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It’s almost 2am, the night is cold and clear and the moon is bright with a big ring. I still cannot figure how the days and weeks and months slip away this fast.
I’m sitting in a circle of potential paperwork for taxes and this is when I put away all the 2009 paperwork and start a 2010 file – YUK!  The world becomes black and white.
There is a new photography mag coming out soon, requesting 300 word stories and photos.  I thought about doing one on how I launched my love of photography because of the sandhill crane photo I took a few years ago.   I was given a camera and went out to shoot the cranes and discovered I had shot a self portrait smack dab in the middle of it’s orange pupil, that was way before I had photoshop.  Maybe I will write it and submit the picture.  Have more to tell.
But enough of me, how about a day for bees. It finally reached 70 today and the bees were humming like crazy. I kept switching macro lenses and cameras and still did not get a shot I was was really satisfied with, but here’s what I got.
Their bee butts were sticking out of the blooms as their little hind legs packed on the yellow pollen.  I was amazed I did not get stung as I was almost touching them.   The camellias are both blooming and dying and the various stages in between.   

– Ah, too tired to continue, will do so in am and finish post….Sweet dreams!
Rise and shine on a dreary morning. The rain so far has not been the huge washout that they predicted. Where’s the lightening and thunder?  I got out and took photos trying so hard to see the herons baby, but no luck. Last night the mother heron did fish with me, but we caught nothing.  Even Ringo looked bored.  

The heron looked so beautiful I had to take a few close ups
Late last night we had the most disgusting looking possum I ever saw. Clearly it had been in many fights as the wounds were atrocious and you could see in one wound to his muscle. The infection was oozing from it, from the head wound, the eyes and the back, but it had an appetite and finished off the cats leftovers. I decided that I will try and keep the cat food in a bowl and bring it in and out after seeing that nasty, (and smelly) critter. Nature is so cruel. I had pity for the poor thing.
The reality for this creature looks grime, something tore it up.

This morning I caught a few pics of birds, here they are
the grackle didn’t stay there long!  I am trying so hard to see the baby in the nest and I still can’t.    So back to taxes, ugh – one day my living room floor will be neat again, a few days before April 15th…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t know about you, but the days are just sliding away and you can’t preserve time. This morning I did a few things, came home, did a few more and before I know it, there’s Hardball at 5pm!
It is too cold to go out today and walk around, it hurts my sensitive teeth!  I hate this cold and hope it does not last too much longer.
My art for Maitland Library is shaping up. I have a few more pics to send to be enlarged and that should be the end of that. Also am hoping they will use some of my work at the Seminole County Museum in June. It’s always something one must do if they expect to get their work out, keep submitting. I am so hoping Pam and I get accepted as a show for  Seminole State College.
The wildlife around here is same old same old. The fox came back on Saturday and Sunday.  Poor little hungry guy looks so pathetic.  Here’s a few captures:

Again on Monday I called the Florida Fish and Game Commission who gave me the Seminole county branch who said basically, I could dispose of it however I wanted, but I would have to trap it as they won’t.  So that was the dilemma.  Same as before.  As it is, have not seen fox in two days.  Have seen the fat old raccoons,     and also possums, have two distinct possums.  

they love leftover catfood.

Last night caught a nice big bass by a fluke when reeling in a shiner. The bass tried to get the shiner, but got caught on the hook on the edge of the mouth.  It was a nice surprise! Don’t worry, I catch and release after taking a couple pics.   A few nights ago I did catch a smaller bass    – Ringo never fools with them.  Maybe it’s because their mouths are so wide and always moving.
The birds are always competing with each other.   The squirrels are so damn cute you can’t get too mad when they get in the birdfood.
Outside it is headed for the 30’s — YUK!  This is horrible, terrible, miserable.  At least today was sunny.  Hurry spring, I can’t take the cold…

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

I  voided my own rule of only using straight photography on my site, but thought I would leave you with my Abb-Strax, and photos of things, some I hope to sell one day soon on a website.
Ringo  “in dreams”  

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

That last one kind of looked ‘corpsey’.

