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WHEW – What a day! I did the dumbest thing, forgetting that my CD/DVD drive has disappeared off my computer. And since my Photoshop was not working properly, I decided to go ahead and un-install the Photoshop and reinstall. The trouble was, after I uninstalled, I forget the drive would not recognize the CD, so I feeling like pulling out my freshly dyed hair. I am using some vague program to clean up and resize the pics for this blog, but can’t get real creative with my own work. And add to it that no matter which icon I click on, I can’t get the paragraphs to behave either – this is going to be a long blog, literally.  Frankie
is helping me by shedding and drooling all over the keyboard.  
Tonight was Alive After  5- aptly dubbed, Tropical Nights. It was a
busy one.   I was amazed at the crowd seeing that the last two Alive After 5’s have not been as packed.   This one was rocking. My mission was to go and see the art for the fund raiser for the Icla da Silva Foundation,
they match bone marrow with Leukemia patients. This was going on at The Art Affair Gallery.    Mauricio Murillo, photographer/artist has been active with this foundation and The Art Affair decided to raise money via raffle tickets and bidding on newly painted work. Mauricio had the big room and it was wonderfully painted and decorated with his comical Gummy Bear Art.
There was a camera and loose gummies for making your own individual picture.   And Mauricio was talking with the customers.   These are internationally known artists working their magic on canvas before the public.  Marie DeCosta was painting a leopard to bid on.  She does wonders with motion in a painting.
Both Marie and Peter Cerreta are favorites, I probably say that each time but it’s worth repeating. Here’s a look at Peter’s work:      Peter painting and his sculptures 
Toelle Hovan was busy beautifying purses and canvas.
Trish Vevera  too had paintbrush in hand   outside was a caricature artist, I think he was the one at Rae Marie’s from my last blog when I was there.  Here’s a view of the new artwork on the walls:
Tom Abbott wasn’t there, but knew his work right away. And that is Marie’s painting all finished and looking from the outside in. Adam and I bought raffle tickets, we are excited to see if we win anything.
Out on the streets, here were the sights:  Suddenly the wind began to blow and the sky darkened, but luckily the rain passed over. I stopped by The Gallery on First and Mary was there to greet me with her warm  hello and then she introduced me to their artist of the month, Virginia Maxfield,  she was charming and very excited about how she came about painting with such bold strokes and color. Her work elevating! She has taken an intuitive approach, doesn’t think about it, just goes with what she feels and obviously she feels great -Take a look:   You must see these close up, they were dancing with color. She paints some with tempera some acrylic. I took the photos with distance to them and now I am sorry I didn’t zero in to give you a
closer look, gives you an excuse to come to Sanford’s galleries and have a look yourself.
I ran into Sharon Hyder in her booth and found her sketching.  Otherwise, Gallery On First has lots of interesting artists and artwork available to buy. The folk art is very welcoming and makes one feel elevated by the mood.  I hope one day soon my own daughter Andrea   will get enough of her own work to submit for a show, here’s a sample:
love her cat art!
Back out on the street was music, food and artists with their tables.
The Consignment shop, Bailey’s Upscale always has 50% off during Alive After 5.
One vendor Joanne Borges who does detailed ceramics has made a new fun line,
Also ran into Bonnie Sprung who is very prolific, she had many items for sale from magnets, to paintings and clothing:  
So have you had enough  of this layout? I have, it’s been hours since I have been doing this and I am going out to look at the Perseids meteor shower.  But before leaving, Sanford I saw two lovely familiar faces, sweet Ari and Adam. 
And a shout out to my middle child who turns 30 today, Happy Birthday new Daddy!   I did leave Sanford and enjoyed looking at some of the old architecture as I made my way home   When I arrived at home, there was my Ringo,  but he didn’t get to go fishing tonight, I was too busy doing the blog.
Gotta run and look at the sky! Have a great view of the heavens and a wonderful weekend!  Enjoy!

