The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Plant Daddy sent me out to Discount Auto this morning to fetch oil and an oil filter for with which to effect an oil change in the tractor. All the way there and back, my hair was bugging me. My bangs were poking into my eyes and I can’t stand that.

As soon as I dropped the oil off in the Z shop, I ran to the phone and called Alfredo. I realized this was a long shot, a Hail Mary request on New Year’s Eve. And sure enough, Alfredo said he was booked.

So I headed to the bathroom. I seized the scissors for with which to effect a homemade haircut. I had worked the top over pretty well…having shortened the bangs by a good 3 inches because I couldn’t get them even and I kept trying and that made it worse so I kept trying etc…when the phone rang.

“Hi, it’s Alfredo. I’ve had a cancellation. Can you come in a half hour?”

“Uh, Alfredo, I’ve been…uh…well, look. I’ve been in the bathroom cutting my own hair. But I could really, really use your help now that I’ve ruined it. “

“Okay,” says Alfredo. “Come on over. You definitely need this appointment now. I’ll see if I can fix it.”

The salon was a happening place! Lots of customers were getting coifed for their evening events. Several were chattering about parties. One lady was headed to a charity ball. Alfredo himself was going to a fancy dress dinner party.

“What are you doing to celebrate?” he asked me when it was my turn in the chair o’salvation. Alfredo tried not to grimace at what I’d done to my bangs.

“Plant Daddy and I have a tradition,” I replied. “We get in the pick up truck and drive to our south fence line. We park and look out over the pasture. We watch cows and coyotes and raccoons or whatever is filtering through the grass as we drink cheap Gallo jug wine and listen to the radio. When we get tired of midnight cow spotting, we drive back up to the house and call it a night.”

“Are you going to shoot off a shot gun, too?” he asked.

“No, the neighbors across the street usually do that, so we don’t have to bother with it.”

Alfredo’s face didn’t move. Didn’t flinch. He just kept cutting and styling. A little mousse, a little spray and I was done. What a pro! We wished each other well and the next customer hot racked into the chair.

I came home and grabbed the scissors and fixed a few places to my liking and called it a success.

It’s a blessing to have a hairdresser that understands you!

Happy New Year to everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Six Sycamores 

When PD and I moved out here on the farm, there were 5 trees on the whole place…A silk oak, a live oak, a eucalyptus, a cherry laurel and a cabbage palm.

The silk oak froze in the freeze in 1980. We sawed down the eucalyptus in 1981 cause it was too close to the house. The live oak was in the front yard, but was damaged when we put in the pool. It split in half in a storm in 1989 and we had to take it out. The cherry laurel made it till 1999 before it succumbed to borers. The cabbage palm is still here.

Everything else on this farm we planted. We think the number is well over 600, but we have never counted. Let’s just say, we created a forest where once there was pasture and we are proud of having done it.

This evening after dinner, we planted six sycamores. It’s what we do!

This is the sycamore bark and seed pods in winter. Georgeous.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Yay! Just in the nick of time...Mobilebabe sent gift cards to Penney's. I went to the mall today and Plant Daddy got 2 packages of socks! Yay!
We also got 2 hand towels to match the new bathroom decor. And we still have another card left for a shopping adventure to be named later!
Thank you.
Here's the loot and there's a couple of things to notice...

Finally a photo of the reupholstered sofa...
See the yellow lid on top of the chest? That's the terrarium I've had continuously since 1963!
And the fact that Mobilebabe and I were thinking exactly alike about what kind of tree to put up this year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tomato Mosaic 

Plant Daddy harvested out all the garden tomatoes this afternoon. A frost is expected tonight so pick ‘em or lose ‘em. He removed all the plants and stakes, cleaned the area and will plant it to broccoli. He took out the eggplant and pepper bushes. We had harvested them out last week; they were done.

Here's the haul sitting in the mosaic studio waiting to ripen.

I ran errands this morning.

At the accountants, they once again tried to convince me to file taxes on line. I held out. They teased me. “No,” I said, “I don’t trust computers.”

I went on over to the brokerage to square up a problem looming in my IRA.

The lady asked me a question I could not answer, so I reached for my cell phone to call the accountant to calculate the answer. The cell phone said “SIM deactivated” (or something like that). I don’t know much about technology, but I knew anything to do with a SIM malfunction is bad.

I knew I had paid the phone bill and I knew I had a paper trail to prove it. I dialed them up…on the good old land line…and yes, it was their computer error!

