The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Litter Channel 

Is that what TLC stands for now?
No longer The Learning Channel?
Now just the Litter Channel? As in shows about (white) families with ginormous amounts of children.

OK, sorry, Mom is being too mean...

Very Jerry Springer-ish! Oy!

When I was a young Mom, I'd watch Jerry Springer with Kidlet in the afternoons after school. This was during her middle school, formative years.
We'd watch the lives parading across the Springer stage and I'd say, "Don't be like that. It's a bad life choice!"

Now I am saying the same thing about these women with litters. "Don't be like that. It's a bad life choice."

Monday, June 29, 2009

NBC Tonight Show 

Dear NBC,

Thank God you got rid of Jay (if you think we are going to watch Jay at 10PM you are out of your minds),

However, it is too bad you changed the host but did not change the format of the Tonight Show. Conan is basically good and but Conan remains chained to a losing proposition...meanwhile PD and I are still tuning into Dave because Dave is getting it right.

Look, make the Tonight Show more like Prairie Home Companion.
Remember how Carson used to bring new comedians on?

The Tonight Show should not try to be like Saturday Night Live...which is dead...Think folksy...downhome...relaxed...Ed Sullivan...variety...amusement...

As if...sigh...

PS. I need to write to TLC or Discovery or whatever channel that is because if they think Jon and Kate plus 8 is going to continue as Kate and her litter, they are wrong, too.

Okra is OK 

The only green vegetable we have in the garden this time of year is okra.
It's a hibiscus!

I am working on a short fiction piece about okra.

Only... I wrote the first version in 1st person singular point of view.
I went back to the web site. The site editors said they are weary of reading 1st person POV.
Today...after I get the errands done...I will rework the piece into 3rd person POV.

I was very very greatful to have all the Hundred Word Stories sitting around. I scanned through them and found a character...Iris the lounge lizard iguana...remember her?

Anyway, I pulled her out of the Castaways lounge and set her up into the okra story.It works. Iris will star in the okra story.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Park Your Fig! 

My Kingdom for a parking spot!

I toodled into Mt Snora this morning.

It took freakin’ forever to get a parking spot!
I had to circle the downtown twice then I spied one on a side street and made an illegal turn and snared it!
I still had to walk 2 and a half blocks to the shop I wanted to be at. Grrr.

Not that walking is bad, but I’d worn “cute” shoes. You can’t walk in cute shoes. It made me wish I’d brought my Nike Trekkers.

When I got into the shop, the lady looked me up and down and…didn’t say a word.
Not a “Hi, May I help you?”

I poked at the racks on my own, but really felt unwelcome.
Pshaw! I decided to go to Sanford.

When I got to Dillards there seemed to be lots of parking, but on closer inspection, people had parked very carelessly. Most were taking up 2 spaces. Grrr.

But I didn’t have to circle. I just moved on down the line and parked. Done.

The minute I set foot in Dillards a sales clerk greeted me! I was happy. I was tempted by the shoes. I went upstairs to dresses. Another sales clerk greeted me. Happy!

Sadly, I still didn’t find what I wanted. (I was looking for a specific style).

I lapped the mall from Dillards to Macy’s and back by way of Belk’s and didn’t find what I was looking for…although I had some fun adventures trying on shirts I would not ordinarily have tried…

But I came home empty handed.
Plant Daddy is glad of that!

Next weekend should be better…July 4th sales! I will go straight to Dillards!

Anyway,fig season is here at the farm!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dieffenbachia SEX!!! 

Hey! Wanna see some sexy plant pix?

How about an article on Dieffenbachia Breeding?

Click HERE to transport to pollen land!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Post 2112 

Stand Back! She’s Gonna Spew!

First off, I am unhappy because my friend Jackie is leaving today.
Moving to Tennessee.

Yes, I know it’s cooler there and Jackie couldn’t take the Florida heat.
And yes. I understand we can still be connected via email, but it isn’t the same.

I’ll miss our trips to Palm Writers meetings together.

Bon Voyage, Jackie and Richard!

Palm Group Grousing

Speaking of Palm Group, I am working on a couple of pieces for competition and I dare not submit them to my writers group for review. I am afraid of having them ripped off and posted on the internet. It’s a good lesson going forward, I suppose.

Vegetable Nazi’s

Our friend who lives in Zellwood Station said he recently received an HOA reminder that tomato plants are not allowed in the park. Even in a pot on your patio, you cannot have a tomato plant in the summer! Is Verbotten!

