Sunday, August 31, 2008

What's Going On?

What, you may ask, is Gail blogging on a Sunday morning for? Isn't she supposed to be battling the elements, and hawking her wares at the market? Indeed, that is normally the case, but today she is planning to spend her time at home with her poor, tired husband who is still sleeping I might add.

Last night was the charity event which turned out to be quite nice. There was an excellent crowd for a rainy day which surprised me. I'm showing you the outside of the building as we approached. The torrential rains of the day quit around 6, making for a balmy evening.The gallery is in the bottom floor space, the upstairs used to be the stage for a small theater company which has grown since moving across the street. The latest incarnation was an movie theater, run by the University of Central Florida, showing great documentaries and foreign films. Sadly, funding ran out forcing the place to close, but not before I formed wonderful memories (not to mention shed buckets of tears) of great films seen there.

I suspect you can guess which piece is mine. As it turns out, the organizers of the event spent most of their time urging folks to buy the childrens' art. Let me refresh your memory for a moment. Base Camp sounds like a boot camp, but it is really a support network for not only children with cancer, but their families as well. There were two boys there last night, one with leukemia, the other with a brain tumor; both quite charming. The children were urged to make art, many right in their hospital rooms. Last week I sent out a mass email asking folks to come. I was grateful for those who did, many of whom bought art, or made donations. As well, this morning I already received an email from one couple who plan to volunteer for the charity! Bill and Leanne won the grand prize raffle. Alas, my piece did not sell, but that's alright, you've been reading my blog long enough to know that one never knows what may come of the exposure. I'm might add that only one professional piece sold last night.

Speaking of exposure, I was thinking the other day how most of my entire adult life I've been paid to take pictures. Of course, the previous 30+ years were spent with black and white, but strange as it may seem, much of what I learned, and used while taking x-rays has helped me with my photography.

The forecast is gloomy for today--I'm not clear if it is because we have big storms on either side of the state; what I do know is that more rain is the last thing needed around here. The lakes and rivers are overflowing already, fortunately we are on high and dry ground.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


That's our new word for the day. Naturally I didn't make it up but I wish I had. I read it in the Times and I'm adopting it because it's so clever. Don't you love it when people come up with these sayings. Actually I wonder where the word "vacation" originated. Bruce is looking for a little "staycation" this Monday. I didn't even realize it was already Labor Day....duh.

Our neighborhood is in mourning right now. Remember the tree that fell apart from last week? Take another look at the picture to get the scale in your mind--the owner is on the left. Yesterday while engrossed in taking the cheese pictures, I didn't hear the chain saws going. When we stepped outside to carry Blair's things to her truck, I saw the unthinkable. The magnificent oak is now completely gone, stump, and all. I imagine the inside of their house feels completely different now that they have loads of sunshine. Angela called to complain about how it completely changes the character of our street; used to be there was quite a canopy, not so much now.

Speaking of sunshine, believe me when I tell you, I'm tired of summer. This afternoon I was drenched with sweat while mowing the lawn. Thinking that the cloud cover would keep it from being so miserable was a mistake.

I tried my best to watch the convention last night, I fell short. Amazing how people can go out dressed like that isn't it? For the most part, political speeches seem so silly to me . They all begin with what our problems are, (as if we don't know), and then the remainder is empty promises. I suspect if you went back and listened to any president's campaign speech not much of what they swore they would do was accomplished. Wouldn't it be refreshing if someone actually said what was on their mind rather than what they think the crowd wants to hear?

I guess I was in a food photography state of mind yesterday--I call this one, "table for one." I'm looking forward to setting a "table for two" pretty soon. You may have read that computer glitches were responsible for Bruce's flight delay on Tuesday. Fortunately that's all fixed. Nonetheless, it takes him forever to get home from Erie, Pennsylvania because of connections. It's probably a sure bet I'll be sound asleep when he arrives after 10:30 tonight. That's one thing Ted Kennedy and I early bedtime. I read that the late speech time slot he was given was a problem due to his need to be asleep by 9:30. I used to go to bed much later, these days I'm an early bird.

I know I should be thrilled with my Nikon, but the truth is, I'm not. Here's a few things I don't like: no histogram while composing (thus I've no idea if I need exposure compensation or not), the weight, no live view, and the flash constantly going off. I'm still working with it. I'm looking forward to Matt coming home in November for the wedding for many reasons, a hands on camera tutorial being one of them. I read today that Nikon has introduced the Nikon D90 with live view; they are discontinuing the Nikon D80. I remember when you could purchase something in good faith that a new model to replace it wouldn't be just around the corner. We've come to accept this instant obsolescence, however, it is not a good thing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's All About the Sale

On my way home from errands I heard the above phrase used on "All Things Considered" regarding the DNC, somehow, it seems appropriate for all of us. Whether we are a student writing a paper wanting the professor to "buy" our ideas, in a relationship, a doctor recommending treatment, a traditional sales relationship, a contractor selling the completed, or not, work, and the list could go on. Just a thought....

