Friday, December 18, 2009

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

The clock was ticking, ticking, ticking away the minutes until Matthew was to arrive, with me glancing up every few of them, waiting for his call. Turns out he was doing the same thing at the airport curb, watching and waiting for us to come pick him up. After what must have seemed like forever following a trans-continental flight, he called home, wondering where we were! Bruce, meanwhile was finishing attaching the super-duper new awning that together we spent the day making. Just as Bruce was putting the last screw in, the phone rang, announcing his arrival!

Baxter is good about letting us know when someone arrives. I say that, but actually it is pretty amazing to think that this little dog, who stands no higher than mid calf, can sense when someone is near our home. It's not like he can see them. Well, that's not entirely true, he does perch on the back of the sofa some days, watching the outside world, but other times he can be just laying around when all of a sudden, up he pops, running to the door, barking like nobodies business. If he's happy, his little tail wags a mile a minute, especially when Bruce's car pulls in. I have to look out the door, making sure Bruce has parked, before opening the door allowing him to race out there and greet him. Which, when Matt and Bruce arrived, he most certainly did. I, on the other hand, did not wag my tail, however, I did race out there to hug Matt. Tears of happiness began flowing down my face at the sight of him. After all, it has been more than a year, the longest I have ever gone without hugging him! Later on I was trying to imagine how military families manage....

Maureen, Nancy, Carol, Pat and Ruth all came for a spaghetti dinner, with Ruth bringing a delicious grapefruit cake, straight out of the oven. Only in Florida, right? It was a very, very, happy night indeed.

During our conversation the subject of this blog came up with several well meaning family members pointing out the regular grammatical and punctuation errors to be found. Man, are they right about that; good thing I have spell check or there would be that too! It is no secret I struggle with both, dating back to my high school days. It must be brought to the attention of my gentle readers that I received a D in 10th grade English. I doubt I will ever forget that because fortunately it was a rare occurrence, otherwise I would have spent even more time on restrictions! Mr. Mild was the teacher's name--what a character he was. He wore incredibly thick black glasses, something you rarely see these days. The aforementioned glasses seemed to always be covered with a layer of grime as well. There are some amongst my readership who revel in grammar, I'm not one of them. Furthermore, there are some who would not write a regular blog because of grammatical deficiencies, but again, I'm not one of them either. Here's how I see it. In the past, no written word we encountered had not been previously pored over by an editor whose job consisted of correcting errors. I don't have one of those talented folks on my staff, so I just plunge ahead. Thank you, thank you, for doing your part to ignore my foibles.

Okey dokey now--that's out of the way....

Here is our darling son Matthew preparing his visa application for FedEx pickup:

He looks good doesn't he?

Both he and Carol have absented the property for a few days--Carol until Saturday afternoon, and Matt until Monday evening. Holiday visiting is the order of the day--Matt in Chicago, Carol in Melbourne. Yesterday afternoon I drove her over there amidst blustery skies. During my return journey rain came pouring down like cats and dogs! And it has stayed...raining as I type at 7:45AM. Around these parts we do not cotton to rainy days. Afternoons, we are okay with, however, waking up to it does not improve our spirits one iota.

Continuing our red theme, I present one of my favorite little flowers, a part of the wonderful hibiscus family:

I took this on Tuesday while at the Polasek. Something new they are doing this year for their website is called "Now in Bloom" with photos by yours truly, gratis, of course.

Did I mention that Christmas is one week from today? Did I mention that I am not prepared? If I didn't, I should have. Bruce went to work today and I am going to be hitting the stores, come rain or come shine!

New music, courtesy of our man in London:
Listening to: Florence + The Machine - You've Got The Love
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's So Nice To Have a Man Around the House

In keeping with my idea of posting photos with red, I present a dog, really still a puppy, that Baxter and I saw while walking. What a sweet face, don't you think?

On my way to Nordstrom last week I pulled off Orange Avenue to take this:

For weeks now our weather has been either rainy, super humid, or overcast. Now, thankfully that's not every day but way more than I'd like. When the temperature soared to 85 on Sunday, I was cursing the fact that I didn't wear something sleeveless to the market. That said, today visitors begin to arrive and except for Carol, the weather will be a vast improvement on what Matthew, Jonathan, and Alissa have been experiencing!

I wish I could adequately describe this lame skating set up at Lake Eola, but I can't--there are no words. It has to be seen to be believed.

I have so much to report today that I hardly know where to start!

Friday I barely remember what I did; I do remember that I wasn't feeling my best (probably because I overdid on Thursday), so no date night. Oh yeah, I worked on deleting photos, and moving market photos over to my external hard drive. I can't wait for the computer whizzes to sort out my computer while they are here. I discovered I only had 10% of memory left.

Saturday was Jen's bridal shower, and what a shower it was. Jen will soon be Maureen's daughter in law, a wonderful addition to the family she will be. The food, company, and festivities were so good.

After returning from the shower, I made some pesto dip and toasted french bread to take to Bruce's department party later in the evening. Another food-filled event! Around 10 I asked Bruce to take me home for two reasons. One, having the market the next day, and two, because my feet were KILLING me! These days I wear high heels infrequently, and boy could I feel it after six hours of standing in them.

Drama at the market on Sunday. A young couple, she is 16, he is 18, were in my booth chatting for a bit. She reminded me so much of my niece Amanda; very tall and willowy, with almost identical coloring. Anyway, it was a good thing we chatted so much, with me learning their names etc. because when it came time to complete the small transaction something completely unexpected happened. I'll try to describe it succinctly.

She hands me money.
I lay the print on the table, reaching for the money.
Her phone drops to the ground.
I bend down to retrieve it.
While down there, her jacket drops to the ground.
I pick it up too, joking that she's dropping everything.
I stand up and see that she is starting to jerk a bit.
This is not a good thing.
Fortunately, I have two chairs in my booth.
The boyfriend takes a hold of her, and I drag the chair over.
He begins to panic as her eyes dilate, and her heads falls back.
Shortly thereafter she goes out cold.
By now, people are beginning to notice something is amiss, although if you can imagine, there are still some people looking at things on my walls in the other corner of the booth.
I get ice from Larry and Dena, making a little ice pack for her neck.
I keep calling her name, tapping her face, and after what seems like forever, she comes to.
By now, 911 has been called, along with her mother.
They arrive, take her vitals, and talk to her mother. The ambulance arrives, but her mother doesn't want her taken anywhere, preferring to see her for herself first.
She arrives shortly thereafter, and her boyfriend walks her to the car, and that is that.

Yikes, the adventures that await me each week! A little later, one of my brother Pat's old friends from high school visits my booth. She said there were two Karen Nichols in their class, she was "little" KN. It's a small world out there my friends.

Finally, I'm getting to the title reference. We all know by now what a terrible year it has been for Maureen. Just when we got the computer crisis solved, something much dirtier occurred on Sunday morning involving her septic tank. I won't relate the gory details, however, I will tell you that my darling Bruce saved the day.

He is finally low on jobs at the moment, allowing him to take some much needed time off. He remade the bench that collapsed under my weight on Halloween, put up new lights out back, and in general is taking care of business around here. What a relief! Most of the year I muddle through, but there is no one quite like Bruce to take charge.
He is bathing Baxter as I type.

One final note: it's official. Bill began his new job with Chase last Thursday. After the market on Sunday we took him to the airport; he has nearly a week of training in New Jersey before they let him loose. Very exciting news.
Listening to: Ryan Adams - So Alive
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

So much to be grateful for today, where shall I start?