I think Ringo is cheating on me – I have had suspicions since he left a few weeks ago, casually strolling off and then I didn’t see him for two days – two very long and worried days.  In our years together, he has never done that. Why is it I am attracted to those bad boys with flashing blue eyes?  He IS fixed, (and then again, so was my ex-husband.) Somehow, both my ex and Ringo reached middle age and started exploring.  I could kick out a philandering husband,  but a cat – how do you tell a pet to go and not come back? Isn’t gonna happen.
Ringo left again last Thursday night after I came home from Tampa and didn’t show up till this morning, (Sunday) then he was all rubs and love. Typical ‘lost’ male syndrome, don’t admit to anything and try and smooth things over with an abundant show of love. 
He came in, ate, rested, then wanted back out. He’s snoozing on the porch for now. Wonder if he will go off again tonight? And for how long?  Maybe it’s because I was gone away for over a week, (though Adam is always here,) or because he’s not getting fresh fish, (I can’t help it that fishing has been terrible),  maybe some other family is spoiling Ringo with better food, I know they couldn’t love him any more than I do.  I don’t get it, I’m just not good at reading the male species anymore and I’m too old to play games,  but this is not normal Ringo behavior so what can I do? I love that crazy cat and do forgive him, but I hate when he disappears for so long.  I realize I can’t hang on to something still feral neither men nor cats. At least with Ringo, I don’t have
have any legal filings if he splits, a sign will do! 
Have been taking up the slack from being out of town. Guess reality means paying the bills and getting things back into order.
For two days it has been raining on and off, I love it, the oncoming dark clouds and penetrating thunder.  
The sky blackens and threatens and the rain comes down beautifully beating. When I returned everything was so dry, this rain has been just what was needed.         How about my new camera’s panorama view!  I am enjoying my new Sony Cybershot HX1. It has many wonderful features, but the viewfinder and macro modes are not one of them. It’s quite inferior to my Kodak and makes me miss that camera which suddenly went black, literally, you turn it on and there is nothing but a black screen, I have checked everything on it. I think it’s dead. I will have to contact Kodak and see who services them. And speaking of Kodak, I got the photo book I made, ‘Crow Tao‘  from their site. I was so disappointed, the cover was off center and the binding very cheap looking.
My Sony Alpha is still being repaired, so I am learning more and more about the Cybershot.
I am still lost in space regarding how to sell art. Are brains patterned to stick in neutral? Mine seems to want to just make art, take pictures and the thought of prepping the work, setting up the website, doing PayPal and all the detailed work freaks me out. I will do stupid stuff like tell myself each week, okay this is it, I am going to get things started, then I am lost again on a tangent of sameness, and getting nowhere.  Organization skills have never been bred into me! I might as well just buy a Lotto ticket each week instead of dreaming of selling my art, better odds with the Lotto!
The wildlife around here is minimal. The heat is turned up to broil, they say it is one of the hottest June and Julys on record in our state of Florida.  The sun stares you down as soon as it rises and there is only escape into stores and homes. Once you open the door on your vehicle, it’s like being submerged inside a La Brea Tar Pit – you feel drenched and exhausted when you shut the door and wait for the air to cool it back down. The only backyard sights  I see are redwing blackbirds, bluejays, a few squirrels, doves, dragonflies and grasshoppers. here’s the view:    Those grasshoppers are still everywhere.    The turtles are still looking for a handout at the lake
young redwing blackbirds.   Lily pad.

The cranes come to visit and go after old Miss Sealy   but
she escaped.
Papa crane makes his throaty noise.    Crow

And that’s the weekend, maybe by Tuesday or Wednesday I will be able to show more or tell you I have accomplished something. Right now it is Monday morning, the rains are supposed to continue, (a good thing) and I will leave you with a few views from inside and out my window at 8:14am :    The sun is literally a disk up there.   the red passion flowers finally back to taking over the fence
mocking bird on roof
AND, me cleaning off window to take a picture of the  inside – have a great week!  

It’s a blue moon tonight with Ringo having disappeared last night and has not come home to eat all day.  That’s what you get with a rogue agent like Ringo. I miss his funny face and sparkling blues!
We fished last night,  and as always he waited patiently for his reward, but nothing came. Maybe he went to go live with a better ‘fisher’?  All I know is, there was no sign of him anywhere all day. Tonight I went to several of the neighbors whose homes he frequents and no one had seen him. The neighbors checked their garages and looked all over, but no Ringo. I am hoping I will look up and see his face at the back door, but so far, nothing. To those of you who say that’s what happens when you have outdoors cats just don’t understand the dynamics of a cat who was brought in by my neighbors as a stray and raised for years as part of the Loch Arbor scenery. I have inherited him, but Ringo does his own thing,  though he always comes home. Most people around here know Ringo and enjoy seeing his handsome face, they know he is a rascal.  Maybe he needs a tracking chip!
Let’s hope he is somewhere safe, and if someone catnapped him, they will learn he is not a cat you keep inside for more than a four hour stretch.   I have no reason to doubt he can fend for himself, he eats lizards and birds and would find his own food with no problem.  Just wish somehow  knew where he was. This is not like Ringo to be MIA like this. AT least everyone is on the lookout. I’ll put his face up by the stop sign tomorrow if he doesn’t show.
Around here it is hot hot hot and no rain in sight, I bet we will get dumped on all at once again. WOnder where this tropical depression will hit? Will it build to become a hurricane? Will have to watch. Thank goodness the well has stopped leaking oil, but there is still a lot of oil out there. What happens to the streams of oil once picked up and swirled in a hurricane?
The birds are very quiet lately, not as many as in early spring. I do see my beautiful jays come all together before 7pm. There are still five of them and they get quite snippy with each other.  Here are 4 of them, they are  hard to get at one time.   and of course, the cardinals are adorable to watch as they interact with the bold jays. The cardinals are much calmer.   Have not been getting grackles, though the crows come in the morning and early afternoon.   Monday and Tuesday I finally put a photo\art book together, it was a lot of fun and look forward to seeing the finished product when it gets here. I would like to do a few of them on different subject, but the cost seems high with the shipping being about $3 over what normal flat rate mailing should be. I even tried calling Printers, Book Binders and Graphics places this morning and was told for them to make the photo books would be expensive, I was hoping to be able to buy them in bulk fairly reasonably, but can’t find a way to sell below $25 to squeak buy with a tiny profit. Anyway, the first book is on Crows. Will give link when I see the book and it’s finished product.
My Kodak Easyshare P850 died, I put in the recharged battery and it acted like it was taking a picture and flashed like it, but there was nothing but black on the screen. I checked the settings, re did the battery, set back to default and nothing but black. Time to replace it.    Ran over to Best Buy to look at what they had, liked the Sony HX1 and the two young clerks, Byron and Kristen were wonderful and helped me do comparisons with the Nikon of the same specifications. Will consider my options, love the 18 months same as cash!
Saw a hummingbird tonight as I was putting weeds in the trash, it was drawn to the lush red buds on the fire bush. I hurried out with fresh hummingbird food, but the only thing attracted to that seems like the carpenter ants.
In the meantime, I keep looking up at the back door, then walking over the the front door and open it and call Ringo’s name, then  stare and stare and stare…       Where’s my boy?

