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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)

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 —


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…

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…

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!

100_6682-1re This was the most colorful thing for most of the day. The promised rain that slammed Alabama, didn’t even fill the bird bath!  We hardly had a thing.
All day I finished up with pricing, bagging, and organizing to have my stuff ready for setting up on Friday.   What a mess I made, finally about 1am I vacuumed and everything put on the dining room table.  100_6745re This was taken around 10pm. Whew, glad it is all put away.
Earlier I had fished. The sky was truly beautiful. The clouds came in waves,
100_6688-1re then it settled into gray woolen puffs stacked in layers.  100_6685re Then patterns of sorts  100_6693re The heron came out to observe –
100_6687re It is the female heron. She watched for about a half hour, but since I was spending most of my time avoiding 4 turtles, she flew toward the center of the lake and chased off an anhinga. I bet she was about 300 feet away when I hooked a bream and it broke through the water splashing which alerted her and she flew right over for a meal.  She stayed on and suddenly the male heron appeared and he is a big one too.   100_6706-1re Much larger than the female.  they still have not gone up to the nesting tree, but I bet it will happen soon. they bwill be lugging branches over my head. It’s fun to watch them fly off with all kinds of sticks for the huge nest they make. I wish they would use one of my trees like they did 3 years ago, but once my red maple fell over, they probably felt vulnerable as it shaded them so well.
It got dark again so early and the mosquitos are terrible. It is still quite warm, though, right now it is about 60 degress outside and is only going to be 71 – now that is cold.
Guess, I will drag my body off to bed, yikes how will I get up on Saturday to be there before 8am, I have to be nuts! Good night, or rather good morning, catch up with you later….

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)

Today started the same as always which is always a smile getter,   DSC04351re
The sandhills came flying over the lake for breakfast.  I then checked the rat traps and nothing – no bodies, where do they hide? I even did what the Massey guy mentioned, he said to throw away all rotten fruit under the citrus trees because he said a pheromone is emitted from rotting fruit that draws rats from all over — perfect I thought and brought a rotting grapefruit in and put some of the pulp in the traps. It was obvious today that not all rats are drawn to rotting fruit!
DSC04349-1re The butterflies were busy and this one had gorgeous silver inlay on those delicate wings! It really glimmered metallic when the sun hit the underside. I didn’t capture it in the photo, but it was a fine Gulf Fritillary example.  Ran errands and saw this egret running through the parking lot near Marshall’s  100_6472re He posed briefly but had places to go, so did I.
Back home the sky was gorgeous,   100_6451re full of lines and swirls.  The planes were on their way to destinations unknown, but I am going to call the airlines and request the pilots that pass over the lake at night while I fish, wave.
100_6455re They could drop off some peanuts on their way to Sanford.
I got dressed and ran over to the cutest little coffee spot in Debary, The White Cup coffeehouse at 17/92.  Two of the Gateway group members, Ed and his wife Nan were having a reception.  100_6473re They were given excellent wall space by the owner who also serves a mean cup of different coffees, cold and hot, also tea and smoothies and she has a menu with many goodies.   100_6475re
Ed and Nan  Cogle are world travelers and you could tell from both their art styles that they loved India.
What is also evident was their love of wildlife too.  Ed does photography, Nan had a mixed media approach.   100_6476re They had a nice reception packing the innards of The White Cup.  I even met a guy who was just there to get a great cup of coffee and the art was a big bonus. Art IS a big bonus. I tried to get my family physician to have an art wall in his brand new doctors office he just moved into, but he didn’t. I think it would be welcomed by the patients to have photos and art by local artists to stare at as they sit and wait and wait and wait. I would have even changed it out every couple months, that’s how it would work in Abbesworld, art would be much more employed and enjoyed by the public and as a means to inspire others. So if you are reading this and own a business, please give local artists a shot at displaying their work.
As I was about to leave, Ed was taking some photos,  100_6479re I took some also to show you that you need to SUPPORT THE ARTS!  Go out to a gallery, check out the Heathrow Arts Festival at Colonial Town Park this weekend, or pick up a brush, pen, camera and make something. Find the artist inside yourself and maybe even discover something you didn’t know you could do.  And if you happen to be on your way from Sanford to Debary, stop by the White Cup and enjoy the owner, the beverages and the art. Also — please remember that next weekend  The Gateway Center for The Arts in Debary is having a Holiday Boutique with lots and lots of artists selling their goods for the holidays. There will be table after table of artwork for all  to enjoy.  So through the week I will keep bugging you to go.  I will have a table too so stop and say hello!
Now put away part of that paycheck of yours to buy something out of the ordinary for someone this holiday season – Buy local art!    100_6504re

