Thursday, June 30, 2011

One Carry On

The other day I went in search of either a larger suitcase, or an additional one. Eventually I found something I thought might work, however, I was still open to suggestions. Returning from the office on Monday evening, Bruce said he was very tired and just wanted to catch up with the trial. I was not pleased because, as you well know, I don't care a whit about CASEY ANTHONY! Convincing him to come to the store with me was not easy. Nonetheless, he came, and together we found something we both thought would work, although he was unconvinced of the necessity of another bag. Silly, silly me.

What had me stymied was thinking about 12 days of clothing rather than six days or so. It isn't like Matthew doesn't have a washing machine. Duh! Yesterday morning in preparation for packing, I remembered I'd seen a flight attendant, either a slide show or a video, demonstrating how to pack one carry on for a long trip. Using everyone's friend Google, I found it. No surprise there. No surprise either that I'd seen it on the New York Times website. If you are packing challenged, you may want to look through this.

Following her tutorial, here's my version:
The packing list:
2 pairs of shoes-- one closed toe and one sandal
4 dresses
Three short sleeved shirts
Two long sleeved shirts
1 blouse
Pajamas
Bathing suit
2 pairs jean type pants
2 capris
Underclothes
Rain jacket
2 sweaters

Here is everything rolled and ready to pack:
And here is the packed version:
Pretty cool huh? As you can see, everything is either white, oranges, royal blues and black. Woohoo!
I still have the whole meshy thing on the lid I could put stuff in, as well as the front. So, there's your packing primer.

Regular readers will know that about our lawn struggles. No more, no more! In fact, I told Bruce we may have created the green monster what with how fast it is now growing. The summer rains have definitely arrived which hopefully will help my utility bill by bringing down the temperature AND providing free water for irrigation. As I type, the sky outside my window is gray and gloomy. The utility bill arrived two days ago asking for $333.00. This made me unhappy mostly because it is only June and we have months and months of HOT weather ahead of us.

Speaking of growing, the jatropha plants out back are growing like weeks, as our late Mother would say. Sorry Nancy. Rather than wait another two weeks, I did this yesterday after the packing:
Every single one of the pretty red flowers are gone, at least for now. Have I told you that Rogers' son Eddie, the one who had cancer, is marrying Beth in August? A cruise ship is the site of the wedding, which will then wisk them away on their honeymoon. As such, they wanted a pool party reception upon their return. You guessed it--they are having it here. Thus, that is one of the motivations for having the yard look its best. Hopefully, by mid-August, the red blooms will be back in all their glory!

Because I've been such a good girl and am already packed, I'm off to play bridge. Talk to you soon--or should that be AT you soon?

P.S. Although I did not find the will, the call to the attorney's office proved fruitful. They have the original. Sorting out of this matter is planned.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Memory Lane, Part: Whatever

I'm sure I've blogged about this in the past and will most likely do so in the future. Get used to it.

Actually, yesterday I posted that we were getting serious about the trip. I mentioned to Bruce that we probably should locate our will. Good idea Gail. Except we can't. It certainly is not for lack of searching, I'll say that much.

What I did find however is the receipt for my wedding ring dated April 5, 1973. $450 + $18 tax. Must be paid in full before pickup. Today, the tax would be $29.25, which translates to a 2.5% sales tax increase in 38 years.

Apparently I've always possessed writing aspirations. Consider my first published piece in the Eager Beaver, Volume III, May 1961. (I have no idea if this was fact or fiction!)

Homer
Homer was our turtle, but he had to die. I'm sorry that he did. He weighed ten pounds. He was so pleasant.      Gail Price    Grade2

I found more report cards than you can imagine, along with standardized test scores. There is much ado around here about the current version of the standardized test which I've never fully understood. It can't be that much different than it ever was. For the life of me, I can never remember giving it a second thought when the boys were in school. Maybe that is because they were test-takers extraordinaire?

And then there was the nice little letter from my Billy boy asking forgiveness for disappointing me with his grades. As well, he reminded me that it was a new 9 weeks and surely he would improve--particularly if I would type something for him.....

