Monday, December 31, 2007

It's My Birthday


Here is a picture of a way cool tea set from Matt for my birthday--the weather is finally supposed to turn colder so this huge cup will be welcome!

I went out to the little market this morning because they had 100% occupancy which was to have turned into more traffic--NOT! Actually it was overcast and rainy and I don't blame them for staying inside. I sold a few prints--they are finding their way around the country this way which is kinda cool.

I answered my mobile to the sounds of Jonathan and Alissa serenading me with Happy Birthday wishes--I told you they are sweet.

I'm hoping that even thought our Florida State Seminoles have fallen from grace at the moment that next year will be better--spoken like a true optimist!

It's time for me to pay sales tax for the quarter--I surprised myself with my total sales--obviously nothing earth shattering, but more than I thought. I'm adopting the slow and steady mindset.

People are always saying the whole world celebrates your birthday--a weird concept but I suppose if I were egotistical I'd believe it. Tonight we're going out with Michael and Jane and then back to their house for fireworks off their dock. It should be fun--I'm going to nap a bit to make it to midnight. Hope everyone is safe and sound tonight and the New Year is filled with blessings all around. Thanks for reading Camera Crazy in 2007-- -let's hope I have new adventures to share in 2008.

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Now playing: Lodger - Getting Special
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mixed Bag


Here's a photograph of Bruce at an architectural antique store we visited in Deland yesterday. He has taken a break from working and has been playing with me. Deland is about 35 miles north of Orlando, home of Stetson University. There is a cute downtown with many restaurants and galleries. Prior to getting there we stopped at Blue Springs State Park, winter home of manatees. When it gets cold they hang out in the constant 72 degree spring water. We saw a fair number of them in the water as well as an alligator sunning itself on a tree. The manatees are very challenging to photograph because they only surface for air occasionally. Nonetheless,even if my photos were not so great, the experience was great. We moseyed through galleries, antique stores, and a barber shop that has had only five owners in over 100 years. We found a pub for Bruce to have a Bass ale with his lunch.

On our drive home we came across a little known park called Gemini Springs. Mostly it encompasses marsh lands of the St. John's River which is one of the few rivers to flow north. The sun was dropping shedding a beautiful golden light. Did I mention that it is very warm again? The temp today was to be 86 degrees.

On Thursday evening we saw No Country for Old Men. Several years ago Bruce listened to the novel on cd while driving to some job. Arriving a few minutes late to a movie like this one is not a good idea. I sat down in my customary back row seat in time to watch Javier Bardem strangle a deputy to death with handcuffs, all the while looking bored with the whole process. I had no idea what was in store; I won't spoil it for anyone but suffice it to say that it was the most brutal movie I've seen in a while. Based very closely on Cormac McCarthy's novel, it was both unsettling and thought provoking.

Time to get ready to go to friends for dinner--I'm bringing an old favorite--Mexican chocolate cake. I'll fill you in on the recipe later.







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Now playing: Bloc Party - Blue Light
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Present


Pictured here is the man of the house (alongside the dog of the house) with his new Christmas present. He is so totally thrilled with it--probably the most excited he's been since he bought me my camera. He did receive some awesome gifts from his sons--tickets to see Spamalot from Matt, ticket to see Wrestlemania with Bill, Dave, and Michelle, and a new Brain Age game for his DS Light from Jonathan. Needless to say he's a happy man.

We distracted ourselves yesterday afternoon with a trip to a local museum to see paintings and drawings by George Bellows--fantastic work. I was hoping to inspire Bruce to use his new drawing set I gave him for Christmas. You didn't know that the real artist in the family is Bruce did you?

After the museum trip we stopped by the library to turn in some unwatched DVDs. We got three new ones for a movie fest, watching all in a row! Three different genres, three good movies. Children of Men, Two Weeks Notice, and an all time favorite of my mom's Best in Show. If you've not seen it you must--it never fails to make us laugh. As well, we are big Hugh Grant fans. Bruce likes Sandra Bullock, I can take her or leave her, but any movie with Hugh Grant is a must see for us. Although he plays similar parts he's just so darn charming you don't care.

I've spent today making some web albums for various people and catching up a bit with Flickr friends as I have largely ignored them during the holidays.

Matthew made it home and dry (a reference to a Pet Shop Boys song)

My birthday is coming up pretty quick. I am one of those odd folks who is the same age during the entire calendar year. This year I was the same age as the year I was born--1953, however, that is almost a thing of the past. When your birthday is six days after Christmas it can be an afterthought (mostly for me). I always feel sorry for those who want to remember it after the Christmas spending spree. I'll be changing my flickr profile to reflect the changes--no longer a student, and 54 years old. It is really hard for me to imagine, but I'll just stick with the cliche you are as young as you feel which at the moment is pretty darn good.



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Now playing: Sugababes - Push the Button
via FoxyTunes!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It May Be a Year


It's all quiet around here now. Matthew is boarding his plane to New York where he will wait for several hours for his flight to London arriving around 6AM. It's not that Matt is particularly loud, but he does make his presence known. For one thing, he loves to eat. I successfully made some vegan dishes that worked during his visit. One was terrible, however he didn't complain. It is hard to imagine that it might be a year until he comes back to Orlando, but as of now that is the plan. Dave and Michelle have set the wedding date for November 22 which he will naturally be here to celebrate.

I am pretty sad right now about the prospect but I must buck up accepting that children grow up with lives of their own which may, or may not, include their parents. After we left the airport Bruce and I fought back tears thinking of him so far away.

On a happier note Christmas worked even if it was unconventional. Bruce did all the wrapping which is just as well because he is so much better than I am. I baked no cookies, a first for me in all my married life, and the cards did not go out until a few days before Christmas. Bruce received a smoked turkey from a contractor and a gift certificate for Honey Baked ham. Here's what I served with it:

Relish tray
Hummus with flat bread (to me the flat bread tasted like cardboard)
Mixed nuts
Potato salad
Tabbouleh
Lentil loaf with brown rice and bar-b-que sauce
Spinach salad with dried cranberries, almonds, and a fantastic poppy seed and sesame seed dressing
Green beans with lemon zest
Rolls and biscuits
Fruit salad with blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, orange and toasted coconut
Bought Christmas cookies and Marie Callendar's apple pie (I mention the brand because it is terrific)

Bill and Leanne brought some pink champagne to start the party!

We missed three of our sisters this Christmas.

All in all the festivities were different for our family, but the reality is that it was very enjoyable and maybe a lesson in change. Either embrace it or become depressed--I suppose you know which route I'm taking.

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Now playing: Hot Chip - Over and Over
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, December 22, 2007

My Firstborn


Matthew was kind enough to let me practice my portrait skills--here is one of the best however he is a great model and I could post lots more!

We're off to lunch downtown with Bill, Dave, and Michele. Bruce got a new desk set up for Christmas from Ikea which he's been assembling since last evening--he's nearly done and you'll see it for yourself soon.

Jonathan and Alissa are on a Greyhound bus headed to Iowa to spend Christmas with her family there. I believe this is a new experience for our Jon boy. Last night he turned the yellow MINI back in--the lease was done. I asked him if he kissed it goodbye which naturally he didn't. I would have had it been me.

Friday, December 21, 2007

You've Got to Love this Guy


Mr. Newbold disparaged windows that don’t open because of the air-conditioning, elevators in country houses and “McMansions in general.”

“They are the cliché of the decade,” he said. “Hip money is now steering clear.”

An excerpt from an article in The Times about home design.

Photo is of our foyer bookshelf that Matt designed.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Surprise


It's astonishing where you find unexpected beauty. Arriving to pick up dry cleaning, I noticed the clouds looked really interesting. I got the baby camera out of my purse and shot a picture through the sunroof. When I got out of the car I pointed the camera upward and what should I discover but this rainbow at 9:00 in the morning with no rain in sight. It seems as if it was a sign of a good week. I want you to know that I am feeling remarkably better. This has happened before, but this time I'm thinking it will stick.

