Friday, October 31, 2008

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

It is the end of an era. A pretty dramatic opening don't you think? I have finally faced reality and traded in the MINI. We've made it work for most of this year, but every time we go out to show we always have to take two vehicles. As it is we get to spend so little time together that I'm hoping this will be one step to rectify that situation.

The tag on the front lets you know just how long a MINI has been in my life. Although I'd been thinking about this for a while I couldn't let go. Well, now I have. My first MINI came soon after my mom died. I had a beautiful yellow one with a black top which I called my happy face car. I was pretty devastated after her death and it was one part of the healing process as I knew it would make her smile to see such a cute little car. Jonathan took that one over about two years ago and I got the current one to replace it. I must admit I was never as attached to this one as my previous one for obvious reasons. I'd always seen a car as just a tool to get around but the yellow one....well, that one was very special.

I looked at the Scion on Wednesday, as well as the Ford Edge, and the Saturn Vue. Bill and Jonathan were horrified at the prospect of me driving a Scion which to tell you the truth the new design didn't excite me as much as the previous style. I'd seen one in the parking lot at the dry cleaners which prompted my search. As well the dealership people held me hostage for well on two hours. They put some serious pressure on me but eventually I got away. I thought I might buy American this go round but as it turns out the Saturn is only 30% made in the US. Surprised? I was.

When I finally got back home I did some serious research on cargo capacity in mid size SUVs. After reading "Confessions of a Car Salesman" on the Edmunds site I was armed with information to head out again yesterday. This time I went to the Honda dealership which was clean, empty, and the salesman was very cordial. I knew he was dying to get me into a car but he restrained from pressuring me. Anyway I ended up with another funky vehicle--the Honda Element. I called Bruce a few times and he gave me good advice--tell them if they wanted to deal today they needed to throw in roof racks which they agreed to. I've never owned a Honda before but I figured I couldn't go wrong with one. Get this--it is 70% made in Ohio. The drive was good, I got a silver one because it won't show dirt as much as a dark car, and the gas mileage is decent. Of course those window stickers usually are deceiving but we'll see. I don't drive all that much these days and since it doesn't require premium fuel like the MINI the cost should be a wash. So my friends, here it is:

Not nearly as cute as a MINI (what vehicle is?); hopefully the practicality will outweigh the cuteness factor.

I will tell you Jonathan is not thrilled with this one either, but at least it's not a Scion. More importantly Bruce likes it just fine. As I mentioned I called him but he had no idea what it looked like. I'm looking forward to him designing all sorts of cool storage options in it. You knew that was coming didn't you? We'll do our initial packing this afternoon and find out if I made a good choice.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

If it is Free....

...they will come. Although the admission to the museum is only $5 apparently it keeps people from visiting. Today was a celebration of Czech Independence Day at the Polasek with free admission and treats. On a blockbuster day I might have ten visitors during my three hour stint--today there were nearly 100! As you know, I lead a pretty leisurely life these days, so this was quite a day. I greet them, run the register, and inquire how they found out about the event. Turns out more people read the paper than you would think.

The photograph is of an orchid I got at the market on Sunday. I've been experimenting with a sheet of mirror outside--the background is the sky. While I was doing it, Baxter, who was wet from the grass, shook himself making water droplets spray all over the mirror.

Speaking of Baxter, here he is sporting his Obama campaign button. Trish gave it to me on Sunday because she knew Bruce would love it. He's been a good sport about it after initially trying to rub it off. Have I told you lately that he is the perfect dog? If I haven't it was a grave oversight. I can now hear his little tinkle throughout the house. Fortunately the election is only days away because I don't think I can bare another minute of it. The mudslinging is just pathetic as is the wasted money. It seems to me that they should have the song, Money, Money, Money in the background because that is all they talk about. Following this little rant I will cease and desist from any more political discussion after I mention that I mailed our absentee ballots today.

While at the post office I inquired about renewing our passports. Matthew's brilliant idea is for us to visit him in London at Christmas due to the falling value of the pound. It has been five years since we went to London on Bruce's fiftieth birthday. I figured maybe I could spend my fifty fifth birthday there. Of course, there is the weather to consider, which for me is a pretty big deal. According to the post office lady it is about a three week turn around time after we re-take our pictures and mail in the required forms. Ten years ago I think I looked much better than I do today. Of course, don't we all?

This weekend is Fiesta in the Park, the biggest event I'll participate in all year. Earlier in the week the forecast was for spectacular weather, currently not so good. Please, please, stay nice. After this it will be time to focus on the upcoming wedding, which as I type, is only weeks away. If only the stock market would settle down it would be so much better for David (and a few million other people). With such daily turmoil in his job it is hard to get as excited as he'd like.