(pictured is a cup I will have for sale featuring my photograph, “lee’s alien dinner”)

100_6142re Taken at Horstmeyer’s in Sanford

Well…I put the boombox with Helter Skelter from Across the Universe on the house side attic opening and Adam had a Halloween tape with cats screaming and people screaming and we blasted, and…. nothing, frigging nothing. I walked around the perimeter of the roof, didn’t see a thing. So I took the leaf blower up in the attic, left it on it’s side for 5 minutes  —  and that’s the new mission, DISORIENT DISORIENT DISORIENT!  I figure that blower blasts at decibles much higher than the boom box, (don’t worry, I plugged my ears.) I’m wondering if I do this several times a day, will it disorient them and make those critters leave???  One of us is going to be disoriented by the time this is through and yes, I have traps up there and thank Julius for his genius idea of knotting fishing line on the traps so the animals can’t run somewhere with the trap attached, Thanks Julius. Now Bobbo on the other hand felt that since I like fishing, I should give up my regular fishing time and put bread and peanut butter on the end of a hook and cast out into the bowels of the attic and wait and see.  Naw, not happening Bobbo, not missing my outdoor fishing for indoor rodent wrestling.
Well, the traps are set, I will continue to blast off the blower at weird times and see what happens… Is this how we lost Osama to the mountains? What if the rodents headed for my walls, maybe the neo-con strategy is really a lose-lose situation,  Meanwhile…

Yesterday my buddy Dee-dee and I went to Horstmeyers in Sanford, I had never even heard of it, so we drove over and what a super nice weed and feed kind of store.
100_6152re They have a ton of horse tack and horse supplies, lots of seeds, hay, and even live chicks. The help was nice and the place is very clean and appealing.  Here’s some photos –  100_6147
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100_6139-1re So if you need some pet supplies, tractor supplies, a saddle, chickens and even baby ducks and bunnies in season, fertilizer, local honey,  head on downtown to Sanford and enjoy the ambiance over there, it’s like being in the country somewhere up north!

We continued down toward the marina looking for wildlife and say the usual characters near the marina,  100_6167re 100_6157re The ducks came right toward the truck like they were getting roadside service. There was one yacht decorated for Halloween.
100_6184re ummm, wonder what made the water swirl to the left of the boat. I saw my favorite duck I will call “Blago” with his great hairline
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We noticed a bus sitting along the river that said Stirfrytv.com on the side and the same dog on the bus was on a leash outside the bus, I looked it up at home and it is a goofy news spoof channel.  100_6155re

But the cutest thing that made us both laugh was a man wheeling around his four terriers in the back of a homemade cart attached to his bike as he rode them around and they seemed to love it, so I leave you with better creatures than I began with…
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Yesterday my friend, Pam and I ventured off to the RSVP reception for photographer Douglas J. Nesbitt.
http://www.djn1111.com/

Being that both Pam and I are photographers, she very professional one, me very amateur, we knew a reception held at the Albin Polacek Museum had to be good. And it did not disappoint
The day could not have been better, low 70’s, puffy white clouds floated over head.  relovers The place was totally packed, filled to capacity! Douglas must have been quite happy with the turn out, but we did not see him as the shoulder to shoulder crowds in the main house and galleries were so tight, after looking at each photo, we opted for the outside space.  And the outside space is glorious, Polacek, (America’s fore­most sculp­tors of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury”) knew how to pick a retirement spot on the Winter Park chain of lakes, (oh, if only they had asked us to bring a pole.)   100_5806re
Upon going outside, the food line was filling up so we got into line as I love sampling the food.   As we stood in line, the garden was opposite us and what a great and productive garden it is!
Lettuce, herbs, peppers, okra, they all looked well cared for and the planters looked lush. Pics tell the story:

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The food line went fast and the food was displayed beautifully, but the food did not really fit my palate. I must admit, I limited my choices to a few items. The downside for me, nothing sweet! (Unless they put sweets out later and we did not go back that way). But that did not matter, the gardens were opulent and Douglas’ work, especially his black and white photos were wonderful to gaze upon.  I really liked the colorful buildings in a series in the small gallery off to the left of the main hall. My favorite was one photo taken at the Bar Mitzvah of one of his friends. This reception was a classic example of what the perfect reception should look like, we were impressed, but sorry, because no photos can be taken inside the gallery. So go have a look.
Wandering people stopped and spoke to us, there was so much fun just people watching. We even saw a hummingbird! But not in time for a photo.
So here are some photos of the grounds and I encourage you to go and spend a couple hours looking at the house and the artwork. Polaceks’ sculpture and and landscaping is like icing on the cake of a fantastic piece of property – AND they are in need of volunteers, if you have an extra couple hours during the month, call them.  And don’t forget you can rent out the facilities!
www.polasek.org

