Friday, May 28, 2010

Beach Happy

Regularly scheduled posts will resume June 7. Have fun and be safe dear ones.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Are You Sober?

As you well know, every market day is different. Of course, when you are constantly interacting with people, that's just the way it is. This past Sunday morning Bruce left me a little early to get some things done for our trip, one of which is a check list so I don't forget anything. He is well aware of my horrid memory!
So, there I was, hanging the last of the canvases, getting the bags ready, putting out business cards, you know, the usual. A young woman came into the booth, started looking at prints, and then received a phone call. Asking permission first, she sat down in one of our two chairs. Originally they were for Bruce and me, however, they've come in so handy for visitors and regulars, of which I have many.
Anyway, because we were in such close proximity I overheard some of her conversation, and frankly I thought she was talking about a break up of some kind. Concluding her call, she once again began looking, saying she was interested in something for a gift. All of a sudden, while I was minding my own business, hanging the price tags, she looked at me and asked, "Are you sober?" Clever readers may have immediately deduced what she was talking about. Your much slower blogger was somewhat taken aback by her question, completely confused. I stammered, yes I was sober, after all, it was only 9:30 on a Sunday morning. Then the light bulb came on...she was talking about AA. She remarked that so many of my titles had a spiritual angle to them, prompting her to ask. I got it. Following this exchange she began relating her story which was not pretty. Becoming hooked on crystal meth at, God knows what age, she became sober at age 19. Yikes! Five years later, she began drinking, she hoped like a normal person might(her words), but it wasn't working out, as you can well imagine. Additionally, she told me her mom died when she was 9, forcing her to care for her younger brother, who is now in her custody. All this by age 24. She eventually picked two prints, however, to date her credit card has been declined. That, I guess, is what I should have expected, but somehow I hoped for better. Her name is Dina and she needs help.
Something a little more cheery--isn't she adorable? After my closet cleaning last week, I took some items to the thrift shop which is where I found her.
And then there's this:
The magnolias are blooming like mad these days. I've always loved the little pieces that look like a pile of match sticks.

Jonathan posted some storm chaser pictures on Facebook which led me to this blog Simply amazing!

I thought you might also like to hear this little story from the market. I told you I never know what to expect each Sunday! A fellow came up with mega cameras hanging around his neck. Naturally I was curious about his stuff, which as it turns out he was one of the photographers whose work was shown on Saturday night as part of the Snap event I told you about. His images were striking, but what really struck me was his bio, wherein he describes being hired by the Orlando Sentinel Star at age 17. Can you imagine that happening today? Here's a link to him:

During our conversation he gave the run down on who he's worked for, including 17 years with National Geographic. Other notables are Time and Newsweek, as well as People, which he described as National Enquirer with better paper! Currently he's freelancing and has multiple corporate clients, including Progress Energy. Using one of the mega cameras, he did the shoot, then, just as he was getting into his car, he shot 6 images with his camera phone. You guessed it, they chose one of the camera phone pics, paying $6,500 for the privilege! Let's all repeat together: It is the photographer, not the equipment!

Time to get to the check list, my gentle readers....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Walking on Sunshine

Well, not quite, as it is raining this morning but....

They say great minds think alike, which may, or may not be true, but I hope it is. My son Matthew beat me to the punch posting this first: Isn't it amazing that both he and I must have heard it on separate continents and thought it was good to share with friends? Oh this wild and wonderful modern world! Knowing my readers, great thinkers that you are, you've probably already heard this piece, but if not click on it for a smile.

WARNING! Lots of photos ahead! Well, what did you expect if you read this blog anyway?

Sadly, the order makes no sense because of my uploading issues but let's make do, shall we?