Yesterday afternoon Bruce called while driving through New York state to his job site. Initially it was raining which soon turned to snow. The snow fell so quickly that he had to pull over to stay safe. The snow plow came making the road safer but it was still very slow going. Everything took much longer than planned, by the time he was ready to drive down to Pennsylvania it was not only snowing, but dark as well. It is quite a drive, so I talked to him throughout much of it. Before you get upset about him being on the phone while driving let me point out that he wears an earpiece. Still, I'm not a fan of it but it did make it not quite as bad as if he were alone. As well, I had Google maps going and I could tell him how much further to go. Actually I had begun this post just before he called but suspended my writing because he needed me.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

So Much To Say

These have been busy days my friends. So many places, people, and events to report on that I thought I might make it easier by showing you.

I took a trip to the zoo the other day which definitely received mixed reviews, not only physically, but photographically. I tried my best to focus inside the cages with very little success. I was positive I had the Toucan, alas it was still a bit fuzzy. The building with the snakes and reptiles was one of my favorite parts because they were so colorful. I managed to get this picture of a Skank of all things. I hardly knew that derogatory term was a real living reptile. I'd not been to the zoo since the children were way, way young. I just realized it was even before Jonathan was born. I've got a darling photo of the boys having a pony ride. No ponies these days. I will say that although the zoo is poorly funded, they do a good job with what they have.

Barely home for long and then off to see Jane's son Carter, and his girlfriend, Lauren playing at a downtown bar to raise funds for literacy. A good time was had by all.

I am happy to report Bruce got home that night. He had a meeting on Thursday morning but stayed home the rest of the day working. He did take a bit of a break midday and we did a few errands together which is not something we get to do very often these days.

Which brings us to Friday/Saturday and the Fresh Summit convention. Turns out it was a huge produce marketing convention. Arriving on Friday we were a bit lost, but Jane kept a level head and eventually we got set up. Our convention center is massive; parking and unloading at the farthest from your assigned space is NOT my idea of fun. She reminded me that we were here for the adventure. Our location did not receive many visitors however I did manage some sales. It was pretty cool to see new produce products including the dragon fruit pictured, as well as those reddish spiky things. I wish I could remember the name of those because they were fascinating looking. Although they look sharp, they feel more like plastic scrubby things you would use for cleaning in the kitchen. Once opened it almost looks like an eyeball minus the pupil--not so appetizing to me, but it may find a market.

One of the customers told me that she first saw grape tomatoes a few years ago at this same convention. Her husband predicted that no one would buy them, but as we all know now, they are hot sellers. I love to pop them in my mouth like fruit. Apparently they are easy to grow and less labor intensive than cherry tomatoes which have all but disappeared from produce markets.

Sunday's market was my second best sales day there ever. Having picture perfect weather must have helped, but frankly I was surprised after the challenging economic news last week. Did I mention I was delighted as well?

While at the market I picked up the latest copy of Orlando Weekly, our local alternative newspaper. Last week Ruth altered me that the accompanying photo with the review of the "Love Works" show was mine. Forgive me for the poor wording of the above sentence, I can't seem to get it just right. Anyway imagine my surprise seeing my piece along with my name in the paper. There were so many pieces that it was a total shock. Thank you Ruth,you are such a great support.

Finally, I was also mighty surprised to find a new format Rolling Stone in the mail. After all these years they have shrunk down to traditional magazine size. Paper costs?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Caveat

This is a fairly long video (with new-agey music) of the show the other night made by one of the artists. My feelings will not be hurt if you want to skip it.

Love Works Show

I'm just beating myself up these days. This morning, before leaving for the museum, I pulled a shelf from the upright freezer down onto my big toe. Add that to my scraped knuckles and skinned knee. You know how it is when something heavy strikes your toe, you think you will die it hurts so much. Tonight it is aching however I don't know if there is a bruise or not seeing as I have Black Cherry nail polish on. Underneath it may just be the same color.

With toe on fire I got into the car and headed to the museum. I was a few minutes early so I made a quick detour to see my piece in the window of Ginger. I thought you might like to see it as well:

I was thrilled. It is almost surreal when you see something you've made (well, sorta, Roger actually made it, but you get my drift) publicly displayed. The store was not open yet so I went on my way. Fortunately there were visitors to the museum making the time go by quickly. Leaving the museum at 1:00, I stopped to talk to Aimee and see the other ones hanging. I'm proud of what is there, in fact, they look so at home (remember the blue top and orange bag area) that you would think it is part of her decor. She's asked if I will leave them up until the end of November which I think will work out just fine. The window piece has sold several times making it one I like to have on hand--I may just have to have another one printed for the upcoming weeks. The convention is just two days away--anybodies guess how that will go. Naturally, you'll be one of the first to know.

