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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.

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. 

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/

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…


It is agony watching the earthquake victims of Haiti. They had so little and now have nothing. I feel guilty for complaining about cold and weather when I have a home and heat and water and food.
Last night watching Anderson Cooper, he had his camera man focus on a park below where he stood. It was dark, but the sound was of people panicked and screaming, glass shattering, he called on someone to explain while we observed people dropping their things and running. The interpreter said it was all a ruse, someone would shout “flood is coming” and people would leave what little possessions they had and run, while the hoodlums ran and grabbed the possessions.  I also saw them free a 13 year old girl after 12 hours of digging. She had a broken foot, but it was not somethings she was getting treatment for. Survival of the fittest is a bitch. I almost feel guilty showing photos of happy, carefree wildlife. The reality of life in Haiti is hard, and hard for animals too.  I’d hate to be a loose dog or cat over there, at this point, it might be a food source!  The Haitians have de-forested all but 3% of their nation, burning wood for heat and cooking. One Haitian man was telling a reporter that people are used to suffering, they expect little and get nothing. What a horrible fate to have to endure.  Hug your family today and be thankful for what you have, it might not be much, but it’s more than a Haitian has!
While Frankie watches from her point a reality today,  it is only right that I post photos I have taken off NY Times and CBS and CNN streaming video –
look and appreciate the life you have and donate even just $10 to some worthy organization to help someone who has lost everything, as Americans, we are good at being generous…

Yesterday was the members show at the Gateway Center for the Arts in Debary.  The reception was very light, maybe the cold prevented more attendance. I am showing photos of some of the artwork on the walls. Lots of fine talent in that center, and don’t forget they teach all kinds of classes in all types of media.  I enjoyed talking to people who actually came to look at the art and were so appreciative of having Sandra Wilson’s vision for art, right there in their back yard.
http://www.gatewaycenterforthearts.org/

over the bridge,      

a few dashboard cams       That’s the huge electric plant.
Gorgeous silk screening and that gator is made out of a sawmill root.     

And those are just a few samples of what is on exhibit.  Thanks to Bev for braving that cold! And thanks to the artists for supporting a marvelous art center.
Another place that is welcoming of artists is the Relax In Comfort shop at Seminole Towne Center.  They are featuring the beautiful work of Robin Maria Pedrero, a very smart and prolific artist. Robin Maria teaches about websites and marketing, she is a terrific marketer! Her website is  http://www.gallery523.com, here are a few photos.   

Robin Maria is a whiz at getting her work out and selling it! She is someone who knows how to market, if that interests you, please check out her websites. it will also list her classes and give an email to notify her if you would be interested in learning from her.

Pocketful of Colors my blog – http://www.pocketfullofcolors.blogspot.com/
Website – http://www.gallery523.com

Etsy ~ http://RobinMariaPedrero.etsy.com
1000 markets ~ http://www.1000markets.com/users/avisualjourney

Books  ~ http://stores.lulu.com/robinmariapedrero

Video ~ http://www.youtube.com/rmpastel

Please join my Fan Club ~ http://artist.to/robinmariapedrero/
Twitter ~ http://twitter.com/robinpedrero

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)

This has to be the coldest winter in years!  I had to go drop off my art submissions to the Sanford Welcome Center and the minute I got out of the car, it felt colder than went I left my home fifteen minutes earlier. The wind whipping off Monroe was a hard slap to the face. Hardly anyone was walking around.  At least the Welcome Center was warm and welcoming. 
And the art on exhibit was exciting.  They had a lot of different items for sale.   Like chomping gators and sharks to edibles.  Our Sanford Welcome Center really welcomes you with a lot of info.
Walked on over to Maya’s books and looked around, then went to a new store recently opened called Fawn,   a baby and child store.  In fact they are giving away everything in their window so go to www.fawnmom.com and register to see if you win something.  They did have adorable baby stuff, like these hats  
How could you resist?  This one looked like a sweet lamb. 
They had stuffed animals that kept the “fear factor” at bay for little ones  There were the cutest shoes:  

The new shop is prepping for their newest additions.  I hope they do well.
Walked across the street to the antique shop, Antiques and Dustibles-  they had wonderful gifts —

