Monday, February 28, 2011

Bad Connection

So, last week it was a bad finger, this week it's a bad connection. According to the Bright House folks, we need all new outside cable which is going to be slightly problematic because Bruce has it all tucked away in the fascia. Until next Saturday afternoon, our connection will be absent, spotty, or slow. Thank goodness, we can always count on our water and electricity to work!

Just like you, my days have been busy since last we met. Before I forget, I meant to share two other connection things last week. First off, my table mates at bridge are Bob and Judy, which is easy for me to remember because those were Bruce's parent's names. Bob, it turns out, is a disability and social security attorney. Knowing that my sister Maureen desperately needs disability, I asked for his card. When I called Maureen she told me she'd already hired someone to help her. I kept his card anyway, and wouldn't you know it, last week when Karen was here, I gave it to her. Karen, of the open heart, brain aneurysm, Karen. How she keeps going is beyond me. She's one tough little cookie.

As well, Bob was one of the main organizers of the Windermere Art Festival I did two springs ago. Small, small world.

And then there's this. While Nancy was here for Christmas she left this book Pitch Perfect for me to read. What a fascinating world collegiate a cappela is. Never, in my wildest imaginings would I have thought I'd be seeing one of the very groups highlighted in the book. The Tufts University Beelzebubs performed at this event  I did on Saturday. Yep, you guessed it, Dana was in charge. Here they are putting their heart and soul into performing:
As a matter of fact, they moved around so much it was really hard to get a decent shot! Bruce got home after midnight on Friday, however, he helped me set up without a single complaint. We didn't bring our walls because I had no idea what to expect, however, that worked out fine because I was able to take it all down by myself while Bruce waited patiently at home for Bright House.
Look carefully on the back left side of my booth, a new collage I made that is more affordable than my previous ones. I sold it for the second time yesterday. :)

Patient is the operative word. He was to come between 3 and 5, never actually arriving until after 6. Between Saturday and Sunday I had 30 more sales bringing my ytd number to just over 200. What a fantastic start to the year. I don't know whether it's my new product or the economy improving, but whatever is sparking it, I'm rejoicing!

Speaking of Dana, here she is with her son Cole yesterday behind my booth:
In the afternoon I was delighted Cindy and her daughter Jenna came to see me. Remember how I told you a few weeks back about Jenna getting hit by a car while she was crossing Central? She is on the mend now, and was so happy to be out in the sunshine, of which there was plenty! She's holding her right arm like that because it is still healing. The humerus broke in two, poking out the side of her arm where you see the bandage.
Much, much, much to my disappointment, Cindy was the bearer of bad news; she's leaving the museum.You may recall that I was all set to call it quits last year until Cindy convinced me otherwise. She was such a breath of fresh air that was sorely needed. To say that she'll be hard to replace is putting it mildly. Her father is dying in St. Louis---duty/love calls.

There was little time for fun this weekend what with me working both days and Bruce not getting home until I was fast asleep on Friday night. Yesterday he worked in our yard for three hours, cutting the lawn, edging, AND emptying the mower catcher 14 times! Between our own oak trees and our neighbors, it's insanely messy for several weeks. Because he's so unaccustomed to physical work these days, he was exhausted by 8:00 last night. Early to bed, early to rise. 7:30 flight this morning which was a blessing because some days it's 5:30 in the morning! The Seasons 52 in Bethesda inspects tomorrow.

We did not stay up to watch the Oscars, however, I'm delighted that "The King's Speech" won, as well it should have according to Gail.

Here's my to do list for today:
  1. Bridge homework. Yes, dear readers, there is homework involved.
  2. Mail check to Baldwin Park for upcoming show
  3. Mail a small canvas to a buyer from yesterday
  4. Deposit money at the bank, always a good thing
  5. Order from Roger, always a hard thing
  6. Order more business cards and stickers
  7. Order more bags and smarties, both of which I bought in large quantities previously
What I really want to do is go to the Central Florida Fair.  Decisions, decisions....

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Minor Injury

While placing a glass pitcher in the door of Angela's refrigerator after her birthday party last night, I cut two fingers on my left hand, thus my natural tendency to wordiness will be diminished today. It happened so fast I can hardly explain it! The good news is that Bruce was home to bandage it after the bleeding stopped. My fingers are taped together because one of the cuts is in between them; he's thinking I was lucky not to have cut a ligament.

