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Yesterday it was gray and gloomy and rained on and off late afternoon.  At around 6:15pm I was finishing cooking on the grill when I glanced and looked over the lake at the sky, it had turned a weird color right over Sonja’s house. I grabbed my camera and my son Adam to come look at the strange rainbow, like a wall of hues deeply saturated that did not arc, but had been splashed against the deepening sky.
Look for yourself, I don’t even know if I did them justice, but what a treat to remember! Love what moisture Must have been the moisture and sky clearing???

Finally it melted like sherbert over the lake

and we went back inside with a big smile – convinced we had looked into the eye of Iris and she had fully winked at only us!

Deliver me oh Iris
into your rage of colors
take me under your kaleidescope skin
let me taste confusion
lure me into Prism-atica

I think of Inness, Constable, Rubens
seduced
into crossing that line from primary
cursed to spend their lives
behind empty canvas
hunting you with boars hair
trying to capture your soul

She teases from behind
a drape of stiff clouds
demanding attention
taming the storm

then elusive Iris
smiles electric
bleeding her colors
firing our very synapses
into mnemonic intoxication

once we see it
once we feel it
once we taste it
we will long for the pleasure
of always chasing rainbows…

First things first, before going to the reception I spent time out in the back watching ‘heron wars’.  Two males vying for the affection of the nesting female.   One had his way with her.

While the other waited in line for servicing.    But the male who had been first in line chased the other suitor off
– they went in circles till the other male went back to his own nest,  and the alpha male came back toward the nest and sat watching for the other male to hone in. I suppose we will have some eggs in that nest soon.  It’s fun living in between rookeries.
Then it was over to Sanford,   Taking pictures on the run. At the Welcome Center there was wonderful art.  I saw other artists I knew, met some I didn’t know, and talked to others who were there supporting the arts like Beda, Pam and Chuck and Bev who came to support the cause.  The Welcome Center was packed.
The Zoo had brought over animals, a possum  – (I see possums nightly – though they are not on a leash) And the coolest owl.  
I could have taken picture after picture of his gorgeous face and eyes!   After wandering the room, Adam and I went out to walk the street, (not in a soliciting kind of way,) and came to a newer art gallery store, Called Art AffairGallery.    They have amazing art and gifts. Julie Kessler is one of their featured artists known for her mosaics and metal work. She does not fail to amaze with the work she does.

Ronda Richley is the owner and has great taste for stocking her store, she was very enthusiastic about making her Gallery a staple in Sanford that people will be drawn to, go visit and have a look, at 303 East First Street next to Fawn, she really has the passion to make it grow.
We went up to Jeanine Taylors which is always filled with talent beyond talent.
Hollenbachs the German Restaurant was packed with people waiting in line. I like their desserts, but I’m not into their regular meals,  but who am I? They had plenty of people waiting to eat. Otherwise, the Stones Throw Bistro which is new has a nice menu and was busy.  Maya was closing her bookshop and came over to the Welcome Center.
There was a jazz singer by the door of the Welcome Center who was singing and playing with a lot of heart, it really lent itself to the artsy mood.
Talked to my friends again, listened to which artist won the first prize for being the voted  for piece of artwork, – (not mine) – but the winner,  Heather had sculpted two pieces, a dog and cat out of clay and she deserved the prize.
All in all it was fun, and I was so happy Pam came after working all day, and it made me happy that Beda and her adorable neighbor, and Bev, Chuck and Pam came out to share in all the festivities.  I wish I had gotten a photo with Pam and Bev, but did get one with Beda,   And had Chuck take a photo of Adam and I and I look like a mad, serial killer. So I plastered on a smile  with photoshop:  poorly I might add

Then it was back home so Adam could do his thing and I could do mine, (getting on the computer to give a blog report.)
So when you have a moment, get to downtown Sanford and have a look at the mentioned places, and also over at the vintage boutique, Fringe which has moved above Maya’s bookstore, Kim the owner is a lot of fun as are the clothes, you can even rent clothes from there.
Gotta pack and get over to Tampa tomorrow, ahhhhhh, the I-4 anxiety —

Went to Welcome Center to drop off caterpiller pic for Friday night reception. There will be 40 artists with their work. Go see the art, it will hang for a month. You can go to the reception Friday night the 22 of Jan. from 6-9pm At the Sanford Welcome Center on First St.
Downtown was quiet – 
I stopped at the Goodwill and dropped off two boxes of clothes and picked up this mirror to put somewhere.  It’s about 14inches long, and I like elephants, it was so cheap, I couldn’t pass it up.
Stopped at Jeanine Taylor’s Gallery which is always filled with beautiful art. On to Maya’s Bookstore and over to Colonial Inn where I had a great grilled cheese and vegetable soup, yum, and all that and a drink under $7.  After looking in Fawn to see how they were settling in, I went over to marina. Pictures will speak for themselves.

There were two osprey with fish, this one had a crow that was pestering him for a bite, the crow even tried to sneak a bite and the osprey shooed him off.     

A crow sat in the middle of those seagulls.

And that was my morning, it’s a gorgeous day, feeling 70 degrees, ahhhhh….

Knew that would get your attention, but it’s not about me, it’s about coming out at 7:30am to find 4 male herons trying for a chance with the female heron in the nest. No wonder she has been lazy up there, she didn’t have any incentive to get going.  But not today!  There was heron pillow talk going on in that tree this am.   One was very persistant to win her affection and kept bringing branches.  

