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and I mean that title literally! For some reason the birds were bossy today.  First, there were two blue jays coming to enjoy some seed and water.   A woodpecker came in and decided to partake.    and things got heated,    

The woodpecker bowed in a subservient  position.  He tried to calmly discuss his position But the jay chased him off.  Though they didn’t bother the doves. Nor the sandhill cranes,   Though the crow chased everyone off so he could stuff his mouth.

Sweet cardinals .  The mallard couple came too. Everyone was hungry for bird seed.

The cranes even decided to come and knock on my sliding glass doors.  When I answered they hurried outside the porch patiently waiting for rations.   
A storm threatened and a squealing osprey sat in the tree warning of lightning.  

I took photos of flowers,   

The common grackle took to bossing the other birds around. One jay came back   

challenging the grackle    face to face they each showed their attitudes.  

and then the jay flew off after a threatening jab of grackle beak.   The jay landed on the pot and looked down at the despicable grackle.
A back up grackle came in ,   as a squirrel ran up the tree and raided all the food in the birdfeeder,    peace at last…   Wonder where Ringo was? he slept through it all, silly boy.   

Ah, Tuesday has morphed into Wednesday – I am in a time warp again as another day squeaked by. Where oh where do these hours go?
Anyway, it was a hot one. Woke at 7am yesterday and the moon was still gleaming against the blue.  Aaron threw out the cast net and got a few shiners and he brought in a bass and a gar. 

Then he and Leila headed back to Tampa  with their Bella,     I  had so much fun being with all my kids this weekend, family is so important! Don’t forget to tell yours how you feel and often…

On Saturday I had run over to Sanford and was in Maya’s Bookstore and saw this,   an adorable baby sated in sleep. Yvette, the owner was keeping a very close eye on him as his mom, Wee Gauthier, an orchid vendor with “Orchids For All Occasions” put away her flowers as the Saturday Farmers Market was coming to a close. They were gorgeous orchids:  As you know, I have a black thumb.  But back to the sleeping baby, I am excited to have my own new grand baby this August! I hope I will be a big part of the babies life.  My daughter made sure to get a romper for the baby that expresses who I am,   The weekend with family was wonderful and went so fast, only wish Aaron and Leila lived here so we could all be together much more, what can I say, I’m selfish! But Tampa certainly is not California — get over it Abbe!
Andrea had come over with all kinds of baby madness shopping and had made an ADORABLE diaper cake, she’s such a talent:  
Back to Tuesday:  wildlife and the yard.
The cranes came this morning and Papa crane had quite a conversation with one of the babies:
I still have not heard any baby noises from the wood duck box, but she keeps an eye out for me and flies away as soon as she senses I am near. She is a very nervous duck.   I also bet the mallard couple have some eggs somewhere around here too, they are still hanging around.
The baby heron are so funny, one flew up in the tree after Papa crane chased him off, and he acted like he was going to kick some crane butt, but he was only making a spectacle of himself.  
The flowers too look beautiful:   the rains do make them bloom and die faster. The birds too have been busy and the cardinals are back again, it seems they were MIA for a while.   and of course the crows    common grackle.   and Mr. squirrel.
and of course my window view. Head on outside and enjoy something in nature.

I bet you are wondering by that title what I did last night and maybe you’re conjuring up names possibly linking me to some guy I might be hooking up with, well you will have to read and find out won’t you? So let’s begin at the beginning, noontime Friday :
Lunch with my good friend and neighbor, Sonja Greenlee who is also a contributing monthly Culinary  Columnist for the Sanford Herald. We ate at Amura which is ALWAYS great! Their sushi is the best around – hands down, chopsticks up! Plus the conversation is fun as Sonja is a traveler and had just returned from New York where she got to hear Jill Biden and Caroline Kennedy Schlosberg  speak. We can chat away for hours. Afterwards when I was ready to drop her off, I requested a walk to see the garden as she has a wonderful green thumb and she uses that thumb to stir many a great meal she has created and garnished perfectly. Unlike me who feels mac and cheese made from the box and served on fine china qualifies as a gourmet meal, Sonja does not hesitate to cook from scratch using her variety of veggies and herbs. Everything she creates is ‘eat-a- licious!  Here’s a view,    and that’s just a portion of it. She has snow peas, squash, lettuces, chard, collard greens, tomatoes, cabbage, beans and herbs too, even corn this year,
and her flowers,  the  glorioso lily was a stunner.
Went shopping after that, wanted something new for Art Walk tonight, I needed some pants. But how is it, I went to Ross and ended up with dresses? Casual long kind of hippy dresses. I never wear them, but they felt so comfortable for summer and the price, $12.99 was so reasonable I got 3 of them and two pair of $9 sandals.   That cute cat bag I bought for Andrea.
All set I thought except I needed a short sweater, to cover up and I knew Andrea had a few. While my closet looks like a cluttered, flea market vendor, she has a designer closet and things are organized. So I ventured over there at 6pm as the art walk was beginning and she dragged out clothes and more clothes for me to try on. So by 7:30pm, I had a bag full of things and went back home fully prepared to wear a dress. Well, my bed bed became an abstract, fabric  artwall of color. Clothes splashed everywhere.  Yikes, my mind was as confused as my bed. while confusion is part of the alchemy of my gray matter, I ended up wearing clothes I already had in the closet – go figure?  Please don’t suggest clothes therapy, though I could use it as my normal look usually consists of T-shirts with peace symbols or funny sayings and jeans. As I stood in a spaghetti strapped long dress so completely comfortably, I felt kind of naked, like I had too much airspace. While liberating, it felt kind of like I was in a nightgown. Now here I was wearing, “Abbe-shabby-chic”, okay, forget the chic part, back to the comfort of old jeans and ‘t’s’. I will wear the dresses around the house. By then it was 8pm. later than I normally get there.
I drove upon a very crowded Art Walk in downtown Sanford. The night was perfect, a soft, nice breeze coming off Lake Monroe and the full moon were my escorts up and down First Street. I always run into people I know.  Here’s the view:
For $20 you can have a ride behind that huge Belgium horse.

