Thursday, April 29, 2010

Out of Area


Our phone not only displays the caller id, but speaks it as well, which truth be told, is somewhat comical, albeit useful in some circumstances. If I'm in the backyard, I can hear who is calling, and know whether or not to run inside. Most of the time if I see or hear, out of area, I know it's a not a call worth running for. For whatever reason, this time I answered quite cheerfully to the out of area call. The young woman's voice on the other end said she was from the "Lakeland Ledger," presumably the local Lakeland newspaper. Because I'd already had a voice mail from the paper with an offer for a special $75 advertising offer, I immediately stated that I'd never done the "Mayfaire" before, thus no one would recognize my name-- an ad would not be useful. Immediately she said she wasn't calling about that, in fact, she was calling to interview me if that was okay. She began by asking if I minded giving my age, to which, of course, I said I didn't mind at all.

After the age question, she asked what kind of photography I did. Now, that was hard to answer. Looking at my website while we talked, she discovered from the home page (thank you Matt!) little bit of my range. She understood my hesitation. Some people would think that I primarily sell photographs of flowers, but after doing a little check on my first three months sales, that is not at all the case. I have my baskets sorted by rough categories--Beach/Landscape in one, Food/Wine, Flowers/Animals, and Funky stuff, which includes all manner of things. Turns out, if you remove Street Art (How Soon is Now?) from the equation, the sales are pretty evenly distributed.

At the outset I thought that having a wide range was a good thing, and I still do, but it has made ordering harder, and harder. What did you expect? That I'd take the easy way? Well, no, you knew I was a silly girl when you began reading this blog. For this show all the prints are supposed to be numbered, however, after dragging everything inside last week, I realized the task was too daunting for me. Maybe I'll start from here on out, but how in the world does one keep track of hundreds of images? Undoubtedly there are folks who can, but Mrs. Camera Crazy is not one of them.

Let's return to the interview, shall we?

One of her questions was, what image am I proud of? Yikes!!! How to answer that? That would be like asking me which of my new chairs I like best. I like them all for different reasons! I stammered that under the orange gallery, I particularly like "Three Faces," which for those of you who don't know what the heck I'm writing about, is a simple photograph of three orange and white daisies taken on Bruce's desk one morning. I think it was one of the first times I had an idea for a still life that really worked. I'd just told Bruce on Sunday evening how I remember being so thrilled when I took it; I not only printed it on my home printer, I took it to the dry cleaners, showing it off to the ladies! First off, we've been going there for years, secondly, they probably thought I was crazy, but that's how excited I was. That was the beginning of the end of only taking photographs while out and about. Increasingly, some of my best selling photos are ones I've shot around the house. Make that, in the garage, the backyard, the sunroom, the bathroom, the kitchen. You get my drift.

From there we covered how long I'd been doing photography, to which I gave my stock answer: "I've always been a photographer, I just used bigger equipment!" Silly, huh? Lots more questions and answers followed, in total we spent about twenty minutes on the phone. I realized after our conversation, I'd better get busy on making sure my website is in good form, although, for me, it's mostly something everyone has to have these days, however little traffic it generates. I've certainly given out the address thousands of times!

I've really no idea if my profile will run in the "Ledger," but it was pretty cool to be asked.

Here's my competition: Show Artists

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Here You Go

Just what you've all been waiting for...May I introduce you to the latest, and greatest, "Ze-bra" chair?
Isn't it awesome. Bruce's mom gave us this chair, I don't know how many years ago, and it's had multiple incarnations as I've changed decor; this version is certainly the wildest--no pun intended!

This is a big week at the Polasek museum. As I type, there are plein air artists on the grounds, capturing the exquisite gardens, landscape, and sculptures.Paint Out Each morning an artist demonstrates their skills, with a lecture about how to use various paints. Basically, it is the biggest fund raiser of the year for the museum. As such, the volunteers have been doing an amazing job getting the gardens in tip-top shape. Turns out, all that cold weather was good for the plants, producing larger blooms then ever. I'd been telling Lisa how wonderful everything looked, and around 11, she walked through the door. I took this lovely picture of her while we were chatting with our friend Stephen Bach, an amazing landscape painter. Among other things, we discussed the current state of shows. Now, Steve and I have little in common as far as our art work is concerned. He's won awards everywhere, making way more money with his art in one year than I could make in about five. At one time he painted the Olive Garden murals for Bruce--a pretty good gig. Small world, huh? Anyway, he told me that at the Winter Park Art Festival this year's sales were way below his average. I don't feel quite so bad now regarding my sales this year. If his have gone way down, what can I expect??
I couldn't resist buying a small acrylic painting.

