Archive for the ‘Project 365 2010’ Category

Good lordy, lordy, y’all!! I am behind and remiss! The trouble isn’t that I’ve stopped participating in Project 365. Heavens no! It’s that I haven’t been importing, editing, uploading, and then re-uploading my 365 photos here along with my standard long-winded and wordy descriptions of deep meaning and observation that I’m usually want to do.  

So to hell with that! I’m getting back on track and here’s my plan. I’m going to share some (not all) of the photos here to get us caught up. The days I skip I either didn’t get a picture or I didn’t a picture I like enough to be bothered with here. If I’m inspired, I might add a caption. If not, what you see is what it is!  

So without further ado, more of 365:  

From any angle, he's hot!


67-365_All That's Left -- Granddaddy was a house painter. At this point all his belongings are gone from the house. All that is left are these old cans of paint in the barn.


67-365_The Nut House -- This is where he (Granddaddy) spent much of his time. Doesn't look like much does it? But the name is apt.


72-365_Dinner Party -- Dinner parties are about the mix of people... and at the end of the night, the plates and the glasses should be empty!


74-365_Lil' Grandma's Lillys -- My great-grandmother, like my grandparents, lived next door. She planted these about 30 years ago and now they simply bloom every season and remind me of her.


77-365_A couple on the beach w dog -- Near St. Augustine; Ahh.. life is good!


78-365_couple on the beach with horses -- Marineland, Florida; seriously, doesn't this look like heaven?


78-365_couple on the beach with horses -- the original in color. Still looks like heaven to me!


79-365_Washington Oaks -- This is a Florida State Park. It was raining and overcast, where this shot was taken is literally steps from the intercostal waterway.


80365_Coquina outcropping -- on a beach near St. Augustine, these coquina outcroppings litter the beach. It is pretty much the same stone they built San Castillo fort out of in the 1500s. There's a lot more variety in Florida than most people realize.


81-365_conquina quarry ruin -- also coquina, this ruin is found near the the Amphitheatre. Not really sure what it was for, but it was like finding the lost ark when Mike and I stumbled upon it.


82-365_A Flagler Lion -- this terracotta sculpture flanks the gates of Flagler college (formerly Flagler hotel) in St. Augustine.


83-365_The Road Home -- me, driving the big ol' Dutch Star motor home!! A serious road machine!


84-365_The other side of the pond -- This is the pond I photograph all the time, from the opposite side. After our St. Augustine adventure, I was finally getting back to normal!


I’ll add the next twelve tomorrow and that will have me caught up!!  

Now, where’s that damn iPhone? I’ve still got to get a shot for today.


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As promised, this week is going to be truncated. Quick captions only my friends. So without further ado:  

Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010 — Where’d the water go?  

Water is the next war in Florida. Mike and I took the motorcycle out and found a great little restaurant on a lake a couple of towns over. Obviously, the lake is wayyyyyy down. Strange thing though, we’ve had record rain, plenty of moisture this year. No drought. The thing is though (shhhhhh) our local water management service struck several deals with local municipalities and the state to, in essence, rob our water and sell it to private bottling companies. And you know what they said when they struck the deal? Suckers.  

52-365_The Lake is down_Sun 022110


Monday, Feb. 22, 2010 — All small towns ‘ve got ’em.  

The local hairdresser. On any given night, on your way to you local watering hole, you’re gonna see some lady getting her hair fixed. I love this time of year though; you can see the front door’s open and the distinctive aroma of hairspray, coloring agents, perms, shampoos, conditioners, and the ever-present potpourri waft out the front door — along with the laughter.  

53_365_Small town hairdresser


Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2010 — A friend in need….  

I met a friend for drinks and to lend an ear tonight. Sometimes, a cluster-fuck shit storm reigns down on your head. And all you can do is trying to be a friend in deed.  

54-365 A friend in need


Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 — I like my bike  

I’ve always been a pretty frugal gal. I’m a Scot. So when I decided to take up biking to work about 15 years ago I went to my parents and dug out my brother’s old green Schwinn. The I wanted to start mountain biking and riding more single track so I found this old 21-speed Diamond Back at a yard sale for $100. It’s definitely showing its age, but damn this thing just rides good! Great gears!  

