly on a similar path. Not the self-destruction part, but the isolation. It was sneaking up on me as daily I had been letting go of or cutting off the things that brought me joy (like dancing) or filling my house and life with people and things that didn’t lift me up, but rather brought me down.
 
48-365_I Miss You Ganny_Wed-0-17-10

 

Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010 — Just Dance  

So the next night we went to listen to a new band that Mike is playing with to check out the location. Loved it!! We got dressed in our sexy attire and headed out. This band is fantastic, uber-professional, and Mike, awesome rock-god that he is, is gonna be first sub on lead guitar.  

The song playing when I snapped this pic was “Just Dance,” and within moments the dance floor was so crowded I wouldn’t have been able to take the picture any later. I love the blond woman in the upper right. She looked like she was in her late 40s or early 50s. In fact, there was a dance group there that night, people who can REALLY freakin’ dance, whose ages appeared to range from mid-30s to 70 or better. And these people got down and rockin’ to every song from hip-hop to hard rock, Madonna to Santana, Prince to Lady Gaga. Those people haven’t given up on the sexy, touchy, funky life.   

But here’s the thing — I spent the whole night watching the band, watching people dance, watching, watching, watching. I mentioned my G’anny earlier. In her youth she went to juke joints, she got out there, she DANCED! The she got married, and she quit; hell, for all I know she never even went to watch anymore.  Her spirit shriveled and died long before her body gave out and God knows she was doing everything she could to wreck her body too. Her life wasn’t easy either. She was institutionalized, she received electric-shock treatments, she was ostracized and isolated. In less charitable moments people have suggested she was just a bad, selfish woman, a drunk and a druggie. When people are remembering her with a little more compassion they say maybe she was depressed, maybe she was an addict, maybe she was bi-polar. 

Personally, I think maybe she just wanted to go dancing. 

49-365_Just Dance_Thurs 02-18-10

 To be continued…..

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Once again another week has gone by and as I started putting this together I was just generally annoyed; I have posts started, but not finished. Moreover, I’ve been experiencing a general feeling of disconnectedness but with a thread holding it all together that I just can’t follow. So I was planning to start this post with a colossal whine of “what the fuck is wrong with me?” But then, a strange thing happened….
 
I do my Project 365 a little differently than most folks who take and post a shot every day. Instead, I take photos all week, store them in a single folder, then on one day go through them and pick out my faves. On most days, I’ll have pictures from various events throughout the day — e.g. morning bike ride, lunch, evening out. I remember all of the events very clearly (Something I didn’t do very well before I started this Project.) and a memory of something beyond the image comes through. Once I have the memory, I select my top seven shots to post up on the Project 365 Flickr group. For here though, I’ll sometimes add an additional photo that helps me tell part of the story.
 
Now I’m ready to start on this page. First, I add the photos without any text. One by one they go into the gallery all the while the individual stories are taking shape in my mind hopefully to soon go into the post. This time, like when you look at one of those posters of dots that if you stare at it just right becomes a 3-D image, this weeks theme suddenly appeared. I’m not going to label it, but instead just let the stories and the images work together, like their own conversation.
 
Many of you know that I’m fascinated by why we are the way we are. I’m not sure about you, but over the past few years I’ve realized that I’ve lived most of my life on a default setting, holding values placed there by my family who loved me, the culture I grew up in, the groups I chose to join, and just generally the turns my life took. That’s not to say I hold the same opinions now that I did when I was thirteen, but I can see a deeper imprint now.
 
FYI – this is going to be at least a two-part series since as I started writing the paragraphs around the pictures it became quite long. So today, I’m going to break it up and maybe in the future I’ll do the same thing — combine a little more writing with the images. We’ll see.
 
So with that said, Week 7 —
 
Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010 — Art and artists
 
Most of our friends are artists of some type — actors, musicians, painters, writers — and it’s something I often take for granted. About a year ago we made friends with a couple (real names — Andrew and Brigan) both visual artists whose works hang in galleries around the country, and as usual, found that we fit with these folks. We get them, they get us, and when we get together there isn’t any of the tension that arises when you’re trying to squash part of yourself that you know the other person will find offensive or take objection too. It’s most obvious when I’m around my extended family, with whom I quit fitting in years ago but still love.
 
