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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.   

Today started the same as always which is always a smile getter,   DSC04351re
The sandhills came flying over the lake for breakfast.  I then checked the rat traps and nothing – no bodies, where do they hide? I even did what the Massey guy mentioned, he said to throw away all rotten fruit under the citrus trees because he said a pheromone is emitted from rotting fruit that draws rats from all over — perfect I thought and brought a rotting grapefruit in and put some of the pulp in the traps. It was obvious today that not all rats are drawn to rotting fruit!
DSC04349-1re The butterflies were busy and this one had gorgeous silver inlay on those delicate wings! It really glimmered metallic when the sun hit the underside. I didn’t capture it in the photo, but it was a fine Gulf Fritillary example.  Ran errands and saw this egret running through the parking lot near Marshall’s  100_6472re He posed briefly but had places to go, so did I.
Back home the sky was gorgeous,   100_6451re full of lines and swirls.  The planes were on their way to destinations unknown, but I am going to call the airlines and request the pilots that pass over the lake at night while I fish, wave.
100_6455re They could drop off some peanuts on their way to Sanford.
I got dressed and ran over to the cutest little coffee spot in Debary, The White Cup coffeehouse at 17/92.  Two of the Gateway group members, Ed and his wife Nan were having a reception.  100_6473re They were given excellent wall space by the owner who also serves a mean cup of different coffees, cold and hot, also tea and smoothies and she has a menu with many goodies.   100_6475re
Ed and Nan  Cogle are world travelers and you could tell from both their art styles that they loved India.
What is also evident was their love of wildlife too.  Ed does photography, Nan had a mixed media approach.   100_6476re They had a nice reception packing the innards of The White Cup.  I even met a guy who was just there to get a great cup of coffee and the art was a big bonus. Art IS a big bonus. I tried to get my family physician to have an art wall in his brand new doctors office he just moved into, but he didn’t. I think it would be welcomed by the patients to have photos and art by local artists to stare at as they sit and wait and wait and wait. I would have even changed it out every couple months, that’s how it would work in Abbesworld, art would be much more employed and enjoyed by the public and as a means to inspire others. So if you are reading this and own a business, please give local artists a shot at displaying their work.
As I was about to leave, Ed was taking some photos,  100_6479re I took some also to show you that you need to SUPPORT THE ARTS!  Go out to a gallery, check out the Heathrow Arts Festival at Colonial Town Park this weekend, or pick up a brush, pen, camera and make something. Find the artist inside yourself and maybe even discover something you didn’t know you could do.  And if you happen to be on your way from Sanford to Debary, stop by the White Cup and enjoy the owner, the beverages and the art. Also — please remember that next weekend  The Gateway Center for The Arts in Debary is having a Holiday Boutique with lots and lots of artists selling their goods for the holidays. There will be table after table of artwork for all  to enjoy.  So through the week I will keep bugging you to go.  I will have a table too so stop and say hello!
Now put away part of that paycheck of yours to buy something out of the ordinary for someone this holiday season – Buy local art!    100_6504re

(pictured is a cup I will have for sale featuring my photograph, “lee’s alien dinner”)

Some of these place want $40bucks a rat trap and $40 to remove EACH trap, Damn varmints are expensive. Massey was over $400 bucks and that includes the year of pest service spraying for everything, destroying microcosms of worlds beyond the human eye. They will get rid of rats and come back and do more traps until they are gone which is a good thing, but somehow I don’t like all the spray everywhere outside. Ingesting a cloud of toxic crap around my perimeter does not thrill me and knowing my cats are sitting in out there surrounded by mini doses of agent orange and then I am holding them and loving on them excites me even less.  They say it’s hardly dangerous, (unless one reads the label),  a conundrum of sorts.  I rather like natural rat killers myself,   71109ringobluesB-1re but I’m keeping Ringo away from those traps.
Tonight went to Gateway Center for the Arts at 17/92 and Saxon for Photography Group meeting. So many talented photographers who are excellent at what they do. When we left, it was a beautiful moon nestled inside the clouds and again, I tried taking a few pics and they sucked, but here is the Abbe interpretation of the moon and its’    faces tonight:
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Another one bit the dust! Went up to check traps and one held a bounty – YES!  Tonight I will be listening for the pitter of little feet. I did call Massey for a free inspection, ‘guestimating’  how much do I estimate the service will be? Over $300 for the pest control and traps are ala carte — will let you know what the estimate is. Tomorrow I will put aluminum mesh over my plumbing stacks so things cannot get in and out. I don’t want to say I have won until I hear no running above me. Hopefully no weaned babies are up there.  So for now, I reset the Victor traps and let them sit in waiting. From my results, those traps are instant death!   100_6369re
Since the daylight savings time went into effect, it has affected my sleep, I wake earlier, but go to bed the same. I have become lethargic around 10am, and have had to nap an hour for the past two days. This is not how I operate.
This morning I was up by 5:15am and of course it was actually getting light. I opened the back door and heard the heron close by wailing. He was sitting in one of my pines.
022re It actually stayed until after 8:30am. The cranes flew over for an early birdseed breakfast.  DSC04207-1re While I went out and cleared my lakefront of weeds. The water is going down so I can pull in some of the stuff clogging the shore line.   100_6371re And maybe soon, that area can look like the part I was able to clear further along the lake.  The weeds are locked together like webbing and pull in in blocks.
100_6373re You can see from this picture where my neighbor’s property still has the weeds next door.
The cranes came along and thought my weed pile was a play pile and pulled weeds out and tossed them about, dancing and jumping, they had a great time and I enjoyed watching them.
The baby had an itch  034re – the heron stayed out of their way safely in the tree.
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That’s it so far on the Rat Wars,  Victor can call me any time for an endorsement…

