Friday, June 29, 2007

What's New

For someone who doesn't have a real job anymore, I seem to stay pretty busy. I suppose it is because I am involved in so many things that are new to me. My new friend Becky taught me this saying--"Fake it till you make it." That's pretty much my MO these days.

Bruce worked a bit from home yesterday because he had gone to his remodel job site well into the night. I never ask what time he gets home--that falls under the category of "what I don't know can't hurt me." If I knew how little sleep he had, I would worry all day. We went on a few errands related to my little business then had lunch at a charming little bistro on Park Avenue in Winter Park. For those of you not from this area, WP is where the money is in our area. I mean the old money. There are scads of sports stars, and other celebrities that live out near the hospital I used to work for, but they are pretty much the nouveau-riche. OK, so the point of me telling you about the bistro is because they have some photography on their walls from a local. I asked the manager if they ever changed them and he said they did, in fact, they had space for two new ones. "Could I bring in some of my pieces to show you?" "Of course."

I took this photo at the sculpture garden where I'm having my interview next week. We roamed the grounds a bit so Bruce could familiarize himself with the place. Re the interview--I found some lovely black closed-toe shoes today. I have scads of shoes but they are primarily sandals of some height or another--no stylish flats in the bunch. Of course I got them at Marshalls where the price was about a third of what they would be at Nordstrom. I want to make a good impression after all. If anyone has any tips about interviewing I would be thrilled to hear them as I'm a newbie. Another case of "faking it."

Matt called this afternoon--hurray! I hadn't heard from him in ages even though he's been in the States. Busy man is all. He had a fabulous weekend in New York, then on to Las Vegas for a conference. He's flying back to London tonight right in the midst of the new terrorist scare. I wish I knew nothing of that--you know, the old head in the sand routine. He plans to go to Wimbledon when he gets back if the weather is good. It is great to have a son who makes the most out of whatever city he is living in.

Speaking of sons, Bill is playing tonight with a famous guitarist, Michael Angelo, at Sam Ash. I think they are going to be putting on a clinic of sorts. He called about 4 asking if we were coming and naturally we are. We have supported him any way we could for all these years of his music career; we're not stopping now. Hopefully I can take some decent pictures and I'll share one with you, however, I may get too excited and screw it up--we'll see.

Sweet Sarah from Chicago answered my plea for a contact for Jonathan in Chicago. He is flying up week after next to look for an apartment. If anyone has any job ideas, let me know please!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Mail

Here is my brand new tea kettle. It's pretty red isn't it? Hmmm....

The mail today, both snail, and e-mail, was interesting.
  • A brochure from the state entitled: "Beginning Your Relationship with the Florida Department of Revenue. I'm sure Matthew is laughing as he reads this as he knows what a pathetic record keeper I am. Apparently, I've got to do better. For some reason we do not have to charge sales tax at the market; since we've just decided not to pursue the huge show in the fall I'm not sure just yet when I'll need my tax number. Fiesta in the Park, I wonder who made that name up eighteen years ago. It might be lucrative, maybe not. In any case, Bruce's workload will be crushing him at that time of the year (November), and I will be in the midst of my last semester at Valencia. Wow--hard to imagine. I'll have to decide what is next.
  • Additionally, I received an itemized statement from the hospital. Previously they sent me a bill saying I owed some money. I wasted a stamp, yes, but I just wanted to let them know I don't pay bills without knowing what it was for. Here's the scoop: When I had those ten tubes of blood drawn in March they tested me for--get this--mercury, arsenic, lead and cadium, whatever that is. I must not be the victim of some weird poisoning.
  • My friend, Amaya from Seattle, sent me a note--surely I took more photos than two on my field trip yesterday--where are they? She has me pegged. I took at least 150!! That is the beauty of digital my friends. You can compose all different shots with the lighting coming from the side, back, or front for a different mood. Heck, I laid on my back on the porch of one of the buildings trying to get the entire lighthouse in one shot! I took three that way. Bruce tells me that it is the equivalent of a 20 story building. Is it any wonder that I was in bed by 8 last night?
  • Lastly, I am now scheduled for my internship interview. I sent an e-mail stating I was free anytime and let the curator pick the time. It's next Tuesday at ??? I already forgot--no worries, I never delete e-mail.
  • On that note, I'm going to get cleaned up a bit-- at 3, I'm heading to get a mani/pedi, as they call it. Waxing--the dreaded waxing of my brows, and mustache too. I do so hate that, but it's been MONTHS!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Up Before the Sun

This is a warning--do as I say, not as I do. I took this photo through the windshield while driving on I-95 at about 6:45AM. After reading an article recently about Ponce Inlet, I decided to take a field trip. On the East coast, it is about 55 miles from home. Because Bruce was going to be up so early for his meeting, I decided to do the same. I was out of the house before 6--no traffic going that direction.

