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Yep, summer is shamelessly flaunting itself. The air is hot, the lake is hot, the pavement is hot, the blood is curdling. Glad for air conditioning, but the bill is red hot –that muscle of a machine is working outside full time pumping cool air in.
Wildlife is an early morning or evening event, even then, nothing new and not much variety.
I did come across some adorable muscovy ducklings when I stopped for gas near a retention pond. People give me the strangest looks as I wander off with my camera – I can’t help it if I my eye fixates and I must follow!
The days weave their paths into each other and I am just a drone to my slacker brain and the screen of the computer monitor.
I wonder and marvel at  how “A types” operate. I spoke with Kim Nelson today when I stopped to pick up the two pieces I had at an exhibit where she works. Kim is head coordinator at the Museum of Seminole County History while also teaching Humanities at Seminole State College and writing a novel.  She pulls total triple duty and is cool as a cucumber in her total ability to handle her priorities and have everything mapped out. I do believe it must be genetically engineered. I try and juggle and my balls are always on the ground all over.
She told me that during her last trip to Italy she found her family over there had a detailed geneology mapped back to the mid 1500’s — now that is a sign of great record keeping skills her family has passed down. Her novel is a work of fiction based upon her family, I have no doubt it will be a terrific read when she is finished. She inspired me to get excited about writing again, but only till I got back home and sat in front of a blank page that read, “add new” after I hit my abbesworld dashboard . I have a novel  I gave up finishing it over ten years ago.  Even with my writing group, once I found photography, it seemed so much easier as my eye and brain could coordinate and compute their efforts in silence without coaxing words from the brain. It didn’t require adjectives to describe taking photos.  People could bring their own thought when observing thus sparing me the words on paper.  When writing constructively via short story, poetry, etc.,  my brain must blast out cohesive thoughts and the gears need to be grinding and that is too much thinking in details, the stuff I dread anymore. Maybe because I am not sure if I come across well in my writing vision, but with photography, when I have an exhibit, my work speaks for itself – I like that! People really are not afraid to tell you how they feel, and you can read faces from across a room that makes me feel like I have accomplished something.  I guess I am doubting my creative flow and its’ results. For now, I have left some of my writing in the hands, or rather paws of my beat poet cat alter ego,
cool Ringo, my “Cat Kerouac”   or “Ringo ‘Kerou-cat’ as Kim called it.  And even though Ringo does have his own blog,  http://incatdreams.wordpress.com look at the last date I updated,  I need to write if Ringo is going to actually be a poetry-cat. I mean, how can you be thought of as a “serious” writer if you don’t write? (Blogging is just my excuse for looking busy.)  Oh well, enough  – here’s some quiet down time to enjoy the leisure Florida pace, Alice had her rabbit hole, I have abbesworld, and abberantsverse and art2submit, and and and….