What a day! Next stop, Xanadu. My friend Sylvie met me out front of the Bob Carr Auditorium on a most pleasant evening.
It was silly and campy, just enough to make it enjoyable. As I explained to Sylvie, "the best stories happen when things don't go according to plan." After the show, which had no intermission pleasing me greatly, we couldn't decide if we were brave enough to go to the cast party. Because I had to drop Sylvie home, we thought we'd drive by the place on our way. Being the curious types that we are, driving by wasn't good enough. Parking across the street, I began rummaging in my purse for the ticket, to no avail. I got out of the car, removing everything, hoping it was in hiding. No, it wasn't. I mentioned to the nice gay couple who were heading over that I'd lost my ticket. You're not surprised are you? I've never gone anywhere with Sylvie before, and I'm sure she was slightly aghast by my constant talking to strangers. At any rate, he was nice enough to go check at the door, returning with the good news that we could get in without it. Fantastic! Although it was packed at "Sip", I managed to get us some seats with a lovely young couple right by the food no less! Mac & Cheese, asparagus, tasty salad, baby cornbreads with a dollop of butter, sweets galore, and delicious bruschetta. As an aside, I'm thinking cornbread is heading for stardom. The lead actress was about a foot from me, and I swear I'd have never even realized it if not for our table mates pointing her out. Noisy, lively, and fun. Remember I mentioned the intermission part? Well, that was for a good reason--it was over earlier! Thus, after dropping Sylvie off, I returned home to hit the sack. How fun is it to win something?

Ok, so I must confess, I'd written about half of this when the twittering cardinals outside my window forced me to join them on the patio. Let's just say I'd never make a wildlife photographer because I don't have the patience to just sit there waiting...At any rate, I hope you'll enjoy these:

Well, I guess you won't on this post. For some reason the photo uploader has disappeared. Coming up next!

Listening to: Spoon - Me and the Bean
via FoxyTunes

It's a Baby

Make sure you check out previous post to make sense of this one!

The weather is exceedingly beautiful today which is why I could hear the cardinals so well. 70 degrees + 0 humidity=Perfection
I was stalking the male and female cardinals, trying to catch them flitting about the yard. All of a sudden I looked up and here was this little guy on the shed roof!
No wonder, mom and dad were hanging about so.

I had to run in the house for a second and once I got back out, he/she was gone. Maybe some could tell if this baby is a male or female, but I'm not one of them for the sake of this post, I'll call it a boy. Anyway, I knew he couldn't have gone far. I searched around the yard, finding him camouflaged in the palm. A lot of the chirping I was hearing came from this little guy.
If I had the patience to wait, I would have seen him fly from the roof which I'm sure would have been quite a sight!

I watched him for a while, coming in to finish my post and now he's gone again. Cute little bugger, don't you think?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Look Who's Blogging on Monday!

Today's photographs are a tribute to my kind friends, the wonderful gardeners who are kind enough to share their beautiful work with me, and you, for that matter. The new header is from Lois's garden, which did not impress Angela all that much, but it sure impresses me.

Here's a beautiful iris from Regina's back garden, aptly named "Regina's Iris.And next up from Eric's garden, some gorgeous hollyhocks, which are mostly associated with the North. Apparently, if you know what you are doing, you can grow these beauties in Florida. Hollyhocks were one of Mom Peck's favorite flowers, probably because they reminded her of her mother's garden in New York
Aren't they a beautiful shade of pink, or I guess I should say, pinks!

Since our last get together, we've had Jeff and Connie over for dinner Friday night, Saturday market, pedicure, shared a good time with an English couple at Graffiti Junktion (not a typo!), and then Sunday at Eola. All well and good, however, if I dare admit it, the climax to my weekend was the delivery of the zebra chair on Sunday night. Fantastic!!! Mr. Richard, the upholsterer, outdid himself!

You will be seeing his handiwork just the minute I can adequately photograph its' charm. Is it possible for a chair to have charm? In this case, I think so. Not fair you say--she tempts us, and then producing nothing. It's just that the weather is so gloomy this morning, following a stormy night. The thunderstorms and wind woke us several times. According to our rain gauge, more than two inches of rain fell. The light is just too poor to get anything, but I promise, you'll be seeing it in due time.

Actually, aside from the markets, most of what we did was very last minute. Jeff asked Bruce if we'd meet them for drinks, which I agreed to, and actually dressed for, until I realized how much nicer it would be if they just came to the house for dinner. Those of you who know me well, know that entertaining at the last minute is not my style. Instead I prefer to plan it out, spending lots of time preparing the meal. Well, who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Once I got the affirmative, I headed to Publix for some supplies. About an hour or so later, we enjoyed a lovely meal together. As you may recall, Bruce was traveling most of the week, so he was delighted to relax in his lovely new home after dinner!