There is the second tallest lighthouse in the United States in Ponce Inlet, unfortunately they do not open the area until 10; it was no wonder the gentleman looked at me funny when I pulled into the parking lot around 7:15. First, I had stopped oceanside--my, what a lovely sight with the sun just coming up. The water sparkles like diamonds, and of course, you can even see the sun's rays.

It's really a small island, situated between the Halifax River, and the Atlantic Ocean. There is a nature trail with an observation tower looking over the river flats. If you've never been to Florida you may not know that the nature trail is filled with what we call scrub. Mostly palmetto palms, and pine trees; in other words, not really what most people would call beautiful. Nonetheless, it was peaceful at that time of the morning. I moseyed around taking photos of pelicans, the lighthouse, and the boats docked on the river.

The lighthouse--there's the draw. If you can imagine, I made it all the way to the top--203 steps! Fortunately, for me and others, there are several landings for resting. I brought Elmer along but after struggling for about 10 minutes in the heat, trying to get the zoom lens on, I left Elmer in the car, and took my trusty Panasonic. There was a woman on the grounds of the lighthouse with some model of Nikon DSLR and she looked at me with disdain--a point and shoot--you can't be serious. Little does she know how serious I am!!! I found out how serious she is--I asked her if she was on flickr and she said: "No, we are on Walgreens." Teehee.

As you already guessed, I was wiped out. I put the MINI in drive and we were home before 1. I'm super happy with lots of the pictures.

I know how excited you'll be when you hear that there was a message from the curator of the museum; she wants to meet me to discuss a fall internship. Thank you Professor McNair!! I know it was only because she intervened that I'm getting this chance. Now for the interview!

Bruce has gone to Boston for a quick trip; he'll be home tomorrow evening. I'll probably have the lights out before 9 around here to recover. I think it's good medicine to take field trips.

Sufjan Stevens (Matthew interviewed him, I might add), and The Killers kept me company in the car.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Summer Heat

To say that the market was hot as blazes, and slow as molasses, would be my mother's description. Those are certainly some old-fashioned terms now, aren't they? The good news is that they are giving us a buy one, get one free deal through the summer trying to get the vendors to hang in there during the slow time. Who can resist a deal like that I ask?

Fortunately, there was a native Orlandoan, about our age, that set up a table for the independent bookstore down the street. We had loads in common which we chatted about all the hot day long. We spent most of the money we made on:
  • Two books, one a gift, one a new cookbook
  • Lemonade
  • Kettle Korn
  • Diet Coke
  • Cold Water
  • Bar-b-que sandwiches
  • Corn, red peppers, baby greens
  • Grilled chicken for dinner
Probably something more which escapes me right now. I did make a new contact that might become a buyer. They live in the Sanctuary (new downtown condo), and were looking for two complimentary pictures of flowers in the same frame. They asked if I had more flowers than I was showing, I laughed. You bet I do. I've got hundreds of flower pictures!!!

To answer the question about what we did before computers is impossible. One thing I know for sure--it sure has made life easier in so many ways. One of the biggest, which I think encompasses so many areas, is that we are now so much more in control of our lives. We no longer have to read, or view, anything we don't want. It's the ultimate channel surfer for sure. All that said because I was able to put together a web album of flower pictures for them to view at their leisure while sitting in air-conditioning! That should put anyone in a good frame of mind!

Our new market manager asked me if I might take some photos of the market; naturally I had to get a few patrons, as pictured above.

Even when it is hot I still drink lots of hot tea, however, today I managed to leave the tea kettle on high for way too long. It has never had a good whistle, and of late it has been hit, or miss. Today it was miss, and a new kettle must be purchased before tomorrow. I can't abide tea with microwaved water.

I scooted over to Leu Gardens this morning and I now have even more flower pictures.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Moving On

After yesterday's self-pitying post we are moving on. We're not going to let some silly undiagnosed illness stop us now are we?

I saw this cute Olivia music box at Ross the other day. If you've not heard of the wonderful Olivia books you should check them out. She's got an indomitable spirit-- just what we all need. Matt introduced me to the Olivia series a few years back and we love her--thank you Matthew. I'm trying to remember what museum we saw some of the original drawings in. Whenever we visit Matt he always takes us to the top museums in the current city of his residence. As well, he always has other great activities planned, not like me, just falling into stuff.

If you can imagine I left home without my camera last night!! I almost had Bruce turn around but I suffered through the withdrawal. We had dinner with Michael, and Jane which was super fun. Fifi's has half-price bottles of wine for the month of June, and we started with champagne. I was feeling puny when we arrived, but the fun company distracted me. They regaled us with tales of their first cruise. Please don't take offense if you are either a bowler, or are covered with tattoos when I tell you how Michael described his fellow cruisers. He said it looked like they emptied out many bowling alleys, putting the tattooed regulars on the same ship. My objection to a cruise has always been the cattle call thing. I know that airplane travel is somewhat like that, but the idea of thousands of people all boarding together has always been a huge turnoff to me. Maybe you have to be young when you first go on a cruise because Jonathan and Alissa loved it.