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

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

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

Back from a nice visit to Tampa where it was officially announced, I will be a grandmother.  This will be my first grandchild and it is exciting news, of course, Aaron wants me to move there, I am undecided as of yet.  I didn’t get time to really take many photos except for Leila’s party, which I left on their computer. The pelicans are all gone, hardly any birds, only a few woodstorks.   and smaller birds.
By now we all know about the earthquakes that rocked Haiti. And because of that, my little town of Sanford is on the map. The US Airforce transport planes are shuttling the sick, injured, orphaned and Haitian Americans over to Sanford International Airport 7 miles away. For a while those planes were coming in often during the day.  These heavy green military planes rock the house as they flew over.  While they were coming ever couple hours, I only heard two yesterday, in fact, they said they were going to stop because the state is having a hard time financially dealing with what to do with everyone.  Some have family, many don’t, many more require hospital care. They also announced that Miami and south Florida would not accept anymore injured Haitians at the hospitals and even moved many patients up to North Florida because of the Super Bowl and the potential of needing those beds.    This last pic is a transport heading back toward Haiti over a week ago. Poor Haitians, what is to become of them? I suppose more of the same.
Last night was a moon event, the moon was the closest to us for the year, unfortunately, the clouds were really thick too. But did get a few peeks in between.  
I am hoping that by the time the moon comes tonight, these rain clouds will be gone and I can get a really good photo. We are waiting and waiting for some front, it’s gloomy, but won’t hold my breath for rain. (Ah, as I write I hear the rain.)
Went over to see how Andrea’s cats look after being shaved. Musa was not happy
He looked like he had UGG’s on his feet. Lola was cleaning herself right away.  And Cocobella gawked at them because she did not have to get shaved, so she gets to be dominant! The cat with the most hair wins for being the boss.   My own Ringo was busy by the bird bath this morning just daring the birds to come near him, no one took him up on his offer.
Though there were a lot of birds earlier.   And there is one black bird who has a broken foot I keep noticing, it’s curled up, but he is still feisty and gets around well.
Andrea always gives me the cutest things, she gave me a camera charm, and had this funny pot scrubber  and adorable dessert plates  
And of course, Lee always sends her roses each week, this week’s were gorgeous as always, Lee is always so kind.  
After I left, I came home and noticed some vultures up the road eating a squirrel, I scared most of them off with the camera.     When I looked up, there were about a dozen flying into the trees and could not get a good shot with all their movement.
Yesterday met Pam for lunch at Mimi’s and we got our art submissions off for potential exhibits, I am hoping we get at least one of the two.  It was a crappy day yesterday too, but at least it was about 73 degrees. So I got to fish for the first time in a while and the fishing sucked, but my heron did come down to see if I hooked anything.    Ringo watched the bobber – that’s his job.
And I looked all around,

I love fishing in this smooth, parallel world, where the ghost moon rests
it’s big head on soft, wide cloud shoulders
and birds sing with full hearts and
there is nothing to burden the mind
except for winking bobbers and a cat licking it’s lips…

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…

After I saw the birds this morning trying desperately to get water from the bird bath, I took a hammer and broke up the ice and poured really warm water in the bird bath. It is still freezing, it was 26degrees earlier, now it is about 30. The birds liked that better and gave me some good poses. I had fun colorizing and making poster pics out of them, thought you’s enjoy seeing the bevy of beauties that I get to look at off and on all day. My “blind” is right here behind the window so I don’t have to go outside except to keep the feeders filled.
I hope my friend Pat forgives me for not holding to my own words of doing all cardinals, but the poses these birds take just demand a photo. Have fun bird and art watching-

one last picture of a sleeping Frankie who won’t be bothering any birds, but Ringo,     now that’s another matter…

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

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

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

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

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

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

there are many more.

And then ‘one’ moves on to next subject:    

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

From Andrea’s cats, Musa, Lola, Coco

And from Sasha,  Happy Happy-Joy Joy!

The cranes had been sunning themselves right out my window. 
The seemed so happy and peaceful taking in the warmth on this 50+ degree afternoon.
The female sat and contentedly groomed,  and I forget that they have white eyelids, and they close going up, versus ours that close down.   When suddenly the cranes took off. and I looked and the fox was out there.  He took off after them and I didn’t see him. Then I looked out the back, and there he was standing on my stump eating bird seed.  He looked starved and mange-y.
He looked at me through slits and then jumped down and ran away. I called animal services, told them the situation, and they said if he was eating he was okay. I beg to differ, does this look okay?   He looks kind of creepy, hope it is not rabid.
I will have to watch when I take little Bella outside. Don’t want the fox to think she is a Taco Bell special.    Yesterday my neighbor called when she saw the fox, I went out and caught a photo of him crossing the street.  Poor thing looks so lost.
The ibis are out in pairs again,   the heron has left it’s nest, I’m sure it went fishing.  A cute moth was on the wild little daisies.  
Later I should have some photos on http://offshoot2.wordpress.com
Until then, I am going to take a nap and then do X-mas cards. Catch ya later….

PS – I will call animal services tomorrow, request a trap, and will send them a photo…

A cold front approaches. It’s another gray day, everything looks bland. 
The cranes came , did a rain dance. We are in need of moisture.  The heron was MIA in her nest for 4 hours, maybe she was fishing.   The nest is filling out slowly.
She did come back in early afternoon.  A pair of ibis came foraging for food.
and a pied-billed grebe came by and dove under the water when he saw me.   They are funny looking.

I tried my hand at macro, but wind was blowing and the focus was almost impossible. But did get a few pics in to show.  So here’s a few…

Someone told me that those are some sort of beetles mating and not lady bugs.
Ringo the heron and I fished,    but the wind was whipping and the drizzling rain was getting cold and miserable, so I had to come in.  The heron was in her nest and it was waving in the wind.   Ringo came to the back door and decided to come in and dry off.
Right now Frankie is in my lap and my legs have lost all circulation,    ugh, I must get up and move.   Oh, I was looking at my match holder and realized I must get a chimney sweep to clean out  the fireplace.   For now, that’s it, and I’m sending a rose to Tabbie to let her know I am thinking about her and hope she is feeling better.
And here’s a video from Tampa, a bit shaky, but hope you enjoy anyway…     

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