Lastly I stopped at Huong's Tailors on the way home to pick up my dress for the wedding. Remember how I mentioned I might return the first dress? Well, I did return it after finding a lovely dress at Neiman Marcus's Last Call. The only alteration needed was taking about an inch out of the shoulder straps. More details to follow.

I heard from several friends who braved the long lines (2-3 hour wait to get into the area, another long wait for them to speak) and a huge crowd to hear/see Senator's Obama and Clinton yesterday. According to them it was entirely worth the wait. They will have a story to tell their grandchildren no doubt.

With that, I'm off to bed with a new novel. I feel the need for sleep soon.

Monday, October 20, 2008

April 21st

That was the last day it was as cool as yesterday morning--what a relief to think that the worst of the heat is behind us. The windows are all open today, the wind chimes are twinkling in the gentle breeze, and the sun is shining brightly in the most incredibly blue sky. Is it any wonder that the population of Florida has more than doubled in the last thirty years when there are days like these to look forward to for the next six months?

The market was jam packed with people yesterday including buyers. I had a very good sales day, which needless to say, was wonderful. What was almost even more wonderful was that we were not drenched in sweat! I took this image of a swan the other day at Lake Eola. Are there any birds more graceful than swans? I love to see them gliding along with their feathers all on display.

Sharing with you what I see is a delight for me. Here is an example of an incredible new flower that I've found in someone's yard nearby. It is almost as if this bloom doesn't know what it wants to be, pink, or white. I believe it is part of the fabulous hibiscus family of flowers.

Once it opens:

I took Maureen on a shopping spree in the food section of Big Lots for her 60th birthday. We both agreed that a treasure hunt is a great outing. One of the products we came across is Israeli couscous (sometimes called pearl), a side dish that is served at Seasons 52. I've been looking for this exact size ever since I tried it there. Because we both mostly cook for one, we shared the package. So many other goodies, so little space to describe them all.

I read last week that our school system is banning peanut butter in elementary school cafeterias because of allergies. When, I ask you, did so many people become allergic to peanuts? I was relieved to read that children will still be allowed to bring pb&j from home. I'm wondering when it became fashionable for the minority to rule?

Trish invited me to go with her to see our next President and his former rival when they appear downtown by the arena this evening. After reading all the stringent rules however, I've decided to just go to the little market instead. No water, no chairs, no anything really. Although I said the weather is pleasant, standing in the sun for hours with a huge crowd doesn't work for me. What would be great is hearing him speak and the energy of the event. I'm sure I don't need to tell you it is Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton of whom I speak.

Of all things, when Dave and Michelle came to the market yesterday, I learned that on Friday, the organizer of the show I was in (along with 39 other artists!) was a client of his. The man asked Dave if he had a relative in town named Gail Peck. In fact, he does, his loving momma, although I suspect he didn't use those exact words. It's a small world after all.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Love Works

Let us begin at the entry:

As you can see with your own two eyes, Bruce arrived in time to accompany me to the City Arts Factory. We were both astonished and delighted to find this large graphic over the door advertising the show. The organizer must have worked incredibly hard to make it very special including this light display once inside. Note Bruce's new shoes amongst all the pretty colors. It was in this space that I checked in, receiving a button to identify myself as one of the "artists" in the show. Crazy, right? It was all very exciting.

There were so many people there I couldn't believe it--oh how I wished I'd invited people although I know they probably get sick of being asked (or that's my perception, right, or wrong). Here is a woman looking at my two. This show had some very particular entry parameters including writing a little blurb about each piece to fit the theme. Entering several months ago, not really expecting to be chosen, my words might have been chosen more carefully if I'd known they would be hanging on a wall for loads of people to see. I can say that I didn't embarrass myself too bad. They allowed five submissions, selecting these two. As you may recall from my post earlier this week, getting them together to deliver was quite crazy, including not only broken glass but a damaged frame which we replaced at the last minute. We never expected so many people to be exposed (no pun intended) to my photography in this kind of setting. Lest you think it was all about me, there were around 50 pieces from various artists. Thinking they were all local, Bruce remarked to the organizer that it was some of the best Orlando art he'd seen--he was told that the artists were not only local, although where they were from, he didn't find out.

Actually we did see one couple that have bought pieces from me, although that meeting was accidental. They were so sweet, saying that I have a following around town now. Then making a pleasant outing even more so, we ran into Dominic and Maria. Ironically this event was on the same night as Taste of Thornton Park, the event when Maria won my piece in a silent auction last year. I remember being so excited to be doing that last year, never imagining that I would end up being friends with the person who bought it. As you may recall she has been an enormous help to me, promoting me, as well as selling some of my pieces to her interior design clients. Yeah for serendipity. We had a light meal with them after the show.

