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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This morning two otters were swimming quickly at the neighbors, I only caught them as they were almost gone into the canal for Lake Belaire. Sorry only able to give you glimpses. Here’s the tease.     I wish I could have caught them closer. But I was looking for the cranes as neither the male or female were on their nest. That meant there was at least one hatched egg. I did some gardening and then an hour later, I spotted the parents across the lake, they were away from the nest and when the parents are both away, that means the babies have hatched. I went to see  how many babies.
There were two, I bet they were born this morning. The adorable colts, (the technical name) were still rather wobbly, but the parents were very protective and feeding them well.  And here are some photos of the new family.
and here’s a little video   video.php?v=1362014540383&ref=mf hope that comes up.

I watched them for a half an hour and the babies were so adorable. The first one stayed very close to the parents and seemed to have a lot more energy. The second seemed more unsteady and would lag behind a bit. Finally after following and following the parents, the babies sat down and the smaller one just toppled over in exhaustion, oh I would have loved to hold it, but I know better, the parents are very protective.    Poor things little eyes closed and it fell asleep and woke a few minutes later to follow along again.  I left there with a huge smile to see young ones. That’s always a great sign.
Back at home I clipped all the dead passion flower off the fence and did a bit of pruning under a 70 degree sunshine and it felt wonderful.
Papa crane flew over for dinner, both herons came to fish and the night was a bit cloudy, but full of hungry heron baby sounds. I am able to see a bit of waving head up there.
But can’t get it on camera yet. Here’s my heron – tomorrow another adventure…

Blue Harvest is what film maker,  Bernie Noga alluded to for weeks now,  he was so intent with getting our local OvationTV artists together, that he made it happen.
What’s http://www.Ovationtv.com ?  It’s the online site where many artists from across the country meet up and exchange ideas, art, discussion, blogs and even emails. And today was the day we met with our central Florida group for some face to face.
Anymore social contact with an online site seems distant, rare in some cases, but we made it a point to get to know each other.  It’s like getting the readers of your blog together and meeting to put a face on the typing and artwork.
Bernie, “Blond One” Noga, organized the whole thing — he worked hard finding a meeting place and organizing food and music and even goodie bags from Sam Flax in Orlando.
Of course when artists get together, there are photographers snapping each other and even the chance to bring our art out for scrutiny besides the many discussions going on.
We were lucky enough to even get two special visitors from out of state; Stuart from Oklahoma and a Californian, the terrifically humorous Craigo.
And it was wonderful, the music, the food, the art and the people of course. How lucky I am to be among these talents and to be able to learn so much from other artists.
The attached photos are of the people at the Blue Harvest meeting. You can be there next time, join Ovationtv and get inspired. It’s easy and free, just click the above link and get started.
Again, hats off to Bernie and Paul for taking this upon themselves to accomplish and a special thanks to Bernie’s wife too, she was as easy going and kind as her husband!
We were privileged to have this opportunity and we are sorry for those who were unable to make it, but one thing for sure, Bernie will make sure there is another one – he’s that kinda guy,  special and sincere, and always makes everyone feel welcomed. Thanks Bernie and everyone so much!

And a few taken in between people
Frankie checking out all the goodies in the Sam Flax bag.
fish skeleton    A cat conversing with a tree –                                             the ride through Orlando
Bernie Noga at My Sunspots Studio

Bernie directing till he’s blue in the face

http://www.mysunspotstudios.com/

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

Finally it melted like sherbert over the lake

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

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

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

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

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

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

BRRRR- I can’t help but feel guilt for homeless people, especially families who might be out trying to survive in this horrific cold. What can it be like to try to keep warm on these miserable chilled days? No home, no running water to bathe, no food, and more and more people are at that point of no return.
I hate thinking about stray animals too and how they cope. There is a cat that the owners do not permit to go inside over at the condos where my daughter lives. The owner did set up a pedestal outside the kitchen window, and the cat sits and looks inside – how can someone not allow their “pet” cat access to their home? Why have a “pet” you don’t really want to care for?  It always breaks my daughters heart and mine to see it alone wanting the company of human contact. Sometimes the cat will be standing up peeking into my daughters kitchen window watching as those “inside beasts” lounge in their ‘padded cat tree’.     My daughter’s cats are very spoiled.
Ringo and Frank, (my cats) won’t even consider staying outside for longer than about 15 minutes in this cold before they are at the back door begging to come in.
Well, I’m sitting with my coat and bathrobe trying to stay warm as the thermostat sits at 70degrees, I know this bill is going to be a big one!
Wroking on stuff to send over to juried show in Sanforw welcome center called Kingdom of Birds and Animals, I figure I have enough of both to be able to try and get one photo in the show,  here’s a few samples

So trying to narrow down field.