But even with the artists I know that I am a “dual person” with a  public and private face, acceptable and unacceptable beliefs and behaviors to be revealed and withheld depending on the situation. Most of us know that about ourselves.  But I’m also a dual person in a “before and after” sense and this line is constantly shifting with me. If you would have asked the Stasha of last January a question, you would have gotten one sincere and completely truthful answer; if you asked that same question of me today, the answer would be completely different, yet still sincere and truthful.
 
So Andrew had new show installed at a local gallery and was hosting a talk. It’s a clear departure of his previous work and to me, shows that his life in general is moving forward. The overall theme of this collection is conversations and obstacles. The photo below is a small corner of a much larger work. There are actually two images of the same woman in this picture — one of a woman in a white shirt sitting on a couch, head raised and tilted back, both arms down by her sides, the other image occupies the exact same space and the same lower body, but her head is laying on the back of the couch, and he left arm is draped over the back of the couch as well. In both views the woman’s naked legs are spread revealing simple, white underpants. In either view, she is still exposed to the viewer. 
One person, two realities in the same space, a constant conversation between who I am, who I was, and who I want to be, open to the world.
That’s how I feel almost every moment of every day.

44-365_Andrew's Art_a constant conversation_Sat 02-13-10

That same day Mike and I went to see another group of artists — a play at a local theatre that a friend of our was in. The show was The Fantastix and if you’re not familiar with it, in a nutshell it’s the story of how real life and its struggles enrich the lives of two idealistic and romantic young lovers.     At the theatre that night, I saw an old friend; an actor and an artist I’ve known for twenty years who could tell you more about real life than you probably want to know. He’s a gifted artist who has, in his lifetime, spent time on the ragged edge (sometime slipping over) of homelessness, alcoholism, drug addition, and a host of other addictions. He’s been in love with some wonderful and not-so-wonderful women. He has done things that have made angels both laugh and cry. He has truly flirted with the devil in many, many respects. He is, I think, what the play tried to be. He is also a great example of Andrew’s work as well, an ongoing conversation between who we are, and who we choose to be.

I love you, Jazz.    

Jazz and me_Another artist, an old friend

 Sunday, February 14, 2010 — A tribute to Tom Waits    

Valentine’s Day found Mike and I at a fantastic event. A very successful artist in our area hosts concerts in his home once a month. Basically, he opens his house to whoever shows up, for free, and only asks that the guests bring a bottle of wine to share, don’t make a mess, and stay out of his wife’s kitchen. This evening was a tribute to Tom Waits, a writer/musician who gets the notion that we are all both tough and fragile at the same time. This night about 200 people showed up.    The shot below was taking from the loft looking down on the “stage.” In the upper right is another friend of ours is on lead guitar, wearing a pork pie hat.    The energy of that night was phenomenal! Moreover, it is an example of what I’d been missing for years. Speaking of before and after, a few years ago Mike and I sort of defaulted into a pretty boring routine. We didn’t go out, didn’t seek the experience we wanted to have, didn’t engage with the world the way we wanted to. The bad part of this is that we’d find ourselves on the couch on a Saturday night at 9:30pm, contemplating not only going to bed but where the heck the time was going.        

I started The Dogged Pursuit in part to figure out why I wasn’t happier with my seemingly idyllic life but also to rediscover those things that I’d lost or never fully embraced. Let me tell you something, folks, this is a huge part of it. I love going out; I love music and dance and art and people and experiences and energy and life and I wasn’t fucking living it. Heck, WE weren’t living it.        

It’s actually one of the most interesting things I’m discovering about my Beloved and I, and a huge part of our before and after. I used to think in my head that “he, due to his “introverted nature,” was holding me back from all I wanted to do. Bullshit. I was holding us back. I am the spark of the Mike/Stasha unit. He is the engine. And while my Dogged Pursuit of Happiness is intrinsically tied to him, it works best when I am looking forward, not backwards or sideways, and he is doing the same.          

