Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Water Colors


This morning I've been fooling around with water, color, and light in that order. I'm showing you a few of the experiments to see what you think.


I forgot to tell you that on Friday we were gone from the house from 8 till 3:30 in the afternoon. Normally, as soon as we pull up, little Baxter is waiting by the door. Not so on Friday. I'd dropped Bruce off at his office, a good thing because you know him, he would have freaked at what happened next. (Remember dogs are mans best friend) I came in thinking he was just getting lazy, but calling his name did not produce said little Yorkie. I started searching the house, went out back, and even into the garage thinking possibly we'd shut him out. I did not panic, but I must admit I was a tiny bit worried. Eventually (really like a few minutes later) I opened our bedroom closet door and out bounds Mr. Baxter jumping with joy to see me. Whew!

Here's a little something from the Times which a few of us can relate to: Sad,but True

I've never been much of a waiter, consequently I'm not much of a planner because then I have to wait. I don't know how Michelle and David (mostly Michelle) have waited all year for the wedding because if it were me I would have gone crazy by now. I digress, this blog is about me, not them! What I'm waiting for today is Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The first show of the season begins on Saturday, but we'll be setting up for it on Friday afternoon because we can put our car right in front of our area and not have to cart things in. Unfortunately there is some rain in the forecast, however let's believe that the weather folks will be wrong on that score. Who knows how I will do, but we'll find out won't we?

Yesterday after the museum I met with a lovely young woman who contacted me through Facebook. She is a long time friend of Matt whom I've not seen in more than ten years what with Matt globe trotting and all. The scoop is this: she owns a darling boutique in Winter Park and wondered if I would provide art for the space for at least a month. I brought in samples and sent her a web album to choose what she would feel good about hanging in her store. Here's a link to her store: Ginger Don't you just love the name? I can't wait to tell Maureen because she loves all things ginger.

Here's my dilemma--the opening for Ginger is the same night as the opening for the show I'm in at City Arts Factory, a happening gallery downtown. I'm thinking I'll go with the Ginger option at this point. I've not discussed this yet with anyone, but if you've got a vote let me know. I will tell you that they hang a large piece right in their window to the street amongst the clothing which is pretty exciting for me. Naturally you'll be kept up to date on what happens next....

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Listening to: Black Grape - In The Name Of The Father
via FoxyTunes

Monday, September 29, 2008

Black Monday


To combat the darkness of the financial news I'm posting a picture from The Villages, a planned community about an hour north of Orlando where Bruce is building not only a Red Lobster, but an Olive Garden as well. When Sarah Palin visited Florida it was right near hear that thousands gathered in the sweltering heat to hear her. Of course, that was before her interviews when people were still cheering....

On Friday I went with Bruce to Vero Beach to check on a parking lot problem. Because he'd driven around 700 miles last week I drove him so he could at least only singletask rather than his usual multi. His Blackberry never seems to quit. This way during the hour and a half drive he could handle his calls and e-mails with me doing the motoring. If you've never been exposed to MINI lingo, that is what they call driving. As well, when you drive a MINI it is understood that you automatically wave at your fellow MINI drivers. The non-compliance of some drivers used to exasperate Jonathan to no end. He thought, where is their sense of unity???

Happily the Seminoles won on Saturday and the Gators lost--a perfect day; it probably won't happen again anytime soon, so I'm reveling in it while I can. Ironically while we were driving to the Villages on Saturday loads of people heading to the Gator game were sharing the highway. I'm sure their drive home was not nearly as cheerful as the drive up to Gainesville.

Rain again just as we were getting home from the market yesterday with the tent getting wet. Fortunately it waited until after we were packed up. The lovely weather from earlier in the week vanished by Sunday with the humidity getting serious in the afternoon. I was delighted when two folks who said they would come by to purchase showed up.

While looking for David's birth certificate late this afternoon I came across lots of memorabilia including the receipt for my original wedding ring. The total cost--$468 which in 1973 felt like a lot of money. I found something I'd written about the birth of the twins describing the experience as thrilling. I wrote that I was so happy to go home from the hospital and see my darling Mattie. Another funny thing was a letter signed-- your loving son, Bill. Sounds sweet huh? Unfortunately there was no date, but in it he apologized for disappointing me academically (that went on for a while I can tell you that!), explaining he would try harder in the new nine weeks. The real reason for the letter was asking me to type his report! He knew I was easily seduced by words. Once he got over his teenage years he was once again a model student thank goodness.

Yet another find found in the twins baby book. Fashions, fads, and crises of the day--patterned hose and skinny jeans, disco dancing to the BeeGees, roller skating, and the unheard of price of gasoline--$1/gallon.

