The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Scaredie cat or Scared of the cat? 

I visited a nursery a few days ago to get photos of Philodendron.
To get in and out of the greenhouses, you walk through the packing house...and under this platform.
And under this guard cat.
This cat looks like he means business!
I bet they have ZERO Mice in that place.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Get Well Soon! 

Mosaic Mom's Mom had surgery yesterday.

My sister didn't mention any upcoming surgery in any of her emails last week.

My Mom didn't even tell me herself when I phoned on Sunday afternoon.

What a surprize I got when a family friend called to tell me it was all over yesterday. Mom was in recovery and doing fine.

I tried to order up flowers, but both a florist and the hospital gift shop told me it was too late in the day to deliver a bouquet. Since Mom's going home today, I'll wait till she's up and about.

So Get Well Soon! All best wishes for a full recovery.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Photo shoot today 

I have a scenario similar to this all set in the office. I am on my way to go get some new Philodendron varieties to bring home and photograph.
This was a good reminder. I need the calendar on the right not on the left...must go move it back.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mom tries to rescue the economy, but... 

yesterday while browsing at Books A Million at the Lake Square Mall, the power went out over the entire Mall.
The employees immediately ordered everybody out!
This was a security issue...two boys I overheard wanted to get in Target to do some boosting.
I realized the traffic signals were out, too. I had to get home by making all right hand turns. That took a while but was a fun adventure.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Highlight of Kid's Vacation 

Seeing snow was the great adventure on the trip to Washington D.C.!
Plant Daddy and I are relieved that the roads were clear and they hit no ice on the way.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mosaic Strawberry Jar 

I call this the "All Joy" Jar because I got those words off a broken Christmas ornament a friend gave me!
Here it is ready to go...

and planted with mint, parsley and dill...

It will live in the greenhouse till all danger of frost is past, then I have a spot outside to enjoy it for the summer.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Greenhouse IRA 

Open an IRA!

Why is opening an IRA is like buying a greenhouse?
Because things inside the greenhouse grow.

You pay a small fee for the greenhouse every year. So don’t listen if your broker starts to whine. He or she is getting paid….but there can be so much more…

Inside your greenhouse you can grow Trees, Shrubbery, Vegetables and/or Flowers.

Trees are your long term investments like treasuries and bonds.
Shrubs are foundation plants like CD’s and notes.
Vegetables feed you. Stocks.
Flowers are mutual funds. They come bunched together.

You can have any mix of these you like within your greenhouse/IRA.
You make the choices based on your own research and preferences.
You pay a fee on top of the greenhouse rent when you buy and sell within the greenhouse. You call the shots. You’re the grower. But it’s still TAX FREE.

Mom loves trees and vegetables. (Always put your vegetables on DRIP so they re-seed automatically.)
You may like shrubbery. You get to choose within this tax-advantaged greenhouse.

Also if you have a 401K at work and you suddenly quit and move to Alaska to become an ice- road trucker, you can roll over your 401 into your greenhouse (or at least check. IRA rules change all the time)

After you get your IRA greenhouse going well, if you still have funds left over, you can open a regular brokerage account. It works the same way, trees, shrubs, veggies and flowers, but you pay tax on your profits.

Why do you need both?
Oh, because you can’t touch the IRA money till you are 59 years old.
This will make you a totally happy person when you reach geezerhood.
Trust me on this one! Besides the government is about to mandate individual IRA’s because Social Security is going to tank. You will get better service if you go ahead of that chaos and get yourself set up now.

Thank you to the local art center for refunding my tuition.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mosaic Mom's Best Money Investing Advice 

My Dad was furious. He wasn’t even muttering under his breath, he was cussing out loud. In a rare moment of communication about how to handle money, he told me the problem.

He had signed a contract with a professional money manager company. Each month, he sent the firm a check and in return, they promised returns.

“We’re the money experts. We study investing, Trust us” they said.

Well, apparently they charged heavy fees against his account every time they traded on the stock market. And they traded often. So often that he ended up OWING them more money in management fees. But he was screwed since he had signed a contract and given his permission for this to happen.