45-365_A Tribute to Tom Waits_Sunday 02-14-10

  Monday, Feb. 15, 2010 — Legacy

Most of you know by now that I’m a book nut, a word nerd, and lover of learning and language. Knowledge shapes who we are, molds our beliefs, and ultimately makes us who we are. So if you want to know why someone is a certain way or believes a certain thing, you’d be wise to read what they read and when they read it. It is especially important when you consider the people who made you who you are, who set your “default settings” so to speak. In my case, my parents, grand-parents, and the deeply religious and Southern community in which we lived.      

The books below all belonged to my Granny, or  my Mama’s mama. In this photo — and you can barely see it due to my cropping — the books are resting on a hand-pieced and hand stitched quilt that she made from various scraps of worn out clothing, gauging from the patterns and fabrics, sometime in the early 60s or 70s. That quilt is part of her legacy to me. Also in the photo is one of her necklaces (she didn’t have much jewelry) and a pair of earings that think (hope) my Granddaddy gave her. By today’s standards, he wasn’t a great husband but, by the standards put out in these books, she was a pretty good wife. Which is really quite sad.     

I have a whole post I’m working on dedicated to these books but let me give you a quick tour. The green cover in the upper right is titled Fighting the Traffic in Young Girls: or the War on the White Slave Trade.  The opening paragraph reads “By the white slave trade is meant commerce in white woman and girls for wicked purposes. Most of it’s history cannot be written, for two reasons: That these crimes are kept secret as far as possible, and that they are so revolting that their details cannot be published and ought not to be read anywhere outside of the bottomless pit.”

Moving clockwise, the next book is Sweet Smelling Myrrh which is essentially a vile story of emotional, physical, spiritual abuse presented as an example of a woman’s true place and a virtuous life. Granny believed this to her core. Build up your treasures in heaven, accept all suffering, bear all injustice because God’s decided you get nothing but a shitstorm here.        

Growing Up and Liking It was well-intentioned and probably pretty progressive then, but it’s comical now if you know better. Trouble was, I didn’t know better. Shit, I didn’t know this much ’cause I was never even given this messed up book.        

But the most disturbing is the book open in the center. It is titled A History of the People of the United States and is a text book. On its delicate and fragile pages are notes and names of friends scrawled in the margins as well as questions and homework assignments. She studied this book. She was tested on it. She (and the rest of her friends and family) were graded on her understanding and knowledge in this book. It teaches with authority about the War of Seccession, the brutal occupation and dismantling of the South, the social and political disorder created when mentally inferior Negros (who were loved like children and pets) were unfortunately released into a society they couldn’t comprehend or contribute to. The injustices committed by the North and Northerners are detailed and reviled. Some of the headings in this chapter are:  “The Bravery of the Southern Woman,” “Actual Distress of the People,” and “The Faithfulness of the Slave,” the latter of which waxes nostalgic about how the faithful Negro would follow (as if he had a choice) his master in to the field of battle, rejoicing in the Confederate army’s victories and sharing his master’s sorrow at defeat, and if necessary, bear his lifeless body home to his kin. At home the faithful Negros left behind would protect the master’s women, children and other property while ensuring as best he or she could the prosperity of the old homeplace.        

Now I ask you, if this is what you believe, and this is what you teach your children who in turn teach it to their children, and everyone you associate with believes the same thing, and your understanding of God backs up your belief as not only accurate but Devine and Ordained, would you be surprised to find out a mere generation later is still pretty fucked up?        

More on this particular legacy another day.        

46-365_A legacy_Monday 02-15-10

 To be continued……

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Ay, yi, yi, my sweet duckies! How I so want to write, to post, to tell stories, to convey observations, say something – anything witty, to grow in my writing and my life!! But alas, I am running out of fucking time every fucking week and it’s driving me mad!!!
 
