Thursday, January 31, 2008

Words Almost Fail Me

Rewind to yesterday. I can't tell you how rewarding an experience the assisted living photography session was. In fact, as the title makes clear, it will be hard for me to describe it.

It started by my hearing on NPR about a photographer visiting a nursing home and photographing the residents. Before some of you knew me, I was a queen with old folks. I had patients in their 90's, and we got along famously; they looked forward to their yearly mammogram. This seemed like an excellent idea for me to pursue. Serendipitously (is this a word?) a woman who comes to the market frequently turned out to be an activities person at a local assisted living center. We made plans, they got moved, we made plans, this time it was a go.

When I first arrived no one was waiting. It wasn't long before one woman came forward, then another, and you get the picture. I would introduce myself, shake their hand, ask their name, and age. Some were proud to tell me.

Rose, pictured yesterday, suffers from macular degeneration, a disease of the eye, rendering the person nearly blind with extreme sensitivity to light. She was game, however she pressed me to hurry as the light was hurting her eyes. One of my favorite pictures of her is with her head down, and hands to her eyes. She'll never see it, but I'll enjoy it myself. I told her she looked good, she said she was wearing her school girl clothes. I said indeed; I liked her cardigan and pleated skirt.

Today I've posted Isabella's picture. Another one that won't be seen, but I like her wistful look. As it turns out, this 93 year old woman is not well--surprise! The marvelous part is that her daughter (69) was visiting from North Carolina and was absolutely thrilled that I was there. She asked if I would photograph them together--need I tell you my answer? When I was leaving, my contact told me the daughter was so grateful; she was worried it would be the last picture taken of her and her mother. Naturally, yours truly teared up at the thought.

It was one of those things you do as much for yourself as for others. That may sound selfish--most of our actions are in some regard. The blessings I received were great. My intention is to provide them with an 8 X 10 for free--we don't need the money. I was hoping to make them feel special and that someone would do something for them with no strings attached. At their age, every person that helps them is paid. I will not be counting myself among that group. Hopefully it will be a blessing to them as well.

I called my contact this morning to let her know that we had some wonderful shots. She replied that there were those who were disappointed not to have had it done. Would I be returning? Again, you know how I responded.

Now playing: The Charlatans - You're So Pretty
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Busy Day!

This is Rose, aged 99, taken today at the assisted living facility. I'm super tired tonight because after that photo shoot (17 people) I drove Carol to Melbourne and drove home after visiting. We'll catch up tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Feel Alright

Before I forget, the song playing is now used in a commercial for Orlando. Talk about taking words out of context. I love this song and was stunned when I heard it coming from Bruce's television in the garage. I quickly went to take a look and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but images of children frolicking at WDW. Who knew?
If you don't know the song a favorite bit of mine is: "We are young, we are free, keep our teeth nice and clean." People are so silly and clever.

When I re-upped with flickr I was to receive ten free Moo cards. It's been thirteen days since they shipped...hope they get here soon. My niece Amanda brought some last year to our Thanksgiving celebration, I loved them. I've got about ten of hers taped to my refrigerator door.

This morning I went to vote; the workers said there had been quite a few voters already at 9AM. It's great how this election has spurred people to vote who never do. After all, how can a person complain about leadership if they don't take the opportunity to vote? Next I went to Lowes to get some flowers. Still sporting my "I Voted" sticker, the cashier remarked she would be going after work. You know how workers sometimes have their country of origin on their name tags? Hers read Cuba. We discussed what a privilege it is to vote and how so many people take it for granted. She should know.

Well, excitement around here; above you see pictured a new idea. As some of you know I've been puzzling about selling the gallery wrapped canvases. Lisa was kind enough to send out some images to everyone she could think of to get opinions. As is usually the case, there was no consensus. Nevertheless, Bruce wanted to try this out. We bought a deep square frame from Ikea, (our new favorite, wow, when you go there you ask what recession, people are buying like crazy). Mr.Roger printed the image on canvas, Bruce made a stretcher frame, mounting it in the black frame. I've given you two looks to fully realize the look. I, for one, am thrilled with it. It combines the beauty of canvas, (no glass, no glare) with the finished look of a frame. We are still working on how to price it. As well, we'll gauge interest this Sunday when people see it. Canvas is fairly expensive; it boils down to really providing options.

This wall is in the kitchen and there is a glass door to the right of the piece. What normally hangs there is often used by me to tell when Bruce pulls into the driveway--I can see the reflection of his car.

Carol called last night while I was blogging and asked if I had time to go to a Catholic bookstore today. Have you heard about the St. Joseph phenom? Apparently, he is the patron saint of real estate. As you are already aware Carol needs to have something happen with their house in Melbourne, but as also doesn't need pointing out, the real estate market is in shambles. No problem I replied. There is one a few miles from here that I called first. I was told, why yes, we have a kit. "A kit?" I asked. Turns out prayer cards with instructions are included. There are two versions depending on a person's decor. It seems that after the successful real estate transaction the beneficiary is to place the statue prominently inside. When the clerk tried to give me a receipt I told her that unless there is a money back guarantee I had no need for it. Stranger things have happened.

