Thursday, September 29, 2011

Who Says the Blog is Dead?

I remember a few years ago hearing that, but I don't believe it for a minute. Every day I come across wildly creative blogs. For all it's faults, I believe the digital revolution has democratized the world of creativity. It seems to me that if you have a clever enough idea, people will find you, or at least that's the hope!

Dear Photograph is just that. A photography blog I sometimes read--JPG Magazine, make that mostly look at, featured it in a story. Captivating my friends. It totally made me want to grab some old photos and do the same. You won't be sorry if you click on it and see what I'm raving about.

 Fashion lovers amongst my readers will love this blog by Jamie Beck. Gorgeous photography. Gorgeous fashion. The Ralph Lauren and Burberry shows are standouts, however, the Daily Outfit shots are pretty darn beautiful.

My friend Karen Howard began writing about genealogy last month, specifically her family history. She's trying to find an audience for her little space in the blogosphere. Comments, she wants comments! Don't we all?

Now, let's get back to this little blog; post number 897! Maybe I shouldn't have written that because after all this time I'm still looking for an audience of more than 10!

Shall we do pictures first today?
What, pray tell is this you ask? A labor of love is what it is. Every market I do, I seem to meet folks, including the fellow who hand made this large banner with the names of all police officers across the land killed in the line of duty. According to him, it will be auctioned off in Washington DC next month. He insisted I photograph it, and if I cared to, he wouldn't mind a minute if I put it on canvas to sell. I'll pass on that thank you just the same.
Another one from Winter Garden. Isn't this a lovely display? Love it!

I roamed a bit while Baxter was having his teeth cleaning done. The old dead trees were intriguing me. The sun was high in the sky when I shot upwards. Whoa--looks like a light sword to me!
When I purchased the fresia from Fresh Market I was expecting them to have a lovely fragrance which they did not. HOWEVER, they do have a lovely shape, don't you agree?
The cheap bird feeder I purchased for outside my bedroom window, despite shoring up on Bruce's part, broke, necessitating a new purchase. Well maybe, necessitating isn't true but desire sure is. Hanging in the ligustrum tree outside my bedroom window I can see birds on occasion, but more often than not, I see squirrels. They eat seed faster than I can fill it! I knocked on the window to scare him when I saw him hanging upside down to get at the food. That pesky bugger didn't budge until I came outside with my camera. Love how he's wondering if he can get away with another attempt.
The other day during a treasure hunt at Marshalls I found these:
Made in Scotland, they have the most divine smell. Normally I'm not much of a soap person like my sister Maureen, however, these were too good to pass up.

A few days ago I had a little stroll downtown. Actually I was on a mission to get a shot of a Bob Marley stencil I saw when I was setting up the other night. I roamed for a few blocks, heading down alleyways, which wasn't such a great idea in flip flops, but you do what you've got to do. I'm wondering if any readers know who this is supposed to be:
Anymore, I'm so removed from popular culture that I need help keeping up. Any ideas?

My car was parked in front of First Presbyterian Church, more specifically in front of their playground. Oh how seeing this truck in the wet sand brought back fond memories of the sandboxes Bruce built for the boys.
In my mind's eye I can still see Matthew playing in the yellow octagonal box his Daddy made for him way back when we lived in California. Bruce was SO proud of that sandbox, as well he should have been, because once we started adding boys to our family, they all played in it for hours and hours. Happy days!

Bruce brought these cool bottles home from, maybe New Jersey? I can remember when the Coke family included only these two. And then there was Tab. Never liked the stuff myself. Always opting for the full calorie count. Still do.
We've had some good news! A cold front is on the way!!! This time on Sunday the front porch thermometer will not look like this:
Cannot wait!!

Most nights after eating my dinner I head to bed with a book, unlike most folks who head to the couch to watch television. I learned this from my Mother. Well sort of. She headed to bed any old time. Anyway two nights this week were spent reading On Canann's Side  by Sebastian Barry. Oh my, oh my--what a book. To say his writing is elegant is an understatement. The opening lines had me hooked:

"Bill is gone.
What is the sound of an eighty-nine-year-old heart breaking? It might not be much more than silence, and certainly a small slight sound."