I wore my new heels purchased for the wedding to break them in...hmmmm...I think I'll need more time in them, either that, or go barefoot during the reception. I expect that idea will mortify my children.

Concluding this post I am happy to say that it could have been worse. Fortunately I have what I call "photographer's knee", a rough patch on my right knee from placing it on concrete with regularity. I took a tumble this afternoon. The good news is that the camera seems to be just fine, the bad news is that my right knee is scraped as are three knuckles on my left hand from the road. My sandal caught on something and down I went, the camera wildly flying out of my hand onto the street! A passing car slowed to make sure I would bounce right up, and I'm happy to say that I did. I suspect when I was young this kind of thing would have embarrassed me, now I was just glad that nothing broke!

So long, farewell, we'll meet again soon; same place, different story.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

All Sorts of Stuff

For those of you who know Orlando this photograph needs no explanation, for those who don't it, is Lake Eola, the centerpiece of the city of Orlando. It is here that I sell photography every Sunday. During the last few years there were upwards of ten cranes soaring above the skyline, now however, all the new buildings are complete. As you can imagine, many of them have lower than hoped for occupancies. It was the condo building boom downtown which convinced Bruce there would be enough people to buy my photography for decorating. As it has turned out most of the buildings house at least one thing from me. I envision several years passing before the occupancy catches up with the supply. Yikes, by then I'll be closing in on 60!

Let's get this out of the way first: I have two recommendations today, one for a novel, and one for a short piece from National Public Radio.

The character development in the novel is remarkable, keeping you up later than is prudent. You care deeply about Lev, the Eastern European immigrant who moves to London hoping to remake his life in a city with more opportunities. I'll go no further because the link has all the details if you are interested.
Suggested Reading

Secondly, this little story from NPR informs the listener about the 1952 election between Eisenhower and Stevenson, the first presidential campaign when television was a factor, somewhat akin to the use of the Web for this one. Illustrating the time worn phrase, "the more things change, the more things stay the same", you learn about the advent of the sound bite.
Sound Bites

An email I received last evening:

To all "Love Works" artists,
I look forward to seeing you tomorrow at Love Works. We have a very nice show and the buzz around town is already very good. Please come see me when you arrive. I have a Love Works Artist button for you so people can know who to talk to.

See you then,

Terry Olson

Bruce will arrive in Orlando around six, in time to make it downtown giving me much needed moral support. The truth of the matter is that I am a newbie at this, I need loved ones at my side during this kind of thing.

Carol called yesterday from California informing me that her tickets are booked for the wedding. It sounds like I'll be needing to be more consistent with grocery shopping next month! Between the rehearsal dinner, Thanksgiving, and everything in between, my fridge will be fuller than it has been in months. Jonathan and Alissa arrive from Chicago on Friday night, with Matt arriving on Wednesday night. We'll definitely have a full house!

Speaking of Matt, we had an hour long video chat on Tuesday afternoon with much discussion of the upcoming election. We both agreed that November 2 can't come soon enough.

Remember how I mentioned Baxter being walked? Well dear friends, it was almost like a flashback to when some of my boys were young. Our neighbor Angela's son realized on Monday evening that he was to have done some sort of community service and turn in the evidence on Wednesday. He and his mom cooked up the idea that helping me with walking duties would suffice. He walked him not only in the evening, but called at 7 the next morning for another go round. I also taught him how to clean the pool with Bruce signing off on that one. I remember clearly those almost forgotten assignments.

Although I'd love to open the windows again, the weather remains quite warm hovering still in the high 80's. By now we are suffering from heat fatigue, somewhat like Northerners do in late April when winter has dragged on for what seems like forever. Will it ever end?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Gentle readers please forgive my absence, however some of you might just be thinking, "thank goodness she hasn't posted in days, it is all too much." For those I will skip the apologies, for others who missed me, I'm sorry. The days have been jam packed since we last met.

Let's see, where were we? Oh yes, the Magic game. Well, we now know how the other half does it. Pulling up within yards of the entrance, we find our designated parking spot, #53. A special entrance with a red carpet is our next surprise. We are warmly welcomed and shown the way to "Blue", a private dining room with a sumptuous buffet. After our meal we made our way into the arena through the same entrance the team uses, and on to our seats courtside opposite the Magic bench. While eating we saw one of the former players that, back in the day, was a favorite of the boys--Nick Anderson. I'd know that smile anywhere.

Saturday was a series of miscues and misunderstandings. What I thought would be a simple dropping off of two framed prints to the gallery for Thursday's show turned out to be a comedy of errors. Suffice it to say that in the end it all worked out.

