dear today’s shopping mall, I unfriend you

Dear (insert every city’s major indoor/outdoor shopping mall),

As a teen, I fell in love with you.  I visited you with friends to buy the trendiest of clothes with my meager wages.  I got Orange Julius though I didn’t know what was so great about it.  I walked by girls (and boys) getting their ears pierced since it was the eighties. I snatched up every pair of parachute pants paying full price because getting spotted in K-mart was worse than leprosy.

Then in the nineties something smart happened.  You became the place  for The Intellectual.  Electronic stores invaded, major book stores opened for the now mature shopper who no longer needed hair scrunchies and leg warmers.

One could sample music through headphones while sitting around other people like a music bar. Game and puzzle stores laid out chess games for passers-by to play.

You bore toy stores stepped up from the usual Barbies and fake flipping barking dogs.  You sold science experiment kits and (gasp) art supplies.

If an artist or scientist suffered at an impasse, a trip to your glittery cages and “mall air” cured what ailed us with a salted soft pretzel, of course.  Like when we eat ice cream while suffering sore throats.

Then the recession of ‘Aught 8 rolled in.  Electronic devices blew up with books, music, movies and games that nobody had to touch except for touch pads.  Book stores dropped you and set themselves up outside your parameters with no weary shoppers to wander in.  Hot potatoes be damned.

Today, if we want to open a book we must do so whilst standing because big name book stores no longer offer comfy chairs to relax and browse. We must buy the magazine we want to look at along with a drink otherwise we can’t sit at the tables.

But face it, we get magazines solely to read in the bathtub because we can’t risk dropping our iPads in the water, unless you have a bowl of rice and a heat source handy to dry it out.

There’s hardly nothing left to touch before we buy.  The only place left in your vast expanse for The Intellectual is the overly sterile Apple store. There’s nothing colorful to feast on except the casings for their devices.

All that’s left now, Dear Shopping Mall, are stores with clothes, shoes, shoes, clothes, clothes, jewelry, and shoes.  And you know the sad part?  Nobody’s in those stores.  High-heeled Lady Gaga shoes sit on stands, shining their rhinestones and leopard and cheetah prints, lonely and soon to be forgotten in 2 months when they are shamefully out of date.

I shouldn’t complain, Shopping Mall.  I’m typing this on a software program that provides me with links, articles and pictures to accompany me which is pretty nifty.  I just wish something nifty was left over in your glass-windowed hallowed halls.


The Average Intellectual Shopper


jigsaw puzzle beach

The "Bikini girls" mosaic showing wo...

Image via Wikipedia

bikini girls

With charcoal pencils and sketch pad, I choose two bikini girls because their curves have such chiaroscuro.

Their legs shine and their backbones hide in darkness away from the sun.

A man with an Irish brogue approaches to talk to them.  I wonder if they’re interested, because if I was that young and hot I’d be.  He and his friend both wear casts on their arms; a bar fight gone wrong?

The girls smile but no real laughs. He must think they are the first Americans not impressed with his accent. Or they just don’t understand him.

image via flickr

vintage couple

They emerge from an H.G. Wells novel and sit next to us.  He wears navy blue shorts and half boots half shoes; so not into flip-flops.

“His hair was perfect,” as Warren Zevon sang — shaved in the back with a duck tail in front, highlighted with white Ray Bans.

His girlfriend is a pin-up with Betty Page bangs, auburn-dyed hair in a bun.  Black and white vertical stripes cover her top and black covers hips and bottom like suits did back then.

Neither venture in the water, why would they mess up their great looks while the sun shines on the sea like a place setting on a glass table?

image via flickr

image via flickr

motel smell

It seeps must like ghosts out the windows worn down with peeling paint. Maybe 50 years ago it was a nice stop for families who wanted a spot for their beach vacation.  A few more steps and the odor gives way to smoke and meat grilling.

cherries and cheeseburgers

I taste the cherries I brought; my maroon treats my only snack as I smell grills whipping me with cheeseburger aromas.

image via flickr

jigsaw beach

Little pink/orange houses with triangle roofs line up on the coast like Lego’s. With all the rainbow beach umbrellas this scene looks like a perfect jigsaw puzzle.

image via flickr

image via flickr

thunder waves

The surf sounds like heavy approaching Midwest thunderstorms that rarely arrive out here; my only reference to the sound where grass beaches accessorize lakes.

rocky beach

With my boogie board I walk out to the crest of a wave and turn around to fly towards the rocky shore.  I walk over stones like hot coals wondering if I’ll ever find smooth spot, and I do.

midnight in paris: on a whim movie review

Salvador Dali with ocelot and cane.

Image via Wikipedia

I was in the mood for an artist’s date yesterday and in true form, I planned nothing ahead except for bring with me a free movie pass I won in a raffle.