Our weekend was super fun and busy. Bruce arrived home fairly early (for him) on Friday evening and we decided to have a little date over at OLV. Just the two of sharing a bottle of wine and nice tapas. The evening was warm, but tolerable, and after a bit we decided to sit on the comfy couch thing outside to listen to the singer and enjoy our delicious food. He was excellent, covering anyone, and everyone. Very pleasant. But wait--things heated up before long because my friend Kris from the hospital was there with a few girl friends. By young and girl I mean 40 years old. Never thought I'd be calling someone 40 young but it happens to all of us doesn't it? You know, some age seems ancient and then it sneaks up on us and we're that age. Sorry, I digress. Anyway, Kris and Kathy decided we should dance on the patio which we did and before long others joined us! Nothing like a night of dancing to either make you realize how old you are or, make you feel young again. Take your pick. I'll choose the later thank you very much. Our picture is the last one of the bunch with me making a serious attempt to keep my eyes wide open!! At work people would often ask if we were sisters--do you see any resemblance? Only I would post such a iffy photograph of herself right? I'd been swimming earlier in the afternoon, doing nothing to my hair, as if I needed to tell you.

Maybe it's better to just write about the photos as they appear rather than how the days unfolded?

Speaking of singers, Joseph Martens, our regular singer at the market is terrific on his own, and now that his girlfriend comes, accompanying him on the fiddle, it's even better. One of the things he does is play musical chairs with the children, making up silly stuff as he goes along. This was a smaller group than normal, but no less fun. The little boy in the forefront was pretty much lost the whole time! The winner usually gets a bag of Kettle Korn.

Looking at the picture it is hard to believe how much the market has grown and changed for the better. People look so forward to their weekly trips to the market and occasionally they buy stuff from me. This Sunday was surprisingly good with 25 sales. Fantastic stuff, huh? As this was my last sales day of the month Bruce did the numbers, discovering it was not only my best day at the market this year, but also my best month ever! Happy days.

Here is the promised nectarine tree:
Beautiful colors, right?

Bill, David and Michelle were kind enough to pool their money, giving both Bruce and I Nordstrom gift cards, knowing how much we love the store. I used mine for a spiffy new linen dress for the trip! Love it!
Yum, yum!

Saturday Bruce didn't work--surprise, surprise, so I didn't either. Instead we spent the day together preparing for our vacation which I'll write more about tomorrow.

Remember the disappointing show we attended on Thursday night? Saturday night was completely different and am I glad we went. The leading photo (those pesky uploading issues!) is of Douglas Kirkland during his Q & A. Behind him on the screen is a photo he took of Audrey Hepburn. Here's a link to his site: Was he ever an excellent speaker with great tales of photographing Marilyn Monroe, Elisabeth Taylor and other icons of the screen! He's 75 years old, not that you would know it, with great energy and enthusiasm. Did I mention he's also humble? He's still shooting something every day, and he told us his schedule is booked until next February! Imagine that. The show was held in the old Church Street Exchange building which Dana manages for the realty company that owns the property. As you already know, she's a dynamo! The last time we visited her there, the place was a neat wreck with furniture, equipment, large architectural pieces stored everywhere. Attending Saturday night, one would never know what a complete transformation from when she took the project over. Tomorrow I'll tell you a funny story that one of the big time photographers from the show shared with me on Sunday at the market.

I'm sure by now you are bored, and I'm ready to get on with the day, now that the sun is shining. Let's meet again soon--in the meantime, be sure and walk on sunshine when you can!

Friday, May 21, 2010

What is Art?

First order of the day is to thank both Matthew and Nancy for commenting on the lilies. I'm unsure whether they think they are print worthy, but they did confirm my suspicion as to which is better.

