Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shameless Self-Promotion

I'm back at it--promoting myself, or at least I'm supposed to be. Here's my stack of cards that I'll put out on the table for the next two weeks, hoping people will take them. This looks like a lot, but the truth is, they made 1,000--thank goodness I don't have to pass that many out! I should be grateful, but between you and me, I'm a bit nervous. I thought having them pick out the pieces would be good, however, now I'm unsure about them. Too late because Roger has already made four of them. He's been having problems with the printer for several weeks now with SEVEN service calls necessary. This is prime time because he works with many, many artists, and with show season beginning this weekend, he's been swamped. Hopefully he'll have the last ones ready by Friday--I'll take them over there and show up when the time comes.

Did I tell you how I'd received an email from the folks at the DeLand Art Festival asking for my patron list? Hahahaha! I never responded.

Continuing the publicity thing, I should also be sending out emails to everyone I know letting them know my show schedule--all two of them. Winter Springs the last weekend of October and the aforementioned DeLand, the weekend before Thanksgiving. It's just that I never know what to write. Imagine that--me at a loss for words!

I suppose nervousness is appropriate; the gallery is rated one of the best in our area, and how I'm included, is beyond me. In Matt's blog today he wrote a piece about seeing art in the right setting. Apparently he saw an installation of a tree sculpture in a garden setting and was underwhelmed, however, seeing a photograph of the same sculpture in an indoor art space, his appreciation was altered. Unknowingly, this was a great help to me. For one thing, it made me realize what a leap of faith people take when they buy a large piece from me. Imagining it in their home may not be quite as easy as I thought. That said, I'm hoping the pieces look good in the gallery!

When Maureen was over the other day she gave me some cute little shot glasses she'd planned to return to Marshalls. You've already figured that I'd try and do something with them haven't you? Taken with my manual focus lens, this didn't turn out so great but I'll share it nonetheless. Lisa is a big fan of little roses.

I've just discovered I'm in trouble with my iTunes library!! A little screen is appearing telling me the original file cannot be found!!! Yikes and yikes again--must be my external hard drive acting up again! Speaking of music, a month or so ago, my Nano disappeared from my car. I've done my best to lock the car at all times, but apparently it was not good enough. Bruce bought a new little shuffle (which are incredibly small!), and gave me his. How delightful it's been to listen to his music. He's kept up with new music by adding to his collection all the time, whereas I've been stuck in a rut. Talk about a silver lining.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Letter

Dear Gentle Readers,
Rather than a strict narrative today I wanted to take a moment to thank you for taking time from your busy lives to spend a few minutes reading my blog. Although I rarely hear from you, I can feel you cheering me on from the sidelines. These last few years have been such an adjustment in all sorts of ways, including learning to manage my time and my cameras, becoming a small business woman, and the worst part of the deal--promoting myself. For most of my life it was not about me. Between raising a wonderful family, and being a part of a health care team, others came first. Bruce isn't mentioned because we all know he comes first in my heart, and always has. :)
It isn't often that I get to do something for a person in need these days, so what happened today felt so right. I was leaving Target when I saw two Target employees trying to fit a gigantic box into a too-small vehicle with a black woman standing there not knowing what to do. I stopped to see if I could help, mentioning that I have a Honda Element and maybe the box would fit in the back. Asking where she lived, and discovering it wasn't all that far, I said let me get the car and I'll follow you to your home. Looking relieved but still not sure I meant it, she mentioned she needed to pick up her son at Boone (the high school where from which all the Peck men graduated) first. No problem.
And so I did. When we got to her apartment building, the son and mom hoisted the box (some sort of bed) onto the ground, and we proceeded to get it into the building. She went to open their second floor apartment door while I showed the young man how to shimmy (maybe not the right word) it up the stairs without having to carry it. Grateful, they thanked me, and I was off. I was grateful for the opportunity to make their day a little easier.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

September's Over

Last year September sales were my worst of the year, and to date, it looks like a repeat, or let's hope I'm not going into a tailspin! I barely eclipsed last September's sales, and today didn't do much to change that. Although I had enough lookers, I didn't have buyers. As well, we had rain. Rain is definitely part of the summer equation in Florida, however, surprisingly, Sundays have been really good in that regard this year. Not so today, with showers coming twice, the second one enough to call it a day around 2ish.

Normally when Bruce takes the extra time to put up our rain sides it doesn't rain. We joke that they are our insurance. Today I was grateful he had gone to the work because I had to put them all down to keep things dry. At one point I had about five people sequestered with me. After they ventured back out, I kept the sides down and began the process of taking everything down while keeping it off the ground. Fortunately Bruce came to my rescue to finish things up!