Here's some news--I got my Florida sales tax number today in the mail. I applied on line only about four days ago; maybe with the recent property tax cuts they are anxious for sales tax to make up the difference, thus the speed with which I received it.

I've had my Itunes playing for most of the day; I had gotten out of the habit of listening during the semester. I had to do my math homework on the computer, therefore I needed no distractions. At any rate, my music library currently has 5,052 songs, many of which I've never heard. Every time Jonathan is home he downloads more, and more, music. Some standouts from today's listen--Neko Case, Winterkids, and Peter Bjorn & John. Good stuff.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Nearly Spent

Forgive me if you know this story, some readers are new to the sad saga. About exactly this time last year I was chatting with my friend Judy in the gym parking lot. I got in the car and thought, my back hurting? I was still finishing my first short summer semester, taking a math class that I wasn't half bad at. I have never had a backache in my life that I can remember, so it seemed weird. At any rate, I started the new semester, this time taking college algebra that I abhor. Matt had advised me to take it in the six week deal--four days a week to get it over with. The problem was that by now it was clear it was my side that hurt, and I was beginning to get very weak. In a nutshell--I finally went to the doctor, started on a steroid, had a seizure twice, and was hospitalized. They discovered that my heart had developed a weird rhythm as well. One week in the hospital, eight specialists, every scan that you can imagine, including a heart work up. About day four the attending physician revealed that they had done blood work that included tumor markers. Unfortunately the one for pancreatic cancer was five times what is considered normal. As well, they had seen things on the scan that made them think of metastatic cancer. All in all, a horrible time. They did not see cancer in my pancreas, so there was no explanation for the results. I was discharged with no diagnosis, and that is where I stand today. A medical mystery, which is a bad thing to be. I have sworn off going to the doctor for a while.

The problem is that my side still aches most of the time, I have dry heaves almost daily, and still have limited energy. A friend of my sisters asked how I could take so many pictures if I felt so bad. The thing she doesn't realize is that most are taken within a few mile radius of the house unless Bruce takes me. My camera has meant so much to me--it allows me to focus on my surroundings instead of myself. I have thanked God many times that my home is not terribly large, thus not so much to manage. Bruce has been unbelievable through it all, as has the rest of family including my siblings! Lisa stayed with me the first two weeks after I left the hospital, even shaving my legs because I was too weak. Maureen came over many evenings to help me get some food together for dinner when Bruce was out of town. I can't say enough about how so many people have encouraged me.

I force myself to get out, keep going to school, and in general trying to lead a normal life--I can tell you it's not always easy. Nevertheless, I know others have things much worse. It's just hard to tell people you don't know what is wrong with you, only that something is amiss with my body.

On a more positive note, I had an idea this morning that I'm going to consider. My hair has gotten pretty long primarily because I just don't take the time to get it cut. My niece donated her hair to Locks of Love--maybe I'll just let it grow for a while and do the same.

While taking Baxter for a walk this morning I found this trumpet flower on the ground--it sorta looks like me--a bit withered, but there's color remaining. I knew you got the connection already though.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Maureen called the other day to tell me about a photo contest of sorts here in town. The Orlando Historical Society puts together a calendar each year showcasing some of Orlando's historic neighborhoods. Four black and white submissions are allowed per photographer. Because I live close to this area it is a natural for me to attempt. Yesterday I roamed a few streets on foot and noticed things I hadn't previously. Almost all of the houses are great with their own personalities. I noticed this pretty kitty on one of the houses porch railing and couldn't resist. We no longer have a cat, but they still fascinate me. So quiet, and regal.

A few years ago I thought about retiring from work because Bruce is able to support our household without my income. A patient asked--"What will you do with yourself?" At the time I said, "I'll think of something," however I never would have dreamed up what I'm now doing. I am basically re-inventing myself. Most people don't get that opportunity, either because they are frightened of the prospect, or they don't have the financial support. Not to mention the psychological support. Bruce is my biggest cheerleader, encourage me every step of the way. The boys also indulge me.

Speaking of which, when Carol and Hank were here she was mentioning how interesting it was to see what the Peck boys have become. It is truly amazing to me. People used to pity me because I had four sons in seven years--no longer. I have free computer, decorating, financial, educational advice, and really, just about any other help you could think of. I could have never gotten through some of my classes without their help. Matthew critiqued my papers for a while, pointing out my penchant for too short sentences, and passive voice. I worked super hard trying to correct those problems. I am one lucky girl.

