Thursday, May 28, 2009

Talking About My Generation

As you may or may not recall, yesterday afternoon Kelly was arriving to have her photo shoot just as I was finishing my blogging. She has a website and other social networking sites she wanted some photos for. She'd just had her hair done and came in with her makeup bag to get ready. I'm not so experienced in this kind of photography, however we had fun, chasing the light and trying to get some good shots. The most fun we had was when she picked up Baxter who'd been hanging around--they both look so good in this one.

I said that was the most fun but this one is pretty crazy. I'd climbed on top of our air conditioner blower thing out back and it came on. I handed Kelly the camera and had her take my picture:

Crazy huh? Look how incredibly dark my hair is underneath!!!! That said, I'm noticing gray hairs are starting to populate my scalp, generally sticking straight up! I remember when we first moved to Melbourne when I was 16 and we had air conditioning for the first time. Being the 70's and all, everyone had long hair. Mine was not only long but very thick resulting in very long drying times. We were so excited when we realized the outside blower could work as a hair dryer!

Today I'm full of links. One is for the charming book I finished last night--way too late I might add, which Baxter completely ignored when he whimpered at a little after 6 this morning to go out. Fantastic! Classic tortoise and the hare tale set in Kenya; the prose is full of good humor. I highly recommend this one. Don't bother with Sarah's Key, it dissolved into a mess.

By now you're thinking what the heck does her title have to do with anything she's written. I'm getting there, patience, dear readers.

Actually I was thinking yesterday that increasingly I'm feeling that Bruce and I are living outside what is considered normal these days. Two articles in the Times really drove that home. Here's one of them:
The Hug
Yes, hugging. I've noticed the prevalence of hugging has increased by a bunch. You thought I might throw a percentage in there didn't you? You know better. Hugging used to be for close family members and sometimes close friends as a celebratory gesture or on rare occasions, a symbol that although a person was going through a rough patch (divorce, death, serious illness), you were there for them. Now it is an everyday thing which I'm still trying to get accustomed to. Friends, don't think I don't love you, it's just that it's new to my generation.

Another article was about texting. I don't mean to sound grumpy, or old fashioned, but yikes!, what is there to text about all day? Apparently, no one can live in the moment now, they must multi-task or feel like something is wrong. I particularly hate it when I see drivers doing it. Not a pretty sight. In Florida you receive a ticket for not wearing a seat belt, a law which I find ridiculous. A caveat--I wear a seat belt in the driveway, but seriously, if someone wants to take the risk, who is the state of Florida to tell them differently? It is not like it makes someone a more dangerous driver, it just makes them more prone to death in the unlikely event an accident occurs. Texting, on the other hand, is dangerous to both the texter, and those who are driving on the same road with them. Need I remind you of the accident in Boston on the transit system when a driver was texting? The Times article referred to teens getting sore thumbs from texting nonstop. I've not learned texting and don't plan to add it to my repertoire.

So as I was putting on a dab of makeup this morning I was thinking about Bruce and I being together all these years and loving it. Not normal anymore. Four children conceived normally, twins without fertility drugs, natural childbirth for three of them, no credit card debt, no home equity loan, no second mortgage, 15 year fixed rate mortgage, no fighting, no overly fancy house (comfortable and cute though), no warehouses for our extra stuff, no plastic surgery for me, and the list goes on. I'll try not to belabor this point, but I don't believe in most of the issues that worry people these days, life is too short. Lest you think I'm totally out of it, I do recycle and I do have a Mac. That said I don't panic if I don't have a mobile phone so maybe that cancels out the last two?

I'd forgotten this link Kelly posted on Facebook last week: Free PressYeah to friends who look out for me!

Time to watch the Magic game; Bruce and I attended the very first Magic exhibition game twenty years ago. This could be another late night!

P.S. Forgive those italics above if you will--I don't know how they got there and don't know how to get rid of them. :)
----------------
Listening to: The Flaming Lips - Do You Realize?? (iTunes Originals Version)
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Here We Go Again!

