Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It's Me Again

This guy may be chilling, but I'm not. I've returned from another wasted doctor's visit. It is hard to imagine that it has been nearly a year since I fist noticed the pain and began having dry heaves; I still have no diagnosis. Today he suggested I might want to consider ovarian cancer as he had researched everything and thinks that surgery might be the way to go. I've heard the surgery idea before. I was frustrated when I arrived as they said I owed them $475 and either I could pay it, or reschedule. Great--my entire deductible is already met as you can well imagine; my insurance company is behind the times. Naturally, I was in tears in the waiting room but got control of myself by the time I saw Dr. Menken. I am in tears again but I'll get control of myself. I feel like giving up, and just letting whatever is wrong with me take it's course. Bruce and I are off for our adventure--I'll just try and forget this whole afternoon. So long friends.

Good Morning

Hope everyone had a good holiday--ours was very simple, but nice. First off, I'll tell you that it was a good day at the market; I sold seven pieces! You just never know what to expect that is for sure. As seems to often be the case, a woman had her money out to purchase, but unfortunately, the two pieces she had set her sights on were sold! The weather was very nice--not too hot. Although a slight rain came up, it was no bother. Baxter again held down the home front--it is much simpler without him!

I took both cameras to Leu Gardens yesterday and Bruce accompanied me. I take a picture with both the film SLR camera, and the digital--I'm trying to detect a difference in how the finished product looks. Of course, with the digital, I take several shots at different angles to ensure a good one, but as you can imagine, the film camera is a different story. Bruce continues to try and talk me into a fancier camera--we'll see. We cruised around a bit afterwards, stopping by a museum we had not been to. Because it was a Monday, it was not open, but the grounds were lovely, with very funky sculptures lakeside. Orlando has so many great places to visit--certainly not like huge cities, but, nonetheless, there is much the tourists never see. We had a nice lunch at Gargi's--their patio along the shores of Lake Ivanhoe is quite charming.

Matt called yesterday and things are going swimmingly in London.He had the day off for a bank holiday. His stuff is finally supposed to arrive from Chicago today after more than three months-- apparently there were problems with the ship. Now if you know Matt, or Bruce, you know that they like to have things settled ASAP after moving into a new place; art is hung before nightfall. You can well imagine how frustrating the wait has been for him--I'm sure before the week is over his place will be decorated beautifully.

I have an appointment with the neurologist this afternoon after which I think we are going to get in the car and take a little two day trip. Bruce--miracle of miracles--does not have to travel for work this week, so I've asked him to travel with me. At the moment, our destination is unclear-- probably one of the coasts. The love bugs I've mentioned in the past are fierce right now, so maybe not too far from home. I only learned yesterday that the University of Florida brought these pesky insects into Florida to eat mosquito larvae. I believe they have done a good job of that as the mosquito population is much diminished since we were children, however, as is always the case, you have to take the good with the bad.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Market Day

Friday, May 25, 2007


Early yesterday morning I was thinking about what I might like to photograph--the answer came when I went out to get the paper and saw this white feather in the yard. Our yard is pretty big, and there sat this solo delicate feather in a sea of green grass. I tried it several times with different lighting, however, it never really worked until the sun was shining on it revealing it's intricacies .

Baxter and I went to Cypress Grove Park about a mile from the house for me to practice with the new camera. It is really amazing when you go out specifically to take photos what you notice. We did witness a tiny wedding ceremony going on lakeside. Hard to imagine someone getting married on a Thursday morning at 10AM, but I guess they wanted it low-key.

Later on in the afternoon I decided to run down to Thornton Park to shoot some of the restaurants because not only have people have asked for them, butI thought the light would work well. Bruce finally arrived home from Boston so he came with me. I took Elmer along to finish up the roll. Outside Wildsides a lesbian woman stood in the intersection stopping traffic for me to get the shot!! It was really sweet. We roamed around, and as we returned to that area, I heard her asking the server if she was married--when the young girl replied no, the woman asked her if she wanted to marry her! That is one of the best things about going out and about--interactions with people of all kinds--I love it! At the park earlier these children were loving Baxter and wanting to walk him. He planted himself until I walked along with them.