We seem to be having a vegetarian week around here. With the okra the other night we had, corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes, and boiled new potatoes. Last night it was a frittata with some of that lovely basil, sun dried tomatoes, and jalapeƱos with an arugula salad. The night before, broccoli and gruyere soup. Bruce is trying to lose weight, or at least stop the forward progress.

Jonathan and Alissa are home from the cruise and are dead set on moving to Chicago to experience big city life. Jobs and apartments are being sought as I type. Keep your fingers crossed for them.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fried Okra

Because neither Bruce, nor I were born in the South, our parents brought their regional tastes with them to Florida. My parents are from the Mid-West; I was born in Ohio but came to Orlando when I was 4. Bruce hails from Upstate New York, and I do mean that literally. In New York they call anything north of NYC upstate, however, you and I know that is an exaggeration. He was born in Watertown, NY which is on Lake Ontario, nearly to Canada. In any case, we did not have the pleasure of fried okra at our family dinners. We suffered through overcooked, mushy, Southern fare in our elementary school cafeterias though. Yikes, I can still remember the smell of cooked-to-death turnips and cabbage. I am going to tell you how to make a delicious Southern dish today--fried okra. I've made it several ways but last night here's how I did it:
Wash, then slice okra into 1/2" pieces
Place in bowl with buttermilk and a few dashes of hot sauce to soak
Let sit for about an hour while you make the breading
Mix equal parts flour, and corn muffin mix (like Jiffy) in brown bag
Add your favorite Cajun seasoning--several teaspoons
Remove okra from buttermilk, shake off--don't be grossed out as it is a bit slimy--just wash your hands and deal with it.
Heat canola, peanut, or vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet if you have one
Put about 10 at a time in bag and shake to coat-place on plate to rest
After the coating drop one in oil and if it doesn't sink, it's time to fry!
They will float to top when browned--keep warm in oven while frying the rest. You are in for a treat--just try and stop eating them!
The beautiful okra pictured above is from the Sunday market. We have a new manager who bought all these pretty baskets and red checked tablecloths to make it more festive. I think she succeeded--I'm looking forward to her other improvements.

Before I go any further, here's a clue to who sat directly in front of Matthew at a concert in London on Sunday night--she went out with her hair much dirtier than you or I would. I'm not sure if I should tell you the answer today, or make you wait.

I got an early start this morning--here's what I accomplished--
  • Mailed a small package to Matt for his birthday-- on July 5 he turns 31.
  • Found Bruce's hair gel in tiny tubes--you know--airline regulations.
  • Bought a huge bunch of basil for only $1.29, and gorgeous arugula.
  • Had my tire patched--a nail was discovered yesterday.
  • Searched for frames.
  • Chatted with my neighbor across the street--she's a new mother and tired.
  • Photographed some flowers, one in particular I'm very jazzed about.
  • Found out my latest picture on flickr made Explore--that really makes me happy.
  • Applied for my state sales tax number.
I saved this for more than a bullet point. If it's not hell enough to be sick, you must deal with the bills. We have very good insurance, but it still requires effort to sort through the whole mess. I have a stack of about 50 correspondences regarding my healthcare visits. Enough to make anyone feel terrible.

Okay, I give. It was Kate Moss--you guessed it didn't you? Jonathan did first try.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Monday Afternoon

Well, I'm a bit behind the times, aren't I?
  • Friday's class was fine, the semester is over, and I learned some things which I will be practicing in the next few weeks and months. We all had to lay out our enlargements on tables; I think the girl with the best photographs were taken with a film SLR--when you are paying for pictures, it seems as if you are extremely careful--it doesn't hurt to have a good eye for what comprises an interesting photograph though.
  • On Saturday we toured a 3 million dollar house downtown. To say it was spectacular would be a huge understatement. An eco-friendly house I might add.
  • Kristen, and John, came over on Saturday night; there was much beer and wine consumed. As a matter of fact, probably too much, as we had to get up EARLY for the market. Nonetheless, it was fun.
  • We've moved the booth under the shade trees and it was considerably easier. I had some sales even though the crowds were mostly non-existent. The doctor's wife came with him in tow, and we'll talk more about that another day.
  • Father's Day celebration was minimal because of the market, however, the boys each called Bruce. Dave came over; he is always full of great advice concerning the business. Anyone who knows Dave would get a laugh out of that statement as he actually has advice about anything to do with money.
  • Carol and Hank, (pictured above) spent the night before their return to Beverly Hills this morning. The highlight was when we got locked out of the house two hours before their scheduled flight! I had to find a neighbor at home, and awake, to use their phone to call Bruce to find the hidden outdoor key. Aren't they so photogenic?
  • Jonathan, and Alissa are driving to Orlando as I type, returning from their week long cruise. I'm anxious to see the pictures, and hear their tales of adventure. After we visit a bit they will continue their drive to Tallahassee. Give the MINI and Jonathan a little break as it is a long way from South Florida to North Florida.
  • Here's a line from a Beth Orton song that I think you might like--"Everything that's good about now, I might just glide right past." What do you say let's not, okay?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Mini Gets a Bath

Today we are going with two pictures. It is hard to convey what a Florida rainstorm can be like, but you see that the wind is blowing mighty hard. I've heard from three people now that there was considerable hail although we didn't get any at our house. Today's rain was a piece of cake compared with yesterdays.