Bruce spent the day organizing his new cubicle. Darden is moving into a new spiffy office building(Darden Headquarters), and for the first time in nearly twenty years Bruce will not have an office with a door that closes. Now for some people that works just fine but it is not something Bruce is too excited about, at least for now. He explains that sometimes as a construction project manager he has to yell at people and he's not sure he will be able to follow the cubicle guidelines about keeping your voice down while on the phone. If you know Bruce, you know he'll adapt to whatever comes his way. Mostly he was sad to not have the wall space he was accustomed to. On our last trip to London he took some photographs that were really special and had them framed. Too big for his new space, they are hoping to find a new home in our hallway. Before Darden was spread throughout about ten buildings, now everyone is under the same roof. Furthermore, they are providing wonderful perks for the employees, including a 24 hour gym, dry cleaning, and a very attractive cafeteria. I've no doubt it won't take long for him to be thrilled with his new environment.

Every week I photograph the market for Dana who forwards the web album on to all kinds of city officials. One thing about Dana is that she hates birds, for reasons unclear to me. Lake Eola is filled with birds, including several types of swans. Just to be a little silly I usually end each album with a bird shot. Here's one from today:

We changed our location for the Saturday market and I think it might prove to be much better. I will however miss the easy bathroom and water foutain access! It was unbearably hot after noon and it wore me out. If you can imagine I went to bed at 7:30 last night and slept until 6:30 this morning! Thunder and lightening woke me up at some point. Bruce told me that we had a lot of rain and I just went and checked our rain gauge--3" between last night and today!

I'm real proud of Matthew right now--he ran a half marathon today; if I'm not mistaken it was his first one. When he agreed to do it to raise money for the stroke foundation he didn't realize that my mom's father died of a stroke. He raised 325 pounds! According to what he wrote, it wasn't necessarily fun, but crossing the finish line was quite the high.

Because we were home early, and neither Bruce nor I had eaten lunch, we had an early supper of quiche (from my friend Wafaa at the market)and a nice little salad. Bruce helped Bill yesterday with a leak problem he'd been having, digging a trench to drain the water. The hard labor in the miserable heat caught up with him so he's relaxing on the couch, and I'm going to read my book.

Hope you've had a lovely weekend.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cleaning Day

For those dear readers who once lived in Orlando this one's for you!

First off, let me just say how thrilled I was to read this: Flattered All I can say is people have been so good to me in my new venture.

As anyone who has a mother-in-law knows, when she is coming to visit it is time to spruce things up a bit. Mom Peck is staying the night with us before her trip to see our newest member of the family, Annabelle, the granddaughter of Bruce's sister, Michele, who lives in St. Paul, MN. She is around two months old now, and from the pictures I've seen on facebook, a living doll. She is Mom's first great grandchild and the daughter of her youngest grandchild Mallory.

Actually, if you follow this blog, you know Friday is my cleaning day, such as it is, most weeks. I also do laundry on Fridays, a change from years of Saturday wash day. I believe I'm one of the few people who do laundry once a week. I talk to people who do it almost daily, even those with small households, which I find weird. Even when all six Pecks lived together, I did wash once a week. I have fond memories of those long ago days with 35 pairs of white Hanes on the clothes line! I also used to say we could do a Gap ad with all the Gap clothes hanging out to dry!

I did my best to stay on track, dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning the kitchen floor along with the bathrooms. Speaking of bathrooms, remember my beautiful new paint color in the hall bathroom inspired by a rug purchase? Did I already tell you that I ruined the rug in the wash???? That's not something I do regularly, thank goodness, because believe me it has not been easy to replace. I've returned three different rugs for lack of color match. I've tried Ross, Marshalls, Dillards, JC Penny, Bed, Bath & Beyond; I believe that sums it up. For the moment I've settled on one from Marshalls which looks nice but you can't open the closet door because it is too thick! Ugh!!!

On Tuesday, while biding time at the museum, I scanned a Winter Park Magazine. Much to my delight, I came across a picture of one of my all time favorite radiologists, Dr. Tom March. You may, or may not, know that I was just 17 when I entered x-ray school. Dr. March not only taught some of our classes but entertained us with both his wit and intelligence. The son of a postman from Hoboken NJ, never forgotting his past, he always behaved like a normal person. Although I didn't find his name in the phone book I did find his middle name and called that number yesterday. When Bruce and I arrived home from our little pizza date last night we were greeted with his voice on the answering machine. Turns out it was his daughter's number and she passed the message along. Today I returned his call and we chatted away as if it hadn't been more than fifteen or twenty years since we last spoke. I learned today that he is 78, the age our mother was when she died. His health remains excellent, with thrice weekly tennis games part of his repertoire. I'm very much hoping it will work out that he and his dear wife can attend the gallery opening night. Yikes, only a few weeks away!

Today would have been Mom's 84th birthday. We celebrated her last birthday with pink champagne!