Perhaps you've read some of his earlier novels, I had not. I plan to rectify that as soon as possible.
I mention the bed thing because Bruce calls every night to chat. When we did the remodel, our phone line in the kitchen was cut, requiring moving the base unit to the sunroom. This was a problematic solution. In our bedroom the connection was very, very poor leading to all kinds of frustration. No longer my friends; an updated version has put us back in business. Call me anytime on our new set up and you'll hear me just fine.

Much to my dismay, bridge is cancelled today because we can't get a foursome, what with people traveling and such. Instead I will be tackling a list of errands--not nearly as much fun for sure.

Gail

Monday, September 26, 2011

You Must Have a Really Good Camera!

If I've heard that once, I've heard it a hundred times, which, quite frankly, gets old over time. The fact of the matter is that although I have more than a point and shoot camera, I have one that is the bottom of the line; loads and loads of people own the same camera. The truth is that I have more practice than most, having shot pictures almost daily for over four years now. I have learned oh so much during this time, things like how to get the background you want, composition, lighting, and maybe most importantly being ready for anything. To stand out from the crowd what you need is imagination first with a decent camera--it doesn't have to be the best or I wouldn't be here writing this!

Furthermore, oftentimes people say, I know so and so who, if they did this,  would be sure to sell a bunch! Maybe, maybe not. In my experience, what it takes is serious dedication and "hard" work. I emphasize hard work because it is. Or at least at my age. This weekend took it's toll on me. HOT, HUMID, and RAIN--the outdoor vendor's nightmare trifecta! What was I thinking, pray tell? Taking the set up down in the dark and rain on Saturday night, Bruce and I got into a rare fuss--I was miserably hot and tired, he'd spent a very frustrating day, attending an unexpected funeral for an old friend, Bill Petrey's dad, and once he finally got home to get back to work, I needed his help to set up on Church Street during the hottest part of the day. Arriving home, he found he had no internet connection! He has two new jobs starting today, as well as an inspection tomorrow, another one next week and 350 unopened emails!! Now, his job really takes hard work! No wonder he was unhappy. We loaded everything up, most of which had some degree of wetness. We did not, however, unpack the car when we got home.

Waking up early yesterday morning, after seeing a weather report which said there was 60% chance of rain, we hemmed and hawed about setting up. I decided to take the chance which proved to be the right choice because the rain never materialized. On the other hand, the humidity cranked up to nearly 100% around 2:30 and if I'd not had my fan I would have died!

Enough about the challenging parts, I did take a few shots of the events which made me happy. I remember once when I met the professional photographer Cindy Ord who had moved here from NYC, she told me that in New York, if your photograph did not include people it was considered a dud. Not one to argue with what's hip in NYC, here in our little city, buyers skip over any I put out with people every time. Thus, my people shots are seen only in this little space. Here is one I took on Saturday evening that I just love:
I was chatting with two very nice young women in front of my booth when I saw this happening. Grabbing my camera quick, I love the light in both her hair and the street is perfect. Those shoes were amazing! Dana had the security guard let me in the building so I could get on the crosswalk over Church Street for this:
I keep thinking the woman on the right with the flying hair was trying to get cool. How funny that six out the seven have their sunglasses on their heads.

Starting the day in Winter Garden I took this, which has no people, but I do like the early morning light:
Because there are so many families, I often have the opportunity to take some sweet pictures of Mothers and Dads with their little ones.
Along with the beautiful pavillion the city of Winter Garden built for the market, a shooting water feature is in the same area. I was so delighted when I saw this one on my computer: 
I was very happy that I'd caught her in a jump. The reflections of her little purple shoes are icing on the cake! Point and shoot my friends. I always take my Panasonic FZ8 to the markets because not only does it have a long zoom, it has a fast lens allowing me to shoot in lower light. I can still remember buying it, about six months after I got my first digital camera. I was very nervous about spending $250 for a camera. I bought it at Circuit City which I still miss; apparently we were one of the few who preferred it over Best Buy. Four years later, which in today's market is considered a lifetime, it is still going strong. Many, many of my most popular still lifes were taken with this workhorse. I may take my Nikon on a trip, but, more often than not, the shots taken with my trusty Panasonic are the ones I like the most. 