55-365_Bike_Wed 022410


Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 — Some things just ain’t right  

On Thursday Mike and I had to travel for business. Now we often end up in places like Utah or Texas or Kansas or Massachusetts. This time we ended up in St. Augustine. So, ya know, Florida right. Where I’ve lived all my life. And I have never, ever seen this. Look at the sales pitch on the back, then the license plate. How many customers could this possibly garner?  

56-365_Free Snow Removal


Friday, Feb. 26, 2010 — Yes, a beach in Florida  

I’m a real Floridian but I grew up in the interior of the state so I’m not really a “beach” girl. But if I was, this is my kind of beach. So many folks think of Florida’s beaches as Miami or Daytona (“The World’s Most Famous Beach!” Really?) But this is also a beach in Florida, one of many, and yes you can come here in high season and not see a freakin’ soul in either direction. This particular shot was taken just north of St. Augustine and just south of Ponte Verde (you know, where Tiger Woods gave his non-mea culpa).  

Pretty, ain’t it.  

57-365_Empty beach -- ahhhhh


Oh, and the beach is that color due to the fact that it is primarily made up of a particular type of crushed shell. Give a few weeks and I’ll be able to tell you why.  

57-365 -- shell sand


Saturday, Feb. 28, 2010 — Another view of Florida  

And just a few short miles away, is this — one of Florida’s hardwood hammocks. In this case, you can see a great example of a Scrub Oak. It’s actually a real oak tree but it get’s it’s stunted height and twisted shape from the abundance of salt in the air as well as the pretty much steady ocean breezes. Take an acorn from one of these, plant it farther inland, and you’ll end up with a pretty majestic looking oak. Here, it almost looks like the land of Dr. Seuss!  

58-365_Scrub Oaks


Well, that’s the week folks! I started getting sick the next day, pouted around the house, took a photo of my used kleenex, my computer, and the general disarray that I’d sunk in to. Pathetic. Bye-bye, Week 9! I’ll pick up next week!  

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll write something down worth reading. So for now, all my deep thoughts and revelation will have to remain sequestered in my stuffy brain.

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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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I know it seems like I haven’t been writing much for the past couple of weeks and that’s sort of true. You see, the thing is, I write for client’s and occasionally they would really like for me to concentrate on their priorities and well, ya know, not my own. Also, since in order to get the client’s I often have to write really long, tailored proposals I have to prioritize that writing over this. (Good news though, the proposal paid off! New client and a great project coming up for the next 6 months or so!!) And sometimes good clients who are just trying to either save money or believe that someone who knows subject matter is better than someone who knows how to write, call me up because they realized through experience that believing the latter can really screw up the former. In other words, their person wasn’t producing quality work and someone had to fix it. That someone, in this instance, is me. In between all of this I’ve had a couple of personal writing projects and, oh yeah, trying to have just a little bit of a life with my Beloved and my beloved friends. 

So, words, words, words have filled my head and my fingers but I have also endeavored to stay true to my camera and for the most part, am succeeding with only a minor hiccup or two here and there. 

First, this week’s Project 365 lessons: 

  1. When in doubt, whip it out! I caught a couple of really cool photos this week of things that I didn’t think were either going to work or that interesting. Not all of them made the cut here, but they are in my files and really, quite nifty.
  2. Personal integrity has to be monitored every f*#kin’ day. One day, I missed taking a photo and I swear the weirdest thought entered my mind — “Should I just use another photo from another day? I mean after all, I’m in the same damn places.” Good god, I scared myself. The answer is obvious, of course not! It’s a damn personal project for my own freakin’ enjoyment and growth! Yet there it was. Right in my head. Me — the fuckin’ paragon of integrity and virtue — and I’m having subversive thoughts. Fortunately, character won out but there’s an evil little imp still kicking in there somewhere. Gotta stay frosty.
  3. I love vistas. I didn’t realize how much I just love the way the world looks until one day I opened my “dumping” folder and saw shot after shot of horizons, scenery, trees, lakes, flowers, sticks, etc. Not many people in my photos. I wonder if it means anything?

