Saturday, May 30, 2015

Here and There

Just the other day, as I was in the vicinity, I drove through the peacock neighborhood off Lake Margaret. Oh yeah, now I remember why I was around there. Of course only I will remember the two trips I've made to the clock repair guy at "The Swiss House" on Edgewater Drive in College Park. Long story short, the other two fixes, as in battery issues, did not cut it, so I finally decided to go for broke, and get it working for the long haul. I love that clock, and have so missed having it work. More than ten years ago I purchased it from a gallery in Ft. Lauderdale that represents the artist. Checking online, I discovered that they had moved the shop to Curry Ford Road across the street from my favorite produce market, Clemons! Hurray! He fixed it while we were chatting about the move, and once again, it is both keeping time, AND the pendulum is swinging. Happy days are here again!

What a crazy long lead-in to this photo...
What was so weird about my visit to the neighborhood is that I probably saw maybe ten peacocks and peahens? Wonder where they were hiding? My last visit I saw at the very least, 50! It is most wise to drive carefully on those streets, as generally there are many peacock crossings. Well, because I was driving so slowly, I happened to see this....
Oh my gosh!! On the one hand you have to feel kind of bad for the frog, however, on the other hand, it is the cycle of life which we all know can be cruel.
Just when you thought I'd photographed anything and everything, right?

Prior to all this activity, I finally used my winnings from the Parkinson's fundraiser that I wrote about here. Originally I thought I was bidding on a facial, but as it turns out, it was more, as in a pedicure/facial/massage package. In desperate need of a pedicure, I made the appointment for that service. It was nothing like I'd experienced before, because not once in all my pedicure ways have I been seated in a zero gravity chair!
Yup, I've got my head inches from the ground! The Beauty Spot is what might be called very eclectic, if you know what I mean.
According to their website, it is a place where "beauty has a soul." Stay tuned for the next appointment in a few weeks!

It is that time of year again...the night blooming cactuses are budding out all over town.
Another tree, nearby is stunning this time of the year..I've learned it is called a Golden Chain tree, and you can see why! This is a close up of some of the branches taken about two weeks ago.
It now looks like this!!
Pretty spectacular, don't you agree?

Well, I thought it was going to be a once in a lifetime shot, but I was wrong. Not nearly what the other photo was, but as I was talking to a neighbor, while scanning the trees for "my owls", I finally saw one across the street from where we were standing. Lo and behold, before our very eyes, it flew to another tree and...
Not a great photo, but I thought you'd like to know.

Finally, I made some fried okra the other day and here's what my frying station looked like.
The ones in the middle, obviously waiting their turn, are developing their breading. What I mean by that is, if you let them sit awhile after coating, the crunchy part is crunchier, or that's what I learned from a fried chicken recipe, and I believe it holds true for okra. A good soak in ice water, followed by a turn in a cornmeal/flour/spice mixture is what you do. Let the frying begin!! Oh yeah, and eating too.

my last post in May 2015,

Gail

p.s. prompting me to wonder what five years ago I had to say. Oh my! A great title on that one for sure.



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sunset/Sunrise

First off, I don't know what to make of this on two fronts...
Being on Overstock.com is really something, courtesy of my art publisher, Sun Dance,  and secondly, how weird is it that it appeared on my phone? I guess we all have a love/hate relationship with technology; so good for learning stuff and keeping in touch, so creepy that "they" can predict your habits. How do you feel about it?

Last evening, before supper at seven, I asked Bruce if he wanted to head down to the lake for a few casts to which he replied--good idea. He'd been working non-stop for hours and hours and it was time to call it quits. Following our meal, we took our little doggie, a chair, a camera (of course!), and the fishing gear. Thinking I might get a good sunset, I thought wrong.
It was nice, but not what I was expecting. Some dogs love the water, ours, not so much. I was shocked when he put his paw in the water!
Perhaps you notice that he has been recently groomed? As in Saturday, so he's looking quite good, and I imagine, feeling much cooler without all that hair! As is her custom, Tanya put a little kerchief on him which he promptly shook off. Not so fast buddy! A holiday party is coming...
So, Mr. Baxter put that paw in the water because he was trying to get Bruce's attention after he shrugged off his sandals and stood on the sandy bottom of the shoreline. The only color in the sky was to the East.
Or, at least I think it is the East!! Anyway, not much, whatever direction it is.

After about an hour, with darkness looming, we made our way back home in surprisingly pleasant conditions. Just enough breeze to keep both the mosquitos away, and the humidity down.

This morning Bruce took off for DC, leaving around 6AM. I woke up while he was cleaning up, allowing me to give him my love and best wishes for the next two days. Looking out the glass front door, I noticed a seriously red sky during the sunrise. Hopping in my car, camera in tow, I drove a few blocks to a clear spot facing East. My what a show over Lake Pineloch! David and Michelle live on the left side of this picture in case you are curious.
As you know, I'm sort of a proponent of the red sky at night, sailors delight saying, however, the last two days it has let me down. Yesterday morning was as red as can be, and not a drop of rain fell! Speaking of rain, have you been watching the news about the flooding in Texas? My goodness me. Jonathan and Alissa are mighty glad they are in San Fransisco for a friend's wedding instead of the misery they would be facing in Austin.

Before I forget, I finished the Nancy Drew book, and it was a good one. What girl wouldn't have loved reading about her capers? I marked a passage from the book to share from page 191:

The waiting officers did not disturb the conversation, for Nancy seemed to be leading up to something important. They were astounded at her cleverness.

Don't you just love it? George and Bess were pretty clever themselves.

In nature news:
  • After enduring the long winter in Arkansas and Tennessee, Nancy spent a lot of her time outdoors soaking up the heat and observing the garden. It was quite a tree watching the Spicy Jatropha tree living up to it's reputation as a butterfly magnet.
  • Out front, a dragonfly was hanging around, unlike any I can remember seeing.
  • The air plant is putting on quite the show right now.
Super cool, right?
  • And now for your daily owl photograph...
Baby was so close yesterday. Nancy may have come away with the impression that her sister has gone plum crazy as I generally talk to them during visiting hours! Doesn't he look so cute in spite of those crazy long talons?

Two or so weeks ago I mentioned that the kids at RT-Art were the best, and I even took photographs of them to share, but other stuff took precedence. No longer...may I introduce Stefani?
and Kevin...
These two work their sizing magic on my prints, however, without Trish, making sense of all my emailed orders, nothing would be accomplished. Believe me, those emails can be confusing!
On the same day that I took the above, I finally spent my Christmas gift card from Dave and Michelle at the Lily Pulitzer store on Park Avenue. Choices, choices, choices...
That sure is a colorful store, and coming from the likes of me, you know it must be so!! I chose the navy dress closest to the door. 

Finally, we had the pleasure of some visitors from North Carolina last week, Karen and Jim Howard who are pictured looking at my wall calendar of photos from England.
Karen's Mom was a war bride from England following WWII. She's a genealogy nut who once tried to get me started on the Price family genealogy, however, I got mostly nowhere. Picking up the mantle and with Jane's help, Tom's Mom, Matt filled in most of the blanks on both my Mother and Father's side of the family.  My dad's family is from Wales, mostly places with names no Florida girl could hope to pronounce.

And there you go, I believe we are all caught up for now.

Stay tuned for more of the exciting, as well as the mundane,

Gail

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Three Day Weekend

You might be under the assumption that every day is a weekend for someone who does not hold a job outside the home, and that is true to an extent. While it may be mostly true for me, for Bruce it is anything but. Most weekends he carries on with his paying gig, taking time here and there for other activities, including my market set up, and take down. My suggestion to skip the market was met with enthusiasm by both parties involved.

After struggling with technical difficulties, as in new phones etc., the weekend got off to a good start, with yard work done by noon Saturday. Our Netflix problems came later, but for the time being we were happy. A Memorial Day pool party was in the works, and lo and behold, Bruce came with me for the shopping, which is either a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. He tempers my frugal nature. :)

While heading to our car, outside Publix, we saw a girl with a heck of a lot of balloons, which I could not for the life of me figure out how she was going to fit them in a car.
By golly, she managed to get them all in the back of that black Jeep! After unloading the car at home, we took off again for Fresh Market for the hamburger meat. While there we bought a delicious whole chicken, some salad, and that was dinner. Highly recommended.

It was to be dinner and a movie, however, Netflix refused to cooperate. Long story short, rebooting finally did the trick. By then Bruce had fallen asleep...

Sunday, after a full breakfast at home, we went on a bike ride in the surrounding neighborhoods, including a stop at the owl house. Seriously, what would this blog be without an owl picture? I was so delighted Bruce got to see one of the babies, who, in true owl fashion, just stared down at us.
Our ride included a stop at the lake lot which is looking very fine due to another neighbor's efforts. We thank him.
I began preparing the party salads---macaroni, and potato. It was a darn good thing I was not making deviled eggs because, for the first time in a long time, those eggs were a devil to peel. Wonder if that is where they got their name? Generally, the bring them to a boil for two minutes method, followed by covering the pan for ten more, followed by immersing them in ice water does the trick, but not this time. Yikes that is frustrating. I'm sure it was because my eggs were just too fresh.

After quilting, and watching golf, we went to Hill's Happy Hour which was fun as usual. We brought along the corn hole game for another activity besides drinking which we are all very good at. Some folks were good, me--terrible! One, of the only two bags I got on the board, knocked in our opponents bag, sealing the win for them. Note to potential players--Gail is not good to have on your team.

Then it was both Memorial Day, and party day. After getting a start on our party preparations, we made time to attend the service at Greenwood Cemetery.
It was a good one, much more moving than last year. In fact, several times I was brought to tears. The man in the foreground, saluting the flag, was crying himself when he tried to recount the loss of one of their long time members.
It was so sweet when the lady chaplain took over for him. It is mighty easy to take the military for granted when you have no skin in the game, isn't it? That said, Bruce's Uncle Rolla died in WWII, buried at sea in the Pacific. I don't know how his Grandma ever got over the loss of her only son. I cannot imagine.

Once home, I prepared a fruit plate, which turned out kind of pretty; bonus points for the tasty pineapple.
A pretty serious rainstorm began at 11, causing me a little panic, as you can imagine when you are having a pool party, however, by party time at 1, things were looking good, and improved steadily throughout the day.

We had the usual, hamburgers and hot dogs, baked beans, shrimp cocktail, the aforementioned salads, and corn on the cob. Good thing David likes to grill because I sure don't! Cheryl, David, and Catherine all came, and just like the old days, the adults were at one table, while the kids (!!) were in the kitchen. I was only sorry that Fallon's parents, John and Glenda, whom we met for the first time Monday, were not able to stay for the food.
I bought myself a little treat...
and used my Mom's tablecloth, thanks to Lisa, who hand-delivered it the other day. After our food settled, some went swimming, and some got very serious about corn hole. Bill and Eddie annihilated everyone they played.
Catherine was a good sport, playing all afternoon with mixed results.
As I mentioned, the weather turned out to be beautiful, with a lovely shade spot on the side yard to play. The pretty girls watched.
Because she was not able to come to our little party for Bruce on his birthday, Michelle brought him a delicious ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. The candles, provided by her, were sparklers that refused to blow out.
All in all, it was a perfect day.

By eight, the dishes were done, the tent taken down, and the food all put away. Me--I crawled in bed with my Nancy Drew--The Mystery of the Moss Covered Mansion, which is still a good read. With only about twenty pages to go, I still can't figure out the mystery! It must be noted, however, there are  some scenes which are not politically correct, that's for sure.

As I type, Bruce is back at it, on a conference call using the speaker phone. I amuse myself by trying to figure out who is talking...

Gail





Friday, May 22, 2015

Sometimes the Last to Know

A couple of days ago Maureen went shopping with us. Mostly it was just Nancy and myself hitting the stores, but on this day, Maureen accompanied us. If you don't already know this, Maureen is a walking encyclopedia of both trivia and other, more relevant facts. I don't know which category this fits in, but when both she and Nancy knew that Aldi owns Trader Joe's, I felt left out. As in, how could I not know this when they do? Am I the last to know this astounding fact? Immediately I called Sue whose husband Duncan is a big Aldi shopper--"oh yeah, we knew that" she nonchalantly commented. So there.