I am still without my photoshop on my main computer and am using my son’s lap top as back up  to do some  editing till my friend helps find my missing driver lost inside the tower, oh such a  addictive AND vindictive machine. And maybe one day the Geek squad at Best Buy will see about getting my DSLR back to me – it’s been almost a damn frigging month already – hint hint Best Buy!
Oh don’t mind my cussing, it’s just between the heat, two computers, 5+ blogs and one digital camera, lack of sleep, politics, getting ready for photo exhibits, and looking for nature to enjoy, my brain is melting.   Creativity Kills!
WHEW – What a day! I did the dumbest thing, forgetting that my CD/DVD drive has disappeared off my computer. And since my Photoshop was not working properly, I decided to go ahead and un-install the Photoshop and reinstall. The trouble was, after I uninstalled, I forget the drive would not recognize the CD, so I feeling like pulling out my freshly dyed hair. I am using some vague program to clean up and resize the pics for this blog, but can’t get real creative with my own work. And add to it that no matter which icon I click on, I can’t get the paragraphs to behave either – this is going to be a long blog, literally.  Frankie
is helping me by shedding and drooling all over the keyboard.  
Tonight was Alive After  5- aptly dubbed, Tropical Nights. It was a
busy one.   I was amazed at the crowd seeing that the last two Alive After 5’s have not been as packed.   This one was rocking. My mission was to go and see the art for the fund raiser for the Icla da Silva Foundation,
they match bone marrow with Leukemia patients. This was going on at The Art Affair Gallery.    Mauricio Murillo, photographer/artist has been active with this foundation and The Art Affair decided to raise money via raffle tickets and bidding on newly painted work. Mauricio had the big room and it was wonderfully painted and decorated with his comical Gummy Bear Art.
There was a camera and loose gummies for making your own individual picture.   And Mauricio was talking with the customers.   These are internationally known artists working their magic on canvas before the public.  Marie DeCosta was painting a leopard to bid on.  She does wonders with motion in a painting.
Both Marie and Peter Cerreta are favorites, I probably say that each time but it’s worth repeating. Here’s a look at Peter’s work:      Peter painting and his sculptures 
Toelle Hovan was busy beautifying purses and canvas.
Trish Vevera  too had paintbrush in hand   outside was a caricature artist, I think he was the one at Rae Marie’s from my last blog when I was there.  Here’s a view of the new artwork on the walls:
Tom Abbott wasn’t there, but knew his work right away. And that is Marie’s painting all finished and looking from the outside in. Adam and I bought raffle tickets, we are excited to see if we win anything.
Out on the streets, here were the sights:  Suddenly the wind began to blow and the sky darkened, but luckily the rain passed over. I stopped by The Gallery on First and Mary was there to greet me with her warm  hello and then she introduced me to their artist of the month, Virginia Maxfield,  she was charming and very excited about how she came about painting with such bold strokes and color. Her work elevating! She has taken an intuitive approach, doesn’t think about it, just goes with what she feels and obviously she feels great -Take a look:   You must see these close up, they were dancing with color. She paints some with tempera some acrylic. I took the photos with distance to them and now I am sorry I didn’t zero in to give you a
closer look, gives you an excuse to come to Sanford’s galleries and have a look yourself.
I ran into Sharon Hyder in her booth and found her sketching.  Otherwise, Gallery On First has lots of interesting artists and artwork available to buy. The folk art is very welcoming and makes one feel elevated by the mood.  I hope one day soon my own daughter Andrea   will get enough of her own work to submit for a show, here’s a sample:
love her cat art!
Back out on the street was music, food and artists with their tables.
The Consignment shop, Bailey’s Upscale always has 50% off during Alive After 5.
One vendor Joanne Borges who does detailed ceramics has made a new fun line,
Also ran into Bonnie Sprung who is very prolific, she had many items for sale from magnets, to paintings and clothing:  
So have you had enough  of this layout? I have, it’s been hours since I have been doing this and I am going out to look at the Perseids meteor shower.  But before leaving, Sanford I saw two lovely familiar faces, sweet Ari and Adam. 
And a shout out to my middle child who turns 30 today, Happy Birthday new Daddy!   I did leave Sanford and enjoyed looking at some of the old architecture as I made my way home   When I arrived at home, there was my Ringo,  but he didn’t get to go fishing tonight, I was too busy doing the blog.
Gotta run and look at the sky! Have a great view of the heavens and a wonderful weekend!  Enjoy!

I think Ringo is cheating on me – I have had suspicions since he left a few weeks ago, casually strolling off and then I didn’t see him for two days – two very long and worried days.  In our years together, he has never done that. Why is it I am attracted to those bad boys with flashing blue eyes?  He IS fixed, (and then again, so was my ex-husband.) Somehow, both my ex and Ringo reached middle age and started exploring.  I could kick out a philandering husband,  but a cat – how do you tell a pet to go and not come back? Isn’t gonna happen.
Ringo left again last Thursday night after I came home from Tampa and didn’t show up till this morning, (Sunday) then he was all rubs and love. Typical ‘lost’ male syndrome, don’t admit to anything and try and smooth things over with an abundant show of love. 
He came in, ate, rested, then wanted back out. He’s snoozing on the porch for now. Wonder if he will go off again tonight? And for how long?  Maybe it’s because I was gone away for over a week, (though Adam is always here,) or because he’s not getting fresh fish, (I can’t help it that fishing has been terrible),  maybe some other family is spoiling Ringo with better food, I know they couldn’t love him any more than I do.  I don’t get it, I’m just not good at reading the male species anymore and I’m too old to play games,  but this is not normal Ringo behavior so what can I do? I love that crazy cat and do forgive him, but I hate when he disappears for so long.  I realize I can’t hang on to something still feral neither men nor cats. At least with Ringo, I don’t have
have any legal filings if he splits, a sign will do! 
Have been taking up the slack from being out of town. Guess reality means paying the bills and getting things back into order.
For two days it has been raining on and off, I love it, the oncoming dark clouds and penetrating thunder.  
The sky blackens and threatens and the rain comes down beautifully beating. When I returned everything was so dry, this rain has been just what was needed.         How about my new camera’s panorama view!  I am enjoying my new Sony Cybershot HX1. It has many wonderful features, but the viewfinder and macro modes are not one of them. It’s quite inferior to my Kodak and makes me miss that camera which suddenly went black, literally, you turn it on and there is nothing but a black screen, I have checked everything on it. I think it’s dead. I will have to contact Kodak and see who services them. And speaking of Kodak, I got the photo book I made, ‘Crow Tao‘  from their site. I was so disappointed, the cover was off center and the binding very cheap looking.
My Sony Alpha is still being repaired, so I am learning more and more about the Cybershot.
I am still lost in space regarding how to sell art. Are brains patterned to stick in neutral? Mine seems to want to just make art, take pictures and the thought of prepping the work, setting up the website, doing PayPal and all the detailed work freaks me out. I will do stupid stuff like tell myself each week, okay this is it, I am going to get things started, then I am lost again on a tangent of sameness, and getting nowhere.  Organization skills have never been bred into me! I might as well just buy a Lotto ticket each week instead of dreaming of selling my art, better odds with the Lotto!
The wildlife around here is minimal. The heat is turned up to broil, they say it is one of the hottest June and Julys on record in our state of Florida.  The sun stares you down as soon as it rises and there is only escape into stores and homes. Once you open the door on your vehicle, it’s like being submerged inside a La Brea Tar Pit – you feel drenched and exhausted when you shut the door and wait for the air to cool it back down. The only backyard sights  I see are redwing blackbirds, bluejays, a few squirrels, doves, dragonflies and grasshoppers. here’s the view:    Those grasshoppers are still everywhere.    The turtles are still looking for a handout at the lake
young redwing blackbirds.   Lily pad.