The Darden newsletter welcoming Bruce as an employee was yet another find. Those were the heady early days when we were sure we hit the jackpot. And we did. These days are much more challenging, but the fact that he's never been without work during this recession is a blessing we overlook sometimes. Like today. His 2:00 flight to Washington DC has been delayed more than four hours. At this rate, by the time he gets to his hotel it will be Midnight! Which just goes to show you how times have changed since he began traveling every week. 19 years ago he racked up frequent flier miles at an astonishing rate enabling him to help people out at the drop of a hat. These days the entire flying experience is difficult at best, not to mention how hard it is to earn miles.

Yet another find was a copy of the Peck genealogy with information from Ira Peck's manuscript. Just as we suspected, Bruce's family comes from the brother of the infamous Robert Peck. Matt will find this news very satisfying indeed.

Modeling stuff, Bill and Dave's registration for the draft, as well as their first driver's license paperwork, the newspaper headlined, "Nixon Resigns," along with an account of a trip Maureen and I took to New York City. Not once, but twice, I mentioned the World Trade Center.

When you go through practically every paper you own you discover your history in print. Which makes me worry about how people will preserve their history in the future. Digital is amazing, there's no doubt, but for me, there's something so satisfying about holding paper, seeing a person's handwriting, and even the smell of something aged. Maybe when the typewriter was introduced people lamented in the same way?

Let's take a break for pictures shall we?

Finally, I got a bird on the new bird bath..
I wish it were one of the cardinals but it's not. They won't sit still long enough.

Last week I bought another bird feeder to hang outside our bedroom window in the ligustrum tree. It is only a cheap little plastic thing which is the point of this picture:
This little tufted tit mouse keep pecking away at the plastic because he could see it. Yesterday while talking to Nancy on the phone I walked into our bedroom and discovered not one, not two, but three blue jays hanging around the feeder. You won't be surprised to find that it is now empty. I'll fill it in the morning.

Today at the Polasek I checked to see if that amazing hibiscus was blooming. It was not. Seeing only the green leaves one would never imagine the delight awaiting them. Maybe when I return it will once again show off for me.

The passion flower is one that amazes me to no end; the intricacy is mind boggling. A neighbor has a fence covered with the vine which is just beginning to bloom. I can't wait to see unfamiliar flowers in England! Tom's mum, Jane, emailed me saying her climbing roses had mostly peaked, ignoring her admonitions to wait until our schedule July 10 visit. My reply was "no worries, there will be more than enough to keep me in wonder."

After all that searching I am happy to report that, although I never found a copy of the will, I at least found the receipt, dated, August 19, 1998,  from the law firm. Neither Bruce nor I can even remember the attorney's name. My plan is to call in the morning, hoping they'll remember us, even if we don't remember them.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Getting Serious

At the market a week ago, my friend Harriet came to chat about how much she enjoyed Exit Through the Gift Shop. For anyone interested in street art, watching it is a must, she told me. It just so happens that she'd borrowed it from the library and instead of returning it early, she loaned it to me if I swore I'd return it on time. I swore.

Except that I didn't get to it that night. Good news for me that she renewed it. We finally watched it on Friday night and were highly entertained. As is often the case after watching a film, I had to look it up online to get more details. Discovering there was some controversy surrounding the existence of Mr. Brain Wash, I came across this Banksy interview which makes things pretty clear. If you know the work of Banksy, you know how clever he is and this film doesn't disappoint in that realm. Good times.

Somehow Bruce and I entertained ourselves before becoming hooked on Friday Night Lights, however, I'm not sure what we did. I can't imagine it was more enjoyable. Seriously, we both can't wait to watch it which is saying a lot. Kathy asked me if we were caught up yet because lots is happening in the current season; I told her we were into season #3. You know this means I'll have to buy the 4th and 5th season don't you? We are both just crazy for it.

Maybe, just maybe, you'd like to see our current summer set up? If not, skip forward. One wall:
 And the other wall with my gigantic wind machine pictured on the sidewalk:

The weather was gloomy early on only to be replaced by sunshine a little later. Not a drop of rain fell which was very nice indeed. My sales were decent for a hot June day.

