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I was good and took a walk this morning, I need to shake off a few pounds of Symphony candy bars. Got out about 7:30 and one of the things I first saw was a wonderful small armadillo   – he was digging and digging.  and saw me and hurried away. A hawk flew over head with branches, clearly making a nest, but flew too fast for the old Kodak to get.
Little Lake Amory looked like a flowing algae heap and that is pathetic because the lake owners got together and okay-ed the local government to come in and via a municipal bond (MSBU) and a tax increase, Seminole County was supposed to dredge and then keep it sprayed. It did dredge and it sprayed for a few years, but last year they began slacking off because of funds. The people should discontinue that MSBU – they are getting nothing for the additional taxes. If I am wrong, I will correct my words if someone tells me differently. This is a spring fed lake which seems clogged and with the warm weather just beginning, it will turn to a thick cotton fluff later this summer if left like this- YUK.
There are a few homes in foreclosure,   but this little neighborhood holds up pretty well.  The people are solid, salt of the earth types who mostly have been here for generations. The elderly man who owned my home had it for 40 years, was a fighter pilot in WWII and only moved for poor health.
I encountered flowers – 
The baby herons are as big as their mother .   The two are in the nest while 3 other adults sit on various branches.
FOX SIGHTING! I saw it over a week ago, but my neighbor sent me pictures of the little cutie on her property, she says he has been hanging around.
He looks better, his eyes are even a bit brighter.
WOodpeckers are busy  This squirrel looked like it had the never ending tale.
Gonna run for now,  have a beautiful day, it has been perfect here,  the birds are active. A short time ago, there was a young, tired mockingbird sitting on the ground, leaning way off to the left falling asleep.   I am feeling that mid morning decline myself, well, you know what they say, “it takes energy to make energy” – gotta run…  

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

And there was a beetle inside an azalea flower.     

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

love Florida!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fished with no results except for photos, so here is the male heron who came down to dine on a small bass that a passing fisherman threw on shore.

Have to sneak in a couple other “blue steel” pics too…     Tomorrow it will hit 80 degrees – I can almost handle wearing a t-shirt if the sun is going to shine down on me , there’s nothing like our Florida sun,  I’ll take those beams beating down with heat any day rather than the cold! Come on sun and wrap those beams and the vernal equinox around me – gimme shelter….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This grackle shook off the loose water.

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

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

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

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

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

It is wonderful waking up to go outside and hear all kinds of birdsong. Sometimes the cranes are in the yard and they scream in your ear, but most of the time, it’s always the cardinals who start things off first thing in the morning, then woodpeckers and other birds join in.
I used to have a chimney bird who sang haunting tunes down the chimney, and then there was a titmouse who would look into my desk window at me for months. As it is, I am just a lucky person to have an abundance of bird music and to be able to appreciate it.  here’s yesterdays mockingbird who was sitting on one my oleanders just singing away.
http://www.facebook.com/#!/video/video.php?v=1362550593784&ref=mf

Here’s the beauties that I have encountered the past few days – feel free to enjoy them as much as I do. I have not seen the baby cranes today, but Papa crane has been here several times being bossy as usual. Fishing was horrible, nothing for the heron, she had to catch her own…

(Does Avatar count?)

and of course, this last funny face thinks he can fly like a bird too, and I let him think it, but really, he eats like a bird — like a dozen birds. He needs to learn to dance at the end of a leash so he can make some money for all the birdseed he eats

Oh it was a sad headline this morning about poor Mary. I did not renew my past Zoo membership when it expired in October, that was the last time I saw her.  I worry so much for Maude who is left all alone and mourning her companion’s death. The two were bonded and it must be excruciatingly painful for Maude who must be wondering where her buddy of many years is.

This is a little tribute to Mary and Maude and some of the other animals I always find fascinating at the intimate Sanford Zoo, though I am no fan of the size of the enclosures of the big cats nor Maude and Mary. While it is an educational tool, I always felt Maude and Mary should have been given to Animal Kingdom to live out their lives. Their area is miniscule and made me always feel sad when I saw them, I hope Maude will be given the large range she deserves now, while their trainers and caretakers obviously love them, the living conditions were way too confining.
I do applaud the efforts of the Sanford Zoological Park to expand, and only want what is best for Maude. I know a committee is making a decision on how much stress is involved in this process, stress from being without a companion, more stress from moving Maude from her familiar environment and introduced to new herds. Hard decisions to make, if only Maude could tell us…