“Never Ever Give Up Control of YOUR Money!” he said.

He was absolutely right.

Find a broker (please note the noun “broker”…not banker or investment counselor)

Find a broker whose advice you value but YOU have the final call.

Once upon a time Mom had an account at the Blue Bull Brokerage firm. She had a broker she liked. He bought and sold what she told him to buy and sell. He would call her up occasionally with tips. She would check them out and accept or deny these offers.

Then the nice broker moved to Tennessee and Mom was assigned to a pushy Yankee who worked in that office. He told Mom (in so many words) that she was a dumb Southern female and she should trust him to run her accounts.

Run is what I did! I changed to the In the Strip Mall Brokers. I was happy until one day I got a call. I had told Mr. Polyestersuit to buy me “A”. He recommended “B”. I declined, but he bought “B” anyway. He also bought “A”. I didn’t have enough money to buy both “A” and “B” so now he wanted me to take out a loan to cover his butt! He lost my accounts instead. I moved again.

Now I am happy with the Green Peaceful Folks Long Drive Brokers. I have been there many years. I listen to what they say and they listen to what I say. Happy land.

Interview some places, see how you feel. Don’t give up control and you can always change. This is the best advice I can give.

Corollary 1:
This rule also applies to hairdressers. Never turn yourself over for a makeover. You will cry.

Corollary 2.
This rule applies to interior designers. I don’t care how trendy it is, I have to live here!

Never give up control. Trust your own gut and your own smarts.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Weekend Rest 

Plant Daddy and I are enjoying this holiday weekend so far.

Last night we went to a fine restaurant and ate baked Cornish game hen with roasted winter vegetables. Blackberry pie and ice cream for dessert.

Then we hit the bar scene and talked and danced till 3:00AM!

We stopped by a fast food place for grilled cheese sandwiches before bed. Then we got up this morning and got brunch of bacon and eggs and toast at a local greasy spoon.

The best part?

We never had to leave home!

Now we have a pot of chili on and are watching football and curled up against the cold. Brrrr!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Plant Daddy's Home 

Plant Daddy made it to and from Miami yesterday. He went to TPIE (Tropical Plant Industry Expo). A lotta lotta lotta of his plants are in the mainstream now! Yay!

Miss Escape and friends made it to D.C. She phoned sounding tired around supper time. No doubt they had a nap then set off to explore. She should be on the look out for her Dad's plants installed in the lobbies, museums, restaurants etc. up there in the Capitol City.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Road Trip 

Miss Mind Escape and 2 of her college chums are en route to Washington D.C. to see Barnett Newman.

Here's one of his paintings

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Satay Virgin 

I watch those travel channel shows hungrily when the hosts are eating in Thailand. That Satay always looked yummy to me.

So today at Lake Square Mall it's lunch time and I'm passing a Thai Restaurant Fast Food place. The menu looked like fast fried American crap. So I ask the chef if I can get satay.

He beamed from ear to ear and pulled a separate menu out from under the counter.

I ordered satay with chile sauce and a cucumber salad and jasmine iced tea.


How did he make the satay so that it didn't fall off the stick when gnawed on? Have you ever had a salad with 3 kinds of onions in it?

I had to buy breath mints after that one but man o man scrumptious.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Art Class Cancelled 

The instructor phoned back this afternoon.

Class has been cancelled.

I requested a tuition refund and specifically said my money was not a donation!

What next? Will I get a refund?

Stay tuned.


Tomorrow: Art Class

The instructor for the art class phoned last night.
Design class didn’t have enough enrollment.
Collage class didn’t have enough enrollment.
So the classes have been combined.

She gave me a materials list.

Family photos
Fancy paper and gift-wrap
Elmer’s glue
Colored pencils

Tomorrow: Corporate Taxes
I paid one tax at the bank on Monday.
Tomorrow I have 6 to mail, certified.
There is one on my desk that can wait.
The accountant has 5 more getting tallied up on his desk.

THEN we can start the personal taxes! Grrr.