The heat is Hell-a-cious, you go out for a few minutes and your burnt. Today no birds have even come to the feeder, the bread I put down this morning is still there and it’s 8:15pm. I guess the birds don’t have much of an appetite, I can’t believe I have not seen one grackle or crow or jay all day! So instead of birds, I took things around the yard and will have color and Black and White photos.

Finally it looks like we might get some rain,     the lake level is down by a couple inches. I stuck my hand in the lake and it was like bath water, maybe thats’ why fishing is so bad. The flowers on the plants are just drying out so fast after they bloom. We love our daily rains when they come, even if it’s inches at a time because the storms move quickly. So take a look and enjoy Sanford, Florida.

The ants love the ginger plant blooms. Usually there are a couple of them running back and forth, chasing each other around the bloom.   They are big ants too.   My “womenly tree”, a camphor,  (non native)  is draped now with a vine going up and it looks like it’s dressed like a Goddess.
The dying sunflower and in color,

Of course Ringo in color shows off his blues, but he is striking in black and white too.    a lily in

crazy color and in black & white.     butterflies are all over the place like the dragonflies   .

caught this bee grooming itself, running its’ legs across it’s face over and over as if slicking it’s hair back.   the bees were everywhere, almost got stung a few times. This one was more interested in the rose.
the dying flowers have beauty too.  
Last nights fishing companion.         And a big and beautiful full moon to top the night off, make sure to appreciate it where you are –    You might find it winking back….

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.   

This morning was loaded with woodpeckers, pileated and red-bellied. they were in pairs and very busy looking at existing tree holes and even trying to make home improvements on other ones.

Of course there are always the regulars
The cats wonder if Godzilla crane will be setting foot onto the porch to trample them…
Ringo dreams about fishing…   
Grackles look out for Ringo, the squirrels find safety in numbers
This little “rocky” says, “Bring it on Ringo” 

And of course tonight the rain was coming in and the ibis looked beautiful in the tree.  They were so white against the dark blue sky, whereas on Saturday they just looked beautiful flying against the cloudy sky.

The grackles and blackbirds are always waiting for food.
At around 4-5pm, the heron comes down to fish with Ringo and me.     and all is fine until the jealous crane comes and chases the heron off.  Even Ringo steers clear of the mean crane.

On Sunday as Lee fished, the crane chased the heron off to the island, the crane thinks he’s the boss of everyone.  

The heron hurries away, but waits for the crane to fly off and comes back. Tonight a storm came in and I had to quit fishing,             

tomorrow the heron and crane will be back as will the woodpeckers, birds and squirrels and we will start all over again…(gladly)

The best pastels are natures.  I take the photos and try and do mather nature justice. Sometimes I leave them natural and sometimes give them a little ‘boost’.  Either way, I am so lucky to have this option of time and sight to take it all in and appreciate it and then pass it on to those who don’t get the time.  There is beauty in everything,  even chaos ask Ringo!
The fishing tonight was nothing, not even a nibble except for one turtle who came by looking for a hand out. You know what they say about elephants never forgetting? Well neither do the turtles.  They look at you with disdain that says they will go after your bait UNLESS you throw them some bread.  So, sucker that I am,  they do get a treat.
How do you resist these angry stares?  
The sky tonight was interesting, had twists and twirls and weird, ziggy lines from con trails.
Here’s what it looked like over the lake around 5pm and then as it progressed.  The temperature was in the upper 50’s – still needed all my layers of padding to stay warm, if I fell down I would bounce, (unless I fell in the lake and would surely drown, or more likely be totally humiliated as it is knee deep by the shore line.)

Ringo gave a nice profile shot for me, then sat down and watched the day undress.

