Friday, July 31, 2009

Just a Quickie


Michael and Jane should be ringing the door bell any minute. Just wanted to say hi and let my dear readers know I'm ok. I'm posting this cactus because I've always really liked the light on this shot and I've never shown it to anyone.

Michael, as far as I know, is still unemployed. This week Jane said let's get together, which I instantly agreed to, but when we talked I asked her what her pocketbook dictated. She revealed that eating at home was best. So, that's what we're going to do. I'm doing the comfort food thing again, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn, and salad. The one slightly upscale, if you can call it that, part of the meal is the chipotle chili powder I've mixed with the ketchup for slathering on the meat loaf if one wishes to. In a moment of weakness or stupidity, I bought some ice cream sandwiches a week or so ago, and that's what's on tap for dessert if anyone wants one. A real recession dinner. I say stupidity because I almost never eat sweets so someone has to eat them!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cleaning


Yesterday morning I did a little photo shoot of the gardens at Casa Feliz, the Gamble Rogers's house that was moved to Park Avenue a few years ago. The gardener there also does Regina's yard (my awesome neighbor); she shared a few pictures I'd taken with him. As such, he wanted me to photograph the gardens so he could have a picture for his office to show off his handiwork. It didn't take long so just down the street is the Winter Park Cemetery where there is the only angel monument I'm aware of in town. Pictured above is yesterday's shot, below one about a year ago. I seriously thought it was brand new! I was absolutely amazed when I saw the transformation. Frankly, for a photograph, I think the dirty one has more interest.

Today, Mr. Coleman, along with his assistant Mike, came to the house to clean. They cleaned the white sofa in the sunroom, the striped chair and throw pillows for the sofa. Moving into the living room, they did both couches. Mr. Coleman was kind enough to show me the dirty water from the living room couches.....nice. I explained that we'd had them for probably ten years without even one cleaning and they should have been dirty. These days no one hardly even sits on them except for Baxter who squished in between the cushions to watch the world go by.

Today, however, he's had to hunt around for a dry piece of furniture to snuggle on. My bed was moved to clean the carpet underneath and as such I had to get the stuff from under there out before they came. I was delighted to find a box containing our negatives from our last trip to Europe, which was way too long ago. Anyway, I'd searched before without luck, cursing myself for throwing them out. Happy news, they are still here! I thought it wasn't like me to trash something like that, and now I know I didn't. Not that I can do much with them, but still....

As well, I found a portfolio of Matt's art work from when he was in high school. That boy is talented for sure. That's one reason I rely on his expertise when choosing something important. I'll have to get his opinion on this next gallery show set for October. We've discussed that haven't we? If not, we'll talk about it when it gets closer.

Wouldn't you know it...not a drop of rain these last three days. In fact, there was only one day of rain last week aside from Sunday's downpour. It is threatening as we speak and I wish it would just go ahead and rain so the sprinkler system won't come on in the morning. Last week, the aforementioned day was Thursday afternoon, just hours after the sprinklers soaked the yard. Please, please, no rain on Sunday!!!

I delivered a canvas yesterday morning after the shoot to a customer from Whole Foods. I was delighted to hear that a print they had previously purchased from me as a gift was extremely well received this last weekend in Miami. Those kind of comments make it worthwhile!

I've spent time today dragging things into my new iPhoto library. Because my online gallery is linked to it, there are pictures that have to be there. One thing I can tell you is that I've taken an awful lot of terrible shots. As I scrolled through the months I cringe at some of them, but hopefully all that practice has paid off a bit. I'll be updating my gallery either this evening or tomorrow. Then, if you have time check it out and let me know what you think.

I took a little break to eat my dinner with the newspaper keeping me company while I ate. I read this little blurb about John Travolta's son's death. What struck me in the article was that Scientology does not recognize autism. Are those people crazy or what? Who doesn't recognize autism???? That just blows my mind, but then again, they don't recognize depression do they? Hmmmm......