Bruce was kind enough to accompany me to this show last evening shortly after returning from Connecticut. I'm not entirely clear if this was coincidental or not, but today I began reading a new novel with this quote by Bertand Russel in the front: The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. From what we saw last night, I'm not sure if I'm a fool, a fanatic (see blog title), or wise,  but I sure left puzzled. We made it to four spaces, which was more than enough. Many of the pieces were similar to my photo trash bucket. Two very unappealing pieces with clouds as subject matter were $800 a piece. Now, I'm all for clouds, but seriously these were no more than holding your camera above your head on a very cloudy day. No skill, no nothing. As well, for the life of me, I will never understand the appeal of trailer parks as subject matter. How is that art? I feel as if it is merely exploitation. Maybe there's a fine line between the two, but I don't see it. Furthermore, I kept waiting to be inspired, which did not happen. A Snapple bottle? Once again I entered to win tickets for the big Saturday night bash, however, now I'm not so sure I want to attend. I had to enter an image taken on a vacation, which I did. Three alligators and a heron in the river from our camping trip last year. Don't know if I was the only winner, but it was worth a try. That is until we went last night....

We saw a woman I know and she asked me if I had anything in the show, to which I of course replied no. I told her I was mostly over the whole gallery thing as we've previously discussed in this space. Most shows are attended by artists, not buyers.  I'll just stick to my market gig, and of course shows when I can. After what we saw last night, I don't fit in with that crowd anyway.

I came home wondering how what was shown could be considered art. It's so subjective, I know, but seriously, there were like three images that were compelling. The rest, drivel, in our humble opinion I must add.  Oh well, we did have fun together, so that's really all that matters!

I've mentioned in previous posts this year how the cold seems to have done wonders for our plants and trees. Two neighbors, a few doors down have peach and nectarine trees, which in previous years have had little fruit. Take a look at how they look this year! This peach tree is sagging under the weight of all the fruit.

Well, it seems as if I've deleted the nectarine tree. Bummer, because it is beautiful.

All that cold seems as if it never happened these days. Today is bright and sunny, with temps reaching 90. That was made tolerable by my FIRST swim in the pool today! In fact, I'm typing this in a wet bathing suit. I hated to mess up my spiffy new hair, but it had to happen sometime. Hot and sunny weather is predicted for the weekend warrior. Actually, I think tomorrow will be my last time at the Sand Lake market because it is just going nowhere. I sat out there last Saturday, waiting and waiting for people to materialize, which never happened. Of course it doesn't help that there are no signs, but still... 
Anyway we'll be gone the following two Saturdays and it just seems like it will be a good time to call it quits. I do hate to be a quitter, just not in my makeup.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Compelling, or Not?

I skipped a meal yesterday, no, make that two. I don't know why I had no appetite, I just didn't feel right. As you well know, I rarely, if ever snack, however I always eat three meals a day, well, except for yesterday. After a sleeping marathon, I ate some delicious homemade granola this morning and I'm feeling some better.
The state of my health did not keep me from finally getting my hair highlighted. Six months is more than long enough to go without a touch up. Not only did Cheryl highlight my hair, she cut it into a much more stylish look. Who is Cheryl you ask? Well, she did my hair for years and years when the children were young, and not so young. We went through countless looks together, most memorably the "Dorothy Hamill" if that gives you any indication how long ago it was. Cue the applause for Facebook! Yes, that's where we reconnected. Apparently she found me on a mutual friends page, sending me a friend request, and there you have it. Did I mention she charged about $40 less than Melissa? I can't wait for Bruce to see it when he returns this evening.
Before we go any further let me mention a book by Larry McMurtry, entitled, Literary Life. It's a memoir of not only his writing, but his massive library as well. One line really resonated with me that I'd love to share with you. Discussing his library he writes, " write what you've read, to a large degree--and just as importantly, you write what you will someday reread. I'm not sure if I fully understand the second part of his statement but I certainly can relate to the first part. One aspect of my photography that gets almost as much attention as the images, are the titles. If I've told you this before, please skip down...Anyway, most of the time they come very quickly, on occasion, not so easily. For this seeming ease I credit years, and years, and years of reading. Listening to a lot of music has helped as well. One image that comes to mind which stymied me for a while is a flamingo with his neck all curved. I'm sorta proud of the title that finally came--U-Turn. Some are good, some mediocre, just like the images.