 That said, without further ado, I present week four: 

Monday, Jan. 25, 2010 — A bad freakin’ day 

On Monday, I launched myself into a writing project that had been on my mind and climbing up my back for a while. I was on a roll too. The words and the story just flowed and I was IN THE ZONE! Bliss, I tell you. Bliss. Then, after four hours of so of total concentration, final spell check, grammar check, umpteenth proof read, review and approval by my Beloved I was ready to present the work for public consumption — AND MY COMPUTER ATE IT!! Actually, the on-line program I was working in ate it but never-the-less that sucker was gone for good. I raged. I actually cried. I went through the Five Stages of Grief, then finally accepted reality and realized I would have to start over the next day. Then to add insult to injury, I went to my karate class hoping to punch and kick my frustrations out only to remember that classes start an hour earlier the last week of the month. 

At that point, this was the only thing left to do. 

25-365 -- One of those days

Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010 — A night with the girls 

I have a fantastic friend in town and on occasion we call each other at the last-minute to meet at our local wine bar for drinks and chit chat. She and I are very similar in many ways and I just love hangin’ with her. On this particular night, her Mom and one of her mother’s friends were there, as was pretty much every mover and shaker in my little town. It seems that the local Historical Association, of which I used to be a board member, finally paid off a pretty big debt and was celebrating. There’s nothing like walking into your favorite haunt, surrounded by good friends and great acquaintances alike, and watching faces light up when they see you. I’m a lucky, lucky girl. 

The shot is another of my “candlelight through glass and liquid” shots. I don’t think I ever tire of this type of image and I have no idea why. 

26-365_A Night with the Girls

Another interesting thing about this evening — completely unprompted by me — my girlfriend’s and a couple of the other local ladies within earshot told me that they think my Beloved Mike is, in fact, hot. Not in the “oh, he’s a nice, responsible man” way, but in the “if we weren’t married and/or if he wasn’t married to you, we ladies would definitely take a carnal interest.” Shrieks of not-very-chaste and definitely un-“ladylike” laughter filled our little corner of the bar. Gotta tell ya something, I LOVE that. Now maybe someone else might be jealous or worried or insulted or, or, or who the fuck knows what unflattering and unpleasant emotions go through people’s minds, but not me. He IS hot. And I consider their comments nothing but a compliment to him and an ‘atta girl!” to me. 🙂 It’s also nice to be a full, functioning person sometimes and not have to keep a veneer of civility plastered to your face. Keep ’em comin’, ladies! 

Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010 — Glass Pond 

As promised, I’m going to probably end up with 30 to 40 shots of this particular pond just off my biking trail by the time the year is over. This morning, the temperature was in the mid-60s — a little cool but not cold — and the sky was a hazy overcast and the wind was completely still as I started to whoosh by this image. There was almost no one on the trail that morning and I was pretty much by myself the entire ride, passing only a few of the regulars. I ended up riding the bike a little way up the gravel trail in order to shoot the picture from a different angle and ended up hanging out there for about five minutes; but it felt like thirty. It was so completely still and almost silent (except for the damn constant traffic noise from the highway about half a mile away) that for a few minutes it seemed like time really did slow down. Awesome. 

27-365_Glass Pond

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010 — Uh, I got nuthin’ 

This was the day without a shot. I should have taken a photo of my pajama clad legs while I was sitting at my desk in front of my computer wondering how in the hell the person who had submitted the crappy script I was reading had the brass boobs to actually turn it in to her client and then CHARGE them for it. Oh. My. God. It was incomprehensible. It was grammatically and semantically a mess. It made no sense what-so-ever. I am still stunned but the sheer audacity of the piece of shit that the woman submitted with the phrase “I really have no idea what you’re looking for here.” How about competence? How about textual beauty? How about effectiveness at conveying concepts and fucking ideas? 

Anyway, there was noooooo picture. 

Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 — First Camellia 

Camellia’s are such a stereotypical Southern flower I knew when we finally landscaped our yard that I’d be including a variety or two. I’ve started with two plants of this white version. They are tucked under a sweeping Drake Elm and flank two massive Peace Lilly plants, who are currently struggling to recover from some nasty cold damage. The Lilly’s were covered, but those plants are just so tender….  The Camellia’s are also backed by a thick Viburnum hedge, next purple Ruellia, yellow Allamand, and close to a massive variegated Hibiscus. Towering above is 60′ – 70′ Lobloly Pine tree and a 40′ – 50′ Feather Palm that Mike and I planted as a pup. Add to the cacophony some variegated grasses, a huge Sago Palm, and a few other hardy weeds and a delicate little white flower about the size of my fist can get lost. But not this one. I spotted it across the damn lawn while I was zipping out on my bike that morning. There it was. White and proud and perfect. This little flower make my freakin’ day, I tell you. 