After leaving Winter Garden, on my way home I dropped off what I had on Church Street before heading home for the tent and such. I took this out the passenger window before unloading:
Something about this scene called out for black and white. Funny, while looking at it now, I am astonished by the number and variety of the lines. 

The threat of rain kept many of the vendors and customers away from Sunday's market. I saw this guy last week with the lemur on his shoulder. He must get a kick out of having people stop him all the time. For whatever reason, this week the animal was not wearing the little diaper I saw before.
Because I shoot the market, week in and week out, I'm always looking for something different. This girl's bright purple umbrella caught my eye:
As did this turquoise one:
Finally, it was time to call it quits for the weekend. Sales were slightly disappointing, however I did meet some nice folks. Interestingly enough, while I was chatting with a young mother and her three daughters, I couldn't help noticing how intelligent the girls were. Turns out they got it from their mother who attended the AAIM program at Blanker only a few years after Matthew. It's a small world out there my friends.

Before we go, I wanted to show you something remarkable. I looked down and noticed this black swallowtail butterfly in my fan while it was blasting away at the highest speed:
Saying out loud I wondered how I could get it out before it was hurt, a man in the booth told me I could "start by turning the fan off." Duh! Once I did, the butterfly flew down towards the bottom, escaping with ease; off it flew with seemingly only minor injuries. Clever readers out there will be able to turn this into some sort of metaphor for hanging tight in tough circumstances or something along those lines. Any ideas?

p.s. Blogger is misbehaving today; please do your best to ignore the font changes and such will you? Gail

Friday, September 23, 2011

Baxter Has Clean Teeth

Despite never having had a teeth cleaning before, Baxter was a very good "patient" according to Joan and she ought to know.

Just after noon I loaded Baxie into the back of the car and off we went to Debary. Joan, the retired people dental hygenist, gave me excellent directions which got us there without incident. A sign in her yard commanded visitors to honk. Hearing our honk, she immediately opened the door, suggesting Baxter might want to sniff around a bit before coming in. With that out of the way, we entered her front room which doubles as a dental office if you will. I know this sounds pretty crazy, however, during Baxter's last check up the veterinarian said that if we didn't want Baxter to have gum disease, he needed his teeth cleaned which they would be happy to do for $350 or more. No thanks is what I thought. The last time they put him to sleep for his neutering, it did not go well. Our groomer, Alissa is the one who gave me Joan's name;  after puzzling a bit, I called her. She can out-talk me and that's saying a lot. We spent nearly an hour on the phone setting up the appointment during which time she gave me all her credentials.
Above she is using the Cavitron on Baxter, just like the hygienist uses on me! See how she's keeping his body still by putting her leg over his back legs? Pretty cool. Big time tarter, some gingivitis, and one sketchy molar was the diagnosis. He was none the worse for wear once it was over--it only took 30 minutes. Our bank account was happy too, only $125, with no anesthesia or full day affair. Forgive me if I've gone on too long about this, however, I thought you might find it somewhat interesting. When I asked Joan if I could photograph her for my blog, she was cool with that, however, she said she has more business than she can handle so don't give out her last name. Consider it done Joan.

On our way home I stopped at Gemini Springs just before a gigantic rainstorm struck. Because it was getting so dark , the water took on this extraordinary color:
Baxter is the world's worst walker in our neighborhood, however, parks are a different story. The desire to mark everything apparently is not so strong which makes it a much more pleasant experience for me.
That said, the oncoming storm sent us hurrying back to the car, coming down in sheets once we were on our way home.

Don't people who text while driving on the interstate make you crazy? They do me.

Bruce was home in time for dinner and an early bedtime because his road trip was so stressful. A Thursday meeting at the office brought him a day early--hurray!

Cause for another hurray was the addition of the chemicals to the pool to get it back up and running. This morning, after hanging the clothes on the line, I was finally able to get in again. Doesn't it look beautiful now? The staining is completely gone.
Despite the still 90 degree weather, the water was slightly cool after the draining and re-filling. Not enough to keep me out thought. It won't be too much longer and jumping in will be a chilly affair.

