Saturday, October 31, 2009


I said I would post the picture of the lifeguard from Boca beach that I asked to take his picture.  Here he is.  He was looking away from the camera because I told him of my shyness when photographing people. He thought it would make me more comfortable if he was looking away. Isn't he sweet? After seeing it now I thought of what I would've done differently...isn't that the way...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

everything being a constant carnival...

Four days into a new work week and where's the clarity? Seems I need the open road in order to think clearly.

She rode sixteen ferris wheels
in one afternoon,
each one spinning
faster than the last.
Synchronized revolutions
of light and motion
left her shaken and wobbly.
She stumbled into an open field
where an old oak waited
to offer her refuge.
She was cradled in his
knotted limbs,
her head against
his coarse bark.
She begged to stay for 300 years,
there in the shady respite.
But as she slept the sounds of the
carnival plagued her rest.
Frenzied screams of terror
or delight interrupted
her dreams.
Unable to sleep she
left the comfort of the oak
and staggered drowsily
back to the fray,
back to the wild rides.
Buying sixteen more tickets,
and with a nod to the moon,
she mounted the ride,
braced herself against the side
and began to spin again...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

day 8 - fly away home

Yes back in the car with my cd's and cameras. Many pictures yet to be developed and edited. The shots I missed preserved in memory. One of the lone zebra roaming in a herd of brown cows...why didn't I go back for that one? 

 Returning home with new resolve to face my problems and make changes.  You know how it is when you go away from your normal routine and suddenly there is clarity! THIS is what must be done...THIS is what needs to happen....THIS is what I will do now that I see things clearly.  You know how it goes...

I was listening to Don Quixote on the way home. Fighting his windmills and trying to right all the wrongs ...inspiring character even if he was a bit daft...aren't we all? He said that, "he was spurred on by the conviction that the world needed his immediate presence."  I don't think the world needs my immediate presence...but I do know I need to be present in my world...every day...every moment. 

The list of what I see clearly now is on to the work at hand...home is where I should be for now...

Monday, October 26, 2009

day 7 - nothing really

Day 7 was a quiet day. Nothing remarkable to speak or write about.  A little shopping, a little packing for the return trip, a little napping.  That evening we went through my mother's music collection.  She had all of her old vinyls that I remember from my childhood and some old cd's.  I played some Leonard Cohen for her. She said the old songs, from her youth, like Cohen's cover of Tennessee Waltz, just made her sad. 

I'm ready to go home, ready to stay, ready to make a change... 

Saturday, October 24, 2009

day 6 - being defensive

Today I attended a dissertation defense. Academia is a different world. They have their own set of rules and customs.  I felt like a stranger in a foreign land. Yes, I'm a teacher but these were the PhD's, the administrative staff of a college...those that discuss pedagogy and Paulo Freire with ease...

I was fascinated by the entire research methodology and thought I could apply it to my own life.  I began asking questions...a good first step for research, I think.  Then I was flooded by questions, hundreds of self-directed queries about myself and the path I'm on...what have I done with my life, what should I have done with my life, where am I going next, when does my life really begin, who said I had to do what I've done with my life, how can I change my life, why do I feel dissatisfied with my life etc., etc., ad nauseum, it went on in my head for hours.

Following the design of a phenomenological study  I found several central themes arising from the stream of questions. The themes were Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. Interestingly enough, those themes can also be my research questions. Now for collecting data and reaching a conclusion with a proposal for future research. Wow, will I then have a PhD in me?

Friday, October 23, 2009

day 5 - expanding horizons

Heading back across the state today to Tampa.  Before I left Boca Raton I went to the beach to take a few pictures.   A gate attendant at South Beach let me park for free. We talked for a few minutes and then she asked me if I could come back at 1:30 and have lunch with her. She had moved to Florida from Michigan and said she hadn't been able to meet anyone just to go out with for a bite to eat. She said I seemed so nice. I told her I did know someone in Boca who didn't work and was about her age, so she gave me her number and I promised to pass it on.  I  would never be able to do something like that, no matter how lonely I was...suffer in silence. I appreciated her bravery.  I hope she makes a friend soon...

 On the beach the waves, the sand,were refreshing.  I had a discussion with a friend this week about overanalyzing photography...thinking about it too much (especially when I want to photograph people) and then ending up talking myself out of taking it at all.  In the spirit of transformation I approached the lifeguard and asked if I could take his picture. I told him about my hesitancy to photograph people. He readily agreed...I wish I had taken the gate attendant's picture too...I will post his picture here when it is developed.  I was quite pleased with myself...

I continued my journey, back north on the Florida turnpike, then revisiting Yeehaw junction, then through mile after mile of rural Florida...cows, sod farms, wide open spaces...wait till you see Ruby's Folk Art and Produce Market...a hidden treasure in the middle of nowhere. I've been nowhere for some time now....hoping these travels into nowhere lead me somewhere...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

day 4 - Tiny Dancer revisited...

Today I travelled across the state to Boca Raton, the city of beige and pastel colors, the rat's mouth. I suppose it is the way a beach town should be....