Forgive me for mistakes, I'm getting a little tired. Bruce was up at 4:15 and when he opened the bathroom door I woke up. Lately I have so many ideas that I don't easily fall back to sleep. I feel a nap coming on.

Now playing: Supergrass - Alright
via FoxyTunes

Monday, January 28, 2008

Gushing Water and Dangling Shoes

The market was finally super busy yesterday. I sold eight pieces which I was happy about. I take pictures of the market happenings every week for the manager. She then shares them with everyone at City Hall so they know what the market is all about. Lately they have been giving her what she wants; the latest, a large banner on the street.

Bruce did all the set up then took off with David to take his Mom to lunch for her birthday. During set up the weather was horrible--windy, gray, and cold. As predicted it turned glorious. They met her near where she lives, about twenty miles from us. Thus, Bruce was gone most of the time, meaning that between talking to folks at the booth and picture taking I was a busy girl. One woman who was particularly kind and interested in my work was the local chairwoman for the Sierra Club. She ordered one of the prints in a smaller size than what I had on hand.

Now to today's pictures. The other day when I had Baxter with me we saw this manhole cover off to the side; periodically water gushed up with great force. What mostly interested me was the rusty cover however the water issue was pretty cool.

Yesterday at the market my friends Heath and Micheal came by to visit. After a bit they left, then returned, with Heath showing me the shoes on the line just down the street. I asked if he was trying to torture me because I couldn't leave the booth. This morning I made it a point to go back downtown to see the shoes for myself. The lake with the manhole cover is one the way so.....

I sent Jonathan an e-mail today telling him that Mitt Romney called for him; I told him Jonathan had moved to Chicago.

Honestly, the calls are incessant. Yesterday upon returning from the market there were three messages, one each from John, Mitt, and McCain's wife Cindy who pronounced Viet Nam weirdly. Primary in the morning.

Carol is coming from 90210 tomorrow night. She will be spending most of her time in Melbourne with a rental they own. Carol always brings excitement with her not to mention twenty five years experience as a professional artist. She has the coolest studio in Venice Beach. Dennis Hopper has an extremely unusual house two blocks over.

An owner of an art and framing place on the campus of the hated University of Florida visited the booth saying he would love to have some of my pieces for his shop. Would I be interested in some consignment work? How do you think I responded?

Additionally, the project I mentioned some time ago, the assisted living gig is coming up Wednesday morning. I am so looking forward to making some of the elderly residents feel like they still matter.

Now playing: Basement Jaxx - Romeo
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Caught in the Middle

The immigration debate continues. These darling boys are the sons of a Mexican father the same age as Bill and Dave. Roaming the park with Baxter in tow these innocent little faces struck me hard. Silly me... I started crying telling Bruce about my encounter. What is to be done?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mission Accomplished

Here's what's happening:

Husband Extraordinaire fixed the roof yesterday morning; he cleaned the gutters while on the roof, two miserable jobs. Putting on dress clothes he assumed his normal work persona. He's indescribable!

Homemaker finally cleans kitchen floor--LONG overdue.
Incorrect flea medication returned--duh! they sold Bruce the same dose he was on, clearly not sufficient.

Matt called!! Yeah. He's going to Brussels next month, as well as a return trip to LA. Acting as a consultant, both he, and Carol were kind enough to give me feedback on this: ? Submissions?
As you know I've been applying to shows. The latest one, and I'm presuming the hardest to get into, wants TWO slides. I'm incapable of choosing two, thus my solicitations. I've posted it in case you want to add your two cents worth. So many decisions to make.

Consultation with David regarding the business. He's trying to convince me to go with what sells, treating it more like a business rather than a personal gallery. He and Mr. Roger concur on this point. Speaking of whom, I've given his name and card out to loads of artists. I sent an e-mail the other day asking if he's getting too busy for my needs. He assured me that is not the case, thank goodness.

The acceptance for one of the shows came in the mail today.

Sometimes I get bored with the same walk around our neighborhood with Baxter. Working on being a better caregiver I took him today to a nearby wetlands park. Coincidentally it is next to the cemetery where my parents are buried. You didn't need to know that did you? At any rate, today the weather is spectacular, around 60 degrees with gorgeous blue skies. We circled the park coming across a person sunbathing down by the water. If you look closely, follow the bike and you will see some knees poking out. It would be a little too cool for me to be out there with no shirt on!

Lastly, the phone has been ringing like crazy with political calls. I've mentioned before that we have this weird talking caller ID which is coming in mighty handy right now. The voice is so weird and mechanical, and why wouldn't it be you're thinking. I don't know how those folks in Iowa stood it. Four days and counting.