So here's the birthday girl with her sparkly cake:
Lois's garden is a wonder right now with the tulips looking fab. I added her garden to the top of my blog because it makes me happy. Yesterday morning it was super foggy until after 9 which makes for perfect lighting for picture taking. I hopped in the car and was greeted not just with beautiful color, but water as well. Apparently I arrived soon after the sprinklers ran. The purple tulips are mostly done blooming, however, this color is at it's peak right now.
I love those orange spikey things, but you already figured that was so, didn't you?

Flowers are surprisingly difficult to photograph well, despite the abundance of flower photographs out there; some are just plain more photographic than others.You probably can't imagine how many I take before I find one I'm really pleased with. Hollyhocks are all in bloom at the Polasek. Here's my attempt at showing you these wonderful flowers:
Isn't the center remarkable? It looks like a whirligig to my eyes. The tabebuia trees are starting their annual show around the city which is always glorious. Here's a beautiful pink one along with one of my favorite sculptures, The Sower, by Albin Polasek:
Out my window I see one in full bloom a street over which I believe I'll go see in person--Baxter could use a walk!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Before there was a digital world wide web, there was the human web of interconnectedness. We've all heard the Six degrees of separation theory which in my real life, I see every day, not just that I know someone who knows someone et al, but in how we help each other along the way.

When you work at home, if I may use that term, your time is pretty flexible. Aside from my museum stint, and of course, the market, I'm pretty free to do as I please, which is a blessing I don't take lightly. Yesterday morning while I was working on a new collage, Karen (of last years brain aneurysm), called asking if I wanted to meet for tea. Because she was phoning from our neighborhood Ross, I suggested she come to the house after giving me a few minutes to get my shower. I was delighted to set aside my plans to visit with her on her day off.

Once she arrived, I put the kettle on. You do remember my new life changing kettle don't you? Suggested by both Tom and Matt while they were home for Christmas, I am loving using it on a daily basis. Well, as it turns out, Karen's dear Mother has recently moved into a retirement apartment with a kitchen equipped with only a microwave for tea making. Anathema to a real tea drinker! Hearing me praise the virtues of my electric kettle, Karen immediately decided that once she'd seen it in action, it was definitely the ticket for her Mother. Tom+Matt+Gail+Karen+Fran. Cool, huh? By the way, I served my special, direct from London, Lady Gray tea, a gift from dear Tom.

My friend Mary, after reading in this blog about the Agnes & Muriel cookbook, decided to buy one for herself to see if it met the hype I'd heaped upon it. After Karen left, I checked the computer finding a message from Mary regarding the Lemon Ice Box pie I made several weeks ago. It's the only recipe in the book missing a measurement of a wildly important ingredient. I decided to just call her with my interpretation. Choices, choices. Two Mary listings on my mobile. Pushing one of the numbers it turns out it was not dear Mary Whited, but Mary Lou Moss instead. So where are we going with this? Well, Mary Lou is a neighbor of Pam and Glen, our friends I served the LIB pie to!! Of all things, during our  conversation, Mary Lou let me know that Pam just raved about the dinner she had at our home. Matt+Gail+Pam+Mary Lou+Mary. Isn't life grand?

So, with that out of the way, let's go back a few days. The shower for our nephew Rich, and his lovely wife Jenn was on Saturday afternoon. Sadly, they did not open gifts while the guests were there so I didn't get to see their reaction while opening ours. Like a silly goose, I did not photograph the rag quilt I made for baby Spenser. While making Matt's quilt, I saw this adorable rubber duckie fabric that I was hoping they would think was as charming as I did. According to Maureen, they did. There I go again, connecting people and ideas!
If there is a cuter shirt on the market than the one Rich is wearing, I've yet to see it! They are bursting with happiness!

I'm not sure about these two shirts,but I adore the young men wearing them:
Bill refused to remove his sunglasses because he had a very late night, or shall I say morning? Friday evening he drove to Clearwater, playing for his guitar sponsor's annual party for the seventh time. Hard to believe he's had that endorsement for so long. He and Melanie drove home afterwards, arriving home around 5 in the morning. Why they didn't just stay there, I'm not sure. Great news on the Bill front. His employer is paying for his  Series 7 exam training, which if he passes, will be a great step on his career ladder.

