Sunday, September 30, 2007

Let's Try This Again

I hope this works better than my last post. These are small pictures from Amanda so I imagine they will post small.
The lineup is from the previous post--the only one missing is my sister Nancy. She was living in Mississippi at the time and was unable to be at the party.
The second one includes Lisa's daughter's Amanda and Emily, pictured second and third from the left respectively. Michelle, David's fiance is on the extreme left. Bill's girlfriend is fourth from left and then the daughters. Ruth, my brother Pat's wife is on the far right. You will note the glass of pink champagne in front of Mom.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

You Asked for It

Gmail - tempoary3 007.jpg
Thanks so much to my niece Amanda--she searched her old computer for this one! Baxter is about three months old in this. Gail, Lisa, Maureen, and Carol from left to right. That is my mom's natural hair color at 78! This was taken on September 25, 2003. She died on December 1, 2003. You would hardly know that she was sick. Her dear hairdresser Melissa came to the house every Sunday for months to wash and fix her hair--all she ever got for payment was a beer. What a sweetheart. Sorry but you have to click on the link to see it.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I Did It!

Speech number one is in the books folks. I felt bad for those who forgot theirs in the middle, asking to start over, but generally people did very well. One of those who forgot, and actually asked to sit down, did the dying scene from Million Dollar Baby. As you can imagine it lost its' emotional punch. On the other hand, one of the girls did this monologue from Network, she's acted before, and it was clearly evident. A girl that I practiced with before class did the voice-over from the beginning of Trainspotting, an old favorite of Matts'.

Speaking of Matt,he is visiting Paris as I type--our man on the continent. His camera cable remained in his flat in London, meaning I'll be waiting until Sunday to see what he saw.

One of the things that I miss most about my job is interacting with older women. In our culture old people are often dismissed unless they are family. I learned so much about living from my patients. Not all of them were interesting, hardly needs to be said, but the vast majority had something fascinating to say--or at least I thought so. Patients used to tell me the most amazing intimate details of their lives. Now, I know what you are thinking. Yes, it is true, I'm pretty open about my life, allowing them to open up to me. It bears repeating that just because someone has aged doesn't mean they aren't still cool. It just means that they've had lots longer to hone that skill. As well, everyone wants to share their story as is evidenced by the popularity of blogs. We are all looking for an audience.

Because I sometimes grocery shop in the morning I see these long lines of elderly people waiting for their ride back to the high-rises downtown. It's usually a Monday, or Friday happening--mostly all women. I don't know if that is because they are widows, or that they don't trust their "man" to do the shopping. In any case, it is quite a sight.

Home Cooking

Remember when houses smelled like cooking food? Now that so few people cook(microwaving dinners doesn't count as cooking!), we have to import smells. Picture how the "aromatherapy" business has grown. There's the old reliables like candles and incense, but seriously, next time you are at the grocery store, or practically any store for that matter, the array of faux-smell products is astounding! Don't get me started on the goofy names. A caveat is in order however--I am not immune to the seduction.

Astute readers of this blog will note that the tea kettle is green. Remember how I posted a reddish one? Well, I never told you before but it was flawed and had to be returned. Imagine my delight when I found this green one.

Bruce did not arrive until nearly nine o'clock by which time even I was famished.

I'm off to do the speech in a half hour or so--here goes nothing.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Orlando is either building, or demolishing--one or the other. Today I went out to a factory outlet mall about seven miles from the house. If you have never visited Orlando you don't know that there is a tourist part of town, and then there is Orlando. This mall is at the south end of International Drive, a very long road that was established as the tourist part. It is very catty at one end, pretty posh at the other. One of the few reasons we ever go there is the shopping. There is an Off Fifth that is nice at the end closest to our house. It is now joined by a Neiman's Last Call which is on the other side of this demolition I'm picturing. Wet and Wild is in the middle, then there are loads of hotels, and restaurants, which we rarely visit, and further down is the enormous convention center. Further yet is the Premium Outlet Mall which is worth the trip. There are all the usual suspects, but a few really top notch ones are in the mix. Versace comes to mind as does Perla. Naturally I never buy anything at Todd's but it's nice to know I could if I wanted. All the Brits think it is bargain city--indeed it is with the pound now trouncing the dollar.

Tomorrow is D-day on the speech. I've got it down just fine, thank you very much. I've done it now for about ten different people including two of my classmates last night. Let's hope I'm as confident tomorrow at 1 as I am right now. For my historical speech I think I'm going to do a Nobel Prize acceptance speech by Jose Seramago--one of my favorite Portuguese writers. For my informative speech I think I'm going to demonstrate how to make a vegan chocolate cake. I found the recipe for Matt's birthday and it is a real winner. I think it should be relevant to my classmates, many of whom I'm confident are at the very least vegetarians.