How about these dark mornings? The days are getting shorter and shorter. I feel for my British loved ones, who during the shortest days of the year,  have only about 8 hours of daylight. This would drive me mad, or so I think from afar. Speaking of our British loved ones, Matt and Tom enjoyed a weekend in Budapest, with Matt staying on for work. You may or may not know that Matt is a concert going king, having seen more people perform live than you can imagine. Pretty soon, he'll have visited more countries than you can imagine too. I always knew Matt would have an extraordinary life, just not what form it would take. So far it's exceeding anything I could have wished for him.

With the slight change in weather the birds are singing like mad in the mornings, with sightings becoming more common. Do we think this is our newest juvenille?
The feather colors make me think so. I'll be glad when we can remove the ropes which are keeping the tree nice and straight. Maybe after the end of hurricane season Bruce will remove them. Standing on the couch, I fit my camera lens through the blinds and hope I can get a shot. You knew I was crazy already though.

This weekend will be busy. Saturday morning I'll be at Winter Garden until 1, which translate into getting home around 2, then after packing the car with our tent we'll be heading downtown to the WMMO Art and Wine Festival until 8. Sunday, you can find me at my usual Sunday home away from home. Let's hope for no rainouts shall we?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

If You Haven't Read...

The Invisible Wall, I suggest you do.

Last week I called my bridge friend Debbie, the one whom I haven't seen in several months now because she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Sadly, when last I wrote about her, it seemed as if the cancer was confined to the breast, however, that's not true; four lymph nodes were involved. As such, she's going through all the treatments with some unexpected nasty side effects. Because she's not getting out much she's doing a lot of reading which led me to ask her if she's read anything good lately.

I'd not heard of Harry Bernstein before--don't know how I missed all the fuss; maybe because I was still in college? Anyway, his story is really remarkable. I won't go into all the details because that is what the link is for, but what you mostly need to know is his first published book happened when he was 96!!! Can you imagine? The story is a memoir of his impoverished childhood in a mill town near Manchester, England; he evokes the time, place and culture so very, very well. Using my handy, dandy Amazon Prime membership I received the book in two days for $8.99. I read somewhere online that when an editor finally read it she claimed it was "unputdownable." I like that word, don't you? Thank you Debbie!

A second book I've read this week was only so-so. No! I Don't Want to Join a Book Club would have benefited from some judicious editing, The author and I share some very similar views, despite the fact that she is British, which made some of it pretty amusing. Don't bother.

In yet one more reference to Britain, Matt posted this online which also amused me. Take a look at the real Madonna in this picture! My, doesn't she look ordinary?

Yesterday I was in a serious picture taking mood. Results follow:

On our early morning walk Baxter and I cast quite the shadows:
As we walked up the driveway there was some serious bird action going on in our garden. Unfortunately I had my fixed lens on the camera so I missed a close up. By the time we got closer, the unfamiliar bird on the right flew away:
Monday, after writing my post, I got to work signing the canvases and packing them up. My office was jam packed with some new things I'll be showing. Heaven help me--I hope some folks like them as I spent a fortune:
I am delighted with the fall leaves one, that much I can say. If no one buys it anytime soon I won't mind because I am loving seeing it BIG. The poppies on the left side are from the field near Matt's house which I traveled through on my way to the little market for breakfast goodies.

Just as I was getting in the car to visit my private banker, Bill Peck, the pool guy showed up. I was fairly perturbed that on Monday when they were supposed to come, no one showed up. Finally calling them around 1:30, they explained the guy called in sick. Nice.

Opening the gate for the new fellow, we discussed the situation poolside. As I glanced down I saw a little turtle swimming in the pool. How in the WORLD he was managing in that acid filled environment is anybodies guess. Plus, there is a little frog hanging on the tile. I ran to get my camera out of the car, doing my best to get him swimming which didn't work out at all. Here are the two little ones getting some fresh air. This one is for my sister Lisa!