Then I put up my hood, put on my gloves and braved the marina:
The birds all headed away from me whan they found I didn’t come with food – how rude was that!    The north east wind was just cruel! It even whipped the waves into a frothy foam near Wolfies.   The birds got great wind currents.   
The ducks were all over looking for food
Now I am home and the cold has numbed me to the bone as the sun goes down.  The suns surrender made the night pink before fading now to black.
That pink was a mean pink, deceptive, it’s now below 40 degrees.  If there are still rats in my attic, I can’t blame them. The native plants around the yard are dead, shriveled,  it feels like Florida has been freeze dried…

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

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

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

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

I had to pick up Hendrix  today from 55 West downtown where he had hung in a model rental, and it rented so Jimi had no further service.  Anyone need a Hendrix photo?  And since I had to go downtown, I decided I would make a few stops along the way, one was at Borders in Winter Park where the Animal Welfare Alliance was wrapping holiday gifts for donations, I was eager to help and dropped off wrapping paper and bows. Gail Nagan is trying hard to get her dream of the low cost spay and neuter clinic realized and she is making all efforts to fund it, so if you need something wrapped or would like to volunteer to gift wrap, please call her, (407-462-2320 )  — she would love the help.  But of course, I am out of sequence, first I stopped off in Casselberry.   Went to Casselberry Art House and WOW, I was not prepared for how it has morphed since last time I visited!  They have revamped the whole space around it into a absolutely ‘bucolic’ – peacful space!  The street Melody has been sealed off so you must turn on Triplet.  The Art House itself remains the same in it’s arty-ambiance. Linda, the Recreation Coordinator was getting it ready for an art exhibit.  It looked interesting.  I didn’t take photos on the inside only because I was not sure how their artists would react. But, here’s photos of the new outside. 

Look at all the crows!   And my favorite spot, the wonderful fountain!    
The jets go in several sequences and you could take a lap top and sit and reel off that novel you have been wanting to write, but your brain is in blocked mode. Or read a book — this setting over looking the lake and the wonderful boardwalk will help relax you!  This really added to their city hall.  They have concerts and art shows, go to their website, the Art House offers art lessons and other types of classes too. They have a seniors group that also meets, call 407-262-7700
for more info or go to their site, www.casselberry.org or cut and paste
http://www.casselberry.org/index.aspx?nid=338
It was after that , that I went to Borders and I also got an assiago pretzel, not that great.
Then I figured I would stop to see what was new at the Comma, Karen had sent out notices about her latest exhibit,  “4 The Birds” – I missed the reception, they even had live birds from the Orange County Audubon Society!  When I parked, there was a window with ‘day of the dead’ figures.

I walked in the back door of Comma and felt like I always do,  that I am in a first class art gallery! And Karen comes out and always greets ‘silly old me’ as if I am a paying customer. She has always been a great teacher about the people and techniques and pieces she has on the walls and on display.  She told me I had to photograph the t-shirt I was wearing and call it “Something”, so here’s my shirt –   Yep, that shirt is a trick, a ploy to divert the eyes and keep them focused upwards and not at my chubby Jewish thighs!  The shirt as you notice has two tigers in strategic placement.  It is a shirt you see coming at you.  But I always wear shirts with something visual, many times with something to read,  like Dr. Suess – 
but that’s another blog and neurosis folded in my t-shirt drawer!
And here’s a tour of Comma Art Gallery:

The glasswork by Duncan McClellan, his color and usage of design were truly beautiful.   Love the swans.  My favorite was a collage and stitched piece of a women and a crow.   There is always unique jewelry and the same with the artwork.
Grady Kimsey is totally awesome.  Karen’s painting is always fresh and inspiring.  She’s very diverse!
Patrick McGrath Muniz has an astounding icon view of art, it’s ironic and totally eye consuming, you really have to look at the detailing of his art.  You must venture down to 813 Virginia Dr. and see the art work.  Hey, I can’t show everything, I want you to go have a look. And if you are an artist, there is gallery space available, e-mail Karen at  commagallery@gmail.com   She runs an internationally known gallery and will be glad to fill you in.    http://www.commagallery.com
I  enjoyed my visit there, but knew Jimi was waiting. I bid Karen ‘adieu’ and moved on to Orange Avenue. I  hate driving the one way, narrow  streets of downtown. I parked and walked several blocks to new 55 West condos that did not sell as condos, but as rentals, they rent out briskly.  I walked in and asked for  Jimi Hendrix, the ‘concierge’ guy seemed rather uppity! Hey desk guy, get over yourself, in the dictionary your job title is only a fancy French name for a front desk watcher/janitor.
Jimi and I marched back with 9 minutes left on the parking meter.  I played “the Wind Cries Mary” and “Little Wing”, (my song to myself) over and over as we traveled down Rosilyn onto the east I-4 ramp and off we cruised to our Sanford exit.
I didn’t go right home,  there was that one stop at Giovannis for eggplant parmigiana,  (Pam, I just couldn’t wait for a visit to Brio.)  Jimi waited politely in the car.
Giovannis’ garlic rolls are the best, I love Italian food and pasta, (too much) it all fits in with the  strategy of  wearing flashy, eye grabbing, catchy t-shirts.  I bet Finola Hughes would grab me off the street for a fashion makeover, Heidi Klum would recoil in horror looking at my wardrobe choices, while Wendy Williams might burn my shirts with her lighter as she does with beef jerky— Please, don’t tell any of them where I live…