Saturday evening we went out to a bar. Shocked? Me too! Bruce received an email invitation to see a band playing just up the street at McWells. Rhonda, the woman he works most closely with in purchasing, is the least likely person I can think of to have an aging rocker for a husband, but in fact she does. They were good! With market day looming, we left before we wanted to, but not before we had a turn on the dance floor. Very fun.

By now you may be sick of hearing me talk about this blouse, but here it is anyway:
Trish asked me if I'd made it, which was slightly unsettling because the goal is always to make it look store bought. Flattering me, she said she knew it because you can hardly find clothes with details like mine. I told you it fit me well!

A scad of repeat customers came on Sunday, pleasing me to no end. I love it when they think enough of my stuff to buy more. Actually, that is a bonus,  I most like hearing that it looks good in their homes.

Katie, our niece is moving back to Orlando after quite a few years in South Florida. Seeing her on Friday night, she promised to visit the market on Sunday. And so she did, with our daughter-in-law Michelle in tow.
That's Katie on the right. Both of these young women have amazing smiles, don't they? Oh, to be young again...

Mentioning in my last post how many years I've been writing, I thought about it in another way. Normally I spend about an hour on each post, sometimes more, sometimes less. Using that as a guide, I divided 24 into 803 and got 33 and change. Using that math, means that I've spent 33 full days writing this blog. Am I crazy or what? Apparently, I knew that already when naming this blog.....

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Time for Reflection

I mentioned the other day that I was posting for the 801st time, but what I didn't realize was that I was also having my fourth anniversary as a blogger. In the early going it was mostly about my newly discovered love of photography, as well as my life as an adult student. Frankly, when I read about taking tests and writing papers it seems like another person did all that.

One of the first posts was about Matt's belongings being shipped to London for his new life there. Writing that, I'm sure I never imagined that in the near future he would be working for a British firm and owning property in the center of London. I did, on the other hand, recognize it for the opportunity it was, and still is, for that matter. But, we're taking about the past right now.

In 2008 I was no longer a student, but a fledgling photographer after starting my business in March of 2007. I was, however, still sick, which according to my blog, continued until last year. February of 2010, I likened myself to an inner tube that is useless and deflated, but upon refilling with air (in my case, copious amounts of sleep), once again is ready to roll.  Fortunately, the episodes of pain and weakness seems to have disappeared for the foreseeable future.

In four years time, so much has happened; jobs have come and gone for two of my sons, Jonathan and Alissa have lived in two places, my mother-in-law passed away, various family members have faced serious health challenges, lots of home remodeling, new friends and new activities. What hasn't changed throughout that time is the constant refrain of Bruce working like a man possessed. Whether it's his job, or doing things for me, he is definitely a work horse. We are planning for the day when that is no longer the case...

Every now and again I've looked back at the post when we did our very first market day, hoping and praying that someone would be interested in what I had to sell. I can still remember my very first customer, a Canadian woman, visiting her son who lived in the Reeve's House. She actually bought on two different Sundays, and on one of those occasions, my sister Lisa carried her purchases to her son's condo for her. The middle of March is when we began--if you're interested I believe the post is March 19, 2007.

Now to the present. I realized that I've not been keeping you up to speed on our cultural life.
  • Although I was jazzed for the first part of American Wife, I've yet to finish it. Starting of with a bang, it has fizzled.
  • Winters Bone is one intelligent movie. Maureen told me that the cast was something else and she was right--real people. Well, probably they weren't, but I swear you've seen them at WalMart before. A bonus--terrific blue grass music included.
  • Jarhead is another film we've recently watched. Very thought provoking. 
  • Last evening we attended the opening here: Mennello Museum, a little gem of a museum.

Stepping up to the drink counter, we ordered, and it was then that I said, "Jay?" Oddly enough it was our first market manager, the one whom some of you may remember, had to be convinced by Bruce to take me as a vendor. Later on,  she bought my very first canvas! Small world, Orlando is.
Our current market manager, Dana called on Wednesday afternoon asking if I could do a photo shoot that evening at Church Street. When she's not managing Church Street, or the market, she is involved with the Daytona Speedway. Heading down there at 5:30, I discovered that the cars and drivers were not there for their photo op. Apparently rain earlier in the day forced a late practice, thus no appearance that night. There was this, which was kinda neat though:
Originally I'd planned to go to an opening at the Morse Museum that night to see the new Tiffany wing using an invite from Cindy at the Polasek. Her beautiful daughter, Jenna, was hit by a car while crossing Central in front of Hue after work about two weeks ago. Apparently she was hit so hard, her tied shoes flew off her feet! She, is now home, mending.