We ended up at Dexters, an old haunt for us until I refused to go because they were not putting enough effort into their food preparation. It is super noisy inside but the outside patio is great for people watching and hanging out. It turned out we saw an old friend from work, Kristen, and her new husband, John. Baxter, and their dog Sandy, got along just fine. It was great to see them--when I was working people always wondered if we were sisters. LOL, I am nearly 20 years older than she is!

Today was my all day class, so that is why I am a bit behind on posting--another day--another story!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Did I Get Taken?

After dropping off the latest roll of film I hopped in the MINI and started to pull out--a woman was coming toward me and I thought she was going to ask about the baby car. No, that was not what she wanted--she wanted money. Interestingly enough, while I gave her a $5, out of the corner of my eye I saw a woman looking at me like--you sucker! Maybe so--it takes all kinds to make the world go round. Before getting in the car I had noticed the watching woman wiping down a cart before loading her children. I marveled how I ever managed to raise four healthy children with almost no concern for germs of any kind. It seems today that people assume that our skin is like a sponge.

You see displayed the ten pictures I plan to turn in on Friday. I am still getting duds, however, I really like the picture of Baxter. In the back you see the pile I culled these from! I'm thinking of turning in some not so good ones in order to get help on what I did wrong.

I now have a resume thanks to Carmello at the Winter Park campus. It must have been fortuitous that he was in the career center as he normally works upstairs. He was the age of my twins--not only was he nice, but he typed the whole thing too! I like to take young people's advice because if they are intelligent (he was), they are up to date on everything. I had to write down my weaknesses--naturally I wrote down that I talk too much! I believe we will put in for an internship at a sculpture museum in Winter Park--no pay, just experience outside the healthcare field.

I'm a bit tired today--nothing serious, I imagine I've been trying to get out and about more than I'm capable of just yet.

Bruce had some unexpected complications (oxymoron there) on his Boston job which is delaying his return to Orlando. It's been a tough three days for him, however, he always manages to put things right--that's why Jeff affectionately calls him "PM of the Year."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


When you don't work, or if you're like me, a student off for most of the summer, days often start off as unplanned--things just unfold. Today was one of those days. I decided to go through my Picassa and get a bit more organized. I had 500 flower pictures in one folder, some good--some not so good. I went through the whole thing and sorted them by color, although I do have a separate one just for roses. The vast majority of my early flowers were taken in people's yards--I would just scout for color, stop the MINI, and shoot. I did this regardless of the lighting which I knew very little about. I still don't know much, but I am certainly more cognizant of the sun and how it can distort the color of a flower. I managed to ditch about half of them.

As well, when I woke up I had not scheduled a tree trimming, but as you can see, that is what happened. A week or so ago, a long limb fell down from one of our 60 feet pine trees landing squarely in what I affectionately call the jungle. I was hoping our yard guy would have taken it on Friday, however, no dice. My neighbor across the street was having some trees cleaned up and I went over and asked if they could take the branch for me. After agreeing, he suggested that he should cut off the part that didn't break, which seemed like a good idea to me. I then realized what a good time it was to have some work done on our live oak. We lost a huge amount of the tree during Hurricane Charley; Bruce was concerned that it was off balance. The tree trimmer agreed, and they cut off a huge limb that hung over the house. As well, he cleaned out the wound that remained from the missing limb--I use that term loosely--it filled half of our backyard when it fell, it was so huge. I don't know about you, but when I think limb I usually don't think huge.

My professor has reiterated the importance of practicing photography--with me, he is preaching to the choir. I took tons of pictures today--at present, I am hooked on the sunset. Uncharacteristically, tonight we had some clouds, and I knew they would present a whole different look to the sky. Our little Baxter was a sweetie as we waited lakeside for the sun to drop. I wasn't able to capture it, but my neighbor Mr. Sims had told me about an owl that resides in one of his trees. Alas, it flew right over my head; bummer, I wasn't quick enough--something else for me to obsess over!

I'm still feeling much improved especially if I keep moving. It seems as if when I sit for too long my body slows down and it's a challenge to rev it up again. I still can't seem to be rid of the retching, especially when I'm talking to someone--great, huh? Jonathan called when I was coming home from a few errands and of course, it came on. He says--"do you need to pull over?"
Oh no honey, I'm used to it by now--it's been nearly a year!