The cranes come to visit and go after old Miss Sealy   but
she escaped.
Papa crane makes his throaty noise.    Crow

And that’s the weekend, maybe by Tuesday or Wednesday I will be able to show more or tell you I have accomplished something. Right now it is Monday morning, the rains are supposed to continue, (a good thing) and I will leave you with a few views from inside and out my window at 8:14am :    The sun is literally a disk up there.   the red passion flowers finally back to taking over the fence
mocking bird on roof
AND, me cleaning off window to take a picture of the  inside – have a great week!  

I came back from Tampa yesterday as we thought our new grandchild was coming sooner rather than later, but after all doctors reports and tests, she will be coming on her own terms, not to a timespan set by the doctor for his surgical convenience. So figured I actually had a bit more time in between and thought I would spend time here and get things in order and today I was rewarded as I drove to run errands and saw a fox squirrel running on the golf course.    I drove home as fast as I could seeing I didn’t have a camera. I hoped that fox squirrel would be roaming nearby for a few minutes and I was right. Though when I got on the Mayfair Golf course, the rodent kept running away!  First I looked left and right to make sure I wasn’t going to be “whacked” by some golfer! But it had been raining and was still thundering so the place was empty.
Walking toward the animal was like trying to catch your cat who only lets you get so close and then runs off about twenty feet further just to tease you as you approach.  Here’s the pics, I was lucky that there was a second one not far from the first and he let me have some photo access at a distance.
Leaping away, I had to hurry, luckily a guy in a golf cart gave me a lift.

I wondered how close I could get before I could get a good shot.

Closer and closer… The darker one was not quite as jumpy as the first.    What a handsome face and coloring he had.   I love seeing them.

At home all was hot and quiet, the birds were just not very busy at all. The woodpecker is still busy feeding his brood.
Had one crow come visit this morning and of course, the young jays.
Oh, it’s good to be home again….