She gladly accepted and worked on filling out the bare spots.  It does seem to be filling out.  Remember to click for larger viewing.
Right now after 10am, the nest is empty and all suitors are gone. BUT the sexy talk continues.
The cranes also came in.   The first thing they did was chase off the heron looking for branches.  After being successful bullies they ate then went to the lake for a drink. Suddenly, the female spread her wings after making a low growling noise, more action…

I thinks she’s blushing beneath that expansive wing.  Oh my, the birds are busy today, and things happen in 3s they say, so stay tuned, the days still young!

Frankie spent as much time watching birds from my desk as I spent watching the Haiti drama on tv.  Finally Frankie decided to go out and I did too. I took the camera and headed to my mailbox to see my mailbox mocking bird, that bird always gives me great face, “Strike a pose” and the little face turns profile and straight on looking at me. I so love it’s adorable bulk and wish I could cup it in my hands.  See if you agree.   

The ‘mbm’ tolerates me spending many minutes looking it over deciding when to snap.  I don’t take just bird shots, I must find something that expresses it’s personality, and yes, some birds have more personality than others.
The female heron is alone most of the day, ( about 23 hours and 40 minutes. The heron male comes in the morning for about ten minutes,   at night, it might be even shorter. the airplanes fly right over our heads.    ANd the late afternoon clouds had very nice hints of pastels.       A palette in the sky, thank you mother nature.   The grass is dead, as is much of the shrubbery, but it comes back.  

the passion flower is without passion.    The bird of paradise drained of it’s white bloom.  The banana looks like it’s over ripe.  Seeds are coming off the oleander.   The weather warmed up to about 70 which was wonderful, but I need 80 degrees to feel truly warm.
The fox came by after days of not seeing it. I am trying to figure if it is really old, or young and inexperienced.   He was passing close by the house trying to avoid the disdain of the cranes who constantly harass it when they see the fox.  The fox darted on my porch and said “yum, she feeds her cats out here!”  The fox enjoyed the food and ate like it was a starved cat,       Will have to put their food in bowl and take in and out.  The fox ran out when he saw me taking pics. Ringo was just on a chair about 3 feet away, I bet Ringo outweighs that svelte animal.   I just don’t want Ringo to tangle with him, though, I think Ringo would win.
The woodpecker was overlooking the stump, I have at least 3 of them around here, they chat to each other all the time. I hear the cardinals first in the morning, but the woodpeckers come for the birdseed first.
I tried fishing, but it didn’t take much brain power to see that I was not getting even a nibble in five minutes.
Today is Friday and my writing group comes in 12 hours, I have been very bad and have been taking too many photos and doing too many blogs and facebook entries to write something to give out for critiquing – I am in total writers block, so I better stop and try and will myself into a state of authorship.
I am back to where I begin except Frankie is now in her bed, the desk drawer,
and Ringo is in my bed,  and I am here staring,  looking at white space and trying to figure out how to devour it and spit out words…


It is agony watching the earthquake victims of Haiti. They had so little and now have nothing. I feel guilty for complaining about cold and weather when I have a home and heat and water and food.
Last night watching Anderson Cooper, he had his camera man focus on a park below where he stood. It was dark, but the sound was of people panicked and screaming, glass shattering, he called on someone to explain while we observed people dropping their things and running. The interpreter said it was all a ruse, someone would shout “flood is coming” and people would leave what little possessions they had and run, while the hoodlums ran and grabbed the possessions.  I also saw them free a 13 year old girl after 12 hours of digging. She had a broken foot, but it was not somethings she was getting treatment for. Survival of the fittest is a bitch. I almost feel guilty showing photos of happy, carefree wildlife. The reality of life in Haiti is hard, and hard for animals too.  I’d hate to be a loose dog or cat over there, at this point, it might be a food source!  The Haitians have de-forested all but 3% of their nation, burning wood for heat and cooking. One Haitian man was telling a reporter that people are used to suffering, they expect little and get nothing. What a horrible fate to have to endure.  Hug your family today and be thankful for what you have, it might not be much, but it’s more than a Haitian has!
While Frankie watches from her point a reality today,  it is only right that I post photos I have taken off NY Times and CBS and CNN streaming video –
look and appreciate the life you have and donate even just $10 to some worthy organization to help someone who has lost everything, as Americans, we are good at being generous…

Florida’s flora and fauna have become victims of the new deadzone.
We have frozen, and refrozen and will do it again for a few more nights.  Can the plants survive all this savage winter frost over and over? Even the wildlife is at risk, the manatees are taking over anywhere the water is warmer, they succumb to “cold stress syndrome”, (me too.)  They can’t take water below 68degrees or they can die because apparently their hormonal system is stressed.   Photo care of
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
And not only are the manatees at risk, the non native iguanas are just falling out of trees onto people in south Florida.  Apparently, being of a reptile nature, they just go into a cold induced stupor and fall over.  Plus, they are saving sea turtles from dying, and pelicans from starving and there’s 4 people in need of every one homeless shelter cot on these freezing nights. It is a winter that I have not encountered since living in Florida back in ’73’  (though we did move away for a few years in the 80’s)  This is not the Florida I love, give me back the heat, I would rather be hot than cold!
The backyard looks burnt out.  This is from Wednesday morning.  Here’s a few more of various plants around the yard:
That’s my passionflower vine all dying a slow death.   my hibiscus and young bird of paradise, kiss them goodbye – they are goners.
The view from my desk window, canna lilies are totally brown!
|    The cranes are fine and I am happy to report the Papa crane is walking much better, his limp is decreasing.  (stock footage from the summer.)  The birds are very active. 
Even the squirrels were trespassing  

around the yard knowing Ringo was inside playing.  
The fox was around,  he’s looking a bit better, and was off in a split second as soon as I opened the sliding glass door to get a photo of him. He sprints around here, then in a minute, he is off through the neighborhood.