On an totally non-vegetarian note I've got one of my Jon boy's favorite meals in the oven--au gratin potatoes with ham. He always was thrilled when I made it. Bruce's plane is arriving at 8, so he should be home fairly soon. We'll have my favorite vegetable with that--brocoli, which by now you know I could eat daily.

Did I tell you I'm having one of the photos printed on canvas for the art show?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Late For Your Life Lyrics
Artist(Band):Mary Chapin Carpenter
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(Mary Chapin Carpenter)

You've been saying for the longest time that the time has come
You've been talking like you're of a mind to get some changing done
Maybe move out of the city, find some quiet little town
Where you can sit out on your back porch step
And watch the sun go down
No one knows where they belong
The search just goes on and on and on
For every choice that ends up wrong
Another one's right
A change of scene would sure be great
The thought is nice to contemplate
But the question begs why would you wait
And be late for your life

Now you might never find that perfect town
But the sun still sets on a rooftop where the city
Sounds like a Gershwin clarinet
And you might still be searching every face for one you can't forget
Love is out there in a stranger's clothes
You just haven't met him yet
No one knows where they belong
The search just goes on and on and on
For every day that ends up wrong
Another one's right
Call it chance or call it fate
Either one is cause to celebrate
Still the question begs why would you wait
And be late for your life

Call it chance baby, call it fate
Either one is cause to celebrate
And the question now is why would you wait
Don't be late for your life

I don't know about you but I've been a fan of Mary Chapin Carpenter for many years. Lately I had forgotten how incredibly great her music is but I remedied that today by taking the cd -The Essential Mary Chapin Carpenter--along on errands. Her songs are fun, thought-provoking, touching, and made for sing-alongs. I don't know what else to say to convince you. I hadn't heard anything about her for some time so naturally I did a search and found that she released a new album in March of this year. While beginning the tour she began having crushing chest pains although she soldiered on. Finally unable to stand the pain she went to the ER and found that her lungs were filled with pulmonary emboli which is extremely dangerous. Luckily she was treated in time but when she was home convalescing she fell into deep depression. During my search I found a wonderful essay she wrote for the NPR series, "This I Believe." She describes how a young grocery store clerk is the one who finally snapped her out of her funk with a simple, yet sincere greeting. The fate she so often sings about came to her rescue.

I neglected to mention that she is a Brown alumnus as is our Ms. Elena.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Twofer

I decided today to post two pictures, one is of a decanter that I craved from Crate and Barrel that Bruce surprised me with for Christmas, the other is self-explanatory.

I bought all those jalapeƱos at the market on Sunday to pickle for Bruce. He is crazy about them and puts them on everything from peanut butter sandwiches to hot dogs. I thought I'd give it a try and found a recipe online from a vegetarian woman. They are doing their thing in the fridge as I type. For years every recipe using jalapeƱos suggested you wear rubber gloves to cut them. As that is not a staple in my kitchen I avoided them for quite some time. Come to find out that is totally unnecessary. You totally must not touch your face without washing your hands but that is sufficient. I cut up 20 of them with no ill effects.

I manned the desk at the museum today with only three visitors during my stint, however, my adviser visited the curator after I left to make sure I was behaving myself. I did read the whole volunteer manual which I'd not been shown. It turns out I should have. Lots of the silly questions were answered in that manual. I found it myself while looking for the cash register list. I punch in some numbers for each visitor to the gallery or the gardens. It was AWOL today.

Well, if you follow my flickr you know that today would have been my mom's 82nd birthday. It is hard to believe it has been almost four years since she died. Baxter was just a puppy then. I had a birthday party for her even though we knew the end was in sight. I can tell you this much, it is super hard to find a card in that situation. We obviously did not want to go without cards, but seriously, what can you say? I remember we got her to drink some pink champagne. She just loved little Baxie. On my old computer I had a picture of that day with her holding him. I may just have to hunt it down.

I stopped by campus to fill out my Honor's certificate papers. I did not get in the program until it was too late to get an Honor's diploma. Like a fool, I took two honor's science classes which has hurt my GPA, science not being my strong point you know. I did run into my favorite Humanities professor--she is the bomb.

The virtual terminal has been approved!!!!!


Monday, September 24, 2007

Starving Artist Seeks Buyers

Yesterday was a wash in more ways than one. I had no buyers, and hardly any lookers, which is always a bit disconcerting. We had several periods of slight showers, but around 1 o'clock our manager said it was probably time to pack up because a storm was coming. No less than ten minutes later the rain arrived raining steadily for the next hour and then off and on until we went to bed last night. It is quite a challenge to pack up in the driving rain but because I have Super Project Manager on my team it was accomplished with minimal damage. Really all the pictures are fine, my little sales book got wet; it is in the garage with the tent and everything else drying out. If I didn't know that several of these planters sold I wouldn't feel quite so bad.