Matt acclimated quickly to the time change and we've been shopping like crazy. Bruce took today off, sleeping in till 8:30. That doesn't seem too late for lots of folks, but he often arises at 4:30AM to catch early flights, so it was a welcome respite.

When your children are grown and making lots of money it is always a challenge for parents at Christmas time. I had no idea what Matt wanted, or needed for that matter. The challenge in buying for Matt is both customs, and weight. One thing he really wanted was a new backpack. We searched extensively for just the right one; I am happy to report we found it.

Actually, the only son easy to buy for was Jonathan because he is still young with plenty of needs for his new environment. I did manage to find some things for David that I hope he will like. Bill makes an annual trip to LA for a music convention with a plane ticket from Bruce. It's going to be a weird Christmas, but I told Matt I want to adapt to changing times with this being a prime example.

A pleasant surprise today via the mailbox was a sweet card from Emily for my graduation. She is one of Matt's friends through Liza and lives in Massachusetts with her dear husband and darling little boy. How thoughtful of her to remember me. I must say I am pretty jazzed that it's over for now. We'll see what I think in a few months.

As you know Bruce works for Darden Restaurants. The stock got clobbered yesterday, and I do mean clobbered. Put it this way--on paper we lost enough to pay off our home. We are thinking positive though because really--what else can you do?

Cards still not done, cookies still not baked, but gosh, we're enjoying each other's company. Did I mention the weather is spectacular?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Times is a Wonderful Paper


Appetizers in a Hurry.
The tree is finally done, the wreaths hung and the Christmas table set. Now if I could just get the cards and shopping done--not to mention at least one Christmas cookie batch.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Life Stories


These guys were playing in front of the grocery store on Saturday morning hoping to entice folks to put some money in the Salvation Army bucket. It's the thing to do.

Fast forward to this afternoon--same location, different characters.

I ran up to the store to get a few things for Matt's arrival and saw a woman outside I knew I recognized. Couldn't really place her, but said hi--I'm glad I did.
She said: "Don't you have twin sons?"
Me: "Why yes I do, as well as two other sons."
How I wished I'd left it at the twins, not because Matthew and Jonathan are not precious to me, but it may have been like rubbing salt into a wound. As it turns out, her son was Bill and Dave's age (I called Dave later, apparently he played baseball with them for some years),anyway, he collapsed and died last November 28th at his job. Well, he didn't really die immediately, they brought him back only to find he had irreparable brain damage. They removed him from life support four days later. He was her only child. We've gone over this territory in the past--losing a child has to be the most devastating experience. I feel for our soldiers parents deeply.

I was shopping a good part of the day; I'm glad that I went there late because obviously she needs to tell her story. She found a rapt audience in me.

Matt's flight has been delayed two hours--I'll leave for the airport a little after 9.

BTW, it is official, my grades were posted today.

A Windy Day


Yesterday was one of those days. We awoke to a wild storm wondering if the market would proceed as usual. I checked my inbox for an e-mail from the manager only to find the internet down. Bruce made some adjustments to the modem and we were back in business with no cancellation in sight. Fortunately, it calmed down and the forecast was sunny skies with windy conditions at times. Indeed, those winds blew our tent over!!! As you see Bruce is repairing the part that broke alongside one that is bent. Other vendors rushed to the rescue. I was returning from a bathroom break and watched it happen in slow motion. Calmly working on his laptop, the tent fortunately went over away from Bruce. Surreal.

As we were driving we realized the front door did not get locked before we left necessitating a return trip on my part while Bruce set up. The market was very slow, in part because of the weather, in part because people were at the malls? In any case, a young man bought five of my small prints. I thought about him this morning imagining that he might make a good husband. That sounds a little silly I know, however, I've a reason for that thinking. He thoughtfully looked through all three bins several times looking for just the right thing. In fact he left only to return and do it again. He settled on a watermelon, oranges, peppers, and a sunrise and sunset. He mentioned the food photos were for gifts; he might keep the sun shots for his new office. He's a recent electrical engineering graduate. Bruce is so like that and we all know what a great husband he is! I'm probably all wrong, but I hope he makes someone happy.

After unloading we found the digital phone not working. I assumed that Matt would be calling with the details of his trip TOMORROW, and I'm sure he probably tried. Next the internet went down again, so after nearly forty-five minutes on the phone with the cable company, all is right with our technological world. Nothing frustrates me more than when I can't understand the "helpers" on the phone. I'm exaggerating, but not by much.

I talked with our man in Chicago and baby it's cold outside. Wouldn't you know it--they moved there just in time for the worst winter in recent memory and it's only just started. Tough adjustment for Floridians, however, he wasn't complaining, just doing his best to describe a scene I can't imagine. This morning I shipped their boxes with gifts. We are so going to miss them on Christmas. They have bus tickets to Iowa to spend it with Alissa's aunt and uncle.

Did I mention the wind brought colder temperatures here? 84 degrees on Saturday and it's 47 degrees now.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Check This Out!

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/community_downtown_blog/2007/12/orlando-farmers.html

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Gmail - Fwd: Looks fabulous - gailpeck@gmail.com

Gmail - Fwd: Looks fabulous - gailpeck@gmail.com
As you've discovered if you are reading this from the top--I messed up on the link in the real post. Hmmm..Matt arrives on Tuesday and as I've mentioned he will straighten up my life in many ways.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's Almost Official


The finals are over, I'm through--at least with my two year degree. I was so thrilled when I finished the test that I wanted to talk to someone. I called Dave, he said--can I call you back without hearing my news. I called Jonathan, it just rang, however, he did call me back and I got to share with him. I had already assumed that Bruce was in meetings, but when it was possible I called to thank him. As you know it was his idea, and of course his earnings that allowed me to do so. He congratulated me saying it was our money. I can't tell you how glad I am to be done. The first year was exciting, and different--the second when I got sick has been a real chore. My work life was always tightly scheduled; I had a full slate of patients each day and that was that. On occasion there were follow up issues, but for the most part I worked from 7-3:30 everyday. The only thing I brought home were stories.

These last two years have been so different for me; even when you don't have assignments you know you will. The weird hours that classes are scheduled and the deadlines took some real getting used to. I now feel like a big weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I've gotten four B's--two in four hour science classes, one in Comp 2--don't get me started and finally one in Algebra. I don't count that one because my health was precarious at best. That said even if I get four A's I'll not be able to raise my grade point average above it's current status. And you know what? I don't care. I did at the outset and I'm sure I amused some folks with that but now if I have a 3.7 or so I'm happy.

Tomorrow I will ride down to Key West with Jane--we're staying downtown which should prove very interesting. She'll be driving, I'll probably be talking.

Here's my windowsill in the kitchen with my darling snow globe in the sun. You probably didn't know how I love snow globes. That's the closest I've been to snow.

Nostalgia


Admittedly this is not a very good picture--I was using the baby camera, and I can't seem to take good pictures at night with it--that's it Gail--blame it on the camera! I posted this to show the fireplace with the four stockings hung. I must tell you I got teary-eyed Saturday night reminiscing about how the house used to be filled with four boys anxiously awaiting Christmas morning. Years ago I heard this great idea which became a tradition in our home. The last person up got to open their gift first.As well, we watched each gift being opened--no free for all in this house! The stockings could be raided when they got up but the presents under the tree were off limits until everyone was up. This was an attempt to get them to sleep in and most years it worked! When I was a child we woke our parents up at a ridiculous hour. In later years Bruce and I would be up before the kids.

Thanks to my mother in law!!! Last night UPS delivered a fresh Christmas wreath with my name on it--my first graduation gift. I've given lots of graduation gifts through the years--this is new for me. Fortunately a hanger was included as Bruce was just pulling out of the driveway to go to the airport.

