Sunday, August 21, 2011

Eating For Two

All right, let's get it out of the way. I'm pregnant. Yay miracles happy joyous cuddly bunnies fluffy clouds! Don't let the sarcasm confuse you, I am incredibly excited as someone who outwardly shows little excitement in public but says they're excited can be. In just over seven months, someone will depend on me, and I will use that against the kid when I'm old, vain and confined in bed in need of lunch.

I've noticed a few things in these past weeks, though. Things I never would have noticed as a free-wheelin (see: neurotic), party-going (see: homebody) young gal (see: 27 going on 65).

First. Online Pregnany Forums. So it's your first pregnancy, you're super excited, and that your mind is nonstop baby. Your official status with your single friends has changed to "lost cause". And cats = not great conversationalists.

Pregnancy forums! Doesn't it sound like a great idea to join a community where the women are going through the same things you are? WRONG WRONG WRONG. Unless pregnancy is a non-stop emergency where every little symptom is a cause for panic, don't use forums. Miscarriage affects about 15% of women, often so early most don't realize it. Online, however, it has affected 90% of women, and the other 10% are worried that the back itch they're experiencing is a miscarriage. It's not a happy place.

Also, every forum post is filled with six hundred tickers, like how old their current children are, how long they've been married, how far along their pregnancy is, the size of their baby is an over-microwaved carrot, how long they've been constipated for.
It's completely mind-numbing.

Second. Nursery decor. ENOUGH with the blue and pink. I'm so thankful for blogs like Lay Baby Lay for being creative and providing a multitude of styles and colors for nurseries. Unfortunately, the big box stores are obsessed with gender divisions. And no, I'm not going to end up like the mom who doesn't name her child or assign it a gender. But oh do I hate pink, girly room decor. If I have a girl, it's getting dinosaurs. And they won't be pink...which won't be hard, because apparently dinosaurs are only allowed for boys.

Also. Why are monkeys on EVERYTHING related to babies? They're stuffed animals, they're on crib bedding, on mobiles, on onesies. Monkeys are filthy, vile pickpockets that spread disease. No child of mine is getting monkey decor.

Third. Breasts. Glorious, gigantic breasts. Even if they're unbelievably sore. Amazing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


If it's abandoned, one nail away from collapsing, or choking in weeds, chances are I'm poking around. As an awkward, bespectacled girl in the seventh grade, I spent many weekends with a friend who lived on a farm - and she knew the ins and outs of every other neighboring farm in the area. On one particular plot of land, surrounded by overgrowth and obscured from roads, sat a long forgotten two-story home. The entire facade was ripped off, exposing each boxy room unit, like a life-size dollhouse. It appeared as though the home had been left behind in the 50s or 60s, judging by the old stove and refrigerator. For a twelve year old, (severely) sheltered in a rural Maryland town, this was one of the coolest things I had ever seen. I hope for newer generations of curious explorers that this place still exists.

By the time I was seventeen we were living in Northern California, and I had a car to explore my own piece of the world. I was infatuated with abandoned buildings. In college at San Diego, I discovered an entire town of abandonment at the Salton Sea. I've visited abandoned amusement parks on the edge of cliffs in Los Angeles, small homes here and there all over the country. Empty stores and warehouses. Citrus packing plants in Florida. Generally, none of these places have ever frightened me. The things I worry about in abandoned spaces have more to deal with structural stability - and less about Leatherface.

I think often about what attracts to me to urban decay. On a surface level, there is a small thrill found in the fear of the unknown, in the spaces belonging to my trespasses. Yet I can't help but feel there is something greater with this fascination. Several of the buildings I visited have one thing in common: so many personal effects have been left behind. It doesn't matter if it's a small home or a giant warehouse. I have been to a packing plant with an unopened soda on an office desk and a cardigan draped over the back of a chair. I've seen pictures from other urban explorers of abandoned hotels with the beds still neatly made, after a decade of nonuse. Each place a musty time capsule. It's quite eery, and makes me wonder under what circumstances would someone leave so much of themselves behind?

I find much more comfort in decay than in newness. I'm still trying to figure that out. Generally speaking I love all things old and grungy. Maybe it's my own way of reacting to our culture? I won't try and take it too deep...but Americans tend to love the impulse of a new purchase. We tear things down and rebuild them to accomodate our modern needs.

Or maybe it's just my imagination wanting to create a good narrative of the past from a lot of little clues left behind...

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Last Stand

Miracle City Mall - there ain't much else.

Walk into the Miracle City Mall and at first breath you'll want to turn around and stick out the 96 degree Florida summer. The strong, overpowering, thick smell of mildew immediately whacks you in the face. It fills up your lungs and makes you cough for a few hours after (at least it does to me).