EEEEK! Last night the trap snapped as I was walking down the hallway to the bedroom. I screamed knowing above me was a rodent in a neckhold. But let me back up with some nice photos from the weekend.
First yesterday was rather dreary, thought we might get some rain finally, but nothing but a sprinkle. My lemons are looking good as they start to ripen. 100_6204re and the hibiscus are blooming nicely.  100_6197re and the lake was quiet with it’s graceful lilies.  100_6201re
I would rather be outside than inside with rodents over head. But my brother drove up from the Keys with his wife, sweet Penni, so we got to spend the afternoon together and went to Fuji for sushi dinner.  It’s always great to see my little bro. They left after 9pm and Adam was at home and I was walking down the hallway and heard a sound like something had snapped. I then realized it was the trap and got the ladder and peeked into the attic. I heard a rodent run and looked for the trap, it was kind of hidden by insulation, but could see something in it, didn’t want to stay with one rodent still running around.
After going to bed at 4am, I woke at 8am, that was after waking several times dreaming of rats swimming around the attic. I awoke twice really panicky. Finally I got up at 8am, but waited till Adam was up before I made noise going up to the attic. I pulled the fishing line and on the end was a dead rat in the trap, he died very quickly! Those big Victor traps do the job! So the good news is, one less rat to infest mankind, but the bad news is, there is still another, or possibly more. Tomorrow I will call a critter place and see if I can hire one to put the traps way in the back where I can’t reach.  I want to be rat free! What if they have a family – YIKES!!! I put up two traps today and am going to get glue strips.  Wonder if we will have two snaps up tonight, that would be delightful!
As for today – went outside to weed and heard the heron making a familiar call when it is in the tree where it normally nests.  100_6257re That is always a great sign, and maybe it means Fall is here, though the temps have been record hot all week in 90’s still.  The crows were out this morning too.   100_6245re, even saw two crows kissing.  100_6249-1re
Most of the day was warm and overcast, got two trash cans of weeds for Wednesday and didn’t even go fishing. Through a bit of bread out there and just minnows ate it.  The time change means things will be dark earlier, I don’t understand why we here in Florida even need to “Fall back”? What’s the point? We should get out there with enough petitions to stop this nonsense.
At just about 4:30pm, looked like it might rain, but again, clouds passed on by.
100_6277re Look at that view, my cranes, the little lake, my wonderful neighbors, these are all the pluses, but am feeling that itch for new scenery, maybe it is time for a change, a bigger lake or a lake community with a place to fish. Am thinking seriously of moving on somewhere…

 