Which leads me to the title..yes it is terrible right now. Will it stay this way forever? Of course not. How long it will last is anybodies guess, but here's hoping recovery starts sooner, rather than later. The bad news for my boys today--Wachovia was sold (Bill), what it means we don't know at this point. Then there is the 777 point plunge in the stock market. David tells me he is pretty well immune at this point. I'm doing my best not to worry about the twins although I have to admit it isn't easy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Windows Were Open


On Sunday Roger brought my huge order to the market and amongst the prints was one of this angel from a cemetery in Winter Park. Remember how our market managers soon to be daughter in law was killed in an automobile accident on Memorial Day? Well, the mother of the girl is naturally still in a lot of pain. Currently she's obsessed with angels and when Dana saw the print she freaked out saying how she'd love to have one to give to her. This is one of the only angel statues I'm familiar with around here; I hope it makes her a tiny bit happier.

Oh yes, we were talking about the order. I spent nearly seven hours today readying the prints; I finished around 6 this evening. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful that anyone wants them, but truthfully it is a bit laborious between the stickers that go on the bags, sealing the bags, and signing them all. Customers often don't realize how much goes into just one of the prints. As you well know, I price them reasonably, maybe too reasonably for the effort. Thankfully I do not have to make a living off this venture!

While doing the mindless part of the process I called Lisa for an update on Danny. Half of the staples came out today after a harrowing experience last night. Suffice it to say that the doctor proclaimed the healing is going well. Continuing their run on problems, their refrigerator broke last night, a creature has died in their attic (Danny, of course, is in no shape to investigate), and fleas have sprung up in their bedroom. Things can always be worse, but seems to me they could use a break right about now.

Yes, the windows were open today. In fact, you could not have ordered a more perfect day if you wanted to. The humidity was low, a gentle breeze blew causing the curtains to flutter just a bit, and the temperature hovered in the early 80's. Not a cloud in the blue, blue sky. Normally Baxter is not much of a walker, but even his step was livelier today. Tomorrow's forecast is much the same. I've also noticed how the days are shortening at what seems to be a rapid pace. Because I am a lucky girl and don't have to use an alarm clock, I often sleep till around sunrise. This morning I heard Mr. Baxter yelping just a bit in the gray light of dawn which these days is after 7. Coming to, I thought, do I hear a lawnmower? Are the lawn guys here already? Indeed they were. Spending nearly two hours the three workers continue the beautification of our lawn. Before long we'll be the envy of the neighborhood.

Bruce nearly missed his flight but just as the doors were about to close they let him on continuing his streak of never missing a flight in 16 years of traveling. A traffic jam nearly caused the breaking of his unblemished record. He's in the air as I type. A problem with the parking lot, one that just won't go away, necessitates an unexpected trip to Vero Beach tomorrow. I'm going to tag along, maybe even driving him if he'll agree. He's had a hard week per usual.

Five years ago today, with Baxter just a puppy, I gave a birthday party for our mom. It hardly seems possible.

A smart piece from the NYTimes:
Anyone for Realism?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

BOGO


Did I get your attention with that title? Our beloved Publix Supermarket used it in their ad today to sound modern I 'spose. Can you guess what it means? With all the smarties reading this I'm sure you can; just in case you need a little help...Buy One, Get One. Everyone is wanting to seem like they are helping the consumer and the truth of the matter is that Publix does a very good job with that. In my former life as a inveterate shopper I was grateful that often the items on sale were the ordinary groceries I used anyway; unlike other stores that use a sale to get you to buy stuff you don't need! Although Matt didn't use a lot of groceries he desperately missed shopping at Publix after moving to Chicago. I imagine Amanda feels about the same way right about now.

Before I go any further, today's picture is of the little umbrella, if you will, over the intriguing black bat flower. Doesn't it look kinda like corduroy?

Yesterday's lunch with Mary and Rachel was delicious. Rachel, as I may have mentioned, is in photography school-- I was getting all the scoop on what she is learning. If it is possible, she knows less than I do about the technicalities of taking photographs, her professors are trying to change all that. The toll house cookies were especially good with yours truly taking home a little plate of them. I'm not much of a dessert girl except for cookies which I adore. When Matt was a baby for some reason I lost a bunch of weight and was down to 97 pounds. We moved to California for a year due to the dreadful job market in Orlando. There were loads of things I didn't like about that time including the weather, loneliness, and raising a challenging one year old. To combat some of that misery I made cookies all the time managing to gain 17 pounds!!! Not only did I make the aforementioned chocolate chip cookies, but a divine coconut cookie, oatmeal, peanut butter, and snickerdoodles. One of our favorites to this day is a lovely little drop sugar cookie which I make nearly every Christmas, decorating them with green or red sugar. Little did I know that at the end of that year a twin pregnancy awaited me. I was so sick throughout those nine months that I was lucky to gain the 30 pounds I did. A little side trip down memory lane, forgive me.

Bruce called from Maine last night reporting frost already. During our morning chat he described the changing leaves in Massachusetts on his way to Connecticut. The maples are blazing with color.

