Friday, August 31, 2007

Let the Intern Do It


First off here's the little cutie on the front porch after his haircut. I always let him get too long and I forget how adorable he is with a shearing. Alissa always puts that little scarf thing around his neck which I leave on for a day or two because it is so silly.

Speech should be good. My first impression of the professor and classmates is very good. She teaches at the University as well. Have I mentioned that the community college I attend is considered one of the top ten in the nation? Recently the New York Times
ran a piece that included Valencia. My experiences have been mostly very positive. If I had this blog a while ago though you would have had to read my rants about my Comp II professor. He was a man around my age, has his doctorate, and is worthless. I won't go into all the details, but he gave me a B which I felt was undeserved. So much so that I went all the way to the Provost. If you could have seen me trying to fight City Hall you would have laughed. I knew I wasn't going to win that fight when she said, "Now, you've earned a B", and my response was, "No, he gave me a B, I earned an A."

After Speech I headed over to the museum as tomorrow is opening day. I may have mentioned that the curator is extremely laid-back. She is very confident it will be ready by 10 in the morning! I spent some time cutting Velcro and placing it on the back of info plaques. She said she was sorry, she knew it was no fun cutting Velcro, but I said no problem. I'm going over in the morning to man the front desk for when visitors arrive. I've no idea how to run the cash register, I suspect I'll have to learn very quickly. Today's entertainment section of the paper ran a full page article about the show but neglected to mention it opens tomorrow. Apparently people were stopping by to see it, but as stated earlier, not ready for prime time just yet.

I've not heard from Jonathan how the new job is going; I'm assuming good things. Matt went to a Northwestern alumni event in London the other night. He met a couple there who lives just around the corner from him--very cool. As well, a student in the PhD program with him is studying abroad in Paris with a stopover in London to visit our Matthew. I know he will be excited to see familiar faces.

Official Bill Peck Web Site

Official Bill Peck Web Site
My iTunes Party Shuffle was playing while I was doing some chores and this song of Bill's came on. I thought I was linking right to the song but nonetheless the one I'm referring to is Everytime I. I hope you have time to give it a listen. I'd forgotten how good it is because I've not heard it for awhile. Sam Stone is the singer--a really nice guy; Bill plays the electric guitar. I think this song would be great on radio, however, we all know how hard it is these days to break into radio.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

What Can I Say?


The photo of the day is of a marker about a block from the house. I've passed it so many times that it has become part of the scenery, however, on a walk with Baxter, I stopped to read it. It is remarkable to think that where our house is standing used to have quite a history. Speaking of history, did I ever tell you how a few years after we moved to our current home a knock on the door produced a look into the past. A gentleman declared that he lived in our home as a child. He produced a photograph of a new home with no trees surrounding it. Wonderful how gigantic oaks and pines can change the way a neighborhood looks. Our home is not as old as we are, but not far off. Built in 1960, the houses must have replaced an orange grove.

So, I've returned from my visit with Dr. Everett. He said "you look great!" He reminded me again of his concern that there was a yet to be discovered cancer lurking in my abdomen, but because I still weigh 108, he is fear-free. I suggested it was unusual for someone my age to not gain weight, but that argument fell on deaf ears. He has no explanation for the pain, and wants me to just keep going. Well, I have no choice now, do I? I must reiterate to recent readers that Dr. Everett is considered "Dr. House" by his peers.

I managed to stay up just fine for my class last night. I forgot some of the happenings that often occur during the first class, such as icebreakers. After pairing up with a student we did not know and asking them three questions we were charged with introducing them to the rest of the class. Charlie was my introducer; he was nervous when I suggested that we go first. That is always my strategy because then it is all over. Often the first class meeting is weird because beforehand people just sit silently waiting for something to happen. This class was full of chatters from the word go--my kind of people. One reason I took this Intro to Film class was because I'd heard the professor was great. My first impression is extremely favorable.

Tomorrow is speech class. I don't think it will bother me to give speeches, but I know nothing of the professor, and as many of you know, the professor makes or breaks a class. I'm optimistic she'll be just fine.

My dear sister Lisa sent me another sweet card. She really know how to cheer a girl up. Thanks sis.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

No Longer a Foster Parent


It's practically official. LeAnne bought a new dog yesterday; surprisingly, it is not a Yorkie. Bill did not participate in the purchase as he's not anxious to raise another puppy nor is he anxious to spend the money. She bought a Maltese which apparently does not bark like Baxter; a good thing when one lives in a condo. At any rate some of you know that Baxter came to live with us temporarily a year ago April. He's been a fixture in our little house but we always told Bill and LeAnne that he could go back to his rightful parents when they wanted him. Bill, in an act of tenderness towards his dad,realized it would break Bruce's heart because he is very attached to Baxter. Around 6 each day Baxter lays on the rug by the side door waiting for Bruce to arrive. He jumps like a Mexican jumping bean, barely waiting for Bruce to set his briefcase down before goading him to play. Sorta like the kids used to all pile on our bed and there would be this family wrestle. Can you imagine all five of them? I was solely a spectator. Baxter is mighty shaggy in this picture-- he's getting a haircut on Friday so we can see his big brown eyes again.

Some days you would think that I was not using the good sense I was born with. Today is one of those days as I thought "what would possess me to sign up for a class that gets over about an hour past the time I can stay up each night?" I've had an unusually icky day today spending a few hours on the couch napping. Hopefully by 6:15 when I need to leave I will be a new woman.

Rewind to the dog thing. Can you believe what they charge for these little dogs? Stunning actually. Talk about a case of "what the market will bear." LeAnne can afford the $1300, but seriously, that is a lot of money for an animal. At the market we are witness to all sorts of bizarre behavior from dogs and their owners. Strollers, outfits, carry bags--we've seen dogs treated like infants every Sunday.