Lastly, I've mentioned in this space before about all the celebrity deaths this year, well, here's the photographic evidence.
Deaths in 2009 Photo Gallery

Shared via AddThis
Ending on a happier note, after resting most of the day Monday and Tuesday, I'm back in business. Thank you for your well wishes dear readers.

One of my all time favorite Coldplay songs:
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Listening to: Coldplay - Clocks
via FoxyTunes
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Listening to: Semisonic - Closing Time
via FoxyTunes

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lots Happening


Not necessarily what I want, but time marches on as they say.

Since last we met:

1. My new operating system from Apple arrived with the end result I now have a serious back up plan for my photos. As well, I got a new version of iPhoto, iWorks, and iPages. Today I picked up a book by David Pogue, the technology writer for the Times called The Missing Manual, which explains iPhoto 09 in detail. I know there are shortcuts and features that I've never used so hopefully I'll learn a few tricks. As you know, this old dog can learn them.

2. We saw The Hangover, if you can imagine. The market was so slow on Saturday. I sat there for hours with no sales, sweating I might add (but not too bad), then twenty minutes before closing someone arrived and bought a print. Yeah--no shut out! Five minutes before packing it in for the day, another woman arrived and within about a minute she'd purchased a 16x20 print. It is funny like that, sometimes the people who stay the longest never buy and then there are others who once they see something they like they are ready to exchange money for prints. Anyway, I was feeling a bit discouraged and thought a stupid movie would be just the thing. Once it was underway Bruce leaned over and whispered, "I'm surprised you'd come see a movie like this." Me too. It was pretty funny in spurts and it did the trick, washing away my discouragement.

3. Before going to work on Saturday Bruce completed his little chore list I'd given him. I can't say enough about how wonderful it is to be married to such a handy man! He put in a new doorbell, changed the lighting strip under my kitchen cabinet, hung a rain gauge on the fence, sorted his jeans and shirts, taking the extras to the thrift store--I think that is it. The only shame is that his job is so demanding that he rarely has time to create new things which makes me sad because he is so talented.

4. Got rained out, big time, at Eola. I started out nicely, selling a canvas that I thought might never hang in someone's home, when sprinkles became giant raindrops, a precursor to torrential rain, booming thunder, and crashing lightening. The prints all stayed dry but the canvases got a bath. Fortunately they have a waterproof coating, which after a drying out in the living room, are just fine. It is not a fun experience that's for sure. Oh yes, I did have a first on Sunday--a woman mouthed the words, "I'll take these" all the while chatting on the phone.

5. Bruce did my monthly sales tally and although it was better than last July by a few hundred, it was sad. Brighter days are ahead I'm sure!

6. Did some Christmas shopping in July--a first. I think I'll do my best to spread it out over the next months, hopefully giving me plenty of time to think up nice things for my loved ones.

7. My body has not been as happy lately as well. The market yesterday exhausted me so much that I ended up climbing into bed around 7:30 with a book. When Bruce came to check on me, seeing my face, he said, "Oh no!" One look at me was enough for him to know things were not right. My feet are still going numb, my voice lowers about five registers and I just look haggard. As such, today has been pretty quiet around here. I left the house only to go to the library to get reading material, with a quick stop at Publix for orange juice. While there I found this lovely shade of gerbera daisy. I told you I was a daisy girl didn't I?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Here's Some Color for You


As some of you know I have lots of daisy pictures but not so many of hibiscus. I've been doing my best to get a great picture of a red hibiscus, a flower I adore. For those of you unfamiliar with them, their beautiful blooms last just one day. I've probably already described how many beautiful colors there are in a previous post, today I want to mention that red flowers are very difficult to get right. I found this paper at Sam Flax and have tried to make something of it. It may be too much for most folks--what do you think?

Previous posts, indeed, there have been many. For many, many years I tried to keep a journal and never got past about a months worth of entries. I can hardly believe I've kept this up for more than two years.I go back in time (re-reading old posts)infrequently, but it's nice that I can.

Hurray! I've successfully cleaned up the external hard drive! Let's hope when my new Leopard operating system arrives in the mail next week I'll be so lucky.