I will add more when I find my files… Here’s a few of the others


Good night, sleep tight  

Busy working on my solo show at Maitland Library opening April 1st.  I got tired of making a mess   and decided to leave it and run up to Sanford for Fourth Fridays. Had to see how the exhibit at the Welcome Center was going.
The weather was rotten, threatening to rain and cold, but I shoved a few layers on me and a long coat and left.   There was a beautifully orange sunset which looks grand through my purple tinted shades.   The downtown area was once again busy making me wonder – what recession? The German restaurant always has a line on Friday night.  The Welcome Center was comfortably packed. The saxy saxophone player was indoors, I’m sure if he was outside, his instrument might get too cold.  
The hung work was placed wonderfully, Nancy Irish and Kathleen Chenet are a well oiled “placement” machine.  Here’s a few pics:   I love so many pictures, but those onions rock!

Ann Holstein’s still life pictures look like the work of old masters.   Click on photos for larger view. The show will be there for a month. The next one will be about architecture.  You can submit your architecture work via photos until March 5th, call 407-302-2586 for further info.

Out on the street, people were briskly walking to the Gallery On First. I walked in and know I am not allowed to photograph, but if you get a chance, go take a look at Theresa Disney’s new bedspreads, they are a trip.   Inside an author was signing a book about Dragons.
Over at Rhonda Richley’s gallery, she greets me like an old friend and was excited about her Art Affair Gallery moving to a larger space almost next door to her gallery now, on the corner of Palmetto and First Street.  She expects to make the transition soon.  Her new space will give her a lot more wall space. 
Soon Rhonda’s gallery will be thriving like Jeannine Taylor.  Both will have different art that really doesn’t compete with each other. I am predicting good things for Rhonda.  We will watch her grow together.  AND, she needs work to fill her space, artists, contact her at 407-466-6365 . Check her out at http://www.artaffairgallery.com
Walked past the Wine Bar, it was hardly occupied.  But just a couple doors down, the Riverhouse Pottery was rockin’.

This is a business that teaches pottery classes, so call them if you want to throw some mean pots or cups or whatever, they can make it happen.  They had beautiful stained glass, pottery, jewelry and much more.
They teach kids and adults.   407-323-9272, call them for class schedule.  Sanford is trying hard to become an art center, bravo for them. AND I can’t forget Rae Marie at Framing 508 Gallery, she does so much work with Alive After 5 and all the promotions she helps with the Fourth Fridays, if you need something framed professionally, give her a call, she’s been framing and matting many years. Let her give you a price and show you what you can do with those prints laying around. Framing 508 Gallery, 407-324-1577, tell her Abbe made you call.
And that was it for me last night, went home and worked on photos and also worked on a few pictures that I took on Thursday at Lake Lily, there were plenty of muscovy ducks and ducklings all around the lake. I bet we saw a total of at least 75 babies with their mothers. It was just adorable. Here’s some nature pics to add to the conversation:

I love muscovies, so this is a small patch of land I like to look at the faces and document them

Threw in a seagull because of the color combo, loved the polka dot fringe.
Okay that’s it, have a good Saturday night. 

Had to go help check in artists today that the Sanford Welcome Center. Some were picking up their work from last month, some were bringing their art for Fourth Friday this Friday. It will be a still life theme and I promise, the work I saw was beautifully done and very colorful.  One Artist, Mary Ann Erikson came back and brought homemade pine straw baskets that she had carefully crafted and wow,  her intricate work was astonishing. She also paints and does photography. The baskets will be for sale.  


The day started out overcast and dull.  
I didn’t realize it was national pancake day or I would have gone for a short stack at i-hop!  The artists came in and out and I took photos in between.
a guy on a motorcycle pointed at me

After I finished I took myself to the Colonial Room for a cheap lunch. It’s like being in a time warp where many of the locals know each other and chat between the tables and even the waitresses seem as if they are stereotyped out of “Alice”.  I heard one man describing his chemo experience and said he did not have to shave anymore. A waitress telling another she got her uni-brow waxed and it hurt like Hell.  A couple chatting about camping somewhere, you just hear it all. One man sitting with a friend said the adorable waitress was just too young for him, he was taken with her you could tell.
I am only eating light because yesterday I thought I had something wedged between my teeth and flossed and part of a filling fell out. You know what that means, big money going to a dentist- YUK! If only they could charge a bit less than a yacht payment for any work they do…
left the downtown area and swerved to the left to the  marina to see the birds, still not one muscovy duck, but did see a lot of sights, here they are.
The big white heron had a beautifully colored area around it’s eye.   