Here's a view of the living room in the fading afternoon light with the tree ablaze with white lights. This year, instead of Bruce and I doing it together, we opted to go out with Dana after the market, leaving the decorating to me. How I remember those days when there were many hands to decorate! Several memories always flood back while doing the tree. One, a real standout, is the year Bill and Dave were getting close to two years old. They were so darn inquisitive (pc for they got into EVERYTHING!), that Bruce built a large wooden box and bolted the tree down for safekeeping. Secondly, the year Matt was nine, meaning the twins were six, and Jonathan was two, we moved on December 16. Can you imagine that? We were young ourselves! Anyway Matt insisted we needed a tree; once we purchased one, he proceeded to decorate it himself. Crazy huh?

Some of you know this, some don't. When the boys were quite small, I read somewhere about a family whose Christmas morning tradition sounded like something I'd like to adopt. Basically it works like this: last one up gets to open the first present, followed in succession by those who got up earlier. As a child I remember dragging our parents out of bed as early as 6, something I was hoping not to repeat as a parent myself. What a blessing it was, becoming quite a contest between the boys to see who could stay in bed the longest! Isn't it something how you read something somewhere and incorporate it into your own life? Off topic, but once I read that Madonna used to love to clean the lint screen on her dryer. Don't ask me where I read this please because that I can't tell you. What I can tell you is that almost every time I clean the lint screen that silly thought comes into my head. If only I could remember important things!!!

Ok, so what does this have to do with my title? Well, if you will please, notice the lovely bouquet of roses on the coffee table, a gift from Angela for shooting their pictures.

That is small potatoes compared to what I'm fixing to write. David called and guess what???? In arbitration the lawsuit was thrown out!!!!! Additionally his record is expunged! Isn't that fantastic!!! I knew in my heart David has only his client's best interests at heart, and would not willingly do anything wrong. Although he claims not to have any spirituality anymore, almost fifteen years of Sunday school classes are still buried in there somewhere. Not to mention, he wouldn't want to disappoint his dad for anything. Oh happy day! (For those opposed to the overuse of exclamation marks, please forgive me, however they are the only thing I have to convey my excitement)

And here's this news. Remember last week I mentioned Bill had some job news. I decided to back off a bit then because everything was not finalized. Well, now it is. He began working as a Business Banker for JPMorgan/Chase this very day. In his former position with Wachovia he was happy enough, but once Wells Fargo bought Wachovia, the proposed changes in his compensation package were not to his advantage. Thus, when a recruiter called asking him to interview with Chase, he jumped at the chance. Fortunately, they liked him, offering him a position along with a salary increase. Hopefully, he'll blossom, and if you know Bill, you'd assume he would because he is a hard worker when money is involved.

Here's Maddie and Clara from our photo shoot the other day. Polly wants to use this one for their Christmas card. After taking these we got serious again. The girls proceeded to place their antlers on my head while we took the remaining photos. I suspect that when I was younger I would have felt self conscious walking around with two sets of antlers on my head, but no longer, I've got no pride left!

One thing I love, love, love about Christmas is the songs. This is one of my favorites:
Listening to: Amy Grant - Emmanuel, God With Us
via FoxyTunes
Not only is her voice spectacular, both the lyrics and arrangement are wonderful. And of course there is my beloved "Christmas Magic" by Fred Waring. Love it!

Tomorrow is Bruce's department Christmas party which should be fun for him. A potluck luncheon, gift exchange, as well as a White Elephant exchange. We found a funny gift for that part. I'm headed to the kitchen now to prepare macaroni and cheese as his contribution. Imagine that until I began making "The Flying Biscuit" mac and cheese Bruce hated the stuff; now it is his favorite. I believe he'd be happy if I made it several times a week.

Speaking of Bruce, it takes him a little while to get in the Christmas spirit. He worked from home today a bit, but once he was caught up I suggested he watch "Love Actually", his favorite. It was a joy to hear him laughing out loud at parts and of course if you've seen it, you know there are some real tear jerker moments. His step is just a little lighter now.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What's Not to Love About Being Dutch?

Of all things I'm posting two videos today, one from our fave humorist David Sedaris:

And one from the amazing Susan Boyle, whose debut CD I hope to receive for Christmas.

Since I washed my hair and put on makeup I'm running out to do a little shopping. See you after bit.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

She's Back!

Where is the time going? It's not that I don't mean to blog, it's just that the days seem to be speeding up and chock full of stuff to do.

Before we go one step further, here is something I've been meaning to post for weeks now. Ever since I read this piece in Vanity Fair, Cuteness, I couldn't get over how much truth there was to what he had to say. Read it if you've got time! Specifically I've found that no matter how interesting a photograph I show of an exotic flower it will sit in my baskets for who knows how long. On the other hand, daisies, a cute flower if ever there was one, sell like crazy. Thus, as the smart businesswoman I'm becoming (haha!), I have daisies of all colors and compositions. How else to explain the popularity of "Street Art" than to say that it is cute. Most of the folks who buy it have never heard of The Smiths; that said, those who do love that band go crazy for it! In any case, cuteness prevails! Twitter anyone?
Publix's version of Christmas daisies:

The green was definitely a miss.

Since our last meeting I've had lots going on. Let's see if I can remember where the week went.

Bruce and I saw Brothers Friday night. Wow, was it intense. According to what I've read it is a remake of a much better Danish film; I thought this version was good, so can't imagine the original. Why, though, must people be recycling others ideas? The film is made by Jim Sheridan who directed one of my favorites: Coming to America. In both films he uses children so naturally; they provide much needed sweetness in a sea of despair.

Alabama rolled all over Florida in the SEC Championship game--nice.

Party at Chuck and Zoilas' house across the street. Chuck was single until just a few years ago, maybe 35 years old?, anyway, he's had an annual birthday party for years and years, which when we can, we try and show up for, if just for a little while. The party has definitely changed now that he's got two young boys under 3!

The treadmill is folded up and in the closet, making room for a fold up bed in my office. For the first time in a long time our company will have a door to close. Carol is arriving on the 15th for Lisa's 50th birthday party on Saturday. Unfortunately for those of us who have been dying to see Matthew dance again, he's arriving on the 16th, but heading to Chicago on the 17th for a visit with his Northwestern friends, so he'll miss her party on the 19th.

Shopping, that's another thing I've been doing. Not nearly as much as I need to, but I've got a start. So hard when your sons are all financially solvent and then some. Not that I'm complaining mind you, I am delighted to have that problem! I realized that when the children were growing up my shopping time and money were limited, now however, I've got both time and money, just no ideas.

This Sunday a woman came to the booth, started looking at some things and then asked me the price of a canvas. I told her and she sorta gasped. I asked, "Is that too much?" She replied, "I thought it would be much higher." A real first! She said, "I'll take it," to which you know how I responded! Furthermore she told me where she lived, a condo which my brother in law, Cris, built many years ago on the other side of Lake Eola. I'm mentioning this because my very FIRST paying customer was staying with her son at the Reeves House, the aforementioned condo building. I had a flashback to that moment. I was so, so excited, going so far as to have Lisa take my picture with her. Lisa was then kind enough to carry the piece for the woman to her place. Nice. In fact, I think I'm going to hunt for that picture......No luck finding me, but here's Lisa on March 27, 2007:

What you don't see is the empty bridge where I was once stationed. My how times have changed; the bridge is pretty much full on both sides now. This weekend, however, those vendors will have to move because they are putting in an ice skating space if you can imagine. You'll hear what I have to say about that once I've seen it with my own two eyes!

I've found some new fabric for the awning which Bruce and I will try to make when he returns from the cold country, this time, New York.