I got a call from the internship department at Valencia around 7 tonight asking if I was still interested. I told her I still had no resume, thus, I haven't gotten back with them. I'm going to go to campus tomorrow and get some help in the career center. If I do an internship it will give me a chance to see what some other workplace is like. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Day After

  • The weather was immensely better than last Sunday at the market which was a very welcome development, however, the crowds were still pretty slim. Of all things, I sold the baseball again--third time. It is so funny because I took that one Saturday morning in the twins old bedroom looking for things to photograph around the house. It is very interesting to see what people are attracted to and it seems as if when you have it figured out, they want something different. Except for the baseball, of course. When we were packing up one of the original vendors talked to us about how you have to hang in there and the customers will come.
  • My new camera is still proving challenging. I couldn't fit the zoom lens on correctly, so a man that came to the booth did it for me. There is a lot to photograph at the market--a good thing when you can take quality photos. Fortunately, I had my digital with me.
  • Saturday Bruce got new glasses at Costco. In two days time he had his teeth cleaned, a new driver's license and new glasses. His work takes up so much time he has to do everything in spurts when he can. Although we have vision insurance, if you've ever ordered glasses at Pearle Vision you'll understand this--you never really know how much they cost. They seem to have a very convoluted way of pricing. Not so at Costco--only $169 for progressive lenses!
  • As most of you know I got the yellow MINI after my mom died. I called it my "happy face" car, and it brought me much joy. I used to love going out to the parking lot and seeing that sweet little yellow. In an odd turn of events, I let Jonathan have it, and I got the new MINI. I do like my new MINI, but it is not the same as my first love!
  • We went to dinner at Fifis on Saturday night with Jonathan and Alissa. You'll remember I wrote about that place a few weeks ago. I'll tell you -- pink lighting is very seductive. They went to their concert last night, and then left for Tallahassee this morning around 5:30AM, arriving around 10. Jonathan was tentative about asking for Monday off so he went straight to work!
  • My sister Maureen had been recommending for months that I go to Leu Gardens to take photographs. Once I heard that it was free Monday mornings between 9-11, I try to go every Monday because there are wonderful photo-ops. Today I took the new camera because I have to turn in ten photos on Friday with all the configurations. I used the cool zoom, but the results were not great. I've now spent $$ on all this film processing, and I've yet to get anything that I'm remotely proud of. Again, the baby camera was with me to redeem the visit.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Birthday Boy

Here is the birthday boy dodging a kiss from Baxter! We love to snuggle with him, but kisses are off limits as far as we are concerned.

We went to a new restaurant for Bruce's birthday called "Citrus." It is in a new building just north of downtown, and is quite chic. I, of course, found things to fuss about however. Not enough dressing on the salad (and I use it sparingly), and the choice of vegetables with the entree was an afterthought in my opinion. I always find that puzzling, that they spend so much time thinking about the main course that they seem to forget that a really great vegetable is like icing on the cake. We did share a lovely bottle of Sequoia Grove Cabernet though.

I don't feel like quite such a dummy now about my film loading debacle. My professor said that Canon's were notorious for being hard to load, as well as focus, which I am also struggling with. He taught us about F-Stop, and shutter speed, and examined everyone's lenses. The weather was not ideal for shooting pictures, so we stayed in the classroom all day! I have just gone down to Regina's back yard and shot a roll of film because we are going to Costco when Bruce gets home from work; they can develop it while we are looking at new glasses for him. I've also ordered a few new prints for the market. Let's hope we have more success tomorrow; at least the weather is forecast to cooperate.

Jonathan, and Alissa, will be arriving shortly from Tallahassee, via Tampa, where they attended a wedding. Next stop, home, and the Arctic Monkeys show tomorrow night. I'm glad they've had a little trip now that Alissa is graduated. I will pick Jonathan's brain regarding all my computer related issues while he is here because he is a little whiz at that stuff.

I've spent the morning tiding up(not that they will notice), and doing laundry. I'm not so sure what's for dinner as the food supplies around here are limited these days. With Bruce gone a lot of the week and my appetite puny, it is hard to keep things fresh. Maybe macaroni and cheese because Alissa is a vegetarian-- everyone(vegans excluded) likes mac and cheese, don't they?

I've posted some flower pictures on flickr that have insects included--a two for one, if you will. Before I began taking so many close-up photographs, I had no idea of the colorful nature of these tiny insects around us that we hardly see with the naked eye--the variety of life is absolutely amazing!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I Never Cried Once

When I read over yesterday's post it seems like forever ago. I was terribly naive about the camera. Indeed, I did go up to Walgreens to get the prints, however, there were none. Suffice it to say that in the next 24 hours I went through 4 rolls of film with 20 prints to show for it. Mind you, these were rolls of 24. Maybe two are decent out of the prints.