The parking gets fuller and fuller at these venues! I stopped at The Gallery on First  http://galleryonfirst.com at the beginning of my artwalk. Painter, Stewart Jones  stewartjonesart.blogspot.com and I struck up a conversation and he gave me a post card proclaiming The Gallery On First was having their first annual summertime art show, it’s June 5th- June 27th. The reception is Saturday June 5, from 6pm to 9pm. Here’s some of Stewart’s work along with Cindy Sturla also a painter who shares the booth.
Also spoke to artists Lori Anne Harris and Sharon Rae Hyder, they are always so full of fun and family oriented in their booth, Lori’s son was there and told me his is working on his Anime art,  I told him I would stop by next month and check out his work, the talent pool continues to spread in their family, make more wall space!
Cherie Dacko was not there, but I did see her finished piece, the baby and it is very cool, but since she was not there, I didn’t want to take a photo without permission. It is facing the outside, so take a look a look if you are walking the downtown streets.
Mary K. Shaw is always a smiling face too, she is at the desk or helping people out, plus she too is a contributor Community Columnist for The Sanford Herald, does all the writing for the arts, so if you have a local exhibit coming up around Sanford, or are maybe you are a Local artist showing elsewhere, contact her via the Sanford Herald,  497-322-2611.  she will put it in the Herald.
Then I headed back to my home gallery, The Art Affair. (http://artaffairgallery.com)  – I say my home gallery because even though I don’t have work there,  Ronda never fails to make me feel like a ‘homie’!  I keep watching as that gallery under her watch expands and expands! It’s exciting to see the artists grow and the wheels turning in her head with ideas. Here’s some of the new work,
Marie DeCosta had brought this in and it was not hung yet, but loved the perspective. She and photographer Ken Elliott have been into ‘bikes’ lately.
Marie DeCosta     Ken Elliott

Really enjoyed the look of Patrick Flannery’s circus art.  Oh my, I don’t know who did this to give them credit.   Gum wrapper purses – Melinda Dadelis, budding artist.    

Mindy Colton has intaglia horse prints.   These collage prints are from Jolie Spellman.  Ronda has plenty of work over there too.  

Toelle Hovan has colorful paintings, check last months archive for her chair picture. She will also be teaching Acrylic Painting for adults in July. I really enjoyed her small purse paintings. 

Toelle and her husband were celebrating their anniversary and could not have looked any happier! Congrats, keep going!!! Check with gallery for art classes being offered this summer.
Then it was time for the new venue Ronda is featuring along with the restaurant, Two Blondes & a Shrimp! Every 4th Friday beginning tonight, The Art Affair will be having a meet and greet and mingle with the artists at 9pm at the restaurant until whenever the last person stops chatting! She was so excited to show off this new art venture.    She shooed us all out as she locked up and off we went to the restaurant.  The Rand building which houses 2Blondes & a Shrimp, was built in 1887, named for Frederic H. Rand general manager and Attorney for the Florida Land and Colonization Company. The interesting thing is going to the courthouse and doing research on land records and seeing the vast amount of property and land dealings that company did. The building was also home to the Newspaper, The Sanford Journal.  The ceiling, floors and bar are all original features.

(whoops, lousy night photo of the bar– that’s why I will be taking the photo class offered by Photographer Ken Elliott so I have control over the dark – (go on website at artaffair.com for details)
The old brick walls came alive with a flurry of assorted work. Ronda and Marie has hung everything that morning and wow, Ronda knows how to hang, hey Ronda, new sideline, offer to hang shows on the side for a nice price!  This collection will stay up for 6 months if I am not mistaken.  Here’s a look:
Sherri the operating owner and Ronda stand united on the notion of supporting the arts! (And so should you!) Come over and eat at Two Blondes & a Shrimp noted for their Tomato Pie, Shrimp and Grips, linguine and clams and soooo much more. Sherri had a wonderful area with hor doerves for us! I ordered a mixed green salad as it was past 10pm, and had a wonderful dressing, I think it was coconut vinaigrette. I will have to go for lunch. They are closed Mondays, open 11am-3pm for lunch Tues-Sat. and then reopen 5pm – 10pm weekdays, except Friday and Saturday at night they stay open till 1am.  Chris the manager will be glad to help with anything you need. 

The artist table was outside near the band,  I must say I was walking around snapping a few shots talking to painter, Trish Vevera about going to Poland and to artist Tom Abbott   who does dimensional art that has to be seen in person. Peter Cerreta too was there   his work has to be admired for the amazing patterns and symbolism. I did not go over and tell Peter how I enjoy his pieces,  so here is a shout out to tell you Peter.
The Lake Mary food critic,  http://lakemaryfoodcritic.blogspot.com/ Leon and I chatted about our mutual love for food, he is quite an amazing cook and caters the food at Art Affair from time to time. I shared my secret of beating Kraft spinach and artichoke Philadelphia cream cheese into my mashed potatoes – yum! As I am sitting here, I’m getting hungry!
I enjoyed speaking to others around the table, upcoming artists Melinda Dadelis.  She is going in very cool directions for her future. Marie DeCosta’s husband and I spoke about music and touched on Greg Allman as her husband works at the Daytona Beach Harley dealership and Greg had just been there. Now here is how the story goes full circle -6 degrees of separation: Sonja, who I had lunch with was married to Bob Greenlee, who passed away a few years ago, he owned Kingsnake Recording studio and in high school, Bob was in a band with both Greg and Duane Allman – a weird Kevin Bacon moment for sure!
Finally I had to get going and left a few faces still talking into the night. I drove home, my date followed closely, hovering over me street after street, it was my moon of course and the clouds beautifully veiled that moon as if I should be holding wolfbane as protection to ward off the spirits that might be invoked under that moon of the ancients.   

Now think about checking out ALL Sanford art and remember both the Art Affair Gallery and the 2 Blondes & a  Shrimp will be having the after Art walk meet the artists, next one June 24th – 9pm — You must take a good look at the local  talent and also enjoy a meal at 2 Blondes & a Shrimp in which you will be so busy looking at the art, you won’t remember who you are even eating with, a great place to take that someone who you really could care less about, but you owe them a meal – haha – But really, it has a great feel, like an eatery in a sophisticated big city scene. Go and let the walls and the food do all the talking…
SUPPORT THE ARTS AND ALL SANFORD BUSINESSES!