I'm getting nervous about this blog thing. I know that I make grammatical errors, probably more punctuation errors; I hate that, but I've just never been good at that aspect of writing. I really need an editor-- if you know one for hire, let me know.

Actually, I'm personally acquainted with a number of people who could fill that post, however, they all have day jobs.

I was thinking today about food texture. I was pulling apart some green grapes for Baxter because for some reason he likes them halved. They had the feel of scallops to me which I had just finished telling Hank I didn't especially like because of their texture. In fact, I'm not a fish eater for that very reason. Yet, there are other foods with a similar texture that I like just fine--maybe it's the taste--who knows. At any rate, aren't there foods that you hate because of texture? Maybe you don't like celery because of the ribs, or cheese because it's mushy. What about oatmeal? I like all of the above mentioned foods, but I'm sure they bug some people. People's food preferences really fascinate me. Maureen has many of them, mustard, and lemons come to mind.

I haven't told you yet that Maureen has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. We are all very sad about this. She is a lively 58 year old with a sharp wit and I don't want her to have anything wrong. She is our matriarch since our mother died. Today she visited her neurologist and had an EMG (same test as me a few weeks ago) and also some acupuncture. She came home feeling tired, but felt that the acupuncture did some good--let's hope so.

I had a pleasant surprise this afternoon. Our dear Matthew called from London to chat. Our visit was cut short on Sunday due to the market. He is doing famously, a real gad about town. He will be back in the states in a week--first to New York, and then to Las Vegas for a convention. Soon it will be Matt's 31st birthday. You know what that means--yes, you are right. I've been a mother now for almost 31 years--it's my longest running gig.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Circumventing the System

Because the folks at my community college who are supposed to be helping me get this internship seem to be too slow for me I decided to go straight to the museum with my resume, and see what happened. As it turns out, there are two interns for the summer already, however, there is an opening in the fall. The woman I spoke to said my maturity would be a bonus. As well, I wrote to my humanities professor to see if I might use her as a reference. She wrote back and said she would contact the director and put in a good word for me. To our left is the sculpture museum--isn't it pretty?

Yesterday I didn't get up until after 8 because I had taken a nausea pill the night before and it makes me very sleepy. I try not to take them, but after retching for many minutes, Bruce talked me into it. I was pretty slow moving all day. Today was another story though. The phone rang before 6 AM--naturally it wasn't handy. Bruce was already showering for his departure, so I dragged up, and answered it. Bruce's direct flight to Boston was canceled, and they put him on another flight through Cincinnati putting him in Boston much later than planned. After his workday he is going to a Red Sox game! I'm totally jealous that he gets to go to Fenway. Did I mention he has 711,000 frequent flier miles with Delta?

My sweet Jonathan calls me every day on his way home from work to check up on how I'm feeling. I used to talk to him only once a week, but since I've been sick, he calls every day. This week is an exception because he is on his cruise. I do so hope they are having good weather as he was super excited. Our rain seems to have returned, and that is great news. Not only do we need it to keep things cooler, but our aquifer, lakes, rivers, and lawns need it badly. Today it stormed like crazy--the wind was blowing the palms every which way, and the rain was coming down in buckets. I'll post a picture tomorrow for those of you who have never seen a Florida afternoon rainstorm. Some people are afraid of the lightening, and thunder, that comes with it, but I kinda like it if I'm inside--not so much fun driving though. I was wondering how many accidents it caused today.

Our paper is paid through June 17 so we are still receiving it. Someone wrote a letter to the editor saying they would cancel, but they were concerned for their carriers livelihood--good point. Ours drives an old van that always sounds as if it might die in front of the house. Until I no longer receive it, I will continue to find things to amuse, or irritate me within it's pages. No disrespect intended, but in a 53 year old man's obituary today (yikes, I'm 53!), it said he liked to clean his mother's pool as a hobby. Can you imagine someone paid to include that? Seriously though, it might be nice if Bill or Dave decided that was a worthy hobby.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hi There!

Here are Baxter's real parents, Bill and Leanne--you remember we are only the foster parents don't you?

