The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cleaning Up the Mosaic Studio 

Clear the way for Creativity

Another Dumpster Day

1. I threw away a grocery cart. A big silver buggy.
It went out with a tip of the dumpster can this morning.

Plant Daddy got the cart disassembled and we were detail-cleaning it. The good thing is, I lost my fear of the grinder while scouring the metal ribs. I adapted the Dremel to reach into the smallest spaces. This was the first time I didn’t mind doing metal work.

The tires shredded and I was going to have to buy at least one new caster tire. I didn’t like having to pour money into tires.

I was planning to paint the polished buggy with silver Rustoleum, then line the buggy basket with ground cloth and plant it full of vegetables.

It would have made a cute little planter with broccoli and strawberries and tomatoes.

Then I was going to donate it to The Berries Elementary School. There’s a teacher over there trying to teach kidlets where food comes from. I was going to photograph the process and sell the article to a magazine.

But I felt overwhelmed yesterday, so I ditched the whole thing. Into the dumpster. I’ll write an article on Vinca instead.

2. I ditched an old green rug that used to live on the front deck by the pool. It smelled real bad.

3. I ditched a 5 ft. table.

The particle board had gotten wet in one of the hurricanes over the summer and the table had warped. Oddly. Anything set down onto this table leaned.

I salvaged the legs off this 5 ft rectangular table and attached them to a round table top. Voila! New table with waterproof fiberglass topper! Go me!

Anyway, it is very satisfying to throw things away sometimes. It clears the way for new creativity instead of feeling dragged down by projects that I know deep in my heart are never going to go forward.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chicken and Broccoli 

We enjoyed a delicious chicken roasted in the new pan. Then out to the garden to plant broccoli for Plant Daddy.

Yesterday a lady emailed about how to do a mosaic shoe. I told her the first step. I wonder if she'll actually do it, or if she'll poo-poo the technique the way everybody else has.

I hope the weather cools off soon, so I can get back in the studio.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Great Deland Day 

Ooooo, I didn't know Deland had a Tuesday Morning Store.
I finally found a small size chicken roasting pan. Only 7 bucks! Excellent.

I got a life changing haircut again! Yay!

We had lunch at Gator Dockside. Passible. The salsa was questionable and my chicken was salty. But OK overall.

I got a pillow for Plant Daddy at Fred's. I had never been to a Fred's before it was good.

Then to Dillards. The Clinique people were ridiculous and deserve to go out of business. Five employees milling around and no one waits on us. Then they don't have what Little Mind Escape wants. Ridiculous.

But OMG, there is a Cold Water Creek store at Sanford Mall now and I blew the budget there. Yikes.

Dinner at Don Pepe's. Pretty good. Very salty avacado guacamole. Or maybe I'm just used to lesser amounts of salt?

Then home to Zeus! And PD!

What a happy Day! Yay!

Friday, September 26, 2008

That's Better! 

I growled, Blogger listened.
Now I can show you this photo.
It's a cute garden over in Mt Dora. Wonder if this garden will be on the upcoming Tour of Homes and Gardens?

Grrr Blogger 

There hasn't been a Blogger problem for a long time, but this morning Grrr...I can't get a photo loaded. You can't see the funny garden art...or the marigolds...or read my latest bad story...Grrr.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tesserae Tales 

As I was writing Tesserae Tales, Little Mind Escape suggested that I link a few of the stories into a series. Brilliant!

I am, at the moment, in the middle of a series of 6 100-word stories. Making them into a series is much more difficult than I ever imagined. Especially cause I'm trying to put them into a Freitag Pyramid...that is..each one in a triangle and the group in a larger triangle.
Then I am trying to control a different point of view in each story and I am trying to control the tense and I am trying to run a musical theme in the whole darn thing, too!

Then I'll send it out for review and I suspect people are going to say,"Huh? What's this?"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Marigold Season 

For the last 4 days, I have been hunched over my flowerbeds.
I have transplanted about 500 marigolds.

In a few weeks, the view of that mass planting should be gorgeous.
But today, my arms and back are aching.

Gardening is good exercise. It gives you buns of squeal.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bombs Away! 

If you sit still, the world will come to your door.

Mosaic Mom and Plant Daddy got within 200 yards of Sarah Palin yesterday and we never even left home or had to buy a ticket!

We were out planting marigolds in the flowerbed and I heard a roar.

A profound roar.

Coming towards us from the east.

Like the difference between the thunder in an afternoon thunderstorm and the thunder embedded in a hurricane.