The park has a self-appointed inspection team that prowls the backyards over there, looking for cheaters. “No Vegetables For You!”

North Korea
Our Oregon relatives report they are not going to vacation at the beach for the July 4th Holiday (they call it the ‘coast’). It’s not that they are afraid of the Korean missiles…the water temps in the Pacific are too cold and the traffic is hell. Why bother?

You won’t usually get political opinion here, but I have a question…All those demonstrators in Iran…Why are the protesters signs written in English?

Music I heard with you was more than Music…
Plant Daddy and I watched a show about music on PBS last night. I like a whole range of music. It’s like food…I’ll eat just about anything and I’ll listen to just about anything…

Music I like:
(in no particular order)

Hawaiian ukulele
African drum stuff
Bavarian Beer Oom pah pah!
John Phillips Sousa Marches
Boys Choirs
Steel Drums
Accordion music
Blue Grass

And of course, post-Elvis Rock and Roll!
British, Bubble gum, Oldies, Stones, Zepplin,

Just let me hear some of that Rock n Roll Music
Any old way you choose it
It’s got a back beat
you can’t loose it…..

Damn, I’ve picked up an earworm!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More Leftover Grout 

Two more thoughts about leftover grout...

One: Leftover grout cannot be stored for later use. Come hell or high water it will harden. Oh yes it will. Even in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Solution: Learn to mix grout in very small batches. Use it up within 2 hours, then throw the rest away. I mix my grout in a melamine coffee cup....oh did I mention that you can grout in several stages...all the grout doesn't have to go on at once if you are working a small artsy project. Grout in stages.

I always use commercial grout colors so I can grout in stages...or make repairs later if I need to. And get a color match.

Two: Grout isn't too good sculpturally.

Solution:Use mortar to create a sculpture shape then skim coat with grout (and leftover grout is perfect for this skimming) My experience is that grout sculptures crumble.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Leftover grout 

What to do with leftover grout?
I use mine to fill in the crack in the wall of the planter around the tree.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Funeral for Eddie 

The funeral for Uncle Eddie will be Wednesday at 11:00AM at the Galena Funeral Home 118 W Cross St, Galena MD.

The closest Florist is Turner's 410-648-5443 or link here

The family will assemble following the funeral at the Kitty Knight House Restaurant in Galena MD. 410-648-5338 for directions.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Uncle Eddie 

Sad to say that Uncle Eddie passed away yesterdaay following a long illness. I'll post funeral arrangements and contact information here as soon as I know. Please keep the family in your prayers.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Uncle Eddie 

E Bay entrepreneur and Fishing Master Uncle Ed is quite ill at the moment. Your prayers are requested.
He was always such a cheerful and practical fellow...and what a bowler! Even made the National Championships in Neveda once!
Thanks Uncle Ed for a life well lived!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Brooksville FL, We don't stink! 

Brooksville FL is best known for being the site of Roger’s Christmas House. It’s a cheery shop you can go all year round to buy Christmas décor.

The last time Plant Daddy and I were there was several years ago when Poinsettia Breeder Lyndon visited Fl and wanted to add to his Dept 56 collection.

Lyndon’s collection of Dept 56 is so large that he opens his home for tours and hundreds of people trot through to see his displays. Lyndon was looking for a particular ceramic church or store he couldn’t get out west.

We passed a nice afternoon in Brooksville, strolling through the Christmas House.

BTW Never ever ever go to the Christmas House on the day after Thanksgiving!!!
Unless you really like mob scenes, and squawking kids and shoving pushy Yankees…anyway…

There is a new law in Brooksville. We heard aout it on the news last night.

If you are a city employee in the town of Brooksville, tou must wear underwear and deodorant.

Now, the underwear thing…can your boss ask you to come into his or her office and strip so that they can check employee compliance??? Would that be legal???

And as for the deodorant, well, who is going to check for compliance on that one? Will there be a “Sniffer” assigned to hit all the arm pits and report back? And that begs the question…who wants to know?

What idiot is sitting over there in Brooksville this morning with nothing better to do than conduct a witch hunt over BVD’s?

Welcome Florida tourists…we don’t stink in Brooksville! We guarantee it!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Blue Skink Stories 

We got high speed internet today. It's on the lap top. Plant Daddy is sitting over there reading about trading Hedo of the Orlando Magic. I am here with dial up on the old computer. Hey, you get what works! We're keeping the old system for redundancy!

Anyway...Skink Story 1...
Skink dies under my washer. Smells to high heaven for over 2 weeks. P.U.!