The female heron sits around in her less than egg-worthy nest and waits for her lover to appear twice a day. I think he is disappointed in the nest and spends more time with the other female heron at her pad because it is a  better home environment.

Fishing you ask? I have not fished in over a week, the cold is way too cold for me, as I guess it would be for the fish, who are most likely hardly moving.  The lake looks great,  you can see beneath the water quite clearly.   I did see minnows, but nothing bigger.  I remember a few years ago watching bass swim around in specific areas, they seemed territorial. But fishing has not been that great in the past year and a half, when my neighbors moved, the big bass have decided not to be caught anymore.
And back to the weather, I never thought I would say a 50 degree day would be a heatwave!  There might be snow in the morning, how freaky would that be?
So now it is morning, 8:41am to be exact, it has rained, but it is not quite cold enough yet for snow. It looks once again boring and cold, brown and lifeless except for the fluttering of birds at my stump and feeders – DO NOT FORGET TO FEED THE BIRDS THIS WINTER! You will be greatly rewarded by having so much activity around on these days when you feel so sluggish under several layers of clothing and a full length robe. Here’s the latest view :  And I just came in from being outside and it has cooled down a lot! Temp is at 35, maybe in an hour you will see snow, I will be watching, it’s gonna happen!

I did write a story about “fish cubes” — we had a frost in 2008 and I had a dream that the fish were all frozen in the lake and I boated out and rescued them, it’s on my poetry blog –  Go to http://abberantverse.wordpress.com if you feel like reading my surreal view of poetry/prose, I have a strange take on things.
Will keep you posted “literally” when the snow comes – stay warm wherever you are, and gear up for making our utility companies rich via  monstrous electric and gas bills!  Now if America could only ‘green up’ and have a huge manufacturing industry of turbines and solar with the ability to sell our excess energy back!  Energy should be propelling a massive industry for us, where is it? I suppose all one can do to protest for now is to expel excessive energy and fart on the check to the electric & gas  companies before sealing the bill in the envelope, maybe they will get ‘wind’ of our need for change…

Went to my camera group tonight in Debary at the Gateway and we keep gaining members and knowledge, benefiting from those who are more experienced and will share their smarts. Also they give links for different support of the photography craft and for storage.
We talked about monthly photography competitions and using simple guidelines for knowing what to do about things like taking photos of “correct” horizons, sunsets and basic rules of dividing photos into thirds for good composition.  I can listen, but then “Abbe-brain” kicks in and it is all about making pictures that satisfy my own taste. Larry, a member, said he is finding it hard to stop when working on a photo, there are so many options it’s over stimulating. All I can say, Larry is right, how do you know when to stop? And I only know limited photo manipulation – I don’t even work with layers.  So let me take one wilting red passion flower photo that I took this afternoon and show you what I have done:

there are many more.

And then ‘one’ moves on to next subject:    

and soon life has drifted to the exosphere and time melts into the essence of  ossuary color and sits mesmerized and blank as the fingers jab the tool buttons, then quick fix, then un-do and re-do, black and white, polar, this filter, then another and another – then you wonder, what the hell is all this waste for? Would someone buy any of these?  Is  any one of the pictures a winner? And what is the definition of a winner? And how do you pick it?  Then the next dilemma, the thoughts about setting up a website and testing oneself to see if any of my “manipulations” could make me some extra cash, say enough to pay for some paper to print them on and some Symphony candy bars or even cat food — or is it all worth the time to even play with photos? That’s the stage you look at the clock and realize you were in the “Dada” zone and apterous for 3 hours and the house could have burned down around you and you would have never noticed until the cat with mule looking ears cleaning herself in the desk drawer next to you went up in flames but never burned as Emily Dickinson’s ghost keeps repeating, “much madness is divinest sense”  while John Lennon sings about “the holes being rather small, they had to count them all and now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall”,
and the computer was melting as you try to save the hard drive and keep all your photos in the ‘save-as’ file and then the computer freezes and you have not saved a thing and it is all in vain so you get up and look in the bathroom mirror and realize you are five years older than when you began, and and and, oh never mind, I think you get it, I actually think I get it,  I am over thinking again,  time to log off and try reading for a while. Guess I will join Ringo who is sound asleep on top of the electric blanket, he has not moved in 4 hours, I think the electricity has numbed him as he dreams of ungulates and daggers for nails and the taste of freshly caught bream, the young, tender ones.  That blanket is the catalyst for my best dreams,  it is a poetry book waiting to happen, “Tales From Beneath the Electric Blanket”.  Ringo has his own version,    
I am taking photos of him to use in the book, whenever I care to publish it, but that is another project,  one more thing to fixate on, to pause and think about doing… Jeeze, it’s Hell being an artist, or it’s just Hell being crazy…(but it’s fun)

I can’t stand feeling so cold, but this am when I woke it was in mid thirties – I am a person who needs hibernation from the cold, (anything below 70 degrees) – but I guess that equates to wearing a short sleeved shirt under a turtle neck, under a sweater and my bathrobe, and panty hose under jeans and thick socks, and I am still cold with heat cranked to 74 degrees!  I should have on my gloves as my hands are cold too. Actually I need to move and make energy, but sometimes it’s easier to sit and bitch.
I was standing in the kitchen and saw many shadows falling across the driveway. I grabbed my jacket over my bathrobe, sweater, turtleneck and t-shirt  and ran out the back — crows were everywhere.  Big big numbers of crows were settling in trees and then something would spook them and they would move.  I enjoyed watching them and at one point they were over my head and I could hear splats of bird crap falling around me, my camera took a hit, but it was for a worthy cause, and yet, I really don’t think I got a photo  to use for my crow exhibition in April.
After a while, I went back in and crawled back under the electric blanket and went into dreamsville set on high. so here’s a flavor of crows-