Remember when I signed up for facebook? I'm glad I did. Jonathan, Alissa and Matthew are attending big summer music festivals in their respective large cities and I get to see photos right off--nice. In other facebook news, we learned we are now Great Aunt Gail, and Great Uncle Bruce, to Mallory's beautiful new baby, Annabelle.(Capitalizing great seems wrong to me--is it?) Michele is bursting with joy. No waiting around for pictures--we have instant access to them. Last week or so I heard this piece on All Things Considered:Mom + Facebook I hope our sons did not struggle so before befriending us!

So yesterday I forgot to mention two things I read in the paper. One is that one of the members of the band Beastie Boys has parotid (spell check does not recognize this word btw) gland cancer, if you can imagine. How is that for a coincidence? Just last week we discussed my pg problem, which seems to have disappeared as quickly as it arrived. Secondly, the man who was responsible for making WD40 a household name died. Apparently it stands for Water Displacement and 40 tries to get it right. I love trivia like that.

I'm going to try something new tonight--photographing one of those crystals under a black light--we'll see how that turns out.

Bruce is home all week. Fantastic--I get to cook. Tonight we're having "Creamy Dreamy Polenta" from the Flying Biscuit Cafe cookbook. I fixed it once when Alissa and Jon were home and she became a big fan. Sliced tomatoes, crusty bread, and a fancy green bean salad from the Times, which we've never tried. I'm infusing the olive oil as we speak, the balsamic vinegar is reduced, and the walnuts are toasted. It doesn't matter what time in the afternoon I begin to cook, Baxter plants himself in front of the door assuming Bruce will be home for dinner, sometimes he is, lots of the time not. You've got to feel a little bad for him the nights he just has to hang out with me!
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Listening to: M83 - Don't Save Us From the Flames (Superpitcher Remix)
via FoxyTunes

Monday, July 20, 2009

Untitled

This Australian black swan is like me--a sleepy head. Got about nine hours last night!

It has surely been a summer of celebrity deaths hasn't it? My goodness. The latest, of course, is Frank McCourt. I was a huge fan of Angela's Ashes; I only wish I could remember how I came to read it. Knowing how much I admired him, Jonathan sent me a link to this: Memories. I can only imagine the fond memories former students would write about my infamous sister-in-law, Judy. Those who know her know just what I'm talking about! Through the years, because we share the same last name, I've heard so many wonderful comments about her--"although I got a D in her class, she was my favorite teacher," "she was such an influence on my life," "hardest and funniest teacher I ever had," to name just a few that come to mind. This has gone on for over thirty years! I even met a young man at the convention I did in October who had her back in the 80's, he told me how much he loved her. Judy and Mr. McCourt share a few things--both are Irish, Catholic, and witty. One thing they don't have in common is sentence diagramming expertise, a skill that Mr. McCourt seems to have lacked. Judy, on the other hand, can diagram like it's a competition sport! She's finally having a summer to herself--maybe she'll start writing.

Oddly enough Maureen called yesterday afternoon hoping I'd remember a book we both read a while back. She reminded me that x-rays were part of the plot. Although I couldn't remember the name of it, I did remember that photography was also featured in the novel. Wracking our brains together did nothing, however, after we hung up she did a little searching, coming up with the name, Evidence of Things Unseen. If you didn't read it the first time I blogged about it try doing so now. So what pray tell, aside from plugging the novel again, am I getting at? Well....just the other day I was considering how much all my years of taking x-rays has helped my photography. Jokingly, when people ask how long I've been a photographer, I answer, "most of my life, I just used bigger equipment!" Which is actually true. I learned how to look at things in a three dimensional way which I think helps my compositions. When x-raying, say a wrist, you take three different views showing how the same subject takes on a totally different look, something I try to do with what I'm photographing these days. I learned about contrast, particularly with mammograms. Exposure time--in today's cameras, ISO. You get the picture.

It has been a while since I've passed on a household tip hasn't it? I'm rectifying that as of today! Baby wipes apparently are just as good, if not better, than a stain stick. A shirt I tried on at JCrew had makeup on the front which the clerk removed in a jiffy with a baby wipe. Obviously it wasn't my makeup because once again I went out looking like a hag. That, of course, is beside the point. They tell me it works miracles for all sorts of clothing mishaps.

