Monday, August 31, 2015

A Storm Fizzles

Oh what a wonderful few days I've had...

Beginning with the opportunity to help uninstall, and reinstall, Dale Wayne's recycled water bottle art piece which had been hanging outside the Orange County Administration building on Rosalind Avenue for maybe two months? Can't remember when I helped her last. In any case, it is now hanging in the downtown Orlando library, and does it look fab!
Dale is pictured in the top right photo, filling in a few gaps. It was very fun to go behind the scenes at the library, a place I've visited my entire life. Everything was unloaded on the dock outside the library, and then we moved them inside on carts.The fellow on the bottom right was a genius at getting it all secured on the railings. It looked pretty outside, but inside, against the bare concrete, it is really something.

Friday afternoon Bruce had Jonathan Nieves over, a young man who helps him when he has computer problems. His business used to be known as "Send a Genius", and since ours is across the ocean, he has had to rely on Jonathan. I was listening, and what not, and of course I wanted to practice with the new camera, so I took this shot of him while he was working.
As it turns out, he needed some head shots for various promos, so we did that too. Love that sort of thing when the opportunity presents itself.

Our date night was going to be one place, however, the parking lot was packed, not to mention it was rainy, so we tried a new place called North Orange Tavern, located, yup, on N. Orange Avenue. We began by sitting at the bar, however, neither of us liked the fellow behind the bar all that much, so we asked for a table. Well, we got a good one because I got to watch this fellow making pasta.
Through glass of course. He ran it through the machine a bunch of times, then laid it on the counter for cutting.
Please note the Premium Saltine box on the bottom shelf. Any place that actually serves the best cracker ever made is a good place in my book! He then fiddled with the cut strips,
I suppose portioning them; following that, he put them in the bin to dry out?
Having never made pasta myself I'm not entirely clear on how it all works. I do believe that is semolina  flour in the bin. Correct me if I'm wrong all you pasta makers out there!

Keep in mind I'm still seeing how well the camera works, so this post is going to be chock full of photos!
You can see that the street was quiet, probably because the weather folks have been hawking a hurricane. Mind you it was never even a hurricane, however, any chance to sensationalize the weather, and they are all over it. This is not to diminish the problems the rain and wind caused in the Dominican, but still, it was never a hurricane. What I learned on Sunday night is that while weather was in our news, Vancouver got the real thing. I read somewhere there was a massive tree loss in Stanley Park from this storm...in April, when I visited there, I could not get over the beautiful trees. I wonder if these survived?
Back, closer to home, we are not losing trees, however, the squirrels have been busy munching on pine cones. Both last week, and this, I gathered a bucket of them before mowing the lawn. This week the ground was littered with orange!
Then too, we found dropped acorns....always a sign of something to come.

Saturday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending a bridal shower for our hair stylist Monica. Must have been five or more years ago that I met Monica at the market as a customer. Although she does my hair, she does Bruce's a heck of a lot more. He should have been the one there! Anyway, these lovely ladies put on the shower for her at Park Plaza Gardens.
One customer (l), her new sister-in-law, and her sister holding Gracie. The event was just beautiful, from the room, to the centerpieces, to the food. And, Monica is such a doll.
The napkin color!!! Having lived in Orlando pretty much my whole life, fairly often, as in more often than not, I run into people, who either I know, or there is a pretty close connection. Pictured on the right is the wife of Tres Thomas, from the Thomas Lumber family. Orlando folks will know the name. But that's not all. Her sister-in-law, Linda, is one of my sister Maureen's oldest, and dearest friends! How about that for a small world?

Another day, another rainstorm...Saturday night I believe we got almost another two inches. Thus, waking up on Sunday morning, everything was still saturated, the weather predictions were all over the map, and I made the executive decision to skip the market AGAIN!! Twice in one month? Yes.