The crows were around for several hours.  I would go out in short bursts taking in their huge numbers, snapping pics then retreating back to the heat inside. I enjoyed all the cawing coming from the sky and trees.
I did notice on the porch I had a bird, so I got my flea market net and tried to get it, but it was too bulky for what I needed to do.    My hand worked better.    
Soon it was on it’s way to find it’s friends and I am glad that Ringo missed it.
He was looking the wrong way!
When I went to get the mail, my mailbox mockingbird was there sunning.  It really is the best ‘poser’ — 

There were also lots of oleander caterpillers, so I am hoping we get lots of oleaner moths!

Did look up at the heron as she looked down at me   And there were a few vultures near the crows just soaring around the lake on the wind currents.   

The first one had beautiful white tipped wings  —  So I leave now with a photo of Ringo who was enjoying the dying sunlight of late afternoon.  As for me, the darkness has swallowed the light and the void is cold, damn cold.  I think I will make some soup and hot tea, and watch the telly –  tomorrow I will take pics at the Gateway.  P/S , the fox hurried on through today. The humane society gave me the number for animal control for a trap, BUT, they did not know what the Animal Control does with the animal once they trap it, must know that answer. I am hoping it could be treated, and released somewhere it would have a chance to thrive…

It’s 10:oopm, I’m sitting here after trying to take pictures of the “blue” moon through the fast moving gray web of clouds. So here’s an abbesworld look at the moon:
The full moon didn’t show up as the heron and I fished tonight.  It was gloomy all New Years Eve day.  I looked up at the herons nest this morning and wondered how it could hold eggs as it seems so lacking in good structure.   It really is not like the nest there several years ago, the last one was huge and really thick.  This one was built by a young, very inexperienced first nestor.  The male flew by me this morning to bring the female one stick.     He walked briskly to give it to her and then left for the day.   I have no idea if eggs are in that nest, but somehow I doubt it.

As for the fox, he didn’t show. I called a trapper who wanted a bunch of money as if I was asking him to send a fox to Alaska in the first class section of a plane.
The day as I said was cloudy and there was no recognition of it being the last day of 2009.    It started beautifully – this morning the sunrise was ostentatiously orange!    Then it went downhill and stayed cloudy.  
I was supposed to be framing art for the Gateway show that has to be turned in on Sunday.  But I decided to try some macro photos.


There is just too much beauty out there. I played around way too long.
The cranes were lounging around. What is fun about the cranes is how they recognize other cranes flying over. When they see a fellow crane winging it on by, they open their mouths and give that big noisy scream.  They don’t do it for any other birds, the woodstorks flew by and not a peep, but one crane can spark their loud hello.   I am finally now at 11pm getting the frames worked on with the help of Frankie and Ringo.   
I must say this past year has brought me so many riches, my family and so many people who are genuinely encouraging — so many people who have been my friends for decades and excuse my quirks as just belonging to Abbe.  It’s wonderful to have found some lost childhood friends this year, and new friends and other bloggers who read me as I read them.  And where would I be without the beauty of the surrounding bounty of life surrounding me.  I am so lucky to have so much. I can only hope that the new year brings you all the wonderful pleasures you desire. For me, I hope to continue taking that photo that someone will appreciate as much as I do, for it to be a source of something comical, something healing, something just to take the edge off , or something to inspire one by.
Happy New Years to my children and family, to my writing and blogging buddies, to my artist friends and political arguing friends, to those I know and those I don’t, all I can say is, make this your best year yet, find your passion and go for it! Enjoy the things around you, find a cause and put yourself into it, and most of all love love love –
Peace and happiness and love – Abbe
some fireworks…

I had to pick up Hendrix  today from 55 West downtown where he had hung in a model rental, and it rented so Jimi had no further service.  Anyone need a Hendrix photo?  And since I had to go downtown, I decided I would make a few stops along the way, one was at Borders in Winter Park where the Animal Welfare Alliance was wrapping holiday gifts for donations, I was eager to help and dropped off wrapping paper and bows. Gail Nagan is trying hard to get her dream of the low cost spay and neuter clinic realized and she is making all efforts to fund it, so if you need something wrapped or would like to volunteer to gift wrap, please call her, (407-462-2320 )  — she would love the help.  But of course, I am out of sequence, first I stopped off in Casselberry.   Went to Casselberry Art House and WOW, I was not prepared for how it has morphed since last time I visited!  They have revamped the whole space around it into a absolutely ‘bucolic’ – peacful space!  The street Melody has been sealed off so you must turn on Triplet.  The Art House itself remains the same in it’s arty-ambiance. Linda, the Recreation Coordinator was getting it ready for an art exhibit.  It looked interesting.  I didn’t take photos on the inside only because I was not sure how their artists would react. But, here’s photos of the new outside. 