Computer error!

After the phone guy fixed the problem, I phoned the accountant. “See,” I said. “See how important a paper trail is!” Sheesh!

Plant Daddy and I ordered seeds on line this afternoon. Zipper Cream peas and Tendersweet carrots.

I printed out the receipt!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dashing through the slow 

I expect traffic will be a bumper to bumper, inch by inch ordeal tomorrow. Everyone will be back to work, shopping, chores. The roads will be clogged.

I have to wade out into it, too. Unavoidable. I have banking and post office errands that must happen. Not to mention getting the first of the tax forms to the accountant for the end of the year tallies.

I hope I can pack my patience and get 'er done. Then I can look forwards to New Year's Eve with a manageable load of chores for the new year.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Drabbler 15 

What's up with the Post Office?

Today, the day AFTER Christmas, we got all our Christmas cards! I thought all those people had forgotten us, or deleted us, or were hit by the economy or something. But today's delivery was abundant. Thanks!

Also in today's mail, my clip copy and payment for Drabbler 15. Buy and read my story...go here to order (you have to scroll down a bit, but you'll find it!)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Mosaic Christmas! 

Just in the (Saint) Nick of Time!

I had promised grapefruit to my friend Deb, but both of us had busy pre-Christmas chores and engagements that kept us from getting together.

This morning, I hopped out of bed and hustled out to our citrus grove. I picked Deb a box with white grapefruit, pink grapefruit, navel oranges and honeybells.

After lunch I dashed over to her house and just in the nick of time. Right behind me, her guests were pulling into her driveway. I was so glad the citrus was on time for everybody to enjoy. We’ll catch up on our visits later.

Driving home, I saw a dark ominous line of storms swallowing the sky from the southwest. I parked the car and without stopping to change clothes, I grabbed a flat of onions and charged into the garden.

I got 60 sprouted sets of Grano’s and about a dozen little beet plants into the ground just in the nick of time. Then the sky let loose!

Now we are enjoying a cool rainy day, very Christmas-like. So Ho-Ho-Ho- and Merry Christmas to all. Enjoy your Christmas Day!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Magi Magic 

My Eight Chanukah Miracles 

It’s Christmas Eve…time to make citrus salad, eat lasagna and watch the Pope on TV at midnight. So why am I blogging about Chanukah?

Chanukah celebrates the occasion when the Maccabees were in the Temple and were running out of oil for their lamps. God made a miracle and they got 8 days out of 1 day’s worth of oil.

I have felt very depressed because of the economic Depression which is hitting the kid really hard. Back in the middle of December, I needed some miracles, so I prayed for Chanukah miracles. God in all His awesomeness sent some.

Day 1. Saturday Dec 12th. I won second place in the Tallahassee Writers Association Flash Fiction Contest. It was judged by Robert Olen Butler. This alone would have held up my spirits for 8 days, but wait there’s more…

Day 2. I went to Mt Dora to shop and I found a parking place. That’s BIG!

Day 3. Monday Dec. 14th. All the packages on order arrived from UPS. Christmas giving was in the bag.

Day 4. The stove did NOT catch on fire when I charred the Texas toast.

Day 5. Wednesday. Dec. 16th. A Stetson University post card arrived announcing a spring full of Oscar Bluemner events!

Day 6. My book order from Powell’s arrived.

Day 7. Friday. Dec. 17th. Dr. Chen got his final recommendation from the dean for tenure and promotion.

Day 8. I bought myself a bottle of perfume. I haven’t put on perfume in decades. It is a luxury I can’t really justify, but I felt really really happy.

Therefore I have much to be thankful for this Christmas Eve.

But at the moment, I have to go get the lasagna out of the oven before it catches fire.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Episcopal Father Tim Jones 

Dear Father Jones,
I am a little short of cash what with Christmas shopping and all. What time are services over at your place? Can I come and steal out of your offering plate? That's OK isn't it, if I really need it? Kinda like shop lifting...stealing is all the same. Once you've broken the commandment, might as well go for it, I say!
Well, Cheerio and Bob's your uncle and Hip Hip and all that other British bilge.
See you soon, Pops
Mosaic Mom

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Recording the Rednecks! 

When a hurricane is bearing down on the state, expect delays and food shortages and short tempers at Publix. Ditto Christmas week. Still, I went this afternoon.