I was feeding the birds this morning and saw two wasps trying to make a nest about 14 feet up near the roof line and fireplace and noticed a hole through the plastic soffit, a hole that would easily accommodate rodents going into the roof again. 
That wasn’t there just last week, so something had to be making a place to nest in the attic. What is so weird was a couple nights ago it was about 2am as I sat at my desk and suddenly Ringo jumped up onto the outside window ledge looking up at the fireplace, it was like the dead had come alive, I jumped about a foot! I bet it was a mouse or rat scampering up.  Ringo is supposed to be part of the natural pest control around here.
But anyway, as I looked at the hole I got paranoid about critters going up into the attic and had to do something. So since neither of my ladders was the right size, I borrowed one from the neighbor, it was a perfect size. I cut a piece of Adam’s VCR video plastic box and got superglue and steel wool, I heard rodents hate bumping into steel wool. So I shoved it through the hole and superglued the plastic over the hole. For now it will do the trick… I think.  I filled in the area with more steel wool while Adam held me steady on the ladder. My neighbor who I borrowed the ladder from lives on the lake also and has put traps every fifteen feet around the perimeter of his house with rat dehydrating bait inside. I might have to try that too, though I am always hesitant with Ringo, what if he grabbed a poisoned rat, would he get poisoned too? That’s something that makes me weary.
As I sit here tonight, I only hope there were no rats in the roof that I have sealed, it’s so hot up there I don’t know why they would want to spend time melting. I do have four traps still up there that I re-bait and check every few weeks. After seeing a rat one in my bird feeder several months back,  I know they can enjoy the benefits of left over bird food just like the raccoons.   I don’t hear anything above me, yet and Ringo is behind me snoozing, I watch for his radar ears. When he looks concerned, I will too.   
Fishing was lousy, you  would think I’d give up trying already rather than complain, but it was so nice out tonight, great breeze despite the fact it was 96 this afternoon. I did catch one shiner which Ringo promptly ate. After that is was a turtle race as usual.  The fun part was watching the woodpecker come in to feed his yapping babies. They must be young as I see no faces looking out of the hole when the  male leave.  Here he is grabbing some cut up fries from Arby’s, he knows a good thing when he sees it. Here he is with the twins.  And leaving   and more in between!    I enjoy watching their black and white jackets fly by.   Have not seen any of the pileated, bigger woodpeckers lately.
just these red bellied cuties. And how about the hummingbird moth, they are so cooperative, I could easily hold it and stroke it’s little soft head.  

Over head were the usual plane routes, They fly right over my head, I always wonder if the Captain of one of the regular routes comes on and says, “see that lady down there fishing? She’s at it almost every night, that’s how I know I’m on the right path to the airport.”
Sometimes those planes are so very very low. 

How I wish I liked to get on them and could fly somewhere! But soon I will be making my way toward Tampa to see my Granddaughter’s birth, we are all so excited, she will be a tiny little birdie.
The afternoon heat has gotten to me, I have been able to mow most of the yard, but gave up feeling like a gallon of water was sweating off me.  It’s just too intense, the sky is clear and blue –
I keep thinking about The Gulf of Mexico, I keep waiting for the actual break in the news saying it has been capped. But what does capping mean? Look in the past, they say over 27,000 old drilled wells could also be leaking:http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/07/07/national/main6653016.shtml  (cut and paste)   My brother in Key West also sent me photos of his last fishing trip  

showing oil sheen, whether it is associated with the leak??? Will only be a matter of time before they get it. The gov is saying it will be capped by the 27th, but in the meantime, the pollution to our water is significant and sickening. Sickening that more was not done sooner. I can only guess once they hit this “Mother Lode” some 70 + days ago, all that mattered is trying to keep as much oil as they could  recapture. It didn’t matter. It doesn’t seem to matter to our president, BP seems to be in control, the bottom line is profit. It’s still a tragedy to me.  It seems to really be taking a toll on sea turtles. Nad some whacko had the gall to behead sea turtles… for what purpose?
http://www.wesh.com/video/24177933/index.html
What is with this world of ours? I guess the best thing is to try and make others aware of what is happening in the news and also to give balance to the beauty of nature and what you can easily bring to your backyard, that’s my aim, to keep nature safe and CLEAN!
And for you to enjoy some photos along the way –
Have a wonderful weekend…. The mockingbird blasts the crow.
Don’t mess with doves, this interaction just out my window…
and that was that! Jays were forced out, AGAIN! (But only for a matter of minutes) — Now go make sure your birds have  fresh water, they are thirsty

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

And there was a beetle inside an azalea flower.     

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

love Florida!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Wednesday I noticed wood ducks on shore by the lake,   excuse the photo, I was trying to catch him as he waddled off fast as they are very shy.  Yesterday again, he and his mate came on shore. I stayed inside and watched from behind the sliding glass doors. The female flew up to the nesting box for ducks that my writing buddy, Richard Poole had put up last year.  He must be a wise man because the ducks liked the looks of it and stood on top  a while.    The female even looked in. I wondered if there might be some woodpeckers inside.      They are beautiful looking ducks. They looked about ten minutes, then flew down and swam off.     I did not see them Thursday, but might have been too busy to notice.   My son came into town Wednesday night and left on Thursday for a cruise to Mexico with friends from his old Lake Brantley high school days.  At least he’s on a cruise, I told him not to get off the boat!
We had watched “Gonzo” Wednesday night, “The life and works of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson” –  that guy was just too much, love Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.  Johnny Dep was amazing.   Ringo and Adam sprawled out on the floor to have a good view.    Aaron was busy at my desk.    Missed Andrea!
No baby cranes on Wednesday or Thursday.   Wednesday night I was fishing and the sky was quite overcast.     The clouds were moving on by from the north to the south.     The sky got dark and I had to capture in a photoshopped photo.  
I fished till it was almost dark. The ugly possum came around looking for some bread left over from the birds, that possum is scary looking,     
The herons had come down to fish with me. The big male was impressive.  Ut-oh. my Photoshop is not working – will have to address in morning, only did a four hour night, ready to hit the sack – fly to my nest. I always call my bed, my nest. So I will finish tomorrow….