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Here’s some from my last visit:
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Back to nature! Today was a slow day of wildlife. It was hot, sauna like 90’s, a quick burn if you go out for any length of time. Last night my neighbor Sonja and I went to go see the art walk in Sanford, they had terrific art at several locations, it was nice and crowded and made you feel that Sanford is pulling together the community for these great venues. I had nothing on display, but Sanford is having monthly Juried shows so when they have one that is related to nature, I’ll enter.
This morning outside there were very few birds, but a lot of dragon flies and butterflies. From my desk I saw a few and ran outside to take a few pics.  DSC02005re This zebra longwings was extremely beat up and shredded. It actually flew very slowly from all the rips and tears in it’s wings, but flew with a purpose.  DSC02010-1res It was actually interesting to watch as it seemed to be moving in slow motion.  I saw lots of different butterflies, but they were too quick. I did see a dragonfly that landed on a branch near the back door, but the Sony could not focus on it with the wind blowing the branch, so I went in and got the old Kodak. It is a sure bet with that camera.  100_5139-1re Though the quality of the Sony DSLR is better.
Flowers were wilting all over, I did get a canna lily,  DSC01995re and crepe myrtle is just beginning to bud and bloom, DSC01998re My lemons are huge and I am going to have a nice little harvest when they finally ripen.  DSC01999-3res DSC02000re
The blue jays came out later and this one was especially beautiful.
Of course later I came out to go fishing, the water was dead calm and of course, the damn turtles were everywhere I went from one end of the property to the other, they love that bread on the hook.  000_0350res 000_0359re at one point I looked down and it almost looked like a turtle was swimming through the clouds.  I counted six turtles, four softshells and two sliders.  I did catch one bream, threw it back. And looked up and noticed that the heron was on an island in the middle of lake,  000_0353-1 He was big. like the male that has been building the nests for the past 4 years, so I assumed it was him. And when I threw the bream back and the heron flew over to the yard next door, that signaled to me that this was the male who will eventually come over and stand beside me when I do catch fish. I didn’t catch anything else, but the sky was gorgeous, there was just one large cloud in the sky that changed colors and had such a beautiful shape to it.  000_0370re The planes flew too close over head,   000_0351re and there were many woodpeckers all over trying to contact each other.  000_0354re The weather will change and soon the herons will be back building their nests.  I am hoping this heron will be coming back each night now.  ringos blues-2re Ringo did not fish with me tonight, he stayed in the garage, I am wondering if he too thinks there is a squirrel or rat or mouse in the attic after hearing footsteps near my desk. I put the ladder down to the attic so Ringo could go on a hunt if he feels like it. I am confident if something is there, Ringo is my pet removal service.
Right now as I write this we are having a nice little thunderstorm which is much needed as my poor plants were wilting today.  DSC02011moonre Earlier the half moon was out and I marked on the calendar that October 3,4,5,6 should be all harvest moons, you know I will be taking photos and I so hope it will be over the lake when it rises next week.
I hope it will cool off enough that more wildlife will be coming out to capture on film. The marina is devoid of much diversity, and as for Carbs the muscovy duck, have not seen him in weeks. The BOBs were here earlier, but have not seen Pekin ducks in a while. And that’s Saturday around here, for now, I am enjoying the storm, hoping for more water in the lake as soon it will be our dryer season, so it’s good to have the lake up.
Have not heard any footsteps above my head, so maybe Ringo got whatever it was, might have to do a check tomorrow and if anything is dead in the attic, will let ya know… Sleep tight.
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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.

On Wednesday I had to run by a storefront I had seen before, but had not entered. That would be HobbyTown USA right next to BooksAMillion in the shopping center behind Seminole Towne Center Mall. What drew me in was the train model village in the window. I had to have a look after being with the ‘big guns’ over at Amtrak.
I wish these photos would do it justice, but the display is elaborate! The detail and time spent getting this set up must have been pretty tedious. There are details in this small scale set that include a fireman rescuing a cat in a tree.  The water fall, the landscape, just amazing. The whole display belongs to the owner of the store and the employee said it was very old.
The place itself has all types of hobby items from airplanes, to cars, to paint supplies. It is very orderly and well stocked. Kids must love it, especially the miniature car racing track. Have a look:
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DSC01641re DSC01637res This is no flat display, it has hills and valleys, a big dip where the water falls, this took a lot of planning. There were train sets of different scales and all the accessories too.  Anyone with children might want to check it out, and that includes adult children who have hobbies, like the model airplanes with motors – it looked like a lot of fun was just waiting to be had!  Here’s their link:  http://hobbytown.com/flsan
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DSC01653re So grab your spouse, child, grandchild, neice, nephew, neighbor and have a look. Gotta be something there of interest!

