Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's Official!

According to yesterday's paper, we are now in a "rain overrun." Well, they didn't put it quite like that, but they did report that rainfall this year exceeds normal, and we are officially out of a drought. I could have told them that, and so could you, having read about it repeatedly in Camera Crazy. :)

Noticing my rain gauge was not in it's holder, I dug through the bushes looking for it a week ago. Those damn squirrels knocked it out, breaking it on it's fall. I am happy to report I bought a new one at Lowe's yesterday for $2, and the good news is it is LARGE PRINT. Excellent.

Speaking of the weather, just as Bruce predicted, Matt and Tom sat on the tarmac for an hour waiting for the storms to pass. And pass they did, leaving a beautiful sunset behind.
Fighting off the mosquitos in the damp evening air, I went down to the lake for this shot. My earliest best seller, if you will, is a sunset over Lake Jennie Jewell taken in July after a storm. I don't know how I'll ever top it but I keep trying.

A correction is in order regarding my last post. I mentioned Tom and Bruce were our audience, but they were way more than that. Tom was the official photographer of our antics, while Bruce kept an eye on the pool level, estimating how many gallons of water we displaced on subsequent jumps. So fun. Both Monday and Tuesday were hot and sunny for the most part, both warming the water, while causing some evaporation at the same time. If the trend continues, which I sincerely hope it does, the water will naturally dissipate into the air. Amazing to think about.

I forgot to show you a few things from last week which I hope you'll find interesting. Why is it that the only place I see a ladybug is in the pool?
I scooped him out with the pictured scooper. Duh...anyway, for this kind of shot, a macro lens is a sweet thing to have.

Then too, before heading to the airport, I saw a turtle in the road by our side yard. Bear with me because at first glance you'll think I'm posting the same photo.

Now you see his eyes....
And now you don't....
Those eyelids are really something. I went into the house to check my phone for Matt's arrival text, and lo and behold, the turtle was gone when I returned. So good to have a camera when you need it.

Matthew not only worked on my external hard drive, but he did his best to organize my photo libraries. I have a ridiculous amount of photos, but you never know when you might need one. Sun Dance has made some new collages with photos from my vast collection that they hope to sell. I'm with them there! Because they know their audience, they have sold things I've never thought about selling and vice versa. What I think they'll want, they don't and.....well, you get the idea.

Oh my goodness, where does the time go? I'm terribly guilty of never really knowing the date which is okay except for when all of a sudden things pop up on me. Such as this Friday being FAVO night again. Then too, I was telling Bill on the phone yesterday afternoon that our 40th anniversary is only weeks away. He asked what we were doing to celebrate, and my answer was--no clue. Actually I need to think of something special to mark the date, but just what that might be is eluding me so far.

While shopping at Publix yesterday afternoon, I saw a woman with a baby on front, one child in the basket, and what looked to be girl twins walking alongside. I couldn't help but ask if they were all hers. Indeed they were. I told her when I see someone with four children managing out in the world, it always makes me wonder how I did it. One thing that stands out in my mind is when Bill and Dave were in their little seats and Matt was about three. I had to use two grocery carts to shop, which must have been quite the sight to other shoppers. Today's parents of twins have no idea how hard it was back then, before multiple births became an industry!

One thing I'm proud of doing is having raised sensitive sons. Remember when men were not supposed to cry? I am so glad that notion is a thing of the past. In fact, if a man doesn't cry, I venture to say he is not worth marrying. Way too cold for my liking. So, while I cried watching this Amazingvideo!! Jonathan posted on facebook, later on, Bruce had tears while we were watching my birthday present from Angela. Foyle's War, put simply, is fantastic. So very sorry it has taken me nearly eight months to get to it. A scene depicting the rescue effort following the Battle of Dunkirk  was especially moving. (Because J posted said video while I was busy being a hostess, I hadn't viewed it until Monday evening. Upon reading my comment he mentioned he was so sad no one had commented. That's my boy!)