Putting it mildly, time has not been friendly to this building. The Miracle City Mall has exactly four stores: its flagship JC Penny's, GNC, a travel agency, and Dave's Hot Dog Stand. And um, this is a mall. All of the other stores have long since left. It's like a ghost town. No, it IS a ghost town. Like a scene from Dawn of the Dead, minus the zombies, thankfully.

As a newcomer to this area of Florida, I've always viewed this mall as a glimpse of what once was a booming, magical time for the Space Coast. When astronauts were revered like celebrities, and people actually knew where you were from when you said "Cape Canaveral". I guess in a way the mall is like a strange microcosm of this city. It is an old relic from a better time, somewhere struggling so desperately to hold on it, but mostly forgotten.

But like a small town, it has fascinating little stories about people who have stuck through the good and bad times. Like Dave's Hot Dog Stand. To a newcomer, it's a strangely amusing holdout in the middle of a nearly deserted building. Dave's is literally the last stand. My coworkers and I had lunch there today - Chicago dogs, nacho dogs, reuben dogs - and it was decent enough. This is nothing against Dave, it's just that hot dogs in general never send me into a state of tubed-meat nirvana. Conversely, I've never had a shitty hot dog. It can't get worse, but it doesn't get that much better. Just my opinion.

We sat at the counter and had our hot dogs, watching to our surprise several people come and go. Curious as we were to this strange scene, we asked Dave questions about the mall's past - and whether or not he was going to move his business if the mall eventually shut down. He informed us that his family had owned the stand for forty-one years. A hell of a lot of hot dogs. And no, he wouldn't move his beloved business if the mall closed. He was getting on in age, and by the time he would reopen, he'd be too old for it. We were even treated with an old photo of the stand, which pictured cheerful looking girls in fashionable mini dresses. Oddly enough, it looked like even then some of the stores were closed. Maybe in transition?

Then and Now

To an outsider like myself, it's an interesting story of local history. I am detached. To citizens of Titusville, this place is an icon. Dave's Hot Dog Stand has a facebook page with 2800 fans. Holy crap. People who have long sinced moved on still rave about it, and pine away for strawberry smoothies and hot dogs. A coworker of mine talked about how intertwined her own memories are with the place. Even if this mall is one year away from being another abandoned building, people still flock to this tiny stand.

Monday, July 18, 2011

ladybug, silver dollar, rabbit's foot

i'm on the home page! those canoes look familiar...

So very excited to announce that I am now featured on Poppytalk's Handmade Market! I have been following Poppytalk's blog for so long and have seen all of the talented artists featured. It's great to be a part of it.

So our street is the collective crazy cat lady of the neighborhood. We harbor several ferals, all neutered and spayed by some generous folks. Each one has a name, my favorite being Major Tom (pictured top left). They defy all the asshole strays that have ever hissed at you, crapped in your flower bed and ran laughing. And I plan on documenting each one because I love them all.

Finally....does a song ever get stuck in your head to the point where the only remedy is listening to it again? I have Guv'ner's cover of "Lucky Ladybug" going nonstop in my let me help you get it stuck in yours too!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Playing Tourist

at the cocoa beach pier

I am not a beach goer, but I live fifteen minutes away from the beach. In fact, it can be counted on two hands how many times I have been there since I moved to Florida three years ago. It might be my pasty white skin, the sheer terror of wearing a bathing suit in front of strangers, or maybe it's my irrational fear of rogue waves. Florida beaches are quite beautiful, however, and since people travel hundreds of miles to visit them, I figured I could drive a few minutes east.

I woke up early to meet a friend/coworker - maybe arrived around 7:30 am. Visiting Cocoa Beach any time after 11 am is a big mistake, as there will be no parking, and the beaches are already packed. Oh, and it feels like 100 degrees by 9 am.

We walked around Cocoa Beach, and went over to the Pier, which sadly I had never visited. It's not much, but I was in love with the bright colors on the pier - oranges, blues, greens. Also, Florida is a magical state where Fantasia Mickey Mouse waves his wand and all the crap that hangs in the air gets swept offshore (probably to Enchanted Plastic Bottle Island), so the sky is as vivid and saturated as the bright blue ocean.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I am DJ hear me roar

all alone with no one to give me awesome points...

And on the 5,943,231,438th day, was birthed from the loins of the intertubes, and yea, it was good. Yea.

James got me hooked on turntable this week. I haven't stopped the music yet. It is a thing of beauty, but more importantly, a huge waste of time. The two of us spend our evenings, side by side on the couch, and side by side on the turntables. Silence in real life, but our kitty cat avatars chatting in the Merge Records room. Nodding our heads in sync, like the pretentious indie rock jerks that we are. Not really.

is there a body under that canoe?

