The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Sumter Electric is the BEST! 

Direct Lightning Strike

The other day I wrote a blog titled “Helluva Storm”.

It was not a helluva storm…the one last night was!

Around 5:00PM that sucker ratcheted up and the lightning was coming so fast we didn’t have time to brace for the thunder between strikes.

You know it’s close when you hear zzzz zzzz zzz as the bolt comes down. You don’t hear a boom thunder, you hear a crack like a whip or a rifle shot.

Until you hear an explosion.

We thought the house had been hit.

We lost power instantly. We bolt up offa the sofa and I ran to check the breaker box. Not to see if the breakers had tripped, I put my palm on it to see if it was hot. As in the house might be on fire. Then I palpated the walls where the electric service comes into the house, where the cable and phone attach and the burglar alarm wiring.

Plant Daddy climbed up a step ladder and peered into the attic with a flashlight to see if it was smoky. It was not. The burning smell was the candles I’d fished out and lit up so we could see, because of course we couldn’t find the flashlights.

That was a good hurricane drill. I’ll be shopping for new flashlights today. Anyway, we went outside in the pouring rain and the roof wasn’t on fire and no large trees were down. We got in the car and drove to the back because we couldn’t get enough bars in the house to call out on the cell. I phoned our Sumter Electric power company to report the blackout.

We drove up to the gate to unlock it for the power truck’s eventual arrival and there it was…the power pole was what had taken the hit. Not only were all those breaker thingys open, wirey parts were dangling offa the pole. It had been blown to smithereens.

And so had the other two poles on the property.

At this point we thanked God that we had had sense enough to unplug the computer and the printer as the storm approached. We thought all our circuits could have been melted. And it was still pouring and sparking.

Hats off to SECO Electric! They arrived as soon as it was safe to be out and about. That was the good news. The bad news was that TWO transformers had been blown out and had to be replaced.
PD and I thought we’d be spending another stuffy night without power. We were sad. We hate candles.

Lo and Behold, SECO sent a big ole truck and a friendly crew and new transformers and by Gosh and By Golly, we were up and running by 11:00PM!

God Bless all them SECO Boys!

Well, yes, well. The well was hit. The phone was hit.

PD managed to get the well going this morning. It was just a breaker. My job is to call Sprint, which won’t be so easy.
So I am going to go get my errands done and if you need us, send an email!

I need to get going on my errands before the afternoon storms return today. Sigh!

Here's the SECO saviors at 11:00PM last night changing a transformer in the dark in the rain with a gajillion mosquitoes all around those spotlights. They are HEROS!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A 100 Word Story (Drabble) 

Gregor Mendel’s Gift

Repairing masonry in the basement, Brother Pachomius discovered an old envelope sealed within the monastery wall.

Unfolding fragile paper, he read, “Our Holy Mother in a Vision delivered these Seeds from the Tree of Knowledge, whose Fruit shall save mankind from Apocalypse.” It was signed “Frere Gregor Mendel, Brünn, 1866.” Three fresh, plump apple seeds were held within the crease.

Bells rang for prayers. The monk placed the letter atop his toolbox and immediately departed for the oratory.

In the stillness, a gray mouse came sniffing across the floor. With utmost ease, it chewed the paper and swallowed the seeds.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mosaic wall and Mosaic Birdbath 

Why is my writing like my mosaicing?

When I mosaic large, as in this photo of my garage wall from 2003, I have no sense of unified design over a large scale.

But when I work on a smaller scale, I do all right as in this bird bath

This is like my writing because I struggle to organize larger pieces but I write short stories pretty well.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Flash Fiction Inspiration 

I have read a jot by Julio Ortega concerning how to write flash fiction. He says...