The poor duck in the duck box,   almost every time I pass by the box going toward the lake, this duck flies out and cries all across the lake to where she plunks herself in the water and screams and screams. I feel bad that she is so paranoid and worried when she hears me. When she was gone, I made Adam look in her box, he saw three eggs, that was last week, bet they have hatched.   I try not to go in front of the box, but she knows even when I am out there walking way off behind the box. the good news, she always comes back.
So many lubber grasshoppers all over, they are eating my plants.   but so what? Hey, they are hungry and I’m sure the birds find them a nice meal.
Stopped by Museum of Seminole County History   on Bush Blvd. and 17/92 to drop off a couple photos for “Where The Wild Things Are”. The poster,   was designed by the The museum’s Coordinator, Kim Nelson’s talented husband, Robert E. Mier who is a wonderful wildlife painter.  http://www.artnatureflorida.com
He’s a busy guy, he does a lot of art shows around the state, seems to have mastered marketing skills, a rarity for many artists like myself. I need to gather him to speak to our Gateway group, he has a lot of knowledge he could share on the business end.
The exhibit will be shown in their back building,   it has a lot of items unique to our Florida history throughout both buildings.   Kim will be working her magic to coordinate her space   into a wonderful exhibit featuring many Seminole county artists. The show begins June 15th through August 14th, hours:  Tuesday through Friday from 1 to 5 PM and Saturday from 9 to 1 PM –
Kim is quite an effective Coordinator and just a great person to talk with. So please come out to the Museum and not only visit the exhibit, but to walk through a huge history lesson.
Other than that, tonight is Artwalk, so gearing camera batteries up for that. Have been trying to take photos of the full moon, will be glad for that photo walk with Ken Elliott so he can teach me how to do it right by next full moon cycle! Here’s some nature pics to leave you with:

Seems like things are steady with the winged visitors, my mallard couple, the whistling ducks and the wood duck in the box are sticking around. Don’t want to bore you with details.
I took photos of mostly flowers yesterday under a very intense sun.

They are also saying there could be a storm brewing in the Caribbean, will it mean anything for the oil spill? I can’t take seeing the oil coated pelicans and the coated eggs! One has to wonder if there was a hurricane with all that oil and it is picked up by the winds, can you imagine the splatter of gook that will have to be cleaned off the homes nearer the water of a storm, it would be messy for sure! BP is going to be doing a lot more damage control when the cities closest to the water are coated in grease!
My flowers at end of blog, but look at this:
Ken Elliott, http://www.kenelliottphotography.com/ a fine Ormond Beach photographer who is currently exhibited at The Art Affair in Sanford is offering a wonderful way to learn your camera – A Camera Walk!  Here’s the details:
I’m going, come join us – class is limited, but this should be a real hands on way to learn and the price is soooo right! Hurry, space is limited.

TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR DIGITAL CAMERA

With Professional Photographer, KEN ELLIOTT

SATURDAY, JUNE 5, 2010, 3:00 PM

Professional Photographer, Ken Elliott, will show you how to take control of your camera and shoot under a variety of lighting conditions your camera might not otherwise be able to handle by learning what your sensor can do, and setting your camera on manual. The session includes an informative talk about your camera, and its settings, as well as a question and answer format geared to your individual level. With his extensive technical knowledge and gift for capturing the perfect shot, this session will be a treat for any level. It is a hands-on workshop followed by a photo walk led by Ken, where you will actually experience first-hand how he captures the great shots for which he is recognized.

NEED TO BRING: DIGITAL CAMERA and its MANUAL

APPROXIMATE TIME: 3 HOURS. Discussion inside the Gallery and a photo walk.

FEE: $29 per person.  CLASS SIZE LIMITED.

Ken is a professional photographer, located in Ormond Beach, Florida, specializing in fine art, commercial and event photography. Born and raised in Louisiana, Ken began shooting at the age of 8 years old, when his father (who had run the photo lab at a US Air Force base) gave him a Leica IIIc 35mm film camera, and then proceeded to teach him how to develop and print his images. This started a life-long love of photography.

Ken later started his first business as a commercial product photographer. He later joined the family manufacturing business, and photography became a hobby. Ken’s third business startup involved creating 3D computer models and outputting to video tape and large format printers. It was there that he began using Photoshop; and digital editing tools. As digital cameras became common, Ken found his two worlds merging. His experience in teaching AutoCAD, 3D Modeling, and Photoshop led to his teaching digital photography to other photographers in the area. After moving to Florida, Ken returned to fine art photography as a profession.

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LIABILITY-   ART AFFAIR GALLERY, RONDA RICHLEY, KEN ELLIOTT, KEN ELLIOTT AND ASSOCIATES, AND ANY OF THEIR AGENTS OR EMPLOYEES ,WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR LOSS OR DAMAGE TO PERSONAL PROPERTY, NOR TO INJURY, LOSS OF LIFE OR LIMB, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY DURIING THIS SESSION, TRAVEL TO AND FROM THIS SESSION. THE PARTICIPATION IN THIS SESSION OR ANY OTHER EVENT SPONSORED BY ART AFFAIR GALLERY WILL BE UNDERSTOOD TO IMPLY AGREEMENT AND CONSENT ON THE PART OF THE PARTICIPANT OR AGENT WITH THE CONDITIONS SET FORTH HERE.

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ART AFFAIR GALLERY

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407-466-6365

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the rest will be some shots of flowers I have taken:


I actually think a wood duck is nesting in the duck box.  Tonight as I was fishing just before the sun went down,  one duck came peeking out of the box and she and her partner flew around the lake several times. Then the fourth time they circled and the female flew into the box and the male went into the lake. It was dark almost and I could not see him for sure.
Each morning the mallard pair are still somewhere on the property.  They seem to wander from one end of the property to the other, even front to back. They are here all day.   Are they nesting somewhere? They seem to be looking for a place too. As I fished, the fulvous ducks came back once again, all three shared the herons tree and make quite a concerto up there.   
They are just adorable. They stayed a half hour and this time, then took off toward the east.   Then it was feeding time at the heron’s nest. First the babies flew home,
they waited as their parent came up with a mouthful of fish.       


It gets crazy up there with heads bobbing and necks intertwining. The babies look like they will knock the parent right off it’s feet and out of the nest. The wings are flapping and the pterodactyl  sounds permeate – it sounds like birds feeding on each other.  There is a lot going on all around me, a lot of bird/duck, wing stimulation for sure.
The moon is a beautiful half,    the evening quite windy, too much wind coming off the lake for fishing to be any good. I opted to mow the front yard after about an hour of catching nada!
Earlier I found a rodent  on the bird feeder.   When he saw me he looked below like it was the height of the Empire State building and opted not to jump, but escape via the tree branches.
Ran around Sanford to find an antique frame for Andrea’s unfinished self portrait, I kind of liked that frame in one of the antique stores.     But will look for a more ornate gold one. I love her art!  I am slacking on my website, must get that worked on, it’s actually about resizing photos, what a job, one day I will treat it as a job instead of a hobby….