I had some business banking that needed sorting out, so off to see Bill at his office on Sand Lake Road. He introduced me around and we got to work:
There is some serious need for wall decoration! It was really quite pleasant seeing him in his environment; I wish I'd seen Matt's workplace when we were visiting. I'm a lucky mom because my boys like me. Last week I had a very lengthy chat with Jonathan, Dave is always good for that, and Bill calls regularly. Yesterday he wanted me to hang out a bit. Nice. Matt loves a good visit as well. Plus, they love their Dad which is pretty remarkable. Both Bruce and I had Dad issues. Lucky, lucky parents that Bruce and Gail. :)

Because I was out that way I decided to stop at The Fresh Market, something I'd ordinarily not do because of the distance. What a wonderful store, albeit somewhat dark. One of the actions Bill took was closing some accounts and consolidating my funds. I had an extra $100 in cash, deciding to throw caution to the wind and spend it. Nice cheese, black and white cookies, beautiful bunch of fresia,  a lovely panini, wine, fresh cashews, olives and more. Don't freak out that I don't bring in bags to do my shopping when you see this cool cart I used to get my groceries to the car:
Unloading, once I got home, I discovered a little still life on the counter:
I loved the green and yellow combo. Going out back I was dismayed to see how low the pool had been drained:
I put in a second hose to get it filled back up quicker! The water was cloudy because he put EIGHT pounds of baking soda in there to counteract the Muriatic acid! Ouch--another horrible water bill! This morning he balanced the pool; hopefully by tomorrow we'll be back in business and it will all be worth it in the end.

One more thing regarding my bank visit. I don't know about you, but I have far too many passwords to remember; my Wells Fargo one vanished into thin air. We sorted that out. I now know how much money I've accumulated this year. Despite the slow summer and my huge outlay to Mr. Roger this week, I've managed to still be in the black. Nice.

Bruce has had a tough week in Wyoming, beginning with a missed flight out of Salt Lake City to Casper. With only two flights a day, he couldn't wait for the next one, instead opting to make the 441 mile drive instead. Long, long trip, however it was not without some pleasure. Apparently he saw at least 100 antelope grazing, not to mention some interesting outcroppings of rock formation. By the time he arrived and visited his job site, I was already in bed reading. Poor baby. Fortunately his inspection the next morning went well. I bet you already figured that out for yourself.

The time has come for Baxter and I to take a little ride to DeBary for his teeth cleaning. Bizarre-- I know. Sometimes it's easy to forget just how little he is until you see him at his level:
I'll let you know he behaves himself.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekend Update

Let's see...where were we? Right. We were waiting on Bruce to arrive to attend the art affair. While I was doing the same I took this photo of yours truly actually wearing the new dress:
Now you can see the fun little details I was telling you about. You can also see my hair done for once! I love that new dress, not only because it is super comfortable but because it has short sleeves, a dress feature that is very hard to come by in the stores.

Bruce never got home until nearly 8 which is late for us but we went downtown anyway. I love to see the clever things artists do when given a theme to work with. This one was one of my favorites:
While we were looking at it, a woman said--"those are actual old patterns she used for the poles." Duh....of course she didn't know she was making that remark to a woman who probably used some of those old patterns! Last year there was a dress fashioned from large black garbage bags, this year bubble wrap got the nod:
When I finally got to chat with Bruce face to face I talked to him about a Radiology conference on Friday. Although I'd had the postcard on my desk for weeks, I did not register. Why you ask? Well, it seems like the possibility of me working in radiology is growing ever more remote with each passing year. I am definitely at the unhirability age--is that even a word? Anymore, I'm thinking it should be. Nevertheless, he talked me into going, saying I might regret letting my license lapse. Late registration--$25 extra. Parking ticket I got for being five feet too close to a fire hydrant--$30. Wasteful, wasteful. The conference was once again at Florida Hospital. The talks were on a variety of topics, arthritis, pelvic floor MRI, radiation safety, quality control, and advances in neuro MRI. I must admit that during some of the presentations I was reading. We'll discuss the book once I'm done because not only is the story excellent but the author's story is as well.
Six continuing education points in the house.