OK. Here’s the thing. I took up a whole shitload of activities I wanted to do this year and I’m actually having a problem because I seem to be keeping my non-New Year’s Resolutions. Project 365 is more fun that I imagined it would be. Those of you who’ve said “yeah, I’d like to do it next year” I highly recommend it. Hell, start this year. Me and my handy little iPhone with my little Windows Picture Manager program are having a ball. But Mike and I also committed ourselves to going out more AND to staying in more. Seems like a contradiction you say? Oh no, my lovies. We are going to shows, events, making new friends and enriching established friendships. But we are also working on throwing more dinner parties, saying “yes” to impromptu invitations, and just getting off the damn couch and out of the house. To make it even more interesting, for some wonderful reason, our business appears to be picking up after a definitely slower 2009. We spent Wednesday at our accountant’s place and she informed us that not only are we doing pretty good relative to her other clients, we’re doing pretty good relative to anyone’s clients. We love that. It’s easy to lose sight of success when you’re hip deep in the day-to-day work of putting food on the table.
 
Mike has also picked up a gig with a new band and has spent pretty much 3 – 4 hours a day for the last month learning about 200 new songs and styles. Have I mentioned that the man is an amazing guitar player? Yes? Well, he is. The new band is a dance club/top-40 band and in the past he’s pretty much been a classic rock and blues guy.
 
But there’s no time to write. And worse, I find myself jealous of people who can. I have one friend in particular (who is probably reading this and babe, I love you dearly, take this as evidence of simply one more of my personal shortcomings that I WILL overcome) but I’m growing nutty jealous of her. She has a blog and has tons of followers. I know. I’m a small, petty person. I swear to christ. I could write ten stories each for all of my photos, but I’m lucky to get in a paragraph or two each Saturday. I engage with other bloggers and they inspire great ideas, things I want to say, and I’ve started but haven’t had time to finish at least 4 a week.  These same folks inspire me to participate in whatever they are specializing in, and I can’t. There are simply too many cool things to do in the world and too much experience.
 
So dear readers, if I seem a bit disjointed lately, please forgive me. I’ll try to settle in to something soon; to bring some coherence to my prose and my pictures, but for now, there are not themes, just disconnected moments.
 
Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010 — How do you like them apples?
 
I’m one of those “healthy eater” types. Organic foods, real cooking, etc. etc. One of the things I’ve discovered, much to my dismay, is that if you want to find REAL food, with real variety, in real quantities you have to go to ethnic grocery stores. Forget Whole Foods or the over-priced and out-of-the-way “organic” stores, the place to be is Hispanic markets. My local Publix might have an anemic display of 2 varieties of apples and maybe some “grown in Peru” veggies. These folks have aisles, AISLES I tell you, of pretty much any type of fruit or veg you can imagine. The meats are butcher shop quality. And the inner-aisle pre-packaged foods are small with choices. You can buy rice, flour, and other staples by the 20 lb bag here. Almost everything has a short shelf life which means fewer preservatives.
And damn, don’t it just look good?!

38-365_How do you like them apples?

 

 Monday, Feb. 8, 2010 — My Thai 

I just loves me some Thai food! We usually eat lunch at this place once a week or so and there are more cool things about it than meets the eye. First, it’s owned by a friend of ours and his wife. He is still a working actor and maintains a theme park contract (good $$) as well as working around the country in films and television. The guy definitely has a can-do, entrepreneurial spirit and the food (thanks to his Thai wife and her fantastic restaurant management skills) is outstanding, not to mention very well priced. Soup, salad, and this “lunch sized” portion costs $6.95. Awesome! 

Most of the restaurants Mike and visit do have a theme I guess. They are all pretty much mom and pop places. First, the food is usually freshly prepared by people who have a personal connection to the quality. Second, the money stays in the community, which we love. Third, we love knowing the chef and owners of the places we frequent on a first name basis. It makes every meal out feel more special. 

39-369_Pad Thai

 

 Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010 — Monet, Monet? Mais non. 