While getting ready for Briggs and Victoria's visit a week or so ago, I noticed that the guest bathroom rug was looking a little dreary. Ever notice how much more things stand out as needing updating when company is coming? I sure do. Anyway I went to Ross looking, not really knowing what I would find. That's the way it is with those kinds of stores, an aspect I appreciate. I bought a turquoise rug because the shower curtain has that color stripe, not to mention that it just felt cheery. Immediately, I was in love! Once I get an idea going it is hard to stop me, so last evening, after the torrential afternoon shower, I arrived at Sherwyn Williams ten minutes before closing. You can imagine how thrilled they were to see me come in toting a rug, however it took me all of about one minute to choose the color, it's a shade lighter than the rug, they mixed it and I was out of there with a minute or so to spare. Normally I'm fast, but not that fast, however, this time I was a woman with a mission. I drove home, got out my supplies, cleared the room, and went to work.

This is how it looked at 1:00 today. I quit last night around 8 to eat some dinner and watch the Magic game--what a nail biter. David was there with Larry on the first row. Talking to him this morning, he mentioned that it was almost too stressful to be fun! Originally I thought it was going to end before 11 but that was before the overtime; it was quite a thrilling finish. The ceiling could use a fresh coat of white paint but it is just too high for me. Now we just have to do something about some counter space in that bathroom. We talked about it last year and didn't move forward but this year I need to get serious so when the family comes for the holidays they'll have someplace to put their stuff.

Did I mention the room was taupe before? The de-tauping continues. I said I picked the paint color in a flash--as you well know, I'm a sucker for good paint names--this one is called Meandering Blue. Now I have MB, Dancing Green, and Captivating Cream in the house. Sounds lovely, doesn't it? I think our bedroom is next for a paint makeover.

I'm posting these pretty little zinnias just because they are cheerful. We can all use cheerful these days.

Maureen arrived home safely from North Carolina last evening. Bruce went to Portland, Oregon, a place he's never been, which is saying a lot because he's been everywhere. Once I asked him how many states he'd built in, his response was it would be easier to name the states he hadn't. Turns out it was maybe seven?

My friend Kelly just called, she's on her way over for a little photo shoot. I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Perfect Party


Perfect Party Ingredients:
*Beautiful location
*Outstanding weather
*Diverse Guest List
*Open Bar
*Food, food, and more food
*Generous Hosts
*Door Prizes including two first class tickets on Delta to anywhere in the US
*Clown
*Two lifeguards with water games
*Pool
*Gulf of Mexico
*Limousine and trolley service
*Cecil's BBQ smoker
*Beautiful Gulf coast sunset

Steve, Bruce's best buddy at work, did an amazing job with his party this year, planning every last detail including twenty five hotel rooms for those of us who traveled. Surprisingly there was not even a hint of bad weather; I drove (letting Bruce have a little break) through at least fifty miles of torrential rain making us a little nervous for Steve, what with 150 people invited. Everything went off without a hitch!

Today's photo is of Todd, the design manager, holding Bruce's administrative assistant's son--I just love this image.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Proceed with Caution

Despite the threat of rain, Wednesday morning Maureen and I took off for Ocala. She needed a ride to Sherri's farm, from there the two of them were heading to Sherri's house in North Carolina to spend some time relaxing. All was high and dry until we reached our exit with only light rain falling. The drive off the interstate to her house was so beautifully scenic with the rain saturating all the shades of green, not to mention the lovely horses in the fields. Most of my Florida readers know that Ocala is the "horse capital" of Florida, but for those who've never been there, it is beautiful. Just like all states, the terrain is different from region to region; Orlando is pretty much completely flat, a bit to the north around Ocala there are what we would call hills, however, most folks from other states would laugh at that description.

Sherri has these beautiful horses:

There was a steady drizzle when I was out trying to get some photographs which I'll blame for the dumb mistakes I made. I should have just switched the lens on the Nikon to one that auto focuses--it is very challenging to get good shots of moving objects with manual focus. My second mistake was with my Panasonic. DUH!!! I have done this countless times, so I should know better, alas, I had it on macro focus for all the pictures. I am so mad at myself. Arriving home after a very stressful drive, I put the card into the reader only to find photographs which should have been gorgeous, fuzzy. After looking at a few, I immediately knew what I'd done wrong. I MUST check this every time in the future!