I'm reading In America by Susan Sontag. Very good--apparently it won the National Book Award in 2000. Matt and I were discussing American culture and how it differs from British. I wonder if a lot of the world lives by the "que sera, sera" mentality, whereas Americans think, "what can we do about it?" Any thoughts?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Macro Practice



A few astute observers noticed I got a new camera about two months ago. I used to take loads of macros with my "baby camera", however, I've been unable to duplicate that success with my new one. I know that sounds silly because my new camera is a bit of an upgrade, but there you have it. Thus, I've been practicing. I went to my favorite haunt for such photography--Leu Gardens yesterday for about an hour.I have to get out and about if only for a little while. Of all things, one of the pictures I took and posted made Explore. Maybe I'm getting my mojo back a bit. While I was home I practiced on some shells I collected while at Canaveral Seashore. My professor for my class this summer said it was like golf--the more you swing the club, the better you get. I'm keeping that in mind.

The reason for this post is two-fold. One, my adviser is the same age as the twins and cute as a button. Very nice and easy going. That should make this internship thing all the better as I have to turn in weekly assignment stuff. She prefers e-mail to the forms I was given from the internship office. Perfect.

Secondly, our Jonathan called and he has a month long position starting Thursday at an large architectural firm in Chicago. Now that is really great news. I was remiss because I did not tell you that he was sorry for our disagreement and called me back. I told you he was a sweetie. I suspect (no bias) that once they meet him and realize his genius, they will want to find a place for him permanently. Don't think for a moment that I won't be bragging about it.

Off to School


Remember I told you last week I went to the Maitland Art Center--this is one of the pictures which I've put the sepia treatment on. My friend Amaya was on a sepia kick for a bit--I hope she likes this one.

I read this in the paper regarding huge portions at restaurants: "It's better to waste it than waist it" You know that quote comes from a woman don't you?

I'm heading over to school shortly but my first stop is the museum which is a few blocks away. I will be starting my internship there soon. Unfortunately the curator knows I've not been well and I'm thinking she is going to go easy on me. It's kind of her, but wasting one of her internship spots on me is not productive so I'm going to do my best to fulfill my obligations. Here's a link about Albin Polasek.Albin Polasek

It was two years ago almost to the day that I went to sign up at Valencia. Not knowing what I was getting myself into turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. I had to take the College Placement Test for which I was unprepared. Matt suggested I go ahead and take it that day so that's what I did. Hmmm...The language portions couldn't have gone better, no so much the math. I got a 27 on the algebra portion of the test proving that it is unnecessary for a successful life! Seriously when you never use something you definitely lose it. I was a good math student when young if you can believe it. That test doomed me to two math prep classes. I would probably be done by now except for that. One of the classes was four hours and I received NO credit. All joking aside I've come to realize that they teach a lot of worthless information and I think the curriculum should be updated. They've taught the same stuff for years which 95% of the school population never uses. Instead of algebra they should teach practical math applications. A computer class should be mandatory. That way people like me would be forced to take it and I would be better for it. As it is I prefer the humanities.

Elena asked what I'm studying. Well Miss I am getting an AA at the moment. Sorry for those who know this story but the deal is that when I was young my dad did not think girls needed to go to college. Thus, I went to x-ray school. Once our four sons had degrees Bruce thought I might want to go. I quit work and here I am two years later with ten hours to go. My graduation hopefully will coincide with Matt's Christmas visit. Because I go primarily in the daytime my classmates are all younger than my sons which is a tad weird but I'm used to it by now. I'm puzzling about my next step--keep going or not.

Naturally all that depends on my health. One of the questions I will have for the good Dr. Everett is how is it possible for me to still have bites from one month ago. I swear the itching is maddening! Bruce's were gone in one week but yours truly still looks like she has chickenpox on her legs. I totally dread the next round of tests.

Today is Goethe's birthday; I learned that from the radio today. The classical station played pieces inspired by Faust. I read that last spring in my World Lit class. When I got the assignment I thought I would never make it through but what helped was reading it aloud. You should have seen me in the pool with my big fat lit book on the edge reciting Faust. I ended up loving it.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fledgling Photographer


My nephew Richard (Maureen's son) and his girlfriend Jen came by the market yesterday with their dog Belvedere. He's a puggle and so nicely behaved. They are a charming couple, Rich has an incredible wit and Jen is full of unbridled enthusiasm. It is always nice to see a familiar face. Jen asked me what did people buy the most. I puzzled over that; it seems as if there is no majority. Here's what I sold yesterday:
A brown sunflower peeking through a fence.
An outdoor table and chairs set against a terra cotta wall that is soon to be demolished.
A peacock.
A pink rose.
Beach chairs for rent.
An architecture piece.
Flowers on a beach.
Hammock lakeside.
And last but not least a sculpture picture.
There seems to be no specific category and that is good because as you know full well (my mom used to say that all the time)I like to take pictures of everything!

Just when I thought it was safe to go back into the water--I got an explanation of benefits (for those healthy souls among you--you don't have a clue what this is) from a visit I made to the hospital in early May. Did I tell you that the hospital for which I worked for ten years sent a collections agency after us for $17.37? Was I ever furious! The bill had already been paid, but posted to a wrong account. Nevertheless my sabbatical from doctor visits will officially come to an end when I see Dr. Everett on Thursday afternoon. Try as I might I have been unable to get well on my own. I know it seems to readers that I can't be sick but the fact of the matter is that I will myself each and every day. Saturday and Sunday were rough days for me and I finally gave in last night, took a pain pill, and went to sleep before 9. It was all I could do to make it through the market.Bruce begged me to let him do all the set up and take down but it doesn't seem right for him to do all the work. I did what I could because it is hell to feel helpless.