I got a nice parking spot. Got my shopping done…took the last $1.49 sale priced 5-lb. bag of Gold Medal flour off the shelf…but hey, that’s my gain and someone else’s loss. Lots of cashiers and bag boys were estationed so lines were swift. I even used the machine to buy Lotto scratch off tickets so no delays there either.

And the trip was about to seem uneventful till the fight broke out in the parking lot!

Mr. Pick up Truck was annoyed that Mr. SUV would not move forward. He leaned out of his window and shouted a friendly greeting…”Hey! Move your ass!”

To which came the reply, “I can’t. There’s pedestrians you Redneck!”

Game on! The two roosters then exited their vehicles, postured and shouted quaint phrases at one another.

Despite the danger of shots erupting, a crowd gathered. And here’s what floored me…

4 people were video recording it!

It is probably playing on You-Tube right now.

Video recording is a little ahead of my technical skills and my old flip phone, but you never know where it will turn up!

At the YMCA when you are slipping into your speedo?
Maybe at a restaurant?
Church? AA meeting?
Maybe at your writers group?

Hmmm…too late to ask Santa for a new phone, but I have a birthday coming up!

Episcopalian Criminals! 

This article was posted up in the Rapid City Journal. It is too good not to share!
If you are Episcopalian, go ahead and steal says the priest! What's wrong with breaking a Commandment! After all that church already got rid of the adultry part. Here's the story in all its glory!

LONDON -- Parish priest Tim Jones says it's OK to shoplift at times as long as you don't take more than you need -- but British police, retailers and clergy disagree.

Jones says people in desperate need may at times be justified shoplifting items from large chain stores. He serves a village in York 220 miles (355 kilometers) north of London.

He defended his comments Tuesday in the face of a firestorm of criticism, saying society is wrong to ignore the desperate plight of many poor people.

The Archdeacon of York, Richard Seed, has released a statement saying the Church of England does not condone shoplifting. North Yorkshire Police have followed suit, pointing out that shoplifting is a crime.

The British Retail Consortium also condemned Jones' views.

This year shoplifting, next year...what'll it be? OK to kill as long as you really need to?

Good God Almighty! What are they thinking!

Isaiah Zagar 

My friend Suzy was inspired by Philadelphia mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar, who composed his mosaics across entire buildings. When Suzy created the wall mosaic at Tavares High, she included a portrait of him.

Suzy has decided to retire and will move to North Carolina at the end of the school year. That's 2 friends leaving. Jackie and Suzy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Palm Tree Mosaic 

I made this palm tree mosaic for my friend Jackie. She is leaving Florida next week, moving north to Tennessee. I hope this will remind her not only of Florida but also of Palm Writers Group which is where we met and had so much fun as writers.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Unexpected Visit 

We were delighted that LME popped in for a visit Saturday.

We got busy with garden harvesting, car maintenance and then unexpectedly got started cleaning out her closet. Here is a pile of art work from MIDDLE SCHOOL!

She also found an old prom dress to donate to some lucky girl to wear this year! So Sweet.

Today I am expecting my mosaic friends to come over for a studio open house and snacks...yum, fruitcake!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Florida Rain 

December 16, 2007

December 18, 2009

Yes today was soggy, but warm still. But they say a cold front is coming and we may get frost soon. Good thing the crew is coming from Orlando to gather tomatoes and citrus and fresh Christmas greens on Sunday.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fax Virgin 

Until today I was a fax virgin.

Email is so much easier, I kinda just skipped the whole fax thing.

"But Mom, you had a business. Why didn't you have a fax?"

"Because when fax was a new technology, people spammed the fax machines with advertisements. So most business owners in those days got in the habit of keeping the fax turned off anyway."

(Do they still do this? I don't know.)

Anyway, I am now in a dispute with a merchant through the credit card company and the only option was to fax the documentation. So I trotted up to Office Max today and lost my fax virginity.

It cost $14.and change for 11 pages. I think it might have been cheaper at Staples, but the traffic in Apopka is killer since the Turnpike is out of service, so I headed North instead.

Still, that's less than a fax machine and a second telephone line.