Mom has arrived and it's time to cook. I'm making another version of that delicious risotto. Here's what she'll say when she eats it--"Now, that's different."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lost in Kissimmee

This was me yesterday afternoon--Lost in Kissimmee. Interestingly enough I took this image at the beginning of my journey Wednesday morning. I saw it from the road at a construction site on Conway Road; little did I know it would be five hours later!

I was ready for a little road trip for several reasons, one of which we discussed earlier this week--not enough out and about these days! I headed towards the rural areas around Narcoossee, and possibly St. Cloud, eventually ending up in the "historic" downtown of Kissimmee, which turned out to be just about perfect. For whatever reason, I'd only been in the area one time for Michelle's shower dinner although it's only sixteen miles from the house which suits my purposes perfectly. There are only a few blocks of old colorful buildings, all beautifully maintained, with alleyways an added bonus. You know how I like to roam alleys! I found some graffiti on a great old brick wall which could turn out to be a real winner. We shall see about that this Sunday because I'm having Roger make a baby canvas to show and sell.

So here's the scoop on the area. Parking my car on Main Street, I roamed around, seeing this beautiful Methodist Church, appropriately placed on Church Street.

As well, I'm not sure if it is a permanent installation, but at each corner wonderful outdoor sculptures made your time waiting to cross the street enjoyable.

Speaking of crossing streets, it was a breeze with cars stopping for you at crosswalks. I went into a gallery for a look-around, and saw some great pieces by a Croation artist I know named Mirjana. She does mixed media, layering flowers on painted burlap sounds weird, but what she does with it is wonderful. Taking the gallery owner's advice after a little chat, I made my way down the street to a restaurant in the back of a Medicine Shoppe, which, if you are unfamiliar with them, are locally owned pharmacies. Although it was a pretty bare bones operation, (the chef's name plate was just above the heat lamp where the servers picked up the food,) it was clean and with locals seated having their lunch. Everyone knows how much I love a good hamburger, fries, and coke, so that is what I ordered--bad choice. The burger was the kind you buy frozen, the fries looked about the same color as a fresh potato, hardly any evidence of frying. Did I mention they were tasteless as well? No matter that I used both the salt and pepper shakers liberally, even resorting to ketchup, they were just bad. You know those really, really, cheap buns that fall apart after one bite? They do too. I decided to eat just enough to know I'd eaten something, leaving the rest for the trash. Somehow the restaurant has been in business for over fifty years, however, you could have fooled me from the quality of the food. I won't be returning any time soon.

Coming across another gallery, I learned it was a cooperative, with members taking turns minding the store. Turns out there are four galleries in the just the few blocks.

On the opposite side of Main Street you will find FOUR barbershops in two blocks! I'm seriously wondering how they all stay in business, both the galleries and the barber shops.

After Bruce saw the graffiti shot he suggested I try again because he thinks it's a possible winner too, just not exactly the way I took it. Mind you the alley is quite narrow and it's super hard to get a good shot but I agreed. Which meant a return trip this morning. I almost couldn't find it again and even had visions of someone painting over it before I got there but after a little bit of wandering I found it. If it is even a tiny bit as popular as my other graffiti then I'll be thrilled and the second trip will be totally worth it. This morning I came across a small farmer's market with several produce vendors, herbs, honey, fresh bread, and plants. I do love a good radish--don't you? I especially like when they still have the tops attached as shown:

So back to the Lost bit from yesterday. I turned the wrong direction to head home, driving many miles out of my way. I even called Bruce in DC to ask him what I'd done wrong because he did a couple jobs out this way some months back. All he could tell me was that I was many, many miles from I-4. Eventually I came across a road I knew, which led to another, and then the sweet familiar sight of I-4 came into view. I could have stopped for directions earlier, however, by the time I realized I'd gone the wrong way, I figured it was too far to turn back!

Switching gears, I'm thinking of having the exterior of the house painted again. We last had it done maybe seven years ago? While doing a bit of internet research I came across this: Colour Lovers Take a look at this site. I tell you there is something for everyone online! I especially like how they name the palettes like art work. Maybe when Matthew comes home he can help me come up with something new.

Angela was here a few minutes ago with a Christmas ornament catalog. She and Matt got a big kick out of one they came across--a dog bone with green striped ribbon. On the bone itself, the name is Baxter, with a little red heart attached inscribed--"Worlds Best Dog"--which if you know Baxter personally you would be hard pressed to dispute!

Despite what the calendar says, the weather forecast for the weekend is 92 degrees, hardly fall-like wouldn't you agree?

Hurray, Mr. Bruce arrives home shortly after a busy time in DC. The restaurant is getting closer every day--93% according to his field report. When I saw the pictures I could hardly imagine it was the same space I saw two months ago. Yeah for his team and their coach!
Listening to: Annie Lennox - Lost
via FoxyTunesAb

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Market Report


If it isn't one thing it's certainly another.