Speaking of mishaps, my external hard drive has essentially eaten my iPhoto library. Sad, but true. I spent nearly two hours with Apple support folks this afternoon confirming what Matt already suspected. I would be crying if not for Picasa which copied loads of my pictures (lots, and lots of terrible ones I might add); as well Roger has nearly 500 images of mine, much to his amazement. When we began working together he never dreamed I would try and sell so many different images! He has a backup system times three so I think those are safe and sound.

Jonathan gave Bruce three months of movies on Netflix for Father's Day, which has been very interesting. Bruce's que has included some really terrible movies, one of which garnered a 5%, yes I wrote 5%, on Rotten Tomatoes. I watched for about fifteen minutes, bitterly complaining the whole time, and then looked it up on RT. It was one with Mandy Moore and Diane Keaton, the title of which I've promptly forgotten due to the utter stupidity of the movie. Anyway, when I sent Jonathan an email telling him about it, he hardly believed that a movie had that low a rating. When I saw it made me laugh much harder than my fifteen minutes with the movie! I'm urging him to rethink the queue!

Time to reformat the hard drive--I hope I can pull this off by myself!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mrs. Peck Goes to Washington

In first class, no less.

A little slide show of some things I saw. I tried to show you only things that are not typical of a visit to our nation's capital. Furthermore I've added captions if you are interested click on the album.

Arriving in DC a little after 11, Bruce and I parted company, he picked up his rental car, I hopped on the Metro. I've found there are always people willing to help a stranger if you ask nicely. In this case, the attendant punched all the buttons on the machine for me with the end result, a day pass. I took the blue line, getting off at the Smithsonian stop and was on the Mall by 11:35.

Because my time was so limited I went into only one gallery, the Freer. Mostly I lugged my backpack and purse around outside. It was fairly warm and muggy, but not enough to send me inside into air conditioning. Instead I found several wonderful gardens awash in gorgeous flowers.
Gardens

The day before we left a strange symptom occurred. You're not surprised are you? After eating lunch I noticed that the left side of my jaw, extending behind and below my ear, swelled up. I was at a loss, so called the doctor, mostly because I was concerned with flying. Suffice it to say, I got no help there, at least coming away with the impression that it couldn't be too serious.

With that in mind I decided to go anyway. I tried to locate soft foods hoping to minimize the weirdness. It took me till last evening to figure out what is going on--something to do with my parotid gland, the major salivary gland. Again, you're not surprised are you? I always have strange afflictions. What this does tell you is that in many cases the web is of no use; not a thing about salivary glands came up after typing in "swelling jaw while eating." It does, however, help to have worked in the diagnostic end of medicine for 30+ years. What I'm going to do about it is undecided at the moment.

Trying not to lose your interest, I will try to be succinct, really, the pictures tell most of the story anyway.

Next time I'm not sure what camera I will take, but I'll definitely use a different backpack. The fabric on my new fancy Patagonia rubbed my shoulder raw. I was so tired that I slept from 8:30-6:30!!! On Thursday Bruce and I visited the National Cathedral, an amazingly beautiful and peaceful place. Wow is what I have to say. Lots of the buildings are on a grand scale in DC, this one is no exception. It is hard to convey the beauty in photographs. Also, did I mention that everything was taken in the middle of the day with much too much bright light?

Bruce also toured me through the space where the Capital Grille is beginning to take shape. I stand in awe of builders, really we take it so for granted. When I saw all the layers of work being done, trying to imagine how anyone makes sense of it all, I couldn't help but admire the job Bruce does. Naturally I've always felt that way, but it is always a good thing to be reminded of the complexity of it all. No wonder he has to work so much! When the job gets closer to the end I'll go back for a much longer visit. He'll probably be staying for a week or so.