Continuing my red theme, here is the picture I took of the Strombergs last night for their Christmas card:

The Strombergs are Angela, Matt, and her son Michael. You've heard a lot about Angela, now you've seen her. One funny thing is that although I had Rogers' external flash, I was hoping to use the ambient light, thus I brought my tripod over which proved to be too short for the likes of them. Both Angela and Matt are over 6 feet tall!

Tuesday morning, 8:00, means time to get ready for the museum. Till we meet again..
Listening to: James Taylor - In the Bleak Midwinter
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Shades of Red

I'm wondering if every picture I post this month, at least until Christmas, should have either red or green as the primary color? When you've been blogging as long as I have, you've got to keep it fresh....

As if Maureen hasn't had enough trouble lately, it appears that the computer we gave her when I got my Mac is now seriously dysfunctional. How does one look for jobs, check on unemployment claims, and in general, keep up with the world without a computer? We're sorting through the options on how best to get her back up and running. Speaking of Maureen, I was remiss in not mentioning the shrimp she brought to Thanksgiving. It deserved a place of honor on the previously posted menu, but I imagine that since it went too fast for me to get a taste, it slipped my mind.

I'm wondering if I have either a virus, or an auto-immune disease, that is triggered by fatigue. Just when I think that I'll never have those pesky symptoms again, they rear their ugly head, forcing me into rest mode. Yesterday was one of those days; today isn't far behind. The painters returned this morning to finish up the punch list which included painting the insides of all three doors. They are wide open as I type, with the wind whistling through the house, not to mention flying leaves as well, keeping me home for now. In other words, I won't get out, and do too much, forcing another rest day! I did manage to get all my prints done for Sunday though, which is fantastic.

Bruce left this morning for the cold country. :(

Which reminds me of something Jonathan wants for Christmas, "dot gloves." Apparently, they have touch pads so one does not have to go without using one's iPhone during the bitter cold of a Chicago winter. They must be a hit because according to their site, they are sold out of one type, one type is too dorky, and the third won't ship until mid December, by which time Jonathan would be either frozen, or crazed from not fooling with his phone, a phenomenon I find troubling, but then again, I'm old.

The other Peck brothers should have already made an appearance in this blog; somehow I've written about other things instead of my dear sons. Here's a brief update:

succumbed to the offer of working directly for Allen & Overy. Originally he thought that working for a British firm would require him to stay in London for a specific time period, but he learned differently. Now we know he'll be there for awhile so I'm bound to have that passport ready while he's still there and we can finally visit!

Bill's band, Exit the Ride, has been playing around town with frequency which is obviously a good thing.

David is facing attorneys today. About a year ago, when the stock market meltdown was in full free-fall, some former clients sued Sun Trust, (not David,) over some investments he placed them in. To set the record straight, I want you to know that if those same folks had left their money where it was their losses would be marginal today. Moreover, they moved to another financial institution which steered them toward the same investments, but in our sue-happy society, all that is a moot point. The case has been looming all these months, but David, being David, has remained optimistic because he knew he'd done nothing wrong. Mediation didn't work about a month ago, so yesterday was the first step towards a real trial. He called last evening, worn out from more than four hours grilling by the client's attorney. His attorney coached him on Monday to answer the questions succinctly. Now if you know David even slightly, you know he tends to run on about a subject he's passionate about. Apparently, he did good. Today he faces questioning again, this time from the Sun Trust attorney. Keep him in your prayers that he'll be exonerated quickly!

So there you have a quick summary about our Peck men, although they'll always be my boys. :)

Completely changing the subject, here's a view of the gallery space at the Polasek:

If you've ever been there, you know this is pretty wild for them. They are going more modern these days, here's a link to the facebook page: Maidens & Monsters. Actually, it was more interesting than I'd previously imagined. It will be running until April so I'll get to know it pretty well.

Lastly, although I wasn't feeling so great yesterday, something happened that made me very happy. While eating lunch the phone rang, a rare occurrence these days. It was a youngish man calling from Louisiana about a canvas. It seems as if his girlfriend had seen it while visiting Orlando and has been talking about it for weeks, claiming it's the only thing she wants for Christmas. Now how nice is that?
Listening to: Low - Just Like Christmas
via FoxyTunes

Monday, November 30, 2009

Let the Blogging Begin Again

When last we met I'd been cooking and cooking and cooking...

I'm happy to report that things went super good with the help of lots of folks, foremost Bruce because he did everything non-cooking related the morning of Thanksgiving. Can't eat without a set table now can we? Everyone pitched in and it all went off without a hitch. I had so much food I had to use Angela's oven! Here's what we ate, in order of consumption:

Sausage Balls
Marinated Olives
Spiced Pecans
Roasted Red Pepper/White Bean Dip

The Ultimate Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
Maple Sweet Potatoes
Cranberry and Tart Cherry Relish
Sausage Stuffing
Fresh, sauteed corn
Green and Wax Bean Medley
Squash and Zucchini casserole
Israeli Couscous Salad
Spinach, Pear, Walnut and Stilton Cheese salad
Crescent Rolls

Spice Cupcakes with Tangerine Zest Frosting and Caramelized Ginger
Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream
Brownie Pie with Optional Chocolate Sauce (Jen was the only one brave enough!)
Apple Pie


So now you know just how much cooking I did! The thing is that I know cooking very well.....Lord knows, I've had my share of practice. When cooking big meals I reflect on all those years of making meals for six, sometimes three times a day. It's a wonder I got anything else done! I'm good at keeping the kitchen cleaned up as I go, timing things, and hopefully making tasty food.

We all had fun and the weather, which had been gray and gloomy for most of the week, turned spectacular allowing some to eat outdoors by the pool.

Thanksgiving may last for only hours but the work involved lasts for days around here. We had some leftovers which produce all sorts of more dishes, and I've just finished the laundry with all of the dishtowels, cloth napkins, and tablecloths. All well worth it might add....

Friday Bruce and I met Dana for lunch at Graffiti Junction, finally getting to catch up with her. She's been so busy of late we've not seen much of her. She's been leaving the market in others hands, which is fine, but no one is as good at managing the market as Dana. After wards we strolled a bit and came across a super cool gallery around the corner. These shots were taken in there. The stair one requires you to take a second look...the green on the left is a reflection off the stairwell wall. Cute little airplane don't you think?

The Florida/FSU game on Saturday afternoon was a loss as expected, just not as big of one. :) :(

Surprisingly there were loads of people at the market on Sunday. Our market neighbors, Jim and Kathy took the week off because last year was terribly slow. I purposely didn't look at my last years sales before we left so as not to be too discouraged. Arriving home later I discovered that my sales were right around four times what they were last year! Good deal.

Before it all slips away I wanted to revisit the DeLand show. It is so funny how things occur in life. The week before the show while doing my museum stint, there were only two visitors all morning. It was just as well because things were in such disarray, but I digress. I chatted for a bit with a really nice couple visiting from North Carolina by way of Ft. Lauderdale. It's complicated.. Anyway, the man was taking pictures and even one of me and his wife. I mentioned that I took pictures and would be doing an art show on Saturday/Sunday in DeLand. I didn't even have a card to give them! Saturday morning, not too long after we were set up, there were lots of people in our booth but I spoke to one woman saying, I recognize you! She reminded me from where--the Polasek! Apparently, they were on their way back to NC and deliberately stopped in DeLand to see me. Can you believe that??? Additionally, she ended up buying prints for everyone on her shopping list!!! Bruce threw in a few because she couldn't make up her mind!!! How sweet is that??