Yesterday was busy for everyone; Bruce helped me set up the market, and then he had to go to a business meeting for most of the day. It was SUPER HOT, and not terribly busy, however something really exciting for me may have happened. As we were just setting up, a woman with a white dog (he was poisoned by that tainted pet food btw) stopped to look. To make a long story short, she is a doctor's wife who is involved with the redecorating of his office. I had put together a combo of sunrise, sunset, and she liked it. She expressed interest in using some of my photos for the office. It would mean about six big photos and a start for my little business! I put together about 60 photos that I thought might be interesting. Hooray--my CD burner had been on the fritz for months but when Matt was home he fixed it. I finally was able to burn a CD! It turned out very good but Bruce thinks I shouldn't give it to her as she could then order from it. He's doing some computer stuff that I know nothing about to prevent that. At any rate, it may be super good news for your friend.

The family party was a success. I forgot to serve the watermelon after all, but the rest of the food turned out just fine. I made some vanilla ice cream, and a super yummy chocolate sauce to serve with angel food cake.

Carol, and Hank, arrived bright, and early from California. They slept a few hours and then came down to the market with Baxter to see what it was all about. Carol is an accomplished artist with a studio in Venice Beach; she has all sorts of advice for me which I'll have to mull over. I had some sales but the fruit was not amongst them to my surprise. I have a new favorite of folks--a grouping of purple flowers that seems to be a hit. I'm almost out of those particular frames, so a frame search will be next on my agenda.

I heard from my friend Dean, the celebrated columnist I told you about. It seems as if 30 people are leaving the newspaper, primarily on the editorial side; much to the further detriment of our local paper. It really saddened me to cancel it after 30+ years but I'm just not up to searching every day for the crossword puzzle. I counted the articles in the first section in today's paper and there were only about 15--the rest taken up with incredibly cheesy advertising. In a six page span there were only four articles!! Today was the first that I noticed no Life Style section whatsoever. What will they think of next?
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Saturday, June 9, 2007

Another Day, Another Template

Remember how I told you about the fruit pictures? When Bruce brought home the print from Costco, I was mighty pleased. The color is quite intense, and it sure says summer doesn't it? I put together a grouping for the market tomorrow which I feel pretty confident will sell. It has this picture, raspberries, kiwi, pineapple, and blueberries; they all look this juicy!

It took me quite a while to put the pictures together for tomorrow; I am pleased with the results and hope it goes well.

Carol and Hank are coming in on the red-eye in the morning, probably they will arrive at the house about the time we are leaving. They are hoping to get some rest and then come down in the afternoon. I hope they are prepared for how hot it is these days. I'm having the boys, and girls over, along with Lisa, and I hope Pat and Ruth, to welcome them. Maureen is out of town but I imagine she will be back in time for the party. I'm usually pretty beat after the market, but they have not been here in so long everyone will be anxious to greet them. I'm going to have b-b-que sandwiches and cole slaw. Probably corn on the cob, and some watermelon too. I've made a new sauce tonight--it uses cherry preserves, vinegar, ketchup, onions, and chopped chipotles--let's hope it isn't too spicy! I'll taste it in the morning after it has cured a bit and see what I think.

Last night when we were walking to the restaurant I noticed the Shuttle going up. It is pretty amazing that you can see it from 55 miles away. There is a lead plane which I don't understand, but we saw it. The smoke that it generates from lift-off lasts for many minutes. After dinner we met up with David and Michelle, along with another couple, at the wine bar. My goodness, we stayed up too late for us--it was around 1 that we got to bed. It was a fun time; we don't see David often enough. I told you before that he is a magnet for money. Well, he turned down a recruitment offer from Morgan Stanley for almost 1 million dollars. We were happy about that because, after all, how much money does a couple need?

Friday, June 8, 2007

Let's Get Random, Shall We?

In my class I've been learning that photography is primarily about light management. I took photos of myself in different rooms of the house before my interview, and I look different in each one. Thus proving that point. It is something I will be working hard to master.

Jonathan, and Alissa have come, and gone, and I never even saw them. They arrived at midnight, and then I had school all day today. I got a voice mail that they were leaving around 2:30. I chatted with both of them this afternoon and they have arrived safely in South Florida--the cruise starts on Sunday. Jonathan paid Bruce a big compliment regarding his new glasses--he said he looked indie-tastic; I laughed at that. Apparently all the women at work have been talking about him in a good way.

Matthew is back online, thank goodness!

After a slow start, I did just fine today at school. I knew you would be happy to hear that. There is only one more week to go. Next week's submission is at leat 5 8X12's. Hopefully I will have at least that many that I'm happy to submit because they will be hung in the college library for the rest of the term.

Bruce, and I are heading off to FiFi's now--hope everyone has a great Friday night. One more thing--the paper is cancelled as of 6/21/07; we'd already paid for that amount.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Just When I Thought...

it was a done deal, I have weakened again. I have managed to vacuum the house which is a pain in the neck with Baxter around. It is so funny, he puts his little face right up to the vacuum, and barks like a maniac. I just continue as if he's not right there, but it makes Bruce nervous; he's afraid the little doggie will get suck right in! He also goes crazy when you clean the pool--remember how he fell in a month or so ago?