Baxter stayed with Michelle and Dave while we were gone and he isn't done pouting yet.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Off to DC

Here is the article about our Baxter with accompanying picture: Dog Star By the way, I found this via Bing, the Microsoft search engine. I'd read a NYTimes article stating it was superior to Google which at the moment I can't confirm but it sure worked nicely this time.

The markets went so well this weekend I can hardly believe it--count me a happy girl.

I've not been feeling quite as well as I had been, thus no posting for a few days. Hopefully when we take off tomorrow morning at 6AM I'll be ok. We won't be gone for long: Bruce is doing a site visit and I'll be a wanderer, or at least that is my plan.

Dave and Michelle are taking care of Baxter for us. I'm very grateful.

Keep me in your thoughts will you?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Questions, Questions


People do ask me a lot of questions. This week two have stuck in my mind. Last night a sweet little girl from Georgia asked me, "Do you like being an artist?" I may have forgotten to mention I was part of a Baldwin Park "Art Stroll" last evening. I definitely did not have the success I enjoyed at previous Baldwin Park events! Nonetheless I did meet the girl I mentioned along with her sister. They were here visiting their dad whom they had hardly seen for two years. They have family in every direction it seems. Part of a new generation of children with parents, step parents, grandparents, and step grandparents, sometimes on both sides. Talk about extended families! Nonetheless the older sister, Courtney bought "Beach Daisies" for her mom in Georgia who just painted their bathroom yellow. While I was packing up the girls wanted to chat and chat. I, on the other hand, was seriously thinking about going home. I'm often in bed by 9, so it was a stretch for me. Maybe I reminded them of their mother?

I hardly knew how to answer her question. I'm still not entirely comfortable calling myself an "artist", rather I usually blurt out that I'm "really an x-ray tech." Which brings me to this: I was looking for a recipe in the bottom drawer this afternoon and what should I find but a copy of this letter addressed to the hospital administrators. I won't quote the entire thing but here's what she said:
"I just wanted you to know how very impressed I was with her(me). She made me feel most comfortable, in a most uncomfortable situation. Her gift of gab is truly an asset. I am certain that if it was not for her kind manner, and her constant reassurance, I don't think I could have gone through with this most uncomfortable procedure. She is truly a most valuable asset to your facility. Please thank her again for me." Sometimes I miss making people's lives easier.

But then again, most of the time I don't miss bitchy women! I feel certain my family can all remember my complaining about both patients and doctors! On the other hand I think some of the skills I used taking x-rays have carried over into my new profession. People tell me I'm a pretty good salesperson (I would dispute that claim), mistaking my gift of gab as salesmanship. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The second question was posed by my mother-in-law. Wednesday night I picked her up around 9:30 at the airport and she spent the night here so she wouldn't have to drive all the way home in the dark. While eating breakfast she asked, "What is your weekly schedule aside from weekends Gail?" Hmmmm.....After thinking a minute I replied, "Mostly, I do whatever I want." Pretty lucky wouldn't you say?

A little after 8 this morning Dana called saying she had a little photography job for $75 if I wanted it. Would I get some shots of Church Street Station and the store elevations there? Of course I would. I threw on some clothes and off I went. That's what I mean by doing whatever I want--really whatever happens I respond to it. Yesterday I spent time photographing some crystals--a ridiculously hard task. They are flat out ugly chunks of rock, and despite trying multiple backgrounds, different lighting and angles, they still look like chunks of rock. I'm not a miracle worker.

Today's picture has zero to do with this post but I wanted you to see it nonetheless. I took it while at Lukas Nursery. What sweet creatures. The mother was licking the calf; unfortunately I never got the shot with her tongue showing--but then again, maybe you wouldn't want to see it anyway.