Well, let's do some fun stuff instead ,shall we? For the longest time I've wanted to ride on the West Orange Trail and now we have! Keep in mind that Mr. Bruce has not been getting the exercise that he might like these last two months, so we did not go far, but the amount we did was super.
Asking some folks in the parking lot, while taking the bikes off the car rack, they suggested we go North, and so we did. I don't know what I was expecting, but this section took me by surprise as it went behind some neighborhoods. Nice tree plantings all along the way, not to mention how green and lush everything is with all the rain this summer.
Amazingly enough, (see above), every single person we passed, either on foot, or bike, said hello, or good morning. Imagine our surprise as a fellow riding by called out, Hi Bruce! By golly, it was a fellow B worked with at Darden for fifteen years or so. They spent a little time catching up as Cris is still with the company. Me--I stayed in the shade under the lovely trees!

Next stop was this new cool spot in Winter Garden proper.
I said to Bruce--is this how folks spend Sundays? Having fun?
The year and half that I was doing the market in Winter Garden had it's ups and downs, but I sure came away from the experience impressed with what they are doing to invigorate their city. The bottom line is that it has a lot going for it these days, including this new brewery.
Bruce tried one of their beers, proclaiming it good. We roamed around, and had we not been on our bicycles we would have purchased more goods than we did. As B was getting a German pretzel, I glanced over at one of the stalls, thinking I just knew the proprietor. Finally I went over and said as much; lo and behold it was one of my former customers from the market! He and his partner spent a lot of time in Winter Garden, traveling from their home in Toronto. Now WG is their permanent home, and they've opened a little spot calling it "AntiquiTEAs. Naturally I bought some of their blackberry tea! They said they had been looking for me for ages...what happened to my website they wondered? The truth is, I pulled it down, and am now waiting on Matt to come home for Christmas to move me into another avenue. I've begun a little something here, but it's a work in progress..

You might note that we were out and about and the weather was just fine...that is until 3 in the afternoon when the heavens opened big time. I was in the midst of preparing an early dinner, running out in the rain to cut some chives for the boiled new potatoes.

And there was more fun...

Generally I hate action films--car chases, shootings, and the like, just don't do much for me. However, much to my surprise, I was able to both sit through, and somewhat enjoy, "Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation." Bruce was doing his best not to panic in the late afternoon after learning about a flood in his job from a water line causing the air conditioning system to stop. Escapism took on new meaning last night as we watched the film!

So, B is off again, facing his own mission impossible. That said, he's pretty much like Tom Cruise, takes a beating, but gets right back up to save the day.

Ready for more rain,

Gail

Thursday, August 27, 2015

There's Something to Be Said for a Beautiful Camera

With no one around to talk me out of it, I've gone and bought the most beautiful camera I've ever had the pleasure of holding.
While I, of all people, know it is not the camera that makes a photographer, every now and again a new one kick starts me, especially when I've had healthy "mailbox money" checks of late. Add to that, our son Matthew, after watching the video I linked to in my last post, insisted I follow the 85 year old's advice to spend all my money, rather than let my kids do it for me. That, of course will never happen, mostly because I'm too frugal to go that route, and then too, our children, thank God, are making their way in this world beautifully. Monday night I met Dave and Michelle for happy hour at Santiago's, and although I was ready to pay my way, David would have none of it. Amazingly, they agreed to a photo as well.
So, because I've had an Olympus in the past, which I used so much the back screen coating wore away, I decided to go with Olympus again. Furthermore, I have several lenses from my Panasonic cameras that are interchangeable between the two systems. That said, I could not resist buying a new silver lens to complete the look!

The fellow at Colonial Photo & Hobby put the strap on, set the time, and the minute I was out of the store, I was shooting away. Not unlike when Bruce gave me my first digital camera for Christmas nearly nine years ago! I'm fairly confidant this is the only area of town that you will find a sign in this language.
Readers, more clever than myself, will know what it is--Vietnamese perhaps? Even in the parking lot I find something interesting....clouds reflected on our back windows.
I figured I need to point that out because it is such a silly thing to photograph!