Yes, finally caught a bass! It’s been a long time, he was a nice size too. I threw him back and continued fishing with Ringo and Adam joined us. We caught a few shiners and fed the heron and Ringo got one too. As we fished we noticed that three ducks flew in the heron’s pine tree. They were whistling ducks!
Here’s some pics.  

These are very interesting ducks and they were whistling away for about an hour, loved hearing their songs.  They flew away toward the north and left the herons in the tree.  The herons still wait for the parents to feed them.    The large male came down and waited as we fished. And then one of the babies came down and did a funny dance in front of the parent.
then flew away.  The mallard pair was hanging around too, and the female flew into the duck box as it has a few times. We wondered if it is either nesting of thinking of nesting inside as they have been here everyday for a couple weeks.   Also the woodpeckers have babies in their knot of the dead stump and I saw a crow stick his head in the hole and try and grab a baby out! (He missed.)
The rain helped bring more green and flowers. My yard is still all weeds, but that’s fine with me, this way I get to see the bees and bugs that would normally be absent without the flowering weeds, here’s some pics:

how perfect is nature in it’s design!   

And here’s a face to say goodbye.    

First the business of art:  Friday night the Casselberry ArtHouse held a reception for the exhibit,  “Celebration of life, Bohemians Redeaux” – saw a few of my old group members from  Womans Caucus for Art and their work. Here’s some of the art that will be on the walls for the next few weeks.


They had quite a nice reception and wish I could have stayed longer as I missed a lot of good people. And Rob, your quiche was delicious!   This was before it got crowded – it was a tribute to Sharon Pollard who talked 11 other artists to go with her to Paris a few years ago to spend time and together and to be themselves in a city known for great culture, the  10″ X 10″ paintings reflect their view . Sharon has since passed, but her legacy through art is very much alive and at the Arthouse, Enjoy!

The weekend flew away, the days melt like ice cream on a hot pavement.  I have enjoyed the squabbles of the crows versus the mockingbirds. Where ever you go you see familiar battles with the smaller mockingbird chasing the crows out of their domains. The mockers must be guarding nests.  

The crows love to aggravate and they are food hoarders, the load their mouths with as much as they can fly away with. This guy was hurrying to get everything!  The crows are sticking around lately.  Love their cocky demeanor.   So much fun to watch.
the heron babies are huge, fully grown, but they still come back at night to the nest to feed. I don’t think they know about landing on the land yet???   They are rigid young fliers.
As for the herons, spotted them yesterday out my window:   later I saw the mother enjoying a nice Sunday bath before rejoining the family for a stroll, here’s the sequence of pics:  
Her head fully submerged.  She was enjoying her time alone.   Sheddiing a feather.   laughing out loud at her own jokes.   refreshed!    
catching up with the family.   baby stretches his wings high in excitement.  Mother calms him down   more love  
They all groomed themselves.  the babies are great groomers.     And love their faces.
Then of course, must add some flowers and scene from the other night fishing, hope I have de-stressed you…

haha, this beauty is part of life here too.
and a visitor from Saturday    ….

Just saw Atlantis take off   it’s always fun to watch that machine propel upwards, It was traveling at 13,000mph they said. It was clear as a bell, but I really like those night launches even more.
Last night I spun the art wheels beginning at Seminole State College in their art gallery. To my pleasant surprise, Megan Paquette in now the curator, they selected a winner in Megan. Just walking into the duel exhibit of Kathleen Kent Chenet and Terry Trambauer Norris you could tell what kind of eye Megan had with how she hung the show, it was perfecto.
The atmosphere though relaxed had a classical feel to it, Kathleen’s style is easy on the eye, good prosaic scenes, nice fit, a Naturalizer if it was a shoe.   Terry’s still lifes were a classic, the oil painting you view upon walking in was a stunner! Her work makes you blink your eyes to make sure these are paintings, what realism! These were masterful strokes.  And I admired the frame choices of both women, the show was classy.
After eating eating a couple little pastries, I headed out to Sanford  de Mayo and it was poppin’ and hoppin’!
People were lined up for food tickets, art vendors lined the streets, it was one of the best third Thursdays I have seen. I heard many vendors ran out of food early.
I walked along to the Art Affair Gallery to get my “badge”  and there was my son Adam and his friend Antonio, I saw them briefly and lost them to the crowd.   I worked my way up the crowds down First Street.  Stopped into Jeanine Taylor’s Art Gallery – Gallery On First and as always enjoyed the view. I was happy to see that Cherie Dacko was in and was working on a spectacular new edition to her work. She has a style that is so much fun and full of a weird irony in the faces of her subjects, I have to wait till this particular piece is finished, then I hope I can post it – I adored it, could hardly stop looking at it. Cherie was chatting with Aurore Brunet whose use of color livens up any room. It’s great to chat with these artists, if they are there when you visit, they won’t bite I promise! Talk to them, give them your thoughts, ask them questions, they enjoy that the public is noticing.
I stopped at Sandra Sheetz Wise’s table, she is an Ovation-TV artist and has articles written about her work recently in Sacramento Talent Magazine and the June issue of Time South, both extremely complimentary toward her surrealistic style. Again, irony and surrealism feeding off each other .  She has a wonderful style which suits her. Her messages are painted for you to discover, her link:  http://sandrascheetzwise.com There was a lot of jewelry booths, wood working booths and a few photography booths.
Wood worker David L. Dotterer,   can be contacted at  (cut and paste)  dblueb119@aol.com   There was a very tattooed singer belting out his music    sorry, can’t see the tattoos from there. The music was LOUD – REALLY LOUD. Stopped by Washburns, the unique furniture is just worth taking the drive to see. If only my home wasn’t packed already.
Loved these huge “masks” 
Headed back to base at Art Affair Gallery where Julie Kessler had the main room and she deserves her place. She had many metal sculptures, all so interesting. I’ll let the photos speak for her.  
The hearts were all wonderfully detailed – well thought out as all Julie’s work is.  Of course she has her collage/paintings too     and more metal  .
There was other new works and more artists to show off at Art Affair Gallery and owner Ronda Richley is great with a brush too.
Marie  DeCosta’s colorful flowers were stunning.   She and Ken Elliott both have photography work also, check for last months blog.
There were small prints by Beau Wild   her work is richly detailed, liked her subject choice.
Tom Abbott was there and his work is very dimensional and cool!  
and my favorite  The dimension and coloring is beautifully entwined.  Of course there was more, and I can’t name all the artists , but have a look at some more works:   The flower on this was huge and dimensional. Loved the colors of it.   Peter Cerreta’s monkey acrylic was masculine and I liked the composition of his work.   And of course the mini items, affordable and fun.   Even the clocks are a perfect gift for anyone. Of course, I must mention Mauricio Murillo and his Gummy Art, he is doing so well with his work, had great showing in Washington DC and will be in Ybor City soon, here’s a couple pieces.  
OH MY, I almost forgot about Leon who does the food for Art Affair, he also has a blog as he is a food critic. Need any advice on anything related to food? Want the scoop on where to eat?  http://lakemaryfoodcritic.blogspot.com
Then it was back to the streets to go home. Art Affair Gallery  http://artaffairgallery.com