I am going through all my files one by one deleting the lousy pics and trying to trim the phat photo excess,  ( I guess that was the same logic that the Beautiful People dating website used after the holidays to delet 5000 people who had gained wait on their site – can you believe?)   Thought I would share a few pics off the folder called “heron”

Just a few to keep your interest until I have something fun to write about. Okay, lets see, it’s 8am, I’ve been up since 4:30am, so think I’ll grab a couple Zzzz’z before I restart the day, maybe the temp will be up to 39degrees by 11am!

Those are turtle eggs, freshly laid.  They came by the way of their mother turtle this morning around 8am.  I had gone out to take some photos of the crappy day. We had a good rain and it was so dark.  The cranes came in for breakfast,
and I had walked to the lake to take some photos of the ‘band of brothers’ who were frolicking in the water.   It was truly a day to be a duck!  It was drizzling a bit after a hard rain.  I started walking back toward the house when I saw a turtle making her way from the house to the lake. She was quite slow in fact, probably because she is a reptile and it was cold and she was tired from laying those eggs.

She ignored the cranes attempt to peck her, and could not even get the energy to run past me to get to the lake, usually the  turtles will crank on the speed when they see humans near them. I’m sure she was exhausted and cold.  I walked back to where she had come from and could see where she had buried the eggs, I gently extracted five eggs that were not buried too deep.  The raccoons would have easily gotten to them or the cold coming tonight would have killed them.  I have raised successfully a number of snake eggs, and did have luck with one clutch of  turtle eggs a couple summers ago.    They were the size of quarters, but it was always summer when we incubated the eggs so the heat naturally kept them warm enough to grow into full term turtles and snakes that broke open their shells and were ready for the world.  The turtles looked just like the ones we kept as kids in those little clear plastic turtle bowls we had in the 50’s before they scared us all with the “salmonella” stories.
The eggs I took I have placed within a small plastic fish tank that has a night light incorporated into the top of the tank. I also placed a thermometer inside and the temp is almost 80 degrees with a tiny 7 watt bulb — that’s perfect, so maybe on February 19th, there could be 5 little baby turtles hatching.  I must keep them moist without being too wet, and heated without getting hardboiled.  This should work perfectly:
Will keep you posted. They say you can’t “candle” them like duck eggs. We never did get one fertilized duck egg.
It was just a dreadful morning, I ran to Michaels and as I looked for a frame, it began pouring. I had to wait for it to settle down a bit before going back to the car.  As I drove from the parking lot in the pouring rain, I noticed two vultures up on a light post waiting out the burst of water.  They looked rather stunned.  Notice that it was so dark, the lights were on at 11am.
Even driving through the neighborhood looked blurred  —        Now comes the cold, and tonight, you can feel the temperature drop!  Ringo is inside on my bed, he hates the cold too.
My little brother is here and we took Adam and got all bloated eating Chinese at Lee’s Palace then topped it off with ice box cake, Judd’s favorite made of pure whipping cream and Nabisco chocolate wafers.
I finished framing and should be ready to drop off work on Sunday, will let you know if there is a reception and what the dates are for the Gateway Members Exhibit.

Those are the pics, though I think they are only using two per person.  The next pics below are some I took this am.

And that’s it for tonight, stay warm, have a fun weekend….   

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

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


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

This morning we had quite a fog. The night before we had a clear look at the meteor shower and I saw a good amount of gorgeous mini looking comets, it was beautiful to watch. Stayed up till 3am, then woke up and the fog swallowed the lake.  The herons, both male and female were clanking their beaks together.
They seemed real lovey-dovey.   I found it to be a good time to try my hand at some macro photography. I tried with 4 different lenses and had a hard time, but looking through my lens at spider webs was just over-whelming, the webs looked like crystal beads.  Here’s some pics.
There were webs everywhere, and I had 4 different magnifications, so I was all over using different settings. I need a mentor standing beside me. 