Exciting photography news! Listening to the answering machine upon my arrival yesterday afternoon, I was delighted to get one from a woman who saw me at the market last month and wanted to buy something. My call was too late to reach her then, however she called back today and the framed photo is already on the way to Boca Raton. Hurrah! I neglected to mention that a similar call was on the machine on Sunday, a repeat customer. Seriously, I give out my business card like nobodies business and rarely does it yield anything, so I'm super excited about this.

A trip to the produce market today yielded a glorious display of colorful vegetables, as well as the most beautiful raspberries. The wonderful food blog I mentioned a few weeks ago inspired me to buy the on sale leeks. I'm going to try out Terrie's recipe for leek and potato soup; her images are so mouth watering, I can't wait to try the real thing!

I don't know about you but I'm getting pollsters calling all the time of late. I mostly just let the phone ring. You should hear our little Baxter, he makes the funniest noise while the ringing continues. I've made the mistake of answering a few times--man is it hard to get rid of them.

The time has come for me to tackle the stacked prints on the dining table, a chore I'm not too excited about...
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Listening to: Nada Surf - Imaginary Friends
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's That Time Again

To catch up on things.

A few days ago I tried a clock project around the house. We have a wide varitey of clocks, most of which have some variation of the current time. I thought it would be fun to make a mosaic with all the different clocks, and times, however I couldn't make it work with flickr toys. I'm showing you one of my favorites; a gift from Matt many years ago from an antique shop. The cord is very yellow with age and the plug is unlike those we see today with a cute little rectangle head. Not only does it keep perfect time, it has a sweeping second hand and a lovely patina.

So where were we....oh yes, we were going out for a date on Friday evening. We met Connie and Jeff at CityFish, or I should say they came downtown to meet us, albeit too late for me. I went into the restaurant from our sidewalk location only to hear the familiar refrain--"Hey Mom"; who should be sitting in a booth, but David and company. Orlando is a small world after all.

As the evening progressed yours truly had the familiar pain creep up on her and by the time we got home I was a miserable lady. Saturday was pretty much a wash out--I spent most of the day laying on the couch. The new television got some use with me switching between college football games. Two were especially painful to watch--Florida vs. Tennessee because Florida won so easily, and Florida State's dreadful performance vs. Wake Forest. Sad, sad, sad.

Several people have now seen the dress, and while all agree it is spectacular, they likewise agree that I need some sort of wrap or short jacket. That will be the deal breaker, whether or not I find something complimentary. The search will be on.

Danny's surgery was successful; discharge was on Friday with a painful week ahead to endure.

Roger delivered my largest order to date. I was a bit anxious that no one will have any money to buy them in this dreadful economic time period, but proving once again that you never know what will happen, I sold two canvases on Sunday. The good thing about the market Sunday was that the sales came early so I didn't have to wait anxiously for something to happen, the bad part is that a rainstorm swooped in unexpectedly with drenching rain. Fortunately Bruce arrived 15 minutes before it began, so between the two of us we kept things as dry as possible. Having several thousand dollars worth of merchandise in an open tent during a torrential downpour is not my idea of fun.

Although I still wasn't up to par I needed to do the market, if only to get out. Between the days activity and the rainstorm, I was worn out, climbing into bed, or I should say dragging into bed, and fast asleep by 8:30. I didn't wake until 6:30 Monday morning. I'm still not perfect, but I'm forcing myself to keep moving.

Which leads me to today. Duty at the museum followed by lunch at Mary's house. I'm delivering some notecards, as well as bringing Rachel my September issue of Vogue. Rachel is 20 years old with a gift and passion for fashion photography. The September issue is always filled with the latest trends in both fashion and photography. One thing I particularly noticed was how many ads were out of focus. Lots of blur action.

I suspect that should just about fill my day.


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Listening to: Coldplay - Clocks
via FoxyTunes

Friday, September 19, 2008

Let's Pretend it is Fall


That's what I did last night with the dinner I cooked for Mr. Bruce last night when he finally arrived home after a harrowing week. Several of the restaurants he has going are re-models with the contractor starting after the restaurant closes. As such he sometimes stays way late resulting in two twenty hour days this week if you can imagine. I told you he was working entirely too hard. Blame it on the economy; many employers are asking employees to do more than is realistic.

Anyway I cooked some pork spare ribs with sauerkraut and potatoes with sauteed apples on the side. It was way delicious. Actually it only got into the 80's today which gives up hope it will cool off one of these days.

Because Bruce goes to New England in the fall every year he always brings back leaves--these are from last year but new ones should be arriving in the next few weeks. Driving through the Catskill Mountains in New York this week he said they haven't begun there yet, but they will...

I took the dress back to Macy's today and bought another one at Bloomingdales. I needed the sales girls help me zip it up (just the last little bit) and went outside the dressing room to find her. She did her thing, and two gay guys nearby started raving about the dress. Strangely enough a woman spoke up behind us saying she'd seen me from another department and wanted to come over to say how stunning the dress is. The only catch on this one is that it is a bandeau style which is problematic for several reasons--one, I've never worn one before and I imagine it might bug me keeping it up, secondly, I need some sort of wrap to cover myself which I'm unsure if I'll be able to find. Nevertheless when something fits me I snatch it up; whether I keep it is another story. I'm awaiting Bruce's comments.