I'm still working on my PayPal stuff--I'll keep you posted when it finally happens.

I did my museum stint on Saturday--very few visitors because of the sketchy weather. I walked around the courtyard reciting my monologue and I think I've got it. I've now done it with Karen (the curator), Kathy, and Dina--both vendor neighbors at the market. I did it several times with Bruce last night and he gave me instructions to toughen up my voice a bit as she is supposed to be a rough character. It's hard to get into character with people you know without laughing. At any rate, hopefully by Friday I will have it all polished and ready to go.

Over on Matt's blog he has a picture from a trip to Kew Gardens to see a sculpture exhibit. He links to his flickr site from there. While we were in London a few years ago we went to Kew and it is magnificent. The trees are worth the trip as they are indescribably majestic in a spectacular setting. There is a photo of a water lily-- the lily pads are so gigantic that they look almost unreal. Check it out from my front page, he's

Jonathan is feeling overwhelmed in Chicago; he's had a bad cold for about ten days. His huge tv went on the blink, and although he has the warranty, there is a problem with getting them to come out at a time when he can be there. He leaves the house to catch the train around 6:30 and gets home each night around 6:30--not a lot of time to get much done. He has Friday afternoons off, so hopefully he will schedule the movers to empty Matt's storage stall. Matt left almost all his furniture in storage and it is just waiting for Jonathan to claim it. Hurray for families.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Baby Steps

We have taken baby steps all along the way in this venture. Here's another one--when I returned home from school this was in the mail. I bought it on Ebay which I've only used about twice before. The plate with our name--Out & About Photography will arrive separately. Have I even told you our name before?--I can't remember. This is the plan--when I get approved for the PayPal virtual terminal, we'll swipe the card at the market, and then when we get home log on, entering it for payment. Bruce has a laptop, and there is WiFi, but it is not reliable enough for us to feel comfortable with it. At least this is the current plan.

Immaculate Collection is playing on Itunes right now--so many of the songs hold up wonderfully. I just heard "Justify My Love", good stuff.

Speaking of memory, thanks for the tips friends. Laura suggested I sing it--cool idea, as I'm sure you are like me and remember lyrics like nothing else. I stopped on the way home and bought some note cards--I'll need them for future speeches. Our professor is very lively and fun, but today was painful. She played something from "Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and groups had to get up and move to it. If you can envision a weirder thing for me to have to do, I don't want to hear about it! Picture a room full of 18-25 year olds, here is yours truly having to dance in front of the class. I'm hoping the cute young things in my group were commanding the attention.

I've got a film quiz to take online about Stagecoach which I dread, but here goes. I'm so not into analyzing what seems to me as just a story. Museum duty tomorrow. It's supposed to be a rainy weekend, hopefully the weatherman is wrong per usual.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Busy Bee

I'm in a mess. I finally realized that I'm in school again and have to pay attention to dates. I've only started two classes and I've a third one starting soon which is online. I've never taken a totally online class before--another new experience. My film class is on site however we have to take quizzes on line which consists of a writing response to the film we watch. I only got a 90 on my last weeks one. He probably thought I was a nut when I said we liked the spoiled rich girl first and foremost because she was pretty. Her subsequent actions cemented our like of her but I wrote that we respond first to beauty the to actions. I know that sounds silly but I believe it's the truth. If it wasn't the case we wouldn't have beautiful actresses. Oh well.

I had my annual gyn appt this afternoon and he said I looked so much better than when he saw me last year. He wants me to have a bone density, mammogram, ultrasound, and a CA125, which is a tumor marker for ovarian cancer. I told him I'd think about it.

Peter put a lot of highlights in my hair, however, he left the back hair natural. Bruce is not crazy about the back but he said if it's fashionable he can get used to it. One thing that is awesome is that I don't have to do a thing to do with it! Awesome baby.

Any ideas about how I can memorize a movie monologue? I guess I will write it out about 100 times and maybe that will do the trick. I've chosen the scene in Million Dollar Baby when Maggie explains why she wants to be a boxer.

We are finally getting the rain that has been absent for much of the summer. We've been having some dreary days but I went out this morning early to Leu Gardens to take some flower shots. I still am struggling with my new camera in that regard. It seems as if I can't judge the zoom very well and I'm throwing away more than I'm keeping.