As such, we stopped into an Aldi supermarket, and frankly, we were pleasantly surprised with what we found. Curious minds want to know, and I certainly have one, so the minute we got home, the iPad was put to use learning about the company, and how it came to be that they owned Trader Joe's. Very interesting stuff to say the least, and if you don't already know the story of Trader Joe's, and have a curious mind yourself, I suggest you click on THIS LINK.

Closer to home, look who came out of the trees?
Yup, it is Momma, or so I think. I've tried and tried to tell any difference between the babies, and just when I thought there was some difference in their head shapes to tell them apart, I read this, which both helped, and hurt my case.

As you well know by now, I am pretty obsessed with the owls, visiting them most days to watch the changes as they grow. A few days ago, as I was observing them I heard someone call my name. Turns out it was Wes, riding his bike with his beagle as a tag along.
I met Wes early on in my days with the "baby camera." Back then I would photograph ANYTHING, not too unlike today, however, in my immediate area I've mostly covered everything by now. Anyway, I'd stopped in his front yard asking if I might photograph some yellow flowers. After responding in a positive fashion, he suggested I might want to come in his backyard to see if I wanted to photograph anything there. Well, sure enough, it was full of goodies. Several of the photos I took that day sold briskly. Then too, another interesting fact about him is that his family owned a ranch which is now the site of Sea World. Anyway, we talked about the owls, and while doing so, I watched a feather drop from what I assumed is the mama owl. I wanted that feather, but soon forgot while we were talking.

As I was riding back I remembered the feather, turning around to pick it up, and that is when I saw her/him in the yard. Woo hoo!! Good light and everything. Plus, the kids were in the tree doing this!!!
Oh my gosh, I was having a fit. Then they just stared at me..
Can you believe how much their chest feathers have come in? Do you detect any size difference? Based on the grooming business, I assumed the one on the right was the female, which is stereotypical, but apparently meaningless. Then, much to my delight the one on the left started calling for food--fantastic. Then too, my bike was in the middle of the man's driveway where the palms are, and he drove up, calling out that it was just fine, and if I got a good one, he'd like a copy. Done!

As a reminder, in the beginning of all this obsession, this is how he/she looked.
I decided to give you an overview of what the area looks like giving you a notion about how it takes some sleuthing to find them!
Needless to say I was glad I went back for the feather which, for the record, I did not find. Today they moved across the street in slightly better light.
I know you are sick to death of all this, but according to the article, linked above, they will be leaving the area in the next few weeks, and that will be that. :(

Let me just tell you that although my sister Maureen has a debilitating disease, Parkinson's, she sure hasn't lost one iota of her mojo when it comes to music. We had a little record party Tuesday afternoon, listening to her collection of old 45's. I swear she could sing every one of them before she put them on, and there were a bunch, including some that belonged to my Dad. Please note the TLP signature. Thomas Lee Price. He had incredible handwriting back when it mattered.
She would pick one up, asking us if we remembered this or that. Me...are you kidding? That said, I did remember the words to 16 Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford, and loved hearing Peggy Lee sing, Fever!
She still had a bunch belonging to her daughter, many of which have amazing sleeves.
For dinner the three of us went back to Chuey's ,and this time it was perfect. We got there in time for Happy Hour which includes a FREE nacho bar with the most amazing queso I've ever eaten. We all had a super meal.
Nancy spent Wednesday night at Lisa's house to be closer to the airport, and now she is back in Tennessee. When Lisa brought her down to our house last week she brought me a treasure she'd been storing. I recently learned that Nancy Drew turned 85 this spring, and according to this article she's still sleuthing, albeit this time in the form of a video game. Gosh, how I loved those books. The collection Lisa brought is battered, and worn, but the minute I finish reading the fantastic book of short stories I'm reading, The American Lover, I am re-reading The Mystery of the Moss-Covered Mansion for starters.
Hard to know what I'll think, but I'm guessing it will still be GOOD. Perhaps that will happen this afternoon, poolside---it's been a busy time.