100_6131re THIS IS SPARTA! 158e2a0ab585e2c0
Frankie inspects the bounty, we are on a mission! Somewhere in my attic is a mouse, or worse, a rat or even worse, plural—EEK!
I hear the foot prints over my computer desk. I thought it was a squirrel for a while and figured it would leave, but then noticed that there was mouse crap in the garage. I took everything out of the garage Tuesday and uncovered a nest of some lose, torn plastic and inside was birdseed and nuts from the bird seed, a nice stash for a mouse wanting to eat at home. Then I pulled an old antique mirror away from the wall and saw a big field mouse or a young rat and she ran. I had the doors, both the door to the outside and the double garage door open, but it hid behind a desk. I found Ringo and brought him out with me, he sniffed around and stopped at that nest and sniffed and sat . I pulled it open and 8 baby pinkies were in the nest. Ringo baby sat  100_6092ringore and the mouse must have snuck out.  I pulled everything out and looked in all nook and cranies. Next strategy, put the squealing babies in a box and put them up in the attic with Ringo, I was hoping their distress would bring out a sympathetic rodent.  Ringo bounded up the ladder to the attic and I sat up there and watched him disappear, but it was hot up there, I came down after five minutes, Ringo stayed about fifteen minutes, he didn’t bring anything with him, but went inside and plopped down on the kitchen floor to cool off. It has to be 100 degrees up in the attic because it is mid nineties on the ground. I brought the babies down and left their box outside figuring maybe the mom would come back or maybe there was some nice snake who would be quick. Sorry, I do not want 8 more rodents around here.
I had my son put expanding caulk in the place where the air conditioner wiring goes through between garage and outside.  100_6132re And sealed up everything, EXCEPT, the roof long vents, that is where they had to have gotten in,  100_6134re – they are open and have plenty of room to welcome the weary animals who get tired from climbing the roof. I bought wiring to try and rig inside the vents, but not just yet!
What’s next? Strategy planning, first I called the critter removal places, it’s either a free inspection and $250 with no guarantees or even more depending on what they find and the services they deliver. I have found they clean up and repair damage. It’s $89 for some to come set the traps and then a few days later another $89 to retrieve and remove the dead animals. Everything is ala carte, one place says they have a 5 and 10 year guarantee, but who knows if they will be in business when you call them in a week to pick up the traps? That makes those mice worth their weight in gold. What I need is three hungry feral cats to go out and have a field day! But since that isn’t feasible and I don’t want Ringo up there around all that insulation anymore, THIS IS WAR!
I have employed neo-con thinking, screw the Geneva Comvention stance on these rodent terrorists, forget it PETA, unless they want to come save the animals. I am going to employ Abu Ghraib tactics — loud loud torturous music supplied by two boom boxes simultaneously blasting music at full blast from the two attic access doors.I am looking at music choices now and will load a DVD later with our special rodent removal songs. Right now I am researching the music our military used on terror suspects. AC/DC, Britney Speirs, Metallica, I am scrutinizing, but at this point, I am considering Hendrix, Judas priest and even a bit of William Hung, remember that guy, Keith Olberman was obsessed by him.  794a297b8143fa02 We will experiment a bit, and when we come up with the right mix, we will blast from the boom boxes and I will be standing by with my camera to see if there is any exodus. If it works, I will sell my rodent revenge mix for $19.99! That will save people a lot of dirty work, and a lot of financial pain!
If that does not work, we will switch to plan B — dehydrating/bloodthinner D-con biscuits and big traps. Plan C- is the default pet removal –   Stay tuned….
71c3916b4c9ab0c0 This rodent image caught my eye, what the Hell???

 

It’s been a little while, but really have been waiting for the heat to subside. The birds have been hardly coming, everything is just rather worn out by this heat. last night was supposed to be the beginning of a cold front touching down to bring some relief.  100_5643re The fishing is lousy because of the mooching turtles. The fish are not biting like they were over a year ago. The bass have retreated somewhere though Ringo and I relentless keep our eyes on all activity that stirs the surface.  100_5645-1re Today started sunny hot and humid, all week it has been high 90’s. The cranes flew in  DSC03487-1re to make their presence known
DSC03516-3re DSC03512-1re DSC03526re As usual they did
a rain dance

rain dance

The flowers seem tired too, we all need a change.  DSC03564re DSC03566re DSC03559re But they always manage to still color the yard.
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The day clouded up and got to a cool 87 degrees, so that was about 10 degrees cooler than it has been.  They said big rains were coming with this cold front, but only a short period of just droplets came and that was it. We ended up with a rainbow hardly visible.  But still nothing that remotely felt cool. So still waiting for our big Fall to fall.

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On Wednesday I had to run by a storefront I had seen before, but had not entered. That would be HobbyTown USA right next to BooksAMillion in the shopping center behind Seminole Towne Center Mall. What drew me in was the train model village in the window. I had to have a look after being with the ‘big guns’ over at Amtrak.
I wish these photos would do it justice, but the display is elaborate! The detail and time spent getting this set up must have been pretty tedious. There are details in this small scale set that include a fireman rescuing a cat in a tree.  The water fall, the landscape, just amazing. The whole display belongs to the owner of the store and the employee said it was very old.
The place itself has all types of hobby items from airplanes, to cars, to paint supplies. It is very orderly and well stocked. Kids must love it, especially the miniature car racing track. Have a look:
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DSC01641re DSC01637res This is no flat display, it has hills and valleys, a big dip where the water falls, this took a lot of planning. There were train sets of different scales and all the accessories too.  Anyone with children might want to check it out, and that includes adult children who have hobbies, like the model airplanes with motors – it looked like a lot of fun was just waiting to be had!  Here’s their link:  http://hobbytown.com/flsan
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DSC01653re So grab your spouse, child, grandchild, neice, nephew, neighbor and have a look. Gotta be something there of interest!