Thursday I met with six other women for a bridge lesson of sorts. Actually we dealt cards and commiserated on how best to play them. Lots of talking at once! Fun though.

Friday I spent most of the afternoon sewing. For one reason or another, I'd not finished the blouse as quickly as I thought I might. The sleeves went in well, and then it was time to try buttonholes, a skill I'd not used in eons. Here's how it went:

Not the easiest fabric to see on that's for sure! Using Bruce's grandmother's button hole scissors in this one:

Very handy indeed. Finally, it's ready to wear.

To tell you the truth, I'm very pleased with both the fit and the look.

This post hasn't been all that fun has it? Well, let's rectify that right now shall we? As I was leaving Nordstrom on Thursday I was very amused by this display:

According to the sales clerk, they don't sell all that well in the store, but online is a different story altogether. #1.

Happy weekend to you my dear readers.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In A Creative Mood

Apparently, I've suffered from this most of my life:
I found this in Mom's stuff, and I adore that expression on Jon boy's face. I'm thinking he was maybe 4 or 5? I almost forgot my "perm" phase--oh my! I remember loving that dress I'm wearing, oh, how I wish I could find a similar pattern these days. (There seems to be some weirdness going on with this picture not showing, however, if you click the space, you'll see it)

The other night when Bruce and I were fixing to leave for dinner, I glanced out my office window, which is fantastic by the way, and noticed a gorgeous sunset coming on. Grabbing my camera, I swiftly marched down to the lake, requesting that Bruce pick me up there. At one time I was a bit obsessed with sunsets, not so much anymore, however, I do know that winter sunsets are oftentimes more beautiful than summer ones. It was lovely indeed, so now I'm slightly obsessed again:
Last evening I drug Baxter along to see what we could see, and you for that matter. Not nearly as dramatic as Saturday night, but lovely all the same. We left the lake lot and moseyed over to the overlook on Lake Gem Mary:
Perhaps, you know what the little white spot is in the front? That's probably unfair, so I'll give it away. It's the nearly full moon reflected in the still waters. Having a fixed lens has it's advantages, however, next time I'll have a zoom with me as well.

First thing this morning, before sunrise, I kept hearing a bird call and went to investigate. High up in this tree, the cardinal was welcoming a new day:

Again, no zoom, but this shot is more about the bare trees than the calling bird;  I've come to appreciate  them more and more after our journey in the fall.

Instead of cleaning windows and vacuuming my dirty car, I made granola instead. Love that stuff. And then my computer was calling to me; I needed to upload these pictures. Like a moron, I once again inserted the camera card into the CD drive. Panicking, I unplugged it as fast as I could, shook it on it's side with no luck, finally managing to remove it with a pair of pointed end hemostats. Thank goodness! With my new hard drive I don't have enough USB ports for my card reader so I put it away. I told myself to be extremely cautious when inserting the card into the side of the computer. Obviously, I wasn't listening.

Everywhere I go I'm thinking of art--silly, silly me. While riding his bike home from the market on Sunday afternoon, Bruce's bike seat broke, making the ride difficult at best. Working from home on Monday, we had lunch at Tijuana Flats, followed by a trip to the bike store. Because the store has been many things over the years, each owner has added their own touch, mostly using paint. Here's the ground in front of the store:

Great colors right under my feet! I tried another kitchen experiment this morning, however, the results were decidedly mixed.

Why, I can't stop this craziness, I've no idea! Sunday I was relating the story of my illness to a newish friend from the market who knew nothing about what I'd been through. Telling that story gives me the shivers if you want to know the truth. Makes me appreciate all the more what I have, as well as all that I am today. After learning that Bruce gave me the camera to distract me from my ailments, he sat there in wonderment at what a great man I married. Those of you who have been with me for a long time might remember how difficult those days were for me. That, my friends, is why I go with the flow--create whatever, and whenever I want.