Another customer that I wanted to share was a young man late Sunday afternoon. Turns out he'd done three tours overseas, two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, and was preparing for another one when he broke his hip on a hike. Now this isn't just any hike, but a sixty mile hike with a seriously loaded pack!!! He surprised me by saying he was disappointed, he loved being a Marine. He also confirmed what one of my classmates told me about Iraq--the smell is horrible, one of the worst parts of the whole experience, yet you rarely read anything about that aspect. He told me that not only do people throw their garbage in the streets, they also don't hesitate to defecate there as well. We take much for granted don't we?

The last customer I wanted to mention was a couple who arrived when it had just begun to rain on Sunday afternoon. Although I didn't recognize them they'd apparently visited my booth on Saturday. The man walked in saying he wanted to buy my "Beach Daisies" canvas, a $75 purchase. Naturally I was delighted, a good way to end a show. I was even more delighted though by the story they told. Apparently, the man had a seizure nearly six months prior and was put on Dilantin. While taking said medication driving is a no-no. He was buying the canvas as a gift for the girl's mother who had faithfully driven him to work each, and every day, for six months. How's that for a sweet ending to a show???

That said, the above holiday is especially meaningful as I have so much to be grateful for.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Marathon Cooking Session

Some of these are good, some not so much but the day was super gray with little available light. Working since 7AM on all sorts of treats for my family. I only wish Matt were here to eat some of that apple pie with his dad. Not to mention, Jonathan loves his turkey. I'm thinking Alissa would love the brownie pie that is not pictured, one because the prep pictures didn't turn out, two because the pie cracked like crazy on the top. I've never made it before, but if it tastes anywhere near as yummy as the batter, then even if it's not very pretty, it will be a treat. Another treat that didn't turn out is the roasted red pepper bean dip which I'm sure Alissa would like as well.

Mr. Expert Traveler is traveling this evening, if you can imagine. He'll jump into action when needed to get the table leaf installed in the morning. I'm hoping the dreary rain of today will be gone by 3ish tomorrow so if need be folks can eat at the patio table. Only time will tell on that one.

Yesterday Maureen mentioned how many blessings I have, she speaks the truth! I'm a lucky gal.

Hope your Thanksgiving is filled with good food, family and friends.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Title due to SPAM!

You may be wondering what the above photo has to do with today's blog--nothing at all. I just thought it was fun.

After a good night's sleep last night I awoke feeling considerably more energetic. Mostly today I've done either shopping, or spending time with Maureen. She called while I was on my way to Clemon's to pick up fruits and veggies. After loading up with goodies, I picked her up, and off we went to Lake Mary to pick up some things for her Black Friday garage sale. Let the bargains begin!

As it was almost lunch time when we arrived, after our aforementioned pick up, we stopped at a strip center with the intention of having Italian at a local spot we saw on our way by, however, the parking lot was packed, forcing me to look around for a spot. While doing so, I noticed a sub shop called Jersey Mike's. A back and forth discussion ensued--you know the kind: what do you think? do you want to try it? maybe we should check the menu? Recognize that?

I am delighted to report that we agreed it was the place for us; believe you me, we were not disappointed. There was a long line with hungry customers which is always a good sign. The longer we spent in line, the more we waffled on what to order, eventually settling on a mini Italian sub to share, along with a chipolte cheese steak sub. It was absolutely delicious, I mean seriously good. We even shared a giant Pepsi which was definitely going out on a limb for us die hard Coca Cola girls. We both left wishing there were one closer to our house. Strangely enough I returned a call to Regina when I got home, and mentioned our delicious lunch. She launched into a story about how a friend of hers was raving about the place, which she admitted to tuning out most of his excitement, but now that I was raving, she'd definitely make going there a priority. Fantastic!

I made another trip to Publix which I hope will be my last. You would think we were all vegetarians, what with the array of vegetables I bought. Let's see, there are yams, green beans, wax beans, carrots, radishes, corn on the cob, fresh spinach, potatoes for mashing, squash and zucchini, peppers, celery, cucumbers, and beautiful tomatoes filling my fridge to the max! Apples for pie, fresh cranberries, tangerines, lemons, limes and pears are brightening the kitchen counters with their vibrant colors. Seems like a late additon of Sam, the singer in Bill's band, along with his brother, visiting from Maine will make it sixteen adults for dinner around 3. I'm figuring a late breakfast for most and then an early dinner. We'll be missing our dear Matthew, Jonathan, and Alissa, however it won't be long before they are here to celebrate Christmas.

There's only one bummer connected to Thanksgiving. It's hard to believe it has been six years ago that our Mother went into a coma on Thanksgiving. As the years pass the pain eases more, but I'm not sure if I'll ever forget the call from David telling me that our mom was in serious trouble, followed by Bruce's call that I needed to go over there right away. I was getting ready to mash the giant pot of potatoes when Bruce said it was more than he could handle alone. Now, you know Bruce pretty well by now to know that if he can't handle something it must be pretty terrible. I left the rest of the dinner in my niece Laura's capable hands, jumped in the MINI driving the mile or so to see what was going on. Although we'd been planning for the end when it comes it is always a shock. There is nothing in life to prepare you for your mom (whatever kind of mom you have, whether it be good or bad) not responding. Bruce left me there alone with her and I called hospice letting them know we needed their help. Within about two hours they arrived, never leaving for her final four days. Bruce brought me a plate of food which was pretty surreal, but no more so than those left at our home to carry on as if nothing was happening. Although I'd been involved with her care for the previous five months, putting her in diapers really felled me. So that's all I'm burdening you with for now; forgive me if I've gotten too graphic. As well, I'm skipping the editing of this post for errors because, frankly, writing it is enough.

Don't you just hate how early it gets dark these days?? I don't know about Chicago for sure, but according to Matt, this time of year there are only eight hours of daylight in London. Now that would depress me to no end.
Listening to: Nelly Furtado - Say It Right
via FoxyTunes

Monday, November 23, 2009

Unrelated Subjects

Lots of views of our sweet new house:
You can just see Baxter at the door wishing everyone would just go away!

I love how darling Bruce's amazing shed looks in this one.

I took these on Thursday afternoon and since that time we've installed two very neat metal art pieces on either side of the garage. Formally confederate jasmine vines covered the walls, cascading in front of the garage doors. After many years, vines get to looking pretty shabby; with the new look, it was time to cut them all back. Additionally, although the awning has been re-installed, I will be searching for a more complimentary fabric soon.

The guys are back today painting the fence a pale shade of gray. They spoke little English making communication a bit of a problem but their hard work spoke for them!

On Friday it was time to get ready for the show! After picking up my order, I headed straight home working for some hours preparing the prints. Although I called several people, begging them to come help me, they could not be persuaded! No worries--I got it done, although when Bruce got home from work there was no dinner waiting for him. We went over to our local Tijuana Flats for a little Mexican treat, heading to bed pretty early because, unlike most shows, this one had to be set up the morning of.

I've shown in DeLand twice now, but never at Fall Festival. The spring show is much craftier--this one is their big time one. First, I was grateful to be accepted, secondly, I really like downtown DeLand, as astute readers of this blog will remember from previous posts. Unlike other shows I've done, this one has real buyers. Everywhere you looked you could see people carrying art purchases which was fantastic. I'm especially gratified to have had sold 74 pieces during the two days, my personal best show ever. From what I gathered, people from all around look forward to it, saving just for the occasion. Loads of wonderful volunteers made the show run smoothly. The potter next to us was from Jacksonville, and he mentioned that there are no longer any shows in his area that are community-based because of a lack of volunteers. They are all run by a company called Howard Allen which charges at the minimum $350 for your space, not to mention the shows don't have that special feel that a community-based one has. They provided meals, booth sitters, and an awards party on Saturday night. Good chili with lots of toppings. The only bummer was they ran out of red wine, which truth be told, probably was a good thing as we had the drive back to Orlando to consider.