Now playing: Travis - Writing To Reach You
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tripod in the Field

Once again I drove Bruce to Vero. The thing is I'm not a big fan of driving his BMW, thus I'd rather drive my car and drop him off enabling me to roam at will with no trepidation. My first stop was the Riverside Park. There are some lovely rocks waterfront that I may be showing in the near future. My last visit a ranger pointed out an osprey atop a very tall oak tree. Hmmm... I tried with little success. When you have the zoom out so far it is easy to get camera shake. Today I brought my tripod with me--I looked sorta dorky but really, who cares?

At any rate I was concentrating on the rocks when I heard a very distinctive bird call. I looked up, there was the osprey. For those unfamiliar with that species it is a fish eating hawk. I've just checked and apparently the plumage was used for women's hats. I'm not so good at judging heights but it was WAY up there. I set up the tripod with the camera on MAX zoom and here you go.

My market manager hates birds. I always hate to put bird pictures up for her sake; I'm sure there are those among you who feel the same way. Feel free to move on to another blog. This blog will tell you that the writer then photographed a pelican eating a fish and a tiny little bird on a fence post.

Our original plan was to stay the night in Vero with our dear neighbor Regina caring for Baxter. Those plans were aborted. The last few days Baxter has been scratching like nobodies business. Bruce arrived home from his flight around 1 AM this morning. He was extremely quiet, but I woke up and we chatted. I mentioned the problem. Any problem with Baxter makes Bruce unhappy. He immediately went in the sun room and examined him. He determined that he had sores on his legs. You've seen Baxie with all that fur--how he even found them, I'll never know. The upshot is that we got home around 5:30, a vet visit later, and it turns out he had a serious flea problem. He's also put on weight. What kind of owners are we you might be wondering. Well, me too. We all know the solution for the weight, more exercise, less food. I suspect the flea problem is because the dose of Advantage (topical flea stuff for the uninitiated) was for a lighter dog. We'll be rectifying these problems.

Anyone who has payed even the slightest bit of attention to the stock market of late knows that it has been volatile (an understatement if ever there was one). I worry about David during these times but he remains upbeat. Don't ask me how but he does. As well Bill works for a bank and he's doing well. I don't really understand it but I'm grateful.

During the Baxter investigation Bruce also found a roof leak--boohoo! Don't ask me how the two are related but they are.

Now playing: Robbie Williams - Rock DJ
via FoxyTunes

Now playing: Blur - Caravan
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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Orange Juice

For as long as I can remember I've begun each day with a glass of orange juice. When the children were young they would be in serious trouble if they emptied the orange juice jug without my knowledge. After the oj I make the first cup of hot tea. I am not, and never have been, a coffee drinker, in fact, I hate coffee. It's funny how it smells so good when it's brewing; once I was given a cup by mistake in a dark cup, took a sip, and about died--ick!!!

As regular readers of this blog you have first hand knowledge of how out of shape my body is these days. I'm feeling so much better that I've talked about exercising again, but the truth of the matter is I never liked it. You might be too young to remember a time when every day people did not actually go someplace to exercise, they worked. I'm talking mowing the yard, gardening, cleaning--the stuff that needs doing to make one's environment as pleasant as possible. This morning I took steps to rectify both my muscles and my environment. As you know, we now have someone who mows our yard. They are a little better than the typical blow and go, but not by much. I did some needed trimming and cleaning up around the yard. The storms we've had of late have caused many dead limbs to fall. Our guy ends up just mowing over them as if they didn't exist. Yesterday while eating lunch I heard a loud noise. Investigating, I discovered that one of the last dead limbs (from the hurricane year) in the huge oak outside our side door fell. Fortunately it did not hit the MINI. I filled three large garbage cans with debris.

As you've probably already guessed my camera found its way into my back pocket. I couldn't resist the palms. Some photos are interesting because of the scenery, some the light, and some texture. I tried with limited success to capture the incredible texture and design of a large palm leaf. Each plant has such amazing, intricate architecture. Nature never fails to fascinate me.

I began my New Yorker last night and was immediately enthralled with the smart writing. One of my favorite features is the Talk of the Town. They are short pieces that somehow delve into a subject in a succinct manner on a variety of topics. You can learn about things you never knew existed.

My application went out in today's mail for the Spring Fiesta in the Park. This is a bi-annual event at Lake Eola that draws thousands upon thousands of people. It is the last weekend in April, hopefully it will be a big event for me.

I learned from today's paper that there is a website called Here's a cute little story for you: when Bill attended the Academy Awards with my sister Carol years ago he was in the bathroom and who should he see but Gregory Peck. Bill introduced himself as another Peck and GP was very cordial. I can't tell you the number of times people have said, " Peck, as in Gregory?" Yes, indeed.