Like a nut, I decided to fish. I put on two longsleeved shirts, (over a t-shirt) and then donned a sweatshirt and then an oversized bigger sweatshirt. After all, it is only in the 50’s here, low 50’s at fishing hour and ever minute as the sun wanes, a degree drops.  Okay, that might be laughable to someone in Minnesota who feels like 50 degrees is like 80, but to me, it feels like ice fishing minus the ice.
I spotted some vultures enjoying the wind currents.       Look, a harlequin vulture.
The fishing sucked, but I kept hearing a noise and looked up. I recognized the sound, a baby heron telling it’s Mom it was hungry.  I tried to see if I could catch any baby wings, but all I could see was the Mom bending over to feed it. Do you see anything?

I could not see anything, but it was one noisy baby. It only sounded like one.  Will have to wait till it gets a bit bigger before I see any physical evidence.
After about fifteen minutes I gave up fishing for nothing and explored my neighbor Kim’s camelias, there were tons of buds and a few blooms, the flowers were quite pretty,  here’s a sampling.


All afternoon I had grackles, blackbirds, cardinals and the steady crowd. Yesterday I had robins come by,  but they were tough to get a good photo of, they are really “flighty”!

I walked toward them and forget it, they flew away fast.   Here’s some of the regulars who are better at cooperating,

Gather your nuts carefully and have a great Friday….

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…


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…

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)

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…

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…

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

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

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

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

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

First, rat update: the traps remain unsnapped, and I do not hear any foot prints, I am sooo knocking on wood hoping the last of them were trapped.  So far, so good.
Heron update:
Wow, they are new at this. This young heron drops a lot of sticks, she has put this nest in a very wide “Y” of the branch. The building is going slowly, and the male stays away more than he is coming to bring branches.  This is how it looked early this morning.

It looks like a tangled mess.  AND — on Wednesday night they have said we will get a cold front with winds up to 50MPH!  Unless she sits there like “Horton Hears  A Who” on that nest, I am getting anxious it will all blow away.  As of now, all I see is her standing over it, looking for her mate who seems to ignore her more than help her.
I ran to the tax office to pay my property taxes and stopped by the marina to see what was exciting. Not a whole lot at all.  But here’s a few pictures.  

Now that I think about it, I saw a lot of  ‘white birds’  and no pigeons down by the one tiny pond across from the marina.  I drove by the buildings on the “island” and saw some of the same old same old ducks so I parked by the memorial eagle statue to look at the water. I did get rewarded by those carp or cat fish that suck air. 

They stand straight or lie on their backs and suck air.

The boats looked clean, air was fresh.

I say that as there was trash in the water and it looks dirty despite the blue reflected from the sky and the extra blue tint I added to the pictures.  Did not see any gators or other water birds like osprey.
I came back home   , the road was ‘less traveled’ at 11am.  I gave up my zoo membership this time around. So I drove home because I was going to pick up my new glasses at the mall. That 20/20 Superstore changed my RX so much, I will have to try them out a few days and see how the change works. So far, my left eye feels a bit cheated and might need a bit more power. I hate to think I have to go back to that damn store again to get the RX right!
On the way back home, there was a hawk sitting on a fence near the red light,
By the time I ran all over, when I got home it was almost time to fish. I gathered my goods and walked with Ringo to the lake. I discovered that my heron that fishes with me is not part of the duo building the nest. I think she is the original mother of one of them.  She was waiting for me. 

As was a beautiful pink and blue night with near full moon.  The moon seemed quite shy tonight and blushed a lot as the clouds passed by.

The water itself was reflective of the deepening shades of pink.
I caught two bream and the heron was well fed.
Left the lake as it grew dark and the mosquitoes came out.  No videos tonight,
just an artistic rendition of Ringo as we left the lake, now pray for rain, but no wind for Wednesday….

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