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

You can’t give this stuff away – everyone around me is bloated, gassy, and tired of leftovers. How lucky we are when we think of those around us so less fortunate. Tomorrow, on to new food!
The day before Thanksgiving was still a subtle gray, the front went through and all the rain promised was a farce. We got very little over here.   Thanksgiving morning looked like a black and white photograph, the color drained from the landscape and sky, the lake the mirror reflecting the void of color  
Finally the sun broke through and we went away to eat our dinner.
Came back late and went to bed with a belly full! Our host and hostess, my nephew and niece did an outstanding job of keeping us loaded. Plus we all enjoy seeing Irving the tortoise.
He’s so full of contrasting lines and testure. He also follows you like a dog and his favorite food is hibiscus flowers. He weighs about 175lbs now.  He has many birthdays to go. He’s still just passing puberty and is a horny little devil, he has a flower pot he loves to hump.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrW59oLXmY0&feature=player_embedded  (cut and paste to see yourself)    Irving is in love with this hardshell!
Black Friday came and went, I did not shop, nor did I go anywhere Saturday, it was relaxing not to be spending money. That will go by the wayside soon enough. My daughter said to wait for black Monday, great buys on the internet.
Nature itself goes on, and these are shots I took today. The weather is very cold, low 60’s today, in 40’s the past nights, that is so cold Ringo slept next to me! In fact, he usually will ring the bell attached to the inside front door handle around 4:30am to go out, when I opened the door to let him out, he felt the cold and turned and went back to bed.  Also, the herons, male and female have both been coming to the lake as I fish, tonight, they were touching beaks and making noises that seems like the mating rituals are taking place.  They are nesting nearby, I suppose maybe babies will be coming near New Years????
The band of brothers were the first thing I saw outside this morning, they are still actively patrolling the lake. But an hour later, a pair of mallards came to relax.  An anhinga was next door getting ready to fly off and when he saw me, that was exactly what he did.
the spider lily was blooming.  
A baby moorhen was running away from me too.
but not the wren, he was calm.
The lily pad looked interesting, like a non conformist among the conservatives.  The day flew by and it was too cold for me to fish, but I took a few pictures before the sun went down.  The moon was soft and muted.


Have a wonderful night…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woke up this morning and realized I had not checked traps in a week. As soon as I opened the attic door, I could smell death! two rats were trapped and smelled to high heaven.  I threw them out and cleaned the plastic traps and rebaited. Damn! I was sure that maybe it was finished as I have really not heard feet.  I wonder how many more are up there and why the Hell are they finding shelter in the attic! And more important, How many are there? As I was sitting here, Ringo just jumped up on the window ledge and grabbed something and took off. I ran out with a flash light, but can’t find him anywhere…
Fishing sucked big time tonight, but the heron did come and watch about 15 feet away.  It’s the female.   The night was gorgeous, pink and blues on the lake, maybe that beauty in the sky distracts the fish? ha ha!
Earlier the space shuttle took off and headed with spare parts for the space station.  I watched
from my lake as the plume of smoke dashed over at 6000mph. Can’t imagine what it would be like  to see it so close. The night launches are the best. 
These two came off the live video of the launch of channel 13.
I will head to Tampa in a day or two leaving Adam to take charge. Tonight he has his movie buds over to watch True Romance.  He is thinking of renting out the Avalon theatre downtown to have a big screening for something. They would have so much fun!
Taking an artbreak, but not a photography break, always something to take around here. Go to
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com later on, I will add pics to that site .
Going to eat some dinner, have to say, dragged Adam to Smokey Bones for lunch and ate their nutty pecan, cranberry, goat cheese salad and it is great!  Now go be good to the local businesses and eat out somewhere!
screening