The rain began to pick up steadily once I was on I-75, and for the next 60 miles I could barely see the road in front of me. I definitely proceeded with caution--once when the wipers were going like mad, and I still could see nothing, I pulled off to the side. This is what it looked like:

One thing in the Elements' favor is that the spray from large vehicles doesn't bother quite so much as it did in the MINI. BTW--whenever I get another MINI it will be red--I just saw the cutest one on the road. Back to the subject at hand, I held on for dear life until I pulled up to the safety of my driveway. One thing that makes me crazy is all the people who don't turn on their lights. What is up with that? I talked to Dana later in the day, she told me she'd driven to Daytona the day before and her forearms were sore when she got home from gripping the steering wheel. How about those folks who drive like there is no rain--chatting on a hand held phone no less. There are two driving conditions which make me very nervous--thunderstorms and road construction. Guess what--I got them both on the Turnpike.

One area where I should proceed with more caution is in my writing. Not so much the writing per se, although I know the grammar police cringe at some of my punctuation errors, but the editing. Sometimes I just write it, and off it goes into cyberspace, although not this time. This time it went to the newspaper for lots of people to see, not the puny audience my blog garners. An article from Sunday's Sentinel sent me straight for the keyboard. I won't go into too many details, but let's just say percentages are not my strong point. On the morning it appeared in print--not to mention with a box around it with the heading Hot Topic--I decided to call David to check my figures. Boy was I wrong! Instead of the 300% I used, it should have been 2400%--yeesh! If Bruce had been home I'd have consulted him, but as it was I used my own crazy logic. Proceed with caution next time Gail.

We're off for the weekend to Siesta Key. Bruce's buddy from work, Steve, is throwing his annual Memorial Day party. Let's hope the rain doesn't spoil things.

Before you get worried I've confirmed Angela has the correct key to our house. She asked me if I'd told Baxter he was spending a few days with his Auntie Angela and Uncle Matt. We are so lucky to have them. She's healing nicely in case you're wondering.

In further news my friend Kelly put this on my facebook wall--I'm so grateful for people sharing these kinds of things with me. No screw ups here!
Free Press
----------------
Listening to: Miranda Lambert - Desperation
via FoxyTunes

----------------
Listening to: Sugababes - Push the Button
via FoxyTunes

----------------
Listening to: Rihanna - Don't Stop the Music
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rain, Rain, and MORE Rain

I will have to call Lisa later to find out what her handy, fancy rain gauge has to say but by my eyes and ears tell me we've had a lot of rain in the last 24 hours. It's pouring as I type. Last night the wind and rain woke me up several times, with rain greeting me when I awoke at 6:30 this morning. Reminds me of my time in California but add five months of solid rain and you'll get the picture of why I begged Bruce to come back to Florida! Actually I didn't have to beg him, just asked nicely. Last evening I put all my sad, neglected porch plants out for a good soaking--you can see they need a trim:

I had a suspicion that we would have no visitors at the museum today and I was right except for one woman who came in to pick out some note cards. The inventory is mostly depleted with very few options, however, I've never witnessed someone take so much time to pick out three blank cards before. If you can imagine she spent FORTY minutes to pick out 3 seventy five cent cards!!! I was wanting her to get it over with because I wanted to photograph the new exhibit called, "The Fine Art of Craft." When I walked in I was bowled over by what I saw. Four artists are represented and my, oh my, is their art fine.