As for the pedicure, I realized at Saturday's market how, once again, I'd neglected to keep myself groomed as well as I should. After unloading, I was fortunate to get an appointment with Rudy, the girl I've been using for a year, or so. My color, you ask? Baguette me Not. A lovely shade of coral for spring.

Arriving at Graffiti Junktion, I said to Bruce, "We're the oldest folks in the place," which was mostly true. Maybe that's why we ended up chatting with the English couple, the second oldest couple in the place, seated behind us. Eventually, we gathered at one table, sharing my gigantic serving of nachos. When I say gigantic, I'm definitely not exaggerating--they serve it on a 16" pizza pan, with only a $10 price tag. My failing memory does not allow for name recall, but they were very fun to be around. He has a construction company near Clearwater, cleverly calling it BBC, which stands for Beach Building Company. Gin & Tonic flowed.

No rain at the market on Sunday!! Now, that's headline news my friends. The weather is warming up quickly now; before you know it, instead of the cold, I'll be cursing the heat. Crowds were pretty good, and sales not too bad. One couple ended up buying 10 things for their beach house in New Smyrna, if you can imagine. Get this, turns out they live in one of the huge houses just down the street on Summerlin. Small, small world.

To date, I've been unsuccessful in convincing Rick Flair to pose for the cameraVery pretty, don't you think?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Angela and Gail in Wonderland

Monday morning, around 11, Angela called asking if I wanted to go on a bike ride with her over to "Pill Hill". Now, she didn't call it that, she called it Bel Aire, which indeed is the proper name, but as far back as I can remember we called the area Pill Hill because so many doctors lived there. Plus the streets have slight inclines, which if you know Orlando, that is way out of the ordinary. Anyway, I did my best to get out of it, claiming she was 14 years my junior, not to mention 7 inches taller, but she was not to be dissuaded. Not even when, after lowering my bicycle from the ceiling hook, we discovered my tires were woefully under-inflated. Oh no, she found her pump, chastising me all the while for my inadequacies in the pumping department--and off we went.

First off I took her to Lois's house to show her the garden, which I'm afraid did not impress her as much as it impresses me. Ignoring the fact that Lois can grow flowers in Central Florida that no one else would even attempt, she complained her grass was way too spotty. Which, truth be told, it is, although I believe that is because Lois is so focused on her beautiful tulips, poppies, daffodils, and anemones.

Heading down Delaney we crossed Michigan, cutting through on Jersey Street, past Boone High School, (with me providing narrative all the way), and into Lancaster Park. Eventually we cut over to Bel Aire. Remember those inclines I mentioned? By now I was tiring just a bit, pumping with all I had to get up those inclines, and loving every minute of sailing back down on the next street. There are some beautiful homes there which we ogled with glee.

After locating the homes she was particularly interested in, we headed home on Ferncreek. A ways down, we passed a home I'd noticed while driving. What I'd noticed was a collection of Raggedy Ann dolls on a shelf in a glassed in porch. After riding by, I decided to turn around and knock on the door, asking permission to photograph those dolls. I stopped, hollered out to Angela, who as you can imagine was ahead of me, and said I wanted to turn around. She never dreamed what would happen next.

Parking my bicycle in front of the house, I heartily knocked on the door. It's a bit of a strange set up, because you knock on the porch door, hoping someone in the home will hear you. That said, it got so much stranger that what I've just written is mild.

Now, I've waited a few days to write this because what happened next was so extraordinary I felt the need to mull things over as to adequately find the language to describe our experience. Sadly, I'm certain I still won't be up to the task, but I'll give it a try.

After several hard raps on the outer door, Ed answered, acting unsurprised when I asked if I might photograph the dolls, which let's get this over with--here they are:
 

I must tell you that Angela is not the chatter I am, and she's certainly not as bold as I am when it comes to strangers. As you've probably already guessed, she was standing in the driveway, such as it is, holding onto her bike while I was chatting with Ed on the porch. Not only did the porch have the dolls, but it had a big chalkboard with an affirmative sort of quote, buddhist prayer flags hung in one corner over the 1930's refrigerator, which still works if you're curious. Across from this, there is a seated black boy mannequin, as well as a standing fashion type mannequin. In a slow Southern drawl Ed mentioned there were quite a few more dolls inside if we'd like to come in. Of course I'd like to come in!!!! Convincing Angela was not quite so easy but she respected her elder and followed me into a tiny living area stuffed with such an array of objects that words fail me. I did, however, like this little sign:
 

After some discussion about Ed and his wife's collecting ways, he said there's quite a bit more out back if you'd like to see it. Of course I'd like to see the back! Moving through a tiny kitchen we headed out to the back yard. It was then that we began to be at a loss for words. There were so many structures and things to look at that we were mostly overwhelmed. Ed said, maybe you'd like to go on the cat walk that he'd built to head to a tree house. Of course I'd like to go on the catwalk!
 