So the weather reports for our respective cities is interesting:
London Next Ten Days

Orlando Next Ten Days

It's hard to imagine the trip is only days away now. I'm beginning to take things seriously, although not seriously enough to suit Nancy, our house sitter in waiting. She's all ready to head to Florida the minute the U2 concert is over. Sadly, she had front row seats to see Adele in Nashville, only to have her cancel the remaining dates on the tour. If my memory serves me correctly (ha!ha!) this U2 concert is a make up date from an earlier cancelation. For the first two days Angela will be caring for our sweet Baxter, then Nancy will take the reins.
Friday, while I was out, Alissa, the groomer came. According to Bruce, Baxter was barking madly at the door because someone was here. The minute he saw her walking up the front walkway, he turned tail! He's sporting his little July 4th kerchief! I like to think he's telling Matthew Happy Birthday in this one.

Although I've yet to make a list, I did get a start today:
Albeit, a small one. Bruce arrived home from work a little bit ago and did not like any of the three shirts I bought for him. Is it any wonder I no longer buy him any clothes??? He insists he'll pack when he returns from his business trip on Thursday--I insist he give things some thought tonight! At the moment he's just like millions of other people---catching up on the Casey Anthony trial. Over and over I tell him I'm uninterested, however, he continues to talk about it. He's not the only one. Just the other day there was a report of a woman who flew over from Germany hoping to get a seat in the courtroom. There have been others who've done the same, however, to my knowledge, she's traveled the furthest. As well, fights have broken out in the lines of people hoping to get a seat. Apparently, they get in line around 4:30 in in the morning, hoping to get one of the coveted passes. The appeal escapes me.

Dinner time and hopefully I can pry Bruce away from the trial to eat....


Friday, June 24, 2011

Without a Hitch

I told you birds were cool.

Before I begin there's something I've been meaning to tell you. I am a world class klutz. Constantly I'm hurting myself by doing stupid things. A moment ago I started to pull myself closer to the desk with my legs crossed. You guessed it--hurt like the dickens when my bony knee collided with the solid wood. Currently I've got a little cut on my big toe from dropping my car keys on my bare foot. I'd say it wasn't safe to take me out of the house for fear of injury, however, the house is where I make most of my stupid moves!

Finally Bruce was ready to leave on Tuesday afternoon. We had a most pleasant drive to Indian Rocks Beach, checking into the hotel around 4:30. I barely looked at it online, just chose it because Bruce could use hotel points. Turns out it was quite cute--a Key West styled Holiday Inn on the bay. Wasn't too much later that the limo driver arrived to take us to the Salt Rock Grill just down Gulf Boulevard a few miles. Colin did everything in his power to make Linda's 50th a celebration to remember.
She was ever so surprised to see us, along with Scott and Valerie. Sunday started her surprises--Colin flew her mother, sister, a childhood friend, her husband and little boy from England to join the party. I had the pleasure of sitting adjacent to Linda's mum who was a lively dinner companion indeed. She gave me her number in case we wanted to look her up while in the Costwolds. She apparently does most of her shopping in Stowe on the Wold and neighboring villages.

I've been writing often enough about disappointing dining experiences. You won't hear that in this post. My goodness the food was absolutely incredible with each bite a taste sensation. This photograph will not look good to our son Matthew, however, others might find it appealing.
The wine was flowing, the laughter ringing out from the guests, and the food was devoured. Seriously, I haven't eaten so well in quite a long time. Linda's mum kept saying you've got to enjoy great food when given the chance. All 17 of us did just that.

Awake at 5:15 the next morning, I dressed, grabbed my camera bag and headed out into the dark.
As the minutes passed until sunrise the sky turned a beautiful shade of inky blue. I walked just a block, crossing Gulf Blvd. to get to the ocean, or if you want to get technical, the Gulf of Mexico. So very quiet in the early morning, however, not long after I perched on the boardwalk, a man came along with his metal detector, presumably to beat the crowds.

"Beach Daisies" my second best selling photograph cannot be enlarged due to noise in the photo. I won't get into noise for those who aren't familiar with the term, all you need to know is that the one image I would love to make gigantic can't be done even by the miracle worker, Mr. Roger. As such, every single time I'm at the beach I'm looking for something comparable. In the dark I discovered a mound covered on the south side with beach daisies. It seemed like it took forever for there to be enough light.
To be honest with you, I've never fully understood what it is about that photograph that grabs people; I can think of others I prefer, but I suppose I must be the odd man out because rarely does a person go through the basket of beach photographs without remarking on it. I suppose if I knew what the magic was, I could replicate it. We shall see if anything from this batch works.