So I see Apple has added a genius feature to iTunes. That word is thrown around a lot, but do you know the definition of a genius? I didn't at one time, but now I do. Years ago the elementary school suggested one of the boys take an IQ test. The results were relayed to me in a big conference with about seven people from the school attending--very intimidating I can tell you that much! Imagine being a youngish mother (am I keeping this mysterious enough so I won't embarrass my child?) hearing that your child is a genius, not really understanding what it meant and what we should do about it. Stunned, I went home to look up the definition in the dictionary--a person with an IQ over 140. To give you an idea what that means, schools usually teach to about an IQ around 100. Anyway we muddled our way through having a genius in the family, probably not doing enough, but the best we could.

Back to the genius feature--it appears it is sorta like when Amazon suggests that if I like a particular book then I'll probably like another. Using what I already have in my iTunes library it puts together play lists. We'll see what I think.

Speaking of books I told you the other day that sometimes I choose to ignore things if I don't want to know something--that's just what I did while finishing Middlesex. I knew it was crazy late but I just don't look at the clock; it was well worth it. Unlike The Virgin Suicides by the same author, this one gives you a bit of hope for a happy ending. I say that because although I did not read the latter book, I saw the movie and the ending is terribly bleak. I'm not usually into happy endings but the narrator in Middlesex deserved it. The title is genius--whoops, there goes that word again!
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Listening to: Belanova - Baila Mi Corazón
via FoxyTunes

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Listening to: LCD Soundsystem - North American Scum
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

You Weren't Expecting a Donkey Were You?


I was up close and personal with this donkey today while visiting Lukas Garden Center's Butterfly Encounter this morning. Man was it hot in there; I'm not much of a sweater, but good grief it was sweltering. While driving somewhere with Bruce recently we heard the director of BE on the radio enthusiastically describing the wonders of their butterflies. Although it was good I'm thinking his enthusiasm was just a touch biased. Turns out there is a butterfly festival there this weekend and they were waiting on a shipment of two hundred new butterflies; they kindly gave me a free pass for another visit. I decided to drive out to Winter Springs this morning and scout out the location of the art festival that happens in two weeks and Lukas was nearby. Located in a tiny village named Slavia it is a huge nursery with thousands of plants, pots, and even a pasture with two cows and a donkey. I approached the fence and he/she came trotting right up to me. Kinda cute huh?

Prior to getting there I stumbled upon an area called Black Hammock; familiar only because our vendor neighbors (the orchid couple) are from there. I drove down a country road heading to Lake Jessup and saw this field with horses, cow birds, and in the distance a few wild turkeys.



Before leaving the house I checked Google Maps and the mileage listed was 32; I didn't follow their advice finding a route that clocked in at 21. With the MINI gas is not that huge a consideration, but in my head I always think of the adage "waste not, want not" when making decisions that involve money. Now we'll know the shortest route when the time comes to set up.

Speaking of money here's an article from the Times: Thomas Friedman Knows What To Do With the Economy

Bruce called telling me it was chilly in Pennsylvania and he better pack a jacket next week. Living with the Florida heat it is hard to imagine how chilly it becomes in September. From there he headed into New York staying at a casino hotel in Seneca, NY last night. He's not much of a gambler, but every now and then when the opportunity arises, he'll play the slot machines. Apparently he won $100, giving back $20. He left the house with cash, but needed the new infusion after giving a soldier in the Philadelphia airport money for the bus.

Danny's kidney surgery is scheduled for tomorrow; let's hope this is the last he'll have to face and the Spak household can get back to normal. It has been an extraordinarily bad year for them.

The dress I ordered for the wedding arrived today; I'm thinking it's not going to work.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Drop the Drama!

Once Bruce completes a restaurant the problems do not end. Inevitably there are some small problems that managers think are monumental--you know, the whole making a mountain out of molehill mentality. Furthermore, they call him and with new technology, not just him, they copy everyone up the chain of command with their woes. Bruce, ever the chess player, tries to appease them, but what he'd like to say is, "drop the drama!" Naturally, being the good guy he is, he rights the wrongs and life goes on.

I left a little early for the museum this morning hoping to take advantage of the light, stopping at Lake Eola on my way. This little guy emerged from the first of many baths he'll take today.



Unfortunately by the time I arrive at the museum the light is getting harsh; often it doesn't stop me from practicing on the grounds resulting in very uneven results. I hardly ever photograph roses, but here's a little cutie I liked:



That said, the lovely white hibiscus is from there, as is a spectacular one I saw today with the deepest crimson center flowing into peach ruffles. Many people think taking photographs of flowers is easy, which is true in some cases, but not so with the hibiscus. It's hard to know what to focus on with the stamen protruding so far outside the center of the flower.



