Monday, December 31, 2007

It's My Birthday


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

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

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

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

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

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

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Now playing: Lodger - Getting Special
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mixed Bag


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

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

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

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







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Now playing: Bloc Party - Blue Light
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Present


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

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

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

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

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

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



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Now playing: Sugababes - Push the Button
via FoxyTunes!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It May Be a Year


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

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

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

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

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

We missed three of our sisters this Christmas.

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

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Now playing: Hot Chip - Over and Over
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, December 22, 2007

My Firstborn


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

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

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

Friday, December 21, 2007

You've Got to Love this Guy


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

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

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

Photo is of our foyer bookshelf that Matt designed.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Surprise


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Times is a Wonderful Paper


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

Monday, December 17, 2007

Life Stories


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

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

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

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

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

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

A Windy Day


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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Check This Out!

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

Saturday, December 15, 2007

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

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

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's Almost Official


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

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

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

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

Nostalgia


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

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

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

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

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Few More Things


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

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

Finals Week is Here


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

What Will I Find To Write About After Next Week?


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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 3, 2007

It's a Small World After All


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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Foggy Day


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

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

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

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

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

Past, Present, and Future