"The novel can win by points, the short story has to win by KO."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Brian Feldman 

Brian Feldman is living out one of my fantasies. He is eating everything off the menu at Loving Hut restaraunt. Follow his second day of culinary adventures here.
Looking forward to Day 2 @lovinghutfl - Today from 3-9PM! #Lo... on Twitpic

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Racoons on the prowl 

There's been a lot of thumping and bumping on the roof in the middle of the night again. And Zeus is electrified all the time. Always on high alert. I think we must have racoons around.
We have locked down the dumpster so we don't have to collect trash every morning. And I wish they'd go away.
The other night I was walking a lap and something startled me. A sudden flurry underneath an oak tree. That was probably one, too.
I am not so much of a nature lover when they get this close...and threaten my sweet kitty Zeus!...and my almost ripe pineapples!
Zeus is on alert for any little sound.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Meet Me in St. Louis 

I get a few days off from writing since my boss is going to a meeting in St. Louis.

I would have liked to go there. I volunteered to go, but I was turned down. How did they guess that I was more interested in seeing the beer and the gardens and the horsies than in attending seminars?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Orlando area writers group 

I responded to an ad in Writers Magazine which ultimately lead me to a writers group in Orlando called Silver Fern.

Here's their parameters, according to their website:

Amherst style philosophy is simple: every person is a writer. The group responds to the new work gently, no questions are asked or suggestions offered to the work. This practice enables participants to expose aspects of their creative minds that may have been inaccessible. This allows the writer her truest voice. All work is treated as fiction to minimize the personal vulnerability of the writer.

The Silver Fern Writing Workshop uses the Amherst Writers & Artists method. This method is built upon the assumption is that you already are a writer, and the aim of the workshop is to free each other from any early, negative, inhibiting messages about our ability to write by focusing on each other's strengths rather than weaknesses. In this endeavor, the workshop is guided by the following principles:

(1) All written work is treated as fiction; that is, as a creation of the imagination. Even if what a writer has written is autobiographical, or has been drawn from his or her own life, group participants assume that it is a work of fiction, unless the writer asks the group to consider it otherwise. This frees participants to write about whatever they choose without fear.

(2) Since all work is considered to be fiction, when workshop participants respond to it, they do so by referring to "the narrator" or "the character" as the voice of the piece, not the person who wrote it. If a participant is talking about what the writer has done in terms of craft, he or she refers to the writer as "the writer."

(3) When responding to first draft work written in the workshop, participants' comments about it are limited to what is strong about the piece, what we liked, remembered, were moved by; in short, what works within the piece. We do not use this opportunity to comment on what the writing triggered in our own personal lives. When addressing first draft material we do not make suggestions about how it could be made stronger. The opportunity for a participant to receive this kind of feedback can come later if he or she chooses to revise a piece and submit it in manuscript form for the group to comment on.

(4) Everything read and discussed in a workshop is kept in strict confidence within the group, thus ensuring a safe environment within which to write.

If the Silver Fern Writing Workshop is what you have been looking for to spur your writing on and unlock the artist within, then click here to see when the next workshop is starting.

Hmmm, things to consider while I am sitting waiting in the doctor's office again today. Grrrrr.

On the positive, we did get a rain shower at 11PM last night. Got almost 2 1/2 inches in a matter of minutes! Good for the trees.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bathroom redo in sight? 

Remember a couple of weeks ago whenI tried to take a pressure washer to my shower to clean it?
And I ended up blowing the grout all over smithereens?
And revealing rotten wood in the walls behind?

I had called one contractor who never called me back and so I generally gave up hope and tried to ignore the problem.

Well, out of the blue, a bathroom remodeler called.

He would have been dispatched except that he was contacted on our behalf by our friend Melvin. So he's legit. He's coming tomorrow afternoon.

Now, boys and girls, I have learned, become self aware, that design isn't my strong suit. Therefore I called a designer who has agreed to pay an emergency visit and draw up a sketch this afternoon.

And all I had planned for myself today was a little ironing and laundry. Looks like God changed my plans...much for the better, I must say.

It'll be great to have all that rotten wood in the walls ripped out and replaced.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Florida Gardening Magazine 

Page 34...the August/September issue with the big orange Nasturtium on the cover!