100_4582-1res Unless you are putting your car on the train, or picking it up, there’s really no need to go to the Sanford Amtrak Auto train Station.  But I wanted to see some trains and I have only passed by the train station two times in all the time I have lived in this area, (since 1985) and do love trains, so I figured, why not look up close.  The original station opened in 1971, and was taken over by Amtrak in 1983. This new terminal was dedicated in May of this year.  The colorized photos below are of the old abandoned station in the old location not too far from the new one.  I took several photos of it last April for a show called The Abandoned Florida exhibition at The Gateway this year. This is how the old Amtrak Station used to look.
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The new station is smaller and not much to look at, but first, I had to get someone to let me have permission take photos so they didn’t think I was doing something sinister. They have signs warning people that Amtrak is monitored 100_4587res and it is, the area is not large, they can easily monitor crazy, older ladies with a train fetish, or someone worse.
I started at the waiting area, 100_4580res a clean space under a tent.   So if you have to wait for your car, looks like you won’t have a problem finding a seat. At one time Sanford did take regular passengers, but they quit that a few years ago I guess to become the ‘auto-train” only station.  There is a gift shop too, and a very nice lady was busy with her work.
100_4581res I don’t know the arrival and departure times, but I did see one train come in with all the red flashing light, horn honking pagentry a train deserves upon arrival.
100_4577res 100_4591res I saw a funny sign  — was it for the passengers or the trains?  I guess trains are quite romantic when coupled, haha. 100_4578res

There were a lot of wonderful angles and lines in the shots. — Trains have such a wonderful feel and symmetry to them don’t they? To see more photos or ‘artsy’ trains, check out
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com
Later I stopped at Hobbyworld in Sanford and took photos of their wonderful train display that is very old and belongs to the owner, but by accident I deleted them. So tomorrow I shall have to pop over there and put them up tomorrow. It was quite an impressive display.
So Monday morning was fun feeling the largess of Amtrak trains and the tiny details of models. And thanks to the Amtrak people for letting me take pictures.  Now, I wish they would go all the way to Key West and I would hop on board!

It’s my birthday! Thank you very much, but why bother celebrating being old? Let’s just move on – I decided to go visit the Sanford zoo and look for crows as they are always there waiting for discarded food at the concession stand. I want to take more for the art exhibit I am trying to get together for the upcoming Seminole Community College submissions for 2010 and to submit as a proposal for some other galleries.
I first looked for Carbs and threw him some seed.  DSC00630res Then headed on to Sanford Zoo only about 5 miles away. The sky was really overcast, threatened to rain, but figured I’d take my chances.  The Zoo was quiet, they are gearing up for a Grand Opening for the obstacle course with low and high, tree level walkways. I wonder how long that will last till they have an accident and the liability will end that.  100_3663res

The Zoo itself was quiet as the kids are back in school. I came first to a red shoulder hawk on display. DSC00562res After that I headed toward the concession stand and nada, nothing, no birds anywhere! So I moved on to where they were feeding the iguana.
DSC00566res The alligators head was so close to the wall, I couldn’t even take it, so I took his knobby body. 82609alligatorback-1res I passed up on the snake room this time as the sky was darkening and thunder could be heard and I am handling metal. I went to visit the cats and Maude and Mary the old Asian elephants.
The cats were all sound asleep. DSC00580res Except the leopards who were panting away like last time, poor jail birds.  DSC00594res The monkeys were also sound asleep, not one was moving! On to the elephants.  82609trunkup-1res, Maud or Mary, whichever it was was posing nicely. Then she took a massive leak. elephanttakingaleak-1res

And it kept going and going  — 82609peeingelephant-1res

I then wandered on to the butterfly garden,  100_3661res So much of the zoo is built around a natural setting which makes it such a treasure. It is not manufactured like other zoos. The bad part is the cats and elephants, they need a lot more room.  100_3647res