I've got a few exciting things coming up with my Etsy shop! The set designers from the upcoming NBC show Prime Suspect purchased my "Canoes" photo...I will be on the lookout for an itty bitty picture...maybe it will be next to a body. An undisclosed lover? A rich, crotchety old lady? It was the daughter! She had been cut out of the will. But damn! She would do anything for that photo.

Yeah, it's a little Murder She Wrote, I know.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Shuttle Launch!

Wow. What a beautiful event to witness. I'm so lucky to work across the river from Kennedy Space Center, and since I've been here, I have seen many go up (as well as many scrubs). It's quite sad to know there will be no more after this, but I have hope that this country will go on to better and brighter things. Remembering how jealous I was of all the kids who got to go to Space Camp - after watching Double Dare - makes me a little nostalgic. Maybe future generations of children will also dream of going to space while watching game shows, too.

In the hours leading up to the launch, I walked around Titusville, camera in tow. There is something uniquely American about shuttle launches. It is a moment that brings all of us together, especially in trying times like these when we are so very divided. There were people from all over the country - all over the world, in fact - sitting side by side, waiting in anticipation for a mere 30 seconds of history to unfold. People who had been camped out here for days, knowing that the odds of a launch happening were against them. Amazingly the dark clouds held out, the sun peeked through, and the shuttle went off. The crowds at every park, every median and road cheered...and cheered...and cheered. For a little while at least, my usual cynicism disappeared, and I was so proud to be a part of it. It truly was a thing to behold!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

earthly delights

When I was a little girl, I spent hours throwing rocks against the brick foundation of my grandparent's house. The end.

I did it to crack them open and see the shiny, sparkly treasures inside the otherwise dull rocks. I had a special method - corner bricks worked best, sometimes the sidewalk helped - and the more speckled on the outside, the better the inside. My most prized stones were kept in an old bakery box, with the words "My Rock Collection" scribbled in sharpie. When other girls were dragging willing adults to toy stores, I dragged mine to The Museum Store or The Nature Company. To the very back, where wide drawers held chunks of amethyst, pyrite, agate and turquoise.

And now, almost two decades later I still have my eyes on these little gems. In the form of gorgeous necklaces of sliced agate and amethyst. The jewelry at solisjewelry's Etsy shop is so stunning. I want it all!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Curator by She-Bible

Ah ha! Effortless style and comfort? Yes please!

I just discovered Curator today and I'm for reals in love. I want to buy everything, but for now this jumpsuit will do just fine. So chic and classic! So relaxed! Perfect for summer but good for layering as well. Another big plus is that all of their clothing is made right here in the U S of A, in San Francisco.

I'm so happy to have found this. Hot diggity.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

birthday road trip

The husband planned a road trip for me today that included an A through S amount of stopping points on Google Maps. We left the house at 7:30 am and headed out for the middle of the state for a great big loop that involved 12 hours of driving, eating and stopping. There were miles of orange groves that gave way to endless sugar cane fields. Golf courses and planned communities named after the trees and wildlife they killed off disappeared. Abject poverty emerged dotting the flat landscape of the sugar cane fields around Lake Okeechobee. Towns like Belle Glade - where the per capita income is $14,000 - reminded me of driving through Mexico. It made me think two things: how lucky I am (and to never complain that I don't have enough), as well as that extreme poverty does exist in this country, even if we choose to brush it under the rug.

We explored the ghost town of Bryant. The overgrown roads and buried playground are few remnants of what used to be a town set up by US Sugar. Not even the homes exist, and the only residents left are curlytail lizards and the constant buzzing of insects.

After twelve (quick!) hours, we were home. Seriously, the time flew by. Times flies when you're having fun, though...

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Spent much of the day re-photographing some of our lights...on my break I snuck upstairs to where all of the vintage fixtures are, unfinished and beautiful in their tarnished state. I especially love the lamp to the left.

So. I'm a terrible blogger. I've said it before and I'll probably say it again. While I have a slew of favorite blogs that I religiously scan for new posts, when it comes to my's just...blah. I've tried to get caught up in the world of capturing the every day, but for me personally it feels very disingenuous to who I am. Other folks do a beautiful job of representing their everyday. Me, not so much.

I have taken photos of every meal, every step in the backyard, every quiet moment at home...and all I feel is incredibly inauthentic. My life does not consist of freshly baked bread, tending the flowers, or perfectly staged living spaces. Okay, sometimes it consists of these things. But for the most part, it's messy and clean. Chaotic and serene. Boring and eventful. It's just my normal life. And I have a hard time wondering why anyone would want to see that...

There are occasions when I am truly inspired by things, and this is what I hope to talk about.