Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Week

Oh what a rain we had!! My, oh my, it rained, and rained, and rained. Monday and Tuesday were not the kind of weather days you like having when you have family visiting. We did get out, but not much. Tuesday we'd planned on going to Lakeland to visit the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings at Florida Southern, but wisely we shifted that activity to Friday due to the inclement weather. After spending more time on I-4 than I would have liked Sunday night following the show, I did not relish the possibility of doing so two days later. After it was all said and done, just about 5 inches of rain fell, filling both the pool to the brim, and any other open container outside. Bruce loaned our wheelbarrow to Nadav, later getting a text that it was in front of the garage. The next morning it looked like this:
While Bruce was doing the outside clean up, he emptied the brimming pool onto the already sodden lawn.
Meanwhile, after multiple shopping trips, the inside preparations began in earnest. Finally the sun came out casting some lovely light on the dining table. Not to mention, highlighting the dust!
Those are the leaves B brought home from Virginia!

Did I mention it was such a pleasure working in our newly painted kitchen? I should have! I love Tom for lots of reasons including that he loves to cook for Matt, something I've struggled with for years. You can't imagine how helpful this is for the main cook not to have to dream up vegan dishes, even though they are becoming more popular all the time. Although Pat said this year that he's fallen off the total vegan bandwagon, he still makes it his primary diet, as does Ruth. So, we all shared the kitchen, divvying up duties--Tom for vegan, Matt for bread, and me for most of the remaining dishes. Let the hummus making begin!
And the rolls....
It is always interesting for me to watch Matt making bread; particularly the shaping, and baking. Because I now have a pizza stone, he used that to bake the rolls on.
They came out cute as little buttons.
When the oven became free, I cooked the pies. Saying that neither pie looked magazine worthy is an understatement, however, reports on the apple pie were positive. Same goes for the pumpkin.
A big gathering like this includes all of us pitching in one way or another. Lisa and Danny sent the flowers. And although I ask folks not to bring anything, they ignored me, bringing additional pies, and a beautiful orchid from Pat and Ruth. Cheryle and David joined us this year, with David using his wonderful voice to sing the Doxology before we ate.

But most of that occurred later. Tom cooked up a storm Wednesday, making lentils and rice along with a complicated kale salad.
It's almost ridiculous making that one sentence long because just the fried onions on the left took about an hour and a half to cook! The rice dish was to be prettied up with pomegranate seeds; after watching a video on how best to remove them, Matt proceeded to do so with great success.
If only I'd given him a deeper bowl he would have completely avoided the juice getting on anything!
Baxter kept us company in the kitchen hoping we would drop something!
Happily, by Thanksgiving, there was nary a cloud in the gorgeous blue sky with sun shining all day long. The temperature was on the chilly side for Floridians, but infinitely preferable to the temperatures earlier in the week which hovered in the low 80's.
Early Thanksgiving morning Matt and Tom drove to Lake Eola to participate in the 25th running of the Turkey Trot, a non-competitive 5K. You've heard me say it before, but it bears repeating, that Orlando is at heart, a small town. In a crowd of nearly 5,000 they ran into Matt's cousin Katie!

Once home, and cleaned up, Tom went to work once again, topping and tipping, in his words, the green beans.
At the same time, I peeled eight pounds of potatoes, and the stove was ready to go, with an empty pan for the gravy and corn.
We used every available hard surface for the food and dining! Maxing out the kitchen table...
the dining table...
and the patio table...
which is where I eventually settled down. The expanded dessert selection...
and there you go. After days of preparation the feasting was done. The fire pit kept folks warm under a beautiful winter sky.
Bruce, along with Matt, got the kitchen in as good shape as possible, and after all left, we collapsed on the couch, watching an episode of "Game of Thrones" before bed. Needless to say, we all slept well that night.

We indeed have much to be thankful for this year. That said, it is always a pleasure to join with our family and collectively be grateful for our many, many blessings.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Best, and The Worst

Time and time again, in this space, you've read about my experiences at various art festivals. Today, you'll be reading about both the best, and worst, festival I've yet to do.

Friday I spent most of the day organizing my prints--emptying every tub and box, while doing my best to edit! Ha ha!
Then, in the middle of the afternoon I made some veggie chili for the arriving sons. I just love chopping vegetables when I'm a wee bit anxious.
As also previously discussed, putting things out for sale is always a gamble because you never know what folks will buy. So, in spite of a gazillion subjects in my baskets, people invariably ask for something more. Such as the young man who purchased a black and white photo of a barber chair, taken in DeLand, I might add. Do you have any more barber related photos? No sir, I don't. Then there was the person who wanted music related items, eschewing the guitar photo, instead wanting a piano. Again, sorry. Further, there was the woman who came to my tent asking if I was Gail Peck. "Yes ma'am. Do I know you?" She responded that she felt like she knew me from poring over my website. About the website---I'm terribly uninterested in it, rarely adding or subtracting anything. As such, there are images on there that haven't seen print in ages. Naturally she wanted one of those! U-Turn, taken in January of 2009.....
I think she left wondering what kind of "artist" I was!

And then there was the weather to contend with. Not good at all, at least on Saturday, with gloomy skies, along with intermittent rain and wind. Surprisingly enough, there were more people on Saturday when the weather was terrible, than on the clearer skied Sunday. Plus, there were more buyers. Go figure.

I was pretty darn glad when I zipped up the tent to head home on Saturday just after 5.
I believe I speak for all of the artists--happy to get out of the weather. Driving in the dark is not my favorite, but it could not be helped for this show. In fact, Bruce left the house at 5 AM Saturday morning for the set up. Most festivals the set up is on Friday night, however, in DeLand, they use the main street, only blocking it starting at 6AM on festival day. I left about an hour later, and it was dark, dark, dark. I'm not quite sure how he even set things up! At day's end there was still some light, but not much along with steady rain for about 30 miles of my drive home leaving me more than ready for a glass of wine when I got home!

Because more rain was predicted for Sunday afternoon, during the close up time, I left early Sunday morning as well in order to get our fantastic parking space very close to our booth. So, that was one of the best parts of the show--easy parking. After opening the tent, I made my way to the "Artist Oasis", walking down the already decorated Woodland Blvd.
DeLand is the county seat for Volusia County and they have an excellent government building.
You can see how wet everything still is from the overnight rain. Number two great thing about this show is that they FEED the artists, both breakfast and lunch! So very generous of them, as I believe I ranted about the Winter Park show where they don't give you so much as a bottle of water! They have an excellent team of volunteers, who not only serve the food, but do booth watching so you can go eat, AND come along with bottles of water!
I cannot say enough about how wonderful this is. That said, Sunday was pretty slow. My friend Brandy was super close to my booth, in fact this shot of her and Melissa, who did that terrific horse painting you see ($5,000!), pretty much sums up Sunday--long and not enough sales.
So funny that they were dressed nearly alike--Brandy is in the pink tennis shoes.

It turns out, I'm sad to say, that this was my worst art festival, in terms of sales, that I've ever done. :(
I did, on the other hand, sell SEVEN of the framed canvases making me very happy indeed. Another thing that made me happy was when the boys showed up--Matt, Tom and Bruce! We all worked together taking it down and it went super quick.
Which was a darn good thing because our drive home was anything but!! Traffic stopped on the interstate just after Sanford, and we crawled until we could finally get off at Lake Mary. With Matt using my phone for directions, he steered us towards an alternate route. I joked that at least we weren't in Buffalo, bless their souls--no clue how they do it! What should have been a quick 45 minute ride, turned into about 90+ minutes. Had we not got off when we did, there's no telling how long it would have taken.

With that in mind, it seems only fitting that once we got to Tijuana Flats for dinner, we waited, and waited, and waited, for our food. Eventually, after getting someone's attention, our much needed food arrived with the main dinner discussion Bruce's hot sauce rating criteria.

For the last three years I've been applying to this show, not getting in, so I was looking forward to the chance to show once again in DeLand. Would I do it again despite the lower than hoped for sales? Probably, because it is one of the few shows that treat the artists as more than a commodity. To be in a show such as this, I paid $40 for the jury fee, followed by, once I was accepted, $270 for my space. So, right off the bat you are $310 in the hole. I know countless artists that never get out of that hole, and I am more than grateful I am not one of them.  You do the math. Should all art festivals spend some of that money on the artists? I think so. In the best case scenario for a show, the artists would be treated well, AND they would have good sales! Sadly, that is seriously rare.

Now that the show is behind me, time to get to Publix for the turkey. Getting a head count just now for Thanksgiving which is a mere four cooking days away!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Keep Us Posted

Have I told you the garden centers around here are jam packed with gorgeous flowers? Oh, yeah, I probably already did. BUT, it bears repeating! So many flowers, so few places to plant them is my only lament.  A big storm, earlier this week, with heavy wind and rain, was a welcome occurrence, however, I'd have been a wee bit happier if it had not mangled my flowers.
They were so bright and cheery before taking a beating. Furthermore, a pot of fantastic dahlias toppled, breaking off one of the blooms. :(
I told you it is fantastic! Fortunately there are more blooms to brighten the walkway towards the side door.

So, Saturday, during my morning bike ride, I stopped at a garage sale. Surprise, surprise! NOT. You know the drill, I'm on my bike, with nothing but my camera, and a jacket. BUT, once home, I rushed in, telling B about my possible find. Because he was going over to work at Bill's house, he could stop on the way? Why, yes, that is just what he did. He's just so good to me.

Here is what he bought for $2.00. Minus the paint job, of course.
A real bird with a fake bird. Do you think Mr. Cardinal is afraid of the big boy? Why, no he is not.
Just what I was hoping would happen--a little bird perch; not to mention a jolt of back yard color that requires no weeding!

Speaking of $2.00 finds, I picked this up at another garage sale.
I have a few antique cameras, making this one more for the mini collection. Here's a video I'm watching to learn more. Of course there is the matter of locating useable film.......
While Bruce was helping Bill, I was watching college football. As in, most of the day! Normally I could never sit still for so long, but on this day I was hand quilting a baby throw made from some of my vintage fabric!! We talked about chain stitching the other day, here is a good image of it.
It's a darn good thing I had something to keep my hands busy during the FSU-Miami game! Had I not been busy I would have been pacing the living room because it was a heart stopper! Seriously, I know that sounds crazy, but for a big fan, such as myself, those dramatic moments are enough to make a sane person crazy! I have no idea how Coach Jimbo Fisher can maintain his cool. The team keeps on winning, posting a 26 game streak to date, however, this year the wins are hard to come by. Can they repeat as National Champions? Only time will tell. In any case, the game kept me up way past my bedtime, but I did manage to nearly complete the quilting.

Not only was I up late, but once in bed, it took me who knows how long, to get to sleep. B let me sleep in as late as possible before the market, which, although a gorgeous day, was not nearly as busy as I'd hoped. B. did put up my bunting though. Care to see it? Well, of course you would!
Isn't this a funny shot? So fun that I caught the girl's reaction to one of the greeting cards I sell.

The rain was intermittent on Wednesday, finally letting up in the middle of the afternoon, leaving dramatic skies in the wake of a serious cold front. As in, 43 degrees overnight!!
Leaving Clemons Produce the other afternoon, while walking to the car, look what I saw atop said car!
Then too, this lady in purple (!), started up a chat about photographing birds. She told me that some years ago she took a prize winning shot of a Great Blue Heron that was on display at Epcot for a year.  How about that for a random chat? Once I was beside said car, after taking a few shots, I figured it was time for both me, and the Snowy Egret, to get a move on. Except he was not buying that. I spoke nicely, however, he stayed put. I then tapped on the car top. No dice. In his own sweet time, he finally flew off, landing on another unsuspecting motorist's vehicle.
Some folks move away after growing up, and then some folks are like us, staying close to home for their entire lives. How close am I talking about? Well, I grew up behind this shopping center, so, real close.

Around our home, the majority of our furniture is used, and not just by us. Between thrift stores, garage sales, and my current favorite, Something Different, I generally prefer to buy used for several reasons, one of which is scale. Old stuff just suits an old house better. The thing is, I've paid for it all. That, however, is now going to be not entirely true because I have now become a trash picker. That's right--a trash picker. Riding down Appleton early one morning, I saw in the dim light what appeared to be a trunk out for trash pickup. Pulling over, I sized it up, thinking good thoughts. It was B that required some convincing. Riding right back from whence I came, I rushed in and asked B to follow me down the street. Skeptical, he helped me carry it home, and good thing, because it was darn heavy even with the two of us carrying it! It took days before we actually brought it inside, but I'm kind of liking this trunk, with drawers no less!
And there he is, where you will find him pretty much five days of the week. Please note I said five days a week, not the seven he had become accustomed to! Things are going well for him. Not so much for a whole bunch of his co-workers who were let go on Monday, including his super close friends, Steve and Jeff. The hedge fund that took over the board at Darden is doing what Jeff called, a blood-letting. We are so sad...

That said, we know there is life after Darden! As you well know---that is, if you are one of the ones that I've been keeping posted. :)

p.s. Matt and Tom arrive tomorrow at 5!!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Two Movies, Along With Some Fall Flowers for Good Measure

Two movie going experiences within two weeks is a rarity around these parts. Generally, I'm a
stick- in-the mud when it comes to movies, mostly because  I am uninterested in the Apocalypse, vampires, time travel, super heros, and extreme violence. So, pretty much everything that is currently in vogue. Nevertheless, this time of the year a few films of interest oftentimes appear, so there you go. Or, in this case, there we went.
Don't be surprised by the pop up of flower photos--my title told you they were coming!! Isn't this the absolute cutest? I went crazy when I saw it at the garden center, so, no, I take no credit for growing it, and I only hope it lasts for ages!

"St. Vincent", with a short piece from the Washington Post, including a video here, was good. Bill Murray was fantastic, as were the supporting players, in what is really a Bill Murray vehicle showcasing him as a crotchety, what we later learn, old veteran, with hidden secrets. The story of how he came to play the part is here, and believe me, it's a good one. The bottom line is this: we went away from the theater feeling good, that things will turn out right in the long run if given the right circumstances. I say---go see for yourself!
Look who is sitting pretty these days? A rare photo for me as I generally cannot get them to sit still long enough in the Jatropha tree for a photo!

On the other hand, we did not leave the theater feeling even the slightest bit good after seeing "Nightcrawler" on Friday evening. This trailer gives fair warning.
Because I did not see the trailer, only a small synopsis, as in two lines, in the newspaper, I thought maybe it would be interesting. That it was. Jake Gyllenhall is superb, playing the creepiest guy I've seen in film for quite some time. Think Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men", and you get a little bit of the picture. Instead of a gun, Jake Gyllenhall uses a video camera to wreak more havoc than you ever thought possible. The entire cast is outstanding. Although local television news is not as extreme as pictured in the film, it's probably closer to the depiction than we'd like to think. Have you ever wondered who does shoot crime scene photos and videos? I had not, prior to seeing this film. Here is an article about Chicago's real life "Nightcrawler." The name of the film should have been a tip, however, somehow I did not get it. Think cockroach? Nevertheless, both Bruce and I came away somewhat shaken by the seamier side of life shown in the film. Should you go see this one? Depends on your tolerance for the violent and creepy.
Bougainvillea gone wild at our neighbor's house down the street! Gorgeous, isn't it?

The mild temperatures during Fall make for a great time for flowers in Florida. Our red hibiscus, out back, is going mad with about forty blooms, which I hope is a trend that continues until Matt and Tom arrive on Friday.
Regina has a climbing rose on her front porch that is looking mighty fine.
While on my bike ride the other morning, someone has this version of the Passion flower covering a fence. More often than not you see the purple version which is good, but this is my favorite color.
Alongside the pool chairs I bought some purple to brighten the back yard, and guess who came to check things out?
If you've been wondering why I've not posted many bird photos of late, it is not because I have not wanted to, believe you me. For whatever reason, the birds have been few and far between during the last couple of weeks. Except for a Saturday morning when about a gazillion red winged blackbirds came to feed.
Their colors are fantastic this time of the year as well. In spite of only four being on the feeder in this shot, there were plenty more waiting their turn. :)

So, all of the above flowers are terrific, but the real show stopper, blooming around the city, are these sunflowers!
To tell you the truth, I don't really know what these are called because they grow on very tall bushes, reaching maybe twenty feet into the sky. Whatever their name, they are glorious! While riding I came across a yard with multiple bushes, and just as I was wondering how to get a shot, the folks came out of the house to head to work. Asking nicely, she was gracious enough to let me roam her yard at will.

At the other end of our street, a neighbor has a fence covered with these blooms.
Lovely, aren't they?

While on the subject of watching stories unfold on the screen, did I ever tell you terrific the HBO mini series, Olive Kitteredge was? If not, I'm doing so now. I'm clueless as to how a person could watch it now, but if the opportunity presents itself, I recommend that you do.

Good news!! It was so darn warm yesterday that I got to wear the blouse I wrote about here! And just when I thought Siri was pretty darn useless, I asked her about the pink bunny pictured in that blog post. Incredibly, or so I thought because generally I can't even get her to call Bruce, "she" searched the web and I discovered it was in honor of, well, how about you read about it here?

Okay, enough writing, because the truth is, I should be working on my final order before the weekend show in DeLand, where they treat the artists better than almost any show I've ever done. I must get on it....

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Looking Through the Shoeboxes

In spite of that adorable picture I posted of Jon boy in my last post, to tell you the truth, he was quite the rascal. Ask his brothers, if you don't believe me, however, they might say unkind things which really don't need to be said. Take it from me---he could be a hand full.

So much so, that to go along with that sewing room photo, I went rummaged through photos this morning looking for one that may have been taken later that same day. Sadly I could not locate it, but it depicts string, lots and lots of string, that he has roped around everything in the room with a big grin on his face. Wonder where it went?

Looking through old photos--who doesn't like doing so? I have four shoeboxes full, I suppose loosely, one for each decade of our married life? Thinking of it in another way, one for each son? I, for one love seeing our life in photographs, especially because there are only about three professional shots in the bunch--the rest are candid. Sing your life? You bet.

Let's do some looking together, shall we? Here is Bruce not long after we began going steady in 1968.
Sorry for the blurriness. He's standing alongside our family station wagon parked in our driveway. Note the VW bug in the background!! Then too, this brings back a funny memory---because our brother Pat was serving in Viet Nam, the lawn mowing was left to us girls, more specifically me. Even back then Bruce was super sweet, and being the gentleman that he was, he mowed the lawn in my stead. Except, that darn mower got away from him, and ran into the chrome rocker panel on the bottom of my Mom's car!! Anyone who knew our Dad will think of this next bit as classic Tom Price. He only slightly let Bruce off the hook, by making him buy the part (around $11 as B recalls), and not charging him for the labor! I'm still chuckling at the recollection. :)

A few years later, make that 1971, here is a shot of us when we were going to the prom. My dress, homemade. Then too, note that long before Instagram, photos were often square.
I think I may have shown a version of this before but, really, it's worth showing again to see how cute Bruce was!!

Have you ever wondered what Walt Disney World looked like under construction? Now's your chance to see Main Street when it was still dirt! Bruce's Dad was a Superintendent for American Bridge, building both the Polynesian Resort, and the Contemporary Hotel. We got a sneak peek.
Speaking of Tom Price, here's another classic--he wore those boots everywhere, except for work, including with shorts!
This was taken in 1971, after we had moved to Melbourne. The line up goes thusly---Dad, Mom, Pat, Maureen, Gail, Carol, Nancy, and Lisa. I only wish Lisa's bell bottoms weren't cut off! And, of course, that it were not so faded. I suspect my Dad set up a tripod to take this one? It was not long after this that I left home to attend x-ray school. Then, not too long after that, I was a married woman. Here's a shot of me when I was 21, but I look about 12!
Can you guess what I was doing here? Painting the bathroom of our first home!!! You're not surprised are you? B and I spent six weekends painting the outside, before moving to the interior--my house painting career began on Hargill Street.

Matt was born on Hargill Street, however, when he was one year old, we moved to California, then moved back to Florida a year later. We found a house for the three of us, however, before we could move in, I discovered I was pregnant. Fast forward about three months, and I discovered we were having twins! Bill and Dave were born on April Fools Day in 1979. Here I am on Christmas of that year, looking pretty worn out. Adding insult to injury, I see I'm sporting a cold sore!! Look at those toys on the hall floor!! Look at that carpet!!
Look at those twins!! That was some lapful, wasn't it? Here's my sister Nancy, with Matt, and the twins when they were around the same age as above.
Have you seen strollers these day? Looking like little space ships they are so complicated. There's a funny story I've told countless times regarding this stroller. B & D were rascals themselves, so much so, I ended up getting harnesses to keep them in the stroller. So, they were not only rascals, but clever as well. Or maybe not. One day I was shopping, and had my back turned for probably not very long, when I turned around to see the stroller in a tug of war, if you will. Both of the boys had climbed out while wearing their harnesses. One went one way, and vice versa. Those were the days! Furthermore, this is super weird--one day while walking the boys in the above stroller someone asked me, "aren't you glad you didn't have Siamese twins?" In today's language, cojoined twins. Anyway, how does a person respond to such a stupid question?? I will say, 35 years ago, twins were very unusual, nothing like today, so people stopped me all of the time to see them. At the time, identical twins accounted for 3 in 1,000 births. No telling what it is today.

Then along came Jonathan, four years later. On the back of this photo I wrote, Jonathan loving Matthew, 10/84.
This was in the kitchen of the same home pictured above with Nancy. You can barely see it, but this most recent time painting the kitchen cabinets was not my first. I did the ones in this kitchen using oil paint. DO NOT ask me how I pulled that off with four little children in the house because I have no idea!  Here's another shot of that ugly as sin carpet with all four of our tow heads on Matt's 8th birthday.
No comments on the couch please! I love everything about the boys in this photo, with their silken blonde hair all askew. The twins are wearing home made pjs.

And in this photo, taken for our church's directory, I'm wearing a home made blouse.
I'm pretty sure it is David on my left, although I'm never certain looking at old photos. Anyway, both the twin in the front, and Jonathan, are wearing shirts I made. There's that perm again!

I seemed to have come across a number of Jon boy photos--here he is oblivious to the weather, wearing a long sleeved shirt, shoes and socks, and a diaper.
Probably snuck out of the house before I could get his pants on! At least he's wearing a rain coat in  the one below. By now we'd moved into a four bedroom home giving this big family a little breathing room.
I'm super glad I have this photo because not only is it cute of Jon boy, but it also shows my white station wagon which in itself has quite the story. I think it was David who went with me when I was trying to sell it, meeting a potential customer in the parking lot of a Marriott on International Drive. The paint on this car peeled pretty significantly and we were later to learn that it was the subject of a recall. We did our best to make it presentable, not knowing about the recall. B. did some sanding, and then hit it with some spray paint, or so I recall. Seeing the paint job the man exclaimed to me, "Gail, it looks like someone took a Brillo pad to this thing. " I was embarrassed to say the least. Aside from that story I can't recall how we got rid of the car....

Matt and I were talking the other day about photography and the limitations that come with it. While I am super glad we have digital photography today, I am also glad it was not around when we were raising our family. No fancy photos, just everyday life, and how we lived it. There's something to be said for shoeboxes full of life. :)

You Just Never Know