David called last evening urging me not to worry about him. Fortunately David is somewhat resilient, having been a day trader during the tech bubble, he learned pretty quickly that what goes up must come down. But does it have to free fall?

My friend Terrie was kind enough to comment on my blog (rarely do I get comments--is anyone reading this thing?); she thinks I'm some kind of star around these parts. Nothing could be further from the truth, however I'm giving it my best shot. What it really amounts to is that because I've been at this for 18 months now I've met people who've introduced me to other people, who've helped me in some way.....you get the picture. I'm trying to self promote by entering every contest that comes my way even when I know I'll have little chance of being accepted. Those efforts are slowly paying off, but believe me I spend a lot of time working this gig. Which brings us to the market--my launching pad. Although some days are slow, I never fail to make a contact who might be important in the future. Because I've never had a career where networking mattered I'm doing some on the job training.

Middlesex just keeps getting better and better.

Jonathan gets to go to Boston for a Green Conference! Aside from his move to Chicago, he's rarely been in a big city so I'm excited for him. I hope he has a little time to do some sight seeing; a walk by Fenway would make a good start.

Finally here's a link to Dave and Michelle's wedding site:
The Knot

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Listening to: Keane - Your Eyes Open
via FoxyTunes


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Listening to: Keane - Nothing In My Way
via FoxyTunes

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fly Away

I adore white hibiscus flowers; they look like they have wings don't they?

I've been anxious all day, in fact, I tried to start this earlier, but I just couldn't sit still. It seems as if parenting of young children is filled with worries whether it be potty training, teething, first day of school and so on. As the children become teenagers (particularly boys, although that doesn't necessarily hold true anymore!) you worry about drug use, promiscuity, and driving. And so the worries mount as they age.

Mostly I'm an optimist meaning things often happen that I'm either unaware of or choose to ignore, however today is not one of those days. As you know both Bill and Dave work in the financial sector which as I type is fraught with misery. I literally felt sick for Dave in particular having to go to work today and keep from going crazy. I wanted to call him early, but I don't usually want them to think I'm meddlesome; fortunately he called me. His phone was already going crazy with investors seeking answers, the problem is that this time around there seems to be no answers. Although they put on a brave face neither Presidential candidate knows what to do. Which brings up the point--why in heaven's name would anyone want to be President? It boggles my mind why anyone would want to be in charge of the mess that things have become.

I've been working on getting it all into perspective after reading about the victims of Hurricane Ike. What misery those folks have faced already with some of the worst discomforts to come. Just like Florida, Texas is a hot box--no power is something very hard to live with at this time of year. It feels like all the humidity was sucked up into the Hurricane as it passed by our peninsula because the weather here has been spectacular the last few days--still hot, but bearable. The pool water is perfect.

To escape the bad news of the day I've been delving into fiction. Maureen loaned me Evidence of Things Unseen which I cannot praise enough. I found a post it note in the back from her friend Sherri who loaned it to her--"exquisite book, hope you enjoy." I couldn't say it any better. The plot begins in the early 1920's and of all things it involves not only photography, but x-rays as well.by Marianne Wiggins Published in 1993, it lost the Pulitzer fiction prize to what I'm now reading, Middlesex.by Jeffrey Eugenides The first novel took about 20 pages to get into, the second, one paragraph. I so envy the talent of gifted writers.

Bruce was off early to the North country returning on Thursday. That poor man works so hard. Being a perfectionist definitely has its drawbacks.

Did I mention I got acceptance into a gallery show for October at the City Arts Factory? Keep reading....more details forthcoming.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Time Remembered


Many people my age vividly recall the moment we were told that President Kennedy was killed, although I'm not among them. Sometimes my bad memory saddens me, other times I shrug it off. I do however remember September 11, 2001 vividly.

You've been reading long enough to know that Bruce's typical schedule is to fly out on Tuesday mornings, returning on Thursday nights. What he's doing now is extremely atypical. On occasion he begrudgingly flew out on Mondays; thank God that is what he did the week of September 10.

In my former life I had a surgical case scheduled at 8:30 most mornings. This procedure, called a breast needle localization, is used to guide the surgeon doing a biopsy on a suspicious area that can not be felt. It was my job to place the area under a paddle with a cut out, x-ray it precisely, and assist not only the patient, but the radiologist, who first placed a needle in position, followed by a thin wire to be removed in surgery. Although it was not terribly painful the procedure often caused the patient enormous anxiety which I tried to allay. As such, once I would expose a film someone outside my door would take it to the darkroom developing it and showing it to the radiologist to decide if the position was perfect. At all times I remained with the patient, chatting, patting, and in general trying to provide the easiest experience possible.

That particular day my boss Dave, who was known as a jokester, was doing the running for my case. When I opened the door slightly to hand it out he told me about the planes. I was sure he was making it up, although now that I think about it, how could he have? Naturally when it was discovered it was true the hospital was abuzz. Many patients did not show up for the later appointments that day and those who did could talk of nothing else.