Mind you this catwalk is built of re-cycled materials and all I can say is that it's a good thing I'm a lightweight! While up there I dropped my camera down into a bed of oak leaves for Angela to document our experience. By now we are both mostly in a state of shock because every where you looked there was something artistic, from the watering can:
 
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to spades with faces, to the mini green house which looked more like a little pagoda with lovely orchids blooming inside. The fish pond surrounding it was jumping with activity. He drawled that all the fish started as common goldfish and just got bigger and bigger. There really are no words to describe what we saw. Magical comes to mind.

Eventually, after chatting a bit and learning that Ed is recovering from some health issue, as well as an illness that he's recovering from, we headed back to the front. It was there that I was shocked to see something that had been right before my eyes all along. Although I'd noticed the dolls, I'd overlooked a railing, if you will, with child like faces he'd fashioned from rebar. I told you I can't describe it, and I'm failing miserably; believe me when I tell you it is very, very impressive.

I asked Ed if he were an artist. "I wanted to be, but I was too old." Sad. I've been exposed to a lot of local art in the last few years, and I can confidently say that Ed, although he doesn't call himself such, is definitely an artist. Eventually I discovered his "job" was an auto/truck mechanic. After our hearty exclamations on how awesome the fence was he asked if I'd seen his Egyptian statue. "Why yes, I did notice that." Adjacent to said statue was what appeared to be a makeshift garage with clear shower curtains hanging over an iron gate in the form of a spider web. He asked if we wanted to see the inside. Of course we want to see the inside!

We were speechless when we walked into this amazingly clean shop with decorative iron work everywhere. "Sometimes I like to work with stucco" Ed explained as he opened what looked like a column to reveal interior shelves. When I tell you it is make-shift I mean that seriously. The roof is made with tarps! Bruce went crazy that I took no pictures of the shop! At the far end of the shop there was yet another set of doors. Well, you know me--"Ed, if I haven't already been nosy enough, what is behind those doors?" Well......

Here's what was behind those doorsCan you believe it???? Look carefully on the right and you'll see Mr. Ed. Earlier, while we were on the catwalk he didn't want his picture taken so I was careful not to get a face on shot. Now, that's not to say I didn't want to, but I'm trying to respect his wishes. Can you believe this??? There's even an Elvis statue on the counter.

Remember, their home, built in 1932, is miniscule, so this really floored us. If we thought we were speechless before, this really took the cake. After profusely thanking him for his time, we took our leave, although I suggested to Ed that he'd not seen the last of me!

Climbing back on our bikes for the mile and a half ride home, we both agreed that it was if we'd fallen into a hole and come out in Wonderland.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Random Notes

Several months ago, for unknown reasons, I quit taking my hormones. Probably because the weather was so darn cold that I was fooled into thinking hot flashes were in my past. Well, I was wrong--they are back with a vengenace! I have somewhat of a disdain for modern medicine these days, thinking there are way too many drugs on the market for conditions that most of us can live with. I'm not talking life threatening problems but seriously, most of the advertised drugs are advertised for a reason. Yes, money. The thought that pharmaceutical reps can make more money than 90% of working people makes my blood boil. Whoa there Gail--this is not a political forum, this is your blog!

With that in mind, what's a woman to do? Here's a piece from the Times focusing on the dilemma most woman of a certain age face:Estrogen or Not

Switching gears here---

While chatting with Matthew on Monday afternoon, our conversation was wide ranging, from the fallout (I'm a comedian now!) from the Icelandic volcano, to the planned Olympics in London, and so on. Just yesterday I read something which stated that matronly and cool were rarely compatible in either a sentence, or our thoughts. It's funny how you come across things like that because one of the topics we covered was my business, and how my grafitti shots are big sellers. Most young people would think their mom was either crazy, or an embarrassment for selling some of the things I do, however, I think Matt is amused. Thus, he shared this cool link from The Guardian:
Philadelphia ProjectoI'm ready to hop on a plane any day for this! Before I forget we touched on parts of speech which went right over my head....

Wouldn't you just know it--earlier in the day an email invitation came from "Decoy", the talented grafitti artist in town, to an international graffiti event downtown on Saturday . I'm not sure if I'll be heading over there or not, but yesterday afternoon I went by the venue after a trip to the library. Here's what I sawNormally every surface is covered with tags, and on occasion something cool. This definitely qualifies as cool!