Enough negativity. I am a fortunate woman in more ways than I can count!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Stormy Weather


Friday evening it finally rained. After chatting with Lisa I returned Maureen's call. I asked her if she minded talking on the phone while the lightening was so intense. She had just enough time to say no problem when the power went out briefly due to a tremendous lightening strike nearby.
It threatened tonight, but so far no dice. Let's hope if it rains tomorrow it will be after 4.
Bruce has been encouraging me to make a spreadsheet to keep track of my business dealings. Hmmm...I've never done one before and it is proving challenging. I'm not giving up just yet but let's just say I'm putting it off. I did write down (I know--I'm old fashioned) all the pictures that I've sold. It turns out I've sold 72 framed pieces since the end of March. Not a whole lot, but actually I was surprised at the number. Not too bad for once a week. We'll see if we can add to that total tomorrow.

Friday, August 24, 2007

NPR : Pesky and Not Picky, Bedbugs Make a Comeback

NPR : Pesky and Not Picky, Bedbugs Make a Comeback
Did any of you hear this story on Morning Edition yesterday. Maureen called to tell me that I was not alone. I've been sleeping with anti-itch cream by my bedside for weeks now. Thank God Bruce was smart enough to know we should wash all our clothes when we arrived home. What a nuisance but fortunately we didn't bring them home with us.

Friday


I read yesterday that one out of four adults read no books last year. Personally I can't imagine life without books and I suspect you can't either if you are reading this. Nevertheless, I've pondered the statistic. I know that many casual readers choose their reading material from bestseller lists and if I had to choose from that I'd probably shy away from novels as well. It almost seems like some sort of conspiracy to promote only a few authors and the rest be damned. I know that there is loads of competition from the internet, video games, and all the rest. For me, there is nothing like losing myself in another life and location.

The pre-trial starts today for "Astronauts Gone Wild", apparently there was a lottery for news media parking places in front of the courthouse. Such a sad story--now that would make quite a novel.

Did I ever tell you that it was rain in California that drove me over the edge about moving back to Florida? A three year drought broke, opening the heavens, and it rained non-stop from January to May. I was absolutely certain I would lose my mind. When it rains here it is usually pretty violent but short-lived. There it was morning to night, day, after day. When you have a toddler in the house that can make for some very long days. Allegedly we are getting some much needed rain this weekend.

Saw in the paper: Sunburst Convention of Celebrity Impersonators, with workshops ad activities. $15. I've often wondered what would make a person decide to follow that career path aside from the resemblance.

I lied when I said Jonathan was over his shyness. A phone call to him today went badly. He told me he didn't need a lecture-- I said fine. This had to do with my suggestion that he call the woman at the temp office regarding prospects. We disagree about e-mail being good enough. I have not been frustrated with Jonathan in a very long time and it doesn't feel particularly good.

When Matt called the other evening he had just returned from seeing The Bourne Ultimatum. He loved it. A movie ticket in London cost $14 for one; good thing they are paying him gazillions.

School starts next week and I'm nervous all over again. Last summer I was off about the same amount of time however I spent about six weeks in bed so lots of it was a blur. When I was finally able to get up I worried that if I didn't go back I never would. I struggled terribly through that semester but I made it. I guess you know that I'm down to my final 10 hours before I get my AA. It's been interesting to say the least.

Lastly I was bragging about learning so much about my computer. If you cared you noticed that there was no link to my Mac photo gallery in the text. No idea why but it is now on the upper right corner if you are bored.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

If I Had A Real Job


I would be getting overtime today. I've worked pretty much all day on my photos. How can that be you ask? Well, first I sorted through the gazillion photos I have to decide on possible saleable ones. That may not be a word, I'm not sure. As well, one is never sure of what people will buy. What I've been told is that once you think you have it figured out, you don't. Needless to say this is slow going. I finally got about 200 images picked out and wanted to burn them to a disc to give to Mr. Roger. This way he will have them in the future when I get swamped with orders! Haha! I am still learning on the Mac. When Matt called the other evening he described it thusly: although you've used a computer for years Mom, your usage has not been very deep. He is correct per usual. I have learned more about how to do stuff with a computer in these few weeks then I ever knew before. The disc is made.

Next up, a place for visitors to go on the web that is not flickr. I love flickr but I've heard from a potential buyer that it is overwhelming. That's probably true. Using all the features of my new toy I made a web gallery. I'm sharing the address with you--please let me know what you think. There are tons of images on there as well and I've almost named and numbered all of them. Not the food yet though. I'm weary of looking at my own stuff. Here's the link: http://gallery.mac.com/bioclastic#gallery

Now that that is out of the way I must tell you that I saw a gator yesterday. I stopped at the visitors center for Canaveral National Seashore as I was leaving. As you may recall I went to the ocean for healing. The first thing I asked the rangers about was the amount of mosquitoes out on the boardwalk. They promised not too bad. I was walking along, camera in hand, natch when I came across a couple coming the other way. She was toting a fancy DSLR. I asked them if they'd seen any gators and they said, almost snidely, that it was too hot. Fooled them. Returning the way I came, I noticed the gator in the water right near the building. Of course I got the picture. After I took it he slithered underwater blending right in. The only evidence for a minute was bubbles in the water. Next, he raised only his eyes, and nostrils, out of the water before moving into the murk. So there you go--a nature sighting. The rangers said I was lucky because they are hard to spot in the heat of the afternoon.

Have I mentioned it has been 16 days without rain. Bummer.