Tonight Bruce put a large bulletin board up in my office to help me keep organized. I've put my syllabuses up along with all my multiple passwords. Yikes, I can't keep them straight. I forgot to tell you that I'm in the process of setting up a virtual terminal with PayPal so we can take credit cards. All this stuff is taking up lots of time. Two weeks till the art show.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

For Sarah

You already knew I had taken it both directions didn't you?

This bit is for anyone interested--I posted a link to a NY Times article a day ago but didn't upload it till tonight. Check backwards for that if you have time.

Fully Licensed

Now we have real documentation. Bruce did the hard part, I just showed up to the County office, signed some papers, and paid the $30. It's official now--Out & About Photography exists as a business!

Bill called on his way home from work and suggested I open a business checking account to keep good records for tax time. As you may recall, he is a licensed banker, qualified to give me good advice. Up until now I've used the account I had when I was working, but this makes sense; I'm meeting up with him at his branch this afternoon after my museum time. Before we meet though I'm having my highlights touched up, as of course, I've let them go too long. One thing is that I will never bleach my hair all over, I'm entirely too disinterested to keep the roots up.

Yesterday when Bill was opening an account for a young man his friend came in on the appointment. Idle chit chat led to the young man saying he played guitar. Bill reluctantly mentioned he did the same. His friend then said--hey, I know you, you're Bill Peck, the shredder, I've seen you in Guitar magazine! A nice moment for our Mr. Bill.

Bruce went to Virginia yesterday and he said there was definitely a nip in the air. It is still so hot here that it is easy to forget that for most of the country fall is just around the corner. We will have to start checking the weather before he leaves for his trips. He has lots of jobs going or starting soon and they are all mostly in cold country! He is one of the few Floridians to have about six coats. One year in Danbury, CT, there was 100 inches of snow during construction!!!

A lovely chat with our man in London yesterday afternoon.

Above, practice shot of one of my mom's antique serving forks; still working on perfecting it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


If you've some time to read this it might prove enlightening. I've been so busy today but I plan to read it tomorrow. As someone who worked in medicine from the time I was 17 to age 51, I know first hand how medical advice is constantly changing. We'll have to see what a super smart writer from the Times has to say about things. Click on the title to go to the article>

Form Before Function

This is one of the first flower images I took with my brand new digital camera. As you may, or may not know, Bruce bought me the camera for Christmas, despite my objections. Because I wear reading glasses I could never see the tiny screen on his and thought it wasn't for me. He just knew that I would love it--we all know by now that he was right. I was taking photos just as soon as the battery was charged up. Matthew was home for Christmas and gave me a basic tutorial--there's been no stopping me since.

You've heard some of my little mottoes, well, form before function is one of Bruces. I've always said that September and October are the worst months for the brutal Florida heat, although it isn't necessarily the temperature, which hovers this side of 95, but the humidity. Today was no exception--whew, it was a scorcher. Bruce had a few errands to do for work which he did right after we were set up--he returned with a larger fan. Prior to today's purchase he was bringing this minuscule fan because he thought it looked cool. I'm hear to tell you it may have looked cool, but it did absolutely nothing to cool me off. We are much better equipped in that department now. He also HATES overhead lighting. He goes crazy if I turn one on in the bedrooms although I remind him repeatedly that sometimes I just need to see. Interesting chandeliers on a dimmer are an exception to the rule.

Last week the market manager told us we needed an occupational license--it was the first we'd heard of it. Bruce set the wheels in motion, and we now have a fictitious name registered with the state of Florida. In the morning I'll head down to the county office with my form in hand to secure the license.

We went to bed at 7:30 tonight because Bruce had to get up again and go out to one of the restaurants after they close to supervise some craftsmen that he's arranged to repair a lighting problem. I, of course, had no problem going to sleep as I was bushed. I never even heard Bruce get up and leave but our little Baxter woke me up with his whining. He needed to go out because it was only 9:45pm. I'm heading back to bed now--Sweet Dreams.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Many Hats

Here is the hats and glove I promised--very cool right?

Yesterday I wore many hats, unfortunately pain was one of them. Boo hiss!
Neverthetheless, here's what I was up to:

Student--I started the day this way as I was hurting too much to do anything else. I did not go to Speech class as our professor was speaking at a conference. We were to research topics for our upcoming speeches. She told us about a that has lots of movie monologues. I printed out about eight and I'll choose from those. As well we have to give a historic speech which we also have to bring in. I think I will do Conan O'Brien's commencement address to Harvard. Jonathan shared it with me some years ago and it is hilarious. It is probably too long but we'll see what she thinks. It certainly fits the situation. First thing about giving speeches--know your audience.

