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Showing posts from 2013

Things We Think We Want to Do

The joke goes:
Two circus laborers were shoveling piles of elephant shit. It was a hot day, the flies were awful and one of the elephants had diarrhea. 
A gorgeous woman walked by on the arm of a well-dressed, obviously successful man. 
"Ya know, if we got office jobs, we could afford a dame like that," said the first guy, pitching an enormous, soupy elephant turd onto the pile.
"What?" said the other guy, aghast. "And give up showbiz?"

There are jobs that everyone wants to do because they sound cool and interesting:  writer, actor or theater designer, architect, artist, fashion designer, bar owner. But most people realize that you really should only pursue those careers if you absolutely, positively can not do anything else. Those are jobs that actually require a lot of much of the time very, very dull, tedious work with huge possibilities of ridiculed obscurity, thankless poverty and heartbreaking failure. Most of us who labor in these creative salt mines f…

Fallout felt in fashion

It must have been hell to raise children in the 1970's. The world lost its mind after a series of cultural revolutions and the fallout resulted in the Captain and Tenille, trucker chic, and Herpes. 
The Chevy Vega. 
Polyester leisure suits. 
Leading women's magazines touted the opinion that not only "could good" girls 'do it' on the first date, good girls should do it on the first date." Men stopped trying to get women to sleep with them the old way: snappy dressing, chocolates and general gallantry and got into silky polyester shirts, unbuttoned them to the navel and started using astrology.
I think parents just gave up.
I'm pretty sure mine did--at least after giving their previous four kids the ol' college try.
My mother made a sort of little playpen in an out-of-the-way corner of her antique shop by making walls of stacks of vintage Playboy magazines. I remember long winter afternoons, learning to read (they do have excellent articles!) and learn…
I am not one of those people who insist that my organizational challenges are because I don't have enough space.
Neither am I one of those people that can ignore and live amid clutter.
My house is cluttered.
But I do not have an organizational problem.
I simply have run out of space.

Really.

What we have here is what might be called an inventory problem.

It's a small house. We were proud of that.
But I was a full-time writer then. Writers don't really need a lot of place to keep your inventory. Okay, fine--there are all those dusty books, and maybe some paper and envelopes, but the majority of that business just stuff you can keep in your head.

Now, up to five people live here and we have an open door for friends and family and neighbors. Now, we have three businesses with heavy inventory: coats and jeans and boots; saddles and bridles and blankets; building equipment, tools and materials. Oh, and there are still the books.

So, this week, I'm photographing my winter in…

The Secret--Recycled Wisdom for Second Hand Shopping

Yeah--I watched the video version of The Secret and kinda totally loved it. What of it?
And yeah--I know it was a kind of pop-psych pap-so?
But you know, when you start really buying it--when you start thinking "Yes! The Universe will align itself with my desires if I can just put out enough positive vibrations!!" Well, it can open up all sorts of cans of worms. Such as: why hasn't a dear friend's nasty, abusive ex husband had the decency to crash through a bridge guardrail while he was sending her nasty text messages while driving drunk when so many of us have believed it was inevitable? (And if he did, would the universe contact the police or the insurance company?) Or: where is my: Range Rover, criminally expensive string of horses, French chateau, face/boob lift, book contract??? Because, if you've watched the film, if the expression of the omnipotent power is to open up a more convenient parking spot for my shitbox Toyota Highlander, then to hell with it. I …

Understanding the Collector's Mind

I have never been a "collector." 

Most things that "collectors" fancy--trading cards, figurines of varying cuteness or expensiveness, art of particular eras, war paraphernalia, or whatever (--has never held my interest long enough for me to shell out actual money to obtain in critical mass worthy of being called a "collection."
Also, I never had actual money, either.
But even stuff you can pick up: shells, birds' nests, animal skulls, heart-shaped things, interestingly shaped poo--meh.
Okay--I always thought I wasn't really a collector, until I referred to cleaning my shoe shelves as "curating." 
Several pairs of Prada, one pair of Jimmy Choo slides, Manolo Blahnik pumps, Lanvin sandals, Tod's driving mocs, Gucci boots, Frye boots, Ralph Lauren boots, Hunter boots, Red Wing Boots, Coach heeled loafers, Guiseppe Zanotti pumps, Chanel captoe two-tones, Miu Miu brocade heels.
All found at consignment and thrift stores for under $100. …

A Time to Reap

Now is the harvest time in Naples.
People are leaving. They drop their old furniture, their bent golf clubs, their bad shopping decisions, the embarrassing cruise wear off at the Salvation Army, St. Vincent De Paul, the Goodwill. People have died. Their children come on their kids' spring breaks and dump their mother's Ferragamo shoes and St. John Knits, their father's golf shirts, their parents' hideous coffee tables off at the Goodwill. There is a line at the drop-off area four cars deep--a great tide of pilly sweaters, weighty beaded gowns, and Duty Free sunglasses, yes, but also the fur coats and Bally loafers, and Lilly Pulitzer capris pants.
And we, of the good eye, run through the aisles piling up the cashmere bounty.
Perhaps I've grown too confident in my eye, however--picking out the Louis Vuitton purse, the Gaultier blazer, the Gucci loafers from 10 paces--thinking I can tell from the soft buttery feel of the lambskin purse that it's an authentic Cha…
I've been thinking about the whole notion of "living authentically" lately. But not in a "to-thine-own-self-be-true" kind of way, which would be the wise direction. No. More of a hat-goes-with-the-shoes-which-goes-with-the-house-which-goes-with-the-sidesaddle kind of way.
After 20 years of living in Florida, I finally looked around and decided that, as a matter of fact, I don't give a shit about palm trees. I don't look good in Lilly Pulitzer. Or Patagonia. Or pants with little golf clubs embroidered all over them. I get seasick. I freckle. I just don't dig sand.
So I bought this farm in Kentucky last year.
And immediately started to think about style, of course.
Because of course there is "People of Wal-Mart," which, while jaw-droppingly hilarious, makes you think of that time you were fixing a toilet and you were just going to run down to Wal-Mart for this little, stupid but necessary emergency part, (and that, of course, was exactly t…