100_3654res 100_3665res The natural flow of water is also a bonus with all the streams hidden among the cages and exhibits.
I made my way to the cheetahs,  100_3656leopardres DSC00602res
One of the cheetahs kept pacing and pacing. he looked so bored.  Finally I saw some grackles at a little pond across from the emus.  DSC00614res The birds frolicked and had fun dipping in the water. I took a good amount and then hurried through a few more paths of animal cages.  82609zoogoat-1res
DSC00619res And the sky looked and sounded like it might open up so I hurried out. On the way back home right outside the zoo was a wild turkey, but I was driving and could not stop to take the photo. I did see a rooster by a house and no one was coming so I pulled over and took it’s picture, 82609roostercloseup-3res – it was quite handsome!
And that’s how my day has gone.  I came back and had more birds in bird bath and eating at feeders. Love sitting and getting side-tracked at my desk.  82609birdbath-1res That’s a mocking bird shaking off the water. And so far, that’s the day. I really love that being this age has brought a real passion for taking pictures. I feel that is me, I can’t even imagine not having a day without a photo!  Thanks to Lee and Andrea for our sushi dinner last night and to Adam who gave the family Journey tickets next month. I’m excited to see that new guy who sings like Steve Perry.

Enjoy photos at http://offshoot2.wordpress.com

It’s been another hot humid inferno. Loved seeing so many bees and dragonflys and flying things.
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The butterflies, like yesterday are all over the place.  So are the red ants, they have ant piles all over. Some people take gas and kill them. I use borax and sugar, but they still pop up somewhere else. I need some of that stuff that kills the queen. I did purchase some vinyl boots for $6.24 at Target  DSC00558res They have anchors all over them. I wore them tonight while fishing, I didn’t catch anything and didn’t get bitten once either! Then, as the turtles were chasing my fake frog toward the shore, they stopped to mock me.
100_3431res Carbs was close by, but the baby crane chased him in the lake. You could tell the baby was very proud of himself. he even walked down toward the lake to make sure that Carbs didn’t come back on shore.  He did after the cranes left.
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Then the clouds gathered overhead,  100_3437res they came up fast, and I figured I better head on in.  A few minutes after I came in, the lightning was crazy. It was all over the place.  I turned off the computer and unplugged it for a while. But almost 2 hours have passed with lots and lots of flashes. Here’s the thunderstorm at night, thunder and crickets and frogs and beautiful flashes of lightning near beginning and at the end –  you can pause it to look at the electric bolts! ANd you can even see how light it becomes during the flashes.

As of now, the storm has moved over toward Daytona and left probably at least an inch or more of water. We have to keep adding rain water now so when winter comes and rain is rare, the lake is still up and people don’t need to dig a new well like a few of the neighbors have had to do in the past when we had droughts.  But with more and more people leaving Florida as evidenced by articles in the paper yesterday, maybe we will have enough to sustain the rest of us without draining some of our rivers for wasteful lawn watering.
The fat possum stopped by for a minute to eat the rest of the left over catfood, then rambled back out in the storm.  100_3443res The mosquitos are absolutely horrible, when I was filming the storm, they were draining me.  And that’s it for tonight. One day I will figure out how to do night shots, and maybe it’s better for now I don’t, I might never go to bed…

Had a great time in Tampa. Did see my nutria, DSC07535res,  81409nutriaB-1re also there was tilapia in the condo pond – how they got there — who knows — they are certainly not native.
81309carpA-1res Also on the condo pond were many female mallards with beautiful faces, and all had different markings. mallardres

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Other than some long distance birds that I get over here. the wildlife was quiet.  I didn’t go anywhere interesting to take pics this time. Just quiet family time. My Bella and Sasha were there to be my bed mates.
81309sashares Then it was back home to reality, two tropical storms about to turn into hurricanes with one as a fairly substantial one. Both could impact us.  tsana The first is tropical storm Ana due to possibly hit Florida between Miami and Port Canaveral so far. It will be a rain maker they say, winds around 70mph, that’s not too bad. The other one is worse, will be a Category 2 hurricane. That one is following behind the other one. So far it is TD #3. I went this am to stock up on food and water just in case.
100_3088res Will be watching closely. Don’t plan on leaving home, will be here to monitor and blog. I can’t imagine leaving my ‘box’ unless it is possibly Katrina big.  Meanwhile, it’s always good to be home. Today went to the flea market and got Orangeblossom-oak flavor honey, ummmm, delicious! I also bought a suet feeder and something is eating the whole block of suet in one gulp over night. I will have to remove it nightly. I do have a lot of cardinals and jays lately.  81409cardinalB-1 91409cardinalA-1
jayres One last thing, I was at a garage sale that had dept. store dummies, a few male torso and legs, if you need any, call Katy 407-690-2929
torso legs

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