Those rain clouds you see over the skyline did their thing with overcast skies continuing this morning. If you can imagine I'll be posting a little later about a fantastic adventure Angela and I shared on Monday. Stay tuned....

Seasonal

As it turns out, I take the same kinds of photos each season, hopefully improving on last years output. What I mean by that is each spring I go crazy for fruits and vegetables and all of the budding flowers, and is the case with this album some peaches on the tree. I've found another gardener near the house who allowed me access to her yard--thus I now have growing peaches added to my photo library. I've taken so many new things I thought I'd put a little album together showing you what I've been up to.

I've been selling quite a few wine related shots, all taken either in the sunroom or in the back yard, that I'm constantly thinking up something new to try. I saw this jug wine while shopping with Bruce and thought maybe I could dream something up. I believe I'd call it "The Last Drop" if I have it printed. If you would be so kind as to let me know if you think either one is effective, it would be greatly appreciated.

Finally, our second throne has arrived! Actually, I'm naming all the new chairs to go along with the previously mentioned "Groovy Chair." "Throne" sounded right to me. When I get the new/old chair done with the orange zebra print, we'll be calling that the Ze-bra chair. Actually, I can't think of a way to write it, but what we're going for is how Angela pronounces zebra. I rarely notice her British accent until she pronounces something so differently. Garage comes to mind--gar-age. Just adding a little fun to our lives. Doesn't take much to amuse me, does it?

While brushing my teeth in the shower the other morning, which if you're not using the drenching time to multi-task, you are missing a good chance. I digress... What I meant to say is that I was also thinking how much I would miss my mother-in-law's reaction to our new space. One of the things that admittedly drove me absolutely crazy was how her reaction to most things new was, "Now, that is different". These days, of course, I miss hearing her say those words, which I am 100% certain she would have said on seeing my crazy choice of fabrics! On occasion I'd look up at the market, and there she would be, having made the long drive down from Zellwood without letting us know she was coming. Once she got so lost downtown, she went the wrong way on a One Way street, causing us to question her driving skills. Nevertheless, she arrived, and if I read her correctly, she was very proud of what I was doing, although she never said that. She would go through my baskets, exclaiming at all the crazy shots--"Now that is different"! You know what? She was right, I do have a lot of different things for sale. At this season of our life, I so often think about the Joni Mitchell song with the lyrics--"you don't know what you've got till it's gone". Isn't that the truth?

Bruce has gone back to work today after a five day respite at our home. I cannot tell you how many years it has been since he's done so. I suggested we go somewhere at least one of the days, however, he preferred his "staycation", and, quite frankly, who could blame him? Baxter and I just loved having him here.

Friday Kelly came for lunch and a visit, with Bruce sharing our chicken salad. He'd offered to leave, but I said "No way"; I'm glad he got to know Kelly a little bit better. Later that day I made the tomato tart after a quick trip to our wonderful produce store, Clemons. It was such a treat, walking in seeing the colorful produce piled high. The crops are all late due to the cold, but they are coming in fast now. Isn't the watermelon beautiful? Bill stopped by at dinner time to show off his new gigantic Hummer he purchased from Mark Tremonti. Oh my, is it huge and fancy, not to mention black. If you'll recall Mark is the guitarist for the once, wildly popular band, Creed. He's still making lots of money compared to most folks, however, nothing like he did in Creed's heyday. Bill will have plenty of room for his gear now.

For a change, the Saturday market was pretty good, and Sunday wasn't bad either. Wouldn't you just know it though--after a week of absolutely gorgeous weather, we awoke to leaden skies on Sunday, which eventually yielded rain. We closed up early amidst the rain, however, we managed to keep everything inside the tent dry. This has definitely been a challenging year weather wise.

Heading out to see what seasonal photos I can take today!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Celebrate? Who is Celebrating?

As discussed in our previous post, tax day loomed. Well, no sense putting off the pain any longer after picking up our return from Olga. Bad news for this little couple as it was even more than I told you about--$2,995! Ironically, I sent it with this stamp:
As you can imagine, we were not celebrating. Turns out self employment tax added quite a bit to the total. Bruce says be glad we have to pay plenty; no doubt that's good advice, however, it's easier said than done. At least for yesterday. That's one thing about me, I may fuss and fume for a day, but that's about it. Call me on it if I complain again, will you?

Just as I was getting in the car to head to the post office, I saw this turtle in our yard. Bruce, if you can believe it, was home taking a vacation day, and I quickly called his attention to pictured turtle. She laid two eggs which later in the day were missing from the hole.....wonder what happened???