Speaking of the sale, I'm referring to our cheese vendors at the market. Blair asked me on Sunday if I would be willing to photograph the cheeses they sell for a website. Naturally, yours truly, said, "sure." Looking back I'm not quite sure I understood what I was getting into; approaching me around 3:00 is an excellent idea if you want a favor,by that time I'm usually so hot I'll agree to anything.

Nevertheless, a promise is a promise. She showed up this morning with a very large box of fine cheeses, actually sixteen different fine cheeses to be exact! Using our skylight as the light source we began the process of styling them all. That may not sound like much, but believe me it was. I searched every cupboard,the fridge, fruit bowl, pantry, looking for things that might enhance the images.

Turns out Blair is 27, originally from Oklahoma, and a former pro basketball player in Australia, now attending college for interior design. She's a year into her schooling which helped. What didn't help is that it is hard to get good pictures that quickly if you've only dabbled in food photography. Just ask my friend Terrie with the feastingonpixels blog. Her images of food are so inspiring, however, I can't begin to compete with her skill, especially in such record time. The good news is she's young and probably will be happy enough with the results.

Panic mode was setting in because I'd not heard from Mr. Roger since his trip to Napa Valley with Trish last week for a wedding. You may recall that this Saturday night is the benefit for BASE Camp, a local charity benefiting children with cancer with a donated piece expected from yours truly. Finally this morning I had a two line email, I'm back. Good thing.

Finally I wanted to mention an excellent piece from the New Yorker about the woman who "more or less invented the children's library in 1895." The article, called "The Lion and The Mouse", is filled with fascinating details about how you had to be fourteen, and a boy, to get into the library in New York, sixteen in Boston. Here's a link in case you are interested:
The Lion and The Mouse
Listening to: Simon & Garfunkel - Keep the Customer Satisfied
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Tale of Two Dinner Parties

OK, so the first image has nothing to do with a dinner party, but that's fine because this is my blog, and I can post what I want.

Saturday night found us at Bruce's mom's house in Zellwood. She lives in a spacious, manufactured home in a 55+ community, although I doubt there are too many people at the younger end of the spectrum living there. Judy and Cris, Bruce's brother and sister-in-law, were married one year and one week ahead of us, meaning they just celebrated their 36th anniversary. As such, we had a celebratory dinner. Mom is no longer buying gifts, but sharing some of her "treasures" with the family. Black candlesticks belonging to her parents were our gift. Bruce, in an effort to start a lively discussion, brought up the presidential race, which was quickly nixed due to differing persuasions. On our way there it poured, the last of Fay, thankfully. Unfortunately for many folks the misery continues as flood waters rise. Aside from the messy yard, we suffered no damage.

The market was good to me on Sunday with only a ten minute shower around 1:00. I was so pleased when I received an email from one of the buyers that evening saying he was delighted with the canvas they ordered: "his new favorite piece of art." Yipee!

The afternoon rain brought more humidity, and we've discussed at length how miserable that can be. By the time Bruce came for the take down, it was pretty steamy. I'd accepted an invitation to Maria and Dominic's home for dinner after the market, however I was questioning my judgement because I was so sweaty and miserable. Thank goodness we went! I bet you remember Maria, she's the interior designer who sold some of my pieces to her clients. While in Bimini she bought lobster and kindly shared it with us. My goodness, the food was outstanding. They live on the sixth floor of a downtown condo with wonderful views of the city skyline, such as it is. Dominic roasted the lobster, stating that it cooks in its' own juice that way rather than leeching out in boiling water. He knows a thing or two about lobster coming from Boston. A simple salad with romaine and sunflower sprouts (surprisingly good), parslied rice, and roasted vegetables made for not only a delicious meal, but beautiful to look at as well. Maria served her homemade flan with raspberries. Yum, yum, yum.

I called upon our resident art critic for help with choosing a photo for the gallery this Saturday. Matt sees art with not only an educated, but practiced eye, that I don't share. I mentioned last week how I want to fit in with the other artists. In other words, I don't want anyone to talk behind my back wondering why I was included.

This picture is from our date at Fifis Friday night--as you can see it's got cool pink lighting, but not many other diners, partly because of the rainy night, and I suspect partly because some of the food is good, some not so much. Poor Mr. Bruce is on the road again. It's bad enough having to go to three cities in three states in one day, but golly, when your last flight of the day is delayed by three hours, it's just plain criminal.