Another thing I read was that the Brunswick Company, you know, the people who make bowling stuff, well, they are closing a bowling pin factory in Wisconsin. Seventy workers will lose their jobs. Strangely enough, bowling is more popular than ever, it's just that league bowling is losing steam. Turns out that recreational bowlers hit fewer pins so bowling alleys (actually I think I should be calling it a center to be PC) don't have to replace their pins as frequently. Who knew?

Now playing: Nick Drake - Hazey Jane II
via FoxyTunes

Monday, January 21, 2008

Because I Care

Yeah, the sun has come back out bringing warmer temperatures!

I couldn't resist posting this--I saw it on my drive out to Costco to pick up my 4 X 6 prints for entry photos. I am very pleased with the results.

If you can imagine I got out of Costco for only $70--practically a record. Here's what that bought:
dishwasher soap
dog food
chicken breasts
food wrap
mixed nuts
golden pineapple
slice of pizza for lunch
25 4x6 prints

Most of the above will last for months--an excellent bargain. In another piece of exciting news, the nice lads in the tire area will put air in your tires if you ask. I've been going there for years unaware of this important fact!!!! I'm no good at it, and as you well know, Mr. Bruce is busy, busy, busy. It slips our mind. I got 30 mph on the way to Melbourne with tires 8 lbs. low--imagine what I'll get now.

Because the weather was so wonderful I needed to take some photos. I stopped at the horse barn near the house; always good subjects there. This time was no exception, but my best subject was not four-legged. A darling four year old girl was there visiting the horses with her mom. She came to me wanting her picture made when she saw my camera. What a ham!! Besides her playful nature, her little face was painted. I know that sounds crazy, but it was. She had very red lipstick smeared around (and some on) her lips, dark eyebrow pencil sketched on golden brows, mascara, both on her eyelashes and lids, and red nail polish. Did I forget to mention the sparkly stuff on her face? Her mom agreed that I could take the pictures, an unexpected pleasure. It turns out, she is learning disabled, and maybe some other problem I've forgotten. Her mom said Tess liked to take photos too. I allowed her to use my camera and on flickr you can see that she did a fine job taking my picture. Tess rides horses as part of her therapy and is fearless around them. They were feeding carrots to the horses before I met them.

All,in all, a very satisfying morning.

Now playing: Van Morrison - And it Stoned Me
via FoxyTunes

Where Has the Time Gone?

Indeed, where has the time gone?

We've been very busy the last few days. Mentioned last week, here is the booth makeover. The highly-anticipated panels arrived on Friday afternoon by UPS. I stayed home waiting, which was challenging as the day was so darn dreary I wanted to get out. I bolted the minute they arrived. One thing about living in Florida is that every day pretty much you can go and do what you want, unlike some places. Jonathan called and the weather in Chicago is brutal at the moment. He described the cold as "shocking". They pretty much holed up all weekend; hopefully it will warm up a bit for the work week. This morning it was in the 40's which is cold to us. I envisioned Jonathan and Alissa leaving for the train in sub-zero temps bundled up and miserable. Happily, they are doing better than anticipated.

Back to the panels. Bruce got up early on Saturday morning intending to put it all together for the photo op. What I mean by that is for show applications you have to send in a picture of the booth. The rules are more stringent than we imagined, saying that your booth is as important as the contents. Bruce remarked, "They should have had IKEA write these instructions!" Unfortunately, they were not that great. As you've already guessed, it took MUCH longer than he thought it would. We then had to hang everything we had to make it look good. Did I mention the weather was damp and cold. Needless to say, things got wet again.

Regarding the aforementioned rules, the instructions for shows state things have to look very similar. As I previously told you, they want me to pigeonhole my images to a theme. I've struggled with that concept.

As it turns out, a show was going on in Indiatlantic which is the beach part of Melbourne. For those who know me, they know I lived in Melbourne my last two years of high school when it was very tiny. It is still not big, but let me tell you, the traffic on a late Saturday afternoon is maddening. I raced over there after dismantling the display to observe in person a show put on by the event company with the rules. Here's what I saw from photographers: beach scenes, beach scenes, animals, did I mention beach scenes? That's not a typo, it is what I saw. Driving home, I puzzled about how I could set myself apart from the beach scene crowd. What do people want for their walls anyway?

I guess we'll have to see if I get accepted. Don't get me wrong, beach scenes are nice, but the world is full of such variety that it seems weird thinking that is all people want. I forgot--there is usually someone who's traveled to Europe with generic travel scenes. I consulted with Maureen about all this, she is of the mind that I just send in whatever I feel like and let the chips fall where they may. Her thinking is that I have an ability to make the ordinary extraordinary and I should exploit that talent.

You won't believe this, but we skipped the market yesterday. My goodness, it was nice. When we woke up it was windy, cold, and dreary; after last week's soaking, we weren't anxious to repeat the performance. Regrouping around here.