I got my music final done last night, I'm heading to the museum for my last stint this morning. and taking my film final after that. My professor agreed to let me take it early so I could go to Key West with Jane. I've never had the pleasure of going to Key West--the furthest I've been is Key Largo. Hmmm....I'm wondering how I'll feel about all those bridges. I guess I'll just close my eyes if I get nervous. This is probably a crazy idea right now,I think I'll call it a present to myself.

Before I go to the museum I'll be stopping at the post office. A project that complicated matters last week is a LONG SHOT. Maureen told me how she saw in the paper that Ruby Tuesday was remodeling all their restaurants with contemporary art and photography. She suggested I contact them which I did through their website. It was naturally the wrong place to do so(they asked if I'd had lunch or dinner) but surprisingly enough I heard back from them the very next day with a personal note and address to send stuff to. I asked several people I trust for advice on what to send. I'm not holding my breath but Bruce told me I can't win if I don't play the game (oh, those sports metaphors!) which is entirely true....so off they go!

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Few More Things


I almost forgot one of the best things about yesterday's market--I met the woman who bought my piece from the silent auction. She came by the booth,(I'm unclear if it was intentional or accidental, but I think intentional) and introduced herself. Turns out she is an interior decorator but bought it for her home. She was super jazzed which made me really happy. Apparently people have asked what it is and whether I painted on it. I was happy to explain the former, and negate the latter. I have wondered for a few months now where it went.

Secondly, here's a tip I learned last week which blew me away. Maybe you are clever enough to have already done this, but I'd never even thought about it before. When making Christmas cookies that require rolling out, do it right on the cookie sheet making the transfer unnecessary. Imagine that I've been making cookies for nearly 40 years and this never occurred to me. This is courtesy of some show on the Food Network featuring a Wilton spokesperson. Duh!! Happy baking!

Finals Week is Here


This picture tells a lot about my life at the moment. The phone is lying there on speaker, to the right is my Apple Care booklet with all the times I've had to call them written inside. This time it was a music disc for my class that would not eject. It's fine now, if it happens again I'll know what to do. My doodling is evident on the side paper. The other booklet opened is the liner notes on top of the boxed set of classical music cds for my class. As you know that has been an online class--the final is four pages of essays which I'll be working on later today and send along.

The last few days have been crazy busy but interesting.
Michelle on Friday. We did several clothing changes and locations. I think we got some good ones but we will try it again for better. As David says there are two people in the picture--the one being photographed and the photographer. Thus, both have to be comfortable with what they are doing.

Dinner out with Jane and Michael on Friday night. Super fun. They are building a house near Key West and Jane asked me to ride along and stay overnight while she meets with the building official. Because my film final is Wednesday night I wasn't sure I could manage it. My professor has consented to let me take it another time but to date I'm not sure when that will be. That means I have to prepare quickly. There is another thing to consider as well....Christmas is just around the corner and my gift buying is almost nil.

However, we did buy a tree on Saturday afternoon and it is a beauty. The lights and garland are complete, the ornaments only a few so far. It turns out I was just too tired to continue but I will. For a little change we moved the location of the tree in the living area. For all the previous eleven years it's been in the same spot! It is perfectly shaped and smells heavenly--I still love a real tree.

And of course the market yesterday. The weather here is still warm--over 80 degrees in the middle of the day. That sums up the sales climate as well--not hot, and not cold. It was good though as I always get to meet some very interesting people. One woman bought a turtle picture the previous Sunday and requested a larger version for this Sunday. Roger printed it, 4:00 was drawing near, no sign of the woman. Yeah, she arrived. She is a microbiologist who studies bottom dwellers in lakes to determine the water quality. Apparently they have a society of folks who do that very same thing; she wanted the picture as a raffle item for their meeting. She's hoping I'll have more in the future. I believe she called herself a balentologist, but don't quote me on that.

Bruce is leaving this evening until Thursday night--boohoo!

I guess I left out Lisa and Emily's race on Saturday morning. Those kinds of events are always fun for a spectator. It was even fun for Lisa and Emily most of the time.What always strikes me about those events is the variety of people entered--big, little, old, and young. I stationed myself at the finishing line and was able to get them crossing through with their time visible. It was called a Reindeer Run including a costume contest. There were some mighty clever outfits which I'll post later on. I'm so proud of them both.

Have I told you Matthew will be arriving next week to visit until the 26th? Yeah!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

What Will I Find To Write About After Next Week?


As most of you know the end is drawing near. I will have my AA by this time next week, give or take a day. I have decided to discontinue volunteering,(wait a second, they called me an intern) at the museum as well. I've learned that sitting in the gallery by myself is not the job for me. Yesterday I had three visitors, all came in the last 15 minutes of my shift. Karen hung the new exhibit on Sunday night called Chapeaux Rouge. Remember when I photographed both Michelle and Emily in the red hat? Well at the time there were few entries and she hinted she might include photography. I think she should have--some of the paintings have little to do with a red hat. On the other hand, some of them are super cool. I particularly liked the mixed media ones. Mr. Polasek had a big presence in Winter Park,thus you see his huge grave marker. I actually stopped to photograph an angel for someone I know that loves angels and I stumbled upon this. He never married until he was in his 70's, his wife died 18 months later and he ended up remarrying--proving, I guess, that it is never too late!

I've spent the day writing and listening. I wrote a response to a question posed on the website for film class about Memento. As well I wrote a paper on Taxi Driver
, and completed my listening exercise for Music Appreciation. That is a very hard assignment. There are six pieces of music that you listen to and identify all sorts of features. I kept listening to my CDs and then comparing the two. I wish I could say that I was confident about my answers but I'm not. The class was successful though because I now appreciate classical music more than I did even if I can't identify the era, composer, or place it would be performed. I nearly forgot another essay I wrote today--my speech class final detailing why I should get an A in the class--three pages. I have film class tonight and I don't want to go as I'm already tired.

I'll be photographing family in the next few days. Lisa and Emily are doing a 5K run on Saturday morning--I'll be there at the finish line. Michelle needs some head shots for a job opportunity. Now, as you all know, I'm hardly proficient at this stuff, but I'm certainly going to give it my best shot.

Bruce is flying home tonight from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The snow was coming down hard when he called. His remark was--this is the kind of weather that convinces people to move to Florida. I took a short break, eating my lunch outside under crystal blue skies and mild temperatures. Chicago is full of snow also. Jonathan posted some pictures on flickr of their first snowman. Alissa took one of him making a snow angel which thrilled them both. I'm hoping their enthusiasm does not wane during the coming months.

Tomorrow I'll be going to Vero Beach with Bruce. It is about 90 miles south of here, obviously on the coast. I figured I may as well enjoy my new freedom--don't you agree? At some point we need to remember that Christmas is coming.....

Monday, December 3, 2007

It's a Small World After All


I'm trying very hard to focus on the worsening economy when I don't sell much--it's working. Actually I feel very grateful that we are not caught in the middle of this real estate mess. As most of you know Bruce and I have had a motto--"never be house poor." We've stuck by it all these years and it's been a blessing not to have to worry about money and a huge house to take care of. Bruce has been fortunate to move up in his profession and make a very good salary but we've lived pretty much the same all these years. Our home is modest by some standards but very hip if I do say so myself.

So, at the market there were several coincidences, both involving Maureen. As it turns out a vendor that used to be across from us knows our family from way back. I think he is my brother Pat's age. It turns out he knew Pat quite well and even came swimming in our pool. When I finally got a hold of Maureen on the phone she said his wife went to the same elementary school as she when we lived in Akron, Ohio where I was born!!! Crazy stuff.

As well, those of you who look at flickr know this face. Well, it turns out her name is not Lucy, but Goldie. She returned to the market with another family member and I asked to take her photo again. Turns out she is 94!!! When I asked her name I thought the last name sounded familiar and for good reason. Goldie's son was a musician that was a great friend of Maureen. He died twenty years ago and the woman pushing Goldie in her wheelchair is his widow. Did I make that too complicated? It most definitely is a small world.