72509desk1This is my desk at 12:51am – maybe I need a blog that shows my desk at different times during the day just for effect! It looks a little messy, but there is a method to my madness. And breakfast at Tiffany it’s not- but that box of POPS was a great deal at the grocery today, 21.4 ounces for $2.50!  Can’t get get perfume per ounce for anywhere near that, not even stuff like nuts, makeup, or even other cereal!  It’s the biggest box of cereal I have ever seen – how could I turn it down? Right now it’s keeping me and my stomach company. I can see how insomniacs gain weight, this box weighs 1 and 1/2 pounds, I should weigh 5 more at the end of the week. Ha ha – just kidding, I don’t intend to eat it all, Adam is about ten feet away and he has been dipping his hand in the box pretty good himself.
Right now I am looking at the huge tree frog on my window, it showed up about an hour ago. 72409frogC-1res I will have photos later at
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com
Yesterday it seemed like I got a few visitors pictures of things around here. First of all Ringo, because he starts my day with a smile. I see his big face and hear him meow and see him flash those big blues and that is a good sign. 72409ringo-1res Out on the porch was a busy anole running around chasing off the other lizards.  72409anole-1res Went out in the yard and there were a lot of butterflies on and off. Two were flirting for a long time.
72409queenbutterflies-2 There even seemed to be a few monarchs trying to find some milkweed.  72409monarchA-1res Behind the large hibiscus bush I have a tree stump that had a fresh snake skin across it, so a nude snake is somewhere around. DSC09823hibres DSC09822snakeres And later on, just about the time I was getting ready to fish, the clouds came in for a visit and they did not look happy. lastnightcloudsres Even Papa Crane was keeping a close eye on “weather” or not I would be down at the lake. And I wasn’t, we had a lot of lightening, but no rain.  I took many photos of the changing sky and will probably post them tomorrow. But for now, I am finishing this and getting ready to post tree frog pics at the other blogsite –
Sweet dreams – don’t let the tree frogs bite…

lakemarygazebo-2res It’s always fun to go to the Farmers Market on Saturdays at the back of the City Hall of Lake Mary. I went early to go get some of my favorite honey.  DSC09638res Frederickson Apiaries will be opening their own store and bakery in a few months. Will have to go for that grand opening! Orange blossom and wildflower are my favorites.  After walking around the many booths, I walked across the street to where they had opened a new shopping area.
The first store was Morris’s Market, they are carrying fresh produce, honey, meats, cheeses and they also do the Farmers Market with their own booth.
100_2356res There was a floral shop next door and I forgot to take the photo, but it had a beautiful courtyard in the rear packed with plants. Next to that was Coastal Gifts and Decor. 100_2366res
giftres There was jewelry, note cards, knick knacks with a flair for Florida seaside decor.  Next to that was Kristin Shaw’s trendy clothing boutique called, ‘sophie and trey’.  100_2367res Inside were reasonably
priced men andwomens clothing.  100_2368res Kristin organizes the once monthly, Paint The Towns. Now she is trying to organize artists for the Farmers Markets so they can display their wares on Saturday mornings. If interested, contact her, 407-324-5747.
The artists who were displaying were ‘Nine 2 Five’, Tina Pochedley who had beautiful handmade jewelry on her table, 100_2373res I apologize for having taken it from a distance.  She works with silver and precious and semi precious stones and does private parties. Her number is 407-467-8138.

Also on display was Shelia Golden who does wonderful animal paintings and collage and note cards, there are some on display at Coastal.  sheliares-1 contact:  http://www.sheliagolden.com
The last artist on the street was Randall Smith who does very cool robot paintings and robot figures.  100_2369res100_2371res
To check out his work:  To contact Randall:
RandallsRobots@aol.com. 407-923-2075
The artists are always good to talk to and as I always say, support the arts!
On my way back to the truck, I stopped at the SPCA booth and got a t-shirt for making a donation.  spcares spcares Remember, not only our artists need support so do the local animal service groups!
Walked past the Orchid Nanny,  100_2377res Though those orchids are gorgeous, I have a very deadly thumb with plants that need attention.  But I find inspiration everywhere and always have a fun time making abstracts out of the picture I took.
orchidabstract-1res sheilagoldeninspired-3res

71409abbeat2am-1res 2:37am, no rest here.
Earlier tonight I caught a softshell turtle and had to unhook it, they have quite interesting undersides,  100_2300_res but it looked more like some kind of weird alien than a turtle from that angle. The markings are quite unique really, could this be a girl and maybe the boys have blue rectangles? Don’t worry she or he was fine after they got de-hooked.  They scurried back to the water. I HATE catching turtles!
It was actually quite hot and stagnant and I was hoping to get a shot of the rocket launch, but they scrubbed it again.
In the morning I took a few flower pics, DSC06430res The crepe myrtles are gorgeous. And forgot what this plant is, but loved the red flowers on it also. DSC06421res

The moon was even still out at 8am: DSC06419res

The crow was in the tree singing a morning song
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And I had a nice lunch with friends. Came home and worked on more photos. Oh the days go so fast, summer half over – maybe El Nino will save us from the big storms this year! I don’t know, anymore around Florida all we hear about is people getting struck by lightning. I do have to watch more carefully when I am at the lake as the storms roll in,
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The clouds roll in so fast and the lightning is really getting way too familiar with humans. But the storms are actually so wonderful to listen to, especially to hear the rain on the roof at night.  But not tonight, it is just a quiet one, so quiet, I might have to sneak off and go to bed, good…morning again…