This is a real photo of real water. Tuesday night we went down to our local watering hole where, as we were walking in, I remembered I hadn’t taken a photo for the day. With my trusty iPhone I snapped a few pictures of our downtown’s focal point fountain (see the shot below) and decided to try to take a picture of some of the coins in the water. I quickly realized it was futile because a) it was so dark, the iPhone was using a maddeningly slow shutter speed and b) I couldn’t hold the camera still anyway because my hands were cold and c) the water was splashing pretty intensely creating lots of turbulence in the pool. 

When I loaded the shots into the computer, I was going to delete this one. Then I decided to open it up and realized how much it reminded me some of the art I’d recently written about for a client. It really isn’t Monet-like Impressionism because there is no discernible “form” or image for your mind to put together. Neither is it truly Modern art in that I wasn’t “trying” to get away from a standard photo. Never the less, the result to me looks like a bastardized form of Modern Art mixed with 1920s Impressionism. And all by accident.  

40-365_The WG Fountain -- Water

 

  

The shot right before the water picture-- Winter Garden Fountain at night with iPod

 

 Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010 — It’s a horse, of course. 

Wednesday was the day with our accountant who happens to be from my hometown in Ocala, about an hour or so away from us. She is also my parent’s accountant and they were her first client when she put out her shingle 25 years ago. Just a little small-town info for you there. 

After our meeting we toddled downtown for lunch where I took the following photo. This is actually a close up of a piece of public art. All over town, are these cool painted horse pieces, five of them are downtown on the Square, each painted by a different local artist. I pretty much loved them all but this one stuck out because of the shot. It’s art within art. Get close enough, and it becomes its own thing. That’s how I’ve pretty much started seeing a lot of the pictures I take. Yeah, some are vistas or clearly shots of some “thing” or some “where.” But this one, and the one from the previous night become something else entirely with a new perspective. Love that. 

41-365_Street Art Ocala -- art within art

This is the horse. The previous shot was taken from the other side.

 

Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010 — Curves of any sort thrill me. 

Just had to run down to the guitar store will quick with Mike so he could confer on some new modifications on some of his guitars. Again, it’s a local place, right around the corner from the Thai Restaurant, The Attic (our watering hole), Sweet Traditions (our local French restaurant), The Chef’s Table (our high-end dining place where I’m totally fucking intimidated because we’ve invited the owners — who happen to also be motorcycling friends of ours — to our house for a dinner party. Yikes!!) as well as the local Italian place (conservative Christian owned, so you can’t have a glass of vino with your meal but the food is still pretty darn good) and Mooncricket Grill where you can drink 99 varieties of beer and get your name on the wall.  

Anyway, while Mike was doing his thing I was doing mine. I love curves. I love guitars. I love music. 

42-365_Guitar Store Curves

Friday, Feb. 12, 2010 — Another horse? Yep! 

This piece sits in front of one of our client’s museums. It’s an awesome piece by itself but what I love about it (and this shot) is that the horse sculpture is made from driftwood; dead remains of live things. In this piece, it’s been recreated into an image, a shadow really of a real thing. Add in the background of massive living Live Oaks, and well, I just freakin’ love it. 

43-365_Horse sculpture - redux 

So there isn’t really a theme anywhere. Nothing clear cut, that is. It’s just a collection of times, places, and events and the only thing stringing them all together is how I happened to see them (or not) on that particular day. 

I promise, I’m going to prioritize getting something written this week. I mean it. I freakin’ swear.