As most of you know I was on the West coast of Florida, thus I have to wait on the reflection of the sunrise which I absolutely love. It turns the sky and water beautiful shades of pink and blue. Finally, if you look closely, you will see there was a ray of light:
By this time Bruce was beginning to wonder when I'd return. Not to worry, I was getting HOT. After snuggling with him for a bit in the ice cold hotel room, we packed up, heading South on Gulf Blvd. to see the house Colin and Linda purchased a year ago in Madeira Beach.

During my visit to our niece Laura's home in St. Petersburg, as I drove on Gulf, I discovered a little coffee shop with killer muffins. Obviously they must have been good if I still remembered them, what with my faulty memory! Although I couldn't remember the name, I knew I would recognize the building. I did. Bruce agreed it was killer.
As well as cute:
Indian Shores Coffee is the name of it in case you're in the area. I highly recommend that you stop.

After a nice visit and look-see with Colin, Linda, and all the visiting Brits, we moseyed home. Short trip, but an awful nice one just the same.

Wildly switching gears now, it wasn't too long ago that Bruce related a strange story. For reasons I'm not entirely clear about, one of Bruce's project managers in the Boston area related a bit of his family history including Uncle Whitey. I guess he wasn't kidding when he told Bruce he was on the FBI's Most Wanted List! It's a strange world we live in my friends. Wonderful too.

Stopping by Lois's house after bridge and a haircut yesterday afternoon, the talk turned to our upcoming, as in a WEEK, holiday. At her suggestion I brought home her Travel Smith light raincoat; although it's a tad big, it sure beats anything I currently have for rain gear. She said she used it extensively while in England visiting various gardens including the Hampton Court Flower Show. In another coincidence, last week Matt discussed going to Hampton Court Palace during our visit. Knowing Matthew, he probably was well aware that the show was upcoming. Lois insisted I bring home her scrap books to peruse at my leisure. From what I saw while we chatted, it is pretty spectacular indeed.

Although I've always got more to say, I am aware that readers only have so much time to spend with me, thus I'll say goodbye for today. There's always next time.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Here We Go Again

Today marks the Summer Solstice, however, to Floridians it's just a date on the calendar. Sure, the day is the longest of the year, but not usually the hottest by a long shot. As I've mentioned before, here in Florida we experience greater and lesser summer. We've been in greater summer now for weeks which is depressing when you think that it will last until October!

At the market on Sunday while Dana and I were talking in front of my uber-fan, she said we only have 16 more sweltering days to look forward to; maybe endure would be the more appropriate word. That fan, by the way, is like a tornado. In fact, if you stay under the tent, let the fan blow your hair to smithereens, you can almost forget that it is 97 degrees. Almost is the key word. Hearing that weather prediction, people stayed away in droves, and who could blame them? This little girl was doing her best to stay cool.
Yesterday morning I was reading an article in the Times about fans. Big and little, whole house and window fans. Before air conditioning that's how we lived. Actually, I can hardly remember fans in our family home, however, Bruce and I used them like crazy in our first two homes which only had wall units. I will always remember being in labor with Matt, although I wasn't sure it was such at the time. We laid with our heads at the foot of the bed, a box fan blowing madly on our bodies in the sweltering July heat. Maybe that's why I can still spend lots of time outdoors without melting; I had early training in the art of heat survival.

The summer rains are here most days leaving this reminder of damp ground:
There are a ton of these little mushrooms in the yard.

On my way to return some bowls to Wal Mart yesterday morning I had to stop and photograph a gigantic sunflower:
Correction, I didn't HAVE to stop--I can't help myself! The bees were having a hey day! Then the idea came to me that I might just drive through the "peacock" neighborhood. Am I ever glad I did! Babies galore: 
Overall I think I counted about fifteen babies. They are so sweet! This is one of several broods crossing the street for greener pastures.
A good many of the males were strutting their stuff, with the females mostly ignoring them in favor of the kids.

I'm not sure if it was the light or what, but for some reason this male peacock's feathers seemed the most beguiling shade of cobalt blue.
And, as is always the case when I'm out photographing, I discover the unexpected. As I pulled my car to the curb I saw this cat in a tree, hoping he/she would stay put until I was ready.
Those blue eyes were amazing!  After only a few shots the cat left his tree perch, running away into the bushes.