Riding, yesterday morning, I headed down Lillian Street, just off Summerlin. In fact, in the above sunset photo, just beyond the trees on the right is Lillian Street. Filled with HUGE old oak trees, I was so surprised to find this!
This is merely the garage building; as I rode by I saw someone sitting at what looked to be a kitchen table, eating breakfast while, most likely, trying to forget there was a massive tree sitting on her garage roof.

Finally, I had some milk past it's "best before date", prompting me to get out the food coloring and play.
A few drops of food coloring, milk, and a dash of dishwashing liquid, and you too can play.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Short Stay

Despite all our efforts, as I type this on Sunday evening, the pool is once again up to the top after a massive afternoon storm.

Our efforts? What's that supposed to mean Gail? Well, take a look will you?
With Bruce and Tom as our audience, Matt and I did so many jumps,
along with proper swimming strokes on Matt's part,
trying to empty the pool, that, eventually we succeeded. It is going to be pretty much impossible for me to empty it on my own this time!

As most of you know, I grew up with five siblings, all of whom spent the better part of every summer day of childhood in our backyard pool trying to stay cool in the Florida heat before air conditioning. Games and competitions were part of our repertoire, and I convinced Matt to play some of those very same contests. He, of course, won all of them, but another thing you know about me is that it's all about the experience. I pretty much missed the competition gene.
We also did summersaults until dizzy! Doesn't this sound like fun?  Who knows how many more years I'll still be able to do all these crazy stunts?

So, what else did we do during their five day stay? Matt made bread, specifically naan for dinner one night, while Tom was at the stove making our stewed okra.
The finished product, cooked in the cast iron skillet was yummy!
No photographic evidence to share, but we also went to Costco to buy a new external hard drive with more space than you can imagine. Matt worked his computer magic and I pretty much have a much faster computer on which to type this very blog.

Friday found us at Jetty Park while Bruce went to work for a while. The Atlantic Ocean was crazy calm, with only the tiniest waves. Very, very unusual.
Later in the evening the lads went to the Friday reunion event downtown. Originally, they planned to come out to Winter Garden with me early Saturday morning, however, after a night of partying that plan was replaced with Bruce driving them out closer to lunchtime. Before they got there I had my only sales of the HOT day. A couple was trying to find some matching prints and this is how we did it:
Eventually they decided on the daisy and the one in her hand pictured on the left. Although Matt had once come out to WG, Bruce and Tom never had. I dare say they all were very impressed with what they saw. It's such a charming market you can't help but like it. After having some market fare for lunch, M & T went over to a nearby bike shop where they rented bikes to ride on the trail during the remainder of my market day. In spite of the extreme heat they enjoyed themselves.

The big night arrived. Held at the Orlando Museum of Art, they took my car, now that Matt has a renewed Florida driving license, gotten on his first afternoon here. It was surprisingly easy with hardly any wait time, a very pleasant surprise. Before leaving I took this of Bruce with the lads:
Tom was his usual charming self, being a good sport when so many folks wanted to talk about the latest member of the Royal family, Prince George, whose name I believe we learned on the way to the beach. I, for one, was part of that group, although during the actual birth and the hoopla that followed, our men in London were playing tourists in Washington, DC. Visiting most all of the monuments, they saw more in the days they were there, than I have in two separate visits.

Aside from the twentieth high school reunion, Matt was here to be a godfather to one of his dearest friends new baby. Taking the day off from the market we all went to be a part of the christening of Maisy, Liza and Mike's new baby. Held in Knowles Chapel at Rollins College, it was our first time there since Dave and Michelle married there nearly four years ago.
We've known Liza since Matt was in the fifth grade, considering her part of our extended family. The Mannix family does likewise with Matt. Following the service we joined her family for a party at their home in the Conway area of town, very close to the airport. All very handy because the London contingent were homeward bound several hours later. Or so that was the plan, and I've not heard otherwise, although with the impressive lightening at their departure time, Bruce questioned whether their plane would take off on time.