In unrelated news, I read on one of my friend's blogs that the saxophone player from the Dave Matthews Band died last week at the young age of 46 from an ATV accident, what a shame. I can still remember Matt giving me the band's first cd, I was instantly crazy about the band.
Listening to: Dave Matthews Band - Stolen Away on 55th & 3rd
via FoxyTunes

Friday, August 22, 2008

Clean Up Phase

Finally a small break in the rain---just enough time for me to start the clean up.Last evening was probably the worst of the storming with serious rain and wind battering the trees as you can see. The backyard has a big branch from our neighbor's tree and the front walk holds all the debris I could gather from our front yard. These are the times that try home owner's souls. Why, oh why, do we live on a corner lot? I got the lawn mowed in time for the rain to begin again. Bruce will need to take over from here, a chain saw is not something I've mastered.

When I looked out around 8 last night I saw one of the patio chairs had blown into the pool. I've been calling Lisa around 9 each morning to get the forecast because you already know how I feel about the tv people. Of course there's nothing I can do about whatever is going to happen, but just the same, I want to know if there is an end in sight. The storm itself is nothing like some we've had, but it just won't seem to go away. After Hurricane Charley it took a small army to get the yard in shape again, including some who were not thrilled to be called into action.

The thing about that hurricane, aside from no power for over five days, losing all our food in the refrigerator and freezer, and our staghorn getting crushed, was no internet for 17 days. Yes, it was dreadfully hot, but after power resumed we put that behind us, the cable however was another story. I'd probably go crazy if that happens again any time soon, either that, or go to the library. Of course, then I'd have to remember the multitude of passwords that keep me going at home.

Bruce's flight arrived around 11:30 last night; he claims it wasn't too bad until just before landing, thank goodness. I, of course, was fast asleep when he arrived.

We're going to try going out this evening so I must get ready.

Listening to: Stereophonics - Lying In The Sun
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Continuing Saga of a Tropical Storm

The rain continues to batter and the wind continues to blow. Seriously, it's worse today than the previous two days with rain falling all day long. I finally had to leave the house for a bit today, this is what I saw upon my return. This is at the end of our street--seven houses away. I had to go around the block to get to the house and for a moment I was nervous that one of ours could have fallen during my absence. I'm so sad because this tree was spectacular. If there is any silver lining for my neighbors it is that it fell into the street ensuring the county paying for the clean up. It can cost thousands of dollars to take a tree like this down.

Here's what I went to see:

The World of William Joyce features the work of one of the most dynamic and talented picture book artists working today. William Joyce has won two Emmys for his popular children’s show that aired on the Disney Channel, William Joyce’s Rolie Polie Olie, an animated series based on his Rolie Polie Olie picture books. In addition, his award-winning picture book “George Shrinks” has been made into a cartoon series on PBS and a feature film, Meet the Robinsons, based on his book “A Day with Wilbur Robinson” was released in 2007.

No mention is made of the wonderful paintings of some of his New Yorker covers. While I was eating lunch I saw an advertisement for free admission on Thursday afternoons. After a few days of rain I get a bit stir crazy. Not to mention I can't take pictures!

This morning I read an article about a woman wanting to make a boutique perfume and the hurdles she faced getting it to market. The best line in the article was this one from the head buyer at Henri Bendel, "A brand is always a story well told." Everyone loves a good story don't they?

Here's a little album with photos from our stay. The property, called Grande Lakes Resort, has both a Ritz Carlton and a JW Marriot, both of which are beautiful. Most of the photos are self-explanatory, however, I want to point out the table for two was set for another couple celebrating a birthday. The bath products were incredibly fragrant (I took the shower cap to use as a rainy day camera protector), and the picture of Bruce is fun because there are four images of him in the same shot. A gator sighting was included for free. The lilies were so amazing I thought they were fake! I started to lay down in the hammock--the results were not pretty. As you can see I'm holding on for dear life!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Rain Continues

The storm remains a bit of a mystery--no one knows where it will go. As such, it came through our area overnight with high winds and rain. Today the rain continued throughout the day, not hard, just steady with gray skies all day. I'm posting a picture of our yard from across the street. Our neighbors did not stop their paper during their absence, so I've been picking it up daily for several months now. I thought for those of you who haven't seen our place I'd show all the large trees that become worrisome during a hurricane. The large oak from which the staghorn fern hangs is half the tree it was before Hurricane Charley. The trees provide an oasis during the hot summer months; I've no interest in taking them down unless absolutely necessary. I moved the baby car away from the house because there are still dead branches in the oak that could damage my little MINI.

Baxter was whimpering to go out around 5:30 this morning. I got up, checking for any damage, which is a bit hard to do in the dark, but I tried anyway. The howling winds woke me up several times during the night. I e-mailed Bruce, "all is well." I made a delicious coffee cake because I was up so early. Maybe I should call it a tea cake since I hate coffee?

Because I had such poor light today I had to refrain from picture taking for the most part. I forced myself to do inventory of my prints which is a miserable task as far as I'm concerned. You see the baskets of small prints, the larger ones were not so time consuming because they are fewer.