By now you might be thinking today's post tile refers to my photographic adventures. You would be wrong. What I'm referring to is yet another household malfunction. This one I'm hoping is now fixed by Superhusband. All that talk about fans and heat? Well, Sunday evening during a Friday Night Lights marathon, which, by the way, is absolutely mesmerizing, Bruce thought it felt warm. Indeed it was warm. The air conditioner shut itself off. To make a long story short, he got it running again until yesterday afternoon during the worst heat of the day. I never like to give bad news to my honey after a long day at the office, however, no cursing ensued when I let him know we were relying on fans at the moment. He calmly checked it out. Apparently it is the condesate pump. Even after cleaning all the gunk out of the lines and such, it still kept shutting off through the night. Awakening at daylight, he gave it another go and for now, I'm thinking we are avoiding yet another costly repair. Let's hope so!

You may also just be wondering how it is that I'm blogging at 10 on a Tuesday morning instead of sitting behind the reception counter at the Polasek. If you were, here's why; another 50th birthday party. This time in Reddington Beach which is a little town next to Clearwater. Bruce, after fixing the ac, is behind his home office desk working away, but only for a little while longer. We'll be leaving soon for a mini beach get-away. Or at least I'll be on the beach later this afternoon. If I know Bruce, he'll be napping! How is it that we know so many "young" folks turning 50? It reminds me that before you know it, we'll be turning 60!! Yikes!

Woo-hoo! I finally figured out how to make the photographs larger!

Thursday Morning

Before we get into things, I just want to say that I really like typing. I learned how to type in 11th grade at Melbourne High School, under the tutelage of Mrs. Ketchum. The following year I was her student assistant. I'm not even sure if they teach typing any longer. I know Jonathan can type like a madman although he took no formal classes. His education came from playing computer games incessantly. So, there you go.

Anyone who lives in Florida, or for that matter, spent time in Florida during the summer, knows that this
is not a welcome sight when one plans to spend time outdoors. For those of you who don't understand the photograph, let me explain. It means it's humid on the other side of that door. Seriously humid. Not what I was hoping to see on the morning I do yard work. It was sweltering. We've been having record heat, however, the humidity has stayed away until yesterday morning. Yikes!

It was a good thing I did most of my mowing on Tuesday evening while there was a breeze. Once again I was making that tomatillo salsa I showed you last week. While waiting for the veggies to cool, I decided to get out there and mow. Oddly, Francis and Meghan came up to me while mowing saying they wanted to see Baxter. I sent them inside to do just that. By now it was about 7:40 and I'd had no dinner. Going inside myself after putting the mower away I was surprised they didn't want to leave. I began blending the salsa, asking Francis, the dietician, if she ever made salsa. "I don't cook much." What sort of dietitian doesn't cook I ask you? How can they serve healthy foods??? What gives here? I finally had to kick them out around 8:15 because, as I explained, I needed to eat dinner and bedtime was fast approaching. Weird.

Nancy must have been reading my mind when she sent me  this: From Scratch. By no means do I make everything from scratch, but I make as much as I can that way. Bar-b-que sauce, salad dressings, my new favorite--french bread, salsas, desserts, well--you get the picture.  For the most part, I like to know the ingredients, or at least be able to pronounce them!

While working in the yard yesterday, (planting more flowers,) I saw an unfamiliar bird,
perching in the tabebuia tree. I suspect you are wondering about those dangling brown things. They are seed pods. Lois, of the Master Gardener fame, came by and I asked her about those pods. Should I cut them off? She said, only if I want to. Seemed like everyone was out bright and early yesterday morning--Regina, Wanda, Ginnie, all out and about in the insufferable humidity. Usually I just roll out of bed, make tea, throw on my work clothes and am out the door. In other words, not dressed for company.

I'm thinking this is our now grown up Junior. Taken through the window as he seems shyer these days:
I have to try and fit my lens through the blinds which is a bit of a pain, worth it though.

Arriving at the Polasek on Tuesday, I saw a hibiscus I'd not included in my hibiscus line up. This is one gigantic bloom! Interesting in that there is no center color at all. Including the dianthus gives you an idea of scale. Seriously, the flower is about the size of a luncheon plate!