A vacation day to some folks means rest, but not to Mr. Brucer--he finds it relaxing doing home projects. Over the weekend he began putting new door hardware on our interior doors, changing out the hodgepodge we had to sleek new brushed nickel handles. Finishing the task yesterday took most of the day, and if you'll indulge me a moment, I must say they look terrific. The old holes etc. weren't as compatible as he'd hoped, however, being the inventor that he is, he fashioned a jig to make it all work. Jigs, my friends, are patterns of a sort. I'm making this sound terribly simplistic, which of course it's not, but hopefully, you'll get the gist of things. My, aren't we getting stylish?

Later in the day Michelle came by to discuss her decorating project, and of course I couldn't resist asking her if I could take her photograph. I had to beg a bit, but here's one of them I like:
While we were taking the photos we were chatting about the viewing party Monday night for the reality show, Ryan, (Bill's bass player), is on at the moment. Have I mentioned it? If not, here's the link:"Tough Love". Scroll down the page until you come to the couple, "The Drama-Ramas", or something like that. In my opinion people are crazy to go on these shows, but as I explained to Michelle, I hardly understand young people anymore. Man, am I getting old, or what??

After our mini photo shoot we went over to Angela's house to see how the new construction is coming, as well as to show her their lovely home. With Bruce's help she recently completed a sofa table, if you can imagine. I swiped this beautiful vase of lilies to photograph while I was there. These lilies* are blooming everywhere in our neighborhood, as is everything else. It's hard not to want to photograph all of the beauty after our horrible winter. Oh, how I love spring!
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Bruce is home again today and our major project for today was cleaning the roof and gutters, which I'm happy to say is now complete. Let's hope this helps with all the oak "furries", and leaves blowing into the pool from their hiding place in our gutters!

We're off to get a little paint brush and a few other errands, so until we meet again--have an awesome day!

****Driving home from our shopping excursion I realized I'd mislabeled the flowers--they are amaryllis. Duh!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Now That's More Like It!

Much improved my dear ones. Against my better judgement I visited Dr. Smuckler yesterday morning; he thinks it was merely a viral infection of some sorts. Because I've gone more than two years avoiding medical treatment, he suggested I have some blood work--I'm still pondering that.

Caveat--I began this post last Friday afternoon, abandoning it when Michelle called needing some decorating advice. Meeting her at Colonial Plaza, we spent the next five hours shopping, pondering, and a little decorating as well. As it was Friday night by now, I kept thinking Bruce must have fallen asleep at home, otherwise I'd have heard from him. Indeed, returning home around 8, I found him fast asleep on the couch. It's been a rough couple of months for my dear Brucer.

There is nothing quite like flowering trees is there?
Spring green on the oaks is pretty awesome as well!

Finally I got a haircut which looks only so-so. She thinned it all out in the back, leaving the rest with a blunt cut which I don't think suits me very well. Note to self--find someone new!!

On my way home, after picking up some delicious orange juice at Red Hill Groves on Conway Road, I stopped in the peacock neighborhood. One of the best things about my current gig is meeting interesting people. This little stop did not disappoint in that category. This male apparently goes by the name of Sparky. He, of course, did not tell me his name, however the woman sitting in her yard feeding about ten peacocks and peahens did. According to her, he is quite the show off, and will keep his feathers out for quite some time. The stud of the neighborhood, if you will.

Further discussion revealed that she moved to the neighborhood three years ago with some trepidation from College Park. After losing her business she was forced to downsize and move to Conway--a part of town she was unfamiliar with. All she knew was that it is generally cheaper to live in Conway than it is in College Park. What was so cool about our chat is that now she feels like she's living in the Garden of Eden (her words) after allowing her yard to become a haven for the peacocks. Who knew I'd run into a philosophy session? Her neighbor across the street does not share her enthusiasm for the many peacocks that roam their neighborhood, telling me that when he first moved in he was enamored of them, however, now he thinks they are a pain in the ass.

There's something about spring that makes me all the more camera crazy. As such, I've been experimenting once again with all of the beautiful produce available.Having a skylight in the garage is so perfect!

Back to the doctor visit. I was nearly crazed by the time I was called back--more than an hour late. It wasn't the wait that bothered me, but the blaring television, particularly the "Weather on the Ones" segments. How, pray tell can people have a job where being right 50% of the time is acceptable?

And speaking of things that bother me--I was SHOCKED to learn the other day that 47% of Americans pay NO federal income tax? What kind of a system is this??? I'm particularly cranky about it after learning from Olga yesterday that I'll be writing a check tomorrow for more than $2,000. You can bet we've already paid in a hefty chunk, but apparently they want more. I asked her how can this be? Our hard work is the culprit. After being so jazzed about my paltry sales, turns out they are costing me big time. What's a girl to do?