On my drive home I looked for photo opportunities, stopping at Dickson Azalea gardens which is somewhat scenic. Walking down the steps to the ravine, what do you think I saw happening to my right? An owl flew into the tree overhead!!
Not great for all sorts of reasons, bright sunlight being one of them, but how about that for a surprise?

Once home, I searched the house and yard, the purpose of which is to get to know a new camera. Practice, practice, practice.
Lovely little basil leaves from a plant I purchased at Trader Joe's. Aside from the lens situation, one of my main criteria for a camera is how it feels in my hands. Going into the store, I first looked at the Olympus Micro Four Third cameras that were less expensive than the one I ultimately bought. Wanting to like them more, the grip was just not enough for my older shaky hands. Not seriously shaky by any means, but shaky enough that I'm no good taking photos on my phone, unlike my daughter-in-law Alissa who is a whiz kid with her phone. I need something to hold onto!

Sorry for another Baxter shot, but here he is again because he's the only living thing around these parts for most of the week!
You might notice how the groomer left those two little spouts just above his ears!

I'll be the first to admit that these last few weeks with B being gone from Monday morning until Thursday night have been lonely. I try to keep busy, but there's nothing like having someone else in the house to make life better. Then too, before he left Darden and was home for the better part of a year, I was accustomed to his absence. Now, not so much. Moreover, when I was even five years younger I would hop in the car and go places by myself without a thought. These days I find excuses not to do so, however, yesterday morning, waking at around 5 in the morning, I decided to stop making excuses and head to the beach. Specifically, my favorite, Playalinda, which, by the way, took me forever to get there due to construction on SR 50.

In any case, when I arrived it was just as beautiful as I'd remembered. No development whatsoever makes for a lovely experience.
So, if you want to take beach photographs without people, this is the place for you. On the other hand, just when I'm feeling lonely...

Shooting photographs at the seaside is not nearly as easy as one might think because the camera gets confused on what light it should expose for. As does this photographer!! The tide was way out as you can plainly see, so big swatches of light adjacent to big swatches of dark. The only solution in my experience is to take a bunch!
As I was driving the six plus miles onto Canaveral National Seashore, I saw this guy drying his wings. Generally I'm not much one for vultures, but this pose struck me as interesting.
You may have noticed the stick near my chair and if you are from Florida you know exactly what that represents. If not, it means there is a sea turtle's nest nearby, as in, real close. Some men came along after while who were removing some of the yellow sticks and replacing them with white.
Although they explained it to me, try as I might, I never really understood why they were changing them, but I did learn that on each stick a date is marked and approximately 60 days from that date, the eggs will hatch and the baby turtles will make their way out to sea. Asking them how they knew where the nests were, they told me that they come out at around 11 PM, staying throughout the night to watch the turtles lay their eggs. Our friends, the Whiteds, were on a beach near St. Augustine recently and saw the baby turtles hatching!! My sister Lisa would be all over that!

Just as the beach was nearly empty of people, the same held true for shore birds. Not nearly enough for my liking!
This one is pretty cute though...

Late August is a superb time to visit the Atlantic Ocean because the water temperature is just right, neither too cold, nor too hot. The waves, on the other hand, were pretty wimpy for the East coast, you would have thought I was swimming in the Gulf! There is talk about a storm out in the Atlantic, perhaps becoming a hurricane, so if that is the case, this shoreline will look quite a bit different in the next few days. Surfers will be out in droves!

In between writing paragraphs, I've made some blueberry muffins which I just ate and thought to myself, why don't I make more muffins? Delicious.

And now it is time to hit the road on my bicycle before the heat chases me indoors!

Indulging myself,

Gail

p.s. All photos on this blog are to tell a story, I keep the best stuff away from the web!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Little of This, A Little of That

If you've only got time to read, or in this case watch, a tiny bit of my blog post today, I'm pretty sure you should spend your time on this video entitled, How to Age Gracefully. (Click on link!!) My son Matt will particularly appreciate the wisdom of a 92 year old man--" indulge your sweet tooth, you're going to need dentures soon enough anyway."