Our niece Laura and her sweet husband Todd visited the market yesterday as did my mother in law. Laura, we knew was coming, my mother in law surprised us. Laura has gotten more interested in picture taking of late and bought the same camera as I have. I showed her how to adjust a few of the settings to improve her pictures. It was good to see them as it had been far too long.

Did I tell you Matt was on a business trip to LA? That's a very long flight from London for most of us. He made an overnight stop in Chicago and saw his little brother--yeah! Apparently there was a big snow storm. It's only a few weeks and he'll be here for a week to rest and reorganize my computer and every other technology thing I own!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Foggy Day


Maureen and I set off for Deland around 10, this photo finds us on the interstate. It is rare that we have fog here; it almost never hangs around, but yesterday was an exception. On the drive I had Maureen read my speech a few times so I would be more familiar with it. You see I didn't realize I was to give it at 1 until the previous night. It finally dawned on me! Fortunately I'd written it a few days earlier. I had to do the dreaded outline from the text---you remember how bad I am at outlines but no Bruce at home to help. By the way--it was a persuasive speech about breast implants.

Our drive was uneventful, we arrived around 11. As luck would have it Maureen got the nicest helper in the place. The other two were stiff, and unfriendly. As a matter of fact I left Maureen in her hands to do the paperwork; I found out later that she just talked and talked. The whole affair has been filled with miscues making it was nice to hopefully end on a good note. The car appears fine and the robbers were even kind enough to leave a full tank of gas.

I booked it back to Winter Park arriving at campus about 15 minutes early. Well......our professor arrived one HOUR late. She called around 1:15 saying she was on her way arriving 45 minutes later. During our wait time in the hallway the students got to know each other a little better. As well, because I don't go anywhere without both of my cameras I went to the car to get the FZ8 and convinced a few of the students to let me practice portraits. I've posted a few on flickr. Tyran's transformation after cutting off shoulder length dreadlocks is amazing. He has great cheekbones which he hid with his hair. It hung in his face most days so no one realized how handsome he is. If I were his mom I would want a few of the ones I took.

Those of us who stayed gave our speeches--some pretty good, some not so much. Furthermore we were rewarded with the final being e-mailed to us--all we have to do is answer an essay question and send it her way. Yeah! No more speech class for me. I'm struggling at the moment with a listening exercise in music. There are six pieces of music that I'm supposed to identify by mood, place would be performed, composer, and era. I've listened several times, but I'm still pretty much mystified.

We're going to a Christmas party tonight--I need to make myself presentable.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's All in Your Head


Forgive me if I've already shown you my nifty shoes I bought to take photos in. That does sound silly, but I don't care to wear regular tennis shoes around much and these work great walking through wet grass, and wherever else my photographic adventures take me.

Last night after watching Memento I heard the Gorillaz song that has that lyric in it--it's all in your head. As those of you who've seen that film know there is a large part of the story line that relates to that thought.

When you have not felt well for as long as I have without any definitive diagnosis many people begin to think it's all in the head. I wonder about that same thing myself. I keep thinking that if I ignore the symptoms they will go away. If I don't think about them, or talk about them, they will go away. I have several good days when it seems as if I can put this dreadful year and a half behind me, only for the dry heaves to resurface. I'm really at my wits end some days. I've spent time puzzling about what could be making this happen to me--is it really all in my head? I have not found any reason for this to be the case. I've kept busy doing something I love and all of you know how great Bruce and I get along. What, oh what is the answer?

Have I mentioned how warm it's been? I took this photo this morning--as you can see I'm wearing shorts.

Maureen's car is finally being released by the sheriff's department. She called this evening looking for a ride tomorrow to Deland which is about 45 miles from here. Tomorrow will be two weeks since she discovered it's absence. We still have no idea regarding the car's condition.

Bruce returns tomorrow evening--hallelujah!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Magic of Magnets


Here is the MRI gang after my scans. Jo is second from the left, Bonita the far right, and the other two are helpers I don't know.

I remember the first time I heard that they had discovered a way to use electromagnets for imaging. It was probably at least twenty years ago. At the time they called it Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging for what reason I don't know as there has never been any radiation associated with it. We now take it for granted, but it is an incredible technology. The discovery of this astounding fact will be studied by future generations. Wilhelm Konrad Roentgen discovered x-rays accidentaly in November of 1895. Back then it took nearly 30 minutes of radiation to make one image (his hand.) Incredible isn't it? X-rays used to be called Roentgenograms. Sound waves used in ultrasound is another amazing discovery. When I first began taking x-rays in 1971 there were two alternatives, either x-ray, or nuclear medicine. A lot has changed since then.

The resonance part of the name most certainly must refer to the incredible sounds the machine makes. I counted nearly six different ones, including a car alarm sound, a tapping, a machine gun sound that morphs into two machine gun sounds, and others I no longer remember. Jo explained that she never minds performing MRIs, but hates to have them herself; she gets through it by counting the sounds because she knows how many cycles they represent--thus how soon she can be done! I don't mind them myself. I close my eyes and zone out. I was shivering before we started, but they wrapped me in a cocoon of blankets, and I was fine.

While at the hospital I had my mammogram and a pelvic ultrasound at the insistence of my GYN. He feels better that I keep a check on my ovaries after my mom's cancer. I'm not too concerned, but I relented. The young woman who did my mammogram is pretty new at it. She used to be clerical staff a few years ago and then went to Valencia to be a radiographer. After I left they have used a number of new girls. I knew that Cory was probably nervous doing my mammogram as I used to be known as the "Mammo Queen." I told her no worries--she did wonderfully. She admitted she was very nervous and was pleased when they came out great the first time. (It may have helped that I positioned myself.) I hadn't been in my room since I left a little over two years ago; it was very weird. There were still a few of my funny jokes and such on the bulletin board. Hard to believe I spent 40 hours a week in that room for ten years.

Karol did my ultrasound; she's another long time friend. After the pelvic, she put some gel on the transducer, and took a look at my right upper quadrant. Because I am so thin the scan was perfectly clear. She showed me my kidney, gall bladder, aorta, pancreas,and liver. You can see the hepatic artery, as well as the superior vena cava. She was wishing one of the students could come in to see what a pretty scan looks like. What you are wanting to know is if she saw anything abnormal and she did not. Dr. Walzack, the radiologist and I chatted and he'll call me if he sees anything.

When I first began school a little over two years ago I imagined I would be so thrilled to be graduating from there. That I am, but in some ways it is anti-climactic. I just want to be done--no fanfare please.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tangerine Dreams



I decided to turn my tangerine purchase into juice. Can you believe how many seeds there are in these babies? I didn't know before I started cutting them that they were chock full--it would have been a pain eating them out of hand with so many seeds. The juice is delicious and so pretty--a very deep orange color.

Yesterday's doctor visit was interesting to say the least. Bruce arrived a few minutes before me. I proceeded to check in and the wait began. Now, contrary to most doctors, Dr. Everett usually runs very close to on time--at least until he gets a patient like me. At any rate, that was not the case yesterday. My appointment was for 2:00; we did not go back until 3, with him coming in the room at 3:20. However, once he was there, he was very attentive, listening to both Bruce and me. We are back on the track of the autonomic nervous system. I'm going to have another couple MRI's soon to look for any changes in my trunk. In fact I just got off the phone with the MRI tech from the hospital asking if she'll fit me in. As is always the case, I broke down in tears, but, only briefly.