Tomorrow: I have to give blood, get new prescription.
Tomorrow: I am going to treat myself to a lunch out.
I am thinking of getting a Burrito before art class. Is that too risky?

But tonight…OMG…Tonight is American Idol!

Monday, January 14, 2008

A 100 Word Story 

The title of this 100 Word Story is ...

"School Spirit"

“Let’s hear the character’s re-write,” demanded the editor, beady eyes bulging under deadline pressure.

The writer inhaled, then offered, “Karl wasn’t picked last for school teams; he was simply never picked at all. After that penultimate weakling, Donnie Hall was chosen, classmates broke over the field, assumed their positions and play began. The kindly teacher whispered, ‘Join either side you want, dear.’”

“Stinks!” the editor snorted. “Victim. Schmictim. No reader likes a wuss. Try again. Lighten up.” He departed for the coffee machine.

“Hmmm,” the writer tapped his yellow pencil on his cheek. “How will I emphasize the teacher’s compassion?”

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hair Rules 

Yesterday, Plant Daddy went for a hair cut.
He got a nice short cut.
He looks great.

Yesterday, I went for a hair cut.
I got a short hair cut.
I did not want a short hair cut,
but I violated the First Rule of Cosmetology:

Don’t complain while they’re holding the scissors.

“Gosh, Hair Dresser,” sez I. “You have cut the hair on the right side of my head to the length of my jaw, while the hair on the left is at my ear lobe length.”

He fixed it.
For the first time in years, I actually came home and cried.

I look somewhat like a dog who has been shaved down on account of mange.

Well, happy news in Mosaic Land anyway:
I cleaned up my desk.
I had piled up a lot of non-essential items like Christmas shipping boxes and bubble wrap and garden seeds and even a solar light fixture. (?)

I really want to finish the strawberry pot and use it. I have no hope of selling it. I was going to use it as my display piece at Art in the Garden, but I am tired of people saying my art is “interesting” so I may not even show at all this year. I will just use it myself since I am growing Dill, Parsley, Mint. Lemon thyme, Lavendar, Cuban Oregano, Regular Thyme and , of course, Catnip.

I planted pole beans in the garden this afternoon just after the rain (Yay Rain). After supper I’ll try to get another batch of green beans in.
I’m trying a new recipe for supper(Poor Plant Daddy). It has the potential to be as good as Chile Rellenos…or not.
I’ll let you know.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Mosaic Strawberry Jar 

I've almost finished the strawberry jar and I need to get a move on...I potted up parsley and Dill today. I think I will pot them into the strawberry jar.

My tracker indicates that a lot of people are finishing up projects...edge finishing, glass glob trims and bead trim are big searches.

Mosaic Mom now has had more than 34,000 readers! Holy Moly!

This weekend I will plant another batch of green beans. Also have to plant 5 more wax myrtles.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Planning Ahead 

Planning ahead is soooo important in life.

For example...If I want Pineapples in August I have to start NOW.

So I spent yesterday arranging, repotting, fertilizing, watering...with lots of great help from Plant Daddy. I'll induce blooms in 2 weeks and feast in the heat of summer!

I also transplanted edible pod peas and a tomatoe plant.
Today I'll be harvesting off a supper of green beans. Yay Garden!

If I traveled to the moon, the first thing I'd do when I hopped out of the spacecraft is plant some seeds!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Discouraging Words 

I thought I'd just post this little story rathar than send it in to the local contest...whose deadline is Feb 22 and go to their website later today for details...

Discouraging Words

“Class, let’s begin,” ordered Elizabeth Howell. She hoisted her hammy thigh, saddled up on an oak stool in front of the chalkboard and corralled the little heifers of 8th grade English with a stony stare. Rustling of textbooks and the sharp cracks of three ring binder claws ceased immediately. “This assignment was easy for most of you. Who wants to be first to read their essay aloud?”

Thirty palms shot to the air like pigeons in a panic. I held back, no need to stand out in a crowd. I was just one of the hapless herd of pupils Miss Howell had wrangled through the chutes of Modern English for Boys and Girls that year. Only a handful of days remained before summer’s delicious freedom. But for now, we thumped into the poetry chapter, lockstep in rhythmic meter towards the end of the unit, end of the book, end of the spring, end of the 8th grade.