Normally taking indoor shots is a no-no, but the director of the museum gave me the go ahead; she's hoping to make an album for facebook. That will be up to her. Apparently, at least one of the artists has been in the Smithsonian, which is to say that I'm not the only one who thinks the work is great. I'm only showing two of the pieces but there are about 35 so if you live in Orlando and are intrigued head over there before the show ends on June 30th, the day the museum closes for the summer. Hurray for that.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate to run into a friend of mine from the gym, really I met her at least twenty five years ago at the Fort Gatlin Swim Club, our saving place when the children were young. Being the mean mother that I was, not to mention frugal, we rarely used the air conditioning. My boys thought it was outrageous, but I used to tell them that if they had everything they needed, or wanted when they were young, that when they were older and on their own, it would be a much harder adjustment. Having known some misery myself in my youth, I have taken most things in stride. I said most, not everything, but you get my point. Anyway she immediately launched into a long list of great books she'd read in recent months and am I glad she did. I've just begun the fourth recommended title, Sarah's Key; and I can say there has not been a bad one in the bunch. I'll let you know how I like this one. When I saw her I'd just gotten my new lens; she was kind enough to let me photograph her in the parking lot--mind you I was holding onto my cart with one hand so as not to let it roll into her Mercedes SUV while using the manual focus. She's a rich girl.

In a bit of retail news, I was thinking that the recession may solve one of the things I most dislike about shopping these days. Choices, of which there are far too many, may become smaller, which in my opinion is a good thing. There are seven web pages on Nordstrom's site of Handbag City, making decisions way more difficult than necessary. In other retail news, in yesterday's paper I read in the business section that a Park Avenue boutique is closing after a mere two months. For those of you who aren't familiar with Park Ave. it is a "tony" shopping and dining street in Winter Park. The owner says he is going to try selling at Sanford flea market. Have you ever???? My last retail news is VERY big--we are getting not one, but two H&M stores! One will be at Florida Mall--six miles from the house!

Time to fix a little supper and curl up with the book. Thanks for reading!
----------------
Listening to: Shearwater - I Can't Wait
via FoxyTunes

Monday, May 18, 2009

Weekend in May

When Briggs and Victoria arrived carrying a bottle of Plumpjack wine, I was almost embarrassed to tell them what was on the menu for the night, however, they seemed to be delighted with my plan. Plumpjack is a small winery in Napa Valley (Plumpjack) which I'd hoped we could visit on a trip there years ago. On our way to the airport, we tried to visit, alas, it was too early and we were leaving on a jet plane. It turns out Briggs got it on a visit there, making it a super special gift. We had a wonderful evening chatting, eating, and in Victoria's case, some crying. Her sister in Seattle is dying of breast cancer; the details are frightening. With any luck she'll be going out there this week to assist in her care.

Saturday I was up bright and early and off to the market. Fortunately I'd packed the car the day before making my wake up call not too early! The market is struggling to establish itself, a familiar theme with markets. Not only were the crowds thin, but the vendor count keeps going down. It is hard sticking with a new market if you need to earn a living. I am mighty lucky I don't have to pay our mortgage! It was hot, not nearly so much as last weekend, but hot enough that when I got home around 3 I was just plumb worn out. Bruce was working from home and was kind enough to unload the vehicle while I got an early supper together with the leftovers from the night before. By then there was a nice breeze and we ate on the patio.

Soon thereafter I laid down for a nap and didn't wake up until nearly 7:00 when the phone rang; it was Roger saying that my new prints were ready. Once again, Bruce came to the rescue, driving over there to pick them up. I finally came to and prepared them for Sunday. Ask me if I sold any of them? Only one.

While we were setting up Roger brought the new canvases which was a good thing because I only had a few to fill my walls. They were all new images, a big gamble when you are talking about potential sales. I could just keep showing the same images, but you know me--it just wouldn't work. Although I didn't sell many smaller prints, I did manage to sell two of the new canvases making me very happy. One, cattails from our camping trip, the other I took the same day as Street Art, of the evening sun on Lake Monroe in Sanford. The last one I'd never shown, but for some reason I must have been scanning through my outrageously huge photo library, and came across it, thinking it have potential. Apparently it does! Before Bruce leaves the market in the morning I always make a quick turn through the market getting photos before it gets busy. This usually includes a quick bathroom break before I'm on my own. Here's what I found in the public bathroom at the park. I'm extremely curious who would have left a bridal gown bag there on a Sunday morning at 10.