Apparently, the film was not catching, and I was shooting away with no film advancing. Finally, I went to a camera shop after dropping Maureen off for a funeral. The young man showed me how to do it properly--thank goodness. I never cried though! In one of those six degrees of separation things--that same young man used to work elsewhere and printed my professor's photographs. He said complimentary things about his work. At least tomorrow when I go back to class I'll at least know how to put the film in. There is a reason people no longer use film cameras!

The camera is incredibly heavy as it is all metal parts. I put my digital in my back pocket and it felt like a candy bar after shooting with the new one! The grocery bag in back is holding all the gear.

The dry heaves made an encore today after having been absent for about a week. Let's call it a fluke, shall we?

Bruce is coming home from Boston soon; his plane should arrive around 7. I've just made some meatballs, and red sauce. I don't know if you do it this way, but cooking meatballs on a jelly roll pan in the oven is the way to go--no turning, or breaking. Tomorrow is Bruce's birthday--he'll be 54. That means that we have been together more than 40 years!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Camera Overload

You will remember that Matt was in Moscow when Yeltsin died, and quite possibly you will remember I made a big deal about his being there during an historic moment.Future students will study his life and the role he played in the history of the world. Because he knows I like that sort of thing, he brought The Moscow Times documenting the event. As well, he brought the box pictured to the left of the papers. It contains dried apricots and nuts with a chocolate coating. His Russian hosts gave it to him as part of a gift basket; being the vegan that he is, he re-gifted it. The box is quite lovely in person.

I named this blog before I used a manual camera. I may have to amend the name to state Panasonic Lumix crazy. I needed a manual SLR camera for the class I'm taking and a classmate said she had a film one I could use. I e-mailed her Sunday night with the expected no response. She had my phone number, however, I neglected to get hers--that'll teach me. At any rate, I was on a mission to find one. I did not want to invest in a DSLR at this point, so this was my compromise. I wasn't crazy about the guy at the used store thus I looked in the newspaper when I got home. Nada. Next I thought, I'll be a modern woman and check craigslist. I found two that interested me that weren't too far from my home. I was hoping for an immediate response from my e-mails. Nada. Next I thought--Ebay! I had forgotten all my info for that, so retrieved password etc from them and for PayPal. I bid on a camera and was winning until the last 30 seconds. Swept out from under me. That was just fine as in the meantime I heard from Elmer. He had the Canon with more lenses and filters than I can list for $100. I went out there this morning and scooped it up. At this point the amount of equipment is rather daunting, but, if I can learn algebra and biology, I can probably learn how to use these tools.

I stopped, bought a roll of film, and put it in--you have to put it on a spool, then turn the crank. I took a bunch of pictures lakeside, however, I'm pretty sure I wasn't focusing right. They are being developed as I type. I had to call him and find out how to get the film back out of the camera. Additionally, I didn't notice the counter and I kept taking pictures and thought wow, I thought I would have reached 24 by now. Indeed I had; when I discovered it, the counter said 36!

Wouldn't you know it, when I arrived home, Whitney (classmate) called to loan me hers.

My friend Paige in Ottawa has two small boys, 2 and 5.This morning through e-mail she was talking about the chaos around her house. I assured her she would live through it. I told her little boys--little problems, big boys--big problems. Not one hour later, Jonathan called with a crisis. It seems the tires on the yellow MINI must be replaced and the price quote for run-flat tires was $1200!!! Bummer under any circumstance, double bummer as it is a lease car and the lease runs out in 7 months. What to do, what to do?

I think I'll go pick up the pictures now and I'll see if I did anything right.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

So Much To Say!

It's all quiet again in the Peck household. Bruce has gone to Detroit, and Matt returned to London yesterday afternoon. Baxter and I are holding down the fort for now.

Mother's Day was unlike any in the past. As you know, we did the market which was not very productive. The crowds were very slim; the weather was very hot! Matt came down about 11, and sat with us, however, it bored him rather quickly. Baxter was not happy either; he barked at all kinds of dogs, and I'm sure scared away a few folks. We've decided it is too much for him, so he'll have to stay home and be the good little doggie we know he can be. On the other hand, I've felt much better the last days, and as mentioned in the previous post, hope it continues without relapse.