Before I forget, much to my surprise, I received this on Sunday morning:

Hi Gail! I met you at the Orlando farmers' market back in September. Today I blogged about you and your artwork. Would love for you to check it out, leave a comment and even become a follower, if you like my blog! :) I love your work. Hope you are doing well. 

How sweet is that?

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Short Cooking Lesson

I love to share new cooking ideas with you, so here's the latest thing I've tried. Now there may be some amongst you that have no interest in preparing caramelized onions, and if that's the case, I suggest you skip most of this post. It was only in the last five years or so that I became aware of this humble little delicacy. Humble in the sense that onions are fairly cheap, or at least they used to be, groceries costing what they do these days. Preparing them the traditional method by using a large pan on the stove top, stirring for up to 45 minutes until they become just the perfect shade of caramel is somewhat tedious. Voila! Through the magic of the internet, I've tried a new, more streamlined method. It still takes forever, however, you dear reader/cook, will spend a much shorter time stirring. Using a cast iron skillet, I filled it to the brim:
They look a bit shiny don't they? Mixing about 2 Tablespoons of Oil (use what you like), as well as 1 T of salt into them with my fingers, I covered the pan and placed it in a 400 degree oven with the timer set for 15 minutes. Timer goes off, open door, slide out pan a bit, and stir. Repeat 15 minutes later. And repeat again. By now the onions should be shrinking dramatically, leaving a bit of liquid in the bottom of your pan from all that steaming. I removed the lid and baked about 10 minutes longer. If, by now, they still aren't the color you're looking for, place them on the stove top and stir over low heat until they are. Or, at least that's how I did it. Here's how I like them to look:
Not overly attractive, but oh so delicious! A week ago Sunday, Kathy gave me a gigantic fresh cabbage from their garden. Hmmmm.......what to make with it? Once again, through the magic of Google, what I thought might be a crazy idea, turned up here: New York Times  So, I whipped up some tart dough, and here's what was for dinner:
Not quite as pretty as their version, but tasty nonetheless. Speaking of cooking, when I read this recipe in that 1933 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook I told you about, I laughed SO hard I nearly cried. Listed under the appetizers,

Mushroom Cocktail

Use 6 small mushrooms for each cocktail. Drop the mushrooms, with about 1/2 inch stems into boiling water and cook slowly 15 minutes. Add 1/2 t of salt just before removing from the water. Drain and chill the mushrooms thoroly (sic). Divide 1 cupful of tomato catsup among 6 cocktail glasses, which are set on plates beside crisp lettuce leaves on which the mushrooms are arranged.

What do you think? Didn't know you were getting two recipes did you? 70 years from now I expect someone will laugh at my cabbage and onion tart.

Mary called on Friday. What a delightful conversation we had, veering all over the subject map. One of the reasons she called was to quiz me on blogging. Which reminds me, with little fanfare, my last post was #800. Seems like only yesterday it was 700! My how time flies when you're having fun!

Anyway, she had all sorts of excellent questions, but it was her last few which stuck with me. Who, she asked, are you writing for? Yourself, or an audience? Furthermore, she wondered whether I thought of one person in particular when I sat down to write. I answered "both" to the former, and "it varies" to the later. Truth be told, however, I mostly just sit down and begin writing whatever pops into my head, for better or for worse. :)

Saturday, at the absolute wrong time of the day, I scooted over to Miss Lois's garden to see how her tulips were growing. Too much light for the flowers, but it sure does wonders for the leaves! She's got all these purplish ones, and a gorgeous bunch of pink ones:

Sunday the weather was glorious, and when the weather is glorious, people come out of hibernation. The market was crowded with folks, lots of whom were buying, not only food, but art, jewelry, plants, you name it. Guess what a new vendor was selling? Terrariums! Some kind folks bought at your blogger friend's booth. In fact, quite a few did, for which she was very grateful. Not to mention, happy.

I'm trying to decide whether to go to bridge class tonight, this being Valentine's Day and all. Mr. Bruce leaves in the morning for the rest of the week. Should I, or shouldn't I? I'll ask him. Of course, he's my Valentine every day of the year!