Today's picture is for my friend Karen Hirsch. I met her when I was a young mother. She loves to tell how she couldn't believe me coming into the hospital with all four blond boys in tow. Bruce's job in Ohio is adjacent to this fruit stand. Ironically it has our name on it as well.

Bruce has returned home early this afternoon. He's just finished working on some field reports and we're heading out for Mexican. It should be good.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Could Have Filled the Tub with Saltwater...


Instead, I went to the beach. In an effort to heal my bites I decided that a trip to the ocean would be just the ticket; saltwater seems to have a healing effect. If you can imagine, the 15 bites on the back of my left thigh have not healed yet after more than two weeks. I wake up scratching them like a maniac. Wait, you've heard that before; I apologize. Believe me, I only wish it weren't still a topic of discussion.

So, I'm like a kid the week before school starts. I've had several field trips that you haven't been privy to. Yesterday I went to the Maitland Art Center. It's a really cool place that was founded in the 30's by Mary Bok. Now if you've been following my flickr at all, you know that for the 24 hours of flickr I posted a sign from Bok Tower that was the motto of Mr. Bok. At this point I'm not certain if it was his daughter in law, or what, but I'm planning of researching it. They must have been a cool family. The center is covered with Mayan art--relief sculptures with lovely grounds to roam. There are about six bungalows, originally artist's residences. They could live there for free while making art; I'll show it to you soon.

The picture posted today is the one for the calendar. I had a request for a viewing. The idea was to show architectural features of the homes in the old neighborhood--mostly they were built in the 20's. I've practically forgotten the other ones I submitted--at any rate, this is the one they chose.

Back on track now...after the art center I realized I was practically blocks away from the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey. I've never been there before but was curious. Well, let me tell you, it is fascinating. They rehabilitate wounded birds, often sending them back out in to the wild. Those who will never be able to fend for themselves stay--also rent free (see above). Mostly they were in these wonderful huge aviaries, but as I was preparing to leave I came across a walled garden with wrought iron gates at either end. Wow--two bald eagles were the first birds I saw. The ones in their aviary were hiding from the heat so it was especially exciting to see these just sitting there. Both the male, and female, will never be able to leave. Wait until you see those pictures! I was quite close and I stuck the camera through the railings trying my best. As well, there were several owls and hawks.

I think I'll save today's adventures for tomorrow as I've worn myself out. You know that my brain has desires, and interests, and mostly it drags my body with it, but then my body rebels and says ENOUGH ALREADY!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Suprises All Day


My day used to include walking Baxter around 5pm while chatting with Jonathan on his way home from work. Lately neither one has happened. Jonathan has a new life, and Baxter is being uncommonly stubborn. In any case, I've been trying to get him to walk in the early morning before the intense heat of the day. You know me well enough by now to know that I take my camera everywhere. About a block from the house I spotted this briefcase in a hedge. I took the picture and sent it to Bruce asking what he thought I should do. After lunch he called and suggested I should phone the police and let them decide. I dialed 911 and the question was: "What is the nature of your emergency?" I replied that I didn't think it was an emergency but didn't know where else to call. I gave her the details and left my number.

About two hours later the phone rang. Without my reading glasses on, all I could make out was: City of Orlando. Naturally I thought it was the police. I thought wrong.

Remember the calendar photo contest I told you about? I submitted my four photos at City Hall early in July. The paper reported that the judging was August 1. When I didn't receive a call around that time I assumed that I didn't win. Guess what? I did! One of my photos was selected and will be the December picture. Because my birthday is in December it seems apropos! Apparently I win $100 as well. Thanks to Maureen for alerting me of this opportunity. Yeah, my first published photo.

The instructions were to send the original jpeg. No problem--oh wait, there is a problem. I can't find the picture!! Mild panic sets in. Eventually I remember the discs I've made. Fortunately I made lists of what was on each disc. Problem solved.

I checked later--the briefcase was gone.

Unrelated news--I think I mentioned how much Carol and Hank adored Baxter when they were here visiting. Sunday they picked up their new Yorkie puppy. They are pleased as punch with the new little guy.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I Know it's Just a Market....


Honestly though, didn't her mother teach her not to go out in her underwear?

If we were just beginning our courtship, Saturday would not have added much to it. As I mentioned, it was our anniversary. Bruce only worked until 1 so that we could go to the movies. His comment was: "you know this is the best movie you've seen in ages!" Of course it is the only movie I've been to in ages. The Bourne Ultimatum is not my idea of great movie making. I did it for him although not without snide remarks throughout the movie. Let's just say that there are two things that I deplore in movies--gratuitous violence, and car chases. I got my quota of both for about five years in the future. The dialog is amazingly bad--"get his cell phone!" "find out where he's been!" "let's go mobile!" and on and on it went. I think Matt Damon had about thirty lines total in the whole movie. Enough said.

Dinner later at a neighborhood restaurant did not go well either; fortunately we enjoy each other's company. Orlando has several neighborhoods just like most cities. College Park is one of them, just the other side of downtown. There is a lot of old money in College Park and those who live there have fierce pride about their slice of Orlando. The restaurant in question was a little Italian place housed in an old house. Recently bought by a celebrated chef(locally speaking), it is suffering terribly from more things than I care to write about. I will tell you that when they brought the water glasses Bruce's had floating mold in it. We should have bolted then, especially because there was almost no apology for the faux pas. Eventually the errors mounted up and couldn't be ignored. Bruce said--let me do the talking. Good plan as I tend to ramble. He politely told the manager our complaints. I felt sorry for her as she seemed close to tears--mostly from frustration. She said that the Nazi hostess was a sore point with everyone. Furthermore, she begged me not to write to the restaurant reviewer for the paper.