Homemaker--Fridays are when I do my housework. I only do laundry once a week, vacuum, change the sheets--you know what I'm talking about. I managed to get it all done albeit a bit slower than sometimes. I did some ironing as well.

Patient Advocate--What do I mean by that? A neighbor's daughter-in-law has just been
diagnosed with breast cancer and she asked me if I would chat with her. She came over and we visited for a while. What a nice woman--she is 39. Let me just say right off that she does not have breast cancer that kills. She has VERY EARLY breast cancer which complicates decisions she must make. We had lots in common so I think she felt comfortable with me. I talked to her just like I used to talk to my patients--basically giving her the inside scoop. I feel terribly sorry for people who must navigate the medical maze without help. I gave her my e-mail address so she could write me if she has further questions. I was happy to help.

Photographer--Maureen came over to buy the print for the wedding gift. I picked up my order on Thursday morning and was quite pleased with what I got. I hope the recipient is happy with her selection. As well I had to sign all of them which takes awhile. Let us hope that some get sold tomorrow.

Lastly Wife--We normally go out on Friday nights but I was just too tired. I made a very simple dinner of Parmesan chicken breasts with a pasta dish with broccoli. I was doing ok but when we went to bed violent retching took over my body--you guessed it, had to take some medicine. DAMN!!! Please forgive me for any errors in this post.

Friday, September 14, 2007

She Got if From Her Mama

As they say, if you want to know what a girl will look like when she's older, look at her mother. We were blessed to have a mom who looked great almost till the day she died. When I took her to the hospital to be diagnosed the first thing the nurse said in the ER was--you can't be sick, you look too great! Shows you what she knows--stage 4 ovarian cancer.

Nonetheless, my sister Lisa's daughters will be lucky if they look as good as their mom. Yesterday I went out to Lisa's house with the red hat to photograph Emily. She has a stunning face with the most beautiful eyes you can imagine. We had fun taking the pictures, especially after she got more confident. There were so many fantastic ones I can't imagine how to choose the best.

As you may recall from an earlier post, Lisa took up running about six months ago. She has been diligent in her training with the benefits showcased here. She asked me to photograph her running, something I've never tried. Unfortunately I did not bring my camera manual with me so I had no clue how to use the panning mode, but I did use the sport mode, and it worked quite well. I like this one, but as was the case with Emily's pictures, there were lots of good ones. I swear, Lisa has the tiniest waist possible to support a torso! She is my baby sister, six years younger than me.

Her house is filled with interesting things to photograph, particularly some vintage hats and gloves which you will be seeing soon. I had to leave before I could take all that I wanted because I had a 3:00 appt. to get an oil change in the MINI--it requires them only about every 10,000 miles.

So far they have not needed Bruce for jury duty--that's both good and bad. He wanted to get called right off so he could move on with his life.

Did I tell you I have to give four speeches in my class? One is a movie monologue which I have to memorize. I'd better find it quick so I can get on it. I wonder if she'll cut me a little slack for my age? It's just so much harder to remember stuff as you get older. I guess my motto of "a good memory is overrated" won't hold water.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Now I remember what the picture was for. I wanted to show you how the pros photograph stuff. They showed up yesterday morning at the museum about the time I did--9:30. By the time I left around 1, they had photographed 10 pieces of art for the website. Karen told me they had 20 more to go! She has to move each piece with white gloves and supervise the whole shebang. Because it is a small museum the curator has to wear many hats.

Now for this new picture. Locals often bemoan the fact that Disney ever discovered our area. The fact is that we are looking more, and more, like LA every day without good roads. Growth has spread far and wide with little planning for the proper infrastructure. Unfortunately, the majority of the jobs in our area do not pay big money, thus the further from the epicenter they move to find lower costs. The bottom line is that we are having growing pains with no solutions in sight.

However every cloud has a silver lining, ours is shopping! This is the new IKEA which I learned from the commissioner on Sunday is opening November 14. Hurray! I have no idea if I'll ever buy much there, but it's there if I want to. This will be the first IKEA to open in Florida. It is so huge, apparently they are going to have three whole houses inside furnished!!!

The area where this is built used to be terrible. About five years ago some developer bought all this land and turned the area into a shopper's paradise. The fact that it is only 5.5 miles from our house is awesome. The best part is that although we have to travel through a sketchy area it is all residential for the most part so no traffic to speak of. The mall that this sits next to has a Dior, Gucci, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, LaCoste, Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel, Cartier, Channel, Burberry, and the list goes on. As well across the street is a Target, Marshalls, Home Depot, Ethan Allen....again, more stores than I can imagine. A Last Call (Neiman Marcus outlet) opened a few weeks ago at the revamped outlet mall. I haven't even covered all those stores--it's crazy. When you are one of the tourist capital's of the country you've got to have lots of shopping for the spenders.