The twins came to the market around 2 with Leanne and Michelle. Immediately, they were saying we'll help you pack up--let's beat it. It was agreed, and with that many hands it made for a record tear down time! Everyone gathered at our house and we had snacks and chatted--maybe I should say discussed some of the issues of the day? Judy, and Grandma, came over, and it was all very lively.

These are the cards from the boys. It is so interesting that I can almost guarantee what kind of card each will buy. Matthew always gets cool cards, and writes his own message. Bill buys sweet cards, David buys nice cards, and Jonathan always goes for humor. I love that about them, they are so unique. I frequently wonder how our boys turned out as well as they did. It is quite a wonder that a very young couple managed it, but at least for now, we couldn't be happier with them. I know that sounds silly with a caveat, but you never know!

As I've said in the past, David can really talk your ear off regarding the economy. In fact, he does it at quite a high volume, and when he and Bill are together it is like a tag-team wrestling match. If one of them doesn't convince you, the other will try! Matt was overwhelmed with the chaos they create--not to mention his opposing views! Don't they say never talk about politics or religion? We managed to pretty much skirt the religion issue.

Yesterday morning Matt came with me to Leu Gardens to give me some photography pointers. He showed me how to use some of the adjustments, and it was very helpful. He has written things down for me, but I am a much better student when I can see it firsthand. It rained just a tad, and that made for some good lighting, cooler weather, and of course the droplets on the flowers that I love to photograph!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

High School Prom

Lest you think the reason I haven't posted is because I have not been well, let me set your mind at rest. Actually, I've felt better the last few days than in a very long time--let's pray it is a trend.

I was searching in the closet for something, and came across this photo of Bruce, and I, from 1970. It's taken at my parent's house in Melbourne before the prom. Please forgive the quality as it has faded significantly; I thought you might be interested nonetheless. I made the dress I'm wearing; how about those gloves? Bruce looks like a doll, doesn't he?

The all day photo class took place on Friday, and then I promptly took a huge batch of worthless pictures. I picked up David at the airport, and when we arrived at his condo, Michelle looked like a million bucks. It was their five year anniversary, and she was ready to celebrate. I used the portrait setting on my camera -- the pictures came out way too dark. I was so disappointed, particularly because he had just spent the day teaching about light management. Today was Leanne's graduation from Rollins, and I again took a lot of bad pictures. I'm a bit discouraged right this very minute, however, I'm sure that will pass quickly.

Bruce is picking Matt up from the airport as I type. He is home for two days from London via Chicago. It will be a real treat to see him once they get here. The flight was apparently re-routed because of a medical emergency on the plane. I'm curious what happened.

Mother's Day will be weird with the market going on and all but since we weren't there last week we're going ahead with it. I do believe we may have visitors, or at least, I hope we do.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

When Life Gives You Lemons....

I was experimenting today with some citrus, and kiwi fruit, because it is one of the reliable sellers. I'd like to become better so I practice a lot.

I realized today that the last time Bruce and I were apart for a week was last summer when I was in the hospital. This week has been long for me, but at least I know Bruce is doing something he likes, and is super good at. Yes...he loves his work. I can not imagine what it must have been like for him last July coming home at night wondering what would happen next. The day they told us I probably had pancreatic cancer must have been unbearable. I was feeling so poorly that I'm sure it didn't sink in with me, but Bruce has an active imagination and a very tender heart. Fortunately, they were wrong.

I almost did an unthinkable thing. Thankfully, I was cleaning the stack of papers from the top of my microwave; I'm not typically a big stacker, but it was time. Anyway in the pile I found Leanne's graduation announcement and it turns out it is this Saturday! Wow, I feel like a dummy, however, it arrived so long ago, or so it seems, that I would have overlooked it. Matthew arrives on Saturday morning as well so we'll have to figure out the logistics.