Skink Story 2...
Mosaic Mom washes the tablecloth from the back porch. When removing it to hang to dry, I find a dead skink inside the washer. Blech! I fish it out and bury it over by the dumpster so it won't smell.

Skink story 3...
It is hot today. Mom jumps in the pool. "Snake!" screams Mom. Plant Daddy comes a runnin'. "No," says he. "It's just a skink." Skink is netted and dispatched.

Skink story 4...
Mom is doing laundry this evening. Another skink runs up underneath the Maytag. Please don't die there skink, Pleeeeeze!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mosaic Head 

Your brain on dial up
So supposedly, tomorrow morning, some technician is going to show up here at the house and switch us over to high speed internet.
Mom does not feel the need for speed. I like having time to brew a cup of coffee while my email loads. The only time it bothers me is when I'm trying to send a manuscript with graphs and photos and it crashes.
Plant Daddy however buys a lot of fishing stuff on ebay and he feels he cannot keep up with the bids unless he gets zippy. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lake County Writers Group Palm Group 

Hey, Writers, it's that time again....grab your pens and pads or your netbooks and motor over to Palm Writers Group.
That's tonight at 6:30 at the East Lake Library in Sorrento...that's the Sorrento Library to locals)
We have some great chapters for critique tonight.
See you there.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cuisinart Conundrum 

When Mosaic Mom and Plant Daddy got married 30 years ago, Mosaic Mom’s Mom gave us a Cuisinart Food Processor as a gift.

“You can make lots of pickle relish, now, ” said Mom’s Mom.

And indeed for 30 years it did. We loved that machine. It was a kitchen essential.

It broke last week. The plastic basket chipped into too many fragments for Plant Daddy to coax back together with JB Weld…and yes, we’d already salvaged it twice by that method.

We looked at replacement parts on the internet and it seemed just as cost effective to replace the whole thing. Since Macy’s was having a sale, I trotted over to Sanford yesterday to check it out.

Wow! Macy’s had a right smart of them and they were only $139 each! That was a steal!

I decided to check the floor display. It had fancy new safety features. I couldn’t untwist the lid, but a kindly sales lady came to my rescue.

She leaned into that basket with all her upper body might and finally, just when I thought the polystyrene might fracture under the stress, the basket yeilded and came off for inspection.

“It was off the track,” she said. So she slid it back into position and I tried to get it off again. I couldn’t budge that lid.

No one would call me a delicate flower; I am a well muscled farmworker.

“Push!” encouraged the sales woman.

I was afraid of snapping the handle but I leaned in harder, and yes, the basket yeilded and slid off the stand. If it was this hard now, what would happen at home once the gritty cucumber sand scoured the works.

I did not like this.

I tried the basic maneuver over and over, with the same results. You have to be an Arnold Schwartzennegar to use the new Cuisinart model.

“Do you have another brand?” I asked the sales lady.

“No,” said the sales lady, who still seemed unsurprised at my reaction. I sensed she had seen this before. I sensed that was why Macy’s had them stacked high hoping to unload them on the unaware.

“I’ll pass,” I said. “I’ll write Cuisinart and complain about this design. It doesn’t work right,” I said.

I didn’t say, “I’m heartbroken cause I don’t have a Cuisinart now.”

I think I will make a trip to a restaurant supply store and see what else I could get. At least I’m not smack dab in the middle of salsa season.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mosaic Shoes 

This may be a little hard to see, but I got the 8 coats of Kilz on and sketched the little faces onto the shoes.
I could get the mosaic work done it it weren't so galldurn hot in the studio...it's mid to upper 90's every day now.
Blech...summer heat.

Friday, June 12, 2009


When I paid my charge card bill last month I paid $429.
The actual amount was supposed to be $492.

The charge card company said "Aha! She has an unpaid balance! Charge her interest!"

And did they charge me interest on the $63?
Oh Hell No.
They charged interest on the average daily balance which was much much higher.

They charged just over 13.4%

Be careful out there!
Them Banks are hungry hungry hungry!

It took Plant Daddy 3 days...3days! to get his problem resolved, but we think he's out of the woods, so far so good!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mosaic Shoes Redux 

What’s on my (messy) desk today?

Another mosaic shoe…only this time I am going to work A PAIR of shoes together…as a mosaic sculpture.

Step 1- Strip the shoes and apply 8 coats of Kilz.
It’ll dry fast in this heat!

Plant Daddy got me colored pictures of Pansy flowers. I will work that design for the next mosaic yard flower.