Olga, our CPA, helped me this morning with my sales tax stuff. I have to pay quarterly and this stuff is daunting. She'll get me through it at first, hopefully I can take it from there.

I've forgotten to mention that Bruce is in the midst of a Federal jury thing; I hardly know what to call it. Here's the deal--he has to be available for TWO WEEKS! Every day he calls at 12:30 to see if they need him. The instructions state that men are to wear a coat and tie. Additionally, NO electronic devices or cell phones allowed. What, pray tell, are the folks supposed to do all day if they don't get called? The pay is $40/day. When you are a traveling man like our Bruce this proves to be quite a pain. So far they've not needed him so he flew up to Ohio this morning and will return tonight. He made a three hour site visit to make sure the contractor is where they should be. This sounds kinda crazy doesn't it? Well, If the contractor gets behind it is a huge misery for all concerned. Bruce knows exactly what should be completed at each stage of a job. It is a seriously hard job. I must say that Bruce is extraordinary at it.

Huge thunder and lightening now--I've probably written more than you want to read anyway so I'll turn off the computer now. School tonight.

I've No Idea

I downloaded this picture this morning and didn't write anything--darned if I can remember what it is and I can only see text so here goes....

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Maureen always gets a chuckle when she sees my lipstick because invariably they end up with this weird point. Have you read those articles that claim that you can tell something about a woman by the way her lipstick tube looks. I've forgotten what mine is supposed to mean. Do you know what yours says about you?

Feeling very good thank you very much. Let the trend continue unabated please.

So after an hour plus on the phone with the Apple Care folks (two, mind you) the pictures are restored to their rightful place. What a pain! I might note that they didn't say sorry for scaring you like that. 6,250 photos! And to think that you've seen only a tiny fraction. That's what happens when you go camera crazy--nothing is safe from a photo op.

Michelle came to the museum when my shift was about over and then we went to the bistro where my pictures are hung. Dave came down the Avenue and met us for lunch. I forget how incredibly handsome he is sometimes until I see him in a public place in a shirt and tie. My, oh my! He is extremely pessimistic regarding the economy right now. He advises everyone to hold on to what they have and not buy things they can't afford. He is somewhat gleeful having predicted the real estate meltdown a long while back. As a stockbroker he had to face people who insisted that real estate was the safest investment, that historically, housing prices had never gone down. He reminded them that the prices were reminiscent of the stock market bubble a few years back that devastated some folks, but it fell largely on deaf ears.

It is a good thing our boys have adopted our life motto--"Never be house poor." We moved into this house when Bill and Dave were 16 and Jonathan was 12. Matt had been gone for nearly four years by that time. It has three bedrooms, a step down from our previous four. Since that time Bruce's income has at least doubled, but we never considered a larger home because this one is cozy, truth be told--what would we want with the space? It is just more to maintain and decorate. We have never been interested in keeping up with the Joneses. In my humble opinion happy marriages are built not only on romance, but similar attitudes toward spending.

Monday, September 10, 2007

All is Not Lost

Panic time this morning around 8 AM EST. My entire photo library disappeared from my computer-- the screen said 0 photos. Now what? Apple does not open until 6 Pacific time; you can imagine I was not keen on waiting. I had just completed a disc for my printer, moving on to make a disc for the market website, when I discovered that I had nothing to work with. Thank God Matt was off today and happened to be online. I sent him a little chat describing my situation. He took control of my computer from London looking for the missing photos. It appeared that even he was stymied but with some sleuthing he discovered a forum that described the same problem. He followed the instructions, voila--they are back. Now that a back up has been completed I need to do something else to complete the process. Yikes--bad way to start the week!

Rain finally made an appearance at the market yesterday afternoon. It is really surprising that this is the first time all summer that we have had a storm as I've mentioned before we typically get rain every afternoon. Mr. Bruce was able to keep all the pictures dry; we waited out the storm before packing up. Our garage is the drying out spot now for the display parts with three fans blowing like nobodies business. A pleasant surprise yesterday was seeing Liza's aunt and uncle. Liza is one of Matt's dearest friends, they met each other in sixth grade and have been very close ever since. Her family is all delightful. They came to the market for a stroll and left with two of my pictures!

Did I mention I've decided to enter an art festival? Baldwin Park is a planned community on an old Navy Base site. They've built a downtown with pricey residences surrounding it. I noticed the ad in a little paper I was reading at the museum and thought if they would have me I'd give it a go. It is Saturday, October 6, so early enough in the semester that I won't be too panicked. I called Dave and asked if he would work the booth while I do my museum stint on Saturday and his reply: "I'll sell the heck out of your stuff Mom."