As she introduced poetry, Miss Howell doubled down on workloads lest teenaged angst and springtime puppy love spark forest fires in her class and detract from learning. After reading Alfred Noyes’ epic poem, The Highwayman, boys had to write an essay from the Highwayman’s point of view; girls were to compose with the voice of Bess, the heroine. It had taken me less than 10 minutes to read the poem and compose my submission. But double that to check for graphite smudges, erasure marks, misspellings, anything the predatory Miss Howell might find as cause for point deductions. I needed every point I could earn on this assignment.

“Don Jones, you’re a good writer. Come forward and read your paper. Read it aloud to the class, please.” She panted with pleasure over her pet student and handed his graded essay to him. I could read its big red-inked “A plus” from my desk in the back of the room.

Don took center stage, accustomed to center stage, expecting it as his birthright. Oily with the sheen of so many pats to his head, predictable dull Don began to drone, “I am the Highwayman. I have become rich from robbery and I wear fine French clothes. I am on my horse.”

“Bilge water” I thought to myself. Bilge was my new favorite word along with dreadnaught. Don Jones’ work was bilge; it had no heart. The construction was intact, but it lacked emotion, or so it seemed to me at 13.

As he finished trotting us through the flat landscape of his essay, the class applauded. Miss Howell beamed with pride as her literate, trained seal bowed and sashayed back to his desk. She paused to restore order then took the reins again. Giddyap.

“All my girls are good writers, but I think one stands out.”

Just for an instant, I was listening, hoping it might be me. I was desperate for the words “well done” to calm the painful wasteland I inhabited. I worked hard for grades to please a father who’d smack me if my report card every 6 weeks didn’t read straight A’s.

“Charlene, come forward and read your essay to the class.”

I sighed with disappointment as Charlene, perky, little cheerleader Charlene bounded to the front with her cutesy airs and her perfectly up turned nose. How popular she was. How saccharine. Charlene’s voice sang, “I am a serving wench. I love the Highwayman. He is my one true love and I would die for him.” Even in 8th grade English I knew pedantry when I heard it. I tried not to choke. Charlene finished and sat. Once again, classmates applauded.

Miss Howell inhaled deeply and cleared her throat. “Let’s hear one more paper,” she announced, shuffling the stack of essays in her fist.

This was a break in routine. All ears in the classroom twitched and prickled. It meant someone had bombed. Someone’s work was so badly written, it was to stand as warning for us all. Who? we gasped. Who would feel the lash of special attention? Who among us would be cut from the herd and destined for slaughter by Elizabeth Howell’s critique?

“Sherry, come up and read yours.”

The floor fell from below me. Time stopped. Like Bess, I was doomed. Taking home a low grade on an assignment meant losing my allowance at best, and even being slapped if Dad was in a bad mood. “Just let me die, God, let me die”.

“Sherry!” she commanded.

“Move legs,” I struggled to obey. But legs were rubber and could not lift me from my seat. Then to my horror, asthma. I grabbed for the lime-green emergency inhaler in my purse. Dizzy, wheezing, I shook my head “No, No! ”.

Inured to the panic attacks of high-strung teenaged girls, Miss Howell made no move to help in my distress. She smoothed her gabardine skirt, cleared her throat again, then slid from her stool and walked towards my desk as if to execute a warrant. “Class, if Sherry cannot read it, I will read it to you. Listen and learn.”

I quivered with fear and humiliation. I squeezed my eyes shut awaiting execution. She began to speak the words I had written from my heart.

“O, Road! O Cursed, Blessed, Lovely Road that would bring him back to me but bring him to Death! O, Love! O, Hate! If this is Love, why can’t we love? Why Misfortune? Why Hatred?”

It was immature adolescent writing, a flight of fancy, but full of passion. I had checked for grammar, but forgotten to censor my too romantic heart. Now the trigger was being pulled by my own finger and a number 2 pencil. Like Noyes heroine, I was betrayed by careless word and the result was suicide.