It’s really, really hot…mid-90’s!
Time to swim, leave the mosaics for cooler evenings.

Bank of America Apopka Bad Service! 

Bad Customer Service
Plant Daddy got some bad customer service yesterday.
He went to Bank of America in Apopka about a problem. He waited 25 minutes to see someone who then stuck him in the lobby on an extension telephone and said “Call it in yourself.”
He dialed through the electronic tree only to get the message, “We cannot process your call now” and was disconnected.
He walked out.
Bank of America…do you think we will ever invest with you?
Do you think we will ever choose you for a loan?
Go to Hell…Oops…as if you cared!

Good Customer service
In the whole state there was only one thunderstorm last night…right over our house!
It was a wham bam Boomer!
It knocked the cable out. Grrr!
I called it in…Florida Cable had us back up before midnight.
We need to be able to watch the NBA game tonight! Go Magic!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Lawn Mowing 

After supper last night, Plant Daddy and I motored up to the corner gas.
We ran into my friend Deb, who was buying Lotto tickets! Hope she wins!

We filled 3 cans of gas and 2 cans of diesel ($40 and $25 respectively) then came home and started to mow the grass.

Started…because while PD hopped onto the tractor and beat the fields with the Woods mower, I could not get the riding lawnmower started.

(Aunt D warned me about John Deere last year when she went through hell with hers. I guess my day has come.)

Anyway, I was desperate to get the side yard mowed, so I fired up the walk behind push mower and got ‘er done!

Today, my quadriceps are seized up. Today I shall enjoy sitting in my chair and writing about Xanthomonas leaf spot…which is what I have to do. Where’s the Advil?

The John Deere makes the third breakdown in the series…you know how things break down in three’s? First was the vacuum cleaner, then the Cuisinart then the John Deere.

Yes, the Cuisinart finally quit.

It had been a wedding gift from my Mom…30 years ago!!! It has made a massive amount of food over the years especially strawberry jam, pickle relish and salsa.

The lid cracked a few years ago, but PD managed to glue it back together. But this time the breakage on the lid was significant. It served its last salsa.

It will have to be replaced very soon…I have a crop of cukes coming in right now!

Monday, June 08, 2009

My first and last collage 

From Feb 2008

Although after the class I started doing small collage pieces into my writing journals...but nothing I'd ever take public!

My Other Wheelbarrow 

When we harvested veggies on Saturday we had to use the little red wheelbarrow because the larger one was taken...

Sunday, June 07, 2009

A Load o' Produce 

Our small but mighty vegetable garden produced a wheelbarrow load of veggies for the kids.

Besides the assortment of corn, eggplant, peppers and onions in the barrow, these was a bucket of tomatoes, another bucket with carrots and several bags of blackberries.

We never made it to Mt Dora since it took all afternoon to drink mint iced tea and chat and sort produce.

(There was a little okra, but I didn’t share…Bad Mom! I did have Plant Daddy fertilize the okra patch so it will flourish and be in full swing when the kids come back in July to raid the pineapples and the figs.)

All this produce and yet…today I must go to Publix…we’re out of cat food!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Corn Harvest 

I was up before 8AM today and rushed out to the garden…Even before my first cup of coffee!

What’s all the excitement?

Little Mind Escape and her friend I Feel Like A Firecracker are coming at lunchtime to fetch produce! Yay!

But with heavy rain expected today, I thought it wise to harvest the corn early…so I did…and okra and peppers to boot!

I am waiting for the Mr. Coffee to cycle my day into peppy-land, then I want to go pull the rest of the onions. Or what’s left since the soft rot set it. Grrr.

After that, we might wander into Mt Dora if the weather isn’t too fierce.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

It seemed like a good idea at the time… 

And PD wasn’t around to talk any sense into my brain, so…

I tried to pressure wash the shower.

I had spent an hour on my hands and knees up to my ears in scrubbing bubbles and that mildew just wouldn’t budge. I needed a power tool!

It took 20 minutes to set it up the washer, hose connection, plan for drips…Oh Lord, I just didn’t get it right.

The pressure washer and all the hoses were on the front porch, outside, I got that part right. No gasoline fumes indoors, thank you very much…

I left the nozzle wand of the power washer open in the shower stall. Thus, when the motor roared to life, the wand began to dance…but I was outside on the porch casually adjusting the timbre of the engine. Oops!

When I finally got indoors and throttled the wand, it was too late. The bathroom was soaked. Still, it is a bathroom, tiled, it’ll dry, I reasoned.