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Good Sport

The museum has a show in December called "Chapeaux Rouges" which I've been working on recruiting artists. Karen, our curator, has had few submissions to date. She mentioned that if I had something with a red hat maybe she could use it. I puzzled about it and decided I would give it a shot. I've called Lisa and Emily, her youngest daughter and my youngest niece has agreed to model for me next Thursday. In the meantime after I found this red hat at Stein Mart I called Michelle and asked her if I could photograph her, like right this minute. She graciously agreed. Can you believe her eye makeup? She is a master; I'm always begging her to put it on me! At any rate our session was great for two reasons. I got to practice shooting a portrait, and maybe we'll have something for the show. As well, Michelle said she has no good pictures of herself so now we can remedy that situation. I am thinking of some concept--still working on ideas. If you have any, shoot them my way. Emily is gorgeous as well, you'll be seeing those later in the week.

I did my stint at the museum this morning and all went well. I even managed the credit card machine with no incident.

We went out to dinner last night at Graze. Downtown Orlando used to have very few stylish restaurants, fortunately they are multiplying. We'd not been there before, but I can tell you we'll go back. Fantastic place with very delicious food.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Practice Shot

When Bruce got home I begged him to let me try out a setting on the camera for a portrait shot. He insisted on including Baxter!

I Wish I Could Do That

That is a comment I hear over, and over, from people my age about going to school. There's one tiny thing they forget however and that is that a student must perform. Writing papers, doing presentations along with homework can all be daunting tasks for an older person out of practice. That said, I'm glad I've made it this far. Last night in film class we had our first quiz. We were shown a silent film by Sergei Eisenstein called Potemkin. Actually we only saw parts of it as the professor scanned through it showing parts that demonstrate his points. Here was the quiz prompt: What reaction is implied by the three shots of lions? What kind of cutting is used? We had to write a full page in about 15 minutes on this topic. He showed the clip over and over and I was slow to get it. I made a few notes and started on one piece of paper. The next thing I know he is saying you have about three minutes. Yikes! I wrote what I could but later realized that I used the name of the film as the name of the director. DUH!

My original intention was to major in English, however, when confronted with the idea of analyzing literature endlessly I decided it was not for me. The trouble is that I feel like lots of it is just plain good storytelling with no particular motive. That does not fly with English majors. They see something in every detail.

I found out last night that there is no graduation ceremony in December. I was so hoping Matt could be cheering me on. As it stands now I guess I'll just have them mail my diploma.

This photo is a concept I've been working on to no avail at the moment. I can't seem to get the light just right without reflections on the glass. I have enjoyed the wine that these corks came from though.

Jonathan called last night, things are going swimmingly. Just a mom here writing, but he is a master at all things computer; what he doesn't know, he can pick up like lightening. As I told you before, he is a native user. I believe we had a computer from the time he was like 8 or something. Alissa's position is going well also; there is an opening coming up there that she plans to apply for. As Jonathan mentioned, if he had applied for this job he never would have been considered, but given the chance he can perform brilliantly.

Feeling good this morning I'm happy to report.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

It Takes Discipline

So who can guess how much this bird costs? On the first Sunday of every month a group of bird enthusiasts called Parrots in the Park meet under the trees directly behind our booth. Normal appearing people show up, parading their exotic birds either perched on their shoulders or arms. Some even have a little harness that keeps them from escaping. Apparently, birds poop about every fifteen minutes, so the owners either time their parade or let them do their thing. Remember I said they looked normal--to me having bird poop on your clothes or skin is not a normal thing. In fact, I think it is down right gross. At any rate, back to this beautiful bird. The color is extremely intense--I call it indigo with that amazing yellow around the eye.I've learned that these kinds of birds can live up to 100 years old. Now this particular bird is quite rare so the cost reflects that fact. I suspect you did not guess the price of a small car did you? That's right--$15,000! I was puzzling how anyone can tell how old they are; supposing you plunked down the money--figured, ok, I can will it to my children and so forth. I figure that is pretty cheap if you did a cost average per year, but wait, what if you were fooled and it was already 90 years old? Can they really tell?

I am happy to report that I've done some yard work today with no ill effects that I can detect. Can we finally put this last year in the books as a bad dream?

Discipline is what it takes to succeed as a student. Sure, I would much rather be finishing my book, but I must stay focused. I re-read the review of the film and printed some info on montage vs mis en scene. I don't look forward to watching this film tonight as there is a sliced eyeball featured. I've read it was a cow's eye that was used, but still...I'm no fan of horror or violence.