Look at all the crows!   And my favorite spot, the wonderful fountain!    
The jets go in several sequences and you could take a lap top and sit and reel off that novel you have been wanting to write, but your brain is in blocked mode. Or read a book — this setting over looking the lake and the wonderful boardwalk will help relax you!  This really added to their city hall.  They have concerts and art shows, go to their website, the Art House offers art lessons and other types of classes too. They have a seniors group that also meets, call 407-262-7700
for more info or go to their site, www.casselberry.org or cut and paste
http://www.casselberry.org/index.aspx?nid=338
It was after that , that I went to Borders and I also got an assiago pretzel, not that great.
Then I figured I would stop to see what was new at the Comma, Karen had sent out notices about her latest exhibit,  “4 The Birds” – I missed the reception, they even had live birds from the Orange County Audubon Society!  When I parked, there was a window with ‘day of the dead’ figures.

I walked in the back door of Comma and felt like I always do,  that I am in a first class art gallery! And Karen comes out and always greets ‘silly old me’ as if I am a paying customer. She has always been a great teacher about the people and techniques and pieces she has on the walls and on display.  She told me I had to photograph the t-shirt I was wearing and call it “Something”, so here’s my shirt –   Yep, that shirt is a trick, a ploy to divert the eyes and keep them focused upwards and not at my chubby Jewish thighs!  The shirt as you notice has two tigers in strategic placement.  It is a shirt you see coming at you.  But I always wear shirts with something visual, many times with something to read,  like Dr. Suess – 
but that’s another blog and neurosis folded in my t-shirt drawer!
And here’s a tour of Comma Art Gallery:

The glasswork by Duncan McClellan, his color and usage of design were truly beautiful.   Love the swans.  My favorite was a collage and stitched piece of a women and a crow.   There is always unique jewelry and the same with the artwork.
Grady Kimsey is totally awesome.  Karen’s painting is always fresh and inspiring.  She’s very diverse!
Patrick McGrath Muniz has an astounding icon view of art, it’s ironic and totally eye consuming, you really have to look at the detailing of his art.  You must venture down to 813 Virginia Dr. and see the art work.  Hey, I can’t show everything, I want you to go have a look. And if you are an artist, there is gallery space available, e-mail Karen at  commagallery@gmail.com   She runs an internationally known gallery and will be glad to fill you in.    http://www.commagallery.com
I  enjoyed my visit there, but knew Jimi was waiting. I bid Karen ‘adieu’ and moved on to Orange Avenue. I  hate driving the one way, narrow  streets of downtown. I parked and walked several blocks to new 55 West condos that did not sell as condos, but as rentals, they rent out briskly.  I walked in and asked for  Jimi Hendrix, the ‘concierge’ guy seemed rather uppity! Hey desk guy, get over yourself, in the dictionary your job title is only a fancy French name for a front desk watcher/janitor.
Jimi and I marched back with 9 minutes left on the parking meter.  I played “the Wind Cries Mary” and “Little Wing”, (my song to myself) over and over as we traveled down Rosilyn onto the east I-4 ramp and off we cruised to our Sanford exit.
I didn’t go right home,  there was that one stop at Giovannis for eggplant parmigiana,  (Pam, I just couldn’t wait for a visit to Brio.)  Jimi waited politely in the car.
Giovannis’ garlic rolls are the best, I love Italian food and pasta, (too much) it all fits in with the  strategy of  wearing flashy, eye grabbing, catchy t-shirts.  I bet Finola Hughes would grab me off the street for a fashion makeover, Heidi Klum would recoil in horror looking at my wardrobe choices, while Wendy Williams might burn my shirts with her lighter as she does with beef jerky— Please, don’t tell any of them where I live…

Forgot to shout out a Happy Hanukah to the other tribe members.
Made my way back from Tampa, weather was very gray and cold until today.  I had a great time though.  I miss Sasha,  and little Bella,
and the kids. We checked the market over there, wow, great home buying opportunities!  Maybe for me???
These are some of the photos I took.

Aaron’s 250 gallon tank only has 3 fish at this time, the big puffer, lion fish and small clown.  The salt water tank is hard to maintain, he might sell the fish and go fresh water, he loves oscar and pacu fish.
The weather as I mentioned was weird, a cold front came through and the winds coming from the northeast off the lake were intense and felt so cold.  The sky was mostly dull the whole time until today.   It was gray and dreary.  When I left this morning, it was sunny and warm again.   I only got off at 4 stops on the way back, traffic was not even that bad.   I stopped at lakeland to get some fries and found a little bookstore called Mary’s. It even had women’s hats.  On the way back, it’s always good to see the outline of downtown.  
I had to stop on Washington St. at RT Art and pick up my photos that were made.
you notice I made them bigger than the others, that’s marketing. As always, Roger and Trish do terrific work, and their dogs are adorable and posed for me too.   They were awesome subjects!
Finally I got home and the sky became totally overcast. I did fish with the heron female on the nest, she flew down and got a few treats. The cranes did a dance, they seemed glad to have me back.  I’m back in the cave, now to get working on my spring crow exhibition and also send a few pics over for the Gateway next month.
Of course I will let you know the dates.
And that’s it — oh wait, the other night, TCM, Turner Classic Movies had a wonderful “short” where dogs starred in all the actor rolls, it was very funny.

And I have no idea what this has to do with anything, just thought I’d let ya go with a smile, (or a growl) …ARF ARF

First, rat update: the traps remain unsnapped, and I do not hear any foot prints, I am sooo knocking on wood hoping the last of them were trapped.  So far, so good.
Heron update:
Wow, they are new at this. This young heron drops a lot of sticks, she has put this nest in a very wide “Y” of the branch. The building is going slowly, and the male stays away more than he is coming to bring branches.  This is how it looked early this morning.