News flash--breaking into the Olympics, they just said the storm is 72 miles from Orlando with winds of 60mph. It is raining harder as I type.

It took me around six hours to complete the count. That sounds absurd, but the spreadsheet Roger makes for me is 12 pages long with almost 400 different images. I know, that is too many, but most of them have sold at least once. When it was all done it seems as if I've sold 750 prints in the last year. Incredible huh? Most of you have been with me from the beginning; neither of us would have dreamed it was possible. What I need to do is mark them off when I sell them, and I wouldn't find myself in this situation again.....I'm really going to try.

Jonathan read Lottery and loved it. He told me that it took him nearly a month because there are so many distractions for young people. I wonder what that says about the future of literature as we know it.

Since I've had my business I've been getting free issues of Business Week. While eating dinner tonight I was sickened to read that the CEOs of the S&P 500 work an average of three hours to earn what a minimum wage earner makes in a year. Can you say: out of control?

Speaking of magazines, an article in The New Yorker details the rise of "super bugs", those infections that don't respond to antibiotics. What is so tragic is that most drug companies have abandoned antibiotic research because it is not as profitable as drugs that people have to take daily. What infuriates me about this situation is that they are developing drugs for "possible" problems when there are people dying TODAY because there are no drugs to treat these bugs. Some of you know that Bruce's dad succumbed to MRSA, a super staph bacteria that sometimes responds to treatment. Furthermore, the surest place to contact one of these bugs is in a hospital. Patient beware!

Correction in order: Matthew had no part in changing the blog, it was all me. I don't want to tarnish his reputation as a (nearly) perfect son!

Listening to: Texas - Polo Mint City
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

So Far--A Non-Event

If you had watched any television in the last few days you would think the world was ending. Although the tropical storm was days away, hourly updates began on Saturday while I was watching the Olympics. You just want to throw something at the tv! During our season of hurricanes four years ago the "meteorologists" (I use that term loosely because I don't believe all those folks that broadcast the weather deserve the label)kept telling folks to hunker down--please make them stop. Anyway, so far there have been a few rain squalls, but not much else. Jonathan called around 3 because he'd heard it had it Orlando--it wasn't even raining then. Allegedly it will be stronger later on, we'll just wait and see.

Yesterday afternoon I was practicing the manual focus on the Nikon. As you can see, I need more....although Baxter does look pretty cute doesn't he?

I have some good news to report--I got a call this afternoon that they have chosen not one, but two photos I entered in the City of Orlando calendar contest!!! I was dying to tell Bruce because he'd chosen one of them, but his phone went to answer. He left for New York this morning, after a trip over to Bangor, Maine he'll get home LATE Thursday night. I called Maureen who also voiced her opinion on the entrants. Furthermore, it was she that suggested I enter last year. She's not steered me wrong yet. I've had so much help on this journey, I can't thank everyone enough.

Here's the word from London--pear cider is the trendy drink of choice these days. I learned this while chatting with Matt yesterday for more than an hour. He's busier than you can imagine, not work so much, but a very active social life. He described his private tour of the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral given by a new friend who works there. If you've ever traveled to London you know what an imposing building St. Paul's is. In fact, I have one of the photos from our trip there in the foyer, long before it became Matt's church. We also discussed how Beijing used to be called Peking, finding out that the city has had more names than those two. He also fixed my links on the blog, logging in on his computer. I asked him to change anything he liked; apparently he didn't like my green background because when I saw it today it was a little more subdued. It probably was a little hard on the eyes....sorry.

He also told me that the site of the London Olympics is only three tube stops away with things are already underway. Gosh, by the time they roll around in 2012, Matt will be 36!

Special thanks for all the anniversary wishes from everyone--Pat and Ruth, as well as Dave and Michelle, sent cards, thank you very much!

Now seems like as good a time as any to rid the fridge of all the worn out food....we'll talk more tomorrow.

Listening to: Muse - Supermassive Black Hole
via FoxyTunesste

Listening to: K's Choice - Not An Addict
via FoxyTunes

Monday, August 18, 2008

It Seems Like Only Yesterday

Many of you know that Bruce and I met for the first time in 6th grade, but waited until 8th to become "boyfriend & girlfriend." After eight grade he decided to be test the waters a bit, but came back to me on September 25th (my mom's birthday), and we've been together ever since. Today it is extraordinarily rare to date only one person seriously in your life, but it has worked for us beautifully. Bruce is an extraordinary man, I've been a lucky girl to have found him so early in my life.

The night at the Ritz was awesome. The setting is beautiful, the companionship couldn't have been better, and the restaurant was wonderful. I really wanted a picture of the two of us, knowing that my baby camera would never cut it, Bruce went back up to the room to get the Nikon, and the server was kind enough to take this. He took a head on shot, but I like this one better. When in St. Lucia four years ago a person took a picture of us with this pose and it is precious to me. Come to think of it, Carol took one of us in California that is in my kitchen like this. Bruce is very photogenic, however, I am not. My eyes squint up so you can't even see them! I need to practice before the wedding because I don't want to mess up their pictures.