Another poor showing yesterday at my reliable market. No need to re-order this week! I think I may have mentioned that I talked one of the other downtown vendors into coming out there with her beautiful jewelry and stained glass. Because we had so few customers we got to chit chat. I was terribly saddened to learn that she lost one of her children. He died in an accident when he was 16. I've always thought that losing a child must be one of the most devastating things a person can survive. A baby would be hard to lose, but the thought of a child that you have nurtured, and has been an important part of your life for so many years is too horrible to contemplate. Somehow after a year of hibernating she began living again.

I've written my thank you note to the curator for the opportunity to be an intern. I'd not read the intern manual, so had no clue I needed to, but my professor that advises me reminded me it is part of my grade. For some reason this seems backward to me. You would think they would be thanking me for spending my tuition money, and time, to help them keep the doors open. Seriously, they use volunteers to man the gallery admissions desk--there are not enough to fill all the hours. Nevertheless, it is ready for delivery.

Bruce is gone again until Friday afternoon; I woke up at 5:20 this morning to find his side of the bed empty. I never even budged while he was getting ready. Speaking of Mr. Bruce, he is a bit of a curmudgeon in the weeks leading up to Christmas. He has no interest in decorations etc. What I must tell you is that the closer it gets, the more interest he takes. He always buys me wonderful gifts which I hardly know I need, or want, until he gives them. A case in point is a digital camera. For several years he kept saying he was sure I would love one. The problem was that I could hardly see the screen on his, fumbling with it when I tried. This last Christmas he decided he would get me one whether I wanted one or not. Well, you see what has happened with that gift. Two hours of battery charge and I was on my way!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Amazing Bruce


Here is the ever patient Bruce sitting in the MINI while I'm across the street taking photos. What a support system I have! I've got an appointment with my internist tomorrow, Bruce is coming along to plead with him to find out what is wrong with his little wife.

I got skunked at the market today; a disappointment sure, but there are certainly worse things in life aren't there?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Meet Vernelle






After the hustle and bustle of the last few days Bruce and I took a road trip in the MINI. Bypassing the interstate we drove to Howey in the Hills. Turns out it is a super small town with one interesting site. Mr. Howey built a mansion in the '30's which we stumbled upon. Turns out some Presidents' have stayed there in it's heyday. It so reminded me of a favorite Nancy Drew book--The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion. It is really some sort of ivy but still...

Prior to arriving there I saw this road side fruit stand in Groveland. Vernelle was very nice and thrilled that I took her picture. She is the retired postmistress of Howey in the Hills,now keeping a closer eye on her fruit stand. I purchased a bag of tangerines to make some juice and when she saw there was a split one in the bag she immediately replaced it. No defective fruit from her trees. It turns out she has 200 trees behind her house, picking what she sells each morning. This is definitely a vanishing part of Florida life.

The trip was absolutely perfect. We had lunch at Yahala Bakery, a wonderful German bakery in what seems like the middle of nowhere.

Returning, we took another back road that was hilly. Now if you live in any other state than Florida this is no big deal, but we're flatlanders around here. I was so excited! Beautiful pink wild grasses, waving in the breeze, in the pastures. Perfect.

I asked Bruce when was the last time that you went anywhere and there was almost no traffic? His four hours to go 45 miles in the DC area is still fresh in his mind. We leisurely made our way back to Orlando through several other tiny towns.

Originally we'd intended to go to the movies; I'm so thrilled we changed our mind!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

From Jonathan's Blog

the mushroom kingdom
My baby car!!!

We Made It!


Another Thanksgiving has passed and we've much to be thankful for. Good company with good food is a winning combination. I wish I could report that I have loads of good photos of the event but I would be lying. Here's the best of half of the food. I haven't checked my other camera but I suspect those will be no better. Putting my efforts into the food is primary on a day like today! Bruce did all the clean up bless his heart. We missed some of our family but their absence can't be helped.

Speaking of absence, Maureen received a call this morning when she was helping me get the turkey in the oven--the car has been recovered. We're still unsure of the condition--it is about 50 miles away. Hopefully tomorrow will clarify the situation.

Jonathan called early to say they were on their way to the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade and it was snowing! He will always remember his first snowfall.

Lastly, Maureen called to tell me that on the Ovation Network that they are celebrating Photography this week and all programming is related to those who take photographs and how they do it. I've watched a few of the shows and highly recommend it if you get that channel.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Eve


While I was eating lunch I heard the sound of a delivery truck out front. Because the weather is so warm I had the doors open and can hear all the neighborhood happenings.I digress--the doorbell rang, and what should I find but a box of flowers from the Spaks! I immediately called Lisa to thank her,she said she had no part in it--it was her sweet husband's doing. Thank you Danny! You can see what a lovely bouquet it is.

It's been a very long time since I spent the day cooking, but I did it today I'm thrilled to report. It is only 6:30, and I'll probably be in bed by 8, but it's only once a year. We expect 15 tomorrow.

Here's the menu:
18 lb turkey (hopefully, it will be enough with a few light eaters and a vegetarian in the bunch)
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Sausage dressing (my parents were from the North--thus we don't call it the Southern name--stuffing)
Green beans with mushrooms and shallots
Corn with bacon and green onions
Savory cornbread pudding
Crescent rolls
Salad
Apple pie with homemade vanilla ice cream
Pumpkin pie with whipped cream

Here's what I made today:
stock
compound butter with fresh herbs for the turkey
crudites
dip
chopped onions and celery for the dressing
vanilla ice cream
pumpkin pie
apple pie (sliced apples etc.)
cornbread pudding
chicken noodle soup for dinner
spiced pecans

There may have been more, but that's what I remember for now.

I was getting worried because Bruce was to have arrived in Orlando at 2:30 and wasn't home by 4. I thought surely he had been delayed with holiday traffic. Not the case at all. I left a message on his cell, when he returned the call I mentioned that I was hoping he'd be our sommelier. He said maybe. When he did arrive home he surprised me--he had been shopping at Whole Foods all that time;he brought home some very nice wines. I guess that's what happens when you've been married for 34 years--you anticipate needs.

I wish everyone a wonderful holiday. Cheers.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Eve of Thanksgiving Eve



Two places I spend time that you've heard about. Obviously the one is of Lake Eola where I do the Sunday market. The other is the door to the gallery where I spend Tuesday and Saturday. Have I mentioned that the museum is in the National Register of Historic Places? I was considering volunteering there after my internship is up but I'm reconsidering. I really hate sitting there when there are no visitors. I want to be outside in the two acres of beautiful lakeside grounds--today there were only five visitors who arrived five minutes before my time was up.

Speaking of lakes, I often take pictures that are lakeside and for good reason. I did a Google search and found that there are over 120 lakes in Orlando! Within two houses of our front door is a lake and seven houses the other way is another. About one block behind us is another huge lake, on the way to the grocery store(less than a mile) is yet another that Bill and Dave live on. As you can imagine there is water and birds everywhere. When I was 15 my family moved to Melbourne. I remember it being so weird that there were only about two lakes in the region, however, they do have the ocean. Sometimes during the two miserable years we were apart, Bruce would come to Melbourne to visit, we would ride our bikes to the beach, however, I couldn't get out of Melbourne fast enough coming right back to Orlando when I graduated high school. Six weeks later I was in x-ray school, living with Maureen, and the rest is history as they say.

Baxter got a much needed shearing today. While that was going on I zoomed up to the grocery store to buy the Thanksgiving goodies. Returning, I was happy to get a call from Matthew. This will be his first Thanksgiving working. He reminded me that last year he went to Copenhagen during the Thanksgiving holidays. He reminisced about that trip and how cool Scandinavia is. I will miss both Matthew and Jonathan (and Alissa) on Thanksgiving. That I will be reminded of our Mom goes without saying.

This time of the year I guess I'm mentioning her more than typical because this is when things went bad. I won't go into the details but I will tell you that it was on Thanksgiving four years ago that she went into a semi-coma and died on Monday afternoon. Each passing year it gets easier but I suppose you never get over losing your Mom. I've no doubt my boys will miss me terribly when it is my time.