It looks like a tangled mess.  AND — on Wednesday night they have said we will get a cold front with winds up to 50MPH!  Unless she sits there like “Horton Hears  A Who” on that nest, I am getting anxious it will all blow away.  As of now, all I see is her standing over it, looking for her mate who seems to ignore her more than help her.
I ran to the tax office to pay my property taxes and stopped by the marina to see what was exciting. Not a whole lot at all.  But here’s a few pictures.  

Now that I think about it, I saw a lot of  ‘white birds’  and no pigeons down by the one tiny pond across from the marina.  I drove by the buildings on the “island” and saw some of the same old same old ducks so I parked by the memorial eagle statue to look at the water. I did get rewarded by those carp or cat fish that suck air. 

They stand straight or lie on their backs and suck air.

The boats looked clean, air was fresh.

I say that as there was trash in the water and it looks dirty despite the blue reflected from the sky and the extra blue tint I added to the pictures.  Did not see any gators or other water birds like osprey.
I came back home   , the road was ‘less traveled’ at 11am.  I gave up my zoo membership this time around. So I drove home because I was going to pick up my new glasses at the mall. That 20/20 Superstore changed my RX so much, I will have to try them out a few days and see how the change works. So far, my left eye feels a bit cheated and might need a bit more power. I hate to think I have to go back to that damn store again to get the RX right!
On the way back home, there was a hawk sitting on a fence near the red light,
By the time I ran all over, when I got home it was almost time to fish. I gathered my goods and walked with Ringo to the lake. I discovered that my heron that fishes with me is not part of the duo building the nest. I think she is the original mother of one of them.  She was waiting for me. 

As was a beautiful pink and blue night with near full moon.  The moon seemed quite shy tonight and blushed a lot as the clouds passed by.

The water itself was reflective of the deepening shades of pink.
I caught two bream and the heron was well fed.
Left the lake as it grew dark and the mosquitoes came out.  No videos tonight,
just an artistic rendition of Ringo as we left the lake, now pray for rain, but no wind for Wednesday….

It’s so exciting, last night the last vision I had outside was the herons in the tree.  I came in feeling bad I didn’t fish, but the weather was too cold. Ringo went to bed early and I monitored his dreams,  first it was Pinhead, then it was the ‘Saw’ figure.
You can see Ringo was having nightmares. I whispered to his subconscious that he must think lovely thoughts.  next thing I know, ‘Saw’ had melded into a sweet Casper  Then another being came in — ET gave him a cat massage and put him into sweet alpha sleep.   He slept all night until Payne woke him at 6:30am, if you know Payne, she is a cartoon political pundit who time travels using cat bladders, she needed Ringo’s.   He woke and left who knows where he went…
But back to reality, went outside and the heron pair were still in the tree, they are shaping twigs, building their nest it looks like, WOW do I feel like Chanukah Harry and Santa have left me a gift!!!!

The male snaps twigs off the tree and sometimes flies off and gets twigs and she shapes them. I have been watching and she drops a lot of twigs in the water below.  They must be new at this, wonder if these are kids of the parents in my neighbors yard last year?  The male gets kind of impatient and bangs her with his beak. She is working hard trying to make her home. I will keep you posted as to their progress. It’s so exciting I can hardly contain myself!

It’s officially holiday season! The turkey was pardoned, and today is
“pre-thanksgiving- manic-rush-tostartcookcookcooking-wash-freshsheets-dusting-blowoff porch-and pretenditalwayslooksthisclean” day. Even though we are going to my nephews for turkey day, there will still be hungry hordes here looking for food all weekend.
Last night I fished as is usual, with the cast of usual suspects, both male and female herons flew over. The male left, the female stays with me and got rewarded with 2 fish. They have not made a nest in their usual tree, or I have not noticed any activity up there in days. instead they came from the north east, wonder where they are nesting?  (male)
female —  The turtles were obnoxious as usual.  There are three big soft shells and numerous small cooter types.  The night was cloudy – they said we would have a good rain today and we have had some nice showers. The water meter yesterday was
at  2.98 and falling fast, a foot below the summer peak of 4.17. Will read it tomorrow am to see if the rain gave it a boost. we have to have more before winter makes it fall much more.
The sky was full of clouds and crows flying off. The fishing was not great, but it’s always fun to absorb that quiet time.  The cranes had been by and were grooming as usual.  and I tried my hand at macro photography which takes a lot of patience, no wind, good light, a tripod and knowledge of aperture which I am learning
I tried frankie and Ringo  Ringo did not cooperate.  Then I tried flowers and tiny spiders  

.
This morning is totally gray and rainy, had to make pancakes for Adam, I have found that Hungry Jack wholewheat blueberry complete is AMAZING, you only need water, but I cheated and added Sugar cookie eggnog, (mybad!)   and of course, top it off with light whipping cream to counter act the egg nog.  I had to top off the whipping cream after eating my pancake –  YUM!
So better get cooking, have things to get done…now go, get outta here, quit reading, that’s it….
Ringo dreams he is a B. Kliban cat   http://www.eatmousies.com/

I read yesterday that insomniacs are not good at making split decisions, I submit, that may be the truth when looking for places to get an eye exam and glasses.
On Friday, I went to look at glasses with my son who broke his glasses. We went to the Sanford Mall and looked at Vision Works and Lens Crafters and Optical Outlet. I had not been for an exam since three years ago.  I declined getting an eye exam that day, the price was under $50 at all places.
When I was going home I heard an ad for 20/20 Eyeglass Super Store and the exam was $39 and I could buy 2 pair of glasses for $149 and the exam was free. When I got home, I made the appointment and figured, what the Hell — $39 bucks and if I don’t like the glasses so what?