And then of course there was the long awaited wedding shower. Mom Peck arrived at 3:30, followed by Ruth and Maureen. Here's a photo of us taken by Bruce in the kitchen before leaving the house:

That is Ruth on the left, yours truly, Maureen and my mother in law.

Arriving at the restaurant late, we were early. Once everyone was there, including the bride, the party began and what a lovely party it was. Michelle received loads of wonderful gifts, there were no stupid games, and best of all we met some great people. Lest I forget, the food was delicious including a beautiful cake and spumoni. Here is yet another picture of me with LeAnne on my left, and Michelle in her shower regalia on my right.

Laura took this one with my camera, outfitted with a Speedlight borrowed from Roger.

We met both the junior bridesmaid and the flower girl, Madisyn. Yes, that is Madisyn with a y, as she sassily pointed out to us. She is in second grade and loaded with personality; I was really taken by her. I told her I was David's mom, and she asked, "who is David?" My reply, "you know, the guy Michelle is marrying?" Isn't her skin to die for?

Sunday was the market and although there were more people walking through than we've seen in ages, there were few sales. Unfortunately the dismal sales went for all the vendors, some of whom really count on the income for their living. The event that increased the crowds was the Gay Pride parade which marches on the street next to us. Bruce came a little earlier in the afternoon to free me up for picture taking of the festivities. They really know how to liven up a parade!

Monday found me accompanying Bruce while he made his site visit to The Villages. If I don't do that, I hardly ever get to see him. Actually I roam around while he's working but you get the idea. The weather was rainy in the afternoon allowing me to skip the time share market, instead I made a web album of shower pictures for Michelle and her family.

And now it is Tuesday morning. Bruce has left for his trip, the dog is walked (by our neighbor's son--another story all together), and I'm getting ready for my weekly trip to the museum. If you were thinking I'm a lucky gal, you would be right.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Is the End Near?

After my annual doctor's appointment today I headed over to Winter Park. My visit went fine with no outward signs of malady. The office is near the new Whole Foods in town where beginning in November there will be yet another place for me to peddle my wares. I'm pretty sure I mentioned this, forgive me if I'm repeating myself, the powers that be at WF contacted Dana about running an outdoor market. Negotiations ensued with Dana signing on to the deal. I won't be able to bring my tent however she's got a place all picked out for me under the awning. I didn't have time to go through the store but I now understand the parking lot. They have already begun advertising in our weekly newspaper magazine with local listings of things to see and do. Excellent.

So, on to Winter Park we go. Here is an image of the front elevation of the boutique, cute huh? The owner, as I've previously mentioned, is just as cute as her store. And, get this...she drives a Vespa! We both like down-sized transportation!

Amazingly one of the canvases I brought went perfectly with a display she'd just put together. Look how great that hibiscus looks with the top and orange bag on the shelf. It was almost surreal that she'd already put the combination together and in I walk with an accent piece. That orange bag is too die for isn't it?

Yet another day of stock market losses. Is the end near? No one seems to know. Michelle described it like the movie Groundhog Day, every miserable day repeating itself. This is not any fun.

On a happier note the wedding shower is tomorrow night. I checked with Michelle and at some point she did the Macys thing but never told anyone. Leave it to super sleuth Judy to uncover. She's not interested in anything on there; probably at the time she thought it was the thing to do. Laura, our niece will be joining us for the drive there after arriving from St. Petersburg. We've got a bit of a drive when we can all catch up; once we get there it will probably be a little crazy. Apparently thirty five guests have done the RSVP thing making me wonder how she will have time to open all the gifts.She may have past training in this sport from childhood Christmases.

Tonight Mr. Bruce and I have a different date than is our norm. Bruce was given court side seats to the Magic game tonight with a parking voucher included as well. Because it is preseason and they are playing Moscow, no less, there will probably be many empty seats. One thing about that is you can hear the players grunt and their sneakers squeaking on the floor. And of course there is the possibility that we will end up on television if you watch closely.

Listening to: Aretha Franklin - People Get Ready
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, October 9, 2008


If my sons who read this are not mad at me for my Obama comments, these pictures are for you. There is an area near our house, a little under two miles away that the city is dubbing SODO, short for South of Downtown, which for most of you I didn't even need to explain. At any rate, I visited the new Super Target yesterday morning during their soft opening. The area is going to be quite attractive. I'm most excited by the TJMaxx which was not having a soft opening. Although I could see clothes through the window, I don't know when the opening day is scheduled. I do know that Maureen and I will be extremely happy to have it in the neighborhood.


The other night Alice mentioned that she had "googled" me, saying I might want to do the same. Here's something I found this morning:

Upcoming Convention

Who knew? By the way, remember when I took the photos of Michelle so she could do conventions? In a small case of irony, she is scheduled to do the same show!