Bruce is finally on his way home. His flight has arrived, however, he's having his hair cut as I type. I checked my email when I arrived home last night and found an airline reservation for next week to Washington, DC. I may have mentioned Bruce has a job nearby so while he's at the job site I'll be in roam mode. I've not been anywhere for a year so obviously I'm excited. I emailed our niece Amanda who did an internship there asking her, "where is the one place I shouldn't miss?" She wrote back and said "The Mall." Tada! He's home--that's it for now folks!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It's About Time

Frankly, I think I've been a bit lazy of late in both mind and body. I don't know if it is the heat, Bruce's tremendous workload and travel schedule, or my business, but it's been something. Anyway today is a new day and I approached it as such, finally using my bike basket to do a little shopping. Needing a sympathy card, I put a twenty dollar bill and debit card in my pocket, and peddaled up to Publix. Of course you knew I brought my baby camera now didn't you? I put it in the little back pouch Bruce got for my lock. Publix, by the way, has no bike rack, however it does have a couple of railings, presumably for the handicapped, which I used to safeguard my bike. Then I rode just across the street to the remodeled Freshfield Farms; for those who know Orlando, this is the former Momm's Meats and Popp's Produce.

Incredibly, Bill used to cashier in the produce part when it was not nearly as nice as it is now. He has definitely held more jobs than anyone else in the family, including, but not limited to: renting cars, print, runway and talent modeling, selling timeshares, pumping gas, valeting cars, selling bagels, and teaching guitar. With my poor memory who knows how many more there have been! These days, after earning his Economics degree, he is a banker of sorts. Not such a good time to be one, but with his track record, I know he'll survive.

For the show the other night I figured I'd bring my fast lens and be able to get something in the low light. I got some shots, just not good ones. Although it looked focused, and the little light came on saying it was in focus, the finished product was not. You may remember it is a manual focus lens that I've rued the day I spent the money for it. Here is one nonetheless:

I mentioned yesterday how I stopped at the library. What I'd meant to discuss was how solitary life has become. Is it just me, or do you think it is weird that although more people have telephones than any time in history, less people are talking. In fact, if you don't hold a job you can go whole days without talking to anyone. This particular branch only has self-service check ins and check outs. It just doesn't feel right to me.

As is my custom I look at the new novel offerings, most of the time picking out something intuitively, which works pretty well for me. Yesterday I chose Little Bee by Chris Cleave. Never in all my years of reading have I come across this on the inside jacket:
"We Don't want to tell you WHAT HAPPENS in this book.

It is a truly SPECIAL STORY and we don't want to spoil it.

NEVERTHELESS, you need to know enough to buy it, so we will just say this:

Which I'm not including on purpose (this will drive some of you crazy, you will immediately head to Amazon, but then that will spoil it...)

Concluding it says:

Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds."

I began reading around 8, forcing myself to stop a few hours later. Indeed I do think you should read it if possible. I turned the page corner down (I know I shouldn't!) so I could share this with you: "You have seen trouble too, Sarah. You are making a mistake if you think it is unusual. I am telling you, trouble is like the ocean. It covers two thirds of the world." Truer words were never written I'm afraid.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Maybe I Didn't Know Much...

...but apparently she A Thing or Two does. I'm not certain if her lifestyle would work for everyone, however, I think you'll enjoy reading about it.

When I was working, occasionally I had patients who were well into their nineties. Naturally I was always asking them for their secret to a long life, learning for the most part that it was genetic. Several stick out in my mind; one I'm thinking about was the cutest thing, for one thing, she looked not a day over 70, secondly, she was so stylish! One thing I DO know is that if a woman is stylish when she's young, she doesn't change much as she ages. Those frumpy women I had were undoubtedly frumpy when they were young! Note to self--wear more makeup (not more per se, just wear it) and don't go out looking like a dog. I worked with a young cancer survivor who had a great attitude. She told me that while undergoing chemotherapy they encouraged everyone to try to look their best: "Look Good, Feel Good" was the motto. I think there is something to be said about that.

Now let's catch up a bit, shall we?

Friday we went with Dave and Michelle to hear Bill's band play downtown at the Social. I'd not heard the latest incarnation of the band; I was impressed. Mostly I couldn't get over how cool and calm Bill performed. When I mentioned that to him, he responded by saying he was never one to get too nervous, and even less so now that he is 30! Hard to believe he's been playing guitar for 16 years.