Doctor visit times three: When I was younger I found it fairly easy to block noise out, well, maybe not easy, but doable. Increasingly this is becoming more difficult. Some of it is also loss of concentration I'm afraid. At any rate, I did bring along a book given to me by Angela because she hated it. After a little bit of a slow start, I discovered why it was so popular. On Saturday I brought it to the market, and it was a darn good thing because it was super slow. This in turn allowed me to finish the book. Are you dying to know what the name? Shall I keep you in suspense any longer? Maybe.

I will tell you the ending had me in tears which at home works just fine but in a public place is a little less convenient. I cry all the time at the movies, but rarely out in the bright sunshine in a parking lot. With about only four pages to go, at one of the most critical moments, a man came up with some blah blah about a new product and how I'd receive a free personal training session, going on and on before I abruptly stopped him and said--leave me alone! No, I didn't really say that, however, I did say I was at a critical juncture in my book and I had no interest in what he was saying. He thanked me for my honesty.

So, here's the book:"The Elegance of the Hedgehog". As you can see from the opinions, Angela is not the only one who hated it, however, I think it is brilliant. Challenging, yes-- worth your time--absolutely!

Another great book I read earlier this year that I've neglected to mention is one Matt left. Speaking of tears, this one brings them on as well! The title? "Brooklyn"Staying up way past my normal bedtime, I finished it in one sitting. It is, indeed, that good.

Tip: If any of you out there in web land do not know this already, when there is a different colored ink in the text, it means a link to another site has been included. All one need do is click on it to find out what others are saying.

Once again, time to have some breakfast, add a little makeup to my worn face, and try to make my hair presentable for my weekly stint at the Polasek.

Have I mentioned lately how much both Bruce and I are loving our new space?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

In the Blink of an Eye

So, there I was, sitting on the couch, loving having company (Dana) in our beautiful new space, enjoying a left over crab cake, and a glass of cool white wine, when I began to notice some abdominal cramping. I won't go into the gory details, because Lord knows, you don't want to hear them, but let's just say it got real messy before it got better. I felt bad for both Bruce and Dana. Bruce, because he was the designated clean up guy, and Dana having to be sent home abruptly.

Before you go diagnosing a case of food poisoning, Bruce and I shared the crab cake. At any rate, it was a sad ending to a lovely weekend. Yesterday was spent in bed for the most part, sleeping, dozing, and occasionally talking on the phone. Another casualty was poor Matthew. He called in the afternoon for a chat, between the phone going out, and my belly pains, I had to quickly say goodbye. He was naturally worried, going so far as to phone me from his office today seeking signs of improvement. And he got them.

Bruce was petrified leaving me alone, but I knew if I was desperate, my neighbors and family would come to my rescue. Used to be he never left on Mondays, but it seems like this whole year, he's had no choice. He was on his way to New York for his job in Syracuse, as well as to meet up with his cousin Karen in Watertown. Karen was the daughter of Mom Peck's sister who was killed in a car accident years ago. Always close, they became that much closer in their grief, thus, there were provisions in the will for some sentimental items for Karen which Bruce delivered. It made him very sad. There were things he would have liked to ask his mom, however, those days are now in the past. He mentioned how easy it is to take things for granted until they are gone. Isn't that the truth?

For a little change of pace I'm posting a couple of cheerful photos from the outside of the houseI took this after the sprinklers were done one morning. The azaleas were especially beautiful this year, but they are now fading fast. I liked how this little branch peeked out from between the tree branches.

When, and for that matter how, did these little yellow ducks become so popular??This little guy is floating around in the pool just like I will be doing in about a month--CANNOT wait!

The temperature is heating up fast now, with gorgeous, and I do mean gorgeous, blue skies. What we are enjoying the most I'd say is the low humidity. As everyone knows, we need to enjoy the perfect weather while we can.

Friday I spent the day in the kitchen, working on the birthday dinner, which, if I do say so myself, was a success. Please note my new French apron (a Christmas gift from Matt) which was so light and comfortable. The dishes piled up as I made one dish after another, loving every minute. David and Michelle were so excited about our wonderful new space. Bill had already had a sneak preview!

This may be the last picture I post of the remodel--this one is for Nancy who thinks I've neglected the bathroom. It's nice, albeit a little hard to photograph.

Ever the optimist, I'm hoping this little bout meant nothing, although my doctor would like to see me this week. We shall see....

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Tale of Two Chairs

As I lay in bed Wednesday morning after having been rudely awakened by my neighbor Pete's diesel truck (a story for another day), I thought how much I love clean sheets. My mind wandered thinking of all the simple things that bring me pleasure and a post was born. Then, however, once seated in front of my computer my eyes stung like nobodies business. Maybe the millions of particles of pollen in the air? Who knows, but one thing I did know--I just couldn't spend the hour or so in front of the computer that a decent post requires.