DSC08718res This is the last time we saw the male, father crane. I told you that the mama and baby have been coming alone for 5 days. But today 3 of them came and I was very excited and had to go take some photos. DSC06201res But right away, I noticed that Papa crane was not acting the same as I knew. The other father crane would let me get very close, this one was skittish,  very worried about me and stayed back. He was also very weary of noise and was looking all over at each ‘whir-noise’ the camera made when taking a photo.  Upon noticing his head, I knew right away this was a different male.  Notice the shape of the head of the top photo and this new head shape of this male.
DSC06206res This male has a more rounded head shape. So I say, a new male has joined the newly widowed female and son. That’s a good thing as a baby should have a father’s influence. The mother seems fine with the male and he also seems fine with his new family. But wonder what happened to the other male? Especially since the male and female had been together the whole 5 years I have lived here. I wish the state would band these birds so I could study them further. It would be a great way to identify them.
I also observed that this male crane did not share the food and ‘snipped’ at the baby if he was getting a morsel that the new male wanted. That was not the case with the other male, who gladly fed his baby. I am pretty sure this is another male.
newmale-1resnew male
papacranefatherofbabiesresfather of baby
Umm, we need some DNA testing – what do you think? I think we have a new family unit combination.

Hope all had a happy 4th holiday, mine was filled with family and too much good food! Hope yours was the same!

7209res This is how the day began around 6am. The sky was beautifully lit with red clouds. It’s in the low 70’s, feels almost cool. I saw both moorhen parents swimming about, but not one baby sighting.  53109moorhenC-1res Yesterday my friends Christine and Richard came over to hang a duck box in hopes that the Black bellied whistling ducks might come back.  DSC08898res I showed Christine the moorhen nest and only an hour earlier there had been 3 eggs. As we stood there, all eggs were completely gone, not one broken shell in sight. Then we saw the culprit, a big black crow flew down and began pecking at the nest. Immediately we knew where the eggs had gone. I have not seen the baby in days, I hope it is hiding.   007res This is a picture on the day it hatched.
Now I am trying to figure why the baby and mama crane are coming without the father? For 5 days now they have come to eat birdseed and Papa crane is not with them which is very unusual. He has been a good daddy for the years I have lived here and NEVER left the baby and mother. This is highly suspect. Do you think maybe he flew to Argentina to find a soul-mate??? I am thinking the worst, that something has happened to him. The baby is taller than the mother. Last night he came and did his goofy dance before they fly across the lake for a good nights sleep.
100_2093res I am hoping the father will find his way back soon. As for me, I am going back to bed, only slept 3 hours so far, time to get some shut eye. I am living in a vampire time zone, the sun comes up, I go back to get a couple hours of sleep…

Looked out at a dark sky crawling in from the west, then went about getting desk cleared off while trying to get bills in order when I glanced out and saw some weird ‘birds’ flying up on cut off tree tops.  BBwd1res Ran out to take a few pictures and luckily they did not fly off as my camera lens immediately fogged up when going from air conditioning to the really humid heat.
DSC06111res Came in and Googled ‘Florida ducks’ and found them to be black bellied whistling ducks, I had never heard of them or seen them.  They were so cute with their long, baggy pink legs and soft gray colored heads.  They looked like book ends on my cut off pine tops.
Then they just flew off, they stayed long enough for their publicity shots, then turned toward the east, away from the storm and headed over the lake and were gone. Oh they made it look so easy to just decide to fly away and go visit another lake,  There was no traffic, (unless you are flying high enough to tangle with airplanes,)  and on a dull day like this, not many flying birds going places.
DSC06114res The wings moved like the mallards as wobbly propellers.
So even though it is dark and rainy, it is always another fun day bird watching while paying the bills in between noticing the ‘bills’. I did see those black bellies, but maybe next time they will stay long enough so I can hear them whistle…

100_1798re This was the view  from the back parking lot of Comma Gallery. Loved it!  Pam and I had to go check out what is new at Karen Carasik’s amazing place at 813 Virginia Ave, Orlando Florida.

Pam has only been in town about 18 months and had never been to Comma, so I told her let’s check out the wood cut block exhibit from Charles Turzak and the very allegorical paintings by Patrick McGrath Muniz.
When we walked in through the back we were met by this painting– I apologize for not knowing the artists name, but it was a terrific piece of work. Below that skirt are very strong calves and everything except the skirt & heels screams masculine.
100_1844res Further into the gallery were oils, acrylics and other media from the perspective of art crafted by world class artists past and present. One of my favorites is Grady Kimsey, he constructs very interesting figures and collages. 100_1811res