Yesterday grabbed Adam and went to see Pirate Radio which had a nice vibe, good actors, great music, simple and fun, no thinking involved.  Then up to the Gateway for set up.
100_6777re Had baby clothes, T-shirts, cups, cards, all kinds of things to sell besides framed art.  A cute dog named Lucky was running around trying to help too. He was adorable.  100_6767re 100_6769-1re (don’t ask what setting I had on that last Lucky pic.)
We headed home and Adam took wonderful photo as we passed over the 17/92 bridge

100_6807-1re
Diane Miller, head of the Photography club at Gateway who was in charge of getting everyone their placement and making things run smoothly, could not have been kinder or more accommodating.  There were potters, quilters, jewelry makers, fine artists, even an artists who painted on leather. The excitement was building.

This morning I was up at 6:15, at the Gateway by 7:30am. The weather could not have been more perfect for those having tables outdoors.  100_6835re They have a weekly farmers market each week. Outside they had very interesting booths.  A guy named Joe,  did woodcarving and had beautiful wooden mini houses.  100_6838re There was one man who made solar light holders.  100_6844re There was a quilter called Loving Stitches, a man selling things to benefit a border Collie Rescue, his dog Cali was a beaut!  100_6846re And very well behaved dog too.
Of course there were jewelry vendors,  and my good friend Judy Segall and her beau Rob came with the coolest assortment of Asian/African instruments of which Rob was giving  free demos making people smile.
http://www.judithsegall.com
100_6823re 100_6824re
Inside was an impressive group of artists.  The inside quilter, Paula had gorgeous quilts, and hand dyed scarves and as is a weird 6 degrees of separation,
100_6828re she knows my cousin,  Sue, who quilts under the name of Grannie Suzannie   http://www.granniesuzannie.com/
There was a man who made wooden bowls,   100_6797re And gorgeous abstract art by Nestor Charneco.  100_6788re Next to me was Bob who had hundreds upon hundreds of wildlife photos taken from his many African trips.  100_6799re
100_6795re The giraffe by the lady opposite me was very clever – do not have her name.
Also saw an architect named Don E. Grannon who was new to art, but really had interesting work.  Linda Bishop had well thought out paintings, as did the watercolor artist from St. Augustine beside her.  No more names, I’m sure The Gateway site will have much better in depth photos. Ed Cogle was on the job taking photos, his wife Nan was selling jewelry and both are always smiling.  100_6831re
http://www.gatewaycenterforthearts.org/
The volunteers for the Gateway were so kind, they came to give us breaks by sitting at our booths so we could walk around, stretch out legs, eat some of the wonderful cooking, the tomato Bisque was so thick and full of flavor.  Diane had also organized a room where children could come and pick out donated items from the artists to buy very cheaply.  (My duck photo was rejected, is this the point you give up on trying to sell art when you can’t even give it away to kids????)
The drawback was the attendance was light!  There was no advertisement and this needs to be addressed for future events!  But I thank Sandra Wilson and Diane for their efforts and visions, and a million thanks to the ever ready volunteers!  Plus a big shout out to the bright lights that flash when you look in the room and see your neighbors and friends shining faces!  Thank you wonderful supporters for being there for me! I appreciate it more than you know! Sonja, Dee, Becky, Sandra, you all rock!
By 4pm, I was on the road home with all but two items. Swapped a lot of stories with many people about their sandhill crane sightings.  When I arrived home, I was ready to get everything out of the truck and put it away.  Adam came back from work after 5 and we decided to go grab some Outback food – the timing was perfect! We got right in and I heard about his great time at the midnight showing of Repo at the Enzian, he got home after 3am and was at work 5 hours later. I found out her had plans to return to the Enzian tonight featuring Jewish filmakers with the latest Coen brothers movie.  That kid is a walking movie fest!
I would say that as of tonight, I am not feeling like doing these venues anymore, they are actually depressing.  The one plus is certainly meeting new artists and people. I will try making an Etsy site when I get back from Tampa and see where that goes. At this point, the economy is not lending itself to art for sure. Most of the artists I talked with had sold next to nothing. The ones selling art were the jewelry makers.  One tries to look around and see what sells, how other booths are set up, but this hauling of stuff is really not something I am enjoying. Now it’s time to work on internet sales I suppose and if that goes nowhere, then what the Hell, I give away all this crap and only take photos for blogs, I mean what’s the difference? I am doing that now and it makes me happy, the money would just add a bit more happiness if ya know where I’m comin’ from!

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

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