To my mind, most people assume it is easy to take a compelling flower photograph. The longer I'm at this, the harder it becomes. Maybe my aesthetics have changed, maybe I over think things, at any rate, here's some I've been working on with some lovely calla lilies I bought at Whole Foods. Don't you just love the intense purple?

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Having tried this in all sorts of ways (these are only a sample!), I'm still not convinced any of them are good enough for print. The good thing is that I don't have to decide any time soon because Mr. Roger is on vacation for now and....drum roll please......we are taking a holiday!!

Yes, you read that right. We'll be heading over to Siesta Key next Friday, spending the week along the Gulf after attending Steve's annual Memorial Day blowout. See, last May posts for a description of his amazing party, which he'll try to outdo this year. Don't ask me how he'll do that, but I know he'll try. Following the week along the coast, we'll head back to Sarasota for a wedding. The romance began three years ago during, you guessed it, Steve's party. Sweet, huh?
More details to follow as the time draws near.

One thing about me is I hate planning and waiting. Bruce's job expertise is in large part due to his planning skills. He maps the whole job out in his mind tackling it piece by piece. Me, as far as trips are concerned, I'm much more prone to get in the car and see where I land. Of course, this is completely impractical, however it does avoid the waiting game.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Birthday Boy

Posted by PicasaIt was about 44 years ago that Bruce and I became a couple. That, my friends is a long time ago, as I've no need to remind you. 16,060 days of conversation. And you know what, I've loved every minute of it. 

Imagine this, I was still a bed wetter when Bruce and I began going "steady." I'll never forget the time I had a cystoscopy in the urologist's office when I was 13, with no anesthesia I might add, and we went to some school game together. I was petrified to pee because they'd put that horrible metal instrument in me, and I finally broke down and told Bruce. He understood, or at least he said he did.

And, he's never given me reason to doubt what he tells me. He is an extraordinary man, as of course, I remind you every chance I get. Unlike both of our parents, our marriage has been one of happiness. When I tell people that we've rarely ever fought, they can't believe it, however, I'm speaking the truth. I've always wondered what people find to argue about. Maybe because we grew up together there is  commonality in our thinking. Bruce respects that I'm super frugal, I am glad he's not so much. In most ways I'm the practical one, Bruce is the dreamer.

Because my birthday is on such an awkward day I've probably not given enough attention to birthdays. You'll have to ask our children if they feel they were short changed. As I grow older I realize that birthday celebrations carry more weight than I've heretofore realized. Today there will be no call from Bruce's mom.

Yesterday while cleaning out my office closet I came across Bruce's last birthday card from my Mom. Here's what she wrote:

May 18, 2003
To a son-in-law who is the light of my daughter's life, a role model for his boys unparalleled, and a generally all around good guy. I wish you the happiest of all birthdays. 

That about sums it up although I would say he is most definitely a good guy.

I titled this post "The Birthday Boy" because although his hair is going gray, he'll always be a boy to me.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Week in Pictures

Yesterday afternoon, the phone rang and it was Matthew, a very pleasant surprise. He'd done his best to reach me on Mother's Day, however, we were taking the show down and I couldn't locate my mobile soon enough to answer.

Fortunately, Mr. Bruce was on hand to chat, having decided to work from home. To say it's been a while since that's happened is somewhat of an understatement. It's the time thing; by the time Bruce returns from work, it is way past midnight in the UK. So, nice.

Anyway, we discussed the complexity of modern life. Is it any wonder people worry about what they can't remember? There is entirely too many things vying for our attention. Which brings me to my point--finally, you say. Who has the time to read my lengthy posts? Vying for attention on the web is not easy, what with all the "real" writers out there. Furthermore, there's our diminishing attention spans. Yikes, what's a casual writer to do???

Well, how about images today with very little text--will that do for a Friday post? I may just have found an option that allows me to upload my photos without making me tear my hair out!!