Caring for Matt took up most of Angela's time these last six or seven months, so she'd yet to see the house painted, however, now she has, and has given her seal of approval. At least for this week anyway. There is nothing Angela likes more than redecorating, and she is planning on indulging it big time--her way of dealing with the loss of Matt. Fortunately for her, he left her with plenty to accomplish whatever her heart desires. Visiting for a few hours last week, she described her plans, one of which is to redo her bedroom. Wanting to add to the Gaillery, looking at my prints was on her to-do list. Originally she picked this old one, which I quite like.
Now, however, she's changed her mind. Let's just say she is a good friend, but a difficult customer!

Someone who is not in the least difficult is Mary, whose birthday we celebrated at Panulo's on Park Avenue. Three of her lively daughters, along with a few friends, had a lovely lunch together.
In other words, all the young ladies at the table are Mary's daughters, and here is Mary herself.
I hope she won't mind this photo--candid are so much more fun than posed shots. At least I think they are!

The trip to Renningers last weekend yielded a couple of finds, these colorful canisters were more than I could pass up. I've yet to fill the larger one, but the little one is filled with kosher salt; the box of salt was a real pain to measure from.
While we were inside paying, or rather as we were leaving the shop, almost simultaneously, both Bruce and I noticed a painting displayed on an easel near the door. Looking at each other, we agreed it could look neat in our kitchen dining area. Shoe polish worked wonders on the weary frame.
Kind of funky, kind of cool. Speaking of cool, it has been anything but. The humidity!! Although I know it will happen, I can't seem to wait--camera fog every single time.
So Baxter got a haircut. Nothing new there. Nothing new either about how he loves to rub his body on the sofa following a hair cut. Eventually he stopped, sitting adjacent to the pillows, one of which is the surprise pillow cover from my sister Lisa. I bet you can spot it right off!
There's also nothing new about rain this time of the year, but Thursday evenings rain was pretty darn intense, so much so that it bent the gutter!
Poor Mr. Bruce, sitting on the tarmac at the airport, following his harrowing journey home via St. Pete, because of the severe weather. He was meant to arrive home at 5:30; instead it was nearly 9:00!
He still insists that traveling is the easiest part of his job. :)

Miraculously it did not rain on Friday night when we went for a little anniversary dinner at Le Coq au Vin up the street. The meal was delicious in every way, including my little hot tea service at the end.
Saturday we worked like crazy together in the yard before the inevitable rain began, this time around two in the afternoon. Looking ahead to the weather for the Sunday market, I was delighted to see the sky turn fairly red at sunset. Rushing down to the lake, I missed the seriously red part, but did find these guys fishing.
It seemed like a good sign until I awoke on Sunday morning to a nearly red sky! What's a vendor to do? We went, we sold, we stayed dry! Yup, not a drop of rain for about 30 hours, amazing!! The sky threatens as I type...

One of the things I love to photograph while riding around the neighborhoods on my bike are the "street cats" of which there seem to be plenty. More often than not, they sit tight while I do my thing, as did the one below, at least until I moved my bike a little.
When she walked away I discovered she had no tail!
I believe this is my sign to exit as well; I want you to have enough time to watch that video!!

Exit stage right,
Gail




Thursday, August 20, 2015

I've Been Meaning to Tell You

While messaging with Catherine the other day, I asked her if she'd been writing her blog posts. No, she said, I can't think what to write that might not bore readers. I suggested that she not only write for herself, but jot things down when they occurred to her so she'd have ideas when she did sit down. I followed my own advice, except for the part about boring readers....