Speaking of which I thought of this the other day. So much time, effort, money, and stress go into a modern wedding. That you know already, but did you ever think that it is like celebrating getting up on the starting block in a swim meet? Generally we don't celebrate that aspect--it's the finish line that counts. What do you think?

I've listed a new blog on the site, "Feasting on Pixels." My friend Terrie, a gorgeous Frenchwoman living near Chicago, is an amazing, and I mean amazing photographer. True to her French heritage, she appreciates food in a way few Americans do. Her blog is filled with not only jaw dropping food photos but text that will make your mouth water, and you will learn some great food facts in the process. I can't recommend it enough. I could go on about her because her life has been so interesting but feast on it yourself.

In Florida there are two kinds of heat, neither of which are good, but I've decided the intense humidity heat is the worst. Today was one of those kinds of days at the little market. At least when the sun is blazing hot you can seek shade, no way with humidity, it envelopes you like a wet towel. Thank you God for air conditioning is all I can say. I could hardly wait to get home. At least today was not a shut out! Between yesterday and today I sold 18 pieces of various sizes. Oh yeah, guess what? Yesterday some folks who purchased something from me at the Baldwin Park Art Festival came to the market and ordered a canvas because they love the other one they bought from me. Now that is what I call special.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Practice, Practice, Practice

I forgot to tell you about something funny that happened to me yesterday. I walked into the Mount Dora Art Center to not only look at the art, but to use the bathroom. This lovely stained glass window greeted me while in there. Waling in I saw a woman helping two other women with a purchase, so I didn't realize that the center wasn't really open. I found that out when I went out into the gallery to leave and found the door locked. I couldn't open it and was a bit stymied as to what to do. Fortunately some people were visible on the sidewalk outside, and I rapped on the window to get their attention. One of the guys was kind enough to go upstairs next door and find someone to unlock the door! That's a first. The oil paintings are from a Florida Highwayman exhibit. They got their name because they used to sell their paintings out of the back of their cars along the highway.

Watching the Olympics is inspiring. It serves to remind me that it is perfectly ok to take gazillions of photos. In fact, it's smart to take them every day. If you've never been a part of a family with a swimmer you can't imagine the practice that goes into swimming. When the boys were small they swam on a club team which required plenty of time. However, when Matt was in high school he swam for the team and we found out what practice was all about. He would arrive for practice at 5:30 in the morning, practice, go to classes for the day, then more practice finishing around 5:30 in the afternoon. It is grueling stuff, especially when it is cold, and the pool is unheated which is typically the case. Now imagine how much practice it takes to get to the level of an's mind boggling. Well, if I want to get better I need to practice like an Olympian. Fortunately I have the time to do so.

As you know David and Michelle are getting married on November 22. I've not been very involved and now I understand why. I was doing a little surfing on the Web about the role of the groom's mother and found this little bit of advice...the groom's mother should show up, shut up, and wear beige. I told Michelle I would comply with the first two, but beige is out of the question.

Most of the time I'm sure you forget that I'm a mother of four children; sometimes I can't imagine it myself. Cliches, as well as sterotypes, persist because they usually have a bit of truth to them. Not always mind you, but often they fit. As a mother of four sons I've always been prepared for this one: "A son is a son till he takes a wife, a daughter is a daughter all her life." Today I suppose it could be modified to a lover, but that's a discussion for another day.

Because Bruce is too busy to read this I'll let you in on the anniversary plans. While talking to Le Anne the other day she suggested we spend the night at the Ritz Carlton in town. We've got a room reservation for tomorrow night with dinner scheduled for the romantic restaurant. I hope Bruce won't mind spending one more night away from home. He's still not home and it's 10:40PM.

Listening to: Morrissey - We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Sun is in Hiding

As you can imagine I take loads of pictures of flowers--hey, you know the title of the blog! I decided to embed a little slideshow of some that are good, some not so much. You be the judge.

I took a field trip today to Mt. Dora, a charming town about 30 miles from Orlando. Because I was so close I decided to drive into Tavares, another small town in Lake County I'd never seen before. Both are pretty sleepy, but Tavares is more so. I believe Mt. Dora has grown more because of art; here's what I'm getting at. Some years ago (obviously I don't know how many or I'd tell you) Mt. Dora began hosting an outdoor art festival accepting only top notch artists. The word got around and these days around 250,000 people attend each spring. People coming to the festival saw the natural beauty of the area (gigantic lakes), the close proximity to a city, and there you go. I had a yummy salad for lunch in a quaint restaurant.