Now I gotta go cook. We're having eggplant from the garden tonight. Yum!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Five Decembers to Remember 

December 2005: Working on the mosaic art car at Joe Difiore’s Garage

December 2006: Working with Plant Daddy washing algae off the fiberglass greenhouses

December 2007: Zeus helps me make another mosaic shoe

December 2008: Transplanting celery into the garden

December 2009: Scanning traffic waiting for the UPS truck to bring goodies

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fiber Art Post Cards and Jewelry 

My friend who quilts and writes for quilting magazines makes georgeous fiber art jewelry

and fun fabric post cards

See more of her work...for sale...at ETSY

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Motorcycle Wreck 

I have little sympathy for motorcyclists who end up like this when they speed, ultra-speed, fly down this road in front of my house. At least this one wrecked himself all alone, no car hit him. He didn't hit or injure anyone else with his stupid speeding. He seemed to be alive when they hauled him off to the helicopter.

While traffic was backed up, three aditional motorcyclists tried to circumvent the wreck using the shoulder. Failing that, they revved up their motors and sped off to try to find an alternate route. They're getting what they earn. I don't feel sorry for them. I fear for my family's safety on this highway because of speeders like him.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Best Present for a Writer! 

My feet haven't touched the ground since this message popped into my in-box this morning...

"Congratulations! Your flash fiction piece, “The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend,” won second place in the 2009 Seven Hills contest. Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler served as finalist judge."

Publication is expected in February. More details then!

Robert Olen Butler is amazing. Link here to see one of my favorites of his books.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Polar Bear Poinsettia Topiary 

This photo was from the Las Vegas Sun Newspaper. Our friend's poinsettias were used to create this gigantic polar bear topiary.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday Dumpster Day? 

A guy with a dumpster truck showed up at the gate. Today. It's not Tuesday, our usual dumpster day. What gives?

Well, it seems our driver reported the condition of the can and put in for a replacement. Now does this look bad to you?

The bottom rusted out about a year ago and Plant Daddy and I welded on a new steel mesh bottom. And if PD did the welds, that's secure, baby!

And we painted it too. Tricked it out all nice and all!

But alas, it got swapped out. We have a nice new can now.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Pulse Magazine Winner! 

Congratulations to Kay Williamson for her prose story on "Bacon, Eggs and Re-grits" Her entry will be in the January issue of Pulse Magazine on the Writers One Flight Up page.


And since my 100-word story on the prompt "Bacon, Eggs, and Re-grits" didn't win (DUH!), here it is for your amusement...

Bacon crisp, and eggs, fried in butter, mmm. I stir yolks into the grits, about to deliver manna to my lips when she says, “Do you love me?” Diner hubbub freezes as I try to recall her name. The sex was great last night, but the only commitment I want this morning is Welch’s grape jelly on my biscuit. I shove the grits into my mouth. She’s having cantaloupe and tea. What kind of breakfast is that, for God’s sake? I wash the swallow down with coffee, black. “Let’s get out of here,” I say. “Where can I drop you?”

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

McDonald's Market Research 

Tuesday is dumpster day.
We unchain and unlock the service gate,

…what an awful time we have had with drug dealers doing roadside business in front of that gate in the past 2 weeks. Grrr….anyway,

the stegosaurus-looking dumpster truck belches into our driveway between 6:45 and 7:15 AM and our dumpster can gets emptied. Then we lock the gate back up and the rest of the day is free.

Today the dumpster man didn’t arrive until 11:15AM. Grrr! This threw the whole schedule out of whack!

Not to mention that I was on high alert lest drug dealers pull into my driveway and park and set up shop underneath the oaks. Anyway,

The dumpster belched away and I locked up and made it out the door in time to go have lunch with my writer friend …and do some stock market research at the same time.

I have been thinking of buying some McDonald’s stock…it may go up and give me a profit because they have promised to 1) clean up the restaurants, 2) add tasty new items and 3) promote the cheap dollar menu. Here’s what I saw. My data is from the Lake Square Mall McDonalds.

1)Clean up the restaurants…well, what about the vagrant drunk in the orange vest sleeping on the bench across the parking lot at IHOP? That was off-putting! There also might have been a hooker working that IHOP parking lot. She was the SECOND woman I’d seen that day in a purple sweater standing next to an SUV with the hood raised. Hmmm, anyway…

The McDonalds had been remodeled. Nice except for the same nasty floor. But much improved in the furniture department. Okay, one for MCD.

2) Tasty new items. I ordered a FRAPPEE. The cashier suggested the caramel flavor. Good call. I thought I was getting a hot coffee, but it was a cold drink. Man Oh Man was it good!!! Yummy! That drink alone would get me back in the store. