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Went to a luncheon put on by the Gateway Center For the Arts, and The National Museum of Women in the Arts. They wanted to thank Victor Thomas, the manager of Stacey’s for his generous support of food during the art receptions. I had never been to Staceys which is about a mile north of Saxon Blvd on 17/92. It’s been there many years under different names: Homers and Duffs. Stacey is Homer the owners daughter.  They also have them in Ohio and other Florida locations.
There was a good line waiting to get in at 1pm when Pam and I went to the meeting. They charge $5.99 for all you can eat and WHAT A DEAL! The food was DELISH!!!! I ate and ate and looked at the dozens of different desserts and my eyeballs almost went into a diabetic shock! They do have the option of sugar-free pies).   003res They had it all, food food food in all descriptions. I ate fried fish and hush puppies, steamed carrots and mac and cheese, broccoli and soup. They had turkey, tacos, meatloaf, fried chicken and much more. Everything was great. I had a lot of fun and so wanted to really take close ups of the food which was beautifully displayed, but knew that was rather tacky.  So just got a few to show.  004res

006res Victor’s wife, Veronica works there also and could not have been more attentive to our needs.  The NMWA & Gateway gave Victor and Veronica a beautiful signed and numbered print from one of the members.
So here’s the thumbs up for a fun afternoon with very nice artists and art supporters and of course, great home cooking, (I never cook anything like this at home,) thanks to Pam for hauling me up there and paying for my lunch, I ate my fill and then some! My turn to get lunch next time!
Back at home, Carbs is still here. 81709carbsmouth-1res Look at duck’s teeth, how uniform, see if you can enlarge to see them. As long as the Band Of Brother mallards stay away, I guess Carbs will stick around. I fished a little while, no bites, but a wonderful breeze blew over the lake. I decided to mow the back instead. Carbs just moved from one side of the yard to the other as I mowed, it didn’t really bother him.
The hurricane is supposed to stay to the east of us, lets hope so. The state of Florida seems to love to gouge us with spiking gas prices as a hurricane approaches, they know we will be gassing our cars and gas cans and any thing that has a gas cap to have the extra gas for generators. It will be reaching about $3.00 a gallon in a week I bet, and maybe sooner if that hurricane comes closer to home. I did fill up a couple gas cans and they are out in the garage, and I can even smell faint fumes in the house – how I hate hate hate everything gasoline. One day they will find an alternative like electric instead! I hate having to gas the lawn mower and blower and having that awful smell on your hands or a few drops on your shoes – YUK!!! But I hate having extra long cords and fooling with electric by the lake!!! One day we should be able to harness the sun with a sensor chip on our lawn equipment!  If I don’t write tomorrow. I have been overcome with gas…

DSC09975res Ummum, today at ‘the desk’ — move over Jared – does it get better than Subway’s chocolate chip cookies? (Yes, it gets better if they are warmed ever so slightly.) While my friend Beda in her 70’s, and looks 49 goes to her first pilates class after being so disciplined on her diet, I salute her steadfast  efforts! Today I saw a T-shirt that said,  reject-thumb That’s a great motto – I agonized with her as she denied herself carbs in order to lose weight and stay healthy and now she goes the extra mile to exercise – Yikes the E word scares me! I will exercise later by getting up from the computer to put the cookies back in the kitchen fifteen feet away, maybe I will walk back and forth five times just to lose a couple calories. Right now I am on the ‘feed the fever’ trend, because I have a slight cold, (and boring enough I think it’s starve the cold – or is it reversed?)  Whatever, I admire these efforts by people to trim up  and fly right, “I reject your reality and substitute my own“. Here’s one, eat colorful foods, so how about if the food comes in a the colorful bag? Look at that colorful title on the Subway cookies – hows that for rationale?
I was invited to go to pilates class, but no thanks, I remember those years of being chosen last for every team in gym class. I remember taking a Jazzercize class with my then, ten year old daughter who after seeing that I could not figure how hands and feet moved at the same time, requested I sit down or not stand next to her, I remember those days and respect that I am not an exerciser  or anything near athletic except for wearing tennis shoes for comfort! The only thing that might make me behave is the sin tax, if they tax sugar, I will become a hoarder and blackmarket sugar runner…I ACCEPT MY LIMITATIONS – Don’t worry be happy, that’s the other credo…
Back to nature – I love ibis, they have those beady eyes and long beaks and make the whackiest noises.  I had some vistors, (requiring me to get up and walk outside) and watched as three lovely ibis came to play in my yard.
Another tidbit I found on Wikipedia, “The ibis is the last sign of wildlife to take shelter before a hurricane hits and the first to reappear once the storm has passed.” They are noted for their bravery. I guess they aren’t that brave, they didn’t let me get too close before flying off.  Here is the photos of a descendant of birds long ago. One of my favorite favorite, top two favorite short stories is The Scarlet Ibis by James Hurst – go online and read it, and get a kleenex!