Ringo came home last night with a bruise on his chin, I bet he was fighting with that black stray cat we see often.   Ringo rather looks like he has a goatee on his chin, kind of a “beat” and hip, Kerouac cat. In fact at night, I have to read him from chapters of archy and mehitabel before he goes to bed, he snickers as only cats can, silently.
Tonight as I pet his soft head, I asked him why he always has to get into scraps, why he must lie in the street, why he had to kill birds and play with snakes?  He told me to refer to page 107,  Of archy and mehitabel,
the lesson of the moth

i was talking to a moth
the other evening
he was trying to break into
an electric light bulb
and fry himself on the wires

why do you fellows
pull this stunt i asked him
because it is the conventional
things for moths or why
if that had been an uncovered
candle instead of an electric
light bulb you would
now be a small unsightly cinder
have you no sense

plenty of it he answered
but at times we get tired
of using it
we get bored with routine
and crave beauty
and excitement
fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get
too close it will kill us
but what does it matter
it is better to be happy
for the moment
and be burned up with beauty
then to live a long time
and be bored all the while…

I hate to admit it, but Ringo is such a ‘cat’-e-gorically feline progressive thinker…
”                    

First thing that struck me on my way to Sanford Party-Gras were the robins!  One street over there were many robins in the road, funny how they can’t go one more block to my house so I can get some good photos.   I rolled down the window just to show my “northern peeps” that their birds came down here to stay warm, well, I suppose they can call 50 degrees warm, not me, I’m headed out with 2 pairs of socks and 2 shirts under a turtle neck and long coat.
I parked the truck and looked at the sky as it was supposed to rain.  
but it was a thick, wooly ceiling up there.  The first store I came across was G’ma Bobbie, on the corner or Magnolia and 3rd St.  It was always a fun store to get used frames in and the new owner, Barry was busy giving it fresh touches.  
They have a lot of furniture and knick/knacks. Barry also has an adorable cat that needs a home, she was a beauty, but as you know I have 3 myself.   Here’s that adorable face.    And she was so very soft.
Walked down Magnolia toward First street. Passed Wayne Densch Theatre, a new Yoga studio and Stones Throw Bistro, and a photography studio.   
Passing Maya’s Bookstore, and out into the street looking at the small, early crowd.    This couple was festive.
They had a band playing.  And people dancing.    
Wow, Mardi Gras is so colorful!
Stopped by Rhonda’s, Art Affair Gallery 303 East first and had to visit her exciting store and see what new looks were hanging around. She had a lot! And she will be moving to a larger place right on the same corner which means she’s digging her heels in and will be showcasing a lot more art and  local artists. Thanks Rhona Richley!  Here’s a glimpse of things at Art Affair Gallery.


Plus there is cool jewelry too.
In front of the Gallery was Gabrielle Shafer showing antique jewelry creations, called
Enchanted Antiquities.  Her set up was very creative,  her unique hand made jewelry is all specially selected from older pieces. She incorporates the old and new together and ‘viola’ beautiful jewelry, wish I had gone back to get a close up. Hope she did well.      

Next to Art Affair Gallery is Soap Sanctuary & Gift shop, a wonderful place full of body delights. Loved her business card.    
Went across the street to The Welcome Center, encountered a very festive woman who was a volunteer there. (What do the volunteers drink before volunteering? hahaha)    Up on the walls is the artwork from last time I was down here.  (one of mine is still there)   There were some costumes on the floor, but didn’t see any naked folks running around.
Back out on the streets and looked at many artists, ceramics, woodworkers, jewelry, jewelry and more jewelry.  

Always enjoy the worldwide imported selection of furniture and gifts at Washburns.   Bailey’s Upscale Resale had lots of great buys, big bargains there.

Always like to support fellow photographers, this was G. K Sharman  blog at http://gkspix.wordpress.com.  Also enjoyed the ‘chair art by Julia S. Owens, check her out at  http://juliaowens.net Below is LUNCHBOX by Craig Beverly.
Enjoyed Beverly’s t-shirts and the price was right!   http://myspace.com/lunchbox74 – Rhonda, if you read this, put some of Craig’s shirts in your shop, (Craig also had terrific art, hint hint…)
Maya’s is one of the best books stores around here!  And go upstairs and see Kim at her store,  Fringe,   she has a lot of vintage clothing and accessories.
Then moved on,  
As the sun set, the cold was waiting to pounce.  As I drove away, I could hear the music from the biker bar.
And that was a bit of a tour around Sanford’s Party Gras and I didn’t even mention that most people go there to eat really cheap and really good food. It’s all over the streets with vendors from local eateries participating. I didn’t eat or drink, but there is wine everywhere too. I did stop at Panera for soup to go. YUM!
And when I got home, Ringo was in the corner having a dream, I think it was all the vaccines he had impaled upon him at his yearly exam.  Can you believe that I could have had all kinds of ala carte services for his “wellness” today costing a total of $396! I opted for the basics at $112.
Maybe it was something spooky because as Ringo was dreaming, Quentin Tarantino appeared on tv looking directly at Ringo and shielding his eyes in his voyeuristic way.  What a strange way to end a party-gras blog, throw in a celebrity and a dreaming cat, hey, why not….

