Monthly Archives: June 2012

Barn Spotting

Last week while traveling through Tennessee and Kentucky we spotted many different and wonderful barns – some for tobacco others for hay, but they all expressed their personalities in different ways.

One of Those Mornings

There are days that choose not to begin easily. This was one of those where getting dressed created a challenge.

Take the Greyhound, Do people still travel by bus?

The Greyhound bus terminal in Jackson, Tennessee is one of the few original 1930’s art deco terminals in the U.S.  Driving this weekend to see it, I was first struck that the white bus with the San Antonio sign wasn’t blue and silver . No sign of a dog on either side.The building glowed and portraying it as I pictured it on a postcard from the past seemed a natural. At that time, traveling the country by bus symbolized adventure and the freedom to  disembark in an unfamiliar place.

Old Glass Bottles


B.J. Silberman

An invitation to play

Unearthed in an antiques shop

Glass vials glow

In an array of rainbows

Musty albums lean

As unwrapped gifts

Where the confetti of nameless portraits

Spills off their pages

Emptied china teapots

Witnesses to everyday dramas

Reveal not a word

But huddle together for warmth

While lackluster souvenirs of distant places

Keep company with worn luggage and postcards

Their journeys tightly bound

In ribbons

To prevent escape.

Bucket Lists and “Buried Lives”

“I’ve been on a calendar, but I’ve never been on time.” Marilyn Monroe

For some, being on time is natural. Their internal clocks regulate sleep cycles and get them to meetings on schedule. Not just measuring but valuing time is the purpose of bucket lists and “Buried Lives”.

Last night I read a book (from the library) titled What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?. 

The book details the list written by four nineteen year-olds who formed a group called The Buried Life.They wanted more from their own lives and made a list of 100 achievements, the more outrageous the better. Over the past six years, they’ve accomplished most of them, but more importantly, they’ve helped many others to identify and meet goals.

This book, as well as all variations of bucket lists, always make me feel inadequate. I feel like I can’t dream big enough or decide on things that I desperately lack.

It’s not that making a wish list is so difficult, mine would include safaris, traveling to Antarctica, having tea with some of my favorite authors ( if they could be reincarnated) , and  publishing a mystery. All of these would add a dimension to my life.

But from a middle age plus perspective, I’m not sure it would add real value.

For four nineteen-year olds, kissing stars and streaking through stadiums – these are their proof that they are not walking through their lives.Bucket lists are written to make sure that opportunities are not missed.

My problem is that I find it nearly impossible to list what will be of value to me when I find myself out of time. It seems that my choices should be “bigger.” Having impact on others, creating something of lasting value, and a sense of self-realization would be my goals.

To that end, my relationships, teaching kids, developing and sharing creativity and its expression, art, and taking time to savor the small things are my ” list.”

One of the pieces sent to the Buried Life said it best:

” I want to apologize to three people I feel I hurt most in life, say thank you to three people who helped me most in life, and reconnect with three people I thought I would never see again.” ( What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?, 2012, Artisan at Workman Publishing.)

So the question is:

Do you have a bucket list ? What would be on yours?

Hitchcock Makes a Cameo in Antique Still-life

They say that Hitchcock has a cameo appearance in every film he directed. I think I’ve found most of them. But I never expected him to show up in a macabre still-life in an antique shop in Paducah, KY .The man really did get around.

Cairo , Illinois A Living Ghost Town Part 1

Hot sun, rust, tired bricks and Virginia Creeper.The only sounds came from the industrial strength lawn mower overpowering the grass in vacant lots in Cairo, Illinois.

After seeing photos of the downtown’s abandoned buildings, I couldn’t wait to visit.The night before I hardly slept – images of rust and deterioration floated through my dreams.Ghoulish, I know, but I see beauty in remains.

A little less than an hour from our base in Paducah, Cairo is the southernmost city in Illinois and sits at the meeting of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.A former center of railroad and river shipping , the city’s welcome sign reflects its current state of affairs.

Just past the welcome sign is a motel on the right. I couldn’t wait to get out of the car and grab my camera.Then I saw the black cat outside room 12. There is no 13 of course, but Cairo has had its share of bad luck and bad timing.

On the other side of the road, people washed cars and mowed lawns, going about their daily chores.The motel represented the experience in one building.One side was falling apart and the other side is occupied and served by the Nu-Diner.

Half alive/Half dead – an accurate metaphor for Cairo.

Continuing down the road, passing Shemwell’s Barbecue, a Family Dollar store, and a closed thrift store, I was disappointed.It looked like Main Street America on every highway in the country.

One block, two blocks toward the river and we found ourselves on an empty movie set on which no one filmed.

I was stunned.In my planning, I had looked at photos on many blogs, but even those from earlier in 2012 are no longer current.

More buildings leveled or collapsed and not a soul on the street but for a blue van parked in front of the Maytag shop. A television commercial come to life.

The workmanship and details on the remains is breath-taking.Many of the buildings ornamented in metal details and intricate brickwork stand open.Entering as quietly a hiking boots on crunching glass will allow, you try to listen for their stories but the silence is frightening.A department store, furniture showroom, and movie theater kept their secrets.Layers of brick, paint and  plaster exposed when their neighbors succumbed provide some clues to the past.

My friend and I wandered, stepping carefully over glass shards , metal fragments and listening carefully. Several trucks passed and we waved and smiled trying to look friendly. They paid no attention, having seen so many photographers before that we were invisible.

Several hours passed in minutes. Sensory overload , heat and a pervasive sense of sadness took over.The logical questions haunted us.  How could this happen? What can be done to help? Is it too late?

Tired Iris

I shot a number of photos with my phone of an iris that one of my students brought me from her garden. As it aged, the colors and textures deepened. Being unable to let well enough alone, I added some textures to emphasize the weathering and enhance the  patina.

Shopping for Memories

I can’t pass up an antique shop.My senses hit high alert when a shop is in the near vicinity. As I step through the door , the anticipation of surprises makes it difficult not to gallop down aisles. The other day while browsing, I came across this cabinet which reminded me of my grandmother. The pale green, the deco print on the windows, I was seven again and stacking carefully dried dishes in the cabinet with the rickety door.I browse for the memories.

Books are Beacons of Knowledge

” Books are lighthouses erected in the sea of time.” E.P. Whipple.

Books and lighthouses are an apt metaphor and two of my favorite things. When I came across this quote , it inspired me to create an image to fit. Unfortunately, it was hard for me to decide which image was most effective so I am asking for your valued opinions


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