Who wrote that excellent article about 40 Years of Florida Foliage???

Yours truly of course!
Go buy one and ENJOY!

Lake County Writers Group Meeting 

Palm Writers Group meets tonight at 6:30 at the library in Sorrento.

I can't make the meeting tonight, but I hope everyone has a good time, learns much, gets inspired. That's what it's all about.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My life has been 

like standing in a line at Disney World for the last two days. You think you are making progress towards the ride but when you turn the corner, a mob scene appears before you. It's going to be a longer wait than you thought.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Helluva Storm 

We had a barn burner today, folks! I lost a wad of work from the computer and felt only gratitude that I hadn't lost the computer itself when the lightning came out of the blue.

We lost power for a long spell and we lost the cable, so no internet service. It seems now that there are some important work documents lost in the mail. Grrr.

It is like a third world country here when the afternoon storms hit. Is this a harbinger of a hurricane season to come? Hope not.

PS Kidlet called to say her A/C had given up the ghost too. Why do A/C's die after 5PM and on weekends? Is it to enrich the service companies? It is to make us suffer in the heat so we appreciate ice cold air more when it comes back?

Grrr. At least we aren't in Las Vegas where it is 110 degrees.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Catch of Anti Letters and Oscar Bluemner 

Am reading now
“A Catch of Anti-Letters”.

Read it already.
Done in a day and a half.

Will write blog today in style of anti letters.
Is easy style.
Easy flo.
Come and go.
Between the poet and the bro.
Then I think, Whoa!
Like Oscar Bluemner letters, No?

Can’t do it, Wigdon.!

Is style from 1930’s.
Is style of smart pipples playing wit words.
You tink deys dumb but deys smart and jess lettin’ off steam.

So I tinks, Babs, you crazy.
Deez boys, Lax and Merton meet in da 30’s and writes in da 60’s.
Bluemner, he dead by 1939.
Why think ye that style same?

Sounds same.
And I dunno…
I start my next book…what is title “A Field Guide to Flash Fiction” and the lady have essay about how stories getting shorter and shorter. And language get shorter and shorter. And dis, she say bin happenin since the

Industrial Revolution

Although, she say, it trace allllll da way back a Italy The Decameron.

Fast Forward and I realize, you can read:

And there are stories being wrote like that now (in txt msg) and on Twitter in serials 140 characters @ a time and I know I wasn’t wrong
I jes don know what a do wit it yet.

And P.S. (which is in and of itself another eg.) If you want some inside info on Ad Reinhardt, read A Catch of Anti Letters.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Reptiles on Parade 

I kept trying to sit on the porch and read, but two anole type brown lizards were tearing into each other. They looked to be teenaged boys fighting over territorial rights. This would have been fine except they were hissing at each other and disturbing me.

I went over to them as they clung to the screen and I hissed at them. This was one time my lizzard breath paid off. They didn't like this at all.They quit fighting...for about 2 minutes...then repeat three times until I finally shooshed one outside.

All they did then was fight from opposite sides of the screen. Stupid lizards.

Later as I was chopping salad for dinner, Gopher turtle csme to the window begging for a handout. I rewarded him with a tasty tomatoe and a bell pepper. Then he decided to trot right on down the driveway.

"Danger" I shreiked. "Plant Daddy will behome any minute. He won't see you. You will get smushed."

So I had to put supper plans on hold and go effect turtle rescue.
It's the middle of July, it's hot. the reptiles rule!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ad Reinhardt 

My Powell's book order arrived. I have been reading since 10:30 this morning. I only stopped to break up a battle between two lizards on the porch. Then I realized I had to pee. And I realized I had not had lunch. And I realized I had not Blogged!

The book I picked first is "A Catch of Anti-Letters". It is the letters between Robert Lax and Thomas Merton. In the section I am in, they are talking about their mutual buddy, Ad Reinhardt. He is an artist.