Is that motorcycles?
No, it was deeper and louder than the pack-mobs from Daytona that will cruise by next week in Biketoberfest.

Is that the helicopter air ambulance?
Bigger than that.
But it was helicopters.

So here come two huge dark-green blackish helicopters.
Kinda like flying busses. Very low. Maybe 600 to 800 ft.

And they are escorted by
two Blackhawk type helicopters with GIGANTIC BOMBS.

They came straight over Mr. Bland’s hay field and over our Z-shop. We were directly underneath the GIGANTIC BOMBS.

“Must be the Governor of Alaska going up to the Villages,” I said to Plant Daddy.

“How do know that?” asked PD.

“Who else is going to be flying around the state this afternoon with GIGANTIC BOMBS like that?” I reply.

“Those are GIGANTIC BOMBS,” repeated Plant Daddy.

“If one of those falls out, we will be vaporized,” I said. “It will not have mattered that I planted marigolds. We will become a huge crater.”

We stared at the GIGANTIC BOMBS.

Sarah Palin was probably waving out the window at us, but we were only watching the BOMBS and hoping they weren’t going to fall on us.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mom's Great Saturday 

Little Mind Escape came by for a visit….Great!

…and to help me with a computer code writing problem. Not so great.

My tracker required an HTML update which means nothing to me except that 5 years and 40,000 visitors got erased in the process. Grrrr. Not great at all. Bummer.

Then she and I went to lunch at a little Italian restaurant next to JoAnn’s.
She had a sub. “It was okay. Not great”

I had my first ever stuffed artichoke. It was ok, not great.

I also sampled a variety of eggplant and olive appetizers. They were ok, not great.

I had been to this restaurant and deli in the spring and asked to buy Italian nougat candy. The lady said they would have it in soon. It’s now fall and they still didn’t have the candy. Not great.

We went to JoAnn’s. Didn’t find anything to buy.

We went to Publix and bought all the Pumpkin Butter on the shelf…4 jars. Yum! Great!

We came home and I showed her the poetry book by James Tate.
“This is great stuff,” I said.
“It’s okay, not great,” she said…which is exactly what I thought she would say because she reads it as imagery and I read it as symbols.

Now Plant Daddy and I are about to grill pork chops for supper. That Plant Daddy is a fine, expert grill master.
Supper’s going to be great!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Fall Garden 

I am on pins and needles...I planted the cucumbers and zucchinis into the garden last evening. But the yard is being eaten alive with army worms and I have a dread of losing my crop to caterpillars. I will be going out to check soon and maybe will apply BT for my own peace of mind.

The onions are germinated. Also beets, radishes, catnip, and marigolds. But the carrotts are showing no signs of life yet. This should be a good year for carrotts since Zeus has cleaned up the bunny mess around here.

I am reading James Tate's poetry. Struggling with it because what you might read as an image, I am reading as symbols. He used very powerful symbols of the 1960's. I will write more later as I decode that.

Meanwhile, off to rescue the zucchini.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Brandi (100-word story) 

“How long have you worked at Bar-B-Cue City?” The vinyl upholstery sighed as Dwight leaned back in the booth. His waitress’ hair color matched his iced-tea refill and he liked her tangerine lipstick.

“Where’s your date?”

“Potty,” he shrugged. “I asked her to marry me.”

Brandi nodded. “I cried for a week when Jorge asked me to marry him. I knew he was bad for me, but I wanted that white dress. Should’a took it slower. We lasted 6 months. Divorced him when I found out he was in the Mexican Mafia.” She stepped away. “Need anything?”

“Naw,” he replied.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Reading List 

I am currently reading Narrative Design: A Writer's Guide To Structure by Madison Smartt Bell.

I got it for $3.00 on Amazon.com. It's the older edition but it will do nicely for starters.
It's the text book used in the writers course at Rollins College. I feel thrifty. I'm getting a writing course education for only $3.00!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday Monday 

Poor Plant Daddy. He was up and at 'em early today. Off to serve jury duty.
He'll be happy if he gets a case with lots of forensic science to analyze. Otherwise he's just unhappy about sitting in the freezing cold a/c all day.

Zeus the mighty hunter scored yet another rabbit yesterday. My fall garden will be safe without the use of fences this season.

Mom the mighty writer is going to Palm Writers Group tonight. The meeting announcement appeared on the front page of the paper this morning. I hope I will be able to get a seat at the table.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Writers Group Meeting 

Don't forget the Palm Writers Group meeting coming up this Monday, the 15th, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the East Lake County Library in Sorrento.