Today is Mr. Bruce's 56th birthday although we won't be able to celebrate properly because he left for Cleveland early, early this morning. His flight was at 6:15AM. While making the bed this morning I realized we've been together for 43 of his birthdays--pretty amazing huh? As we get older those birthdays become more and more precious, what with all the people we know whose health is a challenge. I will miss his sweet presence tonight.

Lastly a follow up on Angela--she's doing just fine now.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Stage is Set

Yesterday I spent 3 hours with Angela while waiting for her procedure to begin. As is often the case it was delayed but my meter was out so I finally left her to take a nap. I got a start on things for this evening, had an early dinner, and went to bed with my book. I'm reading a fantastic one right now called The Help suggested by my friend Linda. Oh my it is good. Here's a review from The Times if you're interested. Ok, so it doesn't seem to be working but I guarantee you that you will be enthralled with both the story and the characters!

I've been cooking this morning as well as picking up Angela at the hospital, picking up prints from Roger's house, picking up dry cleaning for us and a prescription for Angela, and the weekly laundering. I think I'm mostly set for our guest to arrive at 7.

I made this impossible pie last evening--caramel and coconut custard.
 

Here's the chicken setting up for ten minutes before I put it in the cast iron skillet.
 

Here's how it looks after frying--yum, yum.
 
Posted by Picasa

And here's what the table looks like:
 

And now it is time to head over to Angela's house to make sure she is ok--not just her but her 12 year old son Michael who came home sick. I'll take my new prints over there to get them ready along with Baxter and we'll hang around in case they need anything.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Finally

And on the 23rd day it rained. I knew it had been incredibly long since there was rain, but not the actual day count. While having a pedicure last Friday afternoon I had no choice but to hear the television blaring in front of me; I see I'm not missing much by not turning it on. On the other hand I did learn the handy fact about the no rain days. That statistic went by the wayside yesterday afternoon in the heart of Orlando. I heard from Lisa in Longwood and they had so little it wasn't enough to measure in their fancy rain gauge. Bruce's afternoon flight was delayed a bit because of rain and lightening, yet somehow he got to Connecticut in record time. We got a much needed soaking at our house. My mini garden has required constant watering this last week because of the severe heat. As I type this it is 14 degrees cooler than on Sunday which I am very thankful for.

That said I have only been outside this morning. I took Baxter for a run in the park, did a bunch of errands, and have been working in the house ever since. Obviously I've quit now because I am blogging!

Speaking of outside on Saturday morning I went out back and found this beautiful monarch on the patio.

Lately I've been encountering things I've never experienced before like the centipede on our vacation. I can't ever remember finding a butterfly before. Aren't the pattern and colors magnificent? In a radio interview with a butterfly expert I learned that monarchs can fly 200 miles in a day. Now I don't know about you, but that really astonishes me. My friend Nancy makes necklaces with butterfly wings, so next time I see her I'll share this with her. Do you suppose there is some superstition about finding a butterfly? Seems possible.

You're probably wondering what I could have been working on now that Mr. Roger has the massive order I prepared on Monday. Well, I was working on our home. Although our home is generally neat, clean it is not. If you've read this blog for any length of time you know that cleaning, aside from basic vacuuming and occasional dusting, is not a large part of my routine. Of course the pool is an exception; dirt and leaves stand out like a sore thumb, as our late Mother would say. Dust on the other hand is a sneaky little problem. At a glance things look good, on closer inspection, not so much. What has brought this cleaning frenzy on you ask...

The boss is coming to dinner. Friday night to be exact. That sounds sorta old-fashioned I imagine, however, in lots of ways I'm an old-fashioned girl. I wonder when I'll quit calling myself a girl? I read this op-ed piece in the Times about gender being fluid, so if that be the case I suppose the girl/woman thing can also be fluid.

The kitchen floor is clean, the guest bathroom sparkling, old magazines are in the recycling bin, and the table is set (taking a page out of Lisa's book). I should seriously have dinner guests more often ensuring the house would be spiffy all the time.

I'm preparing a recession dinner of sorts. Fried chicken, mac and cheese, sliced tomatoes, green beans and biscuits, along with a yet to be determined dessert. I'm going to resist the urge to gourmet it up a bit. Just plain, tasty food is my plan. I've learned lately that comfort food seems to put people in a congenial/relaxed mood.