Whenever Matthew comes home I have him clean up my computer, and usually we go shopping. He has the best eye for clothes, and I'm needing some new ones now. Every clothing item that he, or Bruce, for that matter, has suggested has been a winner. He is looking forward to shopping here because we have great outlets and things are so much cheaper than in London. He tells me the Brits fly to New York just to shop!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Price of Gas Keeps on Rising

I'm losing track of the days with no one here, and no obligations--Tuesday, right? This picture is for Judy, she recommended I photograph the downtown library; I had beat her to the punch. It is one of our favorite places, and this was taken a few weeks ago from the vantage of the outdoor dining at another favorite--Tijuana Flats. I went to the library this morning and picked up a few DVDs and books. It brought back to mind that the library was one of the first places I ever took the twins. When they were babies you weren't allowed to take them out in public for six weeks--imagine being 25 with three children, and homebound!!! At any rate, I remember the librarians as being very helpful with Matthew. He was a go-getter then, and still is.

Speaking of Matt, he called yesterday and gave me some camera tips for shooting at the beach. That was my field trip for yesterday--a drive to Cocoa Beach. That in turn brought back other old memories of me taking the boys there, and being scared to drive over the necessary bridges. It invariably rained adding dramatically to my anxiety on the trip home. I'm sure, much to their chagrin, I sang Sunday School songs to get me over the hump--literally, and figuratively!

Matt was off for May Day--he tells me it is huge in Europe. As well, he told me that the workweek is 35 hours, and there are 25 mandated vacation days. Did I already tell you this? Imagine that!

The weather was chilly, and windy, so there were very few people braving it. In Florida there is considerable debate regarding which coast is superior. This much I can say, the Gulf is much prettier, but the waves of the Atlantic make for a more interesting day at the beach for me. I love to body surf riding the waves to shore. It's not much fun when you get tumbled around in the sand, but you take the good with the bad. Hopefully that will be part of my summer this year.

On my drive home I saw a shop called Nellie's Hair Shack. Now why would a person use "Shack" in their business name, pray tell. I know it worked well for the B52s as Love Shack is one of the most played songs ever, but for me, unless it is a bar-b-que place, it just doesn't work. I mean really, can a person expect a hair salon to succeed with a name like that? Nellie's family, or friends, should have stopped her when she came up with that one.

Something in Sunday's paper caught my eye and may interest you as well. They are conducting a "Popcorn and Chips Appetite Study" here in Orlando, and if you qualify you will receive $250 for your participation. Need I say more?

Lastly, I got a call yesterday afternoon from an old acquaintance about the death of another young man--he was 21. It appears it may have been a drug overdose, and my heart is heavy for his parents. I looked up the obituary in the paper, and it only listed his mom, and dad, and two brothers as survivors. With our large family that seems so sad to me--only the five of them. One thing about being apart of a huge clan is that it is always someones birthday, anniversary, graduation, and so on. I am notoriously late with cards, and I'm publicly apologizing for being late with Carol's card. She is 18 months younger than me; her birthday is the 10th. Next week is Bruce's -- it is on Friday! Oh me, the gift-giving conundrum.

The title for today's entry is from a song by Bloc Party, the next line is "nothing comes for free."

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Love Bug Season

If you are from Florida you know the bugs covering this bloom. If not, they are love bugs. Their life span is typically a day, and they stay coupled all the time, thus the name. Usually they die on impact with your windshield; it sounds callous but their remains are a real nuisance. Fortunately the season is fairly short-lived.

Props to my sister Lisa who completed a 15K run yesterday at Animal Kingdom. Her dearest friend talked her into it and she trained with a vengeance. It was her first, and perhaps only time running something this long, yet she finished in the middle of the pack--quite an achievement.

I guess my adventures got the best of me as today was definitely a down day. I amused myself with flickr, and finished the book. I cannot recommend it highly enough. The Book Thief is written by an Australian man for young people, but this old person loved it. It is a very unusual story narrated by death about a German girl and her world during WWII. The power of words is what it all boils down too. Very moving as I was sobbing at the end. That, in itself, always speaks highly of an artistic work, wouldn't you say?

Now everyone knows why Bruce had to be gone for a week because they had an official press release yesterday morning. Darden has closed the Smokey Bones chain, and in particular, 56 restaurants on Saturday. Bruce had to go to Bangor, Maine to close that one. It is terribly sad as each restaurant employs 150 people; in some smaller markets jobs are hard to come by. As well, Darden typically has the best benefits for servers in the industry. Bruce is perfectly suited to the logistics of the project, however, the soul of the project is quite a challenge for him.

We finally had some serious rain, the first in at least a month, hallelujah. Wouldn't you know it, the sprinklers ran this morning. Maybe tomorrow I will be a chipper girl again and ready for more motoring--we'll see, won't we?