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Oh yes, I seem to be enamored with pseudo-statistics this week. Still slammed with work and family obligations but never-the-less, I occasionally visit a blog or watch the news or have a freakin’ conversation with someone who spends a LOT of time pulling stats out of their ass to make a specious point. Of course, more annoying to me lately are the folks who waste no time at all with inventing, twisting, or misapply-ing information so that it fits their purposes, these folks simply go straight to “…. therefore ALL men are assholes” or “….. ergo ALL women are bitches” or “…. the evidence suggests that ALL conservatives are obviously heartless dolts” or “…. it’s clear that ALL progressives or stupid twits” or, or, or FOR THE LOVE OF FUCKIN’ CHRIST, BUDDHA, HITCHENS OR WHO-THE-HELL-EVER CAN YOU PLEASE SHUT THE FUCK UP?!  And as soon as you (in this case me) point out the fallacy of the argument with a “just because all poodles are dogs it doesn’t mean that all dogs are poodles” right after their sweeping generalization, they will quickly add “and whoever disagrees with my point of view, IN ITS ENTIRETY, IS EVIL INCARNATE.”  

Sorry, dear readers. I am weary today. Weary of those who are willing to sacrifice achieving a worthy goal by requiring anyone and everyone who may have a slightly or greatly different view to admit that they and everyone like them is wrong, before we can get to work moving closer to real solutions for real problems — federal government, local government, cultural awareness, health and happiness of our fellow-man (and yes, I mean women too — [sigh] — you dolt.).  

OK. Rant over!!! Moving on to this weeks Project 365 which produced much joy and counteracted the rampant negativity that I bumbled into all week. Lessons:  

  1. Some days are smorgasboards of fabulous-ness! Images everywhere!! Now, to be fair, I go to some pretty cool places and live in pretty cool community. However, it was “the looking” that helped me see it. A lot of times this week, I didn’t think I had it in me to see anything beautiful or interesting; but I looked, and there it was.
  2. I really need to start using both of my camera’s more. I’m relying too heavily on my iPhone, which is great since it’s pretty much always with me, but I could have had better results this week with a better tool. Yes, it can be a pain to carry it, but seriously, is it really such a big deal to carry something the size of two decks of cards?
  3. I tried and failed to add more people to my shots this week. I’ll try again in the future.

Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010 — A trip to the movies  

Mike and I decided to go see “Sherlock Holmes” on Sunday (BTW – we loved it) which is pretty rare for us. A) We’re not big movie buffs, B) We have a stupidly large TV at home and C) We usually have other things we’d prefer to do. When we do go, it’s most often to our local, old-fashioned movie theatre where there’s no “stadium seating” but you can get a glass of cheap wine and cheese plate for your snacks OR we drive about 45 minutes to the art-house movie theatre. This time, we went to the massive multiplex at one of our local theme parks. It took almost as long to park the car and walk to the theatre as it did to drive there from our house.  

31-365_Parking_Sun-01-31-10

  Monday, Feb. 1, 2010 — St. Augustine Lighthouse  

I love lighthouses. I like the fact that they are guidepoints, watch-towers, and generally static symbols of good-will. “You know where you are, Seafarer, because you know where I am; and you are not alone.” I like this particular shot because it reminds me of fractals and their mathematical beauty. I also didn’t color correct or alter this shot. It really IS black and white.  

32-365_St Augustine Lighthouse -- Interior

 It’s been awfully rainy and overcast this week and as a rule, I hate cloudy, gray days. Gimme the sunshine! But again, for this shot, I really liked that it was overcast. You need a guiding light when the way is obscured or when you’re lost, not when it’s sunny and clear and you know exactly where you are.  

32-365_St Augustine Lighthouse -- Gray Day

 Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010 — Lake Apopka, Blue Sky Day  

Finally! A pretty day so off I dash to the lake. Lake Apopka, as well as being madly polluted, is also very shallow, about 12′ or so at its deepest point. Over time, he pollution caused the vegetation to die off and created a very thick layer (about 6′ – 8′ in some places) of muck. The muck robbed the lake of oxygen and subsequently, killed off most of the fish. In addition to the general pollution from fertilizers, mostly phosphorous which used to cause the center of the lake to have an eerie green glow, some of the pollutants are endocrine-inhibitors and, oddly, started to affect the gender of the alligators in the lake. At one point, almost all the ‘gators were female. Strange, but true.  

With the slow process of recovery, it’s getting better, but the lake color is still of course, totally dependent on the sky. Blue sky = blue water. Cloudy sky = brown or gray water. The gators are still green.  