Flowering trees are so lovely--this is a beauty from Leu Gardens.
School girls who were on class trip at Leu Gardens. I don't envy them the black robes in our heat!
Truth be told, Leu Gardens is a little messy these days although this shot would make you think otherwise. Budget cuts must be the culprit.
From a home on Osceola--a new gardener who has graciously allowed me access to her yard.
Eric's back yard, he lives with his parents on Gatlin, about a block from us, on Lake Jennie Jewel. I got severely bitten by mosquitos on their property what with the humidity rising.
On my way home from the Polasek, I stopped to take some shots of a beautiful yard when this young man happened by. He called out for me to take his picture after he stood on the seat. I was shocked to see this come out as I had my manual focus lens on the Nikon. When I told him I'd email the photo, he said he didn't have email. Could this be true?
According to my friend Paige, this is a Cordon Bleu caterpillar which I photographed munching on the fennel at the Polasek vegetable garden.
Taken on Parramore early in the week--I knew my readers would get a kick out of this one. Do you suppose occasion has been misspelled all 32 years?
Do you recall what this looked like before the Graffiti Fest?
Our neighbor's hibiscus poking through.

So, there you have it, some of my week in pictures, if you're intrigued by any of them, apparently you can click on them and they will become a bit larger. Have a super weekend dear ones.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Booth Shot

As promised, a few more highlights from the show:

People were so friendly, lots and lots of Moms and their daughters came on Sunday, which apparently has been going on for the 43 years the show has run. In fact, my last sale of the day was to a Mom buying her older daughter a gift for Mother's Day. Nice.

What we couldn't get over was downtown Lakeland. Lots of very cute and clean shops, bars, and restaurants line the streets named, Lemon, Lime, and Orange. Lakeland, as it turns out, was a citrus town long before it became known as the home to Publix.

I became aware of the show because one of Bruce's co-workers wives mentioned it at the annual Christmas party. She said it was an awesome event, and she was so right. If you can imagine, our booth was one street over from their beautifully restored 1914 home, which we toured after we closed on Saturday. Plus, Bruce forgot a few items, so after helping me open on Saturday, he drove home; upon his return a few hours later, parking was non-existent, however Jay's driveway was wide open. Hurray for friends. As well, yesterday I dropped off a large canvas at the Darden Headquarters that Jay is delivering to the woman who ordered it. How great is that?

I said Debbie made me aware of Mayfaire, but that's not entirely true. My friend, Brandy began doing the show about three years ago, not long after we met at the market. Before applying, I called Brandy and she confirmed that it is the best. Anyway, her girlfriend Marcy moseyed over to our side of the lake to say hello, but I never got over to see them, too many people all the time, which was a great problem to have! Tuesday night she called,  asking if I would mind doing a booth shot for her. Apparently her shot is not the best for applying to high end shows. Of course I said I'd be happy to help out. 

So yesterday afternoon she and Marcy arrived, setting up her booth in our side yard during the golden hour. Baxter and I watched. During the shoot, Marcy and Baxter watched:

Don't you just love the green grass against the black? She has the same panels as I do but they bought these black cloths that velcro over the mesh giving it a Very finished look. A photographer set up next to Brandy at Mayfaire suggested doing your booth shot,  not at a show, rather keep it very simple and set up on good turf. Now that I've seen this, I realize my booth shot needs improvement, mostly because I usually take it at a show when the light is either too harsh, the grass is spotty, and lastly, it looks cluttered. This is just fine when you're selling, not so much when you are trying to appeal to a judge.
Once again I apologize for the formatting of today's post. Yesterday I researched my problems, discovering that a small set of users are having issues. Well, I'm one of that set!

Did I tell you that Roger and Trish are taking a much needed two week vacation? Flying into Frankfurt, they were catching a connection to Rome for a few days stay,  then on to the port to board a cruise ship taking them through the Greek Isles. Nice, huh? Just before they left I told them that everything was conspiring to keep them home and printing, what with the Icelandic volcanic ash, chunks falling off the Coliseum, and of course, rioting in Greece. They went anyway. I did my best to order accordingly before they left, however, I never dreamed my inventory would be so diminished. Apparently, I didn't dream big enough did I?