The only bummer about this is that Mr. Bill and his band "Exit the Ride" are part of the Florida Music Festival performing on the main stage on Wall Street during the dinner party. Even though he is 30, I still like to attend when I can. Did I just write he was 30? Seems impossible. I remember buying his first guitar from a newspaper classified ad. That really dates things doesn't it? For better or worse, classified ads are almost a thing of the past what with Craig's List and all. The second guitar came from a pawn shop. It shows you what perseverance and hard work accomplish when you think that Dean Guitars now gives Bill custom made guitars.

I'm taking Angela to the hospital tomorrow for a procedure about which she is blase. After all she's been through, this is nothing, but it will necessitate an overnight stay. I will be with her for several hours in the middle of the day so that is one of the reasons I forced myself to clean rather than take pictures!
----------------
Listening to: The Bees - Stand
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Feels Like More than a Hobby To Me!

Thursday night, you may recall, Maureen and I went to the Guitar Town auction with a performance by the Blue Man Group. It turned out to be very fun, including a red carpet which you see pictured with Maureen below. Doesn't she look super?

It was my first time attending a live auction which was very fun, albeit long. There were people from 38 states online included in the auction as well as other bidders via phone. Prior to the last guitar going for over $8,000, the highest winning bid was for a guitar done by our graffiti artist friend, Decoy, aka Brian Demchak. He is the one who did the Warhol on what is known as the "Black Box", or in my language, the permission building. During part of the auction Maureen and I amused ourselves reading the artist statements--yeesh! BMG put on a lively show that was both silly and entertaining. I must find time to research their makeup--very intense! We got home way past my bedtime, somehow I managed to stay up just fine.

Friday I washed the outside of the house as well as the windows and screens. After so long without rain things were looking pretty dirty. Later we went to a photography opening at Creative Spirit Gallery and then downtown for dinner. I'd never seen photography printed on metallic paper before--it gave some of the images a really interesting look. Again, home way past bedtime--the fatigue begins to build.

Saturday's market was hot and sunny yet worth it when a couple bought one of my canvases for their daughter's first Mother's Day. The money wasn't the thing; the thought of hopefully making someone happy worked for me. Dinner at Jane and Michaels later on was both delicious and fun--they are great company. The late night thing keeps going....

The super hot, and I mean super hot, Sunday did not keep the crowds away from the market at Eola. Did I mention it was 97 degrees? Yes, yes it was. Much to my great surprise I had my best sales day ever. My thoughts returned to my beginning two years ago when I had NO sales whatsoever. When Matt called later his response was, "Clearly things have changed." Clearly they have--much to my delight. Mr. Bruce, the one who makes it all possible, rode his bike to the market around 3 to help me tear down, riding home afterward. Did I mention it was 97 degrees? Yes, yes it was.

I am happy to report that I heard from all my boys on MD. Bill came down to the market, however he didn't last long. Did I mention it was HOT? Both Jonathan and Matt called (I secretly wish they could just pop over but don't tell them that, after all, they are out in the world making their way, very nicely I might add!), Dave and Michelle came over around six. Did I mention it was HOT? Yes, yes I believe I did. I'd showered and collapsed on the couch by the time they came over bringing Kiehls goodies and more importantly the full version of their wedding DVD. It is a showstopper! Watching it perked me right up seeing the happiness of the day; not just the stars of the show, but all the friends and family. The dancing show put on by a few can now be relived at will. One of those few is Jen, my nephew Rich's fiancee. I can't wait for their wedding with DJ Rich and dancing queen Jen. Bring on the festivities!!!

Frequently people refer to what I'm doing as a hobby. If only they knew the hard work I invest they most certainly would call it something else. Bruce is the backbone, doing all the hard work of setting up with my role as something like the curator. I hang everything, he levels it. Furthermore, he often improves my lay out. He now keeps a spreadsheet for me with all manner of statistics including the up to the minute sales. Last year I compiled stuff at year's end, but now we know how much the business has grown since last year, including the fact that I've sold over 500 images to date. Unbelievable! Which means that I have to order more all the time. Some of Roger's clients sell the same images time after time, however, that's clearly not my MO. Thus I spend hours looking for new stuff to print, much of which is a gamble; what the heck--you never know until you try. I do the shooting, processing (thank God that is minimal!), ordering, paying sales tax and selling. Oh yeah--marketing. Well, not so much on the last one, but some. Sounds like a business to me!
Below you see the gardens ablaze with color from the Polasek last week.