While talking to Judy she said David and Michelle were registered at Macy's with me claiming they were not. Guess who was wrong? Not the teacher that's for sure.
That said, I'm unclear whether they actually want any of this because she never mentioned it to me. She is working this week making our time for conversation brief, but I'll ask her at the shower Saturday night, if not before. I'll be driving Maureen, Ruth, and my mother in law to the shower. Mom Peck will be spending the night with us because the drive home would be way too much. Should prove interesting....

Michelle and David

Another terrible day on Wall Street. Speaking with David just makes me sad. Bill called from Wachovia after hours, you know the bank being fought over? His take on the whole crisis is different than ours because he works with it daily. According to him people come in to see about changing their loans claiming they cannot pay while still going out to eat three to four times a week. I don't know what to say.

Bruce is finally on his way home! He won't be here till after 10 but at least he will be able to sleep in his own bed.

I've just made Terrie's leek and potato soup; as expected it is sensational, and super easy as well. I got the chives at ST. Although it seems as if it will never cool off, I pretended it has, making a pumpkin bundt cake this afternoon which I can't wait to try. Making cakes from scratch is so easy I don't know why anyone would use a mix, but then again, I don't know why anyone would buy a house they knew full well they couldn't afford either, so what does that tell you?

Listening to: Spiritualized - Lay Back In The Sun
via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 6, 2008

Stormy Weather

I must admit I did not watch the debate last night, deciding instead to go to bed. The first one was so discouraging because the candidates never answered the questions directly. I know that when Bruce gets home, he'll have CNN blasting away; they will still be discussing/debating the debate ad nauseam. Frankly, there isn't a whole lot more I need to know about the candidates, what I do know makes me sad. Bruce's question is, "is this the best we can do?"

Early on, I was taken by Barak Obama, but the more research I've done, the more I realize that there isn't really much substance to the man. I know there are those who will vehemently disagree with me on this issue which is what makes America great. We can agree to disagree. Reading everything I can about him from a wide variety of sources, convinces me that although he is charismatic, his accomplishments are scarce. While in the state legislature his achievements were primarily made possible through the largess of another. When the Democrats took over the state legislature old bills that had failed under the Republicans were re-introduced by Obama and won approval. It seems as if he was not responsible for the writing of the bills, mostly their introduction. Not long after that he was running for office again. When you think that he has been largely absent from Senatorial duties going on two years now it only makes sense that he's not getting anything productive done aside from campaigning. That said, he can certainly rally people, and what we need right now is a strong leader making him possibly the best fit for that role.

Primarily people have focused on the foolhardiness of nominating Sarah Palin but I'm wondering about Joe Biden. The truth is that he has run for president, not once, not twice, but three times and the people have resoundingly said no thanks. He hardly represents change having spent over 30 years in the Senate representing a state with a population of around 800,000, nearly the same as Alaska.

John McCain too has tried for the presidency before and failed. He seems ill at ease, hardly inspiring voter confidence. His age does not worry me, but for some that is problematic. Although I find Sarah Palin's rise in politics amazing, she clearly needs more time before taking one of the highest offices in the land. It makes me think of how the people of Minnesota voted Jessie Ventura, the former wrestler, into the Governor's mansion. He not only represented change, but was an outsider as well, and we now know what a mistake that was. But then again, there is Governor Schwarzenegger, he is the head of a state that is by far larger than many European countries.

What is a voter to do?

Regarding the economy, I'm posting two different things that I think are worthwhile. Recently I've become aware of how the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act, signed into law by Bill Clinton, has had some effect on the current crisis. I'm not blaming him because Republicans were responsible for the introduction of the bill. At this point, finger pointing is getting us nowhere. What it does reveal is that the work of the Congress affects us all in ways that we often don't realize until it is too late.Glass-Steagall

Here's an opinion piece from the Washington Post:Everybody Calm Down

Stormy weather forced the cancellation of Monday's market,however before the rain started I spent time chatting with a vendor/friend. She told me about re-financing her home four times, each with a better rate hoping to stay afloat. Although it shouldn't, these kinds of stories astonish me. What kept running through my mind is something simple that we taught our children, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Putting most things to that test will usually keep you solvent. Secondly, we taught them that everything usually ends up in a garage sale (or EBay these days) anyway, so think long and hard about buying unnecessary things. I realize how simplistic that sounds, yet it has worked pretty well for us.

Today's post is somewhat of a downer, so let's end it on a happy note shall we? Remember when I sent a canvas to Ohio recently for a gift? What you didn't know is that the credit card I was given was maxed out. Sadly, I only was able to get half of the money. Fast forward to a few minutes ago--the girl just called apologizing profusely and produced another card to use. My faith has been restored.

