Flea Market Bookstore

Happiness was reading the shelves at this bookstore located inside of a flea market in Beaumont, TX.  The possibilities were endless as we viewed this nook from behind a locked gate, it was closed. However, one of the merchants noticed our pining and let us in. Everything Daphne du Maurier ever wrote can be found here. I ended up with two first edition Ira Levin books: Rosemary's Baby and The Stepford Wives. Sadly, not found was the Duras cookbook or a  really old and lovely leather bound copy of Herodotushistories. 

Polaroid Land Camera Heaven

I don't know how I only just now discovered this Land Camera website. This is so, so, so exciting for me! I had several Land Cameras at one time: there was 180, 195, 230, 240, 250 and my current 330.  They were never broken, only left behind for some reason.

In Austin one does move around frequently if not a homeowner. In the 22 years I lived in Austin, I moved a total of 17 times. I know I left a box of  books, art supplies, various vintage sundries and my camera behind in a garage apartment I once rented. When I realized I was missing boxes I returned to the rental but the door was locked and the landlord had taken the keys I left in the mailbox. I was unable to contact her for weeks and accepted the fact that I had lost 240. Another time I  broke up with a guy and left my camera behind with the thought that I would collect my things later.  I decided to just never return and that is how I lost 180. I let her go as if I never loved her.

What I have always wanted is a working self-timer for my Land. My 250 had one that only worked once. It was rusty and corroded. My cameras never came with matching flash boots or batteries. I was always running to Batteries Plus to have them make a replacement battery for me. Every Land camera I ever had always came with a sticky pack of smelly, ancient film stuck in it. I am so beyond thrilled to find a website that not only sells the Land but everything you could possibly want for it like self timers and portrait kits and you ca even purchase a camera with a rechargeable battery system. I will be doing a lot of drooling on this website until I can make some decisions.

"The best way to fill time is to waste it."


Summer is fast approaching and I like to wear vintage cotton slips throughout the season to stay cool. Freshly laundered and ready to go.

My Ins and Outs

1. Sitting under shade trees with my beau.

2. TOMS Shoes. I only recently purchased my first pair in Leesville, LA and have been wanting nothing but more TOMS ever since. I have two pairs so far. It took me awhile to get around to buying a pair.

3. White cotton and linen dresses. I spend evenings online chasing vintage, cotton slips and simple, Mexican, pin tucked dresses.

4. Watching French horror films.

5. Reading. I haven't quite grasped the reality of all my free time and how to spend it. I need a post-it that says READ to remind me. In the past free time meant catching up on laundry or running to do grocery shopping or mopping, tending to the feathered or the furry leaving reading for those nights I couldn't get to sleep.

6. African Violets on windowsills.

7. Listening to the Mexican oldies radio station.

8. DJ's  Boudain. That is the tastiest meal in a casing that I have ever had!

1. Worry. The upside to no longer having a vintage house to keep up with, chickens and pets has been no worries or concerns and that is a welcomed change. Guilt free unloading of responsibilities is amazing!

2. BOBS Shoes. Skechers still have these out?

3.  Women's Jeans. We spent several hours in search of raw denim jeans for women and found that they aren't popular or in stock. What is out there is plenty of ill fitting, soft and faded denim with big stitching or embellishments that just aren't for me.

4. The Paramount Summer Series. This year you won't find me watching old films at the Paramount every evening like I have for a decade. The main reason is I am not in town but this year seems like a replay of last year and the year before that. I fear lack of funding.

5. I will dearly miss volunteering at the Texas Book Festival this November.  That was always a fun weekend.

6. Gardening in Austin,TX. I do not miss trying to grow herbs and veggies during a drought.

7. Mexico. I would love to take my boyfriend to Los Mochis, Sinaloa to sit on a virgin beach but things there are even worse than they were six months ago.

8. Kountry Boys Boudain


Last night I watched a Sam Raimi film called Drag Me to Hell. A loan officer refuses to help a woman keep her home and is then cursed by the woman.  Watching this movie I started to think of curses and how heavy superstition can weigh in some Hispanic families.  The stories all involved jealousies, el mal ojo.  Something as benign as a two second long desire for what someone else had was enough to cause turmoil, unless you humbled yourself to the fact that you are jealous and touch the head of the envied one or article of clothing and voice that you don't want to give them the evil eye. I have grown up hearing stories of people who have been cursed and those that have the power to throw a curse and the ones who can remove the curse. These stories have never been filled with the supernatural but take on a more insidious and practical nature.

One I remember hearing quite well because I was sitting in a living room as the adults drank coffee and spoke about Mr Trujillo's nephew. He lost a job and a wife because he lost his leg in a car accident. This misfortune was the result of having had too much. He had a great job, brand new car and married a woman who was so beautiful that many men wished to possess her. It occurred to me rather quickly she wasn't worth having, beautiful or not, if she ran out on her man when he needed her the most. I then thought he was lucky to be alive.  But I also remember being so afraid of cursing or being cursed that I was willing to spin any story in such a way that curses were not involved.