Fourth of July was quiet around here although I did go over to Dave's pool and visit with the gang. Can you guess what Bruce was doing? I knew you could. He worked his way through nearly 300 emails, finally quitting around 10pm. I was already in bed reading and listening to the fireworks of which there was a copious amount. In fact, they went on for hours around here. We fell asleep to the booming sounds.

It was nothing like July 4, 1976, that is for sure. I was heading to the hospital to have our dear Matthew about 10 that night; his arrival time was July 5, 1976, 1:36 AM. Nor was it like July 4, 2005, the day the doctor told Bruce I was in dire shape. Shows you what he knew!

Sunday I skipped the market to give Mr. Bruce a much needed day off. We started the day with a nice breakfast, drove to Winter Park to take the boat tour (very pretty and informative), had lunch at Season's 52, stopped by The North Face at the outlet mall, and saw "Public Enemies" at our new theater of choice. Now that was a fun day.

Today I took a little trip out to Salvia, a small community NE of town. There is a wonderful plant nursery there along with what they call a "Butterfly Encounter." My previous visit there were few butterflies, so few that they gave me a free pass to come back. That was last year some time so I decided today was the day. I sell very few butterfly pictures but as you know I love to practice and you just NEVER know if today is the day you will get something SO spectacular people will clamor for it. That was my attitude before I left the house, the reality did not match those expectations. I was, however, enthralled with this beautiful green butterfly:

I only saw one of these and he hung out on the yellow pentas during my entire visit. Sadly, I just couldn't get anything all that great.

Leaving the place, dripping with sweat I might add, I decided to wander just a bit. I'm fairly unfamiliar with that part of Central Florida, evidently so, because I got lost several times. I did pull into a spot labeled, Big Little Econ Canoe Launch. The storm clouds were rolling in so I took the Panasonic and walked the path to the river. Much to my surprise this is what I saw:

I hope the picture conveys how MANY shells were piled along the shoreline. I still can't imagine where they came from. According to my Historical Geology professor (you do remember I took that class, don't you?), Florida was under water for thousands of years, thus seashells are in river beds. Although he told us that I'd not seen the evidence for myself and I'm still not sure I have--it does make one wonder now doesn't it? Yes, I can't forget that class mostly because I chose my flickr name, bioclastic, from my textbook. I knew for certain that I wouldn't have to fight anyone for that user name!

I've had word on Ed, Mr. Roger's son. His surgery to remove the cancer in his sinus cavity took 13 hours with a team of three surgeons working. Today I learned that they are certain the cancer has spread to his eye. Not good news for a 26 year old man, not good news for anyone for that matter. He'll go back in about three weeks to see where they go from here. :(

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What Did I Know?

The truth is...not much. I've always been what some might call naive, missing clues all around me. Maybe that's why I've never been one to read mysteries, I miss the subtleties.

Such was the case with our dear son Matthew, who seems to be showing up a lot this week in my narrative. In hindsight, I still don't think I would have got it. I noticed that Matt was unlike most of the boys in his class, however, I chalked that up to his genius. I was wrong, it was more a combination of genius and homosexuality. Why you wonder am I writing about this today?

Clever readers know.

Yes, I watched Milk last night and was overwhelmed with feelings. First off, I'm so grateful for Harvey Milk and his vast army of supporters without whom things today might be a whole lot different. Imagine this happening forty years ago: India. I can't, but then again I was really unaware, for the most part, of gay people for a long time. Being fairly young when Stonewall occurred, I'm sure I was completely ignorant that there were people in this country fighting for the same rights as I so blithely took for granted. As a matter of fact, they still are, fortunately, not to the same degree as then. The fight for equal rights continues....

Particularly chilling is the Anita Bryant part, and the fight to dis-allow homosexuals to teach in public schools. Ironic that all the school sex scandals I read about involve heterosexuals isn't it?

Harvey Milk urged his fellow gay people to come out of the closet, something quite daring for the times. He wanted people to know that they probably already knew and loved a homosexual person, that they were not to be the object of fear and loathing.