Always learning something new,

Gail

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Sister, The Woodpecker, and the Birthday Boy

Let's start with corn. I bet you already know this, but if not, here's something handy I learned a few years ago. When sautéed corn sounds better to you than eating if off the cob, hold the cob upright, scrape your knife downwards, and always have it on a clean kitchen towel.
This is the ticket for getting it into the pan with no muss, and no fuss. Rarely do I give photographic tips, but ask me about a whole host of kitchen tricks, and I'm your girl!

In that same vein, Thursday evening I decided to make an old favorite--a tomato tart. Those big boys I bought at the market were made for this sort of thing. Caramelized onions...now there is something that I find hit or miss. Love the taste, but getting them just right often eludes me. This time I used my small cast iron skillet with a little oil, and put a lid on it. Yep--a lid for most of the cooking. It worked like a charm this time.
Before putting the tomatoes in, I pre-salted them, letting them rest for about thirty minutes on the pictured paper towel to remove some of their excess juice. Better for the crust that way. Catherine came over to share it with me while waiting for Nancy and Bruce to arrive. Bruce, on time, Nancy not so much. Lisa was kind enough to drive her here from the Sanford airport as it is close to her home. We stayed up way too late....

Friday found Bruce working, while Nancy and I shopped. For dinner we went to her favorite, Linda's LaCantina for steaks and baked potatoes. Except, when the steaks arrived our server informed us they were out of potatoes. Seriously?
For the record, the steaks were just as delicious as we remembered.

Back in March, I wrote here about a woodpecker couple, or so I presumed they were. Well, obviously I can't be sure, but one day, I think it must have been Friday morning during a rain shower, I'd gone in to take a shower. Except, before closing the blinds, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a baby woodpecker on the feeder. Running to find my camera, I'd left in my bike basket. Surely, the little one would be gone before I got back...nope, it was still out front, not on the feeder mind you, but on the palm, pecking away.
While on the subject of woodpeckers, did all of you see this incredible photograph? A good example of why having a camera with you at all times is an excellent idea!

It's been a long while since I posted a squirrel photo, mostly because they no longer bother my feeders, but this one was trying.
The lack of much of a tail is what caught my eye.

For the most part Saturday is a blur, but I do have photographic evidence of Saturday night to remind me of that part of the day! After much discussion we decided to get a pizza at Metro Espresso on Central Avenue. Pizza however, was not ordered by any of us, instead we decided on spaghetti. Following our meal I suggested Nancy might like to have a look at the fountain, so we walked just around the corner to see what we could see. So will you.
Twilight is a lovely time to take photographs. :)

While standing there, I heard some music, wondering where was it coming from. We followed the sound, and lo and behold, in the circle, where the beer garden is on Sundays, we came across this group making sweet drumming music together. The Sounds of Africa is their name.
I bet you did not know how much I like African music, did you? So much so that when I heard the same in the morning after setting up my booth, I went in search of them again. Apparently they'd asked to play in the same spot but Allison said no. They found another place, drawing quite a crowd.
As you can see, the weather looked super dreary, with rain predicted. Happily it never materialized, with my sales reflecting the weather. Not great, but good enough.

I thought this photograph of a different part of the market turned out nice.
Then it was Monday, and we had a birthday boy in the house. An impromptu party was very loosely planned. As in taco salad for the group.
I had to laugh when both Bill and David showed up wearing their undershirts from work. Instead of a cake, I made Bruce's favorite, an apple pie.
I bet it's been a while since you saw anyone blowing out birthday candles on an apple pie! Earlier in the day, Cheryle and David surprised him by appearing outside his office window to sing Happy Birthday. It was all just lovely.

Finally, I've not gotten around to telling you how well Matt is doing. Five days a week, Michael, Angela's son, has been working with him doing simple exercises using resistance bands along with light weights. I'd gone over with another batch of cookies, and was delighted to be able to participate, trying each exercise after Matt did them.
He was in very good spirits I am happy to report. And I left the house feeling the same.

Enjoying life one day at a time,

Gail

Past, Present, and Future