Also something new is all the wonderful jewelry by local artisans. The gem stones and variation of color and metals made the case sparkle.  100_1824re Other works look like this to give you a feel for the place:
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100_1803re 100_1829re (that’s me in the mirror taking a photo of a Harolde Garde painting, the framed face above me. )        Carasik Ambivelant Journey The colorfully blended abstract was painted by Karen Carasik.
The woodcuts by deceased artist, Charles Turzak were so well crafted, they each had historical significance.  There are a limited number of prints of them at Comma, so better hurry to buy that special one ASAP!  100_1823re 100_1805re My favorite was Lincoln with the axe. Pam liked Carl Sandburg the poet. Loved Turzak’s art deco wood cuts also. Below are the tools used to make the amazing cuts. I can’t imagine the patience it must take, what detailing!
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The other featured artist was Patrick McGrath Muniz, I will leave you with some of his fantasic irony and suggest to any of you artists in need of a space, there is one for rent at Comma — how can you lose elbowing with these heavy weight artists! Hurry before it’s taken. Call Karen (407) 894-4505

Go to Comma and see the fine details of McGrath Muniz paintings to appreciate the satire associated with them;

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Now go pay Karen a visit. She has volumes of knowledge about all her artists. Go learn a thing or two and buy something; a beautifully hand crafted bracelet, a book on Turzak’s wood cuts or any of the fine art for sale inside the gallery and support the arts.   http://www.commagallery.com

Enjoy the works of:

john Wilton –  Lynn Polley
Stephen Bach –  Bernie Martin
Karen Carasik – Grady Kimsey
Tom Sadler – Barbara Perrotti
Sally EvansGlen Hovis
Robin Maria Pedreo – Jim Casey
Elizabeth St. HilaireNelson
Camille Pissaroand,  and
Grayson Conroy

Grady Kimsey Camille Pissarro
Bernard Martin William Platt
Sandro Natullo Georges Rouault
Elizabeth Nelson Tom Sadler
Barbara Perrotti Maria Saraceno
Barbara Phelps Kathy Steckler
Pablo Picasso Terri West

We have always enjoyed going to see art exhibits at the Casselberry Art House. Though I have not been there in over a year since I exhibited with Womens Caucus for Art. So we were surprised to pull up and see massive construction all around.  The land around the house was completely torn up.
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We walked past the Police dept. and saw the old building with the Administrative offices was demolished. But there beyond the dirt and mess was the cute house with the red door and tiles by the lake.
I don’t know the history of the Art House, it was a private residence at one time and now is home to a wonderful gallery where there are not only exhibits, but they have all kinds of art classes as well. Call (407) 262-7774)  they will give you the information.
The work on display was from The Sanford Seminole Art Association, an art group turning fifty years old this year and I understand they still have some original members among the seventy or so of them. This exhibit highlights 19 of the members.
Inside there is a variety of media from paper sculpture to small Mexican boxes with adorable figures inside called nicchos. The watercolors, oils, mixed media and photography mingled well on the textured walls within the gallery. The art was well highlighted by the diminishing sun filtering through the windows making it feel cozy. The room and artwork melded together in a wonderfully symbiotic vanilla feel.  All the colors and textures placed on the walls complimented the space.  100_1630res

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As we left, 3 Pekin ducks came waddling up the path toward the front door as if they were ready to tour the room and give opinions on the works of art. 100_1634resWhen we trudged back through the construction on our way back to the truck, we noticed what a great area it will be when all is done. there will be a very long and winding pier  100_1657res and it also looked like they would have a playground.  The trees and fountain give it such a picturesque setting.  res1648 They will hold their jazz festival out there in October. It will be a wonderful place for their venues. We are lucky that Casselberry and Seminole County keep up their interest in Art despite the economy.  The Sanford/Seminole exhibit will be there till June 26th.
I will be anxious to come back this Fall when all the work is finished.
On the way home, Adam pointed out a used book store in the Albertsons shopping center on 17/92 and 434.  We thought we would go have a look. It is called Best Used Books.  The light was on, but we saw on the door it was to close at 7pm and it was about ten after. The owner waved us in and told us to look around. We recognized him from many years ago, he has had 3 separate locations. 100_1661re It had so many books and places to look we knew we just had to come back, though Adam quickly found a couple things to take home. I have bought many books from his shops before, he has a wonderful selection. I asked if he was selling through the internet and he said no. I would guess that would be quite an inventory you’d have to update and quite a consumption of time having to constantly list and pack books for selling. If you like used book stores, he has a quality shop, I could spend hours at these kinds of stores. My dream always was to have a wonderful huge library room at home with a ladder to the second story stacks, with shelves and shelves of wonderful books to get lost inside of. Unfortunately, the dream has not quite materialized yet and my library room is only a couple book shelves that doubles as the dining room. When I get that winning lottery ticket, I will get a house on a big lake with a big library and have poetry readings and meetings of some type, even if the cats are the only ones in attendence…

WOW! I have had trees removed years ago, but I was impressed today! My neighbor had SAIASI TUIKABA Tree Service (phone # 321-422-9994) come to take down 2 dangerous looking pines. These weren’t just small pines, they had to be over 100 feet tall. The crane operator pulled up and maneuvered through to the backyard and they successfully avoided all the flowers on the property. crane1resw
They extended the boom and the climber got on the ball and away he went to the top of the pine that is only feet from Kim’s house. landsintree3res