Here’s some photos for you to enjoy and see how regal they are.
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52009-8am It stormed most of the night! So far we are up almost ten inches. The funny thing is, at a point where there was no rain this morning, I went out to garden a bit and pick up downed tree limbs because you get stir crazy after three days of incarceration. So I transplanted a few canna lilies and the ground about five inches down is dry as dry can be!  It’s just as sandy as if no rain has ever fallen. It is another day of rain and what can I say, same old same old, but at least it is helping with our drought!  The only visitors have been the ducks and regular birds.

52009woodpeckera-1 Okay — so how does one get through the days of liquid peril that assault us? Comfort food of course.  comfortfood1 comfortfood2
comfortfood3 The best is the new Haagen Dazs ice cream “Five”!!!! OMG it’s amazing and it has fruit in it so I am counting that as a fruit suppliment in my daily diet as I count the nuts in the Payday. The cookies count as needed carbs of course. And it does give comfort when the weather is blaring all day long with lightning, thunder and storms all around us and the repeated warnings. It’s all one can do to make it through the day besides petting cats… 52009Frankie2_edited-1

Hello all,
Have been visiting in Tampa since Wednesday and could not get access to working on photos so I am back home
and will be making up for lost time.  (Have a few pics on http://offshoot2.wordpress.com )

First, Happy Un-Mothers Day all you mothers – Hope yours was as great as mine. I got so many goodies like bouquet and of course what would the day be without eating and I mean pigging out on something I would not buy for myself like this, mothers day cake As you can see I made a small dent in it earlier, but about 1/3rd is gone by now. ”
Last night I dined with my son Aaron, the Broker Price Opinion “King” of Tampa, we laugh about that title his friends have given him, but he hustles doing  ‘BPO’s for banks.  I spent a lot of time driving around with him to look at all kinds of homes that banks are owning these days. There are many dwellings in all types of conditions.  It’s very sad really to see so many houses going into foreclosure.  Houses are just stagnating on the market over there.  Even his townhome has lost  about $40,000 in value since he bought it 5 years ago brand new. Many of the same units are now abandoned to foreclosure.  We bought a ‘flip’ house two years ago and were very lucky that our hard work paid off and we were able to sell it fast, had it just been a few months later, we might still be sitting on that house!  It is a sad time in the real estate business unless you have big bucks and can pay cash for a bargain — then this IS the time to buy something distressed. But it is creepy profitting on someone’s hardship.

Today I came home to more fun surprises, more wonderful flowers from my younger son and also from Leila. Tomorrow my son Adam and I will have dinner and a movie because he was at work on Mothers Day. My daughter  gives me fun things all the time. Today she took me to lunch when I got back home from Tampa and brought that cake and these great earrings, earrings She also made a donation to A New Beginnings Pet Rescue, a gift that keeps on giving.  I was also given a fun bag of goodies for fishing that I will have to try my luck on tonight! bait I am sure spoiled! I have a lot to be thankful for – I wouldn’t trade these kids for anything…and no, they are not for sale either! Also, as I was leaving to come back to Orlando, I heard a familiar sound and looked out the front door,  DSC04163_edited DSC04168edit A family of sandhill cranes took off just before I left. I think they followed me back to Orlando. In the coming days I should be showing off photos  from the sights in Tampa…

I eat too many of these dsc066281 – anyone that knows me, know I have a huge sweet tooth, I am a sugar addict for sure. You come to my house and I have serious candy and cookies! I am a carb freak. So this morning I went to Lake Mary Farmers Market and tried to get things to make me healthy.
First I stopped by the honey booth, honey-1 and bought honey with a honey comb in it.  Bill Frederickson owns Frederickson Apiaries, he’s a bee keeper and will even suit you up and show you what it takes to be a bee keeper.  I buy their local honey, it is wonderful! You can call him at 407-765-1048 to see his operation in Geneva Florida.
Then I looked around to see what was available. 100_1142

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I bought fresh tomatoes, broccoli, snap peas, and a few other veggies. There were booths with natural pet food, fresh coffee beans, homemade pies, hot sauces, barbeque, nuts. Lots of vendors under a canopy of trees with a singer belting out  pop tunes from a gazebo.  Saw a face painter and also a wildlife painter named Judy Troy who had beautiful note cards made from her paintings which were very reasonably priced. We chatted for a few minutes and I bought a couple cards to support the arts. Then I went back home again and opened the canvas bag to withdraw my treasures.
dsc06622 I tried the honey comb which the honey was excellent, and the bees comb is very waxy, but still seems interesting to look at in the jar.  I sliced a tomato

dsc06620and washed some snap peas and fresh broccoli and indulged in eating good
veggies for my health. I am now dying for a turkey bacon, tomato and lettuce sandwich and will run to the store for turkey bacon in a few.  After
I ate what was on my plate, I felt like I had been so good until I saw my bag and dipped in for a few dsc066282 cookies, you know you
have to balance the yin with the yang, the good with the evil, pink and green. That’s just the way it is in Abbesworld…

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I saw this weird thing on shore at my son’s Tampa townhome in the “waterfront” backyard, (wait, is that an oxymoron?)        You know how the developers work, they dig a big drainage ditch and call it waterfront in Florida. The water is pretty yukky looking, but there is action out there.
My son had told me about the nutria inhabiting his back yard, and there is a big nutria population around Brandon Florida close by where he lives.  It’s a South American import, (the nutria, not my son.)
The nutria, a species of rodent /beaver were introduced into Louisiana during the 1930’s for their fur, but somehow many made it into the swamps where they love and thrive upon the plants. Apparently they really dig in and destroy the wetlands. Maybe the past administration could have ‘scape-goated’ the situation with Hurricane Katrina damage by blaming the problems with flooding on the nutria’s destruction of Louisiana wetlands, a perfectly ‘ratty’ excuse! But it really was the greedy Louisiana fur trappers and their eager beaver European, fur wearing consumers demanding pelts for coats, who caused the problem. When the muskrat ran low, the furriers imported nutria. These nutria have damaged thousands of acres

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by chomping away whole eco systems for meals,  they call these “eat outs”.  And somehow, they were introduced here in Florida too where they lounge about in drainage ditches and love golf courses, (it must be the greens – ha ha). The nutria are blamed for making sink holes by burrowing deeply into the sandy golf courses.

The British had a problem with nutria eating their marshy vegetation too, eventually they shot and trapped them and rid the British shores of this nuisance animal over a ten year period.
In Jefferson Parish Louisiana, they have been so abundant that the Jefferson Parrish swat team used nutria for sharp shooting target practice.  In Florida in the past, there have been nutria night shoots at golf courses infested by the rodents. They are not well liked. And don’t try and pet them either, many are infested with roundworm and you can catch the larva from them and get the ‘nutria itch’ – yuk!
Some zoos feed them to snakes. I guess gators must be happy having them close! These are a strange breed of animal! BUT, the idea light just went off!!!!   If I could have a couple sterile nutria, that might be the solution to my over weed choked lake. HEY!!!! Anyone up for trapping some nutria and then sterilizing them? I’ll bait the trap, you can sterilize!  If we get a lot of them, there are other options, the new “soylent green”! Or how about a restaurant chain: The Nutritious Nutria!  Can’t you see it? The cook-offs! How about this one and it IS legit!

Nutria Chili  from: http://www.nutria.com/site16.php

Recipe by: Chef Enola Prudhomme
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds nutria ground meat
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup tomato paste
4 cups beef stock (or water)
1 can red kidney beans (opt.)

In a heavy 5-quart pot on high heat, add oil and heat until very hot. Add nutria meat, and cook and stir 10 minutes. Add salt, red pepper, chili powder, onion and both bell peppers. Cook and stir 15 minutes. Add tomato paste and 4 cups stock. Cook 30 minutes; reduce heat to medium. Add red kidney beans; cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve hot!

That’s Valentines Day for all you kuckleheads who have tuned in to see something related to a health issue! Actually on the radio yesterday I heard it called SAD Day, Singles Awareness Day. But it was awonderful day! The sun was high in the sky. I went to Mennelo’s Folk art festival with Pam and saw the booth of our mutual friend Madeleine  100_5016 who makes these adorable “nicchos”, small hand painted, Mexican tin boxes with adorable things inside them. Then on to Winter Park for lunch at Chef Justin’s, (excellent salads and great french fries topped with parmasan cheese.)  Thank you Pam! We went back to her home so I could see all  the work she has prepared for her in-frared and manipulated  photography for her exhibit in downtown Orlando at The Office on Robinson Street March 16th.  It will be a stunner of a show!
Then rushed out to pick up wine and candy and hurried home to catch a forty-five minute fishing session with the usual crew and off to Valentine’s Day dinner with my daughter and her boyfriend at his very swank home.  AND WOW – did they threw out a bang of a VD dinner! There was shrimp, lobster tails, chicken and crab legs, vd-1

Also salad, fettachini alfredo, garlic bread, fruit, chocolate mousse, cheesecake and a huge personalized frosted sugar cookie. And after that I felt like I had died and gone to heaven! It was the bomb! Then we had asti-spumonte to drink with lots of strawberries and vd2 then we watched a movie and I went home at 11pm. My younger son had come home with a huge bouquet of flowers waiting for me! dsc05408

What more can a mother ask for! I even had leftovers so I didn’t have to cook at all today! JT, my daughter’s guy sent  me home with a big solid chocolate shaped fish and a heart shaped waffle maker, so this morning you can imagine what I had for breakfast! Waffles with chunks of melted chocolate and some with blueberries too. When I have stroked out, you won’t be seeing anym0re blogs! As for my other son, I will go and make him reciprocate this week when I go to visit him in Tampa,  I know I will get treated like a queen there too. How lucky am I?!!!!!!!!!!

Yesterday my friend Pam and I went on a quest to find the “National Museum of Women in Art”. It was said to be in Deland and since Pam is a member, we thought we would go find out what she is a member of. So we trucked it up to the beautiful, quaint city of Deland, about 15 miles away.  We went to the address on the Google map and it turned out to be the Cultural Arts Center at Stetson University. We wandered in and looked around at the gallery, the work was abstract expressionist by Florida artist, Harold Garde. Every piece was vibrant, really alive and embracing, I gravitated to his “puppet” series, one of a few series he has on display. The exhibit will be there till the 15th of this month –

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But, when we asked about the Women’s Museum, no one had heard much about it. And the women working there as volunteers were quite wonderfully informative. So we back tracked and went walking with our cameras to downtown and ate at Norville Barnes which had excellent food.    restaurantnorville-2_edited-1 Then off we went through the downtown looking for places of interest where Pam can work with her infra-red film.  We found a very cool bookstore with many antiquarian books which I love. Then there was a very fun pet store, Animalia which had terrific snakes and lizards and koi besides other pets. 3beardedlizards-1 Outside there were robins flying all over and they so remind me of growing up in Ohio and seeing those wonderful red breasted birds. 21109robins-1

But still no National Women’s Museum.
We went to take photos of the Wharf, an older building where artist Courtney Canova has painted people on the windows.  21109thewharf-1 And as we walked back to the car, we scame across the Artsan Inn and on a fluke Pam looked up and saw a sign, (no not from God, an actual sign) that read, National Museum of Women in Art. We wandered in and took the elevator where it directed us, the second floor, because there are only 2 floors. And we peeked in all kinds of room and found it. There was a featured artist on exhibit and we found a women who welcomed us there and said yes, this was where Pam was a member. They hoped to host many one person exhibits. Unfortunately, I forgot the name of the artist, but she had remarkable detailed work, plus a painted ostrich egg!   3 (this photo from the Artisan Inn itself, not one of mine)
So Pam and I had a great time and had fun discovering part of Deland which I can say I would be happy to live in such a wonderful and friendly town. Everyone we met was so open and nice. Being a University town with Stetson has shaped this into a cultured city with lots of history and charm. I would go back at the drop of a hat.
When I got home I fished, no fish caught, but weather all day was so perfect you could not have asked for a better day to enjoy!    a few more pics:100_4994_00 Methodist Church  21109elizabethhall-1 Elizabeth Hall.

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