I also went to the grocery store which was a double bonus--not only do we have more food in the house, but I bought some raspberries, and little tomatoes on the vine to photograph. Almost every week I sell groups of fruits, and vegetables, so I want to keep things fresh--no pun intended folks! I'm going to group some kiwi, pineapple, cherries, raspberries, and watermelon together-- I hope it will be a hit.

Elmer, and I, are getting along much better these days. Duh...I finally figured out that I didn't have to guess on the aperture setting, and have been relying on the light meter to help me set it. Here you see the vast array that I took this week (ha ha, in addition to my digital ones!); I'm waiting on Bruce's input to help me choose the ten to turn in. Next week I have to turn in 5 8X12s for the final project; it seems as if I might have enough here to work with, but we'll see.

My poor Matthew in London, his Internet service has been down for about five days now, and he seems to be getting nowhere with service calls. He usually calls me with that connection every Sunday to catch up--I miss him. In addition, he is unable to update his Live Journal which I also miss. He is an amazing writer--his intelligence, and wit, really shine in his musings.

I'm going to make the tomato tart for dinner tonight, after all, it is summer here. You make a tart shell (pre-bake), fill bottom with carmelized onions, layer tomatoes, and chopped kalamata olives, add a sprinkling of feta cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake for only about 15 minutes on 350, and finish with chopped fresh basil. I got this recipe from the New York Times magazine a few years ago; it is simply marvelous. It happened to be one of my mom's favorites when I was cooking for her during her illness. We'll have some of that fruit, and there you go! Not too ambitious I hope.

Doesn't everything look better after a big rainstorm?Finally, it rained hard here last evening, and into the night, complete with thunder and lightening--hurray!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Constructive Criticism

My friend Josie from Massachusetts suggested that my blog had some formatting problems, and tinkering might be in order. Is this too much green? How about the picture size--any better? Let me know what you think. Please friends, I'm so new to this that any criticisms are welcome--after all, I' am a student, and accustomed to getting grades.


I realized yesterday that I seem to have been writing about some form of lawlessness in recent posts. If someone came upon my blog without knowing me they would think I live a fairly exciting life what with all these brushes with crime. Nothing could be farther from the truth most days.

Speaking of which, my friend Dean recently wrote in his newspaper column about reading Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road; I read that stunning book last fall in my World Literature class. I mention it because if ever there was a state of lawlessness, that book describes it. A father, and son, are the only two good guys left in a world left desolate from some sort of apocalyptic event--they are traveling on a road to nowhere. It is worth your attention if you have time, however, I will warn you that it is very bleak.

The newspaper continues to deteriorate almost daily. Yesterday I found the obituaries in the business section! A family had placed a loving tribute to their beloved mother describing in detail her life, and accomplishments; just below, there was a story about the decline in fortunes for the Krispy Kreme doughnut company--yikes, make them stop! Aside from Dean's column, there is almost no reason to subscribe anymore, and in fact, I'm going to try and convince Bruce of this plan.

We've got company coming!! Jonathan, and Alissa, will be making a quick stop on their way down to Ft. Lauderdale where they will board a ship for a week long cruise--graduation gift from her Mom. On Sunday, my sister Carol, and her dear husband Hank, will be arriving from California; their zip code is 90210. They have not been here since our Mom died, so we've got lots of catching up to do.

I'm not sure what to wear to my internship interview this afternoon--should I dress like a college student, or will there be different standards for a middle-aged woman? I've not been interviewed for probably 14 years; I probably should have gotten some pointers from someone on how to behave.

The baby swan hatched five days ago and is swimming about like a champ. When I arrived yesterday morning the family was not in it's protected enclave--I had to search for them. They were out and about in the big lake! Here they are heading back to safer territory.

You would also think from reading this that all I ever do is take photographs--you would be right for the most part. I did go to the movies yesterday afternoon though. I saw Denmark's entry for the Academy Awards--After the Wedding. It was a moving story, and there was fine acting--I highly recommend it. As well, I'm reading The Places in Between, Rory Stewart's account of his journey walking across Afghanistan. I love a world view.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Stop This Car!

I was reading my friend Amaya's blog about celebrity sightings in Seattle; my sighting today was of another sort. I stopped by Ross on my way to Leu Gardens this morning. Normally, I always try to get there as early as possible, but today I needed to stop at the camera store because Elmer is giving me fits again and they don't open until 10. So I head through the front doors, really only maybe 10 minutes after they open. Seconds later I hear this loud voice calling--"Ma'am, we need those clothes!" I turn around to see a woman nonchalantly walking out to a car with an armload of clothes on hangers. I quickly grab my camera out of my purse (wouldn't you know it, it was set to macro!), and head out the door. Because I had to change the setting, I didn't get her picture, however, I did get the getaway car! You might note the driver's window open as if he was just chilling, waiting for her to emerge with the loot. Unbelievable what people will do. My hands were shaking as this was the first robbery I've ever witnessed in my life! Now, I want you to know that the police never arrived to investigate the whole twenty minutes I was in the store. Can you believe it?