Finally, I had a good day. To date, it's been a rough September, barely selling anything on all my outings. Yesterday I had not only new customers, but returning ones as well. It's made me realize that once someone has purchased something from me, they might just return for more. Good deal! As well, setting up in the same place each week allows some potential customers to see my offerings several times before they end up buying something. Such was the case with the sunrise picture next to Bruce. He thought our booth looked so good he had me photograph it! That's quite a compliment from him. So anyway, as the day progressed sales kept coming, both large and small. That's just how I like it--a variety. More importantly to me were sales of new pieces. Don't get me wrong, I love to sell the popular ones, but the new ones please me the most.

Later in the afternoon, after Bruce arrived for the packing up, several ants decided that my sweaty flesh would be tasty. Yes, it is still murderously hot in the later afternoon, particularly during the closing down phase, but I digress. As you well know, ants and I do not get along all that well, somewhat like mosquitoes and I are not compatible. Thus, the inside of my left forearm began to not only itch, but swell alarmingly. So there's that...

Now, picture this--once we were home and settled, I walked out to Bruce's desk to tell him something, turned to my left, and walked straight into the corner of the sunroom couch frame bending my little toe back in the process. Not good. I went flying headlong onto the couch in pain. Bruce and Baxter jumped up to check on me immediately. Sounds pretty silly doesn't it? Anyway, getting back into a sitting position, I thought I was ok until later on when my toe began throbbing a bit. I climbed into bed with my latest book which we'll discuss in a future post; I will say this much, charming so far. Then again, I never need much of an excuse to get in bed early....

If there were a pause button on a blog, this would have been the paused section from yesterday.

Bruce came home, then after supper, I went to Mr. Roger's house to discuss the images for the gallery show which is fast approaching. This was a find in my email box this morning: Orlando WeeklyOf all things, they don't mention that I'm a fledgling photographer.

Hopefully it will go well, although I did not choose the pieces for the show. All of them are new to the public; they are all very similar, chosen as a theme. I just realized that every one of them was taken at home! Maybe I should have called the business--In & Around the House? Six of them were taken in the backyard, with the other two staged in the kitchen and hall bathroom. Not being my favored way to do things, I'll have to trust the professionals that it won't be weird having things so alike.

Jim and Kathy's son is showing marginal improvement after 24 days in ICU. Signing the consent forms for a tracheotomy for their son is something they never expected to do. This young man needs a miracle because the longer he is in the hospital, the greater his chances of contracting MRSA! If you are the praying kind, now would be the time--his name is Karl.

Because I've titled this post, "Market Report", I realized I should mention Saturday's market at Whole Foods. The red hibiscus on black and white polka dot, (you saw it first in this space), sold as a 20x20 canvas on Saturday. Finally, I had a good day there. The truth is that for a while now, the market has been in serious decline. WF withdrew most of their support, no longer having b-b-que on the patio and no live music anymore. The solution Dana came up with is to move the market to the Dr. Phillips Marketplace just up the street a few blocks. The locals tell us it will be a good move and I hope they are right. Starting this Saturday!

While typing this I just received an email from Bruce telling me he would have been sitting right next to our mayor on the plane to DC, if not for the fact that Mr. Peck was upgraded to first class. Wonder what he's up to.

Can you believe museum day is here once again? It is and that means it's time to get a move on...
Listening to: Corinne Bailey Rae - Call Me When You Get This
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Heaven on a Plate

May I just tell you that night before last I made the absolute most delicious risotto ever. Previously I've done a passable job--this time perfection. Loosely following a recipe from Giada I ended up adding the fridge. Not really but here's what I did add:
sundried tomatoes, my only homegrown tiny red pepper, rosemary, onions, artichokes, bacon and onion. It took me forever but it was so worth the time. I made enough to share it with Bruce last night and it was every bit as yummy! I realized I forgot to mention mushrooms which was what started it all!

Whereas once my eyes were scanning the landscape for color in the natural world, I'm now scouring new things, primarily in alleyways and such. In as much as I rarely sell any flowers from yards and gardens I've turned my attention elsewhere. Don't get me wrong, I sell florals but for the most part they are ones I've created at home. Which doesn't exactly fit my Out & About Photography name which we dreamed up before I ever really thought about creating scenarios at home. I still have more than enough of out and about photos! And here's one of them........
This caught my eye outside Colonial Photo and Hobby--the remnants of a film drop off box which still contains envelopes below however I expect it's not a big part of their business these days. In particular I was drawn to the M for Matthew.

Returning to the theme of homemade images here's a new one:
I'm beginning to see the advantages of having a dedicated space for photography. Every closet is now stuffed with props of some kind. All different colored papers, balloons, beads, silly toys, buttons, mirrors, and the list goes on. You'll remember Bruce made me a lightbox which I've not gotten the hang of but I have it out in the garage. Speaking of which Bruce can hardly get to his tools these days for the boxes, baskets, tent etc. stored there during the week.