Our department phone began to ring with all of the Peck boys wanting reassurance that their dad was fine, and so he was. Remember the scare that other planes might go down? One consequence Bruce faced was not being able to get home later in the week. I think he finally found an airport that was still running on maybe Friday? On that aspect I'm sketchy, but I do know he had some serious driving to do to find an airport. I believe at one point he thought about driving home from Iowa. My how times have changed. One of the girls I worked with lost a former sister in law when the World Trade Centers went down. Just writing about it pains me to think of all the lives forever changed.

On today's agenda:
Teeth cleaning
Cable guy who actually came
Lawn guys continue the yard transformation
Trip to City Hall to deliver cd with pictures

There have been dramatic rainstorms all afternoon, flooding many streets, and filling our pool to the overflow stage. It continues as I type.

I'm cooking for myself tonight--if you can imagine, I've got a roast chicken in the oven which is nearly ready. I've stuffed it with fresh rosemary, thyme, a quartered lemon, and half an onion. Wish you were here to share.

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Listening to: Rosanne Cash - Tennessee Flat Top Box
via FoxyTunes

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Listening to: Sade - Paradise
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

In the Mail

The long awaited wedding will soon be upon us as evidenced by the beautiful invitation arriving in today's mail. I had no idea how fancy they have become. No wonder Michelle has been so busy!

Michelle and David have been together for probably six years now so we are all excited that they are finally getting married. Their relationship is one where they both make the other one a better person, just what is needed for a successful marriage. I'll soon be a mother in law!

I've stayed home for the cable people to no avail--they have not shown up. A call to the cable company did nothing to get them here. In the morning I've got a dental appointment and then a wait and see for the cable guy. You've all experienced the same frustration I'm sure.

Baxter woke me up early, 5:30 to be exact, to go out. Thankfully I went back to sleep because there is not much to do around the house at that hour. A ringing phone woke me at 8, later than I usually sleep, with a girl wanting to order a canvas. Although she lives in Cincinnati she saw my booth at the market on a trip down here and took my card. What a nice surprise! She's ordered one to be shipped to her best friend for a birthday gift. That makes two this week--I received an email the other day from a woman saying her husband was buying her a canvas for her birthday. I love for them to be given as gifts. It makes a girl a tiny bit proud, not much, but some.

While chatting with Matt the other day we discussed metering. For the non-technical readers this refers to how much light the camera measures in a scene. I decided to experiment around the house and this is the result--a close up of an elkhorn frond. I can see where this could be quite useful and more experimentation will be undertaken.


Jonathan will be happy to know that we watched "House" on our new television last night. The picture quality is amazing, promising to get even better with the new cable. While he was still here I got to see the Science channel which was entirely new to me. One of the programs was on how they make Legos, a big part of our past. Manufacturing holds a special appeal to me because our father was a mechanical engineer. I'm enthralled with the machines and the brains behind them. I used to have to step over elaborate Lego creations every day. In the closet is a huge box of those wonderful blocks. Apparently after naming the toy they discovered that Lego means "I build." Pretty cool huh?

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Listening to: Chicane with Måire Brennan - Saltwater/Chicane with Maire Brennan
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Just Another Tuesday


Well, in some ways it was, in other ways, not so much. Over the weekend we took the plunge into the big television waters purchasing an LCD 40". I'm sure I need not tell you that it is an HD set. After some initial struggles getting it going we quickly realized that without the HD box the potential beautiful picture was nowhere in sight. This afternoon the cable technician came with not only the box, but the capability of programming the remote! I am terribly challenged when it comes to most things like this, so I was very appreciative. The sad thing is that I may have mentioned that our old tv was not working well, thus we finally broke down to replace it. Guess what? The bad picture, and out of sync video and audio were caused by a FAULTY outdoor cable which will be replaced tomorrow! He tells me the new cable will speed up our computers as well, always a good thing. Remember the couple we gave the dining room furniture to? Bruce suggested we give it to them, but I said I'd hate to give them something that didn't work that great which he agreed with. It got dropped off at Goodwill--a perfectly good television. :(

Well, how do you like the new curtains (unfortunately I had to resort to the flash so the color isn't exactly what I would like to show)? The previous ones were a very bland beigy (I know, not a real word but you get the idea) color giving the room no pop. Now it's got pop to spare!

Last evening Mr. Roger came over to go over the inventory sheets making suggestions on what to order. When photographers stop at my booth they frequently say they would love to do what I'm doing. I gently remind them that there is so much more to it than just taking photographs people like. Actually, aside from the rigors of setting up and taking down the booth, the hardest part is picking images that may appeal to someone. So far I've been pretty lucky with some of my choices. I've given him more than 200 different images, well over 200, now that I think of it. Some have met with success, some are duds. As such I have to take a loss on those that fail to find an audience. I've been very surprised at some that people buy over and over. When I first began, having never sold anything but a brief stint with Tupperware, a vendor with a history in retail told me that when you think you have it figured out, YOU DON'T. In retail terms--a sale is born.