We have a couple of new people interested in the group-and we look forward to meeting them.

You are welcome to visit and just observe, or bring your comments on this month's submissions to share.

Look forward to seeing you then!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Notre Dame (100 word story) 

“I’ll go alone,” I say, abandoning the package tour. “My own itinerary.”

“At least, take map,” squawks our guide, perched like a bloated blue-jay on the bottom step of the motorcoach. His gnarled claw offers a pamphlet deciphering subway spaghetti in primary colors.

He smells like Parmesan. Do Parisians laugh or cry when reading crime reports on tourist victims? Robbery. Rape. Accidental traffic death. The city smells from millennia of urine.

“Je ne parle pas Francais,” but I accept his token of concern.

“Allez!” he commands. The bus hobbles towards Versailles. I want to find my way to Notre Dame.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fall is for Planting! 

Well, eventually it won’t be 95 degrees and air dripping of mosquitoes…

So, it’s time to get prepared for the fall crops.

I started green beans in a large pot on Wednesday. Also planted seeds of Onions, cukes, tomatoes and Zucchini to transplant into the beds in a few weeks.

Of course, I started catnip for King Baby Zeus, too.

Last night I ran to Lowes and picked up seeds for carrotts, beets, radishes and marigolds. I will seed the beets and marigolds into transplant pots today, if I can stand the atmosphere outside. It's soooooo humid...

Anyway, I'm looking forward to getting back into gardening again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mosaic Dress 

My Mother used to sew all my clothes.
I always wanted to learn to sew, but I was no good at it.

Mother gave me exactly one lesson.
She got me a pattern for a halter top and helped me cut out the yellow, paisley polyester crepe fabric.
So far so good.

I got it stitched together on the Elna brand German sewing machine.
Also so far so good.

Somehow, I did not gather the bust line correctly. The first time I wore it in public, my boobs fell out.
So not good.

Every now and then, I think I would like to learn to sew, but wait…looky here…maybe there’s another way to make a dress …

Yes, a mosaic dress!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Fall (100-word story) 

“The light’s changed,” said Rich, curling backwards against tan plastic upholstery.

“Yes, Fall,” Ludmilla sighed, arching her chin and peeking through the Prius’ sunroof into the crisp autumn afternoon. “The sun’s lower on the horizon now and night comes early. The hot aqua summer sky has changed to cool autumn violet.” Her fingers stroked the steering wheel. “It’ll frost next week then we’ll be huddled indoors with steaming mugs of mint tea.” She smiled whizzing, watching under ruby leafy maple branches.

“Light!” screamed her passenger.

Don’t yell! she frowned, looked ahead, jerked the wheel.

T-bone dump truck had the right-of-way.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Bunny Story 

Once upon a time, a family of little brown bunnies lived in our blackberries.

They hopped and played. They laughed with Mr. Gopher Tortoise and avoided Mr. Coyote.
But they failed to notice Mr. Stealthy Cat.

First Zeus ate a baby. Hmmm.
"Well, I'm saving on the cost of cat food," I said.

Then Zeus ate a second baby. Hmmm.
"Well, they won't be nibbling on the berry bushes," I said.

This morning, Zeus ate Momma Bunny.

Life in the country is tough.
The End.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

End of Time Travel 

And then someone comes along to remind me of why I hate people…

Plant Daddy and the Z boys were slaving away in the Z shop.
I hopped in the hupmobile and drove back there.

“PD, I am going to the corner to get cream of mushroom soup to make dinner. I’ll be right back.”

I bought cream of mushroom soup and decided to stop at the Citgo and buy ice cream sandwiches for PD and the boys.

As I pushed open the doors of the gas station, Creepy Guy eyed me from head to toe.

Voice in my head said, “He is checking you out to run a scam on you.”

He was a swarthy, 40 something, with a baseball cap, and an oversized white shirt, leaning heavily on the cashier counter. The alcohol fumes were overt. His purchases, one jumbo bottle of malt liquor and 2 cigars, were in front of him.

The cashier, a woman older than me, seemed unhappy to have his torso leaning so far over the counter. She also seemed relieved that I’d arrived.

I strode straight to the ice cream cooler, selected 6 sandwiches and returned to pay.

Still leaning on the counter, and blocking my access to it, he asked me, “Are you having a good day, Sweetie?” His accent was New Jersey or Brooklyn.
I smiled and nodded but didn’t speak.