The market was hot and sales were lukewarm but I'm not losing heart.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Anniversary


It's not quite what my friend Dean calls a speed limit anniversary but close--34 years ago today Bruce and I married.

He was 20, I was 19. He was in the carpenter apprenticeship program and I had just completed 24 grueling months as an x-ray student. When I look back on that training I realize that college is a piece of cake compared to what we went through. No summers off, 40 hours a week, and certainly no spring break. I digress.

I was now officially employed at $3.25 an hour. Bruce and I had gone steady since we were 13 and we could finally get married.

Our wedding was in a church nearby with the reception at the church hall--cake and punch. It all sounds so quaint now but that's how the majority of people who got married then celebrated. Destination weddings would have sounded as unbelievable as the notion that I could write something on a computer keyboard and people I haven't met face to face would read it!

My wedding dress was a pale pink embroidered organza over silk. It was almost scandalous that it was not white. Furthermore, we had to pay a portion of it because it was more expensive than my parents wanted to pay. It was just beautiful.

We honeymooned for a very short weekend in St. Augustine. When we arrived that night all the restaurants were closed by 9pm. What seemed like a nuisance at the time has turned into a fond memory. I remember sitting in McDonalds asking Bruce if he thought anyone could tell we just got married.

When we married it never occurred to us that it wouldn't work out. I'm sorry that young people today assume just the opposite.

The dress still fits perfectly as does the husband. Happy Anniversary sweetheart.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I'm So Excited and I Just Can't Hide It


That about sums it up folks.

First off, I wanted to give you a closer look at the prints. I took this before I sold the front one. They look so professional and as I said--I could hardly believe it was my stuff.

Here's why I'm so excited: I was finishing making dinner when the phone rang. Unknownnumber. If you're like me you don't answer those calls. Well...it went to voice mail. A male voice said: This message is for Gail, I'm a friend of Ed and I saw your great pictures at his house this weekend. I snatched that baby off the hook--Hello, Hello, this is Gail. Yeah!--a referral. Ed is the man who bought five of my pieces as he'd had a house fire and had to start over. This new man was interested in my groupings of fruits and vegetables for his kitchen. Don't take this wrong please because I have a gay son. We've got that straight right? Anyway, they seem to visit each other's homes more than some folks and some of them (Matt would say I'm stereotyping) are interested in decorating their own homes. So how perfect is this?
He even asked what payment I take, and how long after he selected stuff would it take me to deliver. It sounds promising; you know that I'll keep you posted if it pans out as I hope. The more stuff I get out there the better--I hope that's how it works.

In another bit of good news: Maureen is attending a wedding shower for her friend's daughter on Saturday. She called this afternoon and said she'd like to buy a picture as her gift. I know what you are thinking--its your sister for crying out loud! You are right, but she seemed genuinely interested in giving her something unique. She came over after work to select. Her cell rang and it was the mother of the bride who happened to be in the vicinity. She popped over and helped Maureen select something! Can you believe it? Me, at age 53, selling things of my own making for the first time in my life. I read recently about a 54 year old woman whose novel produced a bidding war. Apparently if you are really passionate about something you can re-invent yourself.

Matt booked his ticket to come home for Christmas. He'll be home for a week. He may be here for my graduation although I can't find the date on the website. I do know I'll be having finals the week before Christmas.

Unrelated. David makes a lot of money as a stock broker but I wouldn't want to be in his shoes this week. What misery.

Before all the excitement of this afternoon I made a few CDs for the car. Here's who I put on one of the mixes:

Muse
Boxer Rebellion
Bishops
K's Choice
Kings of Leon
The Kooks
Kula Shaker
Ladytron
Lodger
Stephen Malkmus
The Charlatans
Manic Street Preachers
Mercury Rev
Milburn
The Charlatans
Neat people
Pete Yorn.
Good stuff.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sunrise


When the alarm went off this morning at 4AM I was already awake scratching those bites that won't go away. I had to get up and put some cream on them to keep me from doing more damage. Normally when Bruce has such an early flight I easily go back to sleep, but today I decided to stay up. After making tea I caught up on some of my computer stuff. Around 6:30 I threw on some clothes to photograph a sunrise over the city. I didn't get very far. As I was driving about 1/2 mile from the house I realized that lake front would be better. I parked the car and waited. It was fascinating to see the lake come to life. There were dragonflies floating above the reeds and ducks just beginning to swim about. Shortly thereafter a flock of birds started out of the reeds and just kept coming. It was a lovely sight.As you can see the sun came up out of the trees a brilliant red ball casting it's fiery glow on the water. I knew then that it would be another scorching day as the sky became hazy with the heat. No red skies for us.

Usually at this time of the year the tan I acquired in the spring is fading because we normally get rain every afternoon and it cuts down on swimming time. Not so these days. It has been unseasonably dry--in fact, things are getting parched. I've heard there is a tropical storm way out in the Atlantic which may turn things around. If you've lived in Florida any length of time you know that predictions of storms, and realized storms, are two entirely different things. Believing the forecasters would make a person too paranoid to live here.

I don't know if you are like me or not, but when I hear a song that really does it for me I can listen to it over and over again. I was reminded of that yesterday when I put Natalie Merchant Live on in the car. I could listen to Carnival,and Ophelia more times than seems possible. Same with Tears for Fears and Oleta Adams singing Woman in Chains. Love it.

Remember I told you I would spend time reading, swimming, and taking photographs? Well that about sums up today. I scooted over to Park Avenue in Winter Park for a little photowalk. Unfortunately I walked too far and had to sit down for a bit to make it back to the MINI. I did come across a great house designed by Gamble Rogers that I was not familiar with though. I was gone about two hours and worn out so home to read. I've left Afghanistan behind. What a splendid story that was. Now I'm reading The Tender Bar--good stuff. I know that should be italicized, but for some reason that is not working at the moment--I'll get it figured out.