Saturday was not only extremely busy for me, but it was so tiring I didn't think I'd be able to get moving for Sunday! Leaving the house at 5:30AM, and arriving home around 8PM is a mighty long day for this lady. Naturally, I was asleep by 9. Thankfully Bruce stayed with me all day because I'd have not been able to manage on my own. There were a few lulls, but not many. Bruce copped a little nap in the shade during those times!

One of the judges was Lonnie Graham, a professor and photographer. Arriving in my booth, he studied my large pieces and proclaimed I was just on the "edge of something", whatever that means. He said he wished he had more time to talk to me, started to leave, then turned around to say more, most of which I've forgotten already. One thing I do remember is he told me to practice, as if I don't nearly every day! Yikes, I wonder what he'd have said if I hadn't been practicing all this time! Anyway, I had no pat "artsy answer" about what I was trying to say and he moved on. Meanwhile, another gentleman in my booth overheard the conversation. After Mr. Graham took leave, the other man said, I've judged shows before, he's trying to show you how smart he is. He went on to have some complimentary things to say along with some questions, which I welcome. He noted that one of the pieces, Beach Daisies, was not as sharp as some others, wondering why this was so. I told him, truthfully, if that picture were not my second best seller it would not be hanging on the wall because I do recognize the flaws! If only I could find that scene again I'd gladly re-do it, however, to date I've not seen anything that compares. Proving that the buyers like it, just before the rain forced an early closing to the show, a couple came in and bought the canvas for a gift. More on that tomorrow.

For now, I've got to move into Thanksgiving mode. I'm still really, really tired, but I'm going to get the turkey. Let the thawing begin!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This Didn't Take Long

Since our last meet up, I've got a whole new house. Seriously, for six months or so I've been thinking about having the house repainted. I'm not sure exactly how long it's been but I do know that Bill was still living at home at the time.

Another home issue we've been ignoring is the fence. Five years ago about one quarter of the fence was built on site---a repair made necessary by our visit from Hurricane Charley. Because the rest of the fence looked ok at the time, that is all we had done. Flash forward to this year and the rotting along the bottom was really making me sad. Because Bruce is finally not traveling this week he had the time to project manage this repair. A guy he's used commercially came out on Monday morning to check it out. Bruce told him he'd like to have the entire fence repainted and once I heard that I knew I had to spring into action before it was done with the old color.

More like skyrocketing into action, I give you the changes thus far (albeit in reverse order):

Yesterday on my way to the museum I stopped by the Benjamin Moore paint store picking up some paint chips along with two brochures, one meant for interiors, one for exteriors. Apparently all paint companies must be based up North because none of the pictured houses came close to looking like our little 1960 ranch style home. Immediately I found what I was looking for in the interior brochure. A beautiful combination of a lovely, creamy shade of yellow, clear, almost cornflower blue, spring green, and an off white. All that was left was to find a paint color that was a neutral (I've chosen a soft gray), and a phone call to Luis, our painter and here we are about 30 hours later!

Luis painted the house last time as well as faux painted our sunroom, one of the lovliest spots in the house. I called him around 2:30 yesterday afternoon and turns out it was a God send because not only have they been slow this year, but they could start today. I'd decided to use the green for the shutters and the blue for the doors but he convinced me to flip-flop that decision and I'm sure he's probably right. I was just ready for a lighter, brighter look. You may remember six months ago I got that awning made which I'll have to figure out what to do about. My friend Kelly tells me that the awning place will probably replace the cover but to tell you the truth, neither of us liked it so much. I'll have to ponder this one.

The fence guys arrived around 9 this morning and progress is being made--posts are in position, and that's about all I can tell you right now because not only do all the windows have plastic on them, so do the doors! I can't see a thing. The last section of the fence literally fell down once Edmund cut some vines loose on my neighbors side!

By Friday evening the house should be done and I'm assuming the fence as well. I can hardly wait! Angela thinks I'm plum crazy for picking out the colors just like that but when I see something I like I go for it. Remind you of anything? I was thinking about Bruce, once I met him I knew he was perfect. 36 years later, I'm thrilled with that choice!

Last evening we saw Jackson Browne at the Bob Carr Auditorium--what a treat. Just him and fifteen guitars lined up along with a keyboard. He sang lots of the old favorites for all of us oldies in the crowd along with some of his newer material. He explained he starts these acoustic shows with no set list, just plays what he feels like. Apparentlly the crowd thought he needed help with his choices because they kept shouting out their favorites. Lots of gray hair in the audience!

I've placed my order for this weekend and I should have it by tomorrow--let's hope I do well this weekend--spending all this much money at once makes me a little nervous...
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday, Monday

Last week just sped by and before I knew it I hadn't had time to blog but today's another story, so here we go....

Tuesday I spent my usual time at the Polasek, stopping afterward at the gallery to see what was happening. They have moved my stuff down the street to a hair salon with my permission. I know that sounds crazy but it is in a two story old house and actually looks pretty cool there. I have so many canvases at the moment that I figured, why not? Of all things I got an email the other day from someone who saw it there. Next I picked up two standing easels from my friend Nancy Flynn's cool art framing studio; I thought they might be useful at the Darden event.

Wednesday morning found me helping Maureen with making a cd for a small wedding gift. I bought my first music online, pretty simple now that I've tried it. Good thing she brought a list of songs over because I'll tell you something you probably already know---there are lots and lots of love songs but mostly they are about breaking up, not getting together. She combined some oldies, but goodies, with a few new things. After that I picked up my order at Roger's and began the process of getting things ready for the annual Darden Arts and Craft Festival. You may remember that this is my third year showing there; each year I've done better, and better.

Once I got my prints sorted out I thought I'd gone overboard on ordering. Fortunately that wasn't the case. I ended up selling 58 prints if you can imagine. I could hardly believe it myself, and I was there!

Preparing the prints looks easy, which it is, however there are multiple steps involved. I try to do it assembly line fashion which helps some. I've been out of stickers for a while now, so I've been first putting a business card in the bag, then I put a price sticker on, followed by naming and signing each one, followed by writing thank you on the foam core, and finally sealing the bag. I'd ordered 72 prints and the whole aforementioned sequence took me nearly four hours to complete. I packed the car, heading off to set up in their beautiful new building.

Showtime was 7:30AM, both Thursday and Friday, ending at 3:00PM. The space was terrific, and since I've been there three years now, I've become friendly with the other vendors. It was good and only $10 for the space! To put that into perspective, the Winter Springs show I did a few weeks ago cost around $200 to enter, and took hours and hours of time to set up, and tear down, with the end result almost the same now that I think about it. Oh well, they are both good in their own way.

I picked up the lawn mower Thursday afternoon on my way home. Turns out it was a little torn gasket causing the non-starting situation. Bruce returned very late Thursday evening after a successful trip--the restaurant was received to rave reviews, but of course, you were expecting that weren't you?

Saturday morning I got up nice and early, greeted by a beautiful day--mild temperatures with gorgeous blue skies and warm (not hot) sunshine, perfect for a chore day. Hanging the clothes on the line is one of my favorite things to do--I just love everything about it. I mowed the lawn and didn't even break a sweat, got the pool cleaned and watched an excellent FSU game.

On our way home from doing a little shopping, Bruce was driving around Lake Davis when I mentioned those crazy roosters I'd seen once. He said, "well, there they are."