The plants and a few bugs were on the plants. I tried to get them, but have no tripod to keep me steady, it is tedious trying to stay still and focus on the details.

The cranes were in full mating mode – they have totally ditched the baby and now only have each other and are enjoying each other. 
They were goofy and looking for trouble. They tried Ringo,   and even Frankie.   I tried to get close to the males silly face.   
It was a good morning and took all day till the sun came shining through.   I did a few abb-strax.  And came out to see the heron take off.

And that was it for the morning, then I left to run errands, get some shopping done and come back in time to fish with the heron and Ringo. It turned out to be in the 80’s and we had sunshine.  Fishing was not great, but that’s okay with me.
Hope your day went well, you can see, there’s hardly a dull animal moment around here…

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

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

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

      For you who don’t know me, I am a cave dweller, I like being at home, I am not good on the road as it makes me anxious. Very anxious, so anxious I get almost schizophrenic. The side of me raring to go says, get in your truck and put the pedal to the metal, and the the other id casts a ‘downer’  pall and says, ha ha, and raises my heart beat, ad declines the offer. Anxiety is lousy!        So finally, after suppressing the bad id and giving it concessions, (baby steps, I can get off I-4 at any exit and relax whenever I want.)  
    I left “O” town, a few days ago making it past downtown and all the way to Sandlake Road for the first stop.  I always stop for french fries and a coke, though I do travel with a fully stocked cooler full of cookies and apple juice, crackers, candy and even a banana for a fruit serving to balance the carbs.     
I am always glad to pass the mouse and get out of Kissimmee, which means I have ten minutes till I get to Haines City, where I stop at Burger King. This is why I travel alone, if Iwas rich, I would hire a RV and driver!      I  stop about fifteen minutes later and when I see lakeland, I know I am not too far and the anxiety goes away and it is pedal to the metal! I stop once more before hitting I-75.  So what takes most people an hour and a half, takes me 2 hours, but it works tricking my own brain.
     Then comes the reward, spending time wth the kids!  First thing I do is drive  to the Publix where my son’s office is and get goodies to surprise them with for dinner.
I don’t mind cooking when I am here because these two are so busy, they eat on the run.  Then in between, I get to take pictures of the wildlife here.      –the seagulls were in abundance on the pond out back.                
And of course the big tank inside is always great to enjoy.  
       In the afternoon the cows on Valhalla Pond were roaming the land and one cow was close by all by himself in the water.     
    It’s a wonderful condo area because of the lake and the agricultural zoning allowing the cattle. 
     So for now,I am here and enjoying chillin’ and working along side Aaron, we are always trying to figure out how to make our millions, it would be great leaving my kids a fortune!  Oh well, for now all I have to give them is all my love and a room full of frames and loose nature photographs  and hope they have futures bright and full of happiness and love just like I have had, it’s worked for me …

okay, the title is a lie, I can’t take night pics yet, even though I keep pressing buttons, moving settings, and get sucked dry by mosquitos, for all that, I am useless at night photography. The second lie, there was no visible moon tonight, that’s from the night before, whatever day it is now. We were supposed to get all this horrid weather and it passed on by with just a short period of rain and alot of tv hoopla.
I went to Gateway Photo group last night and got the names of good printing sites, and Danielle was kind and patient as she tried showing me how to work my camera settings, but I have to look at more tutorials and find the way to keep this shutter open, my cameras play tricks on me at night, I think they are actually tried of being molested and want the mosquitos to kill me off.
Today I did some holiday shopping and came home, and as I rounded the corner and got on Country Club, I noticed lots of waterfowl at the Mayfair CC, so I had my camera and parked the truck and walked over to the golf course hoping not to get whacked in the head – though maybe it would default my head settings and I could go to bed)
I saw woodstorks, 
A woodstork who thought he was a commorant.  
Lots of crows flying all over,  cranes of course. what would a golf course around here be with out cranes?  And then I went home before my luck ran out.  The heron has progressed a bit with the nest, though I did not see the male all day.   She sits and sits and waits, but I think he has been seeing someone else and twigging up her nest!
She looks quite forlorn.  My fat mockingbird was posing as always by the mailbox, she has such bright eyes.
No eggs in her nest though.  There was an elephant  on my mantle. 