Art Affair gallery –  http://artaffairgallery.com
Fringe  407-320-8016
Baileys Upscale Resale  http://www.baileysresale.com
G’ma Bobbie’s  229 Magnolia Ave.
Soap Sanctuary & Gift Shop  http://thesoapsanctuary.com
Gabrielle Shafer Enchanted Antiquities   http://enchantedantiquities.blogspot.com
Julia S. Owens   http://laughingjulia.etsy.com
Washburns  www.washburnimports.com
Maya’s Books and Music   407) 321-6504

Last night went over to our very quaint Lake Mary Historical Museum, it has a doll show.  All dolls were on loan. They had wax dolls and others over 100 years old.  When I grew up, we had dolls like ‘Pitiful Pearl’, Shirley Temple, then on to Barbies, which were the most fun because of all the accessories. I remember having handmade clothes for my Barbies, I don’t know where my Mom bought them, only wish I still had them, I kept all my Barbie dolls and clothes and my mother gave them away while I was in college – bummer, I had wanted to save them for my Andrea. Oh well, that’s so almost 40 years ago – Never mind that psychological trauma, haha.
Here’s some pics.

That last one kind of looked ‘corpsey’.

This shows the bulk of the one room museum, it holds all the documentation for incorporating Lake Mary, Florida.  It was used as a social hall for many years.
Ever hear of Golliwogs? They were black, male dolls and it became acceptable around the 1930’2  for boys to have dolls, but now they are called Gollys because golliwog has become an unacceptable racial term. I never knew these things.  All I know is, little boys have little killing machines like GI Joe and metro sexual Ken to balance GI Joe’s aggressive behavior.  Though I don’t remember my brother having a Ken at all.  I know my young boys liked Stretch Armstrong so they could pull his arms and legs and punch him.     My boys were more into video games and outdoor sports.
They had a lot of Barbies, I didn’t even know they beamed Barbie up to be with Captain Kirk and Spock.   The exhibit is fun, the museum interesting, so go have a look if you are near Country Club and Lake Mary Blvd.  Call them for their hours, they have odd opening times.   These are really old.  

Now to wildlife, lots this morning, maybe because the storms are coming in later today. So many blackbirds, crows, cardinals. It sounds beautiful out there with the doors open.
Here’s a view:
The crow up on the branch was all alone until another joined it up there, they kissed   Then stood together looking south.   Then went to separate branches
then parted, hopefully on friendly terms.
The male heron was busy getting branches again, I enjoy watching his ability of manuvering them around the big branches up in the tree. He brings them to his wife and she shapes them in the nest.     He them moves upward again and again.   

He passes it off and she in true female genetic glue, makes the nest a home.   Look how large it has become.
So that’s it for the am, gotta go before it gets stormy. Kids are coming for weekend.
Here’s a few more pics.   
And this ballsy little grackle who walked right in the porch despite the cat and ate cat food as if to laugh right in Frankie’s face.
What a sense of humor these birds have!  That’s why I have to take their pictures…

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)

City Hall at Lake Mary has always wrapped their trees and it is a wonderful look. Tonight I went up there and walked around. Kids with their parents were in awe and they really personified the holiday spirit.  I took a few pictures of course, here’s the Abbesworld view:

Happy Holidays from the Arenson/Eshack family!  From all our animals, (though my cats won’t stand still enough for a costumed photo.)

From Andrea’s cats, Musa, Lola, Coco

And from Sasha,  Happy Happy-Joy Joy!

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….

100_6630-1re The day was dull, every photo I put in todays blog is colorized. I cheated!  Hurricane Ida hit up at the panhandle and the weather is affecting us. We are supposed to finally get rain tomorrow – will it actually happen?  All day it looked so dull. As I drove up to Sanford and stopped to take some pics, I kept thinking the sky would unload any minute, but not a drop. I took a few dashboard cams of things and places, and they all looked so boring I had to jazz them up a bit.  100_6634-1re The Gateway condos actually look like this  100_6634re and the corner of First Street near the Welcome Center looked much more festive like this –  100_6632-1re and even the bales of hay in the hay trucks looked more delicious with some color to the grain.   100_6637-1re

An abandoned building looked a little more appealing by deepening the color
100_6635-1re At the marina, there was nothing new, same old birds, had to emphasize the ibis.  100_6624-1rea
And when I got home, I had to blame what I thought was an eagle as an excuse for fishing in early afternoon. I could see it flying all over, but could not get a close photo. Finally it landed three houses over so I threw out the pixels on  the telephoto to capture it  way up in a tree. That’s an osprey.
100_6644re I caught a shiner and threw it back, caught a couple bream and they went back. The cranes were there, Ringo was with me too.
100_6654-are Then the heron flew into the tree and watched me cast out over and over.   100_6649heron2 100_6650re Finally I caught a nice sized bream and threw it on the ground, the heron flew down and nabbed it.  He swallowed and happily flew off.  Ringo and I came in as it was almost completely dark by 5:30pm!
My HP “refurbished” printer came in today so I can resume getting photos ready for this weekend art show. HP tells you to send the defective printer  back within three days or get charged a chunk of change on your credit card, but the return address label I needed to do that was  not included, they forgot to send it! I had to call them and stay on the line forever getting a case number from someone in Bangladesh so they could send me a label. I suggested they email it and they refused.  I could have flown to India in the same time it took to stay on hold for their techs.
Rat update:  G & H Pest Control in Sanford came out Monday to give me my last estimate for how they would address my rodent issue. Gene, who owns the company came out and walked around and looked in the attic and did a thorough search of the house just like Massey. Gene looked at me and told me “he would be taking my money if I hired him” because he would be doing the same exact things I have been doing. They would set the traps as I have and that is all they can do. He suggested I keep fresh peanut butter in the trap every week and keep doing it. He said he could find no fresh droppings and I had no roach or bug problem. He didn’t even give me a price for a yearly spray, so if you live around this area and want a really honest pest control company, call G & H Pest Control Inc. 407-323-6681 website http://ghpestcontrol.com/ Actually, it has been rather quiet, but I will keep listening for signs of life above my head…
As I finish this I can hear a light rain outside,that is good news, hope we are in for a night of the wetstuff!  In fact, I walked outside and immediately smelled the earthy scent of wet grass. The drops were light, but anything is better than nothing!   100_6659re After the art show, I can get back to looking for photo ops. Be patient, and come to the Gateway this weekend to see what 40 artists have for you…(nothing like more self promotion)