Miss Howell chanted through to essay’s end, tromping with heavy boots in the tender garden of my flowery prose. I burned in shame. “This essay, …” she started then paused abruptly. Had I sobbed aloud?

“It’s so romantic, so poetic actually. It captures the tone of the Highwayman. This paper is outstanding,” gushed Miss Howell.

What! Had I heard her correctly?

“You’ve captured the essence, the spirit of the assignment. It flows. It has heart. You will be a great writer one day. Well done.” Miss Howell laid my essay on my desktop with the big, red word “Outstanding” across the top. My classmates craned their necks and eyes widened at the sight of such a golden nugget delivered from this stingy teacher.

I stared at the floor for the rest of the hour. Miss Howell moseyed back to the chalkboard to detail iambic pentameter. Before I knew it, the bell rang, papers were passed forward, notebooks snapped, and we were dismissed.

Elizabeth Howell had branded me a writer that day. It took me decades to live into it, but I never forgot that definition of myself, even during, or maybe especially during the darkest nights of my soul. I’ll never be ‘great’, just a storyteller at best. But I had a light for my path because of an 8th grade English teacher. I am a writer. Thank you, Elizabeth Howell.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Mosaic Mom News items 

My email seems to be wonky again. If you are trying to reach me, I am not being rude and not replying. I haven't got it! Grrr. Why do I pay my ISP?

I found my Mom's Happy Ride custom CD that Little Mind Escape made me last fall. It had the Beck song "Clap Hands" on it! Yay!
I used it to exercise by today. Big mistake. Too Peppy, now I'm dead.

I saw a fox squirrel try to jump from the pine tree to the palm tree this afternoon. He missed and fell about 18 ft. Whap! He just got up and instead of climbing the palm tree , he went back up the pine tree and jumped again. This time he made it tho.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Car Swap! 

I got a new car today!!!
I got a 1999 White Nissan Sentra!

Little Mind Escape got a new car today!!
She got a 1998 Gold Nissan Altima!

We are very happy with our new swap!
(No tailgateing!)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Florida Mosaics 

Got this from
Terri's Path
You know you're a Floridian if....

.Socks are only for bowling.

..You never use an umbrella because you know the rain will be over in five minutes.

..A good parking place has nothing to do with distance from the store, but everything to do with shade.

..Your winter coat is made of denim.

..You can tell the difference between fire ant bites and mosquito bites.

..You're younger than thirty but some of your friends are over 65.

..Anything under 70 is chilly.

..You pass on the right and honk at the elderly, but pull over for a funeral.

..You've driven through Yeehaw Junction.

..You could swim before you could read.

..You have to drive north to get to The South.

..You know that no other grocery store can compare to Publix.

..Every other house in your neighborhood had blue roofs in 2004-2005.

..You've gotten out of school early on Halloween to trick or treat before it got dark

..You know that anything under a Category 3 just isn't worth waking up for.

..You dread love bug season.

..You are on a first name basis with the Hurricane list. They aren't Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances...but Charley , Frances , Ivan and Jeanne.

..You know what a snowbird is and when they'll leave.

..You think a six-foot alligator is actually pretty average.

..You were twelve before you ever saw snow, or you still haven't.

..'Down South' means Key West

..You think New York drivers licenses should only be valid in New York

..Flip-flops are everyday wear.

..Shoes are for business meetings and church,..but you HAVE worn flip flops to church before.

..Sweet tea can be served at any meal.

..An alligator once walked through your neighborhood.

..You smirk when a game show's 'Grand Prize' is a trip or cruise to Florida

..You measure distance in minutes.

..You have a drawer full of bathing suits, and one sweatshirt.

..You get annoyed at the tourists who feed seagulls.

..A mountain is any hill 100 feet above sea level.

..You think everyone from a bigger city has a northern accent.

..You know the four seasons really are: hurricane season, love bug season, tourist season and summer

..It's not soda, cola, or pop. it's coke, regardless of brand or flavor, 'What kinda coke you want?'