I had a jury duty notice for today, however my number was not up. And so I went to the museum.....

----------------
Listening to: Snow Patrol - Ways And Means
via FoxyTunes

----------------
Listening to: Spiritualized - Feel So Sad (Rhapsodies)
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Auction

For quite a while now I've been meaning to write about my friend from the market. Here's what I know about her: Her name is Wafaa and she's married to Rick. She is French and spent some time living in Morocco. She and her mother along with Regina and her husband make the most amazing food. I first met her at the Whole Foods market when she was set up next to me. The first thing I tried was a Napoleon and I thought I'd died and went to heaven. The oh-so light pastry with the creamiest filling you can imagine. Following that I began to sample her ample varieties of quiches which are simply delicious. Her almond croissants, strawberry and lemon tarts, not to mention sandwiches, are some of the best things I've ever tasted. Add the fantastic food to a great personality and it is no wonder her business is a great success. During one of my weekly market photo strolls I took this one of her next to one of the 10 foot tall guitars being auctioned off this very night.

Which segues nicely into my photo shoot on Monday. I got a message from darling Amber at City Hall that they were looking for local photographers to shoot the motorcade of guitars as they made their way to Universal Studios for the auction this evening. Although I needed to do stuff to catch up around the house, I decided it was too good an opportunity to pass up. Turns out I was right. My pictures are only so-so, for a variety of reasons, but it was very fun nonetheless. I met a really great photographer named Cindy.Cindy Ord She moved here from NYC three years ago but still travels there twice a year to shoot Fashion Week. Her real goal is to do photojournalism, but for now wedding photography is paying her bills. We stood together on the bridge over I-4 for about thirty minutes chatting and getting to know one another. It was quite a thrill being over the highway; when a semi drove behind us you could feel the bridge shaking just a bit which was a tad scary. All of a sudden here the trucks came! She shot from one side, me the other. Here's a sample from me:

They passed under us in all of about two minutes or so it seemed! In the background the new arena for the Magic is pictured. I read in the paper on Tuesday that later in the day one of the cranes toppled, injuring no one; it seemed so weird that the day I shot this an accident occurred later. Anyway we then made our way to City Hall to upload the pictures in the Communications Department. For our trouble we received two passes to the auction tonight featuring a performance by the Blue Man Group. Of all things Bruce won't be in town until later so I'm taking Maureen. The thing is that he's been bugging me to see that show and I've resisted. Here's yet another link detailing not only the event, but the benefiting charities. Tonight's the Night
It seems as if Orlando is not the first city to have a Guitar Town, I'll have to check out the website further to see the ones done in London. Speaking of which I had a lovely, (always long) video chat with Matt on Tuesday afternoon. It's always such a nice surprise when the phone rings and I see all those numbers come up. From there we switch to visual because it is so much nicer. Matt not only looks good, but is doing well, aside from having to work longer hours than he'd like.

As you well know Mr. Bruce travels most weeks and has for years and years. Lately that hasn't been the case so much, which is super good. Last night I realized that I'd made dinner for the both of us for twelve days in a row which is some kind of record. When the children were home I pretty much cooked all the time; it's good to see I haven't lost my mojo in the kitchen.
----------------
Listening to: The Cure - Pictures Of You
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Vacation

I'm finally back to the blogosphere after having a wonderful holiday. Yesterday I did a crazy photo shoot which found me on the Anderson Street overpass looking down on the I-4 traffic. That was some crazy shooting fun! It was a city thing which I'll talk about tomorrow showing you a little something. For now, let's concentrate on the trip.

I've put captions on the pictures this time; for those who don't have time to look at it full size I'll try to briefly recap.