I just threw that in to see if you were paying attention.
I hope tomorrow we will get more rain. I must explore mpix.com for having photos printed, their prices and quality seem really worth it. Metallic paper is so cool if the photo is right. I am wondering if I should try a few for my crow photo exhibit in April.
Just threw that in as a tease.
Okay, I went back out and could not get anything with recognition. But as I was walking back toward the house, the moon popped out for a few seconds 
In between the thick clouds, there was an opening and the light gave me a quick shot with whatever setting I had on.  Hey, at 4:46am, I will take what I can get literally… Ah, if only I could photograph my dreams, they are amazing….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

100_6131re THIS IS SPARTA! 158e2a0ab585e2c0
Frankie inspects the bounty, we are on a mission! Somewhere in my attic is a mouse, or worse, a rat or even worse, plural—EEK!
I hear the foot prints over my computer desk. I thought it was a squirrel for a while and figured it would leave, but then noticed that there was mouse crap in the garage. I took everything out of the garage Tuesday and uncovered a nest of some lose, torn plastic and inside was birdseed and nuts from the bird seed, a nice stash for a mouse wanting to eat at home. Then I pulled an old antique mirror away from the wall and saw a big field mouse or a young rat and she ran. I had the doors, both the door to the outside and the double garage door open, but it hid behind a desk. I found Ringo and brought him out with me, he sniffed around and stopped at that nest and sniffed and sat . I pulled it open and 8 baby pinkies were in the nest. Ringo baby sat  100_6092ringore and the mouse must have snuck out.  I pulled everything out and looked in all nook and cranies. Next strategy, put the squealing babies in a box and put them up in the attic with Ringo, I was hoping their distress would bring out a sympathetic rodent.  Ringo bounded up the ladder to the attic and I sat up there and watched him disappear, but it was hot up there, I came down after five minutes, Ringo stayed about fifteen minutes, he didn’t bring anything with him, but went inside and plopped down on the kitchen floor to cool off. It has to be 100 degrees up in the attic because it is mid nineties on the ground. I brought the babies down and left their box outside figuring maybe the mom would come back or maybe there was some nice snake who would be quick. Sorry, I do not want 8 more rodents around here.
I had my son put expanding caulk in the place where the air conditioner wiring goes through between garage and outside.  100_6132re And sealed up everything, EXCEPT, the roof long vents, that is where they had to have gotten in,  100_6134re – they are open and have plenty of room to welcome the weary animals who get tired from climbing the roof. I bought wiring to try and rig inside the vents, but not just yet!
What’s next? Strategy planning, first I called the critter removal places, it’s either a free inspection and $250 with no guarantees or even more depending on what they find and the services they deliver. I have found they clean up and repair damage. It’s $89 for some to come set the traps and then a few days later another $89 to retrieve and remove the dead animals. Everything is ala carte, one place says they have a 5 and 10 year guarantee, but who knows if they will be in business when you call them in a week to pick up the traps? That makes those mice worth their weight in gold. What I need is three hungry feral cats to go out and have a field day! But since that isn’t feasible and I don’t want Ringo up there around all that insulation anymore, THIS IS WAR!
I have employed neo-con thinking, screw the Geneva Comvention stance on these rodent terrorists, forget it PETA, unless they want to come save the animals. I am going to employ Abu Ghraib tactics — loud loud torturous music supplied by two boom boxes simultaneously blasting music at full blast from the two attic access doors.I am looking at music choices now and will load a DVD later with our special rodent removal songs. Right now I am researching the music our military used on terror suspects. AC/DC, Britney Speirs, Metallica, I am scrutinizing, but at this point, I am considering Hendrix, Judas priest and even a bit of William Hung, remember that guy, Keith Olberman was obsessed by him.  794a297b8143fa02 We will experiment a bit, and when we come up with the right mix, we will blast from the boom boxes and I will be standing by with my camera to see if there is any exodus. If it works, I will sell my rodent revenge mix for $19.99! That will save people a lot of dirty work, and a lot of financial pain!
If that does not work, we will switch to plan B — dehydrating/bloodthinner D-con biscuits and big traps. Plan C- is the default pet removal –   Stay tuned….
71c3916b4c9ab0c0 This rodent image caught my eye, what the Hell???