Unfortunately I'm not feeling up to par, so all of it was a stretch. I've been home for hours now lying down, and that's my plan when I finish typing.

I did speak with Mr. Bruce and the inspection went well--he makes it look easy but believe me it's not!

Last night I read a great article in The New Yorker about the Plant City Strawberry Queen. Talk about a small town way of life.
Listening to: The Verve - Virtual World
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Incredible Shrinking Gail

Market Praise
Lest you think I only take photos of flowers.....

In final market related stuff--today's picture is of Roger, his wife Trish in black, and their two dogs, Max and Samantha. It was about this time last year that I began selling prints made by Roger. They were just cruising around like this last July when I met them for the first time.

It was with dismay that I looked at the scale this morning...down to 104.5 (digital scale). In this house it appears that I need more calories, and Bruce needs less...what's a cook to do?

The Olympics are spectacular, especially the swimming; I only wish they could put it on earlier. It is pushing my limit to stay up till even 10, so naturally I missed the dramatic relay race on Sunday night. It's just not the same in a re-run.

Have I told you these two kitchen tips before?

When I was feeding my mom during her illness (not a great description, but I can't think of any other way to put it) I used to make her deviled eggs for the next days lunch. I finally learned how to boil eggs consistently so they would not only peel, but have a nice yolk without that dreaded grayish-green ring. Here's the trick: cover eggs with tap water in saucepan, bring to boil, let boil two minutes, cover and move off heat for 12 minutes. Run under cold water for a minute or so, then put lots of ice cubes in with the water for five minutes or so. Make sure you crack them on the widest end and they will peel like magic--no more beat up white!

Secondly I'm extolling (is this a word?) the virtues of a pizza pan in the kitchen before. I rarely make pizza, but the pan is in the dishwasher nearly every week. I not only heat those delicious biscuits on there, but roast any number of vegetables on it. As well, a square cooling rack usually fits right on top to broil food on instead of the broiler pan that comes with ovens. Those pans are so hard to clean, just put some foil on the bottom of the pizza pan and the clean up is a snap.

One more household tip--I've finally used a product that lives up to it's name. It's called Invisible Glass made by Simonex, actually Bruce bought it for his car. Anyway I used it on the mirrors and glass table and it's fantastic!

Bruce left early yesterday morning, not to return until late Thursday night. Yikes! We're trying to schedule some anniversary celebration for this weekend because sadly he'll be gone on the actual date. I can remember a time when going out to eat was such a treat, it was almost exclusively reserved for after church, or a special celebration. It's kinda lost its' luster these days.

Listening to: Leftfield & Lydon - Open Up (Radio Edit)
via FoxyTunes

Listening to: Radiohead - Pop Is Dead
via FoxyTunes

Monday, August 11, 2008

Whose an Idiot You Know?

The title refers to an overheard loud mobile phone conversation. Although mobile phones are convenient, hearing the stupid things people say to each other at high decibels is an inconvenient truth. The aforementioned speaker didn't look much like a braniac to me.

These are some new flowers I've planted out by the pool. They are so cheery but the lack of rain is going to make watering a top priority. As you know, it wouldn't quit raining a week or so ago, now it won't start.

I overslept this morning which should have told me something...I should have stayed home. A shut out--the first in a long time. The saving grace was that it was not blistering hot, with much lower humidity, making for a quick morning.

This afternoon I delivered the canvas I'm donating to the March of Dimes event. Amazingly the receptionist asked me if I did the Baldwin Park art festival to which I replied in the affirmative. She said, "I bought two of your large images for my living room." It's a small world after all. At first I didn't recognize her, as it was a few months ago, but she reminded me that I'd allowed them to take the images to their place to see what fit the best. It was actually a surreal moment for me, realizing that something I'd made was in a home. I know we've talked about this recently, how it is just starting to hit me what I'm out there doing.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


A Spectacle to Behold
Let's just say at the outset that I love the Olympics. Last evening we attended an art opening at the gallery where I may be featured, however, we didn't stay too long because I was dying to see the opening ceremonies. It did not disappoint, in fact, poor Bruce had to listen to me ooohing, and aaahing at every new scene. I'm so sorry we missed the lighting of the torch, as well as the drummers, but what we saw was magnificent. Because television viewing is so seldom done around here I'd forgotten ours is not working too great. The picture freezes making for a bit of a jarring viewing experience; this may force us to get a new one.

I am missing my Brucer.

Jonathan sent me an e-mail yesterday asking if I was going to do the 8/08/08 thing on flickr. I'd spent some time trying to get the most interesting shot of this gerbera daisy and hadn't thought too much about it. He reminded me how much he'd loved what I did with 7/07/07, I figured why not. Only thing is that I didn't realize that the group only wanted one photograph instead of eight. Nearly taxing my creativity, I used the kitchen for inspiration, checking all the drawers and cabinets for sets of eight. I shot pictures in every room chasing the best light. I decided to pull out the California Raisins again for some fun. The last photo shows all eight laying on the pool float. I left them there all night and just a few minutes ago I looked out the window, seeing the float on the pool deck. An hour or so ago a huge wind came up blowing it out of the pool. What's so amazing is that the raisins landed up in the bushes rather than in the pool. One is still MIA but I'm sure I'll find it in the ferns.