How about "Tavern on the Green" going bankrupt? I remember a trip Maureen and I took to New York years ago. I drug her all over the place on foot and both of us were tiring but when the magical sight of the Chinese lanterns hanging in the trees outside TOG came into view all thought of tiredness was gone. These are some sad times.

New York related--Finishing readingHomer and Langleyby E. L. Doctorow, I went to the computer to find out about the Collyer brothers whose life the novel is loosely based on. Loosely is hardly the word for it. Changing pretty much everything about their lives is more like it. I'm totally cool with fictional license however, this went a little too far as far as I'm concerned. I did find out that when the police removed over 100 tons of garbage they came across an old x-ray machine. My overall take--don't bother, it was not very satisfying.

Maureen related--When I was a girl I shared a room with Maureen who is five years older than me. I remember lying there at night asking her all about things like when did you start wearing deodorant and the like. The folk music scene was all the rage when she was in her teens and I still remember the iconic Bob Dylan picture she had up in our room--you know the one, black and white with a harmonica, looking so young and innocent. Another of her favorites were: Peter, Paul and Mary. Earlier Wednesday we were discussing, once again, how many celebrities have died this year, when I saw the news that Mary passed away. It is more than a little disconcerting when so many people you once revered, die. Who will be next I wonder?

Matt's dear friend Emily asked if she could write about me on her blog, showing a few pictures and presumably making something of it. How sweet is that?

You know how much I LOVE my new bathroom color, inspired by a little rug I got at Ross. Guess what? I ruined it this morning. It's not often I have washing disaster but I had a big one today. I washed the rug with another darker rug (been washed many times); I know have a weird shade of grayish blue. I think I'll have the rest of the risotto for lunch and pop over to the mall hoping to find one I like equally as well. A girl can hope can't she?
Listening to: Peter Bjorn & John - Young Folks
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Different Angles

Rarely do I do this, however, today I thought I might show you how taking a photograph of the same subject from different angles looks. I was practicing with a new lens I bought last week which went back to the store today. I had thirty days to return it, and so I did. I'm not one of those folks that wears something once for an event, returning it after it's outlived it's usefulness, actually I return very little; possibly that could have something to do with the fact that I buy very little.

Anyway, I'd been reading a lot about how a prime lens is like magic. Months ago I went to Colonial Photo to buy one and lo and behold, they were sold out. Turns out Nikon could not keep up with the demand. The fellow convinced me to buy a similar lens with manual focus. And so I did. I've struggled with it ever since. Although I think it is perfectly focused, checking the little red indicator light to make sure, but when I see the result on my monitor it is blurry. Thus, I tried the auto focus lens. I still don't know what I'm doing so instead of wasting $200 on trying I returned it. What I think I'll use that money for is a new point and shoot. I dropped my baby camera a while back breaking the battery and card cover. Additionally, because Roger needs an image of 2000x2000 to make a large canvas the extra megapixels will come in handy. According to him, the mp wars are primarily a marketing ploy to get people to upgrade their cameras. That said, when I shoot with the baby camera on the macro setting, which I do a lot, the size is under the above requirements. I'm wondering if the new Panasonics are made in Japan.

Enough already you say. Camera talk is way boring I know.

Let's all thank God together for Google, shall we? I spent about an hour on the phone last night with dear Bruce guiding him from the Google map on my computer to his destination in Connecticut. Life is good.

I spent about double that time on a video chat with Matt yesterday afternoon. How I love to catch up with him! I should have taken notes because every time I chat with him when I'm done I learn something. He's running a half marathon in two weeks time. Yesterday when he rang, he'd just finished a nine mile run in 67 minutes for a charity. I know I've said it before but I'll say again how lucky I feel that all of our sons have turned out to be fine men. Unbiased opinion? Probably not, but that's how I feel and this is my blog so I can say what I want to....say what I want to....

Speaking of sons, Jonathan and Alissa saw U2 on Sunday night. These terrific pictures make you feel as if you were there: U2Try putting U2 blaring on your computer while running the slide show!

I just got finished drying my hair--I'm heading back to the museum for another receptionist's stint during the opening night for the current exhibit. Turns out Karen neglected to find anyone earlier and asked if I'd do it. I know, I'm a sucker but off I go. Fortunately, my friend Pam who lives just nearby is giving me a ride.

I'm home now--did my receptionist thing and we went for a glass of wine afterward. Time for bed my friends...Sleep tight.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Oy Vey--The Weather!

The title says it all about my weekend. Saturday there was a steady light rain, Sunday, not so much, but the predictions were such that the market was super slow. At least that's what I'm blaming my lack of sales on....

We're skipping any other mention of my work, focusing instead on things both near and nearer.