First Camellia of the season

Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010 — Lake Apopka, old Dock and Harbor 

I spent Saturday completely re-writing the aforementioned crappy script. I still had to go to the grocery store and get my nails done since Mike and I had an evening at a local club planned. Again, this scene is just on the other side of the block from us so I whipped down for a quick pic on my way to the salon. 

What you’re actually looking at here is a historic dock and harbor. In the 20s and 30s our little town was a very large producer of vegetables and citrus. Before the railway became, one of the primary ways to transport goods and people through Florida were the rivers and lakes. Fruit and vegetables would be loaded on to boats and small barges here, then transported north through a series of canals connecting Lake Apopka with the St. Johns River, and finally to the seaport in Jacksonville.   

And now it’s a park. Of course, there are a few folks who think we should tear out the little harbors because the City has to maintain them  — and because, oh my god, what if someone falls off the bridges? — but quite frankly, those people are idiots. Why we should destroy something so unique and beautiful becomes some cheap-ass bastards haven’t mastered the art of not falling down, I can’t imagine. I almost hope they do fall off the bridges where the alligators can at least solve part of my problem by removing them from my community. Of course, then some idiot will suggest we get rid of the poor ‘gators. Sheesh. 

30-365_ Lake Apopka harbor and walking bridge

Well, that’s the week folks! Hope you enjoyed view from my Dogged Pursuit of Happiness!

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And we’re still running with the Project 365 initiative! So far, I haven’t missed a day, but have come damn close; some photos look like they were shot at midnight for a reason. More lesson’s learned so far:  

  1.  There are wayyyyy more things to take pictures of than I ever realized. Beauty is abundant; interesting things are abundant; time is limitted. Take the fuckin’ picture anyway. This chance isn’t coming back. Same can be said of lots of things.  
  2. Many of the photos aren’t what they seem. There is way more to the story than I can, or in some cases want, to divulge. The same can be said of people.
  3.  iPhones take pretty good photos and I think its limitations helps to improve the shots. No zooming, no adjusting for light, no flash. The only thing that drives me nuts is it isn’t “point and shoot” in that there is a HUGE lag between “deciding” you want to take a picture of something the “shutter click.” I’ve been able to capture things that are still, but moments are elusive and often lost.

So without further ado — Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010  

We live in the perfect neighborhood in a practically perfect little town. I shot this one block from our house on the shore of Lake Apopka in Florida. (Side note — Lake Apopka is in the process of being renewed after years of pollution that almost killed the lake. A slow process, but an important one.) It’s a city park as well as the public boat ramp, the City auditorium, the City pool, etc. are all located right here. They have concerts in the park and shoot off the 4th of July fireworks from here every year.  

I took this at sunset looking across the boat ramp. Mike and I often come down here just to catch the sunset, which, by the way, you can also see out our front door.  

17-365 Lake Apopka, January Sunset_01-17-10

Monday Jan. 18, 2010  

A couple of blocks from our house, we have a “Rails to Trails” park where bike-riders, joggers, tri-athletes, etc. all come to enjoy making their bodies do something. In addition to running through the center of our little downtown, it has some GREAT scenic places as well.  

This is a little pond, just off the trail, with a gravel running/walking path around it. It’s winter and right after a recent freeze so the plants are barely hanging in there. This was the first day this year I was able to get back out there on my bike. I usually ride 5 or 6 days a week, so expect to see something like this a lot as the seasons change.  FYI – there are plenty of alligators in this pond as well! Thanks to being in Florida and Lake Apopka just a few hundred yards away, it’s wise to keep your eyes peeled around here!  

18-365_West Orange Trail Pond_01-18-10

Tuesday Jan 19, 2010  

 Same pond, next day. a little earlier.  Like I said, get used to seeing this one.  

19-365_West Orange Trail Pond_01-19-10

 On another note, the bike ride is part of my fitness routine but also part of my spiritual and relationship routines as well. Mike and I usually ride together unless one of us is unavailable and on this morning, it was just me. On these days, it really is about soaking it all in — experiencing the air, the day, the thoughts that come and go, the ideas, the emotions, the memories. 

Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010 

I’m very lucky to travel for my work and to work at some of the coolest places and with some of the most interesting people. I had to go to Miami to review a script with a client. This shot was taken in the courtyard between the Museum of History, the Museum of Art, and the Library. FYI – This piece is a collage, not a painting and it is over 30 feet tall. The sun was setting and the colors jumped off the wall. I didn’t do any color tweaking here.  

2-365_Outside the Miami Art Museum_012010

 Just as a reference, here’s a picture I took in early December of the same piece but at a different time of day. Check out my Honey, lower center and slightly to the right.  

A big-ass piece of art... right out there for God and everybody to see. Dec. 2009

 Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010

I have a favored friend who graciously allows me to come to her home from time to time to socialize, talk politics, sex, and money and just hang out with a real cool group of friends. The gal in the photo is a bonus. The daughter of one of my friends, I’m pleased to think of her as my friend as well. She is an amazing young woman with a true gift for photography. And cool, funky hair. And she plays a mean game of cards. Don’t be fooled, this girl is a bad-ass.   

21-365_A Friend_012110

  Friday, January 22, 2010 

This is one of those nights when I didn’t stop to take a picture during the day and ended up with self-portraiture. This is a partial photo of the tattoo on my thigh. I gave the artist one of my old acting headshots and told him what I wanted — me as the Grim Reaper. If you want to know more of the story, read here. I LOVE my tattoo.   

22-365_My Tattoo - CU - greywash -- Classic_012210

 PS — If you’re one of those annoying souls who can’t look at a tattoo — a permanent and in my case beloved piece of art forever and happily attached to my body — and not utter the dumbass phrase “I usually don’t like tattoos but….” please STFU. Would you look a person in the face and say “ya know, I usually don’t care for red hair and freckles but they’re OK on you.” Jeezus.  Future tip for you folks: if someone proudly shows you something and you don’t prefer it, smile and say something along the lines of “My, that’s really interesting.” If you’re feeling particularly gracious add something like “Tell me about it.” Honest to goodness, you’d think some people were born in a freakin’ barn.  

Saturday, Jan 23. 2010  

The story behind this bird bath is, like so many things, too long to tell here. But to sum up: we found it, in pieces, laying in the yard when we bought our house eleven years ago. It was just broken, cheap, gray concrete and we could have replaced it for about $15 dollars. Instead, we bought $30 worth of concrete adhesive, another $25 – $30 of concrete stain, and I put that sucker back together and stuck it in the yard for the birds. Now that we’ve COMPLETELY RENOVATED OUR HOME AND YARD, creating the Southern Living home of my dreams, the cheap-ass bird bath is where? Right in the place of honor — proudly centered in front of the front-freakin’-door. Oh, and it’s broken again. When the guys were putting in the new sod they knocked it over and broke the basin off the pedestal. Right now, it’s just balanced up there. But the birds love it. No taste, those freakin’ birds.  

23_365_The Birdbath_012310

    Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010 

Another find. This Staghorn Fern is enormous. It’s about seven feet across and about 18′ – 20′ in diameter. It, too, we found lying neglected in the yard when we bought the house. We made a new hoist for it (you can see a little bit of the chain to the left of the lower hole) and hung it from one of our Oak trees. Again, the local fauna can’t leave things alone. The holes you see were actually put there by the squirrels; basically, they’re created a nice, home-y, comfy condo for themselves in there, the little bastards. The fact that it looks like a face and that face appears to be saying “Hey, uh, Stasha, go fix me a sandwich” is just icing on the cake.  

24-365_Staghorn Face_012410

And that’s it, Ladies and Gents! Another week in the life! There were lots of other photos that didn’t make the cut but I want to leave you with one bonus from my self-portrait session. I was trying to take a picture of my neck, chest and the piece of costume jewelry I was wearing but it wasn’t turning out the way I hoped. But then I noticed the bruise on my left breast in this picture and yes, it’s an example of what I was talking about in my last post, put there by one of my karate partners. if you look closely, you can also see one near my collar bone. Little badges of honor.  

Project 365 reject - Cheap jewelry -- but the shot is cool for other reasons.

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