Fully Recovered

I think by the time you read this I will be fully recovered from the weekend. To say that it was hot and humid is an understatement. Poor Judy--the two shows when she's been my assistant have been the most miserable weather wise. Baldwin Park was unbearably hot, and now Winter Springs, unbearably humid. Anyone who has ever visited Florida knows that the humidity is the worst, like being surrounded by a wet blanket. Danny and Lisa came by in the morning for a short visit--the heat was bothering them both, which says a lot because Danny was a fireman for over twenty years--he knows heat! He is recovering from the surgery, slowly but surely.

The final sales came to $770 which is not too bad considering we've just gone through one of the worst weeks as far as economic news is concerned. What is often so interesting is that some people will scan through every print, chatting about the ones they like, and spending some time in the booth before leaving without a purchase. Others will walk up and sometimes without any conversation say, I'll buy that. Such was the case with the graffiti canvas that I brought yesterday. Mr. Roger was kind enough to print a new one for me on Saturday night and I'm certainly glad he did. A woman, whom I didn't even hardly say so much as hello to, walked up with her American Express and said she'd take it. Was I surprised--you bet, was I delighted--affirmative!

Judy was kind enough to stay until all was packed and ready for the drive home, an unbelievably nice gesture. With her help the tear down went very smoothly, and obviously quicker. What kept us moving as fast as the heat would allow was an impending rainstorm which caught us on the way home. All is dry now.

If you can imagine I'm heading out to the time share later today. They are changing the time of the market, coordinating it with their weekly welcome party, and putting us right in the path of the attendees. Hopefully there will be foreign tourists with money who are getting our products for cheap!

It is another bad Monday in the stock market--my heart sinks for Dave. He is somewhat philosophical about the whole thing, but you know that moms never like to see their children suffer, no matter what the age.

Speaking of which, the other day I found another letter from one of my children. This one was from Jonathan, dated 1999. He described how I had hurt his feelings deeply which saddened me. After reading it, I couldn't help but think how hard it is to be a parent, something that until you go through it (like lots of stuff) you can never imagine. Suppose your child lives at home until age 21 which is not unheard of these days, you will have spent around 7,665 days trying to do the right thing, not to mention washing their clothes and feeding them. That is a lot of time for tempers to flare, mistakes to be made, accusations of unfairness and the like. Lest it sound like it is all bad, there are lots of days filled with happiness and warmth, but somehow we forget those moments and remember the not so good.

My response to that find was an email apologizing for what he perceived as meanness on my part. He wrote back that I was forgiven. Now that email is the correspondence of choice, it makes me nostalgic for paper. When I come across letters from Matt detailing college life at Florida State I can relive those days. I long for paper and pen.

BTW--I got an email from Saks advertising BOGO--a trend is spotted.

Listening to: The Rapture - The Sound
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Family to the Rescue

One day down, one to go. Today was somewhat disappointing except for my wonderful family. The crowds were pretty slim so when that happens I import family to make up for it. Not really, Pat and Ruth just showed up and is always the case they insisted on buying some prints. I tried to say no but Ruth went into my little area where the payments happen, used the calculator and slipped a check into my money pouch--sly girl that she is. It really was wonderful to see them as it has been quite a while. Pat says he is enjoying retirement which is such good news. They hung around for a while keeping me company after Judy, sister in law extraordinaire left. She teaches at the high school next door to the festival and scooted over after she taught a PSAT class. Sadly, it was so slow that I don't think I had a single sale while she was there.

Good thing for my graffiti picture because if nothing else sells it will eventually. I was thinking it was a different crowd then I usually sell to because by 4:00 I'd not sold a one of the graffiti. Soon there after however a couple walked into the booth, tried to talk me down, and purchased it. Ten minutes later a young woman came with her friend expressing sorrow that I'd sold it. I think while they were there a young man came with exact change and bought it in the small print. I so wish I could give the artist credit for it because to date I have sold that print 60 times!!! My next best selling photograph is a scene of the beach with yellow daisy like flowers in the foreground. People seem to love it in person although when I posted it on flickr no one paid a minutes attention to it. Frankly I continue to be surprised at the popularity of it. Sadly I took it when I knew zero about taking pictures. Because of that it cannot be made larger than a 16x20 print. Which just goes to show you that you never know what folks will like. Often to get what I think is super good I take the same scene in any number of variations. I don't like to get out my reading glasses to check my photos as I take them so this usually ensures something will be good. The two aforementioned scenes did not fit this mold--one of the graffiti, two of the beach scene. No editing, just what I saw.

So often I get people who say they would love to do what I do never realizing how much work is involved, not to mention experimentation. My photo library is packed (ridiculously so) with photos that have never been seen by anyone but me. Maybe there is another shot that people will be crazy for that has not been printed. That is one of the challenging parts--what is good enough for others to see?