Last week I delivered the final canvas to the condominium; here's the view from the eleventh floor:

Some of you may have read how our Lake Eola fountain was finally done in by a bolt of lightening after 52 years of entertaining both visitors and residents alike. For those of you unfamiliar with it, there are jets of water and colored lights that make it very nice at night. There is quite the lively discussion going on regarding the future of our city icon. Some people say demolish the silly thing, others say, not so hasty--let's not erase all semblance of the past in Orlando. Updates will be posted as news comes in.

Last week I discovered a nice new wine bar opened in SODO right near the house. I was anxious to show Bruce because I knew he'd be impressed, on the other hand however, I wanted to cook for him. He's been traveling so much that my only opportunity to prepare nice meals is on the weekends. Furthermore, he's trying his best to lose a few pounds, and as everyone knows, eating out six or so nights a week is not the best for a waistline. Nonetheless, here's what we had on Sunday evening after the market. The polenta and crab cakes are outstanding! We so hope they can make it during these trying economic times.

One of the best parts is the first rate cutlery. I absolutely hate it when a restaurant is nice in every way and then uses cheap lightweight cutlery. Probably silly on my part--perhaps it's because I'm getting old and grouchy?

Remember I said near and nearer? That was because Regina came by this morning looking so lovely I asked her if she'd mind if I took her photograph to share with you all. She's 72 and still so attractive. I imagine you feel as if you know her because I've written about her extensively--now you can put a face with the stories!

The conference was fine. The topics included:Muskoskeletal Imaging, Pediatric Abdominal Ultrasound, Breast Imaging, Ethics, Managing Radiation Dose in Imaging...and a few more. 6 points down, 6 more to go.

Speaking of medicine, our friend's son is still in ICU after more than two weeks. After getting a second opinion they are a little less anxious, but only a little. Turns out they think it could take months for him to heal. Fortunately, he's lightly sedated to keep his heart rate down; his mom and dad could use a little of that right about now.

How about ending this on a positive note shall we? I'd entered an art show for late November that I thought I'd have little chance of being accepted. Turns out on Friday when I got home I had an email with the good news that I did! Fall Festival. This is not to be confused with the spring show in the same city--two entirely different events. Nice.
Listening to: Feist - Mushaboom (Mocky Remix)
via FoxyTunes

Friday, September 11, 2009

Short and Sweet

Today I must leave my fantasy world of play and enter the real world for a day. I'm heading off at 7:15 to go to a radiology conference to start obtaining my CE points. I'm not planning on going back to work anytime soon, but then again, life is never certain.

Yesterday I spent time at the gallery with one of the partners choosing what she would like me to exhibit. Here's a little look at part of the space:

The show opens on October 13. Yikes!

Before leaving in the morning, I walked Mr. Baxter. About five doors down a yard was festooned with not only toilet paper but signs and balloons all over. The young lady that lives there turned 18 and her friends must have thought it would be fun to make a mess of the yard to celebrate. I am constantly amazed at how people get into birthdays. For once, I didn't have a camera with me but on my way home later in the day I did and here's what they did for an encore!

Finally, the evening before I was heading to a reception downtown and came across these roosters deciding whether or not to swim in Lake Davis. If you are from Orlando you realize they have no business hanging around that neighborhood.

Off to get educated!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Well, That was Tough

I'm referring to many things with that title. First off, Bruce had to leave on Labor Day early to get to Chevy Chase. He always hates leaving on a Monday, especially on a holiday, but it had to be done. Before he left however, he did his best to see what could be done with our internet connection which has been spotty for weeks now. You may remember they came to fix it, but the problem is not solved. He rushed off to Walmart to buy a new modem and was going to install it when I said, don't bother, we'll get one for free from Bright House, not pay $67! I'm just living with it for now. Anyway, after chatting with Bill about his vacation, I headed over to Leu Gardens for a bit, before the heat sent me back home to the pool! Lots of butterflies on Monday around noon.

Secondly, I'm referring to Florida State's loss to Miami on Monday night. If only I didn't care who the teams were, it would have been a thrilling game! Thirdly, I hated watching it by myself. I so remember watching games with a room full of Peck men. :(
Sadly, I had to pace around the living room by myself, although Jonathan called before the start of the game. I expect he was so agitated he didn't even want to chat about it later. Furthermore, memories flooded back about a letter Matt wrote when he first went to FSU, aged 17, about standing in line for days to get tickets to the FSU-Miami game. It is remarkable to think how times have changed in these few years. Lastly, it was on SO late!

Backtracking a few days, returning home from the Whole Foods market on Saturday, I found an email in my inbox from an old friend who wrote that she'd been reading this very blog for months now and wanted to touch base. That made my day. Apparently, her son found it and passed the link on to her. Nice.

The Sunday gig was a waste. Well, that's not entirely true because I did sell one small print! It's been a long time since I've been skunked and I thought this might be the day, but fortunately someone came through for me. As well, Bruce got to have a break, so that was good. Yet another good thing was that I wasn't hot in the slightest because it was INDOORS! While I was there, Dana called to tell me that one of the vendors that was set up quite close to me for the last year or so died in her sleep! She was only 50. Not so nice.