Checking my email once I got home, I finally had news from Mt. Dora. No go my friends. Their choice was not quite as edgy as my collage which I can understand. Selling festival t-shirts is a priority and my image might not have done that. I'm fine with it because I never expected it to happen; glad to have been considered though.

Up bright and early on Saturday morning, the sky was beautiful as I was driving to Winter Garden before sunrise:
Seeing it in my rear view mirror I just had to pull off the road and take a shot! Not many folks on the road that time of the morning on a Saturday. The market was slow for me, however, I did have some folks who bought from me a week or so ago bring friends who also liked my stuff. It's all about not giving up when doing markets if sales are slow. Every time a customer buys something from me, someone else is bound to hear about me. Word of mouth advertising is all I have to go on. That's not a bad business model for someone like me. I did see this adorable baby sporting Garnet and Gold:
Sadly, our Seminoles did not pull off the upset on Saturday night, however, they kept the game very interesting during their 23-13 loss to Oklahoma. Because I was up so early on Saturday morning I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stay up and watch the whole game, but it was so exciting I hardly noticed it was near midnight when we went to bed.

I should always listen to Bruce. Well, that's a slight exaggeration, but he called me once he got to Lake Eola worried it might rain. I told him I wasn't worried, we have not had a drop of rain all week. Well, he was right, rain came down in torrents right around lunch time.
Very messy indeed. To appease him I brought the sides with me although I said he needn't bother putting them up. Mostly because it is more work for him which I didn't think was necessary. Well, you can imagine how wet I got while putting them up once the rain began in earnest! My poor hair; I looked like a drowned rat! Although it eventually stopped, more was threatening, causing Dana to shut down the market. The morning was super slow for me besides chatters, but just before noon, a young man arrived reminding me he'd bought from me a few weeks ago. Apparently his girlfriend sent him on a mission--to buy a lovely landscape I was showing. He also bought one of the wine canvases, handing me cash. How about that? As well, while I was packing up, customers came in buying six more prints. My day was saved! Calling Bruce we finished packing together during a light sprinkle. It is always a huge hassle to do this but it's part of being an outdoor vendor. Not a part I'm partial to.

After leaving me in the morning Bruce brought home a huge order Mr. Roger delivered to the market. I was optimistic in my ordering, hoping the shows will be good this year. Albeit only two...
It took him an hour and a half to put wires on the back of the stack of baby canvases you see piled on my work table--18 of them! Because I shot this one with my fixed lens you can't tell that there are canvases piled everywhere. I do so hope I ordered well, however, if you've been reading this little blog for any time at all, you know that it's never a sure thing. Often people ask me about selling photography and my stock answer is, "After four years I've learned only one sure thing--you just never know!"
Bruce took off again this morning, heading to Casper, Wyoming, a long trip indeed. It's not the going so much as it's the coming back which normally takes him most of a day. Because of the conference on Friday I had no time to mow the lawn so that's where I'm headed after some breakfast. Hopefully the pool guy will show up this morning to put our pool back together:
It's looked like this for the past five days because they are treating some stains that showed up, much to my consternation. It's kind of weird because it was almost one year ago to the day that work on revamping the pool began. The light was removed because not only are there stains on the wall below the light, but the six gallons of acid he added would probably eat away at the light. I'm happy to report that the treatment seems to have worked--hurray. Swimming can go on for only another two weeks or so which makes me anxious to have it back up and running. There's nothing like a jump in the pool after yard work!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dresses

I'm waiting on Bruce to return from New Jersey. Tonight is the annual "The Art of the Dress" exhibit at the Avalon Gallery on Pine and Magnolia. Last year it was loads of fun, partly because it was super crowded, partly because the art was so fun.

Yesterday, Nancy will be thrilled to know that I shook off my slacker ways and cleaned the house, or at least my version of cleaning. Some days, everything I see is a picture, some days  I see nothing. Cleaning supplies, when lit properly, can even be interesting, at least to me.
After finishing my cleaning I made lunch for Bill who was taking a vacation day. I don't get to see my boys often enough so I took the opportunity to have him over while he was available. Working on the weekends has it's drawbacks for sure.