Before I go, there's one more thing I want to share which has not one thing to do with cooking. While still looking for that  Silver Springs family photo, I opened a box full of cards and letters that were my mothers'. One in particular caught my eye,  a single spaced typed letter from us to my Mom. More specifically, it was a Christmas letter, which baffles me to no end because she knew all of the Peck happenings from those days. In any case, I won't bore you with too much of it, but here's how it begins,

Dear Mom (we thought you'd be amused),

Merry Christmas from the Peck family! We hope that 1990 has been as good to you as it has to us. Here are some of the things that have recently happened around here. (Sound familiar?) First of all, very exciting!, we purchased the computer on which this letter is being typed. We also had cable installed.--The Peck family bursts into the '90s!

What follows are paragraphs describing the wonder that was the Peck household in those days. The next to the last paragraph reads like this:
We have an addition to our family. A little over a month ago a stray tabby cat showed up at our home. She invited herself in and has not left since. We named her Cooper, after our favorite, Special Agent Dale Cooper, on the television show, Twin Peaks.

How about that? The Peck family bursts into the '90s! Reading this made me smile. What surprised me the most is that we have had a computer for 21 years now and it's still pretty much a mystery to me. 

 P.S. I nearly forgot to tell you the good news--Alissa also got a job at University of Texas which makes the transportation problems a moot point!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bursting at the Seams

Good morning, good morning, the best to you each morning! Credit for that little ditty goes to Tony the Tiger. Remember when?

I have so much to discuss today, not to mention loads of photos to share, I hardly know where to start.Let us begin with the sewing metaphor I used for the title. I didn't realize how much I missed sewing until recently. For the better part of my life I spent some time each day sewing; sort of like I now do with photography. I guess you'd say I get obsessed... Anyway, I like both the mechanics of sewing, and the creating part. Some clever folks can sew without a pattern, however, that's not me. Instead, I pore over the pattern catalogs, marveling at both the cost, and some of the hideous patterns. Every now and again one catches my fancy; I'll buy one, or maybe two, when they are on sale. Hobby Lobby had McCalls patterns for $1.99 this week rather than the posted price of $12-$16, so shopping I went. Rather than the "sacks" I've been making, I bought a blouse pattern with a collar, darts, and buttonholes to test my sewing skills. As I was tying the ends of the darts last evening, which I learned  in 8th grade Home Ec, the words of that teacher ran through my mind. She said, and I quote, "You'll never learn to sew." Little did she know.

Matching fabrics to a pattern is great fun to me. Furthermore, I now have the greatest sewing table of my life. What's not to like?
This is a pretty wild cotton fabric, which by the time you read this will be pretty close to a blouse. Searching through Mom Peck's sewing box, I found buttons to use and black ribbon, which I've applied to the collar already, and soon will be on the little sleeve cuffs and possibly down the front. Haven't decided yet.
Speaking of Mom Peck, I showed you the Christmas cactus in bloom, now her little Irish Shamrock is doing the same. 
Aren't they adorable little blooms? I hope she is happy that I've been keeping her memory alive through both her sewing materials and plants. Apparently, we were more alike than I used to think.

Which is to say we both had "life sustaining skills." Although there are some things around the house I'm not super skilled at, I can do most things to maintain life. I won't list them all here, but I do think some people are moving back to the basics of sewing, cooking, baking, gardening, you get the picture. Which brings me to this piece from NPR: Trending 

Wouldn't you know it, after reading that article--I'm seeing the word trend/trending everywhere. While eating this for my supper Wednesday night
I perused a Nordstrom catalogue filled with the use of the word "trend," most of which I didn't care for. Too bland for me--all taupes and grays, colors which I don't think anyone really looks too good in.

Making your own chicken noodle soup is terrific because you can fill it with all the noodles you want! Using the leftover stock I made for the gumbo, I boiled the noodles and carrots, dumping them in with the chicken. Nice. I had it because I wasn't feeling super on Wednesday. In fact, I had errands planned, but the bright sunlight was more than I could handle. It seems that my corneal abrasion was either not fully healed, or is what is called, recurrent corneal abrasion. Seriously, even with my sunglasses on, I had to shield my eyes while outside, and it still hurt like the dickens. Because I neglected to get Baxter food in a timely manner, he was completely out,  I had to drive to Whole Foods, sunlight or no sunlight. While there I saw this bouquet of my Mom's favorite flower which I thought was very cheerful with that deep, deep yellow and green for that matter.
Before I left for WF, I heard serious bird chattering outside. The ROBINS were back. Because my eye hurt so much I couldn't chase around trying to get in position for a shot, so all the evidence I have is in this photo.
Could be any kind of bird, but I know it is a spring visit from a robin. :)

Bill came by to use my printer before his interview and I persuaded him to let me take this shot.
I do so wish Bill would smile for my camera! So far I've no update on how things went. I do, however, have some excellent news regarding Jonathan. Around noon yesterday while I was dropping off the tax info at Olga's house, my phone rang. Excitedly, Jonathan said he had a temp job at the University of Texas Law School, which thrills me to no end. Once they work with him, they won't want to let him go! Interviewing that morning, he was to start after lunch.