Enough already!!! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around Orlando--I'll be sharing that soon enough. Did I ever tell you that Matt decorated our tree the year he was nine? We moved into a new house nine days before Christmas, Jonathan was two and the twins were five. You already know what a hand full Jonathan was--my, oh my, that is a funny memory.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Vanilla


Matt's best friend Liza's family sells gourmet vanilla. Her dad came out to the market today with his beautiful bottles to sell to the tourists and they bought. These little beauties are not only cute, but the fragrance is so intense--wonderful. They have a website if anyone is interested let me know. They get their vanilla beans from Madagascar and them steep for a year in alcohol with no additives. Next time you buy vanilla extract make sure you check the ingredients--there is filler in them there bottles.

Remember how I mentioned that I don't realize the dates too well? Hmmm...I missed an assignment because of that. I was thinking that today was the 18th and I could do my listening assignment this morning when I got up around 6. I was beat last evening and in bed before 9. At any rate when I went to the website to do the work it was gone because yesterday was the 18th. Bummer as it cost me 30 points. So far I have an A in that class; I hope this does not propel me to a B. I've got 20th century music lecture left to listen to with a quiz for that. A third listening assignment is posted and then I believe I'll only have the final to do. Almost there good friends.

Bruce had to leave again super early this morning to be home for Thanksgiving. We'll be hosting the dinner as always so after the museum tomorrow I will do the shopping. This year may have to be a scaled down version but we'll see.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Not Too Bad


Typically I take a horrible picture, however, this one is not too bad! I received it in my e-mail box on Saturday afternoon. I am the puny blonde in the group.

Friday after school Bruce and I went to Ikea. Now for those of you with an Ikea in your town this is no big deal. Here, it is a big deal. It was way too big for me right now, I was too worn out after a short while. I am at my best in the morning and oftentimes it is down hill from there. Bruce is fine by the way with a nice new sweater to show for his trip.

Dave and Michelle came over yesterday to pick up some pictures for their dining room. I had them printed on canvas and I think everyone is pleased with the results. Michelle wanted to play makeup again even though I was feeling puny--it improved my appearance dramatically!

I haven't told you yet but Maureen had her car stolen out of her driveway on Thursday night. This is very bad news--to date it has not been recovered. This would be terrible for anyone but when you are a single woman it is earth shattering. Why, oh why can't people leave other people's stuff alone?

The market was pleasant today. One thing that makes me so happy is when someone buys one of my pictures for a gift. Today a young woman wanted one of our framed pictures and left a deposit. She went home for cash; returning she ended up buying another one for her brother for Christmas. Now who wouldn't like that?

I had a rough night last night, and I'm wearing out now, so I will say goodnight, and a good start to the week for all.

Friday, November 16, 2007

She Won't Be Dressed Like This Today.....


Unless she is a college student; the high will only be 68 today which is cold to Floridians. During the winter I have seen girls come to school with bare midriffs, sandals, and tank tops. It boggles my mind how they do it. Have you ever wondered how it is that woman, who typically get the coldest, wear the least when going to fancy events? I mean really, men wear an undershirt, dress shirt, with a coat and tie--woman wear spaghetti straps--go figure.

Ohio has not been good to our dear Bruce. First, he got that speeding ticket there--bummer. Secondly, the job has been very difficult with the contractor not keeping up with the schedule, and now this. Fortunately he was driving a Volvo yesterday when a stretch van rear-ended him at a stop light. It is the first time in 15 years of traveling that he's had any problem, actually it is the first time in his life he's been in an accident. He was not hurt, thank God. I've heard from him this morning, and although he's a little sore, everything is working. This job is nearly complete, the inspection is Monday; he can't get out of Ohio fast enough. I wonder if that's how my parents felt? You may know that I was born there. We made a one year stop in Buffalo, New York, before moving to Orlando when I was four. My sister Nancy was born during the Buffalo stop. Lisa, my baby sister, is the only one of us to be born right here in Orlando.

Very few attendees at the gallery thing last night, but that's ok. Maureen and Lynn were kind enough to come and support me. I left early because I had homework to do. I listened to music lectures yesterday while ironing (I'd put it off for as long as I could), and wanted to take the quiz while the material was still fresh.

Did I mention that Jonathan was officially hired? Here's where he's working:
http://www.wightco.com/. He and Alissa are getting to know folks and have lots to keep them busy in Chicago. I'm still amazed at Jonathan's transformation!

I have yet to do my speech outline and it's due today at 1. What am I waiting for, divine inspiration?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Observations


Here's the sign in the window for the gallery, re: tomorrow night. I've got two new pictures there.

Speaking of which I was in a bit of a quandary--my dear neighbor wanted to purchase one of the pictures that were hung last month. During the open house she said you should put a sold sign on the one, thinking that would entice someone else. Unfortunately, the price on it that was just way too much. When Bruce picked them up on Saturday for me the curator remarked that the only way they stay in business is through commissions; what happened with the buyer? Well, I didn't know what to do, so I asked the curator at the museum. She said to negotiate a price and then give the commission on that price. It was awkward doing so but Regina and I came to an agreement after I told her the scoop. I went there today to settle up (thus the photo) but he wasn't there. I got his cell phone number, maybe it would have been easier on the phone, but I decided to wait and work it out tomorrow night. I am learning as I go.

A title for one of the obituaries today said a woman's passion was counseling recovering addicts. I thought that my passion is probably a little easier to accomplish on a day to day basis. You don't think she pulled her car over when she saw someone she thought might need help do you?

Another entry was a four month old child. I feel bad about a baby dying, for sure, but what caught my eye was her name (I guess it is a she) Laniya Kimora--mother's name Whytnea. Hmmmm.......

Corn meal mush does not have the same panache as polenta. For that matter, creamy rice isn't nearly as romantic-sounding as risotto.

Only about 3 1/2 weeks left till I'm done with my AA!! Tonight we are watching Taxi Driver, next week Momento, another paper, a final, and film is done. I've still got to do my dreaded outline for my persuasive speech which will happen on the 30th. I spent part of today listening to my music class lectures about the Romantic period in music--it's good.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Makeshift Studio




I can't resist the morning light! I wanted to get the shadow of the vase--as you can see I tried to get the vase up higher than the plant shadows by placing it on an upside down laundry basket on a chair. Then I realized that I couldn't figure out a way to get rid of the laundry basket in the shot so I covered it with a black dish towel. This is the sort of thing camera crazy women do!

The flower vendor from the market gave me these when it was close up time; I couldn't bear to not take some pictures of them.

Did I tell you that they are lining up for the Ikea opening tomorrow?

Monday, November 12, 2007

It Never Fails


You might remember how I told you about the two door dilemma that trick or treaters face at our house, well, so do phone book delivery folks. EVERY year we get two sets of phone books! How can they not notice it is the same house???

Speaking of phone book deliveries--we delivered phone books one year to earn extra money when I was staying home with Jonathan before he went to elementary school. You may not know how terribly difficult Jonathan was as a little boy. To say that he was totally wild is a bit of an understatement. If you met him today you would be astounded as he is very mild mannered (except when watching sports!) and a perfect gentleman. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that leaving him with someone else was out of the question. I can remember dragging a luggage trolley thing with phone books on it in our neighborhood. So, I lied before when I told you the only thing I ever did to earn money was take x-rays. I also sold Tupperware for a few months when we lived in California--I was no good at sales. Still not so good, but trying.

Because I like to keep you up on the latest animal crazes, here is a photo from Lake Eola yesterday of a man and his pet rabbit. He carried it in his arms through the market, apparently letting it have a little free time in this picture. I got a good look and the front was a deep black with a deep brown color taking over about mid-abdomen. It was a very pretty pet, but you have to wonder why someone would want a rabbit--at least they don't bark.

Today my first photo was purchased to cross the Atlantic--heading to Britain to be exact. How about that?