Finally I sat down at the sewing machine and started back on the dress you first saw in JUNE!
No doubt you're wondering why in the world it's taken me so long and you would be right to wonder. For some crazy reason I bought an invisible zipper for the dress along with the special foot to install it. Guess what? Could not read the instructions, even with a magnifying glass! Some of the print is getting too darn small for an old lady like me. So, it sat.

Eventually I purchased a regular zipper, planning on getting to it soon. Well, maybe not soon, but in the near future. The future is now, or at least yesterday and today.

Today I missed bridge because we did not have a foursome which makes things difficult. One friend has a dad in the hospital, one is on a Mediterranean cruise. Next week I hope!  So, after walking Baxter I sat back down and got to work.

Interestingly enough, the pattern suggested a way to make a lapped zipper installation that I've never used. For all the years I've sewn you baste the seam together and then work from the inside. Not this method, which worked like a dream. Best zipper I've put in in as long as I can remember.
Next the side and shoulder seams, the facing, the sleeves and finally the hem. The dress is finished!
Although there are some interesting details on the front you'd hardly notice them with the busy print. The pattern is a 60's retro Simplicity--thus I wanted a little bit of Flower Power, or maybe a lot. :) I've got it on now--figured it was a good event to show off my crazy little dress.

Speaking of which, after a trip to the library yesterday afternoon, I have some new reading material. I found Flower Children by Maxine Swann,  choosing it, not only did I think I might like the story, but the cover photograph is cool as well. You know when you read the first page of a book and realize--yup, this will work? Well when I read the opening line: "They're free to run anywhere they like whenever they like, so they do." I knew right off this book was for me; I stayed up late, nearly finishing it last night!

Mostly, after boring you to tears writing about our cardinals, I have steered clear of the subject of late. I've had to content myself with this adorable mug I bought a few weeks ago to get my bird fix.
HOWEVER, the birds are back with the slightly cooler weather. I did my best to get this shot of what I'm hoping is the baby, although, heaven knows I can't be sure.
This morning you would have thought we were a park what with a dove, crow, tit mouse, cardinal and squirrel all hanging around the new tree and bird feeder. Nice. Don't you just believe in silver linings? I do. If the big tree hadn't come down we would never have had this much fun with our feathered friends. Of course, all of my friends and loved ones who are having such health challenges undoubtedly cannot see a silver lining in their future. Who can blame them? That said, if I'd never gotten sick for so long, I would never have gotten started with my business. Maybe it's only some of the time......

The other day a man, after looking through my baskets said he was impressed with my still lifes. I said that if I can't find something out and about to photograph, I make something up at home. I'm sure this isn't really true, but he said that he'd heard that painters and photographers need go no further than a two mile radius from their homes to be good. Now that I've typed that, it does sound pretty crazy, but it worked for Monet. Walking Baxter this morning, we stopped down at the lake, something we've done countless times. It just struck me today to get way down and see what happened.
Plain and simple, but I like it. Imagine that it's the first time I've thought to do it after so many times standing right in front of it! I just wasn't looking with my photographic eyes.

Finally Bruce just called from the runway. We'll be late, but we'll be there.

Good night dear ones.

Gail


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How About That?

Sunday evening, after finishing my market work, think PayPal transactions and market photo album, I suggested to Bruce that we might want to try a restaurant on Orange Avenue. Said restaurant has gone through both multiple owners and decors. Presently it is called "Tommy Addisons." It is lighter and brighter than the last incarnation and after being seated we took stock of the place. The menu had multiple choices I could be happy with and the prices are reasonable. All good.

Because the tables were fairly close together, I overheard the waiter serving the adjacent couple that he is a student at Rosen College, part of UCF. Doe's that name sound familiar to you? It should if your memory is better than mine. That is where Dr. Severt teaches, you know, the crazy friend of mine? I couldn't help myself, once he turned his attention to us, I asked if he'd taken him.  "No, he replied, but I wish I had. All of my friends say he is the best professor they ever had!" I'm so sure. If you had the time to watch that crazy video of him dancing you would understand that he's a man who is not afraid to do whatever it takes to get his point across. I was happy to hear how highly regarded he is with the student population.