Oh, BTW, Bill and Dave's condos are just across the lake you are seeing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Two Weeks Until School Starts


Today I was on my way to pick up some frames and was driving down Mills Ave. Because it is right there off Mills, I decided to take a little detour into the cemetery where my parents are buried. I've visited their graves only a few times as it just doesn't appeal to me. Nonetheless, I thought I would today. Because I've been there so seldom I thought I'd have trouble finding them, but actually, I drove right to the site. As you can see, my father died when I was 28. I'll never forget that phone call. The twins were two, and Matt was five. In those days getting dinner on the table was always a challenge but unnaturally so on that one. My sister called and I remember that I starting screaming. I don't recall, but I imagine it scared the boys. My parents were moving back to Orlando in one month to be near the grandchildren. My dad died of what I think was a heart attack. He was found by a neighbor with the cat curled up on his legs. If it happened today he might have lived, but maybe not; he was pretty stubborn. Apparently he told the neighbor he wasn't feeling well but wouldn't let him call for help. At any rate, he never lived to see our Jonathan.

Speaking of Jonathan, he and Alissa have a temp assignment today and tomorrow. It's a start. They sound blissfully happy except for the car situation. There are few parking places around the neighborhood, and often he's had to hunt for twenty minutes for one. The lease runs out in December (I got it after my mom died--yellow with a black top--I called it my baby car), but we may try to sell it, or turn it in early. If someone were to harm it the cost to repair it potentially could be higher than the rest of the lease.

Isn't it always the case that when you look your crummiest you run into someone you haven't seen in a long while? I used to always wear mascara at the very least, but more, and more, I just go out any old way. Oddly enough today after procuring the frames I tried to get a new watch battery. Maureen told me recently that they do it cheap in the Asian section of town which happens to be right next to the frame place. The battery did not make the watch work unfortunately. The nice jeweler apologized--he felt bad for me if you can imagine. On the way to the MINI I stopped into a little restaurant to bring home some lunch. Overwhelmed by the choices (you know I don't get out much), I turned to leave. Who should I see but one of the doctors I used to work with. He used to be a real pain in the neck until he finally got married at age 40 something. Wasting no time, his wife became pregnant with identical twin girls. They are now 2 1/2; he told me how hard it is! Ha, they have help 40 hours a week! And he calls that hard? Been there, done that!

Monday, August 13, 2007

London Calling



A call from Matt has set me straight again--hurray for genius sons! Photo booth from your friend Gail AKA Out & About Photography.

Digital Immigrant

For the first time ever I managed to set up my new printer all by myself. When you live in a household of "native users", you naturally let them do all the technology work for you. At least, that's what I've done in the past. Now that they are scattered, I've had to fend for myself. Bruce would have done it for me, however, he said give it a try; by golly, it worked. My sister Maureen taught me those terms, "digital immigrant" and "native user"; I think it is pretty cute. All of my readers are smart enough to get it.

With my new printer operating, I opened iWorks (Apple's answer to MSOffice), and typed a sign to put up with my brand new prints for sale. I mentioned Roger from the market last week, remember him? We now have something to show for that encounter. He has the ability to print Giclee prints at his home for an incredibly reasonable price. I use that term Giclee loosely-- I believe it is like calling all tissues Kleenex. Nonetheless, he prints using archival paper, and inks; they turned out fantastic. As well, he puts them in those clear packages with foam core, all ready to sell. To tell you the truth, I could hardly believe it was my stuff. Because the price was so low he printed quite a few in two sizes, 8X10, and 11X14. I now have unframed prints for sale which are considerably easier to tote back and forth to the market. I sold four yesterday with very slim crowds. The heat did not add to the ambiance, I can tell you that! I forgot to mention that I spelled photography wrong--thus the signs were of no use. I'll blame that bit of silliness on being in hurry.

We did have a DJ though. It made the market seem livlier than it was. In one of those weird blasts from the pasts--I went to ask the DJ about playing something. He says--Hello, Mrs. Peck. Gosh, no one calls me that much anymore. Anyway, it turns out he was the drummer for our son Bills first ever band when he was 14. Now you all know that he is 28 and has had several bands along the way--but that one was special. For one thing--they practiced in our garage. The band was our Bill, Will, and another Bill. I wanted them to call themselves, Triple Bill; for some reason they rejected my idea. They were called Blunder. I remember how excited we were when they came in second place in a Battle of the Bands downtown. The neighbors were all thrilled when we moved.

As you can see, I still have not solved my uploading dilemma. I may have to switch this blog to a Mac one.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Flickr Will Have to Do

I still can't figure out what the problem is--when I try and upload a photo it says it's taking my whole library which I feel pretty confident you are not interested in.

Because the computer transfer went so smoothly I was able to read "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini most of yesterday afternoon out in the pool. I know you feel sorry for me don't you? Have you read "The Kite Runner" by the same author? It is a real eye-opener into life in Afghanistan which I read about three years ago, and true to my nature, I talked about ten people into reading it. He is a fantastic storyteller. So, the point of all this is--

When we feel like complaining about our government--what they do, and do not do--consider the rules the Taliban enacted:

All citizens must pray five times a day. If it is prayer time and you are caught doing something other, you will be beaten.

All men will grow their beards. The correct length is at least one clenched fist beneath the chin. If you do not abide by this, you will be beaten.

Singing is forbidden.

Dancing is forbidden.

Playing cards, playing chess, gambling, and kite flying are forbidden.

Writing books, watching films, and painting pictures are forbidden.