Whoops didn’t ask permission, so blurred the face.   Ran into Paul Ingwalson my old next door neighbor, he is a good  photography mentor, gave me a lot of advice and he is a terrific study in inventory. His Landscape and Wildlife Photography is refreshing, he studied in Daytona before taking on photography and he travels a lot which gave him the photo-itch. He is also doing large canvas work too.  
Paul  Ingwalson photography
I also saw the artistry of Alberto Quintero http://www.xcreativegroup,com/alberto his creations were beautifully crafted.
Stopped by Riverhouse Pottery, the colors inside are always so inviting, there is an excitement about that place.  Saw my Facebook friend Cecil Herrings featured works, she is a creative soul for sure.   and what a fun area they have in the back of their buildings.   Then as I was almost to the car, I crossed the path of glass blower, Steven Monser who has Monser Glass Studio, monserglassstudio.com  – what gorgeous and colorful pieces he has. His studio is in Lake Mary, here’s a sampling: 
and one he asked about the shape   It was gorgeous!  Aw, if only I had an unlimited credit card! There is so much I would want to buy! Now go out and support the local artist community!

Somehow these days have liquified and spilled away – I went to Tampa to paint the new house for the new baby. Painted bedrooms and the nursery which was a joy and every stroke was painted with love for the new life about to come our way. When I left, the chair rail was all cut, but not up yet, nor the border, but Aaron will get it all done and send me a photo of the end result.
The day I left Sanford, the baby herons had taken to flight and what fun it was watching their clumsy sailing from pine tree to pine tree where they would spend perched hours trying to determine when to fly back to the nest.   The first day they learned their wings worked was on the 28th of April. One of the babies took off and stayed away about 3 doors down in a tree top for 6 hours. The other was too afraid yet and stayed in the nest waiting one extra day to test it’s wings. Since then they come and go, always back at the nest for bed time.  They are very excited about flying, but as much as they go tree top to tree top, I have not seen them down in the water getting their food.
we enjoy our night time visitors and the flowers that have been blooming to make gorgeous photos:
Over in Riverview I really was too busy to take photos. I did stop and look closely at the blooms on the magnolias over there as there were so full and buzzing with bees.  I had never noticed how fuzzy the buds were. They looked like they were coated in hair.
— The house was in a subdivision 6 miles from Aaron’s current townhouse. As is the norm here in Florida, many acres of cleared land have farm animals upon them to get the owner a tax deduction. In the meantime, they don’t have to provide an ounce of shade at all for these animals. You know those cows and goats in the heat of a 90+ degree afternoon oppressive sun can’t feel too good. It’s wrong that animals are treated so cruelly and the owner benefits financially, use the money for some shade!
In their natural state on land that has not been denuded for developers, the cows and goats will be found under the trees taking in the shade on these brutal afternoons. It is quite sad that the owners of agricultural animals are not required to supply an area of shading via structures on this vacant land areas, anything to give them some shelter. Am I wrong in my thinking? PETA, where are you?
I stopped by one morning around 8am, the cows were close by the fence.  The first thing I saw was this bird who was intent on telling me this was its’ property.  Not sure what it is.  Here’s the cows:
So many look alikes.  
I got to pet one cows head and love the feel of the strong hide and the smell of these wonderful animals.
Back at the townhouse, the birds were scarce really, not much variety. The pond behind the townhomes had all these bed where the fish tilipia were nesting, they were huge, but, NO FISHING!  Here’s a look at the birds:  That limpkin was so chatty.
Then yesterday, I took off back for Orlando.  Always keep my camera handy as I approach downtown.
And after that, it was a day of getting back into order, tossing junk mail, paying bills, hugging my other two kids and cleaning and loving on the cats. It was a great time in Riverview and it’s always good to get back into the groove!

Sunday morning and the light was vague and so is the mindset.  

I saw only three cranes out my desk window and the father was calling because one of the babies was missing. He looked in ever direction after he would call, listening to the chirps to hear if he could tell where the missing link was.   It took about a half hour and the baby showed up.

The babies are losing their ‘fluff’ and they look a bit messy – judge for yourself.  

The water is flat, perfect for fishing. A very light rain might fall for ten minutes and then nothing. Yesterday both my sons came out and fished. Aaron came from Tampa and even Adam joined in.  Ringo came out and was in a feisty mood, he was ready to ‘tangle’ with anyone petting him one time too many.   He will latch on like a wildcat and not let go. We all respect his wildside, (Ringo’s not Aaron’s)!
Adam left for work, but Aaron and I caught bass and I brought in a mudfish who was much like Ringo.   They too have nasty looking teeth and tempers.

Andrea bought me an adorable fishing Santa from the garage sale she was helping with. She is going to be a wonderful aunt in August, this new baby will be have a full closet with such a loving aunt and Andrea will be helping to work on her framed artwork for the nursery, she is such a talented artist.   We are all excited for August to come!
My garden is getting fuller and found that one red passion flower vine did not freeze as did my hibiscus, the vine is now just beginning to flower so should have a fence full in another couple months.  I watched a bee this morning taking his fill of pollen from flower to flower.
Made an “abb-strax” from it    And finally my sunflower opened after waiting for days to see it’s intricate face.  The lake is loaded with lilys too and the pads are thickening .  At least there has not been much algae yet.   That’s the wood duck, he was here with his mate this morning too.
The herons are making quite a racket in the trees, they are very big, but have not taken to try their wings.  
And being Sunday with the rain falling, it’s just a feeling of thankfulness – and it’s not even fishing time yet….
P/S – oh my, I just heard the cranes screaming like crazy – had to look outside    The fox came through and kept going, the babies were in hiding – so think he just moved on, and he was limping on right back leg.