So, let's begin with the calendar contest I entered, shall we? Perhaps it was the cute little note papers I used on the back of the photos, the ones from Jonathan and Alissa's honeymoon in Japan, but somehow or other, the city chose two of my photos for next years Historic Preservation Calendar. Learning this a week ago, it is always puzzling to me how they choose what they do, and even more so this year when my favorite was not chosen.
I wish one day they would do a calendar in color because wouldn't this adorable house make a lovely July scene?
Seriously cute, right?

More often than not, the calls we get on the house phone are what you might call "junk calls." That said, that is the number on my business card. Once in a blue moon I get a call from a customer, and last week one came through that made me very happy. Nell, she of the owl house fame, called me to order five prints of "Tree Hugger" for her grandchildren's Christmas gift. Now that is a woman on the ball wouldn't you say? We had a lovely chat about birds, gardening, and more, and during that conversation she mentioned that although the photos taken by my former Geology professor were top notch, she just loves mine. How darn sweet is that?

The hot weather is causing all sorts of algae growth in our lakes, and believe it or not, there is water underneath all the pictured green.
Isn't that something? This a a canal, adjacent to a home in Harbour Isle, that runs into Lake Conway. I can't imagine any boat going through this mess!

So, I've been reading my head off these last weeks when B is gone for four days, and the last three books could not have been any more different. Sort of like the photos and stories on this here blog! All of these are good in their own way. See if any of them interest you.

  • Delicious! by Ruth Reichl. The linked review has barely a good word to say about it, but if you are looking for a foodie book that is easy reading, this might serve you well.
  • Eventide by Kent Haruf.  Whereas, the linked review for this novel can't say enough good about it, as does every other reviewer. If you're a fan of Marilynne Robinson, I think you'll like Mr. Haruf's quiet, yet forceful writing style, and subject matter. I was having my nails done a week ago, and tears just poured down, requiring me to close the book for a while.
  • The Sweetheart by Angelina Mirabella. I could not find any professional reviews of this, but on Good Reads it gets a 3.67 rating, which for a first novel, seems good enough. Written by an FSU grad, it tells the story of a young woman from Philadelphia who becomes a lady grappler, or in more modern terms, wrestler, in the 1950's. I picked it up because our son David has that huge wrestling card collection, and although it started a little slow, it picked up steam. Very colorful!

There you go--easy reading, thoughtful reading and quirky reading.

Speaking of books, did I show you this before? Pam rode along with me when I went to pick up my prints; while driving home we moseyed through some neighborhoods pointing out the houses we like. While I was showing her our friend Lynn's house, we saw this on her street.
With all the rain we've been having, I wonder if they remove them daily?

The sunflowers have officially bit the dust...
and, I could not find any seeds, so they really did bite the dust, or make that land in the garbage can.

On the way home from Renningers, this fellow was in front of us,
and I think he may be on to something wearing that shirt. The handlebar ends!!!!

Let's see what else has been languishing???
My first ever sighting of one of the Sun Dance prints in a store aside from those I've known about. I was walking to the bathroom in Ross, and what to my wondering eyes should appear?

I've made a new dress with my estate sale fabric, and I can say this much....fabric today ain't nothing like it used to be. Have you ever seen the term colorfast on a label? Well, this new fabric I bought two weeks ago, in for a preshrinking bath, was anything but colorfast.
Filling the sink with hot water at least five times, the water finally ran clear. It's highly likely that not one person reading this blog will find that information useful, but there you go.

I bought a new hibiscus, thinking it wasn't quite red, but by golly, what other color would you call it?
Let's end on a bird note. Perhaps you've wondered about all that bird seed I buy. Probably not, but just in case you have..... Lately we've been getting this fantastic seed from Costco, a 40 pound bag made by Audubon. I needn't tell you that is a heck of a lot of birdseed. Opening the bag, I scoop out enough to fill one container for storage, fill the actual one I use to pour it, and hope that works. Sometimes I need an extra storage one, but generally, if both feeders need filling, this method does the trick.
I may very well have crossed the line on this one....mundane to the max!! Indulge me please.

Tune in again for more excitement!!

Thanks for reading,

Gail


Limping Along