If you keep parakettes, you will be beaten. Your birds will be killed.

If you steal, your hand will be cut off at the wrist. If you steal again, your foot will be cut off.

If you are not Muslim, do not worship where you can be seen by Muslims. If you do, you will be beaten and imprisoned. If you are caught trying to convert a Muslim to your faith, you will be executed.

Attention women:

You will stay inside your homes at all times. It is not proper for women to wander aimlessly about the streets. If you go outside, you must be accompanied by a male relative. If you are caught alone on the street, you will be beaten and sent home.

You will not, under any circumstance, show your face. you will cover with burqa when outside. If you do not, you will be severely beaten.

Cosmetics are forbidden.

Jewelry is forbidden.

you will not wear charming clothes.

You will not speak unless spoken to.

You will not make eye contact with men.

You will not laugh in public. If you do, you will be beaten.

You will not paint your nails. If you do, you will lose a finger.

Girls are forbidden from attending school. All schools for girls will be closed immediately.

Women are forbidden from working.

If you are found guilty of adultery, you will be stoned to death.

Listen. Listen well. Obey.

How in the world people obeyed those laws is beyond me, and yet they had to as a matter of life and death. My heart breaks to think of survival under those conditions. The latest book is a story of women. At one point one of the heroines has a C-section with no anethesia because all medications were reserved for men.

And to think that they are staging a resurgence.

I leave you to ponder this while I go paint my toenails.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Amazing is All I Can Say!

Maybe I've been through the learning curve, I don't know, but this time the transfer of data was amazingly quick. What's more, the photos transferred over as the folders I'd had in Picasa. I was able to easily delete all the photos that were edited originals . In fact, the whole process is completed and it's only 11:30 in the morning. All my music (3,500 songs) and photos( 4,500). I'm listening to Basement Jaxx as I type this. Only one hurdle left -- to figure out how to upload a picture to this blog. For some reason I couldn't open the iPhoto folder. Pictures will be forthcoming when I unravel this mystery. I lied, I still don't have Firefox although I've done pretty well on my own. Matthew was not available for a global computer consulatation as he was out with friends after work. Our man in London.

As I've mentioned previously flickr is a puzzling "place." Last evening around 7, I posted the photo of the new computer; as I type this it has been viewed 306 times! My most popular pretty picture has been viewed only about 350 times. It's always the crazy ones that get viewed alot. Interestingly enough, I posted a photo of the shuttle in the sky from our street. This time I was able to get the actual shuttle (albeit small) as opposed to just the aftermath. 19 views. I suppose it goes to show you what people are really interested in. Something tangible that makes their life easier today--not in the future.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Assume the Sale

Doesn't every girl struggle with this?

Last night I met with Mr. Roger about printing my photos. He's the man I told you about who stopped by my booth at the market. It turns out he started four years ago doing just what I'm doing. He now has five printers, ability to print on canvas, a trailer, and a big truck. He had invaluable advice including how to go about taking credit cards. We have been taking baby steps, however, he's given us ideas about larger ones. Give him the credit for the title of this post--a new motto for me.

I'm writing the last blog entry on this computer. Apple came out with a better iMac yesterday, which I will be getting. I've just returned from the store only to learn that if I return this 12 day old computer I will receive a new one with a larger monitor, more hard drive, and $100 back. It's an offer to good to be true. Unfortunately, that means I'll be starting over loading my photos and music. In the long run, I'm sure it will be worth it.

I slept well last night and hopefully things will be good today. Thanks for your concern.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Mind Over Matter

That seems to work pretty well for me in the daytime--the nighttime is another story. I was feeling so good for a few days until I felt the familiar twinge in my side yesterday afternoon and it went downhill from there. I went in the pool to soak my bites and called my sister Lisa; we chatted for a good long while. She asked if I had any doctor's visits lined up . I am between a rock and a hard place on that one. I've had no help from the gazillion visits I've made, so what would make me think another one would be any different? All these are distractionary (is that a word?) tactics. I was happy to go to bed early with Bruce who had to get up at 4 am for a flight this morning. Unfortunately, even though I was sleeping on my heating pad, the pain kept waking me up. I couldn't get comfortable no matter how I tried. I was awake when his alarm went off and thought I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep; thankfully, I did.

I got up with high hopes for the day. I scooted over to the museum to finish my task there--yeah, it is done. Apparently, they had that list since last October and no one had found the time to input it. So, for what it's worth, that at least makes me feel like it was a good thing to do. The gardener there saw I had my camera and asked if I would take some pictures of the grounds for a power point presentation he will be giving to some group. Naturally, I said sure. At the outset I was so weak I could hardly raise my camera to the angle I wanted, but eventually I recovered. When I came home I made a DVD for him which was quite a task with my new computer. I know what you are thinking--how hard could it be? You are right, I'm sure it isn't, but this first time I found it challenging.

I wanted to update you on Jonathan and Allisa. They made it safe and sound to Chicago, despite the fact that they stayed up until 3:30AM the morning of their departure. Jonathan then proceeded to drive all the way to Louisville, KY. I was sick when I heard about it, but I suppose that all young people do things like that. I'm happy to say that they are happily settled in the new apartment. Next step--jobs. Alissa had an interview already, however, I don't know if anything has come of it just yet. Keep your fingers crossed for the both of them please.

If I given you the impression that my son David is not generous, I need to correct that. He is generous, just serious with his money. He came over Sunday evening and declared he is ready to invest some money in my business. He's thinking technology. Bill got right on the computer registering me for a domain name for $10/year with Yahoo. It is www.outandaboutphoto.com

There's nothing there yet, but at least we are ready. More details to follow.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Market Day Redux

Despite having worked until 9pm last night, Bruce was up bright and early. We set up the booth with him heading home to finish the roof. Another scorcher today I might add. He finished just in time to get a shower and pick me up at the market.