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Let's Motor!

Today the MINI and I went motoring to Lake Wales. I hadn't visited Bok Sanctuary since I was maybe a child. Some of you already know this, but it was an original Florida attraction, long before Walt Disney had heard of Central Florida. Edward Bok made his name as the editor of The Ladies Home Journal, a very progressive magazine for it's time. He came from the Netherlands as a poor six year old boy. Apparently his grandmother told him, "Make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it." Remembering those words, he decided to create a sanctuary for birds and people, hiring Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. to transform the area into a sanctuary that would "touch the soul with its beauty and quiet." The work was begun in 1922, and was completed in 1929. There's more to the story but you get the drift. I was trudging at the end, but it is good for me to be "out and about."

Today was what they called 24 hours of Flickr. The idea was for people around the world to take a photo today and submit it. They will choose some for a book on what the world was doing on 05/05/07--at least through the eyes of people who love to take pictures! I decided to submit the sign with Edward Boks' motto as it seems just as appropriate today as ever. By the way, this swan picture was taken there. They have two swans in this long reflecting pond; the caretakers came up with a cart with breakfast lettuce . I have never seen a swan do anything but glide, but man they can move. I caught one in serious motion that I posted to flickr. Crazy!

I saw something in the paper that amused me yesterday. Clothing companies now make clothes in "vanity sizes." I hadn't heard that term yet but it is so true. I mean how can I wear a "0"? Doesn't zero mean nothing? Whoever dreamed this system up is either stupid or brilliant--you decide.

Friday, May 4, 2007

You Saw It Here First

So today we are going on a trip to a Wetlands park. I didn't start out to go there, and I certainly didn't wake up thinking I would see an alligator in the wild today, but that is what happened. I intended to go to this park in Christmas, but I saw the sign, and the MINI just went there. I had the place to myself--sorta scary really. When I told Jonathan this afternoon about the gator we both realized I would have been in quite a bind if it had decided to come close with me being so slow moving these days! It was very quiet and peaceful, the only sounds were the bullfrogs and the birds. I didn't see any frogs, however, I did see a snake, fish, birds, the pictured alligator, a hawk picking up a snake, and flying off with it, and an ugly turtle thing which I haven't identified just yet. There were no trees, so it got hot very quickly even though I left fairly early in the morning. Picture taking isn't so great when the sun gets too high.

When I returned home Maureen had left a message checking on me wondering if I was out somewhere being camera crazy. Of course, she was right.

Bruce left this morning for an entire week. This means no market on Sunday as I am incapable of setting it up due to it's complicated nature. Bill offered to help, but I declined; we'll just wait till next week. Last Sunday a professor from one of the local colleges stopped by and told me that every new government building in Florida has to set aside a certain amount of space for local artists. Now I know you are thinking to yourself that I'm not good enough for that, as was I, nevertheless, that is what he told us. It would certainly be easier!

I'm on track now for my one summer class. It begins next Friday, and I'm hoping I will learn a lot.

A caveat--my sister-in-law Judy called today to check on me and told me she enjoyed reading the blog. Here's the problem: Judy has been a venerated English teacher in town for 35 years and I know I am making punctuation errors, and worse yet, sometimes spelling errors. As well, Matthew has a Masters degree in English. People have said how brave I've been in the face of this illness when in reality, I'm brave writing this blog, knowing they are reading it!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

It's Good to be a Peck

People have asked me for years if I miss having a daughter. Of course, you can't miss something you've never had, but they ask nonetheless. I'm from a family of five girls, and one brother, so I knew more about girl stuff when I was young. Now I know more about boy stuff; it has been a wonderful education.

In our family everyone has their specialty, or obsession, some might say. Bruce, of course, can invent and build anything you could ever want. Matt, well, he can do just about anything he sets his mind to, but his obsession is music. He has probably been to over 200 concerts in his short life and with living in London now, well--it's paradise for a music lover. Bill can play guitar like nobodies business, thus www.bill-peck.com. He got so fabulous because as a young teen he would play for eight hours a day. Hmmm..tough on the family sometimes but..that's what families are for. David is our finance guru; he can, and does, talk the pants off anyone about stocks, options, annuities, well you get the picture. And then there is Jonathan, our little computer wizard. He is always there when I need an answer about the computer. So you see, what more could a modern girl want in a family.