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Monday, May 10, 2010


Well, I had a very clever plan for today's post, however, the new layout editor thwarted my plans! I do so hope you'll ignore the crazy layout of the pictures! I've entered some captions on the album photos if you'd care to click to the full size album.

Thursday night, after a short rainfall, Bruce loaded the Element to the rafters, saving space for both of us to ride down together. Per my previous post, I was somewhat nervous before we left, however, once we were on the road, I settled down.

Arriving in Lakeland around 2, we made our way to spot 159, at the corner of Success (!!!) and Lake Morton,  after a very nifty drive-through registration at the Polk Museum of Art, which by the way, looks like it is amazing. I popped in there to use the restroom;  from what I saw, it is a very, very classy place. Note to self--a trip down to thoroughly see what they have is in order.

Did I tell you it was sweltering? I didn't? Well, it was. Fortunately we could park right in front of our space, unload, and set up. From the photo album you'll note there was a bench adjacent to our spot which was quite handy. Setting up in the afternoon when it is 95+ degrees is not anyone's idea of fun, but, set up we did, stopping every now and then to catch our breath. I told Bruce I was SO hot I couldn't think. He, of course, did very little complaining, which is why I did it for the both of us! A little after 5, we hopped into the car, turned the air conditioning to MAX, and headed the few blocks to downtown for much needed refreshments. 

A few years ago we enjoyed a memorable meal at Harry's in Lakeland, thus,  we were anxious to repeat the experience. As we were walking along the sidewalk, we came across the  pictured newspaper box. My jaw dropped when I saw the front page! Did I tell you already that although I entered that image, I've never even had it printed? Because the web site for the show used the alligator image, it never crossed my mind that the reporter would choose anything else. Neither of us had any change, so Bruce walked back to the nearest bar for some quarters. Once inside the restaurant, I found section B--yikes, there it was again! Turning to page B-6, there it was AGAIN in a larger version! Stop already!! Well, what could I do? 

I'd already decided if anyone asked about it, I'd just be honest, and that's exactly what I did. One woman came with the paper in hand looking for it. I've no doubt I'd have had a sale if only I'd prepared properly. Bruce, very nicely, suggested I learn something from this. As this is most likely the only time this will happen to me, I blew my chance!!!

But, not to worry, because as today's title alludes to, I sold 101 pieces, breaking all previous records by a long shot! I know that sounds impossible, but truth be told, that number may be wrong because once I added up all the money I had more than we recorded---so much nicer than having less.

Saturday's weather was an improvement on Friday's. Sunday it turned even a little cooler. The party on Saturday night was in a wonderful location next door to Hollis Gardens, with good food and wine. Naturally I didn't win any awards, but that's okay by me. Well, it better be okay, because it is out of my hands. I consistently lose to this woman: Most of the award winners are repeats from other shows I've entered, but as I've mentioned in the past, they depend on award money, I hope for real people to buy my photographs. Does that make sense? 

So here's some thanks to the real people who used credit to take home something from Out & About Photography: Kathleen, Joseph, Howard, Brian, Kristen, Mark, Paula, Stacy, Laura, Katherine, Erin, Sarah, Anne, Helen, Ray, Thomas, Stephanie, Kristine, Blair, Dawn, and Michelle. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Saving the most important thanks till last ,which goes to--you guessed it---my darling Bruce, whom without none of this would be possible. 

We'll talk more about this tomorrow, but for now, I'm still recovering!!!

Friday, May 7, 2010


For some reason, this has made me very nervous. I know, free publicity is always a good thing, but I'm thinking maybe I would have preferred to stay anonymous.  As such,  I just can't concentrate enough to write today if you'll forgive me.