I received my first copy of The New Yorker on Saturday, a gift from Matt. I love that magazine and plan to continue my education through its' pages. You, of course, will be learning new, and fascinating things along with me.

Now playing: Bloc Party - Like Eating Glass
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

In a Fog

Fortune Cookie Unwrapped
Remember when I told you I went out at 5:30 in the morning to shoot with the tripod? I went to this little park nearby thinking I could get the fog through the trees--didn't really work out as planned but here's the effort nonetheless.

Speaking of fog, I was in one most of yesterday. Our little Baxter did his wake up call around 3:30, apparently urgently needing to go out. He whimpers until I rouse. There was a fierce storm happening with howling wind and driving rain; the wind chimes were tinkling to beat the band. I shuffled to the back door and out he marched heading to the end of the house. I prayed he would hurry up, waiting with towel in hand to dry him off. Eventually he reappeared and we settled back in our respective beds. The problem was that my mind started swirling with ideas, combine that with the sounds of the storm and it was a while till I went back to sleep.

I awoke to the sound of the doorbell, not a good thing. The clock said 8:30 the agreed upon time for the sprinkler people to come. I can say quite honestly that I'm not a pretty site when I wake up. Very embarrassing! I threw on my robe to unlock the gates in my bare feet. The ground was soggy.

With that bad start the day just never got going. The weather remained dreary throughout as did my spirits. I did manage to get some things done but only a fraction of what I can accomplish.

In the evening I went downtown for the art happenings. Visiting three galleries was interesting; the quality of the work around here is good. I, of course, began to doubt my abilities. Hmmm......Can I compete, which is essentially what I have to do. I'm the world's worst competitor--playing games, I never care if I win or lose. Not a good sign I fear.

I did receive my real diploma yesterday. Did I tell you that I received a letter from the college regarding my GPA of the semester? Here's what drives me mad:
Dear Peck,
You have made the Dean's list etc.

Guess what--my name is Gail, and the truth of the matter is that I made the President's list. When the office of the President cannot get these things right how pray tell do they expect students to achieve? I mean seriously, what if they received a grade--wouldn't that turn the tables?

I hope you have a chance to check out the link. An article a few years ago in the New Yorker profiled the man who writes the majority of the fortunes--fascinating.
Now playing: Radiohead - The Bends
via FoxyTunes

Continuing My Crusade

Here's the Rest of the Story

The Desk Put to Another Use

If you regularly check out my photos on flickr you may have already seen my daisy picture. I used Bruce's new desk as the background, and the natural light streaming in the windows of the sun room.I must say I was extremely pleased with that image; I knew we loved this new set up!

As you know I am hoping to exhibit at some spring art shows. I'm wading into new territory pretty much unprepared. As such, many shows are already filled because applications needed to be in by the end of November or early December. Nevertheless, I'm working diligently on it. There are several web sites that list shows all over the state. Next you have to send in three images of your work, plus one of your booth. Our booth is getting a makeover this weekend with new mesh panels arriving Friday. Back to the images--how, oh how, do I pick only three? Seeking EDITOR-- no experience necessary--apply here.

While having my hair cut last week I mentioned that they needed some art work on the walls. Here's how we solved that void. I arrived today with two of my print baskets for their perusal. I provided the frames for the seven they chose--the hanging is tomorrow. My business card is in the lower corner with the price on the back if anyone is interested. One thing I've learned is that the more people see your stuff, the more likely you are to sell. Melissa cuts Bruce's hair about every three weeks and he'd been telling her what I'd been doing. When she saw the prints she kept asking, "You took all these?" She said that when Bruce told her she had no idea what to expect, it seems as if she was pleasantly surprised. I won't be surprised if she twists a few arms to move some of them.

I'd always heard that having your own business is big time work--I'm hear to tell you that is the truth!!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

What Next?

Coming Soon to a Mall Near You

Let's Play Catch Up

Yesterday on our way home from the market in the driving rain we saw the Story Corps trailer in front of the library. The minute it quit (really, after we unloaded), I zoomed back downtown in the MINI to get this shot. I figured it might never be in Orlando again, in other words, a part of history. I wish I had scheduled an appointment to participate, that is, if I could get anyone else to do it with me. Maureen said NO WAY! Speaking of her, she is improved, but still not up to par. No word for sure on the outcome of her car.

If you are unfamiliar with Story Corp, it is a project begun about five years ago. Based on the concept that everyone has a compelling story to tell, in NYC's Grand Central Station a booth was set up to record one person interviewing another. These are non-professional interviews, typically, they are two family members. Our public radio station plays the stories on Fridays--I've heard some remarkable stories. Blogs like mine are a one sided thing--I tell my story, you read; on occasion, I hope I have something interesting to say. That said, nothing beats the conversation/interview style with immediate feedback.