Some of these place want $40bucks a rat trap and $40 to remove EACH trap, Damn varmints are expensive. Massey was over $400 bucks and that includes the year of pest service spraying for everything, destroying microcosms of worlds beyond the human eye. They will get rid of rats and come back and do more traps until they are gone which is a good thing, but somehow I don’t like all the spray everywhere outside. Ingesting a cloud of toxic crap around my perimeter does not thrill me and knowing my cats are sitting in out there surrounded by mini doses of agent orange and then I am holding them and loving on them excites me even less.  They say it’s hardly dangerous, (unless one reads the label),  a conundrum of sorts.  I rather like natural rat killers myself,   71109ringobluesB-1re but I’m keeping Ringo away from those traps.
Tonight went to Gateway Center for the Arts at 17/92 and Saxon for Photography Group meeting. So many talented photographers who are excellent at what they do. When we left, it was a beautiful moon nestled inside the clouds and again, I tried taking a few pics and they sucked, but here is the Abbe interpretation of the moon and its’    faces tonight:
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It was time for my daughter’s cats to get shaved again, I had to go over and wait as the mobile cat shaver did his clipping.
Now, I have three cats, one of them is a real cat, the other two are luxury items like my daughter has.
Ringo, RingoandRaccoon71209-1res epitomizes ‘Catdom’. He is the real cat, he hunts and eats his kill, he challenges raccoons, possums and even dogs much bigger than he is. Ringo’s personality is larger than life, he thinks he is a full blown lion and acts like one. 72709RingomeetshismatchB-1res

Ringo plays with snakes for entertainment, My daughters cats play with battery operated mice. My other two cats, Frank and Sealy, 000_0874res have been with us 17 years, they like being indoors, cuddling and finding a good place to sleep around the house. Not Ringo, he likes it outside and doesn’t even mind getting wet.

He is the boss of the neighborhood, has been for about 8 years. Everyone knows Ringo. He belonged to my neighbors next door. When I moved in with three cats, Ringo decided he fit right in and adopted my porch as his too. When Ringo’s folks moved away, Ringo ended up staying here. I have chronicled the details before.  Ringo for some reason terrorizes the cats next door, they call Ringo “psycho kitty”, but getting back to my story, neither Ringo nor my other two cats have ever needed grooming, (though I do brush them from time to time.) The luxury cats my daughter has are beautiful rescued Persians, they are her children and are treated as such, no, I would say they are treated like royalty. They might as well have their own silverware because they have everything else.  Cats like these are good for the economy, they have every cat toy there is and if you go back and read older posts, they have lots of cat condos too. They also require cat groomers, they keep people in business. I love it though after the cats are shaved, they feel wonderful, soft as anything, like Chinchilla!  This is sweet Coco before being shaved:  DSC01918re
and this is her after:  DSC02235re She doesn’t mind being shaved at all. Not Musa, he hates it, I think he was Sampson in another life –  Musa before:  DSC02119re DSC02239mus1re