Late this morning Bruce called from Virginia. He's visiting multiple job sites that require him to drive in between. Normally he's in the air, but today it was the Blue Ridge Parkway. I told him he was lucky I wasn't with him as I'd be begging him to stop all the time for picture taking. My market manager called today and asked if I could photograph her and one of our City Commissioners at the park for a magazine article. Yikes--I told her I'd do my best. Maybe I should have said no, I'm only decent at inanimate objects--animate makes me nervous.

I've got about an hour and a half before I leave for school. I must stop blogging and start working on the museum e-mails soliciting artists for an upcoming exhibit.

Lastly, I was thinking today about my friend Elena's blog which is full of fun reading about her antics(I wonder if I should use that term when referring to a DA?) in SoCal. Of course Matt was the first person I knew who had a blog; he must have started at least five years ago. I loved being able to hear all that he was involved in without being a nuisance. Elena's mom (she lives in Italy) often comments on her blog, I suspect she feels the same way. Once a mom, always a mom.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Time to Settle Down

Have you noticed how the days are getting shorter? A few times Bruce and I have gone to bed around 9; I told him if it was December it would have been dark for hours, it wouldn't feel so early!

Now I have to settle down into some sort of routine. Because I've spent the last two months just fooling around this may prove difficult. I've committed to Tuesday and Saturday mornings at the reception desk at the museum. This photograph is the view through one of the gallery windows out into the sculpture gardens. There are probably twenty or so sculptures on the two acre grounds; it's a really beautiful setting on Lake Osceola. The opening reception for the current exhibit is unfortunately on a Wednesday evening when I have class. They serve food and wine. Bummer. I'm also taking on the responsibility for e-mailing people about an upcoming show in December to feature red hats. More as we go along.

Film is tomorrow evening and I've already read one of the required readings however with my poor memory I'll have to read it again tomorrow so it will be fresh. We will be watching Un Chien Andulu-a Spanish silent film by I forgot who + Salvador Dali. It promises to be weird.

A ringing telephone while you are sleeping is never a good sign. 5:45 this morning the phone rang. Bruce had already left and it was Delta calling (really a weird automated voice) with news that his flight was delayed. Because Bruce is almost a three million miler I figured he'd handle it as he was already at the airport. About fifteen minutes later it rang again--same deal. Boo hiss. Oh well, at least I wasn't the one at the airport that early.

As you probably know Florida State lost big time. We had to go to bed because of the early flight but I'd already seen enough. It was terribly painful to watch our once glorious football team look like high school players. Maybe next week. I got an e-mail from Alissa during the game regarding her photos from Chicago. She said Jonathan was screaming at the tv--I can only imagine.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day 2007

I'm treating you to a view of our clean windows. Bruce did the screens and the outside of the windows, yours truly did the inside. There are eight of the big windows in the sun room, two double french doors inside, and three glass doors to the outside. As well, there are the kitchen, living room, and bedrooms to consider. It was the first time I have done any real physical work in at least a year; the good news is that I'm just fine. Bruce was concerned that I would tire too much, but I told him at least it would be for a good reason. It doesn't seem like that big a deal to have clean windows, but I'm here to tell you it is. Wow--I am excited because they had not been cleaned in far too long. Everything sparkles.

For whatever reason, I did not repeat last weeks success at the market, but that's ok. Sometimes that's just how it goes. We have been having some pretty torrential rains for the last few days, but fortunately they held off until after everything was put away, and we'd had a short dip in the pool to cool off.

Other highlights of the last few days:

Lovely chat with Matt--he's good, busy as always.

Dinner out with friends last night at Capital Grille. Darden (Bruce's employer just purchased the chain). Very fun night.

The museum opened for the season on Saturday and I held down the fort. I had minimal success running the cash register, but I plan on improving.

Dave was over Sat. afternoon pontificating about the real estate meltdown. As a mother I can tell you that it is so marvelous to have your children teaching you things. David is incredibly knowledgeable regarding everything to do with finances and we are not. We've always just taken things as they came. For not knowing much we've managed to get this far in life with no debt aside from our mortgage and car payments; not bad for paying little attention. I suspect we'll do even better now that our boys all know so much and can advise us.

Florida Sate plays Clemson at 8 tonight--I can't wait. I do so hope our team has a better season than last year.

Alissa sent some photo albums showcasing the new apartment and new city. I was super excited to see where they are and what they have been up to. BTW--They are keeping Jonathan very busy at his temp job. The first day they told him they were looking for someone to fill the job permanently and after a month they would evaluate if he would be the right fit. Super good news.

Music enhances life so much--I've been listening to Nick Drake today. When he was alive I don't believe I ever heard of him. I'm thrilled I've righted that wrong.

You Just Never Know