I can never fully understand how hard that is for some folks; it's said, and I believe it is true, that until you experience something for yourself, it remains difficult to empathize completely. That said, I've never asked Matt how hard it was for him to tell us. Now, I'm wondering about that.

Those who know Bruce, know that he is an amazing man, so amazing in fact, that Matt told him first. I will never forget that Sunday when he called from London while living there on his student visa. He was 20 years old, living in a hostel, and working a temp job. Every Sunday he called from the payphone, and we'd chat for a while. This particular day he wanted to talk to Bruce. I remember Bruce in the garage, looking quite serious during the conversation. As I recall, he handed me the phone and said Matt wants to tell you something. Matthew gently said, "I'm seeing someone, and it is not a girl." My response was, "Oh Matty, I'm so afraid." You see, by that time I knew just a bit more about homosexuals.

The year was 1988, and I was working in a hospital with a sizable amount of AIDS patients. Very few infectious disease physicians would treat AIDS patients exclusively, but Dr. Roberts was one who did, admitting them all to our hospital. At the time I was taking all types of x-rays; more often than I liked, I was called to a dying patient's bedside to x-ray their chest. It wasn't that I didn't want to be around them, it was that their stories were so heartbreaking. Even writing about it now brings tears to my eyes. I'll never forget one young man whose x-ray I took on a Saturday. When I came downstairs to develop it I didn't know what to do when I saw the film. His one lung had shrunk to the size of a kidney. Knowing as I did that his doc would probably come in later to see it, by which time he might be dead, I called the radiologist at home, describing what I saw. Ultimately it didn't save him, but it did that day. Sadly, they all died. Gut wrenching stuff for a softie like me.

So, that is what I was afraid of. Allaying my fears, he said he'd done nothing to be afraid of. I believed him, but I won't lie to you, I was still very, very sad.

I cried for several days, thinking that people would hate my son because he was gay when I knew that he is an amazing person (still is, for that matter). Truth be told, I'm crying right now, never having expressed myself before on the subject. At the time there was a fairly young pastor at the church we attended. He paid me a visit and got through to me in short order, reminding me that Matt was an educated man and would most likely spend his life around people to whom it wasn't a big deal. I then educated myself, the best I could, on the subject, finding out that many of the most famous and influential people have been gay.

Bruce, God bless him, was a rock.

Sadly, there are still young people who fear telling their parents, in fact, Matt dated one for quite a while. I feel so sorry for them, having to keep that part of their lives secret. I feel blessed that Matt felt he could tell us, even more so, that he told his dad first. That says an awful lot, doesn't it?

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Listening to: New Order - True Faith '94
via FoxyTunes

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Listening to: New Order - True Faith '94
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Contest Mania


You know how some people compulsively enter sweepstakes? Well, that's how I am about submitting photographs. I see a possibility, I go for it.

Today while shopping at Target for some troop supplies, I saw Jones Soda and thought--ah ha, there's something I can try. I submitted a few (including the above), converting them to black and white, because that is what they use most often, and we shall see. Wouldn't it be nice if I forgot all about it and a few months down the road you'll read that they chose one? Maybe.....

This time Darden is collecting goodies to ship overseas. I bought several bottles of eye drops, gum, ground coffee (Dunkin Doughnuts), large bag of individual chips, same goes for oreos, and I can't remember what else. Oh yeah, right next to the drops were ear plugs, although not on the approved list, I thought they might come in handy for someone.

The weather is still iffy which kept me in Orlando. As such, I forced myself to clean out some kitchen drawers which once I get started on, I don't mind so much. Let me tell you, I probably have more recipes than I have meals left to prepare! And I still get Bon Appetit magazine! Maybe I should adopt a new policy; if I don't make it in the first year I probably never will and I should trash it. It's a thought anyway.

I also found a lengthy letter from Matt dated September 13, 1993. He was so chatty--I loved re-reading all about his second year at FSU. The opening line goes like this: "my first letter, maybe you should frame it!" I didn't frame it Matt, but I kept it. I REALLY miss snail mail.

I got Milk from the library today which I intend to watch after fixing a perfect hamburger. They are all the rage you know.

Past, Present, and Future