Have you ever noticed how when people are complimenting a painter they say--wow, it looks like a photograph? Conversely, a photographer's best compliment is--wow, it looks like a painting. Wonder why this is?

I've just made a summer fruit salad for dinner including: bing cherries, peaches, pears, blueberries, and green grapes--it's beautiful.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Summer Casualty

Remember how I've been harping on the big storms this summer? Apparently one of the many lightening strikes was close to home. My dear neighbor Regina's remaining giant oak tree was hit a week ago Sunday. Not only did she lose the forty year old tree but multiple appliances and computer problems resulted from the strike. She was out to dinner and the only sign of a problem was her dead phone when she returned. A few days later the leaves on the tree began to brown. Although she had a surge protector it wasn't enough. The sad thing is that she lost two massive oaks in the hurricanes a few years ago, and now this one. The street obviously doesn't look the same without the canopy it provided.

Last night at this time I was mowing the lawn thinking it might be cooler. Good thing it wasn't tonight as the temperature at 7:45 is still 91 degrees. For six weeks the rain was incessant--now it hasn't rained in almost a week. The plants and grass are drying up quickly in the blazing heat. After finishing last night I jumped in the pool to cool off.

The flower picture I'm posting today is from a yard I drive by with some frequency. This is my first time seeing this beautiful flower, the lovely shade of red is captivating. After knocking on the door, I told the owner I loved to photograph flowers, he consented after a moments hesitation. He called it a silk flower which he'd grown from seed; if I'm not mistaken he was kinda proud someone had noticed.

Bruce has been in town all week but that doesn't mean we've had dinner together. Tonight he's at Capital Grille with his colleagues from around the country after two days of meetings at the corporate offices. At least he hasn't had to fly or drive too far this week. Tomorrow he will be driving to "The Villages" in Lake County. It is a huge development, and I mean huge, for retirees. The "town" has been the subject of a recent book detailing life in a planned community that from what I've read is not all that flattering. Debauchery all around.

I'm struggling right now with what to donate for the children's cancer camp benefit at the end of the month. The event is one night in a downtown gallery. My photograph will be in the company of other, more established artists, giving me big doubts about what to contribute. It needs to be something arty, and at the same time, something that someone might want.

Speaking of weather, apparently Jonathan and Alissa went through some wild weather this week in Chicago. From what I heard the lightening, rain, and wind were unprecedented.

My neighbors just returned from nearly two weeks in England. When Matt and I chatted last week he mentioned the heat (no air conditioning) and how he was tired of it already. They echoed his sentiments! However, it passed after a few days and milder weather returned. Mostly when she was over here this afternoon she talked about how expensive it is. I believe I've mentioned that Matt is probably the only person you'll hear about who's saving money whilst living in London. He's unbelievable, but you knew that already didn't you?

Listening to: Spiritualized - Sway
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It Was So Hot Today.....

you could have fried an egg on the sidewalk, not that I'd want to mind you, but still...

You would think we were farmers in this house if you knew how early we got up today. Around 4:30 Bruce woke up worrying about some work detail. I woke up asking if it was time to get up. He decided to go to the office before he drove down to Vero to check on something. I laid there for some minutes and thought maybe since I was already awake I would do the same. Not go to the office per se, but get out with my tripod in the dark. I've had quite a lot of interest in my night photos of downtown and thought I'd add to the stash. As you can imagine I'm pooped right now after my early start. Bruce is still hard at work at the office. He's a work Ironman!

On the other side of downtown is a lovely area called College Park. I get people at the market from there asking if I have anything from their neighborhood. So far I've not found a whole lot but there is a nice view of the skyline from Lake Ivanhoe. That's what I set out to do. After taking some shots just after sunrise I got back in the car and started to drive away when something caught my eye lakeside. Naturally I quickly stopped and what to my wondering eyes should appear,not one, not two, but three otters! I'm sharing this bad picture today because I didn't get any good ones. When using the zoom it is easy to not hold the camera still enough thus the blur. That said, I wanted you to see what I saw. When I got out of the car they immediately jumped back into the lake with only their heads re-surfacing while I was there. I knew I needed to get home to do laundry, now that I know they are there I might return in the future.

Bruce sent me this little joke via e-mail suggesting I could relate:

Eleven people were hanging on a rope,under a helicopter.
10 men and 1 woman.
The rope was not strong enough to carry them all, so they decided that one had to leave, because otherwise they were all going to fall.
They weren't able to choose that person, until the woman gave a very touching speech.
She said that she would voluntarily let go of the rope, because, as a woman, she was used to giving up everything for her husband and kids or for men in general, and was used to always making sacrifices with little in return.
As soon as she finished her speech,
all the men started clapping . . . .