Musa, is very mad when his hair is gone, and he is less of a bully to his two female companions. As for Lola, she is so adorable and loves loves loves being brushed,  DSC02114re, so as long as you brush little Miss Prissy, she is happy with or without hair, except when I tried to take a photo of her , she bolted upstairs under the bed, thinking I was going to make her get shaved again.  DSC02243re
You wonder why go through the trauma? Persians get so matted and throw up a lot of furballs and hair floats all over the place even when you vacuum a lot. These cats are luxurious, pussy cats. Not Ringo, he’s a cat, he  would probably fight someone tooth and nail if they tried shaving him!  71809ringoyawn-2re So where am I going? The cat-egories don’t really matter do they?  Anyway you look at it, they are all loved unconditionally and that’s the truth.
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Today I went over to Petsmart in Casselberry, Florida where RAIN, Rescuing Animals In Need, a 501(c) Corp. had some of their animals on display for people to adopt. DSC01770res They had an assortment of cats and dogs, dogs both small and big who need new homes. RAIN volunteers foster many rescued animals they get  from people giving up their pets to rescuing pets from the streets and from shelters that have animals ready to be euthanized.
They take care to observe the animals first and get their shots and tests like feline leukemia, and heartworm updated. All adopted animals are neutered before adoption. You have to always admire these people for going all out to help animals find a loving home.  Here are a few of the photos of pets available for adoption. ANd you can contact them at 407-620-9736, or go on their website http://www.rescuinganimalsinneed.org
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The people at Animal Welfare Alliance of Central Florida have a wonderful founder and activist named Gloria Wade. She has been working with animals and looking out for their rights for years. She and volunteer, Gail Nagin, (who had just come from protesting the Greyhound conditions at the racetrack,) are both trying hard to get a ‘high volume, low cost” spay and neuter clinic for central Florida, one that only specializes in neutering because having animals sterilized is needed badly to discourage this overrun of the dog and cat population. That has to be a priority and hopefully it will be a dream realized.  Gloria had with her a “Chain of Colors”, each link representing a dog or cat euthanized in one Central Florida shelter.
100_4877-1res This link represents a Siberian Husky put to death because someone did not have the space for him, each link has a story, and there are over 5000 of them. Gloria
showed them to me with much sadness that so many animals have to be put to sleep because they are unwanted which is her reason for helping people have a low cost spay/neuter clinic.
100_4875-2res DSC01781-1res visit  http://www.awacf1.org both groups are reaching out for your help, if you can, take an animal home and give it the love and attention it deserves, that is a great reward to all these volunteers who open their hearts for animals in need.  Contact AWACF about helping fund the clinic and RAIN  for any of the animals in the photos, and they have plenty more cats and dogs in need of a home, if you are looking for love, try looking here.

Today the news said it would be 94 and feel like 104 degrees, that was no lie. It is hot and the sun seems like a deep fryer and it’s only June! The flowers are beautiful after a great thunderstorm last night. They were closed yesterday,
100_1700res but today they were full bloomed and smelled so wonderfully rosey! The roses had small bits of purple on them.  All around the yard, flowers looked happy. I do water them a bit in the morning and in the evening if there is no rain, otherwise they would fry under that hard light and heat. 61709rose-1_edited-1 DSC07969res

61609bluebpyrose-1_edited-1 The sandhill cranes sat under the camphor tree for a long time taking in the shade. The father was really panting a lot as was my old cat Frankie. I actually think she might have been experiencing heat prostration as she looked way too lethargic on the porch  and I could see her heart beating rather wildly. I brought her in and put her on the cool counter and she drank a lot of water.  I was kind of worried her heart might give out, but after a while, she did perk up.   So remember to keep lots of fresh water out there. I keep it, but poor Frankie looked like she was almost too tired to drink so watch your older animals. DSC08163crop_edited-1

The cranes stayed a long time down by the lake. The baby was first to buckle and sit down.  then when the parents finally sat down, he got up and went over to give his father a hard time. He would jab his father in the rear and then touch beaks. 61709father&babyC2_res 61709babycranegroomsfather-1res

DSC05777res Finally they all relaxed and then finally flew off. The Moorhen is also a pretty smart, she built her nest up high on the side so as to shade her from the sun as she nested.

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Tonight I tried fishing, but only got greedy turtles trying to find bread. One is so bold as to come up and take it out of my tackle box, so I keep it up on a plastic chair now as not only the turtles, but the ants swarm inside the plastic bags once they sense food. DSC05435res Ringo looks at the turtle with amusement, but does not bother them. Fishing sucked, maybe it’s too hot. If there was no breeze off the lake tonight, I would not have thrown out a line. No use standing down there sweating profusely and ending up like Frankie prostrate on the ground, no one would notice me!
Finally Ringo and I gave up and walked back to the house. I picked some small rose buds to put in a shot glass.
DSC08162res Ringo and I were glad to come inside and absorb that nice cool air. No thunderstorms tonight. All is quiet around here. I came in to blog, Ringo passed out and then was treated to a massage from my son. We all have our ways of dealing with the heat, that’s for sure! DSC05688res DSC05693res

churchresize This is the last photo I took of Church just two nights ago. He would come out and share the cement with Ringo watching me fish.  He was old, perhaps 17-18 or even more. He was a stray when we found him hungry in our driveway as we were about to move in 1995. We packed him up along with our stuff and our two other cats. I had him immunized and neutered and brought him into our new home where he fit in just as if he had always been there. The vet thought he might be 4 years old back then. He was the cat that resembled “Church” in the movie Pet Cemetery, so that’s how he got his name.
In the past months poor old cat has been shrinking and acting old. Last night he did not eat and he is usually the first one talking in the morning for the food. This morning I put the food out and he had no interest, didn’t even meow. I took chicken to him and he ignored it and went back to the corner and curled up. I knew it was time to take him in to the Vet.
I got there at 8am when they opened and when I signed in the clip board, they ask the reason you are here. I left it blank and could not put even the word, was it death? Termination?  The guy at the desk asked me why and I told him the purpose.  He put us in a room to await the vet who was not due in till 9am. I sat petting the drooling ,old, purring cat as the clock over the door ticked away each agonizing second of his remaining life.
The smells of the vet perk an animal’s interest and they know instantly they are not in a normal environment. Church looked up at every door closing, at each bark, at the noise of the techs behind the doors and still he purred and rubbed his head hard against my hand. We spent that time reflecting on old times, he let me do all the talking. We laughed about his old nemesis Terra the bull terrier and how they would get into big spats and Church seemed to know just when Terra was going into the show ring and the day before the show and he would make sure Terra had some nice big scratches on Terra’s face and nose, the cat had a sense of humor.  Church was a good “mouser”, he liked bringing a gifts home.
He leaves behind his adopted sisters, Miss Sealy and Frankie, (also strays) and his brother Ringo. He leaves behind Abbe and Adam and the memories a good cat should. Church was a gentleman at all times, even when Sealy would smack him repeatedly, he always let the girls have their ‘opinions’.
A good cat will never be forgotten, and neither will a bad one, we have had our share of both, but for a stray, he came into our home with respect and love and we will miss our Church. fishingbuddys-1resize