So today I drove the 12 miles (one way) to Casselberry at 436 and Red Bug Rd.I saw a dead rat killed on the road and thought, maybe that is a sign that my rats are gone???
The Eyeglass SuperStore looked a bit busy, they were  nice and cheerful. I signed like 6 pages of paper work and BUYER BEWARE, READ EVERYTHING BEFORE SIGNING! I completely skimmed over the $20 charge for visual fields, which is hidden in the body of text in the agreement.
The Optometrist was nice, but I have never felt so rushed in my life. Was it thorough? I hope so as my RX seems to have changed for the better on my left eye. Then as soon as he wrote the RX, I was passed off to a nice woman named whose soul focus was to get me to buy glasses. When I saw nothing, she passed me off to another nice woman, well, dumb dumb me should have come early and looked around the store, the place had a lousy selection, Superstore my ass, they should have called it Boring Eyeglass Place. Nothing to compare to LensCrafters in Sanford.  I looked at lower price glasses with yellow tags, and nothing of interest at all. The prices for glasses by themselves seemed high!  We wandered shelf to shelf, I looked at the higher priced frames, but there was nothing great about  them either. The woman kept insisting we would find something, taking me around, and around and even brought out a few things from the back that looked like duplicates from the front. I wondered if their pay was made on commission.
It was when I asked about just using my old frames and getting lens put in them that she told me the deal about that $20 charge and I should pick out two new frames and get them covered under warranty. I was really getting steamed, and dizzy it was a rip off for that extra $20 bucks as that could have gone to gas up the truck!
There were no cool glasses that I even considered. I kept wanting to bolt! Finally I said to just let me pay and get out of there. That even took another ten minutes of paperwork.
SO LESSON FOR SUNDAY – if you want a cheap eye exam you know is thorough, first, find an Ophthalmologist, if not,  make up your mind and chance the local optometrists, I know my last Optometrist at Optical Outlet was great. Now maybe this exam was fine, but I almost feel like I want a second opinion.
AT 20/20 Eyeglass Superstore, I was cattle pushed into a feed line, then it was pressure pressure pressure to buy new frames. I would never go back there again, I will go to my Sanford vision store and look at frames or re-doing my old pairs. 20/20 sure did not work for me, wasted gas, wasted time, wasted money on a procedure that took 4 minutes top and was $1o more than had I gone 2 miles to the Seminole Town Center Mall.
And that’s Sunday so far, I’m going fishing to relax, it’s my SOMA…  
P/S, another bad split second decision was stopping by Burger King 17/92 near 434, I had to get onion rings after seeing the 99cent coupon in the paper for Steak and Shake. I got them to go and they tasted like leftover rings from Saturday.   You can see I ate them anyway. Now do I dare go fishing, it look likes it might storm? If you don’t see anymore blogs, that split decision might have been a lightning rod…

Up by 4:24am, ugh, wide awake and it is dark outside.  But watching the early sky after 6am was worth getting up for.   The sky was orange and blue, UF colors for you Gator fans.  From early on it changed into wonderful patterns with a “cold front” going through that really meant nothing cold for the weather here.  That’s at about 8-8:30am.  As it approached noon it was still fun to watch.   And yesterday I took a photo of my fence that is now covered because of one red passion flower vine. 
I also have notice an adorable mocking bird hanging out near the mailbox and discovered she has a nice hidden nest inside the carolina jasmine bush. 

4:30pm it was still a sight  and the pink came and took over fifteen minutes later.   The heron came to fish,   and the cranes are being meaner and meaner to the baby crane. They chase him off all the time now.
Here’s another afternoon pic  and finally
the sun started setting, which turned the sky gorgeous, but I didn’t feel like chasing the sunset tonight.  The trees are too thick to the west.
The heron and I fished  and he got fed.  It was another nice day, but with only 3 hours of sleep, I am worn down and know if I go to bed before midnight, I might be back up at 4am. Still debating trip to Tampa.   

Woke up this morning and realized I had not checked traps in a week. As soon as I opened the attic door, I could smell death! two rats were trapped and smelled to high heaven.  I threw them out and cleaned the plastic traps and rebaited. Damn! I was sure that maybe it was finished as I have really not heard feet.  I wonder how many more are up there and why the Hell are they finding shelter in the attic! And more important, How many are there? As I was sitting here, Ringo just jumped up on the window ledge and grabbed something and took off. I ran out with a flash light, but can’t find him anywhere…
Fishing sucked big time tonight, but the heron did come and watch about 15 feet away.  It’s the female.   The night was gorgeous, pink and blues on the lake, maybe that beauty in the sky distracts the fish? ha ha!
Earlier the space shuttle took off and headed with spare parts for the space station.  I watched
from my lake as the plume of smoke dashed over at 6000mph. Can’t imagine what it would be like  to see it so close. The night launches are the best. 
These two came off the live video of the launch of channel 13.
I will head to Tampa in a day or two leaving Adam to take charge. Tonight he has his movie buds over to watch True Romance.  He is thinking of renting out the Avalon theatre downtown to have a big screening for something. They would have so much fun!
Taking an artbreak, but not a photography break, always something to take around here. Go to
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com later on, I will add pics to that site .
Going to eat some dinner, have to say, dragged Adam to Smokey Bones for lunch and ate their nutty pecan, cranberry, goat cheese salad and it is great!  Now go be good to the local businesses and eat out somewhere!
screening

Yesterday grabbed Adam and went to see Pirate Radio which had a nice vibe, good actors, great music, simple and fun, no thinking involved.  Then up to the Gateway for set up.
100_6777re Had baby clothes, T-shirts, cups, cards, all kinds of things to sell besides framed art.  A cute dog named Lucky was running around trying to help too. He was adorable.  100_6767re 100_6769-1re (don’t ask what setting I had on that last Lucky pic.)
We headed home and Adam took wonderful photo as we passed over the 17/92 bridge

100_6807-1re
Diane Miller, head of the Photography club at Gateway who was in charge of getting everyone their placement and making things run smoothly, could not have been kinder or more accommodating.  There were potters, quilters, jewelry makers, fine artists, even an artists who painted on leather. The excitement was building.