The good news is that there was a lot more traffic today which meant I sold five pieces, including one of the larger ones. Strangely enough, because Bruce had not eaten, he got some food from one of our fellow vendors and sat down to eat. It was already about 3 pm. Two nice men came by who were visiting from Fort Lauderdale. They ended up buying two things! Typically, we are already taking down about then, but it's probably like all shopkeepers, just before closing time a buyer shows up. Anyway, happy day all around.

Another good thing is that the owner of a trendy vegetarian restaurant stopped by and asked if I might want to put some pieces up there! Apparently, they showcase a few artists each month. He gave me the contact person's e-mail address. I know you've already guessed I will be following up on this lead pronto!

Yet another cool thing. A few weeks ago there was a photographer from the newspaper who was taking pictures of a woman walking through the market for an upcoming story. Well, my booth shows up in the background of the photo in todays paper; there is even someone there looking at stuff. How about that friends?

One thing is that I'm super tired this evening because not only did I have buyers, but lookers as well. I have a few people who stop by weekly which is nice. At any rate, I stood up for most of the day, so now I'm feeling pooped. Can you even believe I'm mentioning that when Bruce was on the roof for all those hours? I almost feel blasphemous.

This is a picture looking out the gallery window from the museum--a beautiful view. I'll have to get over there this week and finish my data entry. Yeah!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Tribute

You knew I would have more to say, didn't you?

Here is my darling husband Bruce. He is not only handsome as can be,but he's one in a million in every way. I might have mentioned that we hooked up when we were thirteen. I'll never know how I got so lucky.

I neglected to mention that the drive home was in torrential rain for about 250 miles. I'm not too thrilled to drive in that kind of weather but Bruce did it with grace--no fussing, all business.

He talked me through the bridge fear, and kept me informed about when we were almost over it. I forgot to mention that the bridge crossing (back and forth) occurred the day of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis.

Now, here is the most astonishing thing about Bruce. We came home, not only because of the rain on Friday in Charleston, but so that Bruce would have some time to fix our roof. He is still out there, nearly 12 hours later, working in the blistering heat to fix what Hurricane Charley wrought. During the storm a massive, let me repeat, massive oak branch came crashing down on the corner of our roof. It crushed everything in it's path filling half of our back yard with it's spreading branches. At the time, Bruce had a carpenter that he has worked with come do the needed repairs. Apparently, they either didn't hold up, or were done incorrectly, because we noticed a roof leak there a few months ago. It had not progressed into the house or anything, but it was blistering the paint.

He had to devise a plan, get materials (not easy with a BMW 325), and then demo the rotten wood. We have an old-fashioned tar and gravel roof and let me tell you, this has been no easy task. Yet, he continues. All this from a 54 year old man that drove 450 miles yesterday.

A blog friend has this running debate about the worthiness of men. I suppose I'm biased because all the men in my life are gems--meaning Bruce and my boys.

Here's the kicker--Bruce seems to think he was pretty lucky too.

Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite

We went North.
I'll try and be succinct, however, you and I both know that is always a challenge for me.
Left 6ish on Monday evening and stopped in Daytona Beach for the night. We ate dinner at the restaurant in Ponce Inlet near the lighthouse. Food was mediocre; the setting is riverside, thus the draw. Next morning we roamed the beach a bit, investigating the aging, soon to be torn down, Boardwalk. As you may or may not know, Daytona bills itself as the world's most famous beach. It may well have been in it's heyday.

Next stop--Savannah. We left with no reservations, or concrete plans, for that matter, yet we were able to get a room at the Marshall Inn in the historic district. It felt like we had stepped into a photo shoot for the magazine Southern Living . Wine and cheese service at 5 in the beautiful lobby--very nice. Bruce took a little nap, and you already know that I went out to take some photos. I moseyed over to Paula Deen's restaurant which was a few blocks away. Lines on a Tuesday night--probably tourists. Light dinner at Jen & Friends Martini bar. Pretty much a neighborhood bar which is always nice to try. We met a couple there with whom we walked to a blues club. Unfortunately, Bruce began to feel the effects of the previous stop, so back to our room we went.; just as well as the next day on to Charleston.

The drive to Charleston was a pleasure for me as the scenery is lovely--lots of forests along the way. Not so much fun for Mr. Bruce--hmm...

Charleston is a charming town. Fantastic food and scenery. It's situated between two rivers, one of which we crossed via a 3 1/2 mile suspension bridge--said to be the longest span in the Americas. Did you remember I have a bridge phobia? Well, I do, and this one sent me into a panic. Of course, I never looked up until we were on the other side. We moseyed about, seeing magnificent houses, and old churches. Charlestonians take their art seriously. There are literally dozens of galleries downtown. We saw a Rodin exhibit at the Gibbes Museum--a real gem. Included was a film about the bronzing process; amazing the work that goes into transforming the sculptor's model into a bronze statue.

Bed bugs. Not so good. I noticed a few bites the first morning we were there, lots more to come. We didn't realize what we were dealing with at the time, but I have about 30 bites on my legs and torso as battle scars. This necessitated washing every thing in our bags when we arrived home last evening. It was only after our return that Bruce did a bit of on-line research and discovered what we encountered. You can bet the owner will be receiving a letter very soon.

It has been longer than I can remember since we took a car trip. Because Bruce is a two million miler with Delta, we typically fly. I wasn't driving so it's easy for me to say that it is fun to see what is between here, and there. I highly recommend a trip to Savannah and Charleston; I suspect you won't be disappointed.

Past, Present, and Future