Then there was another story about breaking a curse.  Stories about breaking curses were easier to hear. A doll had to be taken from Texas to a  curandero in New Mexico. The trip took several days because the man's truck continued to break down over and over. He then rented a car and the same thing happened but he eventually hitched rides the last few miles and arrived at the curandero's house. The doll was used in a ritual to remove the curse and then burned. When I heard that story as a child I imagined a valuable and ancient doll that had its own very interesting story and one I wanted to know more about. How sad it was burned and only described as an old doll by this friend of my Grandparents. I wanted to ask more questions but clearly that was not the point of the story. I didn't want to focus on the idea that an old doll could be cursed. After all,  I had a few old dolls I picked up at garage sales with my Grandmother.

I was told that jealousy is a powerful emotion that can create problems for the envious and the envied. It was best to not show off or say too much to even family members and to appreciate the things one had in their lives. At some point in childhood I reasoned that a person could not take only one single  aspect of another person's life to envy. That  would be out of context somehow and not logical. I decided that to envy a person one had to envy all that person was and everything they had and the way they lived. That meant everything about them and around them good or bad. So as a result to envy seemed like cursing myself every time.  I never wanted everything a person had in their life. There was still the problem of being envied. I found that not being able to show off or share great news every now and then made me feel not so happy. My solution was just to issue a verbal disclaimer: "Well you know, finally something cool is happening to me...after {insert number of years of shitty luck here} years" and that was enough to satisfy my superstitious thoughts.  I do not wear ojo de venado or a nazar.

The evil eye takes one form or another in many cultures but I do wonder if it would do less damage to have a more healthy view of jealousy.  To live superstitiously is such a burden. Wouldn't it be better to view jealousy in a more controlled way? Not one that involved curses. The Apache believed that jealousy was normal and an accepted emotion that should be expressed.  Not all tribes shared this view.  This meant if a spouse was caught with a lover it was perfectly natural and understood when both were killed.

Calling Pigs

Yet another reason why the last six weeks have been the best.

A Library

Allen Shivers Library by Tera in the Isles

I am missing working in a library as I sit at a table in the Allen Shivers Library in Woodville, TX. I miss working in a real library and have for over a decade now.  I caught the sound of an electric pencil sharpener and earlier a woman came in, annoyed that her library card had not arrived in the mail. There is still a small card catalog located in the center of this library and it is so quiet that when I opened my bag the sound of velcro strips parting made me embarrassed. What a violent sound.

This is a real library, the way I knew libraries to be.  I worked at a university library that was nothing like this library. The card catalog had been out of use for several years and moved to the sixth floor where a student took his life last September. It took me a few months to return to the sixth floor where I had been working on a personal project for several months.  I was sneaking cards out of the card catalog for use in projects.  It was not allowed until there was an official announcement and that didn't come until April of this year. There was little time before all those carefully typed little cards with information that had been checked and double checked and recorded and cross referenced by someone who had long retired were placed in the recycle bin. When I last visited the sixth floor the drawers were piled haphazardly and strewn all over the floor in front of the heavy and seemingly immoveable piece of furniture. The missing drawers left gaping holes that resembled open wounds. Enough of them to declare the card catalog officially dead.

The future of libraries was always a topic at the office: Everything going to digital, more wi-fi,  no more print, moving books to storage, all the books...online only, from  library to lounge area,  creating a place for students to come together and study and socialize.  I saw the end when a coffee shop was placed in the library. There was a time you couldn't bring open containers into the stacks or lobby and here was a coffee shop. All food and drink was now allowed. The place was only quiet on select floors but otherwise it was not at all the church of books and literature it once was. What will a library mean to the general public in twenty years?

Here at the Allan Shivers Library there is still whispering going on, the stacks are packed and labeled, it is all Dewey Decimal and I feel great. I also wonder if the librarians here know how lucky they are.

"She's faithful to this stranger even before she belongs to him."

The Minutiae These Days

For the past two months I have been living on a lake in Woodville, TX, a small corner of East Texas that resembles what I imagine Thorton Wilder's Grover's Corner to look like. The town is surrounded by tall pine trees and lakes seem to appear every few miles. The red dirt country roads that sprout from the main thoroughfare, wind about in ways I still haven't quite figured out.  I run into familiar faces around town, at the gym, the cafe, grocery store, honky tonk or driving around. Everyone has been friendly and I feel welcomed.  I have fallen in love with the place and find the landscape quite romantic. It reminds me of the settings in Flannery O'Conner stories. In a few days we will leave Woodville and head out of state. It will be the first time I live out of Texas, a welcomed change.

These past few weeks have been a sort of long goodbye to Texas. Our day trips and weekend excursions have taken us to Austin, Houston, Beaumont and all the small towns in between. I have enjoyed the restaurants, coffee shops, bars, vintage stores, flea markets and thrifting again.

The place I call home