Way up at the top, he tightly bound the straps to the tree and lowered himself to go for the cut. Once he made his notches with the chain saw, the tree was lifted away by the crane. firsttree4
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firsttree9res Then of course, after the crane lifted it very carefully and expertly over the house, it was put down and two more sections were cut and belted and in a matter of 45 minutes, that tree was just a stump to be ground. The second tree was just as smooth, I was a bit closer on that one. This 6′ plus guy was power lifted again.
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2ndtree5res 2ndtreeresize Again he followed the same steps, knew where to notch and the crane operator was right in lock step with the climber. It was flawless.  Each tree was cut into 3 sections. They lowered each section to the ground and another man began the task of dismantling the limbs. There is still quite a lot of tree to be cut into log pieces.
We neighbors watching on the ground all felt like applauding after the ballet between the coordination of the crane operator and the climber. And look closely at the photos, it’s like finding Waldo up there — he looks so small.  I didn’t use the longer telephoto because I wanted to get better perspective using the shorter lens. But one thing for sure, this tree service was completely professional and fast.  They will begin clean up tomorrow.
Some of the neighbors like keeping all their trees. They feel if the tree goes down during these storms and hurricanes, , well, that’s what nature does sometimes and that’s why we have insurance.  Not me, I saw the houses around here where these huge pines had fallen right through roofs and luckily no one was killed. But why not do a preventative maintenance? It makes you feel so much more secure when you know that a ton of tree won’t come through your ceiling while you wait out a hurricane.

For you tree huggers, we here in Florida get trees coming up wild all over our property. I had 7 trees removed 3 years ago and now have many new trees coming up to take their places, (no more pines ever.) We have the option to buy another tree of some type if you want to replace the pines.  I have lots of new crepe myrtles,  camphors that I love, but are not native. And I planted a red maple and lemon tree near the lake.  Those of you who love trees, but frown on taking healthy trees off your property, I am glad you are braver than I am through the hurricanes. I love trees too, but when these weapons of mass destruction wave their weighted boughs over your house with the raging wind, and the rain saturates the roots making them weaker,  then to me it’s a no brainer,  put more trust in you doing the right thing — sometimes Mother Nature has a wicked sense of humor…    P/S – Must make mention of another very effective  and competent and caring tree Service, Davey Tree Service – they also do mowing.  (407) 331-8020 – call and ask for Chuck Daum-  Davey was kind enough to donate their services to the Audubon society this past June:
MAITLAND, Fla. — …A local tree service pitched in to help the Audubon Society on Monday.

The chainsaws were roaring out front while the bald eagles calmly perched in the back.The Audubon Birds of Prey Center is a champion when it comes to the rescue and rehab of Florida’s feathered hunters, but tree-trimming work is not part of its expertise.At about a month into hurricane season, clearing out vulnerable trees and branches is important.”We have all native plants and very old oak trees on our property, so it helps us to be prepared,” Katie Warner of the Audobon Society said.”Couldn’t think of a better organization to support,” Chuck Daum said.Daum, a manager with Davey Tree Service is an Audubon member. After he saw tree trimming in the organization’s newsletter as a wish list item, his company donated a crew for the day.”Some of the groups don’t have the budget to do this kind of work, so it was a perfect fit. I’m looking forward to making it an annual event,” Daum said.

I’d call it a day of nostalgia. I had connected with a long lost friend on Facebook two days ago and it got me looking at old photos today which spiraled into  ‘mind-reversal’ thinking about the past.
Earlier I had to go into my Safe Deposit box at the bank looking for a Title and came across my great-grandmother’s wedding ring dated 1879 inside. So I took it home and put it on my Papa’s gold watch chain that I always wear around my neck. ring_edited-1 I get a lot of memory ‘tread’ thinking about my Nana and Papa, Louie and Rose who were the most fantastic grandparents in the whole universe!  They don’t make them like that anymore.  AND suddenly I got hungry thinking about my Nana’s cooking, that woman made gourmet food all the time. Oh, if only I had paid attention and watched her cook, oh never mind, I would weigh 400 lbs…

Later while fishing, my mind was directed away from the mooching turtles and onto the lone Pekin duck who sat on the bank looking for her long, lost twin sister. It seems the other twin female duck has become a groupie for the Band of Brother mallards. Poor single girl left behind, she is so missing her sister who was last seen following the mallards to places unknown. But all is okay as the missing Pekin twin and the BOB entourage will be back in the morning, they always seem to come back for breakfast. 13009ducktwins-1res