Seriously, what it means to me is taking a loss, stripping the canvas from the frame (actually Mr. R. does that), and either going with a proven winner or taking another leap of faith. Because he's been doing this for about five years now he has a notion about what will sell. As such, I listen to his advice, mull it over, and make my choices. Sometimes I agree with him, sometimes not.

A somewhat disjointed chat with Matt yesterday afternoon (the faulty cable perhaps?). He looked so handsome! You know my dreadful memory but I think he said he was seeing Madonna on Thursday--as if you care what actual day it is. You only care that he'll be among those standing on the field at Wembly Stadium, grooving to the beat. I told you he was our man out and about in London. There was a great New Yorker cartoon: My memory is fine--I'm living in the present! Indeed.

Hurricane Ike seems to be on the loose in the Gulf--no threat to Orlando. Because of the dire predictions late last week Bruce changed his travel schedule, flying out tomorrow to God knows where. I don't know how he keeps all the details of ten jobs in his head; I can't even remember where they are!

I'm scouring the World Wide Web for a mother of the groom gown to compliment peach, long, and in a size 0. The old slogan for phone books was--"let your fingers do the walking"; that is one slogan that can move right into the age of the internet.

This concludes our regularly scheduled programming for today my friends.

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Listening to: Bloc Party - Pioneers
via FoxyTunes

Monday, September 8, 2008

Signage and Stuff

Today some things that have caught my eye lately. The first I sent to Matt, calling it Worth Celebrating--I love Premium Saltines and when I saw these little guys I couldn't help but take their picture.



This one's from Macys---the retro look of the Benefit cosmetic line; taken surreptitiously of course.


I wish this one had turned out better but it was taken through the windshield during a rainstorm. Bruce was driving us to his mom's for dinner and this sign in the window in Apopka made me laugh--You Ring, We Spring.



Taken in Marshalls, make sure to look at this one larger--The Sales Pitch:


I saw this couple enjoying the company of pigeons:


Finally--Sex Sells


If I ever get a decent picture of the bedroom I'll post it--four bright windows are wreaking havoc on my attemps. I'll say this much though, Bruce was delighted when he came, calling it "very cozy" which is the supreme compliment from my honey.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Grab Bag



Our first picture of the day is one I took on the way to the beach. As you know Tropical Storm Fay dumped a lot of water on these parts and it's still around. This is the normally meager St. John's River that meanders North. I say meager because although it is quite wide in some areas this spot off the Beachline (formerly known as the Bee Line Expressway) is usally hardly detectable. As you can see the water covers everywhere in sight.

Secondly, yesterday I dropped off a picture at Judy's house in Altamonte Springs. Notice where her jet ski is parked in the upper right corner--yes, that is where the lake typically stops. She tells me the water was even higher a week ago. Until I saw it with my own eyes I couldn't imagine it. Sadly, the grass underneath all this will be dead when the waters finally recede. I was wrong about yesterday being rainy, in fact it was unusually pleasant, however, it is raining as I type; Hannah is off the coast thankfully, but producing rain nonetheless.




Water was topic #1, politics, #2. Speaking as a former PTA president, you've got to think Sarah Palin has something special about her. She's turned a thankless job into a paying gig!

While PTA president I raised a few eyebrows when I brought a doctor to one of our general meetings to talk about AIDS. You have to remember this was nearly 20 years ago when AIDS was misunderstood by most. At the time I worked 16 hours on Saturdays running our Radiology department. The hospital had a large AIDS population primarily because Dr. Robbins was one of the few in our area who would treat them. Sadly, so many of the patients died, mostly from pneumonia. I will never forget one portable chest x-ray I did--the man's lung had collapsed to the size of a kidney. Taking matters into my own hands, calling the radiologist at home, and urging him to call the man's doctor. The outcome--the usual in those days--death. My children were so full of life then which made these young people dying all the more painful to me. Hardly anyone came to the meeting with those who did asking idiotic questions. There is still a long way to go in conquering AIDS, but as someone who saw it first hand in the early days, the treatment options are a vast improvement.

The lawn guys were terrific; a three man crew worked for over two hours filling many trash cans with weeds and trimmings. Bruce will be delighted when he finally returns home tonight.

I did some furniture rearranging in our bedroom yesterday evening. Baxter was going crazy trying to figure out what the heck was going on. I bought some new curtains, prompting the changes. Tomorrow we'll see what you think of them.

Lastly, you all know that my neighbor Regina is the source of some great stories. I was telling her about the exhibit at the museum which opened up the floodgates of her memory bank. Although 72, her memory is much better than mine; I can hardly remember any of my childhood. She told me her father took her to Times Square for the big celebration when WWII was finally over. Living in a mostly German neighborhood in Brooklyn, her mother put two stars in the window showing she had family members in the war. As you can picture, this did not endear either her mother, or Regina with the neighbors. One night her father took her down to the basement showing her how to protect herself from the bullies--a bar of soap in the bottom of a sock swung at the perpetrators would leave no marks. Imagine a parent today instructing their child in the art of neighborhood warfare!