I'd been by there multiple times and hadn't seen them so what was up with that? Anyway, he pulled over for me to get a few shots. Doesn't he have some magnificent colored feathers?

Mr. Bill called on Thursday afternoon with the news that their band was contacted by WJJR about opening for a band called, The Cult, on Saturday night at Hard Rock Live. Big time stuff! Although they have played there before, it was totally local, unlike this show which had paying concert goers. We spiffed ourselves up a bit and headed out there to cheer on "Exit the Ride." Little missy here, took her Nikon, hoping to get a few good shots, a misguided plan. They wouldn't let me take it in there at the outset but Bruce sweet talked the head security guy who agreed after we promised not to take it out of my purse. Originally they said I'd have to take it back to my car which if you've ever been out there you know that is not an appealing plan. For some reason the name of the band in this shot I took outside was washed out. We were proud of our boy. Dave, of course, was there as both a roadie and a cheerleader. He loves his brother.

I was hoping with the arrival of fantastic weather I'd have a good day at Eola, but it was not to be. Dismal sales, bringing me back down to earth after the Darden success story.

Just as well, I've got my biggest art show of the year coming up this weekend in DeLand. Although I've done their spring show, this one is completely different, much stiffer competition for sure. Time to get a new order together, the hardest part of the whole business. Still looking for a part time editor.....

Listening to: Emmylou Harris - Here, There and Everywhere
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Promise to Return

This last week has proved to be so busy for me that I've not found the time to blog but I will return tomorrow!
Listening to: The Cult - She Sells Sanctuary
via FoxyTunes

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Kids in Town

I caved. Nordstrom Rack had a grand opening on Friday and I went to check it out. In typical Nordstrom fashion, they made the experience enjoyable with plenty of check out lanes, guides to said lanes, and even a line monitor. As well they handed out reusable bags to all the customers, of which there were plenty. I was mostly looking to see what I could see, however I did buy a few things. One of those things was a top, just like the one Bruce got me for our anniversary, in a different print. I just love the way it fits and feels. I put it on later in the day and when Bruce arrived he said, wow, that is cute, even better than the one I bought. Not true, they are both awesome. Today department stores have lost favor with young folks but I prefer them to going to multiple stores. It just seems like the Nordstrom buyers are good, the staff treats the customers so well, why go anywhere else?

For most of the weekend we stayed close to home, but Sunday afternoon we went to Bruce's new office to pick something up for his trip today. Darden is certainly not a new kid around these parts, but they definitely have some fancy new digs. I was glad I had my baby camera in my purse, although I'll be heading there myself later in the week for the annual Darden holiday sale. I'm showing you the main lobby,

as well as what they call "Main Street."

The red is awesome; apparently they searched high and low for just the right shade. I think they hit a home run. The building is LEED certified with loads of natural light everywhere. Bruce no longer has his office with a door, but he's made his work space efficient, not to mention, nice. There's a large cafeteria with floor to ceiling windows looking out over a small lake. Although it was closed, I could see they offer loads of great options. Break areas near the work spaces are equally as nice, stocked with trail mix, coffee stuff, juice, and fountain drinks. One catch, you have to do your own dishes! Seriously, they've done away with bottled water, instead offering nice glasses for your beverages. Naturally we are delighted Bruce is still employed, even more so that when he is in town, he has a wonderful home away from home.

Remember I said I would be mowing the lawn last week. I would if I could. Friday morning, after getting the laundry going, I put on my mowing clothes and shoes and headed out to get started, only to be thwarted by a non-starting mower. I pulled, and I pulled, and I pulled. No luck.

Without complaining, Bruce set about to fix it on Saturday morning, spending several hours, wearing a blister to boot, all to no avail. I was mostly an onlooker, however, I did research on the computer, hollering out through the open window what could possibly be wrong. It just wasn't happening, no matter how hard he tried. Good thing the grass is growing at a snail's pace at the moment. I took it in this morning to Thrailkills, a mower shop on Orange Avenue. We go way back with Thrailkill, all the way back to when Matt was a 5 year old kindergarten student, or was he in first grade? Either way Colleen Thrailkill not only taught Matt, but Bill a few years later. Wonderful woman!! She loved the Peck boys, and really, who could blame her? In my opinion she showed exceptional taste...

Last week I mentioned Bruce had an inspection. I misspoke--it's tomorrow in North Haven. Bummer, the Capital Grille opening party is tonight, and Bruce is missing it, which makes me sad. He worked so tirelessly on that restaurant, I want him to get all the accolades he deserves, and what better time than when all the big-wigs are in one place. Bummer.

Last night we played Yahtzee for the first time in a long while with Bruce crushing me in the second round--255 to 122! Who, I ask you has ever had a score that low???? Jonathan and Alissa gave us the game a few years ago, a fancy set, I must add. The score sheets are an interesting case study. I compared Matt, Jonathan, Alissa, Bruce a myself with me being the messiest score keeper. The others sheets were remarkably similar with nice neat even columns. I'm not sure what that means--any ideas?

Finished a new book yesterday afternoon--Rhyming Life & Death by Amos Oz, a celebrated Israeli author. The story revolves around a celebrity author doing a literary event and his way of passing the time as he grows bored with the proceedings. Very interesting, the mind of an author.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hanging with the Mayor

I received this via email from City Hall--wait a moment after you click on it because it seems to take a moment to load. The woman to my right (facing picture) is the City Councilwoman for the downtown district, Patty Sheehan. She was the first openly gay person to be elected to the City Council as far as I know. Apparently the city had cut the funding to pay the photographers ($100) per image and she paid it herself. Now I've no idea exactly what she means by that but I, in turn, sent the money to the save the Eola fountain campaign. Here's how you could do the same if you are so inclined: Save the Fountain
(JPEG Image, 3216x2136 pixels) - Scaled (36%)
By now you would think I'd be over my daisy fixation. Apparently it has yet to run it's course.

And here, yet another link:Healthcare Reform, from the NYT magazine, a must read for anyone who seriously would like to see health care reform. I won't get on my soapbox, (well, maybe just a little), to complain about what I've seen thus far. In my humble opinion there has been no discussion about health care reform, instead it's been focused primarily on how to get more people insured. For starters, let's outlaw all pharmaceutical, malpractice attorney, hospital, and doctor advertisements. We are paying for all that nonsense with higher health costs. The article is lengthy but it offers some concrete ways that as a patient we could see better health care. Enough said.

This morning I cooked, this afternoon I'll be doing a photo shoot. The Flint girls were accepted by a modeling agency,now they need comp cards with 3/4, and full length body shots. As such, I'll be doing one girl this afternoon, the other tomorrow afternoon. That should prove easier than our previous session. One of the girls is way more comfortable in front of a camera, or at least she was when last we met. We'll be shooting in a park about three doors down from their home which will make clothing changes much simpler. Lastly in the plus column is the weather, today is the prettiest day that I can remember in months,and months, and months. We had that little cool snap which was almost too cool--we went from bathing suits to coats. Today I'm wearing capris and a short sleeved t-shirt, unimaginable just a week ago. Hurray!

I read that because so many older people have signed up for facebook that all the young people have gone over to Twitter. I could have told them that.