So I googled Ad Reinhart's art. That was a mistake. I just don't get it at all. Sigh. I have sent an email to the kid and hope she can decipher it for me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lake County Gardening 

This just came across my desk and I wanted to share it right away since so many people are interested in learning how to grow vegetable gardens...

July 24th is the last day to register for the New Master Gardener Training Classes at the Discovery Gardens Lake County Agricultural Center.

For more information and to register call Anna Perez at 352-343-4131

You can also visit the gardens at the corner of Woodlea Road and Hwy 19 in Tavares...and while you're there pick up their excellent newsletter...with their excellent craft article on page 3...Hmmm who do you think might have written that???

Anyway...Look, the crop cycle in Florida is different. Here's your chance to learn what to plant and when to plant it...Sign up!

Happy Bastille Day 

The air conditioner repairman showed up just before 5PM yesterday, but he was not able to make the repairs. It was a major electrical problem and an electrician was called in.

We spent a tossy-turny night, a little warm, but at least we had fans. It was good practice for hurricane season.

Anyway, bright and early this morning, the electrician showed up and we are back in business now.

Happy Bastille Day one and all.
Viva la France!
Viva la Charles DeGaulle!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hot Hot Hot 

Our Air Conditioner quit. We are waiting on the repairman. The cloudy weather this morning helped, but now the sun is out and I am wilting!

Good thing I phoned my doctor to ask about the test results. They are lost somewhere and a search party has been sent out...I can last 10 more days...then I'm in trouble.

UPS has still not arrived with the books from Powell's. Sigh.
This week can only improve.

The one happy thing on the day so far...
Happy Birthday Aunt Terrie!
We love you!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Summer Mosaics 

I tried to work in the studio today, but if you are seeking the definition of "hot and humid" just come spend an afternoon here!

Time to relax indoors and watch some tv.

For the last 2 summers, Ice Road Truckers was fun, but how many times can you watch a show about burly men shifting gears in a big rig while the announcer screams "Danger"?

A little surfing turned up this new offering from Sci-Fi Channel...Warehouse 13 has the potential to be cute...a little X-File-ish, a little Men in Black-ish, a little Twilight Zone-ish.

It's worth a look-see on Tuesday.

Tomorrow, oh I can't wait for tomorrow to come...and with it...my book order from Powell's Books!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sonya Henny! 

There's a new Sonya Henny...Bryan just got married! Congrats!
Do you remember the name Sonia Henie from the 1930's?
She was a famous ice skater.
This is Sonia Henie, the ice skater famous in the 1930's...

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Happy Birthday Jerry Eckstein! 

What day is it?

Yesterday I got presents…

A yummy cake showed up via UPS,

A card with a great gift certificate showed up in the mail,

E-mail brought news that the NSF Grant has been submitted!,

My Sweetie brought me gorgeous flowers.

Yesterday must have been my birthday!

Wonder what’ll happen today!?!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Zippaty Zap 

Lightning ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at!
Two people have been killed in this area this week and lots and lots of ‘em have been toted to the hospitals causa the lightning hit ‘em.

I first encountered lightning’s force when I was at sailboat camp in North Carolina…and no, I wasn’t out on the water in a boat. I was in the cabin, standing with my face pressed up against the screen watching the storm.

In those days screens were made of metal mesh. When the bolt hit close by, I was zapped across my face and hands.

Next was in college. This was really stupid…do not try this…it was a wildly stormy night and some idiot boyfriend convinced me it would be safe to swim in the apartment complex pool…because it was surrounded by a chain link fence that would conduct the electricity away from us if a bolt struck.

(Let me state for the record that this same idiot tried to kill himself about a year later by shooting himself. He did not die of the gunshot wound. He was sitting on a dock when he fired and he fell into the lake and drowned.)

Okay, moving on…

Professor Nick Natarella at the University of Georgia (at the time) had a neighbor who had a tree that got hit. I was amazed at how long and how white hot that tree burned!