1. Left Monday morning bright and early, hopefully forgetting nothing.

2. Around Lakeland we left the interstate, traveling south on small roads allowing us to see what Florida is really like. We saw phosphate mines and orange groves, two industries which made Florida prosperous. A few hills and gorgeous, spring green everywhere.

3. Eventually we got to the park and set up our campsite. The lake was closed due to high bacteria levels, ironically from a large Earth Day celebration, according to the ranger. As well we learned we couldn't launch the canoe from our campsite. Two disappointments right off but we decided to make the best of it.

4. After lunch we explored the park on our bikes, Bruce fished/napped and dinnertime rolled around. The weather was super pleasant with low humidity and few mosquitoes, two real blessings.

5. Bruce put the screen over the open back window and the drivers side window with the little fan sitting on the dashboard circulating the air and we got into the back of the Element for a good nights sleep on our quilt-covered sleeping pads and a sheet. During the night it got chilly so I was glad I put a light blanket in at the last minute.

6. A giant raccoon woke us up during the night. Although Bruce had tied the cooler tops down, this wily guy managed to somehow get a paw inside and eat our pound of bacon! The next night Bruce won the battle.

7. A long bike ride to the store, fishing lakeside, and a yummy breakfast the next morning were all a great success. While at the store I noticed the road name--Casey Key Road. We decided to explore and I'm glad we did. What a gorgeous drive. Apparently Stephen King found it so, buying up the end of the peninsula according to our handy park ranger.

8. Bruce napped as often as possible while I read "Still Alice," an excellent book.

9. Our camping neighbors were all nice folks, the bath house just a short walk from our campsite was spotless. As well, the scenery is wonderful with dappled sunlight, jumping fish in the creek, and wonderful, deep crimson cardinals flying all around. We'd read the park is a habitat for the endangered scrub jay although I didn't see one until the final day. They were very small and intensely blue. Cute as can be. Each morning we were awakened by the sounds of twittering birds--fantastic!

10. A trip to another state park nearby was interesting. Grasslands, alligators, and deer were mostly what we saw. The Myaka River was swarming with gigantic gators prompting me to express relief we didn't stay there.

11. Wednesday morning I left Bruce at the canoe launch to fish to his heart's content while I went back to the beach. I spent an enjoyable few hours collecting shells, including a small starfish and a nearly perfect sand dollar, before it got too hot. The sand is so white I imagine it gets pretty hot later in the day. I took one swim in the crystal clear cool water.

12. Lunch, more biking, reading and napping filled the afternoon. Our stove developed a small leak but we were still able to cook a yummy meal. Afterward we enjoyed our last campfire and conversation, climbing into the Element for a good nights sleep.

13. Sadly it was time to tear down Thursday morning and head home. Before we left the area we stopped at Spanish Point, a spot I highly recommend if you're ever in the area. After spending two hours or so there, we took back roads seeing a different slice of Florida during a leisurely drive home.

14. Angela, Matt, and Michael took excellent care of Baxter in our absence but if you know Baxter at all, you can picture him leaping in the air when Bruce went to get him. He was a happy little Yorkie.
----------------
Listening to: Beats De Los Muertos - Cantos A Ochun El Oya (Frankie Feliciano mix)
via FoxyTunes

----------------
Listening to: The Bees - Got To Let Go
via FoxyTunes

----------------
Listening to: The Bees - Got To Let Go
via FoxyTunes

Friday, May 1, 2009

Life is Bitter and Sweet

 

The camping trip was terrific, unfortunately when we arrived home I had a message that one of my very old friends had died and the funeral is today. She really wasn't old at all, only 52, with her only daughter graduating in a few weeks from high school. Bina and I met when we worked together at a now defunct hospital probably twenty five years ago. She'd had a bad heart for years now and apparently it finally quit working for good. I'm playing a little catch up around the house today before going to the funeral at 2; I'm glad I am home to attend.

I will post more about the trip when time permits. Before I go though today is my dear Jonathan's 26th birthday. When someone dies you realize birthdays are definitely worth celebrating.
Posted by Picasa

Past, Present, and Future