Seizing control of the wand, I proceeded to wash that old tile from the 1960’s with gusto!

You know what?

That mildew still didn’t yield out of that there grout and as I pressed harder, the grout cracked open and wood particles from the supporting wall floated towards the drain.

“Expletive!” I muttered.

At least at that point I had sense enough to stop and shut the circus down.

I called a restoration specialist for help.

Dear God, Pleeeeze let him call me back. I have done dug a pit this time! Get me out of this one and I’ll never do it again.

I hope to have this all cleaned up before PD gets home tonight.

Shhhh! Don’t tell him!

Goodbye Old Friend 

I've had this vacuum cleaner since 1981. I loved my Hoover.
But a year or so ago, it started to give me electrical shocks on a regular basis.
Yesterday, it whalloped me so badly, I was stunned into reality...This is DANGEROUS!
So into the dumpster with it.

PD and I wandered out to Lowe's and bought a new Electrolux. We'll see how this goes.This is one case where I hope it sucks!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Conan O'Brien, Mosaic Yard Art and Lake County Writers Group 

There's an assemblage!

Conan O’Brien…We watched the first night. We enjoyed his running…his long legs reminded us of John Cleese in Faulty Towers. Then we loved the NBC curtains…that was soooo Johnny Carson. But the rest of the show skidded downhill. By the time Conan was tour guide on the tram, we signed off. If we want a late show, we’ll watch Dave.

Enjoy the art all you coyotes, raccoons and possums! The mosaic yard art flower is installed in our west pasture. See the white blip to the left of this flower? That is another mosaic flower. In all, we have 6 and I will be starting another one soon.

The Palm Tree is in full bloom so my nose is on fire. Fortunately rain is predicted for today to wash some of the pollen out of the air. I am sneezing as I write this. Grrr.

Plant Daddy has another Dr. appointment this morning. His ear is still bothering him. What a difficult thing to have to deal with.

Lake County Writers Group… Palm Writers has sent out the June submissions for critique. We sure have a productive group of people! They really get the job done. Very dedicated.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Draceana Pots 

On the back patio, we removed a Tabernaemontana montevidiensis that used to grow under this window. It kept overgrowing and we’d bump it every time we went to the dumpster. Also mosquitoes lived in its foliage.

After the freeze this winter we took it out rather than coax it back to size.

We decided to go with 15 inch pots here primarily because the oak tree in the patio drops leaves like crazy in April. The leaves smother most things planted in the ground. It’s easier to replant containers a few times a year than rake out ground beds.

Thriller, filler and spiller! To plant a container, think: Thriller, filler and spiller.

That means, something eye-catching as a focal point (thriller), something to make the pot look full (filler) and something to cascade down (spiller).

Back in February, I planted a blooming orchid plant in each pot as the thriller, used ferns to fill and Gynura (purple passion vine) to cascade. That planting lasted about 15 weeks…till the orchids went out of bloom and the rain came a pourin’.

(Notice all the perlite that washed out of the flooded pots and out onto the patio. Grrr. )

Two weeks ago, the orchids finally expired, so I repotted. I had the Draceana on the porch, so I divided it and repurposed it as the thriller. I used the same ferns for the filler and the same Gynura for spiller. I also added Plant Daddy’s Dieffenbachias “Sparkles” and “Tropic Honey” for filler and interest.

This should last till November or so when I decorate for the holidays. Then I will change out the Draceana for Norfolk Island Pines and decorate them as Christmas trees.

You could use the same concept for vegetables. Use a bell pepper for thriller, bush beans for filler and patio tomatoes for spiller. Or stake a tomato as the thriller, use carrots for filler and mint for spiller.

The large pots were from Lowe’s and cost $17 each. Use good quality lightweight peat or bark based potting soil. I think I might have tossed in some slow release fertilizer. Can’t remember.

I have, however, had to spray the foliage, because the galldurn mosquitoes have moved back in.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Mosaic Flower 

I was going to post a photo of the finished mosaic flower today...because I did finish it and seal it and PD and I drove it out into the field and set it up and...

it's stem was welded on at a funky angle. It looked very lopsided on its base.

So back to the shop it went for a re-do. Photos tomorrow or very very soon.

Meanwhile we had excitement out here Saturday night!

Three teenagers were tresspassing on Bland's pasture. Mushroom hunters! The sheriff came and rounded them up...probably saved their lives.

It the bulls didn't run 'em down, the mosquitoes surely would have!

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