I spoke with Lisa today and bad stuff just keeps happening over there. Danny is slowly recovering from the radiation, but now has a cold, probably due to a weakened immune system. Lisa hurt her mouth in a freak accident and has been in pain for more than a week. Lastly, she is super sad because Amanda is moving with her boyfriend to Chicago this weekend. We discussed how mothers of girls find it harder to let go of their girls. Maybe it is just me--after the initial shock (really loss, I cried like a baby) of Matt leaving for college when he was barely seventeen, I've seen his moves, as well as Jonathans', as exciting adventures. I don't think it is because I love them any less, just differently.

Lunch with Dean at Nordstrom today was a talk fest. It was difficult not to interrupt each other while chatting about politics, the arts, restaurants, the paper, his column, the wedding, the boys; you get the picture.

Congratulations to Emily who normally reads this blog. I expect she'll be putting it aside for a while because she has a brand new baby girl! She and Pete are the envy of many--a boy followed by a little girl. Good stuff.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Beginning of August

I hope August ends the way it's begun. Between yesterday and today's market, I sold as much as I did all of August 2007. Today one of the smaller canvases was purchased to go to Scotland if you can imagine. Remember how thrilled I was the first time one of my prints went overseas? I'm still just as excited. However, the heat has taken its' toll on me and I'm worn out. I'm feeling much improved, in fact, I begin to think all the symptoms have gone away when they raise their ugly head again. The dry heaves aren't daily anymore thank goodness but they haven't gone away entirely. The same can be said about my feet problems and the ache in my side. The good news is that they are no longer constant; it just seems like it's something I'll have to live with. Hopefully I've satisfied everyone's curiosity regarding my health. :-)

Today I'm posting another little album from the trip last week. I just had to share the little boy with someone. He reminded me so much of my little boys. I took one of him peering through the boardwalk slats first then he turned seeing I had the camera pointed at him. He said, "cheese!" I got a pretty big kick out of that.

This just came through:
Gail Peck:

Thank you for applying to the 35th Annual Winter Park Autumn Art Festival. We regret to inform you that you have not been selected by the jury. Please check back in February 2009 to apply for next year's show, and visit our website at for more information.

I'd not expected to be chosen for this show, now however, when folks ask me if I've been in the Winter Park show I can truthfully say, they didn't want me!

A true crime story from today's paper:
Man kills 81 year old mother by beating with telephone, remote control, and then holding underwater in the swimming pool. What could she have done that irritated him so?

Something good always results from something bad, in this case high cost of oil. Maureen works for a global shipping company so I don't want their business to suffer but it would sure be good if some jobs returned to America. I've always wondered how in the world something could travel all the way from China and cost less.
Globalization Comes into Question

Friday, August 1, 2008

Here Comes the Rain Again

It seems as if it rains earlier, and earlier each day. This has me worried about the market on Sunday. Perhaps we should take a Sunday off for two reasons. Bruce could use the rest and I am wearing a huge cold sore on my face. If you have to have a cold sore it is better to be on your face because it is less painful. The pain is worse when it is just coming on; by the time it is hideous you hardly feel it, especially on your face. It takes a bit of guts to go out in public with one of these as large as mine but I'm doing it. In fact, we are meeting Jane and Michael at Ceviche tonight for dinner. Hopefully they can ignore it.

Because this blog is called Camera Crazy I like to show you what I'm doing sometimes rather than just write about it. I picked up some glass beads at Walgreens for $2 and was trying to make something interesting with them. You can see the tripod in the one picture. I set it up because I was trying all sorts of camera settings, even a 5 second exposure. I just realized as I type this that I could have done one other thing, but there's always tomorrow. As I was saying, here's what I made with them today.

You know how I've complained many times about the paper but I still want it to exist. Today my friend wrote in his Sentinel column--"I could no more do without a daily paper than I could go without breathing." I'm not happy with all the changes but I hate to think of the day that it might not be available. For those of us of a certain age it is part of our daily routine, from walking out to get it, removing it from the plastic sleeve, and glancing at the front page before putting the tea kettle on to boil (in my case). Where else would I find out there is a play running in a nearby city called "You Know I Can't Hear You With the Water Running"? If the title is any indication of the quality of the play it must be a sellout. I couldn't count the times I've said that to someone.

Yipee--I've talked to all my sons this week. I may have chatted with them longer than I have with Bruce this week. The poor darling did not arrive home last night until at least midnight (yours truly had been asleep for hours) and was off again by 7:30 this morning. Matt thinks enough is enough, however in this economy everyone who is employed is thankful.

You Just Never Know