That segues into my wanting to set the record straight regarding Bruce's ticket. He was speeding, in fact, he was going about 75 on a four lane divided highway with not a soul in sight and orange groves on either side of the road. There was no one in sight because they had all passes us. The highway patrolman did a U-turn to catch him! The fine is $220 so we're not eating out this week. Apparently our law enforcement officers find it more convenient to stop speeders than robbers!

I'm continuing to feel good, and that gives me confidence that the worst is behind me--hallelujah!!

Only two more Fridays to go with my camera class, and the minimester is over. I've not signed up for any classes in session B--I guess I'll just be a house bum for the rest of the summer--swimming, cooking, reading, and of course, taking pictures!

I do have an appointment with the internship placement office for Wednesday at 1. She wants to interview me before she sends my resume out. I'm hoping to get a place at a sculpture museum on the shores of Lake Virginia in Winter Park. If you're not from here you wouldn't realize that it is a prime piece of real estate. If we ever won the lottery (have to play first), we'd move to Winter Park. I realized this morning that we have lived in this house the longest of any during our 33--soon to be 34--years of marriage. Bruce wondered if that meant it was time to move.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Do You Realize?

The Flaming Lips sing--"Do you realize, you have the most beautiful face?" The song goes on to say that life goes fast, it's hard to make the good times other words, make the most of each day, and make sure that those you love know it by your words, and actions. I just love that song. After my mom died, I was in my Freshman Comp class, I had to do a research paper including a power point. Let me tell you, that was an entirely new experience for me--at least the power point stuff. I'm sure I had written a research paper in high school, but that was over 30 years ago. At any rate, I wrote it on Hospice care, and when I put my power point together I contrasted my mom's death experience with that of my father-in-law. He died on the day of my mom's funeral; he was hospitalized for nearly six months, and his suffering was indescribable. Although I was a novice at power point, I so wanted to add that song as a quiet background, however, I was too inexperienced. It was probably just as well because during the presentation I sobbed and could hardly even do it!

Doesn't Bruce look adorable with his new glasses? I told him he looks like a movie star. Being the good Democrat that he is, he is watching the presidential debate---to me it is too much, too soon.

The highlight of today's market was a sale to a young boy of about 8 or 9; it made my day that he so loved the baseball picture that he spent his birthday money on it. I had gone for a much-needed bathroom break, when I returned to the booth, Bruce was conducting the sale--he gave him a discount which couldn't have made me happier. A new manager is taking over and has big plans to invigorate both the vendors and the advertising. That my friends is welcome news.

Friday, June 1, 2007

And I Quote...

"Many engaging pix here that show an inspired, absorbent, searching eye, especially with the insects! Such success and enthusiasm given the equipment!" That was the comment on my returned pictures today! It has certainly proved challenging using this 30 year old camera, however, it may make me a better photographer--we'll see.

Due to our schedules, our trip to Vero Beach was relatively short, nevertheless, it was a welcome change of scenery. The ocean gets more beautiful the further south you go, and as I mentioned in an earlier post, the waves are especially good. I only went in once yesterday, and in fact, the waves were stronger than I can manage in my fragile condition, however, I loved the time I was playing in them. The breeze was constant, and refreshing.

We stayed at the Driftwood Inn on the beach; it was built in 1937 by an eccentric, Waldo Sexton, who used no building plans. He especially loved bells, and they are everywhere. The story goes that he built much of the hotel with driftwood that washed up on the beach. When we arrived in Vero, it looked so funky that I thought it might be fun to stay in a place full of character. I did not bargain for full of characters as well. No seriously, this picture is of the cottage we stayed in the first night--note the full porch please. At 2:30 in the morning a loud knocking woke us from a sound sleep. My Boy Scout husband immediately jumped up, and tried to peer through the blinds. It was a man who was wanting help because he, and his girlfriend were having some sort of difficulty. Bruce refused to open the door, and demanded that he leave. A few minutes later as I'm imploring Bruce to go back to sleep, another loud banging begins. At this point he calls 911. A short time later the police arrive, and Bruce opens the door only to be confronted by the security guard who complains that we did not open the door when he banged...duh, it might have helped had he identified himself...

No further trouble ensued, but we did move to an oceanfront room in the original building. It came complete with a claw foot tub, lovely deck, and the aforementioned wonderful ocean breeze. I had only to open the sliding door to photograph the morning sunrise!

Aside from the speeding ticket Bruce got on our drive home the trip was a great success. I was able to put that nasty doctor's visit far from my mind where I intend to leave it.

Thanks for your concern friends; my life motto has always been..this too shall pass... I plan to cling to that now.

You Just Never Know