We're heading over to Lakeland just as soon as Bruce returns from the year end inspections of the Red Lobster and Olive Garden he built in the Villages. Our tent has to be completely set up by 5:30 which means we'll be setting it all up in the heat of the day. Oh well, it will acclimate me for Saturday.

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mother Love

Around our house we called it Tosca's cake. Not that you'd ever find the recipe under that name in any cookbook as I discovered years ago while leafing through a McCall's magazine. No, this particular cake  mostly goes by the name of "Texas Sheet Cake" or "Mexican Chocolate Cake." While preparing to celebrate Carol's birthday Monday night, the memory of this cake resurfaced, and I decided to make one. Did I tell you that this cake is delicious? That description does it no justice. Think of the word you use to talk about food so wonderful that it is hard to imagine, and that's how good this cake is.

So, being the modern middle aged woman that I am, I did a quick Google search using not the family name of course, but one of the above listed titles. Plenty of search results. Gourmet, All Recipes, Paula Deen, Southern Living, they all have their own version. Sometimes I'm amazed at the modifications people make to recipes. In this case, readers of the Gourmet version added coffee and cayenne, although for the life of me I can't imagine why. Did they even try the original? What is it that makes them want to mess with an already superior recipe?

At any rate, I soon realized that I had our Mom's recipe box and quite possibly it was included. Well, really, I thought it MUST be included. Dragging a little stool from the garage, I fetched the box from the cupboard over the refrigerator. Because it is stored there, I've rarely delved into it's treasures, however, I've left it on the counter so there may be more recipes forthcoming. Let's see--Bacardi Rum Cake, Italian Cream Cake, Peanut Butter Cake, Buttermilk Pound Cake, Praline Cheese Cake, Fresh Apple Cake, Ginger Cake--all good I'm sure, but, oh yes, there it is.....Tosca's Cake...even handwritten, not typed like the majority of them! And I was off.......not just cooking, but heading down my sadly worn memory lane.

Before we travel that worn path, I'll post the recipe. The only changes I made were to use butter in place of the oleo (margarine), and toasting the nuts prior to adding them to the frosting. I just don't keep margarine around these days..

Ta Da....

Tosca's Cake

Sift 2c sugar and 2c flour in bowl
In sauce pan mix and bring to boil
1 stick oleo
1/2c Crisco
4T cocoa
1c water
After boiling pour over f. & s. (our Mom's abbr.)
1/2 c sour cream
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 t soda
1 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon
Mix well--pour into 16X11 pan
Bake 20 min. 400 degrees

Melt together & bring to boil
1 stick marg.
4 T cocoa
6 T milk
Remove from heat & add
1 box conf. sugar
1 t vanilla
1 c chopped nuts
Beat well & spread on cake while still warm

So while preparing the cake, the potato salad, and the bar-b-que sauce, all recipes from our Mom,  I felt like I was, in some ways, bringing her to the party. We were only missing one of the Price kids, Nancy. Of course, our Moms are always with us, whether in person, or in our persona. Remember how I told you the other day about Pat and Maureen's recall of all things related to our young years? When asked who Tosca was, they both instantly recalled her as a petite Indian woman whose husband worked for our dad.

In our case, childhood was far from idyllic. Our father was volatile, our mother, the same. While our father beat us with a wooden paddle, our mother used her hands to not only pinch us, slap us, but scratch us as well. We were expected to toe the line, and woe to those of us who didn't.

Through the ensuing years, I've tried to imagine what life was like for our parents. Not only did they have the big family secret of both having been married before, but they brought issues from their own childhoods to the marriage. My father, an only child, was socially awkward, to say the least. Our mother lived with Catholic guilt forever. As well, neither were suited to raising six children. Really, who is?
Imagine if you will, no air conditioning, a tight budget, not enough love between the parents, six wildly divergent children, and no shared faith. Our mother was, undoubtedly suffering from depression which today would be easily treated. How do you manage with those stumbling blocks. In our parent's case, not very well.