Our neighbor Angela helped me take everything out to the show on Friday afternoon. I told her she would forever after feel differently when attending an art show after she saw how much work was involved. By the time she went home last evening she could already see what I meant!

My sweetheart Bruce brought Baxter out to help me close down-- a welcome surprise. Pat and Ruth were watching the booth while I made one last trip to the bathroom when he arrived. The project manager to the rescue!!! He was worried I would be to worn out which I was. They had a very nice party for the artists and their assistants after closing with music, food, and libations. We were visiting with a couple when prizes were awarded. The man won a $600 prize! Best in show was $2,000! The committee did a fabulous job putting the show together. It is not their fault that the economy has everyone afraid to spend any money.

Here's what's come to mind:

The sun'll come out
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow
There'll be sun!

Just thinkin' about
Clears away the cobwebs,
And the sorrow
'Til there's none!

When I'm stuck with a day
That's gray,
And lonely,
I just stick out my chin
And Grin,
And Say,

The sun'll come out
So ya gotta hang on
'Til tomorrow
Come what may
Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
I love ya Tomorrow!
You're always
A day
A way!

Lastly, today's photo comes from the Polasek museum. Every week there seems to be something new and interesting in bloom. This flower is a real beauty in person, I fear my photograph may not do it justice.
Listening to: Tift Merritt - Write My Ticket
via FoxyTunes

Listening to: Tift Merritt - Write My Ticket
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Please Wait.......

As you know we have a fancy new television, what you don't know is that it hasn't worked very well. Last Friday night we anxiously waited for the presidential debate to begin. Unfortunately the tv kept going to a black screen with the phrase, please wait... visible. Naturally this occurred right in the middle of a response and never during commercials. We finally gave up as it was so frustrating. The next day after asking one of the neighbors if she'd had trouble with her cable and getting a negative response I thought something must be wrong here. Because we took the little drive to The Villages, I didn't get the chance to call the cable company and inquire about our problem. Arriving home I was geared up to watch Florida State play football and there we went again. Always during a big play I would get the same message. Today the repairman came and replaced the box and the remote and hopefully we'll be get to go from now on. Either that or one of the arriving sons will have to set us straight!

Maybe you understand the financial mess we are in, if you do skip what I'm about to write. One of my favorite radio programs is This American Life with Ira Glass on Public Radio. I know that for some people radio has lost its' luster but I find it soothing. No shouting, no commercials full of lies, and best of all, you can usually do something while listening. Yesterday afternoon I spent the hour or so listening to this edition while ironing.Global Pool of Money
It is a clear and concise explanation of what has gone so terribly wrong. If you want to listen to folks who were involved in making life miserable for so many, understand CDO's, and find out how it is a global problem, than set up the ironing board (or empty the dishwasher) and tune in.

Tools of the trade in our photo today. Last week I made a trip to Big Lots for bungee cords and tie wraps for our booth. It is a gold mine of stuff that I've never seen in our grocery stores. For some people going into a deep discount store makes them uncomfortable but not me. I generally find it interesting to see products that never made it into the mainstream. While there I found some food coloring with fall colors for $1. This week I wondered how much food coloring is in the grocery store and found it for $5.49 at Albertsons. Needless to say I was shocked. I also discovered they make a neon version that after a chat with Matt I've decided to forgo.

This afternoon I went shopping for some new work shoes for Bruce. He has dress shoes he wears to the office and then oxford type shoes for job visits. The last pair, if you can believe it were Hush Puppies. Now before you laugh to yourself I'll say this much. They have worn exceptionally well and were not only comfortable but had a sole that withstood all manner of terrain. Remember that Bruce builds a lot of buildings in cold country with ice and snow making that extremely important. After looking on the web it seemed as if Mr. James Cash Penney's store carried them. Not so. When I arrived in the shoe department I was bewildered but the woman standing around checking her split ends didn't seem to notice me. Turns out they no longer carry them. Here's two other notable things I saw-- disgusting thing one: underwear (panties and such) plastered all over with "Will Flirt for Gifts", disgusting thing two: a teenager with her mom throwing up on the pavement outside the store. Now I understand that sometimes you just can't help it, but honestly, there are plant beds flanking the store which certainly would have been a better place to leave it. Not really in the disgusting category but this much I will tell you, British tourists dress really, really bad. They fall into the category of those who dress by picking up a shirt and shorts regardless of whether they match or not. It is painful to see these folks with their white skin all sunburned and most of the time showing way, way too much skin for my liking.

Bruce should be arriving any minute now. We're planning a little dinner out before the craziness of the weekend. He reminded me that I'll be too tired to think straight let alone go out on a date.

Listening to: Womack, Lee Ann - Never Again Again
via FoxyTunes

You Just Never Know