I just looked over my spreadsheet from Roger regarding what he's made for me. Street Art blows everything else out of the water, closing in on 200 prints of one size or another. Who could have predicted that?
Listening to: The Smiths - How Soon Is Now?
via FoxyTunes

Reading Update

On Monday mid-morning I went over to Leu Gardens to see what was in bloom. Actually sometimes after a weekend of selling I am antsy to actually shoot pictures so because Monday mornings are free until noon I figured I'd go there. Arriving around 10ish, I found something I'd not encountered before, namely story hour which brought out mothers, strollers, and their children in droves. I parked in an overflow parking area which was cool because I was actually already in the gardens. Sweet. Anyway, I can't tell you the number of times I've photographed red hibiscus flowers only to be disappointed time and time again. I'm thinking my disappointment has been alleviated with this one. Reds are difficult for some reason.

After a quick lunch, I cleaned up a bit for my annual visit (or so I hope!) to City Hall for the calendar presentation. This year I'm Miss June. In this photo Paul and Junko Hennesy are viewing the board with all the submissions which after viewing them all I feel pretty lucky to be chosen. Paul has one of my favorite pictures in this year's calendar, but he didn't make the cut this year; Junko did. This nice couple came by my booth a few weeks ago to get reacquainted and were nice enough to come to the gallery show as well, which reminds me, it is coming to an end this week. As I expected, there were no sales....

What I really wanted to write about was reading Home, by Marilynne Robinson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for literature for the novel Gilead. I've linked you to a review by Tony Scott of the NYT which brought out some points that didn't occur to me while reading. First and foremost, this was a challenging book in many ways. It took me longer to read than most novels because the ideas are complex. The action, if you could call it that, takes place in the worn, rambling home of Reverend Boughton, the characters are primarily two of his grown children, Glory and Jack, who've returned to the family home for what appears on the surface as two different reasons, but I'm thinking maybe in the end they weren't so different after all. The story is not billed as a mystery, although it could be because the author only allows us to know bits and pieces of what's going on. As you know, I'm not very good with subtlety, making it all the more difficult to understand, let alone, tell you about. Ms. Robinson writes about spirituality with candor and insight, but in the end, she allows the reader to make their own conclusions. It's a book you won't easily forget.

Another excellent novel I've recently read is All the Living by C.E. Morgan. (For some reason every link I've tried to place here is not working for me) Set on a tobacco farm in Kentucky, Aloma and Orren find their way.

It would seem as if all I read are sad books, and mostly I do, but yesterday I picked up Eleanor Lipman's latest novel, The Family Man, which is like a sitcom after the previous two I've mentioned. She's very clever; if you've never read any of her books you might want to for a laugh.

I'm making two changes in my life, both for the better I hope. One is that I'm going to quit the Saturday market, secondly, I'm giving up our lawn service. For most of my life I've been a lawn mower, something I really do enjoy. The smell of fresh cut grass is so real; surrounded by manufactured scents everywhere, what with body washes, lotion, gels, sprays, oils and candles, we've mostly forgotten the real thing. You can add your own observations to that list I'm sure. Anyway, we are increasingly becoming a people accustomed to fakery, I want to reclaim just a bit of reality, not to mention that I've almost felt a sense of disconnect with my own yard since they've taken over. Bruce has discouraged this move because he's afraid I won't be up for it, however I'm willing to give it a good try.

Dear Sand Lake Market,
It's been almost a year now that I've done my best to be faithful to your mission, setting up my wares, smiling, chatting and hoping, against all odds, that people would come. They haven't. I wish you the best, and I sincerely hope in the future I'll hear reports that cause me to second guess this decision.
yours truly,

Today is the kind of day that causes people to move to Florida--blue skies and mild temps. Did I mention the windows are open? Keep it coming please.
Listening to: LCD Soundsystem - Watch the Tapes
via FoxyTunes

Friday, October 30, 2009

Here, There, and Everywhere

It's high time I got back to blogging isn't it?

So much has happened since we last chatted that I've put off blogging only because I don't want to go on, and on; in other words, I've been editing in my head for days sorting out what you might want to know about.

Let's back up a week or so, shall we?

Friday afternoon Bruce came home early to load the car, and off we went to set up the show. This year the loading process was much improved, however, the heat was not. Still a furnace, interspersed with rain, which made for a slow process. Compounding that was that Bruce was not feeling top notch, having to stop and rest. Lisa, Danny, and Judy came by just about the time we were finishing. Danny looked excellent.

Show Highlights and Lowlights:

Lisa came on Saturday, Judy came both Saturday, and Sunday to help me mind the store
48 sales
Hot weather
Smaller crowd than hoped for, making the sales total all the more surprising
Patron Award, which merely meant that two patrons of the show bought canvases from me
Saturday evening party with excellent food and wine. Photography first place went to the same woman as last year: Swimmers
Judy answered her phone on Sunday afternoon---her father died--a call she'll always remember...Although expected, the actual moment is always a shock. Now we are not only sisters in law, but orphans as well. Obviously, this was the lowest light of them all.

Monday morning I quickly packed, and off we went to Connecticut, flying first class due to Mr. Peck's status as a three million miler with Delta. Nice flight, nice lunch, and the best part was while looking out my window, I saw first Manhattan, followed by colorful trees. I'd been wondering if there were still pretty leaves left. The temperature was around 50 degrees, a welcome respite from our temps still hovering around 90!

I've put together an album of pictures with captions if you care to click on the album, I believe they'll show that way. When the sun set on Monday evening, that was the last I saw of it until it was time to head to the airport on Thursday. Despite the weather, and Bruce working twelve hour days, I managed to enjoy myself. Bruce now has a GPS, which he insisted I use, frankly, I found the talking box to be a bit annoying. I expect I'm in the minority on that issue. Mostly I spent time at Yale, first in their Center for British Art, followed by their major collection, Museums. It rained from morning till night hampering my ability to take much in the way of pictures, as well as my normal routine of walking around to see what there is to see. I skipped going to the ocean because it was so gray and rainy, that I probably wouldn't have been able to tell where the sky met the water. After having lunch in a nice little Italian restaurant there was a slight break which allowed me to roam two streets. I was amazed at how colorful some of the old homes were painted; I've pictured one of them in the album. I have a suspicion that it helps when the long gray winters start to make a person crazy--a colorful oasis if you will.

Friday I did some much needed catching up around the house, ending the day with a nice dinner out with Bruce. You see, while in CT, we had dinner with others, so I wanted him all to myself for the night. That plan was foiled in a good way though because from our sidewalk seating we had three different couples we know stop to chat.

Saturday--slow as molasses market. Seminoles win in a nail biter! Halloween trick or treaters were few and far between. At nearly 10:00, a car pulled up, the doorbell rang, and a mother with two very young children announced their arrival. Bruce offered the candy bowl--the mother grabbed a huge hand full. Tacky.

Sunday--slowish market, but managed to eke out 12 sales. Early to bed, early to rise, and here we are. Bruce went back to CT for the inspection with an insanely early flight--5:30AM. See what I mean about early to rise?

This afternoon I'll be heading to City Hall for the calendar presentation. I'll let you know how it goes.
Listening to: Model 500 - The Flow
via FoxyTunes

Friday, October 23, 2009

Busy Days Ahead

Lots of pictures today, not so much talk...

Moving backwards in time, I've got a Pumpkin Spice Bundt cake in the oven. My friend Terrie shows extraordinary cooking images on her blog (festing on pixels), I'm not so gifted. Nonetheless, when Bruce arrives home at 2:30 this afternoon to pack the Element, I hope the spicy scent is still in the air.

My first art show of the season, as I mentioned the other day, is this weekend. Miserably hot weather is predicted which will be tough, however, no rain is in the forecast, so that's the silver lining. I'm just hoping the humidity stays low enough to make it tolerable. As such, I had a big bunch of prints to prepare which I did most all of yesterday afternoon with Angela's help. She stickered, carded, and sealed most of the packages. Last weekend I sold 29--hopefully my large order will not be in vain.