Speaking of Matt, he turned us on to something called Last.fm. It is a site where you can personalize your musical tastes and it will play music you like on your computer all day long. Get it?--the last fm radio you will ever need. Now that I'm not doing math homework I like to listen to his personal station imagining him listening in London at the same time.

Yesterday I heard a song on there called, Too Tough to Die. I guess that about sums it up for me. Naturally, when you are told by a doctor that you have a terminal illness it is a real blow, even if they are mistaken. Those are words that tend to stay with you. We all know it is inevitable, but still we don't want to hear it!

Some beautiful Plant City strawberries today--the last of the season.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


As most of you know I live seven houses from a lake one way, and three houses from a different lake the other. I have visited Lake Jennie Jewel--the seven house one--for a few evenings to capture the sunset. It is really beautiful, and my neighbors, the Sims, have been kind enough to allow me free access to their property. Tonight I had a nice little visit with Walter Sims who used to be a State Representative, now he is in his 80's. I really enjoy old people; when you listen you can learn a lot. I found this little shell lakeside. As well, I posted pictures of their dock, and boat house, on flickr, along with the sunset. I've found out most people can be very friendly when you want to take pictures.

Despite my brains best intentions, my body fails to respond. However today I did manage to reclaim our dining area from it's chaos. I have been using the table to frame things and there were boxes of frames under the table, and just everywhere. I do not typically like a mess so it was good to get it more organized. I've sent an e-mail to my sons pleading with them to come and get more of their stuff as I could seriously use the storage spaces their archives are currently claiming.

My flickr friend Paige commented on how clean my stovetop was in a picture I took of a quiche I had made. The top may have been clean (you remember the vinegar trick, right?), but I was embarrassed by the back splash. I used another old-fashioned trick to clean that today. I filled the tea kettle with water and let it steam the area; it looks much improved. I also cleaned the microwave using the water trick there as well. You fill up a two cup measure with water and a tad of dish soap. Cook for about three minutes on high, voila--everything gets loose as a goose, and wipes right off. Mine wasn't too bad, but somehow everyone's seems to get some crud in it.

My sister-in-law Judy will be thrilled to know that I have begun The Book Thief. She recommended it and I bought it around Christmas time but had yet to start it. After reading 100+ pages I can tell it is going to be marvelous.

The aforementioned cleaning was a bit much for me resulting in a two hour plus nap this afternoon. As I mentioned earlier, my body just will not cooperate.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

May Day

  • First things first--Happy Birthday to my dear Jonathan who turns 24 today. As most of you know he lives in Tallahassee, so I won't be spending it with him but he will be spending it with the love of his life--Alissa.
  • Great news--I managed a B in Algebra so my GPA didn't suffer too badly, it's now 3.72. Hopefully it will be smooth sailing from here on out with only required Speech and three electives to go!
  • I took off early this morning and drove out to Celebration, Disney's planned community, to take photos. One surprising shot I got was an otter coming out of the water on the little lake.
  • Next, I went to the hospital where they treated me well. Someone has marked me in the system as a VIP, I don't know who, but I'm grateful. I had no waiting to register, and almost none in the lab, however, it took three sticks to get the 10 vials they drew!!!! I thought the 7 at Mayo Clinic was a lot--yikes. Oh, if only it will provide some answers, it will be worth it.
  • I visited with some of my old work mates which was good. Dr. Patange, one of my favorite radiologists was there; I hadn't seen him in about a year. He is Indian, as you suspected, and I'd love to get him going--his voice would rise exponentially as we razzed him.
  • From the hospital I went to the West campus to speak with someone about the summer class I registered for: Art with a Camera. I figured it was time I learned something about this obsession of mine. I checked at the Information desk for the Art Department and we called from there--no answer. In a funny coincidence the young lady asked me what class I wanted information on. After hearing my reply she said, "oh, I just got finished with that class." She gave me all the details, so, I think I might do it.
  • The photo is another experiment with light and shadows. My mom's picture is on the shelf from when she was in her late 40's. I made the gown she is wearing as I used to be a bit of a seamstress.
  • My dear Bruce has gone to Boston for some days.
  • Last, but not least, a one hour break from typing as Matt called from London. He stays super busy there and I was getting the low down. He will be visiting in two weeks for Mother's Day--isn't that sweet?

You Just Never Know