This morning I was up at 6:15, at the Gateway by 7:30am. The weather could not have been more perfect for those having tables outdoors.  100_6835re They have a weekly farmers market each week. Outside they had very interesting booths.  A guy named Joe,  did woodcarving and had beautiful wooden mini houses.  100_6838re There was one man who made solar light holders.  100_6844re There was a quilter called Loving Stitches, a man selling things to benefit a border Collie Rescue, his dog Cali was a beaut!  100_6846re And very well behaved dog too.
Of course there were jewelry vendors,  and my good friend Judy Segall and her beau Rob came with the coolest assortment of Asian/African instruments of which Rob was giving  free demos making people smile.
http://www.judithsegall.com
100_6823re 100_6824re
Inside was an impressive group of artists.  The inside quilter, Paula had gorgeous quilts, and hand dyed scarves and as is a weird 6 degrees of separation,
100_6828re she knows my cousin,  Sue, who quilts under the name of Grannie Suzannie   http://www.granniesuzannie.com/
There was a man who made wooden bowls,   100_6797re And gorgeous abstract art by Nestor Charneco.  100_6788re Next to me was Bob who had hundreds upon hundreds of wildlife photos taken from his many African trips.  100_6799re
100_6795re The giraffe by the lady opposite me was very clever – do not have her name.
Also saw an architect named Don E. Grannon who was new to art, but really had interesting work.  Linda Bishop had well thought out paintings, as did the watercolor artist from St. Augustine beside her.  No more names, I’m sure The Gateway site will have much better in depth photos. Ed Cogle was on the job taking photos, his wife Nan was selling jewelry and both are always smiling.  100_6831re
http://www.gatewaycenterforthearts.org/
The volunteers for the Gateway were so kind, they came to give us breaks by sitting at our booths so we could walk around, stretch out legs, eat some of the wonderful cooking, the tomato Bisque was so thick and full of flavor.  Diane had also organized a room where children could come and pick out donated items from the artists to buy very cheaply.  (My duck photo was rejected, is this the point you give up on trying to sell art when you can’t even give it away to kids????)
The drawback was the attendance was light!  There was no advertisement and this needs to be addressed for future events!  But I thank Sandra Wilson and Diane for their efforts and visions, and a million thanks to the ever ready volunteers!  Plus a big shout out to the bright lights that flash when you look in the room and see your neighbors and friends shining faces!  Thank you wonderful supporters for being there for me! I appreciate it more than you know! Sonja, Dee, Becky, Sandra, you all rock!
By 4pm, I was on the road home with all but two items. Swapped a lot of stories with many people about their sandhill crane sightings.  When I arrived home, I was ready to get everything out of the truck and put it away.  Adam came back from work after 5 and we decided to go grab some Outback food – the timing was perfect! We got right in and I heard about his great time at the midnight showing of Repo at the Enzian, he got home after 3am and was at work 5 hours later. I found out her had plans to return to the Enzian tonight featuring Jewish filmakers with the latest Coen brothers movie.  That kid is a walking movie fest!
I would say that as of tonight, I am not feeling like doing these venues anymore, they are actually depressing.  The one plus is certainly meeting new artists and people. I will try making an Etsy site when I get back from Tampa and see where that goes. At this point, the economy is not lending itself to art for sure. Most of the artists I talked with had sold next to nothing. The ones selling art were the jewelry makers.  One tries to look around and see what sells, how other booths are set up, but this hauling of stuff is really not something I am enjoying. Now it’s time to work on internet sales I suppose and if that goes nowhere, then what the Hell, I give away all this crap and only take photos for blogs, I mean what’s the difference? I am doing that now and it makes me happy, the money would just add a bit more happiness if ya know where I’m comin’ from!

Went out around 6:45am to feed birds, get a look at the day. The anhinga was drying it’s wings, flapping them like a sail in a brisk wind.   DSC04406res The BOBs, Band of brother mallard/mix, whom I am convinced are reincarnated vikings with their attitudes, were wandering through the yard and settled to groom by the water.   DSC04401bobA-1res I still wonder where Carbs the muscovy went to.
The cranes came flying over, you will notice the baby is keeping more of a distance from its’ folks as they are harassing him more often.  Poor guy gets picked on a lot.  DSC04411res DSC04413res baby still has a way to go before all his color fills out.
But the reason I am so excited is because the herons are building their nest!  The first thing I noticed when feeding the birds was the heron flying across the lake with a stick.
000_0506heronres I ran in for my other camera since the battery was running on empty.  And I saw it leave and waited.  And it came back again, another stick in beak.   DSC04393res It then circled the tree and positioned itself for flying into the branches.   DSC04397res
DSC04398re This means it is officially Fall and we will have some eggs, when the eggs come, it’s about 28 days later that they will hatch.
I am on my way to get set up for the art venue, but thought I’d share the start to my day – I hope yours is equally exciting….

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