Then I went home and did some photo editing, popped off some emails and fished and now I am getting ready for SCC poetry open mic –

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/

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


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

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

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

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

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

This morning had a dreamy Monet quality to the lake.     A light rain fell, but only for a few minutes. The moisture is dense though, this front has been here since Saturday and is expected to stay for a day or so longer.  I decided to take a walk around 7:30am and saw one of my neighbors whose lab just had puppies, black and yellow. He asked if I wanted one as he would love to keep some in the neighborhood, but I had to decline, I really don’t want that responsibility. If you want a Lab, let me know, I’ll contact him. I don’t know what the price is, but they are purebred.
He told me to walk down and look at the beehive down the road, so I did. WOW!!!
It hangs in a wooded area and looks quite active.  Now I LOVE honey, really really love honey, but would not be venturing around that thing. Maybe I will call Fredericksons Apiaries in Geneva. .. I did and he was here in Sanford eating breakfast at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant, he said he would call me after he was through and we would look at it.  Will Keep you posted…
Met Bill, he looked up and did a WOW too, but they were too high and costly to get to. He said they were European bees, the good kind and that the nest would probably blow down in a brisk wind.  He said had they been on the ground in a nest like that, he would have taken them.  Gotta plug his honey, Fredericksons has great honey, many varieties.
To get on, the day unfolds dismally – so dark. It’s raining now, a single crane has been here all morning, it looks like the female. Wonder if she has an egg or two and the male is egg-sitting?
She looks rather lost.
This morning I was hoping to see an owl after one flew right above me on my walk, but the old Kodak is not an instant on, and missed the flight.  I did get some golf course pics and did see a few armadillos running here and there, especially through the gutters.  So here’s the morning pics, enjoy your day too.
Lake Amory is full of gross algae.  a bit “tweeked” – a bit lightened
Squirrels are everywhere.

dead zone.     Frankie not liking the stray on the porch, the stray got chased off.   The woodpecker made another hole.   A guy fishing in the rain.  Abbe inside looking out…

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 —

Not marriage, an art proposal. My talented friend Pam is a very recognized photographer, her specialty is infrared and emulsion lifts, way to technical sounding but beautiful to look at. Have a look at
http://www.pamelazdaum.com/

I am honored to say we are making a proposal for a show together and I am having a hard time with some photos I have screwed up the resolution on.  So am trying to find good ones, need  about 15 or so photos, so just wanted some opinions about if these would be good to look at for a show. I purposely make them small as sometimes people ‘lift’ them, here’s a few, please give me comments as I love feed back good AND bad, any critique is welcomed.

working on more, need to add my cranes, but if you feel like saying anything, please do.

How do they do it? Communication that is —
I went down to the lake to cast a line and not a thing was biting, but that does not mean a loss of activity. The cranes were here, they were looking for their last birdseed meal before leaving. Both looked like they have been busy in the iron rich mud.   Earlier they had had a fun game of pine cone toss. The male is an amazing tosser.   The sky has been dark all day and the birds quite busy.  Saw an eagle over the lake this morning.   the smaller birds were all over too,  it must be due to a front going through with rain promised tonight. The rain gauge looked like this early in the day.   The blue jay came down to grab as much bread as it could hold in one beekful.     There were crows all over.     as were the cardinals and other smaller birds.
Ringo and I headed to the lake.   and watched many birds overhead, Ringo was ever so alert and hoping one might crash down for him.  But no such luck.  No fox sightings today.
The female heron was in her nest when the male came to greet her, and as soon as their beaks touched and they made their prehistoric chatter, the male was off.
He headed right for my cedar tree which always means he is looking for branches.  He landed,    and plucked a tiny branch and then ran it back to the female.

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He handed it to her and watched her take it and shape it into the nest and then he
took off again.   Back to the tree  
and got another and went back again.   They touch beaks and squawk  and then he left and flew to the ground.    He looked to the left and right and even up.  When I saw him next, he had a huge branch.   click on the numbers/letter below for video, you might have to also give a click when the preview box comes on, (click on the preview box and it should show the video, sorry for a bit of grainy-ness – there are two videos of herons, one further below)

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That branch was longer than he was.  It’s amazing how these birds know each other’s needs. The male has hardly even paid much attention to her lately, this is the most time I have seen him spend tending to her nesting needs.


He was gone a third time and brought one more branch and then it began to drizzle a bit and I had both cameras and decided I would like to be able to keep having two working cameras so I headed in while Ringo stayed at the shore watching more birds overhead dreamin for one to fall within range.  The
herons communicate their needs well, and even the other ‘lessor’ birds seem to know Ringo’s thoughts and aren’t going to fall for his innocuous pussycat act. Maybe birds are better communicators than I thought, maybe they’re psychic…

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

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

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

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