This was my first inkling that this lightning stuff could really be dangerous.

Here at the house we’ve had a lot of hits in 30 years …trees with their bark blown off, call the firemen because the walls are hot, that kind of stuff…

but the one I remember most was when that stupid woman customer wouldn’t get out of the field.

“Lady,” sez I, “I have done sent the crew indoors. It ain’t safe here.”

“I must get my 20 mandevillas before I leave,” says she. “I must carefully select them slowly, one by one and examine each leaf, lest they have spots.”

“Throw ‘em in the truck and move it honey. This is dangerous. That sky is green-colored.”

Then she says to me, “Why is your hair standing straight out?”

And I look up at her and her waist length brown hair is standing straight out. “Squat” I holler, but too late bause the bolt broke and the shock knocked us back.

“Get out!” I screamed, and (greedy as I am) I said, “No plants for you. Get out, now!” I ran to the office and got out of the field.

And you know what that stupid woman did?

She continued to load plants.

She got her 20 flowers and paid me and left. But every time she came in my nursery after that I never sold her anything again. “No availability, I’d say”

To this day I pay very careful attention to the hairs on my arms and legs during a storm. Never forgot that one.

Lightning knocked out the electric for almost 3 hours today. We also lost the internet for several hours.

Just another day in the Sunshine State.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Thyroid Day Today 

I am due at the endocrinologist this afternoon.
It’s an annual check-up and blood draw.

Yesterday, Oprah did a show on thyroid. I suppose the phone will be ringing off the hook at the endocrinologist’s office today. As always, I am ahead of the trend!

I’ve had the best year I can remember in a long, long time. My energy levels, my body functions, my mental health, my sleep…everything improved. Getting that thyroid level stabilized made all the difference.

Several doctors this year tried to snatch the Synthroid prescription away from the endocrinologist.

When I went to that woman primary care complaining of a lady parts infection, she did not even look at my lady parts. Sight unseen, she declared that what I had was a thyroid problem and she ordered a TSH test. I never went back.

I went to the gynecologist. He did a great job of fixing the lady parts problem. It was an easy to kill infection. He asked about the Synthroid, too.

I went to a primary care dude for a sinus infection. He asked who controlled the Synthroid. Hello, look at my nose, please!

BTW, for those of you who might not have got this news, LabCorp is no longer a Blue Cross/Blue Shield provider. If you go get your lab work at Lab Corp, you will be paying out of pocket. Be sure your doctor writes your lab orders in such a way that you can use Quest.

Anyway, after that I will trot by Publix ‘causa we need eggs and cat food.
Life goes on. Rah!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Mute is the Best Policy 

He was a little old man, and I judged that he was a Southerner because he was wearing a red plaid men’s casual shirt tucked into belted khaki slacks. Yankee men think of themselves as on perpetual vacation once they arrive in Florida and dress to that slovenly standard, but this gent sported a Southern traditional style. He was in his late 70’s and had the sort of little boy look that said, “my wife still dresses me”.

Lowe’s was bustling yesterday and I was lucky to get a parking slip so close. I squeezed in next to his blue van and started towards the entrance. His buggy was generously stuffed with marigolds, potting soil and fertilizer. I watched him gently securing the packs of marigolds one at a time into the hatchback.

I decided to greet him in our native dialect.
“Them’s purdy, “ I remarked.

Visibly stunned, it took him a moment to say, “Thank you.”

I realized I had not factored in education. His 2 word reply revealed it. I was embarrassed.

I ought to have said, “Those are charming marigolds.” Or said nothing at all.

Mute is the best policy.

Just inside Lowe’s, 3 workers were purging the tropical foliage. They were removing diseased and insect infested plants, but instead of discarding these sickly specimens into the trash where they belonged, the workers were marking the price down and putting them on a sales rack.

Four or five customers were buzzing around the rack eager to snatch this sale. A feeding frenzy had begun.
I could see the mealy bugs and pythium symptoms from 6 feet away, but one lady say to another, “A little love will cure these.”