Yesterday I worked on a new website in the am then got tired of it all and had to run and get my taxes finished in Casselberry.  Distraction number one. Afterwards,  I stopped at the Goodwill, (distraction 2)  on the way to see what they had in baby necessities and wow, they had plenty. cribs, highchairs, strollers, toys bassinets, there was a lot of stuff. I guess I will need to be keeping some baby things of my own after the little he or she is born.  I have been amazed at the prices of car seats and cribs and miscellaneous at places like Target or Toys R Us – I am in sticker shock! Baby needs seem much more expensive these days. But it was fun looking. The only thing I saw that I was tempted by was a cute vibrating baby ‘recliner, kind of a reclining seat for a very young baby. It had a cute sea horse and fish theme that stretched above the seat on an arch and it was all supposed to move with batteries, but they had no way to test it, so I decided against it, but I would not mind an adult version it looked so relaxing! (OMG, is it time for a barcolounger for grandma/Abbe?)
Next to the Goodwill on 17/92 in Longwood is Decor Galore, a used furniture and antique store, (distraction3), since I am an antique myself and I love wandering and reminiscing.  They had a lot of interesting stuff, here’s some examples:

the buggy looked really old and right next to it was this…
I thought it would be very effective if this boar head was sitting in the baby buggy!
There was this velvet painting of an Indian, but did not understand the ‘hand moustache-beard thing’. What was this subliminal message saying?
It’s kind of scary!   a cool old childs car.   And then there was a wooden carved hawk by Ohio Artist, Spirit Williams who is a carver/sculptor.  It was about 2 feet long and hung on wall. The detailing was beautifully done, and it wasn’t cheap either,  over $300.  Click on pictures to look in detail.

http://www.sculpturebyspirit.com/  link for Sprirt Williams.
They had a good selection of pictures, lamps, chairs and knick knacks.

It’s always fun to go into these places and see things of familiarity. (As a distraction from building a website)
Today I didn’t even work on the site, Instead I traveled to another real antique,  

DeBary Hall, built in 1871 by Frederick Debary. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. And at one time it was quite a hunting and social lodge in it’s day. Four generations of deBary’s lived there and now it is owned by the state, managed by Volusia County. They have art shows there, but it is done by submission. I wanted to check out where they had the artwork displayed as at one point it was kept on easels in the deBary house, then for a while they displayed artists’ work in the barn.    

Now they keep it in the auditorium.    As I walked around the house I saw one rocker on the porch really moving. The wind was pretty brisk. But I preferred to think one of the deBary’s was on that porch rocking away. As I got ready to leave, I looked up and swear there was an image in the window looking out at me  

So I made my way on home again and tried working on a website and the photos I was putting on happened to come out really big, and gave up for a while. I still have not gone back to look and see what the problem is, it is much easier to blog. I think tonight I will list some pics on Etsy instead:      http://www.etsy.com/shop/incatdreams.
And now I will attempt at distraction #5,  so will try and fish though the wind is really whipping the water about and it almost seems worthless to try.
but anything seems easier than setting up a business! Why is this such a hard concept? Making money, what is wrong with a bit of capitalism. Maybe that spirit in the window was trying to scare me on home where I am supposed to be a slave to my keyboard and monitor.  But that spirit did not know the strength of the lake spirits that are calling for my presence. Yes, easily again I am leaving the screen and leaving the business of art behind – there’s alway hump day, and Thursday…

Happy Easter – the day here in Sanford Florida has been grand. The temp. in the 80’s, the wind has been blowing gently from the east.
This morning started out with a veiled fog, but I only got the last of it and the photos did not do it justice.
The baby herons were complaining and one was waving his wings in great protest. 
I have found that as soon as the mother heron leaves the area of the nest, they get quiet.  The babies are getting more curious about their wings.  The mother usually goes off to groom on a tree close by.
Yesterday I strolled the marina, again as in past few months, nothing in the water and few birds.  I did see the usual ducks, pigeons and seagulls and one very entertaining grackle that sang beautifully for me.   Here’s a few of the ‘regulars’.   We also had a great birthday yesterday for
Adam and the cake Andrea bought was just a talking point for the “surprise crowd’ that saw it up close.
The party lasted into the wee hours of this morning, I finally dozed off at 4am. – that’s how I missed the sunrise by an hour.  But I didn’t miss the beauty of the flowers giving off beauty and that’s what I will leave you with.
oh, look at the spider that looked like a decorated Easter egg.         

And there was a beetle inside an azalea flower.     

Had to include a grackle.  And Ringo too, fishing is awful – Ringo is even bored with it. The female heron comes down and waits and watches and stays as long as we will just waiting for something to make that bobber jump. No such luck.    

love Florida!

Yesterday I set up my solo exhibit at the Maitland Library which is a wonderful place. I am also working on an Etsy site to sell my work, but left the details to drive over to the beautiful Library.
The librarians I encountered could not have been nicer or more accommodating, Pat, thanks so much if you read this. My work will be up for the month.

Here’s a few pics of my show,  “Cat Dreams and Wings

Afterwards I walked around Lake Lily next door and took pictures then headed to the Maitland Art Center just a short hop away. A photo of mine did not sell at an auction last week and it was to be dropped off there by Jerry Bell whose wife, Gayle, a painter, had rounded up other artists to donate work for an auction to send to the group, Doctors Without Borders for continuing their work in Haiti. I was sad to hear my photo did not sell along with a few others. But they did raise $5000!
AT MAC they looked for my picture, but couldn’t find it. I figured maybe Jerry had not dropped it off yet. I lounged around a bit and enjoyed the surroundings, though the giftshop and gallery were not opened. I headed across the short street for the Chapel, a wonderfully serene and soothing place. The style of the chapel is called ‘Mayan Fantasy’. The buildings and grounds are all part of the National Register of Historic Places. The first photo is of the original home which is now the Gallery and Gift Center.