I went to the Polasek yesterday for a very slow day--no visitors at all! Fortunately, I'd brought Olive Kittredge along to keep me company. For years Bruce wanted to move to New England after spending so much time there building restaurants. In particular, he still wants to move to Vermont. I'm like, "honey it is WAY too cold there!" He usually responds that it's not that bad, but I believe the weather charts prove otherwise. I've always told folks that I don't know how I would do in the cold, but I sure know that lots and lots of gray days would not be good for me. In addition, I don't think my personality suits New Englanders. I'm way too chatty for the folks from there. In fact, with my penchant for asking questions, I do believe they might just call me nosy. I prefer to think of it as curious.

By now, I'm sure you're wondering why I'm rambling about New England. The book is set in Maine with the main character appearing in various degrees in the chapters. More like a portrait of a small town and the people who populate it. One part that is so hard to take is when her only son moves away, not only geographically, but emotionally as well. I'll say this much, Elizabeth Strout is one fine writer.

On the other hand, I've been thinking of late that I may not want to go through my whole life without the experience of seasons. It seems like there is something I'm missing out on. Some people argue that we have seasons here, and we do, but there are only two---greater and lesser summer. Don't know where that will lead, but it's something I've been pondering.

After having a late lunch I went with Angela to her home in Lake Mary. She spent much of last week painting, which I had agreed to help her with, but my mind said yes, my body said no. She'd hired some stagers to get the house ready for selling. When she and Matt married they decided to move into his house and she's been trying to sell this one off and on for more than a year. Some of what they did was good, some not so much. When we got back home I rummaged through closets finding stuff to make it look just a bit homier. Amazingly, she owns the house free and clear, paying it off in only four years, but she'd love for someone else to own it now. I hope the real estate market improves enough for a sale soon.

Here's what one of my dumpster shots looks like:

I'm going to post this right now while I still have a connection. Hope your week has gotten off to a great start!
Listening to: Zero 7 - In The Waiting Line
via FoxyTunes

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Mixed Bag

I'm not sure what to say about this bookGirls From Ames, except that it was a very quick read. As is oftentimes the case, when I finish a book that I'm unfamiliar with, I read comments on Amazon to see what others are thinking. Interestingly enough those reviews helped me to realize what I hadn't while reading the book. There are eleven stories to keep straight with similar names, Karla, Kelly, Cathy, you know, the names of every forty year old woman you know. No girls named Courtney, Campbell, Chloe--you get my drift. As an aside, this list is fun to see what people are naming their children these days:Name Game. So, that was the first problem. The second is the notion that who we were in high school is who we are forever. I just don't buy into that. It seemed as if in some ways they were stuck in the past. Plus, some of the posters mentioned the women were boring and I have to agree. Maybe I'm just being picky--anyway, read it for yourself if it interests you and let me know what you think.

This morning was the first of the week with sunshine which naturally thrilled me. As such, I went outside to finish the hand sewing on the dress in the good light. The birds were chirping like mad this morning so I brought the camera outside as well. I never got any bird photos but I did get this. Wanta guess what it is?

And here is the dress--notice I'm not showing the zipper side!

This is the nicest cotton I've seen in a while, more like pima cotton maybe. Instead of top stitching, this time I decided to spruce up the same pattern with a bit of piping. My skills are still a bit rusty, after all it's been probably ten years or more since I made clothes, so I've no idea why I'm not just sticking with the pattern; possibly an attempt to make it look less homemade. It took me a ridiculous amount of time to figure out how to get that piping on the pocket opening, however, eventually I figured it out. The great news is that it fits me perfectly. While showing it to Bruce I mentioned the zipper and he said, "well, don't show me", and I didn't! He also mentioned I'd made it just in time for cooler weather. Ah, how quickly we forget that September is probably the WORST month for heat. I'm never quite sure if it is because we are so sick of it by now, or what, but it's usually still pretty miserable into early October.

While folding clothes this afternoon I realized how little I've left the house this week. Tuesday the museum stint, Wednesday the library and history center, and remarkably, that is about it. I'm still not 100% up to par and with the weekend coming up, I've just stayed home. I'm skipping my usual stint at Eola because I agreed to do a market at the new Jewish Community Center in the Dr. Phillips area. I met a darling young woman at the Whole Foods market some months back who asked me if I'd participate and I agreed. She's really in her middle thirties, which I guess makes her twenty years younger than me--yikes, I'm getting up there! It could be a bust, which I'm fully prepared for--but then again, who knows, it could be great. Bruce will get a welcome break from setting up the tent, and I'll be able to stay indoors--a winner on both fronts, although he never, never complains about the set up.