Looking at the duck sitting there watching the lake for a sign of her sister, I thought about how I miss my only sister too,  DSC07931poster-1_edited-1 it’s  not really fair when someone close to you commits suicide. I am still angry more than sad. Yep, I still want to kick her ass for being so selfish and yet I know she was just desperate.  I am sorry for what what she will miss though.
As for me, I am very content right here on earth, I’m not anxious to follow in my sister and mother’s path, plus I don’t have their addictions. I am so lucky to have about everything I want, the best kids, supportive family, terrific friends and neighbors and a camera that screams for me to take photos. Now if I could only win a big lotto and not be such an insomniac I’d almost have it all!
I have a better appreciation for what can be taken away by the many losses I have experienced over the years, and there have been a lot. But that’s enough of the crappy nostalgia, lets focus on better things.

sundown6909_edited-1 WAIT —  let me  back up again to around 6pm tonight when there was a knock on the door. A man about my age stood there and asked if I was me. yes, I said, so he handed me a phone number and told me to call my best friend from High school back in Ohio as she could not get a hold of me, (I recently changed phone numbers). I asked who he was and he was someone she dated years ago and had remained friends and happened to now live in Sanford. So I took the number and called but she was not home. So of course I do what I normally do at that time, go fishing.
I stood there thinking back to high school and beyond. Fond memories flooded over me! I just smiled at all the different things I thought of.  But I grew bored of fishing–not a thing was biting except mosquitos and white flies — oh, yes, and of course the turtles, they are such pests. But as I was about to go inside, I saw the sun getting lower and thought I’d do a sundown chase. So put my stuff away, grabbed the dslr and hurried over to Kohls where my vantage point is. I drove through the back of the parking lot and parked. Tonight I saw a funny sight, someone was grilling food right outside the back door of Kohls. People would pop in and out the door and fiddle with food on the grill. I must admit, it smelled divine. The grill fumes and the feel of about 90 degrees made for more long lost summer memories.
I took some shots of the sun as it began to leave.  wallof clouds_edited-1 And it was quite dramatic as this wall of clouds looked like a curtain half open on nature’s stage. It was really breathtaking.  Then I looked up to see the clouds and noticed one in particular that kind of scared the crap out of me. mushroom clouds_edited-1 Whoa, that looked like a mushroom cloud!  It made me think about life in the early 1960’s. I can remember watching some show during that time showing a little girl looking out her window and a nuclear blast occurs complete with actual stock footage. The father grabs her and they venture out. It showed the grocery stores being ransacked and there was no food, so I suppose there was no good ending. As kids of that era, we would have ‘drills’ in school in case of war. We were told to sit under our desks covering our head with our hands because this was how we would survive a nuclear bomb. Today we simply use duck tape to survive, (ha ha).  REMEMBER FOLKS DON”T LOOK TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR HELP!  That was a scary time with Kruschev beating his shoe on the desk of the UN and the Cuban missile crisis.

After leaving the parking lot. I went out on the road neat the Bentley Elementary school and saw Derby Park. The sign pretty much said it all. DSC05366_edited-1 They actually hold weekend soapbox derbies. Now growing up in Akron Ohio, that was the big event each summer, though I am embarassed to say I never saw a Soapbox Derby race except on television, but I did see the Goodyear blimp– ah, more memories.     As I made my way home I smiled a lot thinking of various stages of my life so far as I approach 59 – WHOA where does time go? I really can’t complain about much except I lost some people too fast and some not fast enough.  All the crappy things that have happened actually do make one stronger, and being ‘mature’ you can be obnoxious and people forgive you because “you’re old”.
When I got back inside the house again I found some other photo albums and melted away into fun times. I was so focused I forgot to call my friend.
Every now and then, you just have to go back, think hard and analyze all the things that have happened to make you you. (is that too confusing?)
One day I will have to organize all these photos and put them on CD’s, that’s the way to really preserve for posterity.
And look at the time, 3:38am and I am still lost in retropsective thoughts about retrospective thought, wonder what I will dream about tonight, or actually, what will I dream about this morning? Either way, day dreaming or regular, I am enjoying it. I’ll end this with some good Lewis Carroll quotes, because I adore his thought process…
If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.
Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things  before  breakfast.

No good fish goes anywhere without a porpoise. Lewis Carroll
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DSC05328res Woke up and the sandhill cranes had come for a visit. Keep in mind the baby is just about 12 weeks old and he is a monster!  (That’s him in the middle.)  His head is so funny as he is losing his baby fuzz. DSC05218a_edited-1 He’s going to tower over the father. The funny thing was how he loves the water.  The baby crane saw the ducks at the lake, DSC05244res and hurried in their direction to assert his machismo. He scattered them off and jumped in for a bath. I followed from behind and watched the baby as he had the best time waving his wings under the water and making the drops scatter. He would groom and then wave those wings and dunk his head. Then finally about ten minutes later he came ashore spreading his massive wings to dry.
For all the other babies we have had on the property over the years, not one would go in the water deeper than it’s knees if it did not have to. Usually just to drink and of course when they were too young to fly and would swim across the lake. but never have I seen one that spent time having fun like this. Plus he is already flying, it took the other baby cranes much longer to fly, a lot longer! But I will let the photos speak for themselves…
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