The Chapel in its’ Mayan theme is an intricate and captivating work of art, have a look.

The owner, Jules Andre Smith bought and designed this place in 1938– he was an architect besides being an artist and he set up an artist colony called The Research Center. He lived there until 1959 and during that time he saw the need for artists to come and find their own solace and inspiration – I can’t imagine how cool it would have been to have belonged to the ‘entourage’,  those lucky enough to be able to take advantage of the place back in the day.
Now the city of  Maitland owns the land and buildings and makes great use of it  for conferences, art classes and lots of Weddings which is a perfect place for them! I went to a writers conference there years ago, the atmosphere was electric. It’s the aura! Here’s the link  www.maitlandartcenter.org
Here is the view of the Formal Garden.  

I decided to head back to Sanford as it was getting to be about 4pm and traffic moves at a turtle pace.After arriving, I grabbed Adam and got some dinner at Applebees. His friend Ari was at the AAA building in Lake Mary where the Seminole County High Schools were showcasing the area AP Art students. There was to be a reception and awards. We went and the place was packed and the art was amazing and professional. These students have big futures! The style and individual work was so impressive. The show will remain up for 3 weeks, so you have time to head up there and take your time, there is so much to look at — it is definitely worth the time. Adam and I really enjoyed the quality of the art. Ari’s work shows she has a solid artistic soul!
Finally when I got home I sat down to email Gayle to ask where and when I should pick up my picture. There was an unread email from her, I opened it and she said my photo sold at the golf course that Jerry had been playing on that monring, he was showing a golfer the picture and the guy bought it! That made me really happy. being an artist and selling art is hard work, so it sure is nice when someone appreciates it enough to buy a piece. I always feel honored when that happens, especially with something kind of ‘off par’ – an ‘out of gallery experience’ for sure…

These are funny birds. They are boisterous and that’s what I love about them.
The neon feathers are gorgeous when reflecting the sun. And they entertain me while I fish as they look for food around the lily pads.   
Walking magisterially like they own them, or maybe tame them.  They lift up pad after pad using their beaks and claws to push them back to reveal what might be lurking beneath as they eat frogs and fish and even baby birds.   

They come in to eat with the blackbirds and crows, but dominate the blackbirds.   What I love is when they puff all up and show the other male how ready they are to find a female.
I watched two males take turn pumping up in competition, first one then the other about three times.  
I have seen others release their inner “Hulk”.  

In the sun they gleam!  
I will have several like the last photo in my exhibit at the Maitland Library after Wednesday.
I can’t take enough photos of their beautiful faces. 
They come and hog about every drop of food at the feeder, but it’s wonderful watching all their antics.
Take a walk – I bet if you live in many states, you will see the Grackle. Enjoy them, observe their interaction, and laugh at their “puffery”.     

Yesterday morning I heard a lot of noise around 7:30am. Of course the baby herons were screaming for their breakfast, but it sounded like the adults were squabbling. I looked out and saw there were 4 other herons around the trees where the nest is. The sun was blinding as it is right behind the nest, but I tried to get some of the group in all one photo, that was a challenge. They stayed grouped for hours, it seems like they took off in the early hours of the afternoon. Here’s a look at the clan.
The first thing I noticed were the mass of blue clouds fortressed, almost denying the sun her entrance.  They said all night we would have big storms, only a slight rain came for about an hour, nothing with the magnitude they predicted. I looked above and noticed a heron flying in.   That’s normal, the male must fish in the early morning and comes back with the grub. But today there were 4 other adults up in various spots in the surrounding trees.   Click on photo to see larger version. They stuck around for a while, then one would fly off and come back and play musical branches, flying up and tagging of the other cranes which would scream and then fly off, circle and come back again.
They were quite active, lots of interaction.

This photo shows that one even stood on my roof for a while. He stood and watched the others, ruffled his feathers and took off .
I read a ‘dream’ explanation for herons and of course, they had several interpretations. One they are wading birds, so if you dreamt of them, you stood in doubt of your direction. The other said they brought prosperity. I’ll go with the last.    Where’s Waldo?

This one is quite distinctive as it’s mouth is always open like that, must have a beak defect. 

Threw in a small blue heron that happened to be hanging on neighbors boat.
Finally I could see the babies in the nest t get a photo, look hard, they are busy flapping their wings trying to figure out how they work. I did a blog last year about one that fell from the nest and it was so pathetic how it would cry and cry for it’s folks and once it was down, the parents could do nothing to get it back up that high. The baby would sleep in the lower branches of one of my norfolk pines at night. I am hoping that one of these herons is that baby. It was eating on it’s own.
Here’s the babies:   They now stand on the edge of the nest and look out.

And that was last night before the Sanford Art Walk, will have a few pics later today as the sun is rising, must go look towards the horizon… Good morning….

Thought I’d change it up for Monday, (almost Tuesday) and give my blog peeps some flowers. Actually it was my neighbor who inspired me by bringing home all kinds of flowers to plant in her yard. I had to take photos of the beauties she had put into planters and in the ground. And looking at them through a macro lens made them even more beautiful. I even caught a small fly lurking on one. So instead of chatting about my day, maybe this will color yours like it did mine…

have to add a bit of wildlife at the end, the hawk is just as beautiful as the flowers…

The female heron got a nice catch tonight and promptly set the fish in the correct position to eat it. I really didn’t know if she could handle it and neither did the male who flew over to see if he could help himself to the meal.

It took a little down time, but that fish did find it’s way down. I bet that added about 4-5 pounds of weight to her – talk about gluttony and she still stayed by my side until I gave up as nothing was eating my bait. Here’s the video
if that does not work, try this link
http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1532181417
The day was gorgeous and getting warmer. The moon is a sliver and the fish really were not cooperating. Working on finishing up exhibit with few last photos. One of the heron with the bass will add conversation!  Found out today they have accepted a couple photos for an exhibit in June at the Museum of Seminole County History.
Enjoy the video, forgive the hand held shakiness, at some point I will get a camera with better quality video and maybe even bring a tripod out with me, as it is, when I walk down to fish, I look like I am in dress rehearsal to go to the beach!

Don’t be jealous, but this is the view from my window as I write this.
– Of course I had to run out and take a bizillion photos of the new arrivals.  I observed them for a long time.