Continuing the story theme, months ago I noticed a photo contest for the literary magazine at school. I submitted a photo I call, Every Picture Tells a Storyy (I know what you are thinking--not very creative Gail)--stick with me here please. You may have seen it in the past--a b&w image of a bird on a dead tree trunk. Nothing much really, but sorta moody and open to interpretation, thus the name. At any rate, I just received an e-mail with a proposal to use the image. How about that?

I'm working on getting into some art shows as well as on stock photography sites. All of it is more time consuming than you can imagine.

Lastly, I'm wondering if we will all be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder before it's all over. While ironing this afternoon with my iPod on, I heard Paul Simon singing "Slip Sliding Away". The melody is compelling, the lyrics are pregnant with meaning, particularly as one ages. Unfortunately, the moment it was over a fun pop song came on. An introspective moment lost, something else to claim my attention. Similarly, we see two movies in a row, read the paper while eating, blog with music and e-mail popping up, you understand--multitask. A buzz word for the 21st century, however, I've got to wonder how good it is for anyone.

Now playing: Basement Jaxx - Jus 1 Kiss
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Night Shot of Downtown

All is well here--we'll talk tomorrow. In the meantime check out this article from the Times.
Medical Myths
Now playing: The Smiths - How Soon Is Now?
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Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Sun Also Rises

Actually today I was up way before the sun. This is a shot through the windshield on our drive to Vero. Bruce prefers that I wouldn't do it while driving and I'll take that into consideration.

I'm not sure where today has gone but I did spend a bit of time helping Maureen around the house--she is much sorer today than yesterday. I'm heading back over momentarily to share some of my cache of pain medication. I've not taken any forever, thus I have a large supply.

Speaking of accidents, you may have seen on the news the incredible story of a SEVENTY car pile up on our major interstate. The fog has been thick lately. Adding to the fog was smoke from a controlled burn that went awry. The interstate backed up for FOURTEEN miles, and is still closed in that section. Every kind of vehicle you can imagine was involved including many semis.

For some unknown reason our little Baxter woke me up a few hours after I went to sleep to go out and then again around 4:45. I've no idea what the problem was. After the second waking I started thinking about my new tripod and how maybe I could go out and try it in the dark and fog. I am very pleased that my camera performed beautifully once tightly ensconced on the top of the tripod. Previously any night shots I took were absolutely terrible--I can just imagine the new possibilities this opens up.

I can tell you that I now have a clean oven and shower stall.

Now playing: Fionn Regan - Noah (Ghost In A Sheet)
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Surfer Girl

The trip yesterday was great. The drive over was easy, the weather spectacular, and I got a few good shots. Mind you, there were people on the beach with these massive cameras and lenses who looked at me as if I were a nobody--little do they know I am a somebody. Seriously, a few made comments about my small camera, but I just smiled saying you might be surprised at what interesting photos I can take with it. One thing that REALLY helped was the tripod. I am still learning which levers do what, so I'm sure I look pretty dorky, but what the heck--I just keep practicing. When I picked Bruce up at the job site he asked me if I got any shots of girl surfers, I told him it was only a contest for guys. Lo and behold, when I uploaded the pictures what should I find but a girl surfer. What happened is that there were a large group of surfers to the left of the competition site which I ended up concentrating on who were pretty far out there in wet suits so their sex was indeterminate from afar. After a bit I realized that I'd been so tense trying to get the shots that my hand was a bit stiff. Of course, I took a gazillion shots, including the inevitable wipe outs, but the fact of the matter is that I only need one good one. Mission accomplished.

I was super excited to find Dodgertown in Vero Beach this trip. Some of you may know that is the home for the last 50+ years of the spring training site for the Dodgers. They moved there when they were still the Brooklyn Dodgers but are planning to move to Arizona in the next year or so. People are really good to me (for the most part) when I'm out and about and this was no exception. The personnel let me roam the stadium taking as many photos as I cared to. This was of special interest because our Jonathan is a HUGE fan of the Dodgers. Typically I send him a photo of the day--in this case, lots of photos.

Returning home there were a few messages on the machine, one of a serious nature. As it turns, out our dear Maureen was in an accident. You remember that she just had her car stolen--now it is totaled. Breathe a sigh of relief that she was not terribly injured. Irony of ironies, in a metro area of about two million people, the driver of the school bus (ran a red light) lives only five houses down from Maureen. The accident occurred on her way home from work about six miles from home. Is that weird, or what? Furthermore, she was to be leaving for a business trip to California today, obvs. not happening, including a visit with our sister Carol in Beverly Hills. I checked on her this morning, aside from some soreness, she is as well as can be expected. What can go wrong next?

Now playing: Stereophonics - Fiddler's Green (Tragically Hip cover)
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Monday, January 7, 2008

It Only Seems Fair....