Without checking to see what was playing, I went to the theater to see what movie was starting next.  One couple bought tickets to Midnight in Paris.  I’m not a movie goer so I’m not familiar with anything on the silver screen that doesn’t involve Harry Potter. The couple said it was a Woody Allen film.  I’ve loved his movies for many years but got creeped out with him marrying Mia Farrow’s daughter, but I thought I’ll give it a shot.

And what a shot it was.  We hear but not see Owen Wilson as Gil Pender talking to his fiancée (Rachel McAdams) about how tired he is of being a hollywood hack and how he wants to live in Paris to write a novel but she wants to stay in Malibu. They are in France on business with her parents so they take in the sights.

Gil goes for a walk at midnight and on a whim he gets picked up in a cab from the 1920s with some partygoers. At the party he meets Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, while Cole Porter entertains on the piano.  The Fitzgeralds take Gil to a bar where they meet Hemingway then see Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) where he gives her his novel to critique.  By the way, Picasso is with Stein analyzing a painting I swear looks like something my 7-year-old concocted, but hey, it’s Picasso.

Other artists from the 1920s make appearances such as Adrian Brody as Salvador Dali.  I never knew Dali could be so sexy and crazy at the same time especially since he only spoke of rhinoceroses.

This is the kind of movie I’d write.  Or it would at least be in my dream journal.  It was like walking through all of my lit and art courses in college.  If this movie existed back then, I’d have straight A’s, no problem.  We want to see the people we study come to life.

After the movie I felt inspired as an artist so on a whim I walked to Michael’s.  I still felt like I was in the movie as I walked by an Italian restaurant as a street performer sang, “It’s a wonderful night for a moon dance.”  I walked straight to the artist supplies and saw sketchbooks on sale, so I picked one up with some charcoal pencils.  I plan on using these at the beach today like Reginald Marsh as he sketched by the ocean.

What a terrific unplanned artist’s date’ it’s something we all need to unblock our creativity.  I give this movie a rating of all the stars Vincent Van Gogh ever painted.

vote slim paley for a homie!

Slim Paley Photo

Do me a rockin’ favor and vote for Slim Paley for a “Homie” for Best Home Design Blog at Apartment Therapy.  Here’s the link:

First check out the site – it’s chock full of pictures of the author’s homes and gardens, vacation pictures from around the world, and incredibly high-heeled shoes.  What sets Slim apart from the other home design blogs is her witty commentary and soundtracks.  Think if Martha Stewart, Elaine May and Vivienne Westwood had a baby.  That’s Slim.

Then go to Apartment Therapy’s site here to vote.   Scroll down to vote in the poll, then scroll down to the bottom and input this info into the comment field:

Name: Slim Paley

It requires registration to vote, which might be quick or a little finicky, but please be patient.  It’s worth it.

rebirth: my grandmother from the jazz age

While going through old photographs at my parents’ house, I found these photo gems of my grandmother Edna when she was a teenager and young adult from the 1920s.  The name Edna means “rebirth.”

She stayed young and beautiful, frozen in this state, because she passed away from a leaky heart valve at age 39. My mom said she was smart, well-read and a fashion maven.   I don’t doubt that The Great Gatsby was on her book shelf.

My grandmother is on the left, circa 1925.  She sports a classic bob hair cut and a sailor dress.  She is about 18 years old and hanging with her friends most likely dressed in clothes from Marshall Field’s.

Here’s another buddy picture.  Grandmother is on the left.  There’s not a lot of detail here but look at the cloche hats.  Isn’t it amazing that women dressed so alike back then? And they sit on grass barely worrying about grass stains on their skirts.

Here she is on the right.  Look at those gams wrapped in black silk stockings with pumps on her feet.  Again, no worries about sitting on dirt and grass in elegant clothes.  My cousin, who lived to age 92, told me that Edna wore holes in the knees of her stockings as they rode in cars, probably to prevent looking unladylike.

Don’t ask me what the donkey’s doing here.  Your guess is as good as mine.  Edna is on the left next to my grandfather Toy.  Here’s more proof of ladies dressing alike with all skirts just above the knee and all shoes with straps across the front.

When it got cold, Grandmother (on the right) broke out the long coat but never covered her bottom legs.  Who would cover them?  That’s a fur-lined collar with the oh-so-delicate touch of a flower in her lapel.  Laced up shoes kept her feet warm in the winter.   And I told you she was smart – she’s the only one wearing a hat in this picture.

My grandmother’s not in this picture, but my grandfather is on the left.  Even he was a sharp dressed man with a news boy cap, tie and a 3 (maybe 4) buttoned jacket.  Check out the car and the ladies on the hood.  I’m surprised the poleece didn’t come after them for looking so much like Bonnie and Clyde.

And that is the rebirth of Edna.  Do you ever wish the Jazz Age could come back in style if even for a moment?