The smaller one required a lot of down time. It seemed a bit weak. It sat a lot and pecked at the ground. The parents fed them a lot of worms and some bird seed, one tiny grain at a time.

So gently and loving the parents are AND protective. The father talks when I cross the line of demarcation. He gives me a warning and I back off. Luckily I have a good long telephoto on the Kodak and I like the quality of the Kodak on the photos better than the Sony, the Kodak takes a bit softer photo, because of that telephoto I suppose.  But I take both cameras out and shoot away anyway.   Both parents are attentive, but I do worry for that smaller baby as it must sit and rest almost every ten minutes, this is not anything I have seen with any of the other baby cranes, most are good with keeping the pace and only relax when they have walked a good distance, never as frequently as this little one.

Little Beta leans on Alpha.   Mama crane rests with babies. You probably ask, what about Ringo? Ringo has never gone after any of the baby cranes in the 6 years I have been here. But we do have a stray coming around, a black cat and I think it will learn a lesson about the wrath of the big birds should he get fresh.  If I can trap it, I will send it to the humane society.   
Here’s a few more photos:

We did have more visitors this morning, some ducks that were very beautifully marked
possibly a wood duck?

Yesterday I say a pinkie sized snail that required a macro lens view:   and a Great Egret came by and stopped for a meal:   grabbed that lizard quicker than quick.
As usual the bird bath was busy   Many grackles, cardinals, jays and blackbirds.  A mockingbird is busily building a nest:   The time change sucks and I am trying to learn how to change it and have only one time all year around. When I find out how this could be changed and we could become like Arizona, I will inform you so our fellow Floridians could all rally around a one time year round state – the changes are just stupid – leave it on daylight savings time!  I don’t sleep much, but now I am going to bed at 4 and 5am – it’s crazy!
Enjoy your day, I have miles to go and cranes to meet and a heron waiting for me to fish on the other side of the time zone – how do you tell a waiting heron to come back in an hour? I guess I just have to extend the fishing time by an hour – gotta run out and do my duty…

All day the weather service has thrown out the “C” word, “cyclonic activity”.  Apparently there were swirling weather dervishes all over central Florida.  Brighthouse channel 13 kept an atmosphere of fear and doom and impending present natural forces waiting to pounce: straightline winds, tornados, lightening, blinding rain, floods, etc etc.
My weather radio   kept going off over and over with tornado and thunderstorm warnings, it gets to a point where it’s like ‘calling wolf” via a robotic voice calm as Hal in 20o1 Space Odyssey that tells you you are about to die if you ignore this radio command.  I called in The Cat in the Hat to soften the blow and point out the irony of a robot’s voice controlling the sheer panic of real people.
As soon as that blatant noise goes off warning of warnings, I look around and if I don’t see or hear anything, I figure ‘Hal’ must have meant the tornado was headed somewhere else and I don’t have to unload the linen closet and step in while concrete block falls around me.
The birds had been active all morning.   The clouds low and growling from the warm southeast. Marching like they had a mission to accomplish by fighting  the north with it’s cold front.  As I said the birds were  busy,  (squirrels too).

This grackle shook off the loose water.

The woodpeckers were tapping out their SOS to the other peckers to seek a deep hole and stay there.
Mama heron flew over for a visit.  

I looked across the lake and could see the father crane and grabbed Adam to go have a look, (yes, even tornadic activity can’t stop me from risking limb and life to see baby cranes .)  The mama had flown back over and we saw the babies,   one which had run under the wire fence and the other was soon to follow. When the parents noticed that they had a couple peewee escapees, they could not figure out how to get through that fence and kept banging into it.  Their bird brains did not compute metal as part of nature’s mesh.

Meanwhile the colts were bolting with their new found freedom and fear of the unknown.   So Adam chased the adult cranes out toward the water and they found they could get over to their offspring. We didn’t see the babies after that, they were on private property inside that fenced yard. I am hoping soon they will swim those babies over in a week or so so I can get close ups.
At 4:00pm was the ribbon cutting  by the Chamber of Commerce for Rhonda Richley’s new re-opening of Art Affair Gallery to a larger space at 301 East First Street in Sanford. I looked at the weather and decided to wait it out a bit. At 6pm I left and was glad I got to see the new space. Even with the weather alert many people were out attending Alive After 5 which had an Irish/ St. Patrick Day theme.
The gallery was packed with people, it was a wonderful turnout. I met artists and or photographers: Marie Decosta,  Mauricio Murillo, Ken Elliott and Gummy Bear
shown here with Mauricio who does wonderful satiric gummybear art.   Look at that, Mauricio and GB are the cover of In Progress urban arts Mag!  Mauricio’s work is quite humorous and he says he enjoys making people laugh. You can’t help enjoy his work.   
here’s a link  http://www.murilloarts.daportfolio.com/ Mauricio is also quite involved with the Icla Da Silva Foundation matching bone marrow donors to Leukemia patients.
Marie DeCosta had a room full of acrylic abstract paintings that were bold and full of imagery. She also had nature photography and her prices were very fair.

Ken Elliott a photographer from Ormond beach was gracious and gave me great tips on using the manual setting. His work was testament to his professional eye.  http://www.kenelliottphotography.com/ Ken does a lot of fine art and commercial work.  Thanks again Ken for all the tips and the stories. I enjoyed his sunset photo of a red sunset that he caught.  I had one of those nights a few weeks ago after a wonderful vertical rainbow and the sky rather tapered off into a rich sunset as I fished  – this was how it looked. And if you read my blog, you know I fish quite often!  Except not tonight.
There was a room that featured a student artist, Andrew Allen McCoy
The collage by Constance Payne was very telling. I was told she is a tattoo artist and takes in young artists and tries to help them focus on their lives and their art.    One piece is Payne’s and the others are students.  They learned well.  And on with the show, here is more of the Art Affair expanded Gallery. Rhonda does her own textured art and she is not shy with her colors and subjects.  There was artwork made out of soda cans, baskets out of paper, jewelry, very imaginative woodworking and much more, whatever the texture, whatever the medium, paper, rock, scissors, you will find something to suit you.  And it’s not a place where you can only look and can’t afford to buy.  Go take a look, you will enjoy what Rhonda has done for Sanford, she’s added a lot of class and fine art. Here’s more proof:

And here’s a few of my own “abb-strax” resulting from trying to take night photography of the surrounding events from outside. That included a group of Irish Bagpipe players.

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