Because I've taken everyone else's picture I thought that I show you what I look like these days. I went out back to clean the pool and heard our cardinal from last spring. If you don't recall, we had a nest with three eggs--only one survived. I brought my new tripod out to see if I could get a photo of the male when I was done with the pool. He disappeared quickly, probably because Baxter goes nuts when I use the cleaner. He barks like a little maniac which is unusual for him. I finally had to put him back inside. Did I mention it was 80 degrees today? Really nice.

I realized after getting done with the pool that I could try taking my own picture with the self timer and tripod. Believe me, it took lots of tries before I got this one. I cropped it because previously it showed how my upper arms have gotten so weird since I've not been lifting weights. Even though I am very slender, skin sags where you don't want it to at my age. I suppose I'm lucky that I'm just experiencing this phenom.

I followed Bruce to the BMW dealership to have some light fixed in his car, dropping him off at work resulting in being out early. I've been sleeping entirely too late, this was a good reason to be out and about early. Naturally, I did not waste the opportunity to use the wonderful morning light. I traveled out to Kissimmee to see their little downtown, but ended up at Lake Toho. I'm using the short version of the lake's name as I'm uncertain if I can spell the real name correctly. It's one of the largest lakes in Florida with a waterfront park in downtown Kissimmee (I use that term loosely). Although people think Disney World is synonymous with Orlando it is really closer to Kissimmee. A little more history of the area--it used to be cattle ranching and little else, now it is filled with hotels, tourist traps, and traffic. I spoke with a native today who echoed just what I've long thought--they are terribly distressed with the changes.

Nevertheless, the lake front was still marvelous. Let's put it this way--the lake is so huge you can't see the other side. I met some interesting folks--one man who had a Panasonic camera which is a rare sighting. As you know, that is what I use, but not too many people do. Carl was the fisherman's name. I'll share his info tomorrow, but I will tell you he caught some tiny fish which he then threw on the dock for us to photograph while the heron and egret scrambled for it. Florida is home to many birds; mostly they have long legs and beaks to facilitate finding food along the shoreline. I've never shown it but I previously photographed a vulture very close, today I think I found a bird, that at least in the face, rivals the vulture for ugliness--a wood stork. More later.

Sunday I sold the print of Ron Jon's--the famous surf shop in Cocoa. The girl was buying it for her boyfriend's birthday. I only have the one surfer picture; when we got home I mentioned to Bruce I should probably go to Sebastian's Inlet because it is a large surfer haven. Serendipity prevails. Not one hour later Bruce saw on television that a huge surfer contest was going on all week in Sebastian!! Those readers familiar with Florida geography know Sebastian is just above Vero Beach. You guessed it--he has a job site visit there tomorrow and yours truly will chauffeur. That's right--I'll drop him off at the restaurant and mosey for the time he is working. I'm sure you will much prefer a surfer picture to the wood stork, of course, you may still get the wood stork at some point.

One caveat--I've no makeup on as you can probably tell!

Now playing: Keane - Crystal Ball
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Friday, January 4, 2008

More Details

Some of my readers will recognize this house, others won't but it's my first attempt at Christmas lights etc. I hope they like one of them as I took plenty.

Apparently I did not give enough details about B & D. I may have been remiss at not relating one of the most exciting, yet in some ways, traumatic stories. When a model arrives in a city with fashion shows they meet with their agent who then sends them on "castings." It is more or less a cattle call with everyone hoping they will be selected, if not for the money, at least for bragging rights. Calling me from Italy, excited as all get out, they related that they were sent to Giorgio Armani's atelier. When their turn came up there was much excitement on the part of Armani and assistants regarding the prospect of identical twins in the show. Loud conversation ensued with the result that they had them walk together down the runway etc. There was much excitement in the Peck camp as well, only to have hopes dashed the next day. David was chosen, Bill was not. You may have guessed by now that all of the Peck men are the sensitive type--thank goodness--at any rate it was bittersweet. I must tell you that normally the designers give the models something; in this case what I remember is that David gave Bill the watch he received. Now that's a brother for you.

Across the ocean my heart went out for Bill and soared for David. I know it may sound silly, but that's how this mom reacts. I triumph with my sons and despair when things are rough. Thus, I am working hard not to worry about our Jonathan, and Alissa in Chicago. Some mom's might worry about crime, or disaster, this mom worries about the demoralizing effects from the bitter cold. Bruce reminds me he is a man and will adapt--I'm trying to adopt that mentality.

Lastly you may have noticed the now playing thing at the bottom of my blog. When Matt was home he hooked me up with that. As well he bought me three cds and bought me songs with an iTunes card that I'd received for Mother's Day. I told you he would set me straight. Speaking of music--I may be late to the party but WOW-- Amy Winehouse is the bomb.