After yard work yesterday I spent some time trying to dream up interesting wine bottle shots with limited success. You may or may not know this, forgive me if you do, but I sell a fair amount of cork and foil shots. People are always asking for bottles...As such I collected some empties, filled them with colored water and began arranging:
It is much harder than it looks. Getting the lighting right is crazy hard. I began in my office, making the mistake of getting too close to the bottles while wearing my bathing suit for my planned swim. Thus, I was reflected in seven bottles wearing, not really a bikini, but a two piece anyway. Not good. Trying to make something look like more than an advertisement is no easy task. While working on that, the skies darkened and Hallelujah--they opened up!
Although the new umbrella is in the ground, it's large size makes me nervous as it whips around in the wind. Always thinking of blog photos, I used my already set up tripod for this shot.The wind and rain  were impressive, just not enough. We have been pretty desperate for rain around these parts and not just for my plugs and flowers. Wildfires are a real threat when it gets so hot and dry. For weeks now, there have been fires raging, especially near the coast.

While we're running this gardening subject into the ground, I can't imagine that I lived for SO many years with only green. I am planting color wherever I find bare dirt. Calling yesterday morning, Angela said the Strombergs were worried--our garden is upstaging theirs. Imagine that?

P.S. I really didn't intend that pun in the last paragraph; I like it though.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Monica Does Her Thing

"I'm ticked off at the inconsiderate neighbors who place their garbage and their yard waste outside several days before pick up day. How hard can it be to put it out the night before or early in the morning?"

The above appeared in our local newspaper under the "Ticked Off" banner. They very well may be talking about us. If Bruce does yard work on Saturday he'll leave the cans down by the road so I don't have to drag them there on Wednesday morning. If it's us they are writing about,  I'm sorry--he's only being a gentleman.

It took forever for Bruce to get to Wyoming, arriving our time at 2 in the morning. He's such a trooper, although, these days, there are a few leaks in his armor. Worn out. Friday it took him most of the day to get home, arriving just in time to head over to Winter Park for his appointment with Monica. I figured if she could transform me, Bruce might benefit from her magic touch. For years and years now, make that seven, he's been going to Melissa for his monthly haircut. Some of you know this, some of you do not. Melissa is the incredibly kind stylist who came to our Mother's condo every Sunday to wash her hair as she lay dying. The only payment she would take was a beer. This went on for months.

Ever since that time Bruce has used her, however, I thought he might just benefit from a change. Judge for yourself:
She's checking her work as well as showing Bruce how to style it. She told him under NO circumstances was he allowed to use gel on his hair. Instead he's to use pliable molding creme; according to Monica, it's the product of choice.
Darn, he looks cute doesn't he? From there we went across the street to another new "hot spot" called Taps. Disappointing and high priced. $9 for a half glass of wine? I don't think we'll be back.

Heading over to Park Avenue the rain began to come down in buckets! Thank goodness because as you well know we really need it. Several afternoons in a row now it has rained pretty seriously. Remember what I said about wishing we didn't have so much grass? Well, it's a reality now folks. This morning I mowed again after having mowed on Tuesday evening! Yikes, what have we done?

Lately it seems as if every week brings a new broken thing around the house. This week it was our Sonicare toothbrush. Admittedly, we'd had it for years so I'm not entirely surprised but I was hoping we'd go a week without needing to replace something. I didn't relish the thought of driving out to Costco, instead ordering it from Amazon. Around Christmas I mistakenly didn't cut off my "one month free trial" of Amazon Prime, thus I still have free shipping and one or two day arrivals. Really, it's quite good and couldn't be easier. With the high price of gasoline I rather enjoy leaving the driving to UPS.
Let's hope we are set for some time now.

Matt called on Thursday to clear up a few travel details. He thinks I'm being somewhat silly worrying about what clothes to bring and he's more than likely right. I bet when you saw that War Horse won the best play at the Tony awards you weren't surprised. Matthew only takes his parents to the best!

After my morning of yard work in the smothering heat I'm heading to the couch now to veg in front of the U.S. Open, however, at this point, there appears to be little drama involved...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Two Weeks

I can hardly imagine that the trip is just two weeks away. My goodness, where has the time gone? As such, I've decided it might just be time for me to start getting serious in my planning. I'm researching the most economical way to use our dollars in England. Charge, debit, chip and pin? The last method is one Matt told me about. It's like a prepaid debit card which sounds like it has some advantages. I took my Rick Steves Great Britain book to the museum today, reading his take on money. He likes cash. And money belts which sounds pretty dreadful to me. I'm puzzling...

As well, I'm still worried about what kind of clothes to bring. Every one says layers, which is all fine and dandy, but what if it's hot and all I've got are sleeves, sweaters and jeans? Decisions, decisions. I'm like Scarlett O'Hara in that regard--if I don't have to make a decision today, I definitely will put it off until tomorrow.

So, I was looking out our bedroom window which is shaded by a nicely full ligustrum tree. What's that I wondered? Heading outside with my camera, I photographed this weirdness:
I suspect it is from maybe a spider or some kind of bug, however, that is purely a guess as it's not something I've seen before. Any ideas? I took this a few days ago knowing you would surely want to see something unusual. Checking this morning I discovered it was spreading up the limbs. Reminds me of the white stockings I wore when I began x-ray school 40 years ago this month. 40 years!!! Cannot believe it.

Yesterday morning after attending to my market business I drove over to College Park to see if there were other homes worthy of the calendar. Plus, you have to provide the address, so I brought my little notebook, writing down each time I took a shot. This house, right across from the lake, decided they no longer wanted to mow grass, instead making a little flower jungle. Mostly I took this one because our dad used to drive this car.
How in heaven's name he afforded it, I'll never know. Probably all the money he saved from our shoe shining ways. Plus, we turned off a lot of lights! Check out this very cool door from the pre-air conditioning days:
Sadly, this house had such a messy yard which would never be chosen for the calendar; I didn't even bother to convert it. Love that door though. Plus those numbers.

Three visitors in three hours today. Three. I picked Lou's (docent) brain on his European travels. The gardens still look lovely, although with the extreme heat we're having you have to wonder how much longer the flowers can hang on. Two of Mr. Polasek's most famous statutes here:
I'll tell you watering what I've got takes a bunch of time. Imagine three acres! It threatens to rain and then moves on. Yesterday afternoon Baxter began barking like crazy around 4:30. What's going on Baxter? Why, it was Bruce coming home from the office already. I say already because although he leaves just after 7 in the morning, he rarely returns until 6 or later in the evening. I was fearful something was wrong. Only tired. I suspect he was a bit discouraged as well. More jobs and more jobs. Later in the week he'll be heading to Casper, Wyoming to check on the job he inherited from one of the other project managers. Wyoming was one of the remaining seven or so states he'd not built in. Now it will be six. I don't think that vacation can come a minute too soon for my weary husband.

By now, you are probably sick of me writing about all my sick friends but for once I've got something positive to say. Debbie's daughter phoned last night telling me that her surgery yesterday was successful. As a matter of fact, she was already up making jokes. What a trooper!

Additionally, Corrine is home, looking so much better. She's getting around with her walker, mostly heating up the food her daughter froze while visiting from Alabama. Plus, Roger is back in business, printing once again. In fact, he brought my order to the market on Sunday and I promptly sold one of the small canvases!

Finally, speaking of photography--I'm keeping my vacation photography expectations low. Maybe there will be winners, however, I suspect lots will be merely tourist photographs. Being realistic is only practical.

Monday, June 13, 2011

What Next?

Late Saturday morning, while I was sewing, Bruce came into the office carrying his mobile. He wasted no time telling me that he'd just gotten off the phone and learned that Tracy has leukemia. Who is Tracy you ask? His boss. Plus, we were scheduled to leave in a few hours for his wife's 50th birthday party at their home, minus Tracy, who is now quarantined in his hospital room for 30 days receiving twice daily chemotherapy. Apparently, the moment the diagnosis was confirmed they began aggressively treating what is termed "acute leukemia." Talk about a strange and sad situation. We went nonetheless, doing our best to be upbeat.

I guess it's not surprising that the older we get, the more people we know with health challenges, however, it still always catches me off guard. Each day of good health is a gift my friends.

Because this has left us both shaken, I won't be writing much more today. Instead, I'm sharing my favorite flower with you in all it's color and glory. Photo intensive ahead....











I told you I was crazy for these wonderful flowers whose only bad characteristic is to last for only one day.

Plus, my internet is making me crazy today even after multiple attempts at rebooting. More in the morning.

P.S. From what I can tell Junior took off for a few days and turned bright red on us in his absence. Serious bird watching today!

You Just Never Know