..Anything under 95 is just warm.

..You've hosted a hurricane party.

..You go to a theme park for an afternoon, and know when to get on the best rides. ( Space Mountain during the Electric Light Parade!)

..You can pronounce Okeechobee, Kissimmee , Ichnatucknee and Withlacoochee

..You understand why it's better to have a friend with a boat, than have a boat yourself.

..Bumper stickers on the pickup in front of you include: various fish, NRA, NASCAR, Go Gators, and a confederate flag.

..You were 5 before you realized they made houses without pools.

..You were 25 when you first met someone who couldn't swim.

..You've worn shorts and used the A/C on Christmas.

..You recognize Miami-Dade as ' Northern Cuba '.

Love it! Thanks for the forward.

In today's email I also got this message from an Oregon friend. She writes...

Do things cook better when you
get new stoves all the time??/ (joking) kinda scary that they do not last. My
washing machine is 27 years old and on its last leg. and my frig is l7 years
old and making noises - just keeping my fingers crossed. I think you have
all your crap over of 2008 so it will be smooth sailing from here on out.

I hope she is right!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Cold Blast 

Where’s a hot flash when you need one?

Plant Daddy reports that it is 36 degrees in the mosaic studio this morning!
I will be staying indoors and writing today.
Zeus is indoors with me this morning. He’d no dummy!

The overnight low was around 28 not 23 as predicted, still we’re not happy about damage to the fruit and foliage out there. We’ll know the extent of the losses by this weekend.

Later this morning, I will start sorting files and forms for TAXES. Nargh!
Corporate tax deadlines start hitting me on January 15th.
Yesterday after lunch, I had started to fill one form. Its deadline is February 4th.
I thought it would be easy, but Nooooo….

I had forgotten to record a deposit in early December so the total income was wrong.
Of course, I haven’t driven up to the post office box yet to collect the mail with the bank statements so it took me 45 minutes to find the bank stub in my own stack of files for December then I had to retotal…

then I was very pleased with myself …..until I turned the page of the booklet and they wanted the current estimate for depreciation. Today I will have to look up the last year’s calculations and call the accountant for accuracy.

All total, I will have 13 corporate tax forms to calculate and file before March 15. Then we can start on the personal taxes. Grrrr.

I guess I will cook up some split pea soup for supper since I still don’t have a working oven in which to roast a chicken. I can’t wait till the repair guy shows up tomorrow afternoon.

Mosaic Birdhouse

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year 2008 

The Mosaic Mom Blog is now entering its 5th year!

Yesterday I worked in the studio all afternoon. I am grouting a piece (the strawberry jar) that contains a lot of jewelry, baubles and sharp angles. This makes for slow going.

At first I thought I wanted a green tint to the grout on this piece, so I mixed myself a custom green color.
I applied it.
It was not right.
I took it outside and hosed it off.

That’s something I wish I could tell beginners…It ain’t over till the grout sets!

Then I began again with white grout…and maybe a hint of blue.
It’s working out nicely.

Photos as soon as it’s warm enough to go outside.

Plant Daddy worked to save the farm. He picked a lot of citrus, covered my beans and tacked plastic tight onto the greenhouses.
He covered his Megasmaplasma plant.

Temps tonight will be about 23 degrees. Yesterday we were in the 70’s. Without a chance to harden off, most plants are going to get hammered.

Anyway, I am getting tired of my oven not working. I sure hope that repairman arrives on Friday. Here is the coldest night of the season and I can’t even roast parsnips! Grrr!

I tried to make egg salad sandwiches for supper last night but I chopped them in the Cuisinart too long. They turned out soupy. Plant Daddy was nice about it, but I was embarrassed. Need my oven back!

Just before bed, I was fetching a glass of water. I looked out the kitchen window and saw a possum eating spill or bugs or whatever at the bird feeder.
“Oh No!” sez I. “He will try to go inside the studio via Zeus’ cat port. I must run him off.”

I ran outside in my preppy pink and spring green jammys, armed with a broom to save the farm. And so I did.
Animal husbandry is the pits.

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