We did all the normal things like sleeping and eating, with preparing various foodstuffs one of the highlights. According to Tom, the new bed is a winner! All in all, we were so happy to have them home, and so sad to see them leave. A very short stay indeed.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Golden Hour

Yesterday morning I was out riding at this time of the morning. Letting Baxter out the back door, I noticed a lovely full moon, along with a reddish sky. Because Bruce was up early for his flight to Houston, I got up as well to get a head start on the day. In photography lingo, the hour around sunrise and sunset is called "the golden hour." Your most interesting photographs are said to come during this time, however, I'm not so sure about that. Of course those who write that sort of stuff probably don't take pictures with the same abandon that I do! Nonetheless, I did enjoy the challenge, beginning with the full moon which I love against the blue sky.
 You can just see the pale pink on the horizon in this one:
I was standing on the bridge over the canal between Lake Gatlin and Lake Conway in Harbor Island when I took this one. So Florida, isn't it? 

Oops, I got a little ahead of myself. Taking Waterwich into Harbor Island, I kept looking up for a good spot to take the moon photo--there are big trees galore everywhere--when I glanced to my left and what should I see but THE EAGLE! It's been months since I saw him/her and I was beginning to think I'd never have an eagle sighting again. Sadly, the golden hour barely worked in this instance because I needed more light to get a shot before he flew off.
In quite the coincidence, I heard this story on "Here and Now" later in the day about people gathering daily to watch a bald eagle nest in Connecticut. People who never considered themselves birdwatchers have purchased expensive binoculars to watch the nightly show! Can you blame them?

I was on my way to Milennia for another return and thought to myself: "self, there is a Kirklands there, why not pop in a see if your piece is there?" Good grief it was!
Obviously, Sun Dance put the graphics on the photo. This is one of our neighbors tree, taken in mid-day. So much for the golden hour! On my way to the mall, this truck was in front of me, and I could not help but think about my friend Bev who has had her share of "nuisance wildlife" to deal with at her home. Now she will have the number if another occasion arises.
Do you see the gray sky? Nearly every single day it's been like that, and frankly it's been getting me down. Complaining about all the rain to Bruce, he replied that if we lived in the Southwest, I'd be praying for this type of weather. He has a point.

Back to our golden hour series, as I made my way back home, the sun came up, and it hardly gets more golden than this:
I had a few other errands to run including a trip to Big Lots. Checking the web site for their operating hours, I came across some reviews of BL. Seriously, this review business has gone crazy. Here is a particularly silly one:

"The Cash register Employees they touch customer hands without their consents which constitute a battery that victimized the customers. Also the store is carrying evil products. So consequently Big Lots at colonial Plaza is an evil corporation."

On my way there I stopped at a home on the corner of Bumby and Walnut that has a super garden. This time the owners were out and were more than happy, or so it seemed, to tell me all about their garden where butterflies were abundant.
What I learned from Tom was that in order to really get seeds from your spent flowers you must let them completely die on the vine, cut them and keep them that way until next season. All you need do at that point is shake them and the seeds will fall right out, unlike how I sat and plucked them one by one and still have no flowers. Every single day I learn something new and useful! 

On the Bumby side of their lot they've made a little spot for people to rest if they choose to. A sign, made especially for them, reads, "Welcome to TomDale Garden." Isn't that sweet?
Angela called the other day from Rhode Island where she is spending five weeks to escape the Florida heat. From what I've been seeing of the weather, she took it with her, but that's another story. She had two questions for me:
  • Her mother is visiting from England and wants to know why the American media keeps calling the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. Apparently she is quite bothered by this, and wants an answer! According to Angela, she is NOT Kate Middleton anymore and should not be called as such. I told her all I could figure is a lack of knowledge as to the protocol? Anyone care to answer her question?
  • Then too, she was mad as a hornet because a story ran in the "Orlando Sentinel" about a soccer tournament her son Michael was involved in. Apparently, after the final game, which Michael's team won, the parents and players from Miami went ballistic, and all sorts of mayhem followed. She wanted to know why didn't they write anything good about the tournament? I suggested she write a letter to the editor expressing her sentiments to which she replied she did not have time. Whatever......
I did it for her, and I see it is in today's paper. I think it took all of about ten minutes. So much for her excuse.  

It was a sad occasion but it felt good to be back in a church. I really do miss everything about going to church on Sundays. They went straight for the gut opening the service with bagpipes, followed by one of the greatest hymns of all time, "Amazing Grace." Because I rarely sing, I definitely noticed how reedy my singing voice has become. It never was any good, but now it is worse. Cheryl, sitting beside me, was probably appalled. Bruce is pretty much used to it! The church was beautiful with the altar graced by a glorious floral arrangement:
It was a lovely service for a man I only knew through his wife, who seems to be holding up fairly well. In case you are wondering, I took no further pictures--I do have some manners.

Finally, I came across an article in the "Times" regarding the passage of time as you age. Below is a portion of the article which I thought you might like to read.

The question and the possibility it presents put me in mind of my father, who died a few years ago at age 86. An engineer by training, he read constantly after he retired. His range was enormous; he read about everything from astronomy to natural history, travel and gardening. I remember once discovering dozens of magazines and journals in the house and was convinced that my parents had become the victims of a mail-order scam. 

Thinking I’d help with the clutter, I began to bundle up the magazines for recycling when my father angrily confronted me, demanding to know what the hell I was doing. “I read all of these,” he said.
And then it dawned on me. I cannot recall his ever having remarked on how fast or slow his life seemed to be going. He was constantly learning, always alive to new ideas and experience. Maybe that’s why he never seemed to notice that time was passing. 

So what, you might say, if we have an illusion about time speeding up? But it matters, I think, because the distortion signals that we might squeeze more out of life. 

It’s simple: if you want time to slow down, become a student again. Learn something that requires sustained effort; do something novel. Put down the thriller when you’re sitting on the beach and break out a book on evolutionary theory or Spanish for beginners or a how-to book on something you’ve always wanted to do. Take a new route to work; vacation at an unknown spot. And take your sweet time about it. 

 Another day, another installment of Camera Crazy. What will happen new today? Well, Matt and Tom are arriving for a four day stay in the summer. That is new and let's all hope our state lives up to it's nickname for a few of those days. The Sunshine State indeed.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Cats & Dogs

During my market days, it is rare that I see a cat. Occasionally someone might have one in a stroller, every now and again, one on a leash, and the oddest sight I've seen is an owner walking around with a cat on his shoulder. Dogs, now that's altogether a different breed. Oh my, the dogs come out! Little ones and big ones, those in "clothes" and those without, huge pit bulls, and tiny dancers. Oh, wait make that dachshunds! Saturday, a fellow came into my tent with the tinest Yorkie trotting alongside him. Although he looked just like Baxter, he weighs six pounds less!
Note just how large his hand looks on the four pound dog! He weighs less than a bag of flour! So, a lady comes up with a Siberian Husky wanting to know if the wee one likes other dogs.
You can well imagine the guys response! Turns out he was the dog sitter for a professional athlete traveling in Europe, giving him all the more reason to protect his charge! What I've come to discover is that many dog owners are completely oblivious to others. Not all mind you, but plenty of them. I wish someone could remind me just how this dog craze got started. There was a time, not so long ago, when dogs were kept in back yards, played with by the children and, horror of all horrors, slept in a dog house! Apparently dog houses have gone the way of snail mail?

On Sunday, a man was walking a dog so big I was tempted to call it a Shetland Pony. How about this for a size difference?
The one is so big a person could get run over by it, whereas the other is so small someone could step on it! Because I snuck this photo in while chatting with folks in my booth, I did not have the opportunity to discover just what kind of dog stands probably 4 feet tall. The summer crowds are thin enough that neither probably would happen, but just wait until the Fall when the crowds are so thick it is hard to walk! Speaking of which, I'm now in counting weeks mode, as in how many left of the heat. We're at 10 right now. Weeks just seems easier than months....

Cats, on the other hand, are the domain of residential driveways and sidewalks. At one time we had a darling little kitty who looked just like this one:
This black kitty in the same driveway, rather than run from me, just seemed to want to stare me down.
On a street near my home, I came across this older Siamese chilling in the driveway before the sun got too bright.
My parents Siamese, "Boy" got browner and browner as the years passed. That was a good cat, so good that, when my Father was found dead on the floor in their house, Boy was curled up on him as if to protect him. Now, that's a bittersweet memory.

Just this morning I came across this pretty kitty:
There is no mistaking the blue eyes of a Siamese, even though this cat looks like there's a little something else mixed in. Do you think there will come a time soon when more people insist on taking their cats everywhere? Which reminds me of something I forgot to tell you about the tiny Yorkie. The fellow told me he has been taking "Capone" everywhere, including all stores where he tells the management that Capone is a "service dog." Make them stop!!!

During the great recipe clear out I put together a notebook of vegan recipes, including this new one I tried late last week which was SO GOOD, I was sure you would want to try it for yourself. Spaghettini with Garlic and Lemon was easy and fantastic. Have I led you wrong in the past? Do not delay as I'm pretty sure you've got all the ingredients on hand. Ignore the three fork review, it deserves four! Appearing in Gourmet magazine in 2001, it sat in my cupboard far too long without a trial.

It seems as if my June sales funk has eased a bit. I need not tell you that is a relief! Saturday the humidity was so horrible I was dying! Sunday was fine with no rain. Because I have my wind machine with me on Sundays, I set it on high and forget all about the high temperature outside my tent.

Matt posted a link to a series of photos taken on the London tube for over thirty years from one photographer. It got me thinking I have my own series going what with the thousands of market photos I've taken over the last six years. Here's one of my favorites from Sunday:
Taken at Winter Garden on Saturday, the baby's expression is priceless!
The American flag hangs from the British food truck:
No people in this one, but there's something about these less than perfect tomatoes in this basket that I like:
Dana spends less and less time at the market, leaving most of the managing to her son Cole, who does a fantastic job. Just the same, she visited for a little while yesterday, and while we were chatting, she said it seemed slow. I had to disagree with her; frankly I was surprised at the amount of people braving the heat. All this has got me to thinking about going back in time on my market photos to see how things have progressed. I'd say more than we can rightly remember without photographic evidence. Isn't photography wonderful? As with most things in life we take it for granted. I was telling someone yesterday that if I live another twenty years I will probably never again get some of the shots I have been fortunate enough to take. I, for one, LOVE it, and folks seem to sense that when they are chatting with me. They claim I am passionate. Can you believe it?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Rejection

I'll be the first to admit that rejection doesn't sit very well with me. Alejandra from Sun Dance had me looking through my library for vintage car photos when the email from Winter Park popped up in the upper right hand corner of my screen. Thanks, but no thanks. I know full well it is the opinion of three judges, but man do I hate it! Finally I've learned to send in three images that relate, but apparently the three I sent in this year did not cut it. The good news? At least I won't have to scramble to get ready for a big festival, where I sold 143 things one year, I might add, because we will be returning from our London trip the same week the festival is scheduled.

Most people face rejection in either of two ways: love, or employment. Me, I've never put myself in a position to experience either because, while working, I never looked to advance. Then, of course, you know I met my darling Mr. Bruce when I was twelve, and knew right away he was my perfect match. Is it any wonder I married this cutie?
Sorry for how crazy the scan is; Matt will be home next week to set me straight! Bruce was 7 in this photo. My children were pretty darn cute, and now you know why!

This has been a bit of a dreary week with not as much rain, but plenty of threats. That said, it is pouring like mad all of a sudden! I didn't know how to read this morning sky because the night before the sky was nearly as red. So much for red sky at night...
Unrelated, but this terrific piece from the NYT will thrill some readers: Book obsession. We are definitely on the nostalgia train this week.

Saturday evening:

Well now, while typing, the power went out from a mega-storm that came up without warning! We needed to go to Milennia Mall to return a sweater Bruce bought me in Houston so chose the no-power time to do so. Although it was a little big, the shirt and necklace are super cute. I needn't remind you how sweet he is.

I think it must have been Thursday that I went to the Polasek to drop off a few prints. Surprisingly they have consistently been selling stuff. "Mailbox Money!" Anyway, after leaving I decided to head over to Kraft Azalea Gardens nearby where I saw something I've yet to see.
At this time of the year there are no azaleas blooming, but there are snowy egrets like nobodies business. Getting out of my car, I heard birds squawking overhead. My goodness, there must have been 15 nests in the two oak trees adjacent to the parking area! As I mentioned above, I've never seen anything like it.
I don't know why they were so loud but this photo is only two that I saw. Poop was all over the ground, and there were more than a few broken egg shells.
Thank goodness I avoided any drops from above!

I walked along, hoping to give the columns another try, except there were four generations having their picture made:
Although you only see three, there was an itty-bitty baby in the arms of the girl with the green sweater. I roamed a bit, waiting for them to leave as I knew they would. One shot would certainly not suffice! With the advent of digital photography, which I am MOST certainly the beneficiary of, the family photo has risen to new heights.

Heading back to the columns I decided to use them as a frame to the serene landscape.
Tall trees, hanging moss, a bench for resting....what's not to like?

Friday morning we shared the yard care duties--Bruce trimmed, while I mowed. It was hard for me to pull myself away from the television, if you can believe it. The Open, as they say in Britain. To us Yanks, it's The British Open.  If I could have gotten away with it, I might just have skipped the market today to watch, however, you know me better than that, don't you? 

While we were at the mall, I suggested Bruce show me The Captial Grille that took over the space formerly used by McCormick and Schmick's. Once there we took a seat at the bar.
Let's just say it was a fun way to while away a stormy night!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Give Us the Greens of Summer

While walking Baxter around the lake at the Orlando Urban Wetlands Park this morning, the lyrics for the great song, "Kodachrome" popped into my head. Lyrics have a way of doing that don't they? Or, at least it is that way with me. Despite my horrific memory, lyrics come back to me in a flash!

In the last few weeks, a researcher on nostalgia is making the rounds explaining it to all who read, or listen to the major news outlets. Not only does Dr. Sedekides mention the power of music as nostalgia, in my favorite part of the article (only a slight exaggeration), he is sometimes nostalgic for fried okra. Who isn't nostalgic for fried okra? It's a fascinating read if you have the time to click on the link. A nostalgic playlist, submitted by readers is included for your listening pleasure. For me, every now and again, when I hear the song "Happy Together", I am swept back to the ninth grade when me, and you know who, made it our song. :)

My, I've gotten off topic! Green, and more green!
Mr. Baxter was a very good walker indeed.
I spoke with two folks fishing along the bank who claimed they were catching nothing which didn't surprise me much as there were no shore birds to speak of. I'm pretty confidant their absence means no fish in the water. On the other hand, there was that funky algae which we've discovered in the past is a good thing.
The cypress trees are dense with leaves.
It's hard to imagine that this lovely scene is mere yards from one of the busiest highways in our area, as seen in the upper right. Then again, it is called an urban park. Duh! Rain and then some, has greened up all of the grass that sits in the unshaded areas.
Sunlight and shadows.....

My trip to Leu Gardens last week was filled with every shade of green you can imagine:
From super pale, to deep emerald.
Yellowish green,
as well as green leaning toward blue,
Do you suppose when Crayola was coming up with the box of 64 crayons, one of the greatest inventions ever, they visited gardens to come up with those colors? Have you thought about that at all? Perhaps it is time you should. Talk about nostalgia, now there's a product most everyone has used at one time in their life! Or maybe it's just an American thing?

Naturally I could go on and on with photos, but you get my drift. There are fans of the brown shades found in the deserts, and than there are fans of green. From my Florida background you're probably assuming I'm in the later group and if so, then you would be correct.

Finally, I took this last week, and aside from how cool the spider looks, the web is possibly even more so. Oddly enough, the Sunday newspaper had a two pack giveaway of a cream containing retinol, with the accompanying illustration looking so very much like this unusual web.
 The package claims it is from nature--maybe they meant it!

Here's hoping the rain holds off until I get my clothes off the line!

Limping Along