Some of you know, some don't, but we always have a little dish of smarties on my display table. I bought 40 lbs. on-line at the Smartie Store to keep me from having to always go hunt them up. I remembered to fill my container full because you know how much just about anyone loves free stuff. It is a source of amusement to me sometimes to watch people try to be cagey about taking them.

Here is where Mr. Bruce lays his head most Sunday afternoons to catch up on much needed rest after his long weeks.

I probably won't be around for a bit because of not only the show, but on Monday I'm heading to North Haven, Connecticut with Bruce until Thursday evening. I'm so hoping there will still be leaves to gawk. Additionally, they have a super nice aquarium there with Beluga Whales among other things. Baxter will be on holiday at Angela's house. If anything extraordinary occurs at the show, you'll be the first to know.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


That's right my gentle readers, this is blog post #601, hard to imagine, and probably a little bit crazy to boot. Writing this blog is as much about me, as it is about you. I finally have a convenient way to remember things. You've no idea how bad my memory is; now I can look up what I've forgotten. While talking to Matt today I mentioned that with the incessant heat that has everyone complaining I decided to see what the past October posts have been about. You guessed it, heat complaints! Our cold snap departed as quickly as it arrived with temperatures predicted in the 90's for the weekend. Just in time for the show....

As well, every October I write about how ridiculous the whole Pink October has become. It's just wrong that they even package mushrooms in a pink container. That sounds mean, however, there's a reason I get so crazy about this. Although breast cancer is a terrible thing, there are worse problems to have, namely, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer and the list goes on. This article sums up something I've tried to tell folks about: Overdiagnosis. A while back a neighbor asked if I'd talk to her daughter who was facing some decisions after they discovered a PRE-cancerous area in her breast. Now how they determine something is such is a little suspect, and the idea that she'd been advised to take some pretty radical steps to deal with it just angered me. So what does this say about my years working in mammography? I can't answer that question. Let's all get behind the real killer--heart disease. OK, enough preaching!

Yesterday on my way home I stopped by the gallery to drop off my business card and see my canvas in the window. Here's what I saw:

While there a woman came in to browse. I was sure I knew her, although after trying to place her by children, job, church, or neighborhood, I just couldn't dredge it up. It was later (isn't it always?) while driving home that I remembered how I knew her...the gym. Of course those days seem so far away now it's no wonder I couldn't place her immediately. It was in the parking lot of the gym that I first noticed the back pain which felled me for way too long. I've never been back.

I could feel that I never exercise today while digging out dirt and cutting tree roots around the filter pipes after discovering this morning what my pool problem was--a leak in one of the pipes. That explains not only no filtration, but the dramatic drop in water level. I called the pool repair folks who came out pretty quickly only to determine that it was a bigger job than anticipated. He's scheduled to come in the morning but charges $75 for 3/4 hour so I decided to do a little of the clean out. Basically I'm a wuss these days....

Baxter posing in the kitchen for the umpteenth time:

Aren't you glad I don't have grandchildren?

Speaking of children, I had a lovely chat with both Matt and David today. Matt is busy as always and Dave is the same. Isn't that great news to know that one's children have fantastic jobs and are loving life? That's pretty much all one can hope for aside from good health. Our friends Jim and Kathy's son, whom I've written about, is still terribly ill with very minor progress forward. On Sunday they didn't come to the market, which is unheard of--the reason, their son was having a colostomy put in. Ouch for both his body, and his psyche. He's 30 if you'll remember. The surgeon insists that it is temporary (6 mos.), but it has to be a huge blow. Now he's got both a tracheotomy, and a colostomy--my heart breaks for the whole family.

I hope I haven't gone on too long with this post....

Lastly I wanted to tell you that Mr. Bruce is a rock star as far as the management team is concerned. I could have told them that..
Listening to: LCD Soundsystem - Watch the Tapes
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Few Days in the Life of Gail

When last we met I was preparing to do the Art Stroll. I mentioned the possibility of rain, and indeed just as it was slated to begin, the rain came down. Not crazy amounts, but enough to keep people from venturing out, not to mention, that I had no tent with me. Doing those small events like that I set out a table with prints, have a table top easel, and my stand up sling. Fortunately I was just outside a large overhang which allowed me to keep things dry. Mr. Bruce arrived with Baxter in tow, grabbing an outside table at the restaurant I was adjacent to. He ordered a bottle of wine, and some food which made the evening quite nice. I only sold a few things, but at least it wasn't a shut out. One really sweet thing that happened was that a woman kept looking at my prints, one in particular. After a bit, she put them back, walking away without saying much. Sunday afternoon at Lake Eola a lady came to the booth mentioning her friend met me at the art stroll and kept talking about this photo she couldn't afford. Her friend bought it for her birthday which made me super happy. Proving once again that even when it looks like nothing much is happening, people are paying attention, and potentially will return at another venue.

On Saturday it was quite chilly--a 30 degree temperature swing. All the vendors had to laugh because the previous Saturday we were all moaning and complaining, not to mention sweating profusely, about the heat! Dana was kind enough to bring a new display rack that she hoped I could use. She's taken over Church Street Station for the real estate company and during the clean up phase she found it and thought of Out & About Photography. What a fantastic buy for us!
Look on the right side of my booth and you will see that I can display twenty (!) images at once. I'm declaring it a hit!

I was using what I named "my twirly thing" which worked better than nothing, but this is far superior for people deciding whether to stop. Because the weather was so chilly(don't laugh you Northerners!), there were loads of people out. All of the vendors were delighted, having hung in there all summer hoping for bigger crowds. They got their wish! I had a good sales day, and never once was I hot. As you well know, my little honey takes such good care of me. While setting up he realized that the wind off the lake was whistling through my back opening so he made a wind break that worked like a charm. No surprise there you think, and you would think correctly!

I managed to stay up until 8:30, then hibernated for the next ten hours or so. Bruce's flight was at 5:30AM if you can imagine. He's in DC for the final inspection of TCG which although I haven't heard from him yet to say for 100% positive, I expect went off without a hitch. If I hear otherwise you'll be the first to know.

Yesterday I was doing pool maintenance. It is times like these that make me wish we didn't have a pool--somewhat like the miserably hot last days of summer here in Florida--you get fed up with it. Anyway, I've discovered that the pool pump is losing it's prime; although the motor continues to run, there is no circulation in the pool. I noticed it was looking greenish on Sunday when I returned from the market and now I know why! It was not at all the blue pictured here:

Before I forget, I read this book last week,Tomato Girl. If ever a book deserved the description of Southern Gothic this one does. Bi-polar mother, cheating father, black magic, epilepsy, do-gooding neighbor, incest--well, you get the picture. I believe I was seduced by the cover photograph. Actually it was quite good, but I'll offer one caveat--it the idea of a mother keeping a miscarried baby in a jar of formaldehyde and trying to nurse it through the jar troubles you, maybe you should keep your distance.

After struggling with the pool yesterday, I struggled with my order for this weekend. I'm doing my first "art show" of the fall season: Winter Springs, one I did last year. They treated us so well I thought I'd give it another go, especially since Judy wants to help me. Because she is a beloved teacher at Winter Springs High School, she is undoubtedly a great asset, not to mention, just plain fun to be with! I've whined how desperately I need an editor, with no one has stepping up to fill the position, so it's just me! Let's hope I did good.

Finally, by popular demand I present the shoes for dear Sarah:

Kinda hard to show them in their full glory but I tried.

You Just Never Know