33-365_Lake Apopka -- Clear Day

  Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010 — The Battle Zone  

Here it is folks, the battle zone. The way it is with me and my body is really more like a détente, not so much like a signed declaration of peace. Basicly from the butt down and the tits up, I’m thrilled. But the enemy combatants tend to hang out around my stomach and waist. Grrrr…. Never-the-less, I fight on!!  

34-365_The Battle Zone

 Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010 — A typical night on the town  

About once a week, when the weather is nice, Mike and I take the motorcycle the few blocks to our downtown area to grab a glass of wine or beer and have a little snack. This year, the City leaders decided to leave half of the Christmas lights up in the trees. You see, in a down economy, our little downtown is a festive and cheery place to be. Every Friday and there’s a free concert of some sort by the fountain; almost ever Saturday has some type of festival or show; the restaurants, cafe and bars are all great places to just hang out. Now there was some grumbling down at the City Commission meetings by some of the citizens bitching about leaving the lights up. Some folks said “it was an irresponsible waste of money by the City,” others that “it ruined the specialness of Christmas.” Fortunately, those idiots lost out and we have an even prettier downtown district.  

Oh, and the path between the trees is part of our Bike Trail, where we ride our bikes most mornings.   

  

This is actually where we were heading — The Attic Door. As usual, we weren’t there more than a few minutes before friends and neighbors showed up, just like a classier, sexier version of Cheers! They also just doubled their space and added a breakfast and lunch service in the new area. Awesome!  

34-365_The Attic Door

  Friday, Feb., 5, 2010 — Believed it or not, a playground  

 I spent Friday with Mama continuing to clean out and sort the stuff and Granddaddy and Granny’s house so it and it’s contents can be put up for auction. Again, a gray and rainy day, as I was leaving I decided to swing by here. It’s hard to see but in the background of this shot is one of the Southern Baptist churches we attended when I was a kid and this is the Graveyard attached to the church. I can’t tell you how many hours we spent playing in this cemetary. Sunday mornings after service and before dinner-on-the-grounds, Sunday night after evening service, Tuesday after prayer meeting, Wednesday during and after choir practice, Thursday after RA’s and GA’s (Royal Ambassadors for the boys and Girl Ambassadors for the girls), most Friday’s had a church social or other special music event. Only Saturday’s and Monday’s weren’t spent here. You had to be rigorous to prevail against the Devil.   

36-365_Cemetary = Playground

 This is actually who I went to see — my great-uncle, Hilton. He was Granddaddy’s baby brother. Uncle Hilt gave me my first ever ride on a motorcycle when I was 5 or 6, he taught me to hunt and fish (neither of which I do anymore), he threw me in to more lakes, rivers, streams, and reserviors than I can count. He was a career military man and retired a Master Sargent Major from the US Army where he served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. At 5’5″, he wasn’t a big guy but his nickname was Bull. To entertain himself, well in to his sixties he would walk into a bar, throw a $50 bill on the table and yell “I’ve got $50 bucks that says I can whip any man’s ass in here.” To my knowledge, he never lost that bet. I miss him almost as much as Granddaddy. 

36-365_Uncle Hilton -- an American Bad-ass

Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010 — The Lady Windsor  

Saturday morning, after our usual bike ride, Mike and I are hanging out at the local French café sipping coffee when some friends show up with their delightful Corgi, Windsor AKA Winnie. Lady Windsor is sporting a Valentine’s theme of red hearts with various shades of pink tulle. She prefers to sit in a chair so that it’s easier for her subjects (e.i. the rest of the world) to hand feed her tasty bite-sized morsels of croissants and tarts.  

37-365_The Lady Windsor

  And that’s the week folks! I’m so glad it ended with Winnie. I mean, she would never make the dumb-ass argument that since all Corgis are dogs all dogs must be Corgis. Even she’s smarter than that and she’s just a little dog. I would so much rather spend my time with her, than some of the people who I know.  

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