Past and present

Sign to the former Farmers Market.

So, for my first attempt at finding old signs to former businesses in town, I actually discovered some a couple of blocks away from where I work. Peeling paint and abandoned structures told me they were long out of business…or so I thought. I looked them up and discovered some are actually still in operation, and making quite a pretty penny each year, too. Huh. I guess you can’t judge a book by its cover after all.

I have some family members who used to work at the farmers market in town and have heard great stories throughout the years. I always got the impression it was one of those magical places people gathered to socialize and to swap stories. Everyone was treated like family whether they knew you or not. And the produce was grown locally and sold for a cheap price.

Two of the businesses I shot are wholesalers, but one, P&P Produce, is open to the public. I love going into their store / stand. It has that real smell to it. “Real smell” meaning it is not a chain grocery store. It’s more personal.

I vividly remember the smell of the grocery store my mother used to shop in when I was a kid. M&J grocery store. It is where we’d get our Green Stamps. Ah! Another icon of my childhood gone.

Anyway, M&J had this great smell inside. It smelled like produce and baked goods all rolled into one. There is a old fashioned grocery store downtown that has that exact smell to it. Sometimes I walk in there and pretend I’m shopping just to remember my childhood and how great my mother made it.

But I digress. Here are some of the photos I took of my not-so-abandoned produce companies. I suppose Wal-Mart has not destroyed all of them yet.

Local produce company.
Working business with overgrown sign.
The sign is misleading. They have the best peaches during the summer.

Pancakes with what?

On my birthday this year, I woke up to a bouquet of flowers and a big plate of homemade pancakes! Although my husband is a pretty good cook, he had never made pancakes before. However, when he asked me what I wanted for my birthday breakfast, he didn’t flinch when I shouted, “PANCAKES!” He just asked for a little assistance. But all I did was show him the recipe. He did the rest.

They, of course, were delicious. Especially the way I eat them – with a ton of peanut butter on top. Why? Because that is the way my mother ate them. Don’t laugh. It’s good. As is cornbread with peanut butter; biscuits with peanut butter, and garlic rolls with peanut butter. Yum!

So, if you want to give it a go, here is the recipe I’ve used for years. You can always just put a little peanut butter on a portion of the top to see if you like it.


1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup milk (use less if you like your cakes thick)

2 tablespoons melted butter – melted on the griddle or pan you’re using

Sift dry ingredients together. Beat egg and stir in milk. Add to dry ingredients and then add melted butter. Drop in spoonfuls onto the hot griddle. Cook until bubbles appear on surface. Turn over and cook other side. Serve immediately with whatever topping you’d like. I prefer butter and peanut butter with a cold Coke. Ah! The perfect breakfast.

Painting without a brush

Some of my favorite summer animals.
Southern drinks. Too bad I have never liked tea.
Cat and dog illustrations.

I got my love of art from my very talented and creative mother. She worked as a graphic artist for both Miller Bros. department store and for Blue Cross. She could paint or draw anything – a talent I wish I possessed. The paintings I created in college were…. well, they were terrible. And I had little patience for them since I was doing so poorly. Photography was, and is, my true passion. But with the use of the computer and programs like Illustrator I can at least play around a bit…without the terpentine.

I have noticed that my mother’s favorite painter, Paul Gauguin,, and mine, Marc Chagall,–a60/marc-chagall-posters.htm, are very similar in their styles. As I get older, I have been noticing we are a lot a like.

Ok. Here is another favorite of mine: Maybe one day I can be that creative.



Grace Kelly graces the cover of Life magazine.

We all got a rare assignment at work the other day to share with our co-workers one website that inspires us the most. Hmm. Choosing just one was hard for me, but I settled on the one I frequent the most: I chose this one over my usual photography sites simply because I’m looking for a new way to look at photography. It’s mostly a food blog, but there are beautiful images of other things, as well. Combine great photos with recipes from “Down Under,” and you’ve got great inspiration!