Christmas Dogs


I suspect this photo will be appreciated by my blog readers. A new market vendor from yesterday, they set up this booth for people to have a Christmas photo, presumably for cards? My favorite parts are the man's butt crack in front and the crooked star on the tree. Try to look at it big and see how ridiculous those little dogs look in that setting. I mean really. They are a ways away from us but I suspect with the amount of dogs we see every week that they will do well. Speaking of dogs we took Baxter with us yesterday and he was eerily good. You may recall in the past he barked, and fussed at all the dogs that came by, not assuming the role of customer magnet we had hoped. He is adorable, but not so much when he is barking. Yesterday however he was almost quiet as a mouse and sat on Bruce's lap most of the time looking sweet. To date we have no plans to visit the Glamour Puss booth.

It has been days since I last wrote because I've just not been able to fit it in. I did the Darden craft fair on Thursday and Friday. I sold 21 prints--mostly small. I did meet some potential customers though which could turn out well for me. It is challenging to figure out what to print for events. I've been told when you think you have it figured out it changes. I'd had a print of a surfer coming out of the water with his board on his head for nearly a month. I sold it on Thursday to a girl who wanted it for her desk (framed and in place by Friday morning I heard). Friday morning someone came to the table and asked for the surfer--oh, you don't have two? Well, no I didn't!

Saturday I was at the museum, then trying to get some house work done, as well as home work! I'm caught up on my music for the moment with my concert review graded already. I've got two more quizzes in that class--I can't remember what else. I listen to the on-line lectures in my office ,the music in my car, and read the chapters when I'm sitting at the museum. It's been a good experience taking an online class but I do wonder what the professor looks like.

Which brings you up to date. The weather here has been spectacular; it is a crime to stay inside on days like these. The market was comfortable, and even enjoyable, for the first time in months. I sold more prints and made more contacts that might be beneficial. One of those contacts is a man Bruce talked to at a neighborhood restaurant while taking his mom to lunch yesterday. (he did bring me back a nice sandwich); he's a web designer who came over to the market to meet me after having his lunch. Let us hope something will come from this!

Off to my Monday market and then NO selling for some days. Oh yeah, Bruce picked up my prints from the gallery replacing them with two more for this months show. You would think this was a full-time business wouldn't you?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Half Yearly Sale


Currently listening to "Sofia" by Good Shoes on last.fm--good Britpop!

I was determined not to miss the half-yearly sale at Nordstrom like I did the anniversary sale. I am a huge fan of Skagen watches and they always have some on sale nearly half price. My trusty silver one could not be fixed, thus I needed a new one. I am all about sales. I got a new one with a black face, but it does not have the mesh band I so like. This one is good though. I also bought some new jeans and two tops. When I chatted with Bruce he was thrilled I felt like going.

First thing I did this morning was to write my concert review for my Music Appreciation class. I neglected to tell you that I went to a piano concert on Saturday night at Rollins College. The performer was Jean-Phillipe Collard if that means anything to you--it didn't to me. I was disappointed with the experience partly because I didn't particularly like the music; although technically proficient,(he is an international performer after all) he displayed no personality. I've never been to a live music performance when the star does not say one word to the audience--not even one!! Even if he doesn't speak English he could have at least said merci for crying out loud. Maybe this is typical, I don't know, but it made for a very sterile evening. The best piece was the encore.

I'm all set up at Darden. I hope the other folks don't consider me an interloper. We'll see what people think at 7 in the morning.

Much to my delight, the weather continues to be perfect

Time to walk Baxter before I leave for class; I hope I can stay awake until 10. Actually after class I have to stop by Mr. Roger's house to pick up some prints! Only five more weeks to go.

Happy Birthday Judy--my dear sister-in-law of 34 years now.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Gail Price Peck


Maybe it was the presence of my maiden name? I am participating in a two day art fair at Darden on Thursday and Friday. For those of you who don't know: Darden is the name of the company Bruce works for. Apparently every item has to be marked with a price and name, thus the stickers.

I'm feeling a little puny tonight---forgive my brevity.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Standard Time


The clock does not even say 9 yet I'm tired. I'm planning on hanging in there until at least 9 anyway. Bruce has had to leave again so it's just me and my Baxter. Because we finally have the windows open (you can shout for joy with me at this point if you like) we can now hear the outside world again. It's really extraordinary how even a quiet neighborhood has sounds that go unnoticed when we are sealed in our air-conditioned worlds. For one thing we can now hear the trains at night. I love the sound. Although they are on the other side of Orange Avenue I think the sound carries across the lake to us. I remember the first night we lived here and heard it--we knew it was good.
As well there are birds everywhere again. They like the cooler weather too. I want you to know that the cardinals are back. Yesterday afternoon the male was right outside the office window. Last night when we were already in bed we heard an owl. Baxter heard it too and ran out to the living room barking. It was really sort of comical. When I was walking him late this afternoon a neighbor woman told me that she had seen it and it was huge--more than a foot tall. Actually she told me that approximately eight times. It could have been more but I lost count. Do you ever do that? Say the same thing repeatedly? I hope if I do someone will be kind enough to stop me.

Some yeah items:

No regular market yesterday as the park was taken over with a huge festival--good to have the day off.

The Seminoles won on Saturday night--fantastic!

I got to hang out with Bruce on Saturday. We did a few errands and to his office. Baxter came along at Bruce's insistence. I may have mentioned a time or two that Baxter is very lovable--well, I had gone to get something; when I came down the hall. one of Bruce's colleagues was laying on the floor rubbing our little dog. He's simply irresistible.

Did I tell you the speech, and cupcakes went over well? The students were amazed at how tasty they were. I went over in time a bit, but otherwise it was good. There was drama associated with the class, but I was merely an observer.

The weather was super today for the little market. Seven prints went to Boston, Virginia, and New Jersey. I am happy for the group that are visiting Orlando this week because we finally have our version of fall.

Before I forget--I took this picture at the barn that houses our sheriff's department horses. I was around the corrals and the caretaker invited me in. It is on my way to many places, so I stop when I've got the picture taking bug--wait a minute--I've got that every day. If you've got a moment look at it big--you see the horse knows I'm there leaning in taking this and he's got his head turned. I love the afternoon light myself. What a ponytail.

Happy Monday

Friday, November 2, 2007

Mini Cupcakes


Matt won't do my homework for me, but Michelle will! You see, I sent Matt an e-mail asking if he would do my outline for the speech for me. I hate to do outlines--really I know what I'm going to say, so why put it down in an outline? It is required however, as are note cards. Matt was kind enough to send the template to me, but declined to do the actual work. Not so Michelle.

I called her looking for a plastic tray to take the cupcakes to school. Eureka--I could practice my speech on her! As it turned out, I was way too wordy (imagine that), going over my time by lots. She helped me edit it down with suggestions of what I could leave out. Now, I want you to know that I had done the outline myself, albeit not that great. Again, it was too wordy, so she parsed it down, we got a new one printed up, and I'm get to go. She insisted on the note cards (as does my professor). We wrote them in big letters with a Sharpie to keep me on track. You see the cute little cupcakes before you. I made them yesterday morning around 6:30; this recipe seems to taste better after a day. I just wish it would get here, and I could get it over with. When I signed up for speech I didn't know that Bruce would be out of town so much. It is much easier to practice with an audience than just mumbling to myself as I walk Mr. Baxter. Matthew suggested I be breezy, so I will strive for breezy.

Aha, it seems as if the rain may finally be gone for a few days. Hallelujah! It is supposed to get down to 60 tonight which is very much welcome around these parts.

I spent a considerable amount of time doing school work yesterday. Reading criticisms on Breathless, speech writing, quiz on music in the Renaissance, and lecture on the Baroque period.