Speaking of jobs, the word doesn't fit me exactly, I don't quite know how to describe my current money making operation. I will update you a bit on that front. Here's the newsletter link, which to date hasn't brought me any new business, but it's still cool: Schmidt Design Studio

And here's the Church Street building window, which is difficult to photograph, however you'll recognize my pieces by the colors:
Because of the early market closing on Sunday, Bruce, in an effort to keep the produce people from losing their shirt,  bought a FLAT of strawberries even though he would be gone for most of the week. You and I know I'm not that big of an eater so what's a girl to do? Give them to the neighbors! Which I did, but still there were tons. After freezing a bunch of them, I found a recipe for Strawberry Nut bread online. The batter doesn't look so great does it?
The loaf, on the other hand, came out quite nicely, despite my removing it from the pan too soon:
Which brings me back to the trending article. Before using the online recipe, I got out a few cookbooks, one of which was my 1951 edition of The Joy of Cooking which contained any number of strawberry recipes. As you may know, the author was quick-witted with her descriptions, with this one too good not to share:

"Formerly we had a short intensive strawberry season. Now, like poor relations, they are always with us. No longer a thrill, just an everyday "happenstance" that leaves us unmoved." Isn't that maybe an apt description of modern life and it's trends? Nothing is much of a thrill anymore....

The 1933 Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, on the other hand, had not a single strawberry recipe included, presumably because the season was so short, they were mostly eaten out of hand?

As far as my eye is concerned, between an extremely early bedtime on Wednesday night, generous applications of my cream, and drab gray weather both yesterday and today, it feels considerably better. Now, off to the kitchen to have some of that strawberry bread with a piping hot cup of tea.

I warned you I was bursting at the seams!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lucky Lady

Yesterday's post was a mistake. I wrote that those were my favorites, but really, how does one choose between thousands of photos? Leaving plenty out because I thought you might be bored probably hurt some reader's feelings, for which I'm asking forgiveness. Given?

Normally I never post at night for many reasons, foremost because I'm sleeping, however, tonight I just feel so overwhelmed with good fortune, posting seems like the thing to do. There are times when I wonder how in the world I got so lucky. Not only do I have the best husband in the whole wide world, but my kids are pretty great too. How can it be that two young people, who married very young, could not only raise four sons to adulthood, and be pleased with the results as well? My only answer is love. I know it sounds trite, but indeed, I believe love conquers all. Unlike both Bruce and me as children, our boys knew that both of their parents loved them to pieces, come hell or high water. We weren't able to provide them with some (lots) of the material goods that their peers enjoyed, however, we did provide them with a stable home where the parents loved one another. If anyone were to ask my advice on raising children, I do believe that would be the sum total of what I would have to say.

A new hard drive ordered from Amazon arrived last evening just as I was leaving for bridge class so installing it had to be put off until this morning. Alas, plugging it in was not enough. Naturally I turned to email, asking Matt's advice. Apparently, he was in Luxembourg, however, he found time to help me out. Returning late this afternoon from shopping after the museum, I managed to make it happen. Hopefully this will solve my computer issues for the foreseeable future.

Bill called with some good news, and if you've been with me for very long you'll remember last years' job woes. Not so this year. He's interviewing tomorrow for an excellent new position at the bank where he is currently employed. For his sake I hope it happens. I did tell him to control what he can control, namely his communication skills and appearance, and hopefully the rest will fall into place.