So, instead of focusing on the negatives, I've chosen to focus on the positives. While raising the boys, I did my utmost not to repeat my parent's mistakes, and on occasion, I succeeded. As my siblings love to repeat, I had a fierce temper when young, which, with Bruce's help, I managed to tame. There's no telling how our boys might have suffered if not for the love of a good man. Although our parents were socially deficient, their intelligence was fierce. Our children take their smarts (and looks!) for granted, however, without the inherited genes, learning might have come much harder. And that's another gift from our parents, a lifelong passion for learning. Which, by the way, I'm learning a new blogging editor, so please bear with me as we go forward.

Ironically, Michele sent me an email on Monday afternoon, asking something about the cemetery. As you've realized, Sunday will be her first Mother's Day without her mom. She stated that she is just now feeling the orphan thing, which I'd mentioned during her stay in Florida. In response, I told her I was making the cake, the one way I knew how to keep our Mom in our everyday lives. Just like this Christmas I'll be making Mom Peck's gingerbread cookies.

And speaking of cooking, although when I was 13 years old, making dinner for six, and hating every minute of it, I now realize what a gift that was. Don't get me wrong, I sure didn't see it that way when I was young! But now, on reflection, I see how much that helped me while raising the boys. I feel sorry for people who don't know how to cook; the joy of taking separate ingredients, and making something wonderful to eat with your own hands is a skill I cherish.

Would I have rather have had a Mother who got up in the morning to send me off to school, not one who you had to peek your head in a darkened room and beg for lunch money? Back then, you bet! Now I just see it as learning through adversity, which truth be told, life is full of troubles. Lots of platitudes I could quote regarding that subject, which I won't, because you already know what I mean. The statute of limitations for our parent's crimes ran out long, long ago. Our Mom's love was far from conventional, but I like to think that she did the best she could.

This Mother's day, when I am in misery from the expected heat at the show, I'll use the skills I learned as a child, getting through difficulty, maybe not without complaint, but I can do it.

And with that, I think I'll go have a piece of that cake, along with some ice cream for breakfast.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Modern Middle Age

My baby camera has some cool settings in the scene menu including a pinhole and film grain black and white. While in Vero Beach on Friday with Bruce, I left him to fix the restaurant roof, and I headed to the water. I sell quite a few beach scenes, I suppose because around these parts, most folks love the ocean, and can't physically go as often as they like. I try to take them there with a photograph. That said, it is always a challenge to have a fresh approach. Thus, I tried these:
I'm not so sure I'll use these, but it was worth a try.

According to this article from the Times, Happy Days, I can relax about my "modern middle age" memory problems. Don't you just love that term? Actually, I worry very little about not remembering things clearly, mostly, I think, because I'm always looking ahead. Of course, I suppose if I was in therapy, that theory would undoubtedly be shot down! Most people seem to cherish their memories, however, in my experience, it's primarily unpleasant things that come to mind. As well, I think repetition is the driver. By that I mean, the more times you tell a story, the harder it sticks! Bruce is always going on and on about how he's not as sharp as he once was, and then proceeding to tell me some obscure story from his past. Because we've been together so long, I've shared a good many experiences with him, so you've already guessed that those stories are from way long ago. I, on the other hand, remember so little of my childhood that I might just has well not have lived it!

Here's a good one for you--I believe most of you know I was a bed wetter until aged 13. There are a gold mine of stories related to that embarrassing situation. What you may not know is that my bladder problems were not confined solely to the night time. I wish! Once in I'm pretty sure was the fourth grade, I wet my pants while wearing my Girl Scout uniform. Are you laughing your head off yet? Imagine trying to hide that!!! Actually, I'm fairly certain I had to be picked up from school following that sad event. How's that for unpleasant?

So, I do remember a few things from childhood, but not much. You should hear the tales told by my brother Pat, and sister, Maureen. They can go on for hours! That, my dear ones, will be discussed further in our next get together...

You Just Never Know