 

Ran by the zoo Thursday looking for crows. Did not see one, but here’s what I saw:

DSC03702-1re The leopard wasn’t panting today, just looked board as when I saw him last.  DSC03700-1re One of the elephants was still in her stall, the other one came out to greet me.
DSC03720-1re The tortoises were kept apart by a fence because he is a bit too amorous all the time. They look like they miss being together. Both are 50 years old and can live for 200 years!   DSC03726re The keeper came in with food and he scratched her back and she just loved it! I did too, she looked so happy.
DSC03730-1re The emus always look at you like they judge you.  The kangaroos always look so lazy, didn’t even take a picture. The cheetahs could not be seen, they were still in their den.  DSC03734-2re The porcupines were quill to quill in their dream state. Even the goat was sound asleep.  DSC03810-1re But some kids came with food and he perked up.  DSC03809re The Llama just peered over top of his barn window and decided I was not worthy of his presence.
The reptiles were more active, well not the alligator,  DSC03738re he slept in the sun with a hat of greenery.  The lizards were busy.  DSC03778-2re
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Then I went to get french fries because I love their fries, but they did not have any made up, so

had to settle for a pretzel instead. It attracted the grackles which were everywhere, but still no crows at all.   DSC03779-1re DSC03788-1re DSC03806-3res

The grackles and I ate the pretzel and I headed on back to the car. There was an adorable marmoset out on a leash, but all it was doing was sleeping, her name is Judy,
DSC03820-2re Oh well, I’m sure if I had gone to the Walmart parking lot, I would have found some crows, but there’s always another day to catch crows. I do enjoy the zoo, especially when I have it to myself like I did early Thursday morning, even if most of the animals were still sleeping.

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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It’s been a little while, but really have been waiting for the heat to subside. The birds have been hardly coming, everything is just rather worn out by this heat. last night was supposed to be the beginning of a cold front touching down to bring some relief.  100_5643re The fishing is lousy because of the mooching turtles. The fish are not biting like they were over a year ago. The bass have retreated somewhere though Ringo and I relentless keep our eyes on all activity that stirs the surface.  100_5645-1re Today started sunny hot and humid, all week it has been high 90’s. The cranes flew in  DSC03487-1re to make their presence known
DSC03516-3re DSC03512-1re DSC03526re As usual they did
a rain dance

rain dance

The flowers seem tired too, we all need a change.  DSC03564re DSC03566re DSC03559re But they always manage to still color the yard.
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The day clouded up and got to a cool 87 degrees, so that was about 10 degrees cooler than it has been.  They said big rains were coming with this cold front, but only a short period of just droplets came and that was it. We ended up with a rainbow hardly visible.  But still nothing that remotely felt cool. So still waiting for our big Fall to fall.

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Last night ther heron came down and fished with Ringo and I. He stood in the water, I stood at various places on the lake, neither of us caught anything, but that didn’t matter, I was glad to have the heron back. Every morning I keep going out to see if it is on a branch in it’s nesting tree.
100_5388-1re 100_5392_edited-1re Earlier I had been out in the yard taking pictures

of dragonflies, they are everywhere and will stop close to me as if they are as curious about me as I am about them.  DSC02660re

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The butterflies too were all over.  DSC02583-1re DSC02498-1re

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We now have a small bunny that appears from time to time .   DSC02490re The little guy came when the cranes were here and Papa crane chased him off.  Baby crane is still changing color, his eyes are still lighter and he does not have the red crest yet, though it is coming in little by little.
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Ringo was busy under the bushes eating a long blade of grass.
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The band of brother mallards are still hanging around with the pekin ducks, but Carbs is nowhere to be found. Have not seen him in weeks.
Fishing is horrible for some reason, even with the harvest moon tonight, not one little tug on the bobber.  100_5429re 100_5421re 100_5453re

Tomorrow night I think I will go to the marina and take some pics of the moon coming up over Lake Monroe.  It’s just such a treat to see it so close and so big.  The anhinga sat up in the tree and watched from his vantage point.   100_5410-1re It was a good night for moon gazing and bird watching, just not for fishing, only for feeding turtles.
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