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weatheredit The rain became wind driven once it hit about one am. Coming hard from the east mainly.  No lightening or thunder, but the rain is pelting the east side of the house as we speak and winds up to 20mph. All night as I slept off and on, I was aware of the sound. Got up at 5am to make sure garage floor didn’t have anything that could be wrecked by rain coming in. They say we could get up to 7 inches today and I believe it. That’s great news though I don’t understand why mother nature has to throw it down all at once, it’s almost like Fay last year.  These weather patterns are so odd anymore. I’m sure there will be a lot of flooding all around Florida. When it gets light and stops raining so hard, I’ll take a picture of the water meter. Yesterday this is what it looked like around 10am. monday8am The rain had just begun to really hit. When I took a photo last night after fishing, the water was up to the 130 number gaining about 2 inches. I fully expect it to be around 135 when I see it next this morning.  Frankie the cat had sense and came in last night. Old Church toughed it out on porch and came in this morning only to pee and eat and ran back outside to the wet porch again. I think I have the only cat that comes in to use the box and goes back out! I don’t see Ringo, but I know he is high and dry somewhere. Later…

guage519 8:am, the water gauge is up past 160, that’s 4 inches of rain! And if you notice, the small meter is back under the water once again.  The birds must be sleeping in the trees as there is not one that has come for breakfast. At least for now, wind and rain have slacked off which gives it time to absorb in Florida’s deep sand heap!
Now it’s 7:35. meter reading is at 1.80, that means we have had 6 1/2 inches so far! 51909meter-edited-1_edited-1 It clearly was a day for the ducks! 51909duckinrain-1_edited-1

and as for Ringo, he was asleep inside the whole time! ringoyawn-1 more cats at http://offshoot2.wordpress.com

WAIT, it is now 12:35am and we are having wrapping rainbands and winds just like we are in a hurricane! outside the trees are swaying hard and the wind is pushing things around out there. I can constantly hear my loose porch door. The rain is coming at a slant and very hard. We are back in a yellow band of full force water. I bet when I get up tomorrow and can go out, I bet we have 5 more inches. We are getting slammed. weatheredit There were a couple tornados not too far away.  It’s hard to sleep with all this noise of nature. There seems to be a low pressure area mixing with the cold front and it is in some twirly mood circling around the middle of the state. We had our electric go out once, but came right back. I do have our flashlights ready.  I am always happy I made the decision to take the trees out that hung over the house, too risky having those huge pines that close.  I can’t imagine that my toilets will flush, will be able to tell that later.  The winds are very very active, at one point I thought it might break through, in fact it is doing it again as I write. Maybe I better think about getting this out and looking for a safe place… will write later…

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I just finished listing an art submission on my other blog, ( http://florida4art.blogspot.com )  and decided to read my emails. Of course Andrea sends an email about cats talking. She is always sending email attachments featuring ‘You Tube’ animals, especially cats. But I have 4 cats so I get talked to plenty and really don’t find many of these videos that funny.  I mean really, either people are torturing their cat by rubbing them hard on the hotspot next to their tail and their cat heads spin like the exorcist or someone is egging them on over and over and it’s usually boring. So I left the You tube playing with the white cat on the screen meowing and went to the kitchen for some lunch.  When I came back, there was Frankie, staring lovingly at the screen mesmerized by the beautiful white cat. I played the video for her a couple times and she watched him go through his meowing routine, I played a few more videos listening to cats saying things like “hi” or Mama, or “bigdongjohnson’, whatever the human ear perceives it as. Frank then looked at me and I told her if she was wanting her fifteen minutes of fame, I could tape her too as she is a big talker, but instead she hopped across the key board and plopped herself right in front of the screen, placing her body as close to that white cat on the monitor as she could get. I suppose that cat had said something very intriguing and enticing in ‘feline-ese’ that made Frankie want to snuggle against the cool, flat screen, one dimensional cat. Then we struggled as she was blocking the monitor and I finally moved her around enough so she was happy and I could continue blogging, about a cat watching cats, having cat-fatuations’ and then dreaming about sailing off with some white cat as they cuddle in a gondola in Venice as the oarsman croons “oh sole-a MEOW”.
In the meantime, I have no hope of the keyboard lasting long with all the cat hair that gets inside, but now Frankie has her fifteen minutes…or more…

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