I thought to stop and explain the life cycle of oomycete disease to these ladies, to save their pocketbooks. No amount of love or money was going to revive that ivy.

But having had embarrassing results over marigolds in the parking lot, I decided to shut up and keep on walking.

Mute is the best policy.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Skull Mosaic 

Here's a look at the inside...on the artist side. I was trying to represent the way each hemisphere of the brain stores information.

Speaking of basic information...Palm Group...the longest continually running writers group in Lake County...has calls for submission. The deadline is tonight. If you are a new writer thinking about participating, send your work to Palm Writers for review. See the website for addresses, format, etc.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Found it! 

It took forever to find the photo, but at last...I called the piece "Left Brain/Right Brain/Art Brain".

I did not like the finish after I painted it gold, and always intended to tone it down. But somehow it was the end of the semester and the maker of the ceramic skull needed it back quick so I returned it.
I found out yesterday, she never got it. So hope whoever has it is enjoying it.

Happy 4th of July to All 

Yesterday we celebrated the holiday early. Plant Daddy's Car Club came over and Kiddo brought 2 friends and we had BBQ hamburgers and hot dogs...even popped a few firecrackers at the end of the day. Tonight we will go to the fireworks show. But for the afternoon, we plan to stay cool in the pool.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Zeus High Drama 

Just before 11Pm last night, PD and I were on the couch listening to TV and
Wham! Bam! Powie!

“Raccoon tearing up our garbage can,” exclaimed I and we both dashed out the back door to stop the marauder before it spread flotsam and jetsam all over the patio.

Only, we got to the trash and nothing had been disturbed. That was a loud thump. Something should be disturbed. So where was Zeus?

Heeeere Kitty Kitty Kitty!

No reply.

For 45 ,imutes Plant Daddy and I searched with flashlights in trees, uder the pool table, in the hatch of the Z car, all his favorite places. No Kitty!

We were beside ourselves. I started to cry. In fact I sobbed for a good half hour before PD went and got the Makers Mark to quiet me down so we could sleep.

We both drank toasts to our Zeus, who like his sister Maggie, had apparently been snatched right off the patio and eaten by a coyote.

“Before we go to bed, I will try one more time,” said I , and staggered out to the office. Nothing. No reply to my Kitty Kitty Kitty’s. I turned out the light and headed beck to the house and…

There he was!

His cat fur was fluffed up to full alert status! He was growling and sniffing the ground.

I hollered and PD ran outside and we snatched him up into our arms and took him into the kitchen and fed him tuna…but he was having none of this lovefest…Apparently there really had been an event with narrow escape and Zeus was still shaken.

We worked to calm him till about 1:30AM but ultimately, put him back outside (he headed straight for the roof) and we went on to sleep.

We are pleased to report he is still here this morning. What relief.

What? Me worry?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Summer Reading 

It seems like every summer I make myself catch up on classics I somehow never read. Last summer I read Thoreau. This summer I have just phoned Powell's Books and ordered Main Street by Sinclair Lewis.

I also ordered "Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction" by Masih...and because the guy on the phone suggested it (because if I hit a threshold I'd get free shipping and he'd hit his sales quota no doubt)...anyway..., I am getting a book of the letters between poet Robert Lax and monk Thomas Merton.
What are you reading this summer?

PS. I always phone Powells because it's actually easier than working with their web sales.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


One of my 100-word stories got picked to be published in an anthology!

I wrote a story called MMootthheerrhhoooodd.

It’s about a woman who is desperate to have a normal baby….but is the mother normal?

The story won a spot in Drabbler 14 at Sam’s Dot Publishing.
If you click here you can go to the site and buy the book. Only $4.50 plus $2.50 shipping and handling. What a bargain!

The Book title is Drabbler 14 “When Genetic Experiments Go Bad”.
What an enjoyable late night reading snack!

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