Now playing: Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse - Valerie
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For those of you who are new to my family's history I mention that Bill and Dave modeled for a few years when they were in their late teens. Yours truly took the photos to get them noticed I might add. However, they quickly got some from a professional to catapult them into the big time. One of the places they went was Milan, Italy to do the men's shows. You can imagine our trepidation letting them travel to Europe alone--it was somewhat traumatic for all concerned. The very first show they did was for twins. Picture our boys being the first ones on the runway doing their very first show with gazillions of photographers surrounding the runway. The design house is called DSquared, identical twins showed identical twins. Their picture was in the Milan paper as well. Tuesday when I was at Marshalls I spotted these shoes by DSquared. At the time they did the show we had never heard of them, but Madonna ended up making them famous by using some of their clothes in her shows. Fortunately, Bill and Dave realized that they wanted to be more in control of their lives than modeling affords, getting their degrees in Economics. One more modeling story--while in Milan they were photographed by Eric Clapton's ex-wife--the mother of the child who fell out the window inspiring Tears in Heaven. I will say that those were some pretty weird pictures. It often seems that in an effort to be arty they make people look worse than they do.

As I've posted about in the past I used to sew most every day. These days I rarely visit a fabric store, but the presence of "sari" fabric at Joannes showcases how much Orlando has changed since I was frequenting them. Our immigrant population used to be negligible, not so anymore. It has made for a much more interesting place to live.

Good news--at least one agency has accepted Michelle--let's hope others follow.

Another photography project presented itself yesterday. I braved the cold to photograph Christmas lights on a friend's house for a possible Christmas card next year; naturally I used my new tripod.

Speaking of which when I should have been doing chores yesterday morning I got sidetracked practicing taking stuff inside the house. What can I say--this blog is not called Camera Crazy for nothing.

Did you watch any of the election coverage last night? There sure are a lot of "know it alls" on television.

Now playing: Beirut - Nantes
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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Last Week it was the Air Conditioning

Tonight it's the heat. Finally we are experiencing a cold front, as I type this it is 39 degrees which is a mighty big change from the 80's of last week. People often say the cold in Florida is worse than up North; I cannot speak from experience, but I will say that Jonathan claimed it had warmed up a bit in Chicago at 40 degrees. I just spoke with Bruce in Virginia, he's worn out from the cold. He hasn't traveled in several weeks now so it will be challenging to get it going again; I've no doubt he'll be up for the challenge.

A scheduled photo shoot for Michelle went off as planned today. Doesn't she look fabulous? I'm not sure how she did it in the windy cold weather but she did. Finding this little jacket in my closet I asked her to wear it to keep her slightly warmer. Other outfits were skimpier, and believe me it was hard to smile in the cold, however she is getting more comfortable in front of the camera as I am behind it. My new tripod came in super handy for these.

Kristen stopped by after lunch to buy a picture for a friend--I convinced her to be my assistant for a bit. She loves going to surgery with what's called a C-Arm. It's an x-ray camera mounted on a large C which rotates for several views of the part being worked on. It's similar to the tripod--lots of levers to make it move the way you want it. Because I had only practiced with it that tiny bit the other night I was iffy but together we figured out the moves. It was really marvelous as I could concentrate on framing the shots, moving it to optimize the natural light. We've still got a few different outfits to photograph, but together we are making great progress.

I wanted to share a great article from the Times with you however I've forgotten how to do it--I need another tutorial from Matt.

I'm going to curl up in bed with a book now--it's the only sensible thing to do on a chilly night.

Now playing: Aretha Franklin - I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) (Demo)
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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

Sparkles and Champagne for the New Year.

We had a marvelous time last night with the Harrisons and the Goldbergs at Antonio's last night. Orlando is a casual town but last night people dressed up a bit. I wore a black velveteen dress that had spent about two years in my closet unworn which proved to be comfy. I hate to wear dresses that leave you cold or uncomfortable. Our dinner was wonderful, the conversation lively and the wine superb. After our meal we went to the Michael and Jane's for fireworks. They've been through South Carolina lately bringing back spectacular fireworks. Michael placed them on the dock in rows lighting the bunch at midnight. Other's were doing the same around the lake which made for a brilliant start to the new year.

Bruce brought home not one, but two, tripods for my birthday. I was thrilled spending the next hour or more practicing. One has bendable legs for my baby camera, the other can elevate to about 4 feet. I was finally able to take a good picture of the full tree which pleased me very much. Jonathan was wanting to see how it looked.

Speaking of which, it is down now. I woke up around 7 and went straight to work. I've already told you how fragrant it was and I wanted to keep it up for that but it was time to straighten up. I always like to start the new year with things organized and as neat as possible.

Much to my surprise I received three different renditions of the Happy Birthday song. I mentioned Jon and Alissa, later Michelle and Dave called singing away and when we got home there was yet another version by Lisa on the answering machine! Both Carol and Pat called with well wishes, as did Matt. Thank you to everyone. I'm humbled by the attention.

Now playing: Muse - Supermassive Black Hole
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