“Aren’t you going to talk to me?”

I bit my lips and stared at the candy bars and Auto Trader magazines.

He cracked a joke.
I pretended not to hear.

“Don’t you have a sense of humor?” he asked.
I didn’t reply. I didn’t want to engage a drunk.

He looked at my 6 ice cream sandwiches. “Why are you buying all those?” he demanded, standing up. He was a big boy, dark brown, heavily bloodshot eyes.

“You need one more. Can’t afford it? Okay, I’ll buy it for you.” He pulled a wad of cash from his black wallet and laid a dollar bill on my stack of ice cream sandwiches…which were cradled on my right forearm and slanting on my bosom.

I backed up. The dollar fluttered to the floor and a ten dollar bill fell beside it. I moved backwards more.

He grabbed towards me; then swept his money off the floor.

“Here’s your order,” the clerk said to him.

“What’s wrong with you?” he asked me. “Don’t you like to have a little fun?”
“What’s wrong with her?” he asked the clerk.

I didn’t reply. The clerk offered a plastic sack; I stepped forward and unloaded my sandwiches. He still hadn’t taken his purchases off the counter.

“Say, what do you do for fun, Sweetie? Don’t you ever laugh? Hell, you don’t even talk. What’s wrong with you?” He was getting mad.

I did not want to engage him at all. He was drunk and mean.

“Move so the lady can pay,” ordered the clerk.

“What do I owe you?” he asked her.

“You already paid me,” she said.

“Are you sick? Are you mental? You speak English?” he asked me. He faced the clerk and collected his booze and stogies. “She must be mental; she don’t want to talk to me.”

Merciful Jesus, he walked out. Hoisted his bulk into a red SUV parked in front of the door.

“He’s drunk,” the clerk said to me. “Did you find what you needed?”

“Yes, thanks,” I looked her in the eyes and smiled.

She smiled back. “That’ll be $3.21”

I paid and left.

He was still sitting in his SUV waiting on me.

“He wants to follow you” said the voice in my head.

I fiddled with the radio and the seat belt, hoping he’d leave before me. He backed his SUV up, swung around and parked me in.

I had just enough room to cut the opposite way, so I did. Then I exited the parking lot opposite the way of home.

I checked the rear view mirror, he had stopped still in the parking lot, but was watching me.

I crested a hill, then did a quick u-turn in a warehouse parking lot. Then I took a turn through an industrial park. If he followed me into here, he’d be obvious and I’d go back to the store and call the sheriff.

No, he wasn’t on my trail. But just to be sure, I cruised through a stop sign and darted right in front of a semi when I got back on the highway. If he were coming this way, I’d be hidden from view in front of the semi.

I was pushing the little 4 banger hupmobile as fast as she would go at 65mph when the semi passed me.

There were no vehicles behind the semi. Clear.

I rolled into the Z shop and delivered the sandwiches.

For somebody who never goes anywhere, I sure have adventures, don’t I?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Time Travel Part 2 

So I pay the bill for the battery.

It’s noon.
I am hungry.
I decide to get Chinese.

I am the only customer in the store.
I order steamed dumplings and a root beer.

I am really happy with this order because it reminds me of when I lived in Atlanta in 1974 and ate at a little Chinese place in Peachtree Hills once a week.
I grab a seat to wait for food.

A woman younger than me with interesting glasses entered. She was quizzing the clerk about the menu when I interrupted and asked the clerk to hand over my can of root beer.

Somehow, this woman and I engaged in conversation and …you’re not going to believe this…I invited her to share a table for lunch.

Yes, me.

As soon as the words had popped out of my mouth, I thought of how my last gesture of friendliness had gone so awfully wrong.

I had invited someone to step in front of me in a checkout line and she initiated a transaction with the clerk that escalated into an atomic waste containment exercise.

All I wanted to do was pay $3 bucks cash for my caulk and get out of the store. It took forever.

There is a reason I wear a shell of rudeness, people.
Was I about to regret this?

No. This was time travel day.

Back in college and grad school,
(which is to say 30 to 35 years ago!)
table sharing was a very common thing to do on campus.
You could enjoy amazing conversations and I once met an ichthyologist that way. Anyhow…

This lady and I had a lively chat over lunch.
Mostly about plants, but also about writing, which is her occupation.

A nice chat with an interesting stranger.

I couldn’t believe it!
It was as if the clock had reversed and the world still owned its sense of connectedness.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Time Machine Part 1 

Mosaic Mom’s Very Strange Day Indeed!