On the way I discovered a little town called Yeehaw Junction. There was a building called Desert Inn that held the history of the town. Over the years it has been the jail, the saloon, a restaurant, and even a brothel. Yeehaw is Indian (west not east) for wolf because as late as 1920 there were rare dire wolves in the area. The town was once called Jackass Junction but when the Florida Turnpike was built the powers that be decided the name should be changed to something more sedate and polite.

Spent time with Tiny Dancer...dinner and 'Where the Wild Things Are" Great movie, the lines were so perfect we found ourselves repeating them over and over on the way home.

Not much to say today...just family time... falling asleep now...

Song for the day: How does it feel? How does it feel? To be on your own, With no direction home, Like a complete unknown, Like a rolling stone... (Bob Dylan)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

day 3 - Gwendolyn and Leonard

I have an aunt who lives in Florida. Her name is Gwen. She is 79 years old. I have always loved and admired her. We are losing her bit by bit as Alzheimer's destroys her mind. Today I went to visit her. Upon arriving my mother told her who I was and she responded by taking my face in her hands and saying, "Of course, I know who she is!" She looked directly into my eyes with recognition and love. I don't expect her to be able to do that much longer but today she knew me. I would like to share a story Aunt Gwen told me. I should preface this recollection with the fact that my mother's family lived in poverty in rural Tennessee in the 30's and 40's. Their father, my granfather, was a moonshiner, a gambler, an adulterer, a bigamist and a child abuser.

Imagine a young girl, grammar school age, joining her siblings to hold their mother down on the wooden floor of their small house. They were trying to prevent her from charging out of the house with a gun to shoot their father. My grandmother had just found out that her husband was living with another woman. She was hurt and angry. As they struggled and pleaded with her there was a knock on the door. My aunt realized it was a peddler at the door. A few weeks earlier a contest had begun at school. There would be a prize for the student who had the cleanest teeth. My aunt was determined to win. But the only toothbrush she had was a stick from the hickory tree. She wanted to buy a real toothbrush but there was no money then for such luxuries. She had arranged to trade the peddler wild blueberries for the toothbrush she wanted. She had spent most of her day in the woods picking buckets full of juicy blueberries. When she heard the knock she faced a dilemma, should she let go of her mother or go let the peddler in to make the trade? She paused only a second before she went to the door to give the blueberries to the peddler and retrieve her toothbrush. She did win the contest. I don't know what the prize was and neither did she. Years later, when she was 13, she married a 36 year old man who carried her to Florida to be his bride. She smiles as she remembers this and says he thought she was 16. They were married, raised children and loved each other for over 50 years. Sometimes she forgets he is gone and sets a place for him at the breakfast table.

Tonight I went to a Leonard Cohen concert...Gwen and Leo...aging icons of a more graceful time...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 2

Under close scrutiny

she came unraveled

trying to hold secrets

that weren't hers to keep.

Poked and prodded by

strange instruments meant

to cure her of her ills,

she receded further into


Dreams of gnarled hands,

poisonous snakes and

paths that never end

haunted her sleep.

Her only plan was

to return to the

edge of the precipice

and hope for

forward motion.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Road Trip - Day One

The week before I left was filled with a multitude of signs and omens. My problem was I couldn't decide whether they were telling me to cancel my trip and stay home or leave earlier than I planned in order to escape. The week was filled with emotional drama, financial woes, a trip to the ER for an injured knee, and finally a core-shattering disaster... it was all too much...but plans had been made, people were expecting me..I had to leave. Day one dawned fair and bright and within the first 100 miles I felt such freedom, such fact, I may become a modern-day nomad, living out of my car, traveling for pillar to post seeking my bliss. Yes the problems left behind rose to the surface but I could keep them from drowning me with a myriad of distracting on cd...often opening every window and letting the fresh air blow away the cobwebs...

Thought for the day: I must learn to 'sacrifice my attachment to limitations and illusion...'
(John Major Jenkins)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

this way out

I want to be lost,

adrift in the silence of om,

floundering in peril,

forgetting past blunders,

breaking old patterns,

mystified by the beauty of the puzzle.

I want to love the bewildered,

study their aimless truth,

follow their disoriented paths,

hold tight their hands as we

leap into the baffling rift,

between now and forever.

I want to travel in confusion,

go astray into dark rooms,

where others fear to enter,

to find the secrets of the forlorn,

in the haven of the perplexed.

And there I will find rest.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

wild dogs

Enough already
she told me to say.
He said to end my
attraction to the past
and find adventure.
He touched her
pink shirt with
warm fingers of love
and I finally knew
he was where he should be.
Leaving me with the cobbler,
staring at my shoes,
and calculating the cost
before I even asked.
finding what I need while
smoking cigarettes and
drinking whiskey.
the moon coaxing me
to leave myself and
run with the wild dogs,
in search of the lost path.
If you hear my story
cry for me,
smile for me
rescue me...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Now showing...

photo © Alfredo Muñoz de Oliveira

One of the things I enjoy most about photography (besides taking pictures) is the community of photographers I have met and correspond with from all over the world. Today I was pleased to present Alfredo Muñoz de Oliveira and his amazing work. Check it out if you have the time!