So much to share; alas fair readers I suspect by now you've had enough for one day.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Day Before


How I wish this picture were bigger! Lisa sent it with an email celebrating her 25th anniversary. My how we have changed. I am holding our Mr. Jonathan; I can hardly tell from the picture which one of the twins is acting silly although I'm sure Matt will be able to. It's funny with identical twins, when you live with them day to day you totally see their personality not so much how they look. When looking back at pictures however it is hard to tell the difference. Matt has a funny face as well. I can see that I made Bill and Dave's little jumpsuits, one with a blue suit and white shirt with the other just the opposite. I'm sure you knew that I used to sew nearly every day. Congratulations to Lisa and Danny--25 more to come!

I've titled this, the day before, because as you may have been hearing, in the relentless media coverage, that there could be a storm coming our way--at the very least, more rain and wind. That's a shame because tomorrow our new yard people start. Bruce has not been happy with me mowing because he thinks it tires me too much. I don't think it does so much but I do know that I can't do all the really hard yard work which this company swears they will do. We are both excited to think that our yard will once again look beautiful with trimmed bushes and palms. David used to do our yard when he was home and did a fantastic job.

Because I'll probably be cooped up for a few days with the rain I decided to go over to the beach this morning. In one area there was quite a bit of beach erosion from the previous storm. It is a shame most people can't go to the beach in September because it is the perfect time. The sun is not nearly as intense with lower temperatures, although the water is still very swimmable. You can actually walk on the sand barefoot without blistering your feet. Mostly there were surfers hoping to catch a perfect wave.

Big changes at the museum yesterday; I now actually have a counter to sit behind. I'll save that for tomorrow.

Let me explain---yesterday's post was an attempt to be funny, not to Bill-bash. He called last evening thinking I'd made him look like a jerk which was not my intention. I know my boys are proud of their momma. Apparently the picture is in the July/August issue with harsh lighting more apparent in print. I'm going to try tracking one down if possible to see for myself.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Baxter Hosts a Sleepover


Bill called asking if we would watch Ziggy while they went with Dave and Michelle to the Ritz for a sleepover. Because Le Anne used to work there, she is able to get room rates that the rest of us can only dream of.

Ziggy, as some of you know, is the dog that LeAnne bought after being without Baxter for a year. In effect, he is Baxter's half brother. For those of you in the dark about the cutest dog in the world, (oh, did I mention that before), that he's the cutest dog in the world? Of course I have! About two and a half years ago Baxter came to live with us during a break-up between Bill and LeAnne. After gaining custody of Baxter, whom they had raised from the challenging age of puppy hood, Bill decided B. would be better off living at our home. We'd never had a dog because I'd never wanted one. Just goes to show you that you should "never say never!"

Fast forward to now, Ziggy is a cute little toy Maltese, or are they all toys? Anyway, he's very tiny compared to Baxter, with the cutest walk, almost like a trot, and a lively personality. He chased Baxter around, nipping at him, and in general making a nuisance of himself, but because Baxter is the most well-behaved dog in the world, he tolerated Ziggy just fine. Do you think I'm suffering from some sort of bias here? Good thing you weren't around when I talked about my "real" boys to folks. I'm sure I was insufferable.

Scene: Poolside at the Ritz
Actors: Bill, David, Michelle, and LeAnne

David picks up a magazine, saying to Bill: "Oh look, here's Mom?"
Bill: "Really? It's not the most flattering picture of her."
Michelle and Leanne: "Let us see. Yeah, you're right."

Magazine tossed aside because it is damp.

Scene: Kitchen at the Pecks
Actors: Bill, Gail
Bill: "Hey Mom, did you know you were in some Orlando magazine?"
Gail: "No, which one?"
Bill: "I don't remember, Orlando Style maybe?"
Gail: "You're kidding; where is it?"
Bill: "It wasn't the most flattering picture of you and it was kinda wet so we left it. It was taken at Baldwin Park."
Gail: "Thanks Bill, I sure wish you had brought it home."

Bill leaves with Ziggy, not a moment too soon for Baxter. He's like any other host, anxious for guests to arrive, and just as anxious for them to leave.

Gail, returning to her beloved iMac, does a mad Google search, eventually coming across this:
Gail
Neither Bruce nor I thought it looked too bad; it could have been much worse as I generally look pretty lousy in photos. The day was hot as hell as you may recall.

Bruce worked like a maniac at home, his version of a staycation, while I read and messed around the house. His latest project was cleaning 436 emails off his Blackberry. The agenda this week includes six, yes, I said six, job visits in four different states! At least for now he feels prepared to tackle the week.

The museum opens today and yours truly will be there to meet and greet.

Long Beach, CA