In 1973…Jeez, 35 years ago…I lived in a quadruplex on NW 4th in Gainesville.

I lived on the southwest corner. Alice, the eternally howling Beagle, lived with her owners on the northwest corner. A Goth couple lived on the northeast corner, and on the southeast were the landlords; a couple in their 30’s who were heavily into cocaine.

We all had one thing in common, besides the address…the neighborhood grocery.

The place was not much more than a produce stand, and, if memory serves me correctly, it had a sawdust floor.

In the back, was a meat case and an ice cream freezer. On weekends, there was a lady who’d mix up a malted milk shake for you for not much coin.

I think they had some canned goods and some beer, but I was a regular for hamburger meat and oranges and malted milkshakes.

Now here’s the thing…they let me buy on credit.

No, no, no, this was before the days of credit cards.

They’d hand me a pad and say, “Write down what you got and what you owe, and sign it. Then pay us on Friday.”

They trusted me.

Not that I ever owed much, but they carried me week to week.

My parents covered my tuition and basic dormitory fee, but I was on my own for everything else…books, clothes, bicycle repairs, food…so I worked on a landscape crew mowing lawns to earn my way. I did not have a lot of money sometimes.

When this grocery said, “Pay us later”, it was a gift from God and I always , always paid up on time, so as not to lose their trust.

You never see that anymore, right?

Well, today….

Today I had to tote a battery to the golf shop repair place on Bay Street in Eustis.
The plan was to turn in the old one, buy the new one.

Things went well until it was time to pay. $97. I whipped out the Visa and the man said, “We only take cash.”
Nargh! Do you carry cash anymore? I don’t!
I scraped the purse clean and came up with $55.

Short $42 bucks. I was embarrassed.

Then the man said, “You can pay me later.”

I was struck dumb!
He was going to trust me, a complete stranger!

I drove home, retrieved cash from Plant Daddy’s secret stash of bait money, and immediately sped back to repay the loan.

I couldn’t believe it!
It was as if the clock had reversed to 1973 and the world still owned its sense of connectedness.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sand Flea Rake 

Okay, Miss South Dakota! Look what you started!
Your husband gets a toy; my husband wants a toy.
Plant Daddy says,"Oh, I could turn that into a giant Sand Flea Rake!"

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Credit where credit is due!

The Leesburg Publix is remodeling.
They’re getting it right!

The First “Wow!” goes to the change in Floral!

Before the remodel, you bought flowers in the seafood department. Yeah, they kept the flowers right next to the frozen fish, just on the outskirts of produce.

Now Wow! They put the bouquets of flowers right next to the greeting cards! This has got to be the perfect tie in! Whoever thought of that one should get an award.

Brilliant! Is the only word to describe the other change in the seafood department.

PD and I love Publix brand Coho Salmon.
Finding it used to be a challenge.

Was it with the frozen turkeys this week?
Has it been moved next to the fish sticks?
Is it over by the beer now? Grrr.

I was busing the buggy down the meat exhibit looking for something to grill for the holiday. “Oh, nice remodel on the fresh fish case,” I noted. Then…Lo and Behold!!!

Publix has installed an upright freezer, the kind with glass doors, right next to the fresh fish and it’s stocked with the frozen Publix fish filets.

Bravo! Brilliant!

My Salmon is at eye level!
There’s Orange Roughy and Mahi Mahi!
Catfish and Tilapia!

I won’t have to go on a scavenger hunt!
I won’t have to noodle through a floor freezer to catch my fish!

This Leesburg store used to be a default store; I’d pick up things on the way home from the mall because it was convenient. It will now be my fish shopping destination store.

The change is that good.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Zone 4 Gardening Tips 

If you really desire for your garden to grow,
And you live in the land of the ice and the snow,
You must study the guidelines they have in Zone 4,
Then you gotta go shopping and learn a bit more.

Buy the Old Farmer’s Almanac 2-0-0-9,
Then look on page 38, that’ll do fine.
They list the varieties you ought to grow,
If you live in the land of the ice and the snow.

If you live in the land of the hot and the wet,
You is not even thinking of gardening yet.
You is thinking that Hanna is coming your way
Then Ike’s gonna get ya and blow you away.

You ain’t gonna be an old Florida fool,
You’ll wait till it’s drier, wait till it’s cool.
Wait till October to start the bean crop,
Or suffer the heat and over you’ll drop.

PS. You see why Mom ain't winning no local poetry contests!

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