I'm extremely happy to report that our Mr. Bill is doing great at Wachovia. It seems as if he had the best month of a rookie ever in Central Florida. Now that says a lot about hard work--he learned it from his dad.

I forgot to mention that I saw my first super-sized Christmas tree on Monday. I was driving to the little market when I passed Dixie Stampede. It is a Dolly Parton attraction and show. Facing the interstate is a tree that I'm guessing is about 50' tall--I was dumbfounded. Could there be a tree before Halloween? From my blog and pictures you would be hard pressed to know that Orlando is one of the top vacation destinations in the world. We've definitely got something for most everyone.

Happy day--Bruce finally gets home this evening.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My First Published Photo!


Here's the calendar etc. Very exciting stuff!

The best laid plans of mice and men--one of my mom's favorite sayings. This morning when there was a break in the rain, I took Baxter for a walk. Let's just say he was having some trouble relieving himself which took some intervention on my part. It resulted in an unintended bath for Baxter. He is nice and fluffy now.

When I was done with that I heard this noise--I thought it was the air conditioner but, no, it was the hall toilet running. Weird--it just started on its own. I took the lid off and lifted stuff to no avail. I was trying hard not to call Bruce as he has so many problems he has to deal with on all his jobs but it became necessary. He instructed me to turn off the water. I'm sure it is something simple and he'll be able to fix it when he gets home. We have had our share of house troubles lately. Last week we replaced the pool pump for $420. The air conditioner was leaking on the carpet but that fix was simple--I'd neglected to change the filter for too long.

Halloween is over for another year. I had so few children that it was weird. Baxter barked his little head off at the ones who came. In years past the same children would come to the side door (our driveway is there) and then the front door. I was always amazed that they seemed to not realize it was the same house as both doors are painted a light terra cotta color--not just some brown door. Nonetheless, I used to say--you just visited me at the other door! They feigned innocence. None of that tonight.

I put a link on my blog to Last.fm--I highly recommend it if you like music. You put in someone you like and then they play music for you of the same ilk. You get to hear people you would have never heard of--I've got mine going right now. I put Nick Drake in and I've heard some great tunes--I just listened to a Danish guy--Teitur that was marvelous.

So Bruce called, as you know he's working in the DC area. It took him FOUR hours to go 45 miles--and we thought Orlando's traffic was bad. Can you imagine?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wisdom is Better Than Strength


This photo is from inside Knowles Chapel on the Rollins College campus. As some of you know, Bill and Dave graduated Rollins with Economic degrees. It is a beautiful campus; one of the prettiest places in Central Florida. It was my intention to continue on at Rollins in the night school (it's way too expensive in the day) but, at this point, I think I may take a semester off to evaluate my next move.

I'm drowning in school work. I spent most of my museum time reading about Middle Ages and Renaissance music today. Consequently, I was prepared to take the online quiz which I did after I ate dinner. I have to watch the film Breathless and read several criticisms before the response is due on Friday. As well, I'm working on my informative speech. I am going to demonstrate how to make a vegan chocolate cake. Now I'm assuming that I can do the demonstration and speak at the same time, as I certainly have had practice doing two things as once as a mother, but we'll see. I'm mulling over the script at present. My plan is to take a glass bowl and the ingredients--mix them there and pour into pan. Prior to class I will be making mini-cupcakes to hand out. That will be Thursday's job.

I just noticed while looking at my bulletin board that a Radiology continuing education seminar is scheduled for Saturday morning. I need to keep going to those to keep up my license. I'll have to work out something with Karen at the museum so I can attend. I'm glad I saw it as I'd forgotten all about it. I am terrible with dates anymore. I do know what day it is, but usually I forget the date. As such, I forgot to mention that October 27th was my sister Nancy's 50th birthday--Happy belated Nancy.

Here's what I can keep straight:
Monday--little market
Tuesday--museum
Wednesday--film class
Thursday--NOTHING/online music class is what I should schedule here
Friday--clean house, laundry and speech class--usually date with Bruce
Saturday--museum
Sunday--downtown market

Of course, I have to have time to take,edit and order pictures. I am just thrilled that I can do this stuff--last year at this time it would have been impossible. It is 9 o'clock and pouring. We have been having unseasonable rains which is getting old. Please go alleviate a drought somewhere, will you?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rain Out


Watch the City Council

City Council Meetings - Decisions 2007 gives you gavel to gavel coverage of the City of Orlando Council meetings. Meetings are broadcast the day of the meeting at 2 p.m. on Orange TV channel 9, and repeated Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. See Orange TV's broadcast sc

We certainly have some catching up to do.

The picture--terrible of course, but you get the idea. The Halloween party was a smash. The decorations were amazing, as was the food and guests. People came in an array of fun costumes. I didn't tell you that Bruce went as a witch doctor. The boys were so shocked Bill hardly knew it was his dad. I've put together a Picasa web album with the pictures; possibly I'll figure out how to make a link to it in the next few days. Unfortunately we didn't get home until about 1:30AM, about four hours past our bedtime. The market beckoned...

Another slow day at the market. Our neighbors, the plant vendors, joked that they had hit the bottom at the market--they just bought a new van hoping for an upswing. Nevertheless, I did sell something and the gentleman asked if I had more on the subject. Naturally, because I am camera crazy I had plenty more to share. I sent him a web album and hopefully he will order something else. If not tomorrow, maybe in the future.

We were so exhausted that as soon as I'd finished my homework and a meal of leftover party food, we hit the sack. Bruce had to leave before 5 AM today and won't return until Friday night. Ick!

Today was eventful. I had the other market at 9 where I duly set up. It was raining all night long and you guessed it--a rain out. Fortunately we did not close up before a family took three prints back to New Hampshire. It was fine by me. It rained steadily on my way home, but the traffic was fine, and I sailed along.

When I got home I checked my e-mail to see if the woman from the city had responded to one I sent before I left. No new e-mail. You see, this is the day that I allegedly was to get the money for having a winning entry to the city calendar photo contest. Here's the bottom line. The mayor presented certificates and a check for $100 at the city council meeting! I did not dress for the television camera. I looked fine, but had I known it was going to be on TV, I might have done better. Apparently, the council meetings are broadcast live, with the link above I should be able to see it for myself. However, I'm not able to open it. At any rate, it was interesting. What most interested me was the way that the mayor lifted his chin purposely with this goofy fake smile each time they took his picture. I suppose that I shouldn't even mention it because Lord knows, I can't take a decent picture to save my life, but I feel I must. I can just imagine how there are consultants coaching him on how to reduce his double chin in photographs, and how many teeth to show etc. That is the thing that I like so much about Patty Sheehan, the commissioner I showed in last week or so. Her smile seems so genuine that you cannot help being charmed by her. It turns out her aide won an award for being an outstanding employee; we walked out together. He was charming as well, professing his love for her, and her tireless work for the downtown district. I totally believed him.

Speaking of consultants--I have my own. Matthew called this afternoon and boy did we chat up the phone lines. Two hours or so. He is in management consulting--it is no wonder they pay him a ton. We discussed the market, writing argument papers for college, he gave me a tutorial on how to think critically about art (he reads the blog so knows my frustration with the film class), Glasgow, and Manchester (he was there last week), the cost of living in London (he's probably the only person you will ever hear of that is saving tons of money while living there), my upcoming speech (he's the inspiration), computer stuff, his visit to Orlando at Christmas, some ideas I had about future photography products, and more. Now you know what I'm talking about... I so miss it when we go two weeks without a phone call, I end up monopolizing the conversation which is sorta crazy. Typically, at this stage of my life I wouldn't be doing so much, and he'd be doing tons. He is doing tons, but, so am I. He thinks critically about everything, so when I propose an idea he has an answer for what is either good or bad about it. It's really invaluable advice and to think I get it for free. I can't wait to see him in less than two months.

Too add to the happiness of the day both Bill and Dave called. I'm a lucky mom.

Long Beach, CA