Instead I decided not to wait for Mr. Richard, my new upholsterer any longer, I would tackle the "Groovy" chair myself. Now, it's been quite a while since I made anything like a chair cushion, and in fact, never had I made a gusset. A gusset you ask yourself. Pray tell, what is a gusset. Well, there's this little thing called the internet that came to my rescue. Actually, Angela is the one who told me what the piece between the top and bottom of a box cushion is called. Sooooo.......using our trusty friend Google, I came across an excellent blog,Sew Mama, with not only written directions but photographic ones as well.

Suffice it to say that this project was not easy at all. I began 10ish in the morning and worked all day long. What took so long you're probably wondering? Well, there's the measuring, attaching the trim, making all the welting and then attaching it to the bottom cushions. A zipper in each, and then the gusset. By 5:00 Angela called asking why I wasn't done....the nerve of her! She came over to inspect the progress, pronouncing it pretty amazing after all. In England her college major was textiles, thus she knew to call that long piece in the middle, a gusset. I decided I'd had enough for one day, and sat down in our new little seating area for a chit chat.

Speaking of areas, I'm delighted to report that my sewing experience, aside from technical difficulties, was wonderful. It all just felt so roomy, with space on all sides of me to make a mess. And a mess it was! Batting, scraps of fabric, the old cover, measuring tools, trim, cording and of course the machine. By the way, I used my Bernina, leaving the Singer for something I know how to make!

At any rate, yesterday morning after having my tea and orange juice, I finished it all up and here you have it!Those of you who've never seen the "Groovy" chair, and for that matter, don't know it's history, it used to be painted a yellowish white with a reddish cover with very fuzzy trim for the cushions. Before Matt left he spray painted it that wonderful brown, and now I think it really looks groovy!

So that is the tale of one chair, let's talk about a second one.

Tuesday afternoon, the aforementioned Mr. Richard called saying my chair should be ready either later that day or Wednesday morning. All the while I was working on my project I assumed the phone would ring any minute. Alas, it did not.

Although he told me it might take a week, I was hoping that would not be the case. But, it was. I was so hoping to have it back for the little birthday dinner tonight that I called him Thursday morning. Apparently, he's not that great a judge of time because he said he'd be here within the hour. Impatiently I waited. Must have been four or five hours later he showed up and I am delighted with the results! I decided to photograph the before and after, prior to his taking chair # 3:Now, when I chose this fabric, our intention was to have the two chairs on the wall where the piano stood for all those years, thus brown on blue. Now that I have a new design, I was very anxious about how it would look against the drapes. I like it. As you may recall, I purchased the chairs for several reasons, one of which was comfort. Turns out some of that comfort came from all the sagging upholstery, so now that it's all fresh and new, it's comfortable in a new and improved way. Here's another angle:
Checking out my work, his pronouncement was pretty good. He also mentioned how hard the trim I'd chosen was to work with, and I couldn't have agreed with him more! Apparently fringe is the way to go...

So, now it will be yet another week, but now that I've seen his excellent work, I know the wait is worth it. In the meantime, he gave me a few pointers on the antique chair I've purchased the orange zebra fabric for. He said, if I could do the "Groovy" chair I can certainly do this one. Did I tell you that I had him leave the original name in the slipper chairs? Made by Tomlinson, in probably the 50's, they are from the "Sophisticate" line, which I think you'll agree, they look the part now. He also said when they were new they probably cost around $800! I haven't found much online regarding these chairs but here is an interesting link to some cane chairs from the same line,Sophisticate. Notice the similarities in the legs.

I'm going to have to come up with a name for the Zebra chair--any ideas?

Finally, I've settled on some lamps and that shopping is DONE! Mr. Baxter had to get into the picture on this one! Since taking it, I've moved the table next to the curtains, and the pole lamp on the high end of the wall. I like it. Looking closely, you'll see one of the lamps on the buffet. Because they were a sale item at Lightstyles I couldn't return them. Fortunately, when Mr. Bruce finally arrived home after four grueling days of travel, he was pleased.

A glorious spring day around here. The laundry is hung, and the time has arrived for me to begin preparing the birthday feast for our wonderful twin sons, who turned 31 yesterday. Bill and David never liked birthday cake, opting instead for a homemade ice cream cake, however tonight I'm insisting, if only for a place to put a candle. I've already made some mini pound cakes this morning, ready for a candle, strawberries, and whipped cream. Crab cakes to start, followed by good old fashioned fried chicken, potato salad, cold asparagus with sliced tomatoes and lemon-caper dressing and biscuits. You know the ones--Mary B, of course!

Long Beach, CA