Because this is, after all, a photography blog as well, I do have a few images to share. Saturday night we went to Bruce's friend Jeff's new Longhorn near the Premium Outlet Malls for a "Friends and Family" night. Rainy conditions at night make for interesting photographs no matter the subject. Thank goodness for my 1.7 lens.
The rain continued into the next day. When Bruce went to set up the booth it was misting, which turned into full-fledged rain soon thereafter. Taking my time getting there, I finally arrived and it was still raining. Because they weren't closing the market, we decided to be good sports, however, Bruce took home all the canvases, setting up just the tables. The rain continued. And continued. And continued. I was dry, but chilly, under my tent. A little after noon, the decision was made to call it quits; not a minute too soon for me! Wouldn't you know it? The minute we got home it quit and never started again! There were lots of colorful umbrellas carried by the few hearty souls that braved the weather. My friend Kathy wrote me, telling me that they stayed for another hour, and had some good sales. Oh well.
The nandinas in our yard are bursting with red berries, which look particularly nice after a rain storm.

I do love geraniums, and this is the ideal time of the year to have them everywhere you can. This is from a beautiful hanging basket of peach colored geraniums.

I suspect I get more excited than you do, seeing all those buds just waiting to burst open with color. :)
The museum was fairly steady today. Our current exhibit is this: Underwater Photography . I am quite sure that the photographer is the same one who photographed our family in the glass bottomed boats at Silver Springs. Currently I can't find the photo in question, but it's a gem. The opening reception is Sunday evening with Mr. Mozert, in attendance. Here's a video from when he was featured on the radio program Growing Bolder . Fascinating stuff, particularly if you're a Floridian of a certain age.

I am heading to bed now, but before I do, I just wanted to say that you, whomever you are, contribute to making my good fortune. How awesome is it that I can share my world with whomever finds my little spot on the web? Thank you kindly. Lucky lady--that's me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

2010 Favorites

For probably two years now, I've subscribed to a blog called Digital Photography School , where I've learned much. The link today sends you to another blog wherein readers were encouraged to submit their 10 best photos of 2010. Thus, I was inspired.

Scanning only through my Picassa uploads, I found that in my eyes, I'm not improving very much. That said, I did find some that I liked, in fact, it won't surprise you a bit to know I found more than ten! Today I'm narrowing it down to people and animal shots, some of which you have seen before, some I hope are new. Early in the year I took this of Matt with Clara, something about this one pleases me very much:
I think I love it because of two things--the size of his hand cradling her head, and secondly, his genuine look of joy.

Continuing the baby theme, the setting isn't the best, but this peacock baby and momma, which I guess makes her a peahen,  cheers me. 
I love how the baby is striding in front without a care in the world, whereas "mom" is undoubtedly lagging behind to protect her chick.

This one is taken of David and Michelle at Amanda's wedding. Rarely can you get David to smile for a picture, and this one isn't too big, but sweet nonetheless, with Michelle looking on lovingly:
Something about this beat up butterfly gets to me. 

Against the brilliant blue backdrop you see how damaged the butterfly is, however, it continues about it's business. There's still beauty here, just not as much. I may have told you how a woman was trying to get me to sample some anti-aging stuff? I replied, "I don't mind getting old," which took her aback. Mostly I don't. There are advantages to being beat up a bit, and I'm not talking only about a senior discount! 

I've nothing to add to this one--definitely "man's best friend."

Back to the baby theme again. This darling child at the Polasek really brightened my day:

Such a serious little face! Shortly thereafter she emphatically yanked that cute little hat off!

Today is Katie's birthday, I swear I don't know where the time has gone! Katie is on the left in this photo taken at Judy's surprise 60th birthday. I've known Judy now for 40 years and she hasn't changed a bit. Still has that great laugh!
This is a repeat from an earlier post:
LOVE, LOVE those grins, not to mention the girl peering in the booth on the right.

This one is of our friend Michael's son Aaron with his girlfriend, whose name I confess I've forgotten:
And yet another happy couple:
It goes without saying how much I adore this one. 

While Nancy was here for Christmas I shot this when she wasn't looking:

Although she's listening to someone on the couch, I think of it as her pondering life; she's quite the thinker.

Finally, how about this serene face:

Taken in the pasture across the road from my plant nursery, there are horses and donkeys as well. The pose, the color and those eyes! I could learn from this cow because I have trouble sitting still, always jumping up to do something else. Rest is good.

So there you have it, my favorites (at least from Picassa) uploads. For your sake, it's probably a good thing that I'm not touching my iPhoto library until the new external hard drive arrives either today or tomorrow! 

As always, the photos look best when you click on them which I hope you will. Any of these speak to you?

You Just Never Know