So! This has given me the idea to share other inspirations in my life. This is ever-changing, so I’m assuming this theme will be a series of posts.

Where to start!? With Grace Kelly, of course. Her shear beauty is enough, I suppose, but she also should be admired for being the individual she was. According to a biography about her life, Grace was the black sheep of her family. Instead of becoming an Olympic athlete like many of her family members, she decided to move to NYC to pursue an acting career. She took great criticism and ridicule for this from her family – they even laughed at her. But, after winning an Academy Award for her performance in, “The County Girl,” then meeting the man who would make her the Princess of Monaco, she pretty much shut them up. Not too shabby, huh? Consequently, she ended up initiating the preservation of Monaco’s historic buildings instead of allowing them to be demolished to make room for more casinos. She also was a huge advocate of the arts, and brought Monaco the class and respect it did not previously have. There is a ton of other information here if you’re interested:

Anyway, I’m always in search of strong female role models, and she is at the top of my list. So it is not a stretch that my favorite movie is, “Rear Window.”


Florida getaway!

Ah! Vacation sleep. It has been a year since my last real vacation — and boy, did I need it. For various reasons beyond my control, I was simply exhausted. . . and more than a little on edge.

I seem to always be doing what other people want or need me to do. I decided that on this vacation I was going to get back to being me for a little while. I bought a crime novel by my favorite author, Michael Connelly, weeks before we were to leave. And, as tempted as I was, I did not open it until we got to Florida. It took me only 4 days to finish it. As it turned out, it is one of his best.

Anyway, I also decided I would start a photo project I’ve been thinking about for a while. I have been intrigued lately with old signs. Specifically signs on buildings where the businesses no longer exist. Hmmm. Surely there would be some cool old hotel/motel signs in Panama City! So one day while my husband, Joe, played golf, I set out in search of some vintage signs. I didn’t find many signs of out of business hotels, but I did come across some pretty neat ones still in existence.

Joe and the seagulls

As time goes by

One of my very favorite things to do is to join my father and our WWII P47 pilot friend, Bill, at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation in Sevierville, Tenn. It’s a great museum displaying items from World War II, along with a hanger full of airplanes from different eras. The airshows, however, are what make the place great because people gather around veterans and listen to war stories – or just stories in general about what it was like to serve their country. It’s similar to walking into any given pub in Ireland and getting to listen to wonderful, spur-of-the-moment music by the locals who just happen to have brought their instruments along with them. These stories are little jewels you will never read about in history books. These are gifts. They are real stories told by the people who lived them.

Diane Arbus, Sally Mann and Grace Kelly

My two very favorite photographers – of all time – are Diane Arbus and Sally Mann. Hands down. No hesitation. They just switch places from 1st and 2nd in my heart periodically, depending on my mood. I mention Grace Kelly, not for her photographic skills, but simply because she’s another female I greatly admire. Oh! And I’d love to look like her. But who wouldn’t?

I mention Diane Arbus because I got a notification her work, narrated by her recorded voice from years ago, will be shown at my former school Oct. 6, at the School of Visual Arts amphitheater (my former school.) If I had the money and had actually known about it with some advance notice, I’d be there in a heartbeat. So, because I have neither money nor time to attend this, I thought I’d post it here for anyone near Manhattan next week:

Here’s a link to SVA, too, if you’re interested:

Here is another link to Diane Arbus’ work:

Hooked from the start

The word ‘photography’ literally means “writing with light.” What better subject then is there for a creative blog? I’ve always loved photography and I enjoy writing! So, here we go.

The first and second photos I ever took both had a profound impact on me. It did something to me when I composed the subject in the viewfinder and then pushed down the button to take the picture. Of course, back in the early 70s, we had to wait to use up the roll of film…..which took forever because you did not want to squander your precious frames….but then we had to take them to the drugstore to have them sent away for processing and printing. An excruciating week or two later, we went back to pick up our packet of photos. It was like magic! Time travel in little snapshots. I LOVED it.

I was hooked forever!

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