That's another thing that sorta bugged me about that book. There is a section where the girls rate their husbands on a 1-10 scale. Maybe it's because Bruce is such a winner and I've been so fortunate to be married to him all these years but I just felt it crossed the line of good taste. The author was smart enough to keep the answers anonymous, carefully noting that none of them rated less than a 6. Ick. I say give those husbands a chance to rate those wives! What they'd probably say is that they spend way too much time wrapped up in their friends lives!

The good news is that Olive Kittredge has arrived on my front porch. No sooner had I finished the Girls than while getting the mail I saw the familiar library bag by the front door. I am so grateful that even with all the budget cuts happening in our government, the library still delivers. The are, however, cutting their evening operating hours, closing at 8 instead of 9. I can live with that. I'll tell you right now the first chapters are terrific.

Kathy called this morning with an update on their son--not good. I've not heard from her since, but it seems as if a third surgery might be in order. Bruce is scared he will contract MRSA and I am too.

Listening to: The Postal Service - Recycled Air
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Blogging Time

Aren't found pennies supposed to be good luck? When I was uploading this image I realized the penny has been around since my first year in x-ray school. Imagine all the places it has been since 1972! I saw it beside my car while I was getting back in after showing my wine canvases to a potential customer. Actually, they probably aren't, but I tried anyway.

So I guess this is a big deal if it made The Times 67 Days of SmilesApparently they are hanging the canvases today; I know this because of all things I ran into them yesterday at the History Center! I needed something new to read, having just finished The Turtle Catcher, a very dark, but intriguing novel. I'd never been in the History Center to see the exhibits, however, because the day was rainy (all week!), I decided to see the photography exhibit. I was not disappointed--really amazing, especially one of a woman and child sleeping in a hammock with a large snake underneath them! I wonder if it was staged. Really, they are all sensational, but truth be told, I felt like somewhat of a voyeur. That sounds really stupid I'm sure. It struck me that the people, a world away, are going to be fascinating, no matter what they are doing. Apparently what he wants to convey is their humanity, the same as ours, with hopes and desires in a completely different setting.

Anyway, I was gazing at the photographs when I heard a familiar voice. I turned to see Sherry, the PR person who I met through Dana, giving Kyle and Stacy the guided tour. We were the only ones there; I might just say it was weird because only a few days prior I'd have no idea what was going on. Speaking with Stacey a little later she related that her mom saw the contest on the Today show and thought they'd like to enter. Good mom.

Our market neighbors Jim and Kathy are going through quite a challenge right now. Their 30 year old son was experiencing what he thought were flu like symptoms. Long story short, not. He had emergency surgery last Friday night to relieve an abscess in his abdomen during which time his pancreas completely fell apart in the surgeon's hands--not a good thing as you well know. It's been quite a battle this week. She left a message on Tuesday that he had a fever which is never a good sign after surgery. Today's call I got to talk to her and turns out he had to be re-opened last night. Fortunately he's got health insurance--can you imagine if he didn't? He's been in ICU since the surgery and that don't come cheap! I don't know what side of the debate you're on but the one thing I do know for sure is that EVERYONE needs insurance for catastrophic health problems. I don't want to start any arguments but I think we all should pay out of pocket for routine medical care because to me it is just like any physical need. That said, when a medical catastrophe strikes insurance is the only answer, just like our homes when a hurricane strikes. Anyway, he has it and I wish he wasn't having to use it right now. I can't imagine if one of our sons was so deathly ill--I'm sick just thinking about it!

As you can imagine hundreds of people have taken my business card, in fact, maybe a thousand or more. That said, it is a tactic that we read about early on in this crazy venture; people take a card to be able to move on without feeling the need to buy anything. I was thinking just this morning about this when I received an email from someone regarding a kitty picture they'd seen in my baskets. Count me surprised! Anyway, I've no idea how many people even read this blog, but it comes in handy for me every now and again because I was sure I'd posted that image in this very space. I recalled it because Matt commented that he thought it was good which is both a rarity and a treasure. Much of what I know about photography I learned from Matthew, when he says something is good, it sticks with me. I did a little search on my blog and sent her the link rather than having to wade through thousands-did I write thousands?-why yes I did, of photographs in Picasa. This girl wanted to show it to her sister--all that for the possibility of a $9 sale! Oh well, sometimes things surprise me and this might be one of those times.

My outing yesterday wore me out once again, so much so that I didn't even eat dinner which is unheard of--I may not snack but I always eat three meals every day. I went to bed early with one of my new books, Girls From Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow who will be giving a lecture soon at the library downtown. I'll let you know what I think about it when I'm done.

Because of the above mentioned tiredness I decided to stay put today. I made a new dress which I think turned out kinda cute. Bruce will be home in an hour or so to give me his assessment. Truthfully, I did a terrible job on the zipper.
Listening to: Nina Simone - Feelin' Good (Joe Claussell Remix)
via FoxyTunes

You Just Never Know