After that exchange Bruce and I wondered about the number of cars in the parking lot compared to the amount of people we saw around us. I said I'd head to the restroom for a recognizance mission. Who should I see on said mission but two very wonderful couples from our past. And we are talking way past. I may have written about seeing the Logombinas at the market recently after not seeing them for years and years. Their companions were the Sellers. Matt and Jonathan may recognize both names. As Kathy Logambina was telling the table about seeing me at the market with my "art", their server said, "I thought I recognized you!" As it turns out, she is one of my very first customers. Nice.

As they were leaving they stopped by our table to chat with Bruce. Nice. Both of the ladies have a place in our home because Kathy helped me pack up our old house to move to this one. Christy Sellers yard was filled with spider plants which she broke apart, giving me oodles of them to use in our yard where they still are planted--nearly 16 years strong. Small world my friends, or at least Orlando still is a small town, regardless of their aspirations to be BIG. Speaking of plants, I bought this neat one from Jim and Kathy. It is called "Million Hearts."
Spider plants are in the background.

I was all set to tell you that Steve is much improved, going home after just a few days in the hospital; apparently his blood pressure was in serious need of regulation. Unfortunately, and I have very few details, he had to go back last night. I'm awaiting more information.

Yesterday I waited and waited for the guy to come work on the pool. The bottom, as well as some on the side, has some darkening in the finish. Obviously not good after such a short time. Finally I called and discovered that they forgot to call me and reschedule the appointment. I hate that. Furthermore, Baxter was to have his teeth cleaning today, which has also been rescheduled because the ultrasonic machine is in for repairs. Allegedly the pool guy is coming first thing this morning. We shall see.

Earlier, when I began typing this, the moon was so bright and beautiful I could have probably typed outdoors if I'd had a notion to. The sky is just beginning to show some signs of the oncoming day.

Another update: Regina's daughter is now on disability, having tried most all the chemotherapy available. Regina wrote that she is either praying for a miracle or mercy. My heart hurts bad for her.
Corrine, on the other hand, is shrinking by the day, having lost more than 30 pounds now. She is, however, regaining her strength and is getting out and about some. It's always so difficult to understand how one woman is dying at 42, while another nearing 85 hangs on.

On a happier note, the other evening I had a hankering for Giada's Dirty Risotto. Over the weekend while browsing through my Bon Appetit, there was a feature about "mis en place", which if ever a recipe called for it, this is the one. Let's take a look at how I did it.
The bacon and Italian sausage are browning with all the ingredients chopped and ready for action.
Next you add the vegetables:
Looking good! Stir and cook until somewhat soft, adding the arborio rice next. Meanwhile you have your pan of chicken stock simmering nearby, ready to add by half cup fulls.
This shot is taken when the rice is still mostly white, before any broth addition.
Below, I've finished the browning, added the peppers and onions, wine, rice and  some of the broth.
The recipe is unlike any risotto I've made before because you have all this stuff in the pan when you add the rice. If you've made any yourself, you'll know what I mean. I have mentioned previously that although I have loads of cookbooks, most of them yield only one or two recipes that are eaten in regular rotation around here. This is one delicious risotto for sure. Ugly--kind of. Delicious--oh my! So here is the finished product--dinner for one.
I should have wiped that bowl edge! I mean if I'm taking the photo and all....
Some people are amazed that I will go to so much trouble for myself and there are nights that I won't but because I am very set on eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, I need something to eat at night! I will tell you that this batch turned out especially good because the grains of rice are somewhat shiny, a sure sign of nicely done risotto.

Finally, speaking of cooking, I heard the woman who wrote that piece on Home Economics I was touting, interviewed on Talk of the Nation. If you're interested click on the link. I always wonder how a story like that in the mainstream press moves from one outlet to another. Good publicists perhaps?

Because I couldn't leave yesterday morning I finally got my big order to Mr. Roger; I dread seeing the bill. Actually, I won't even look at it--you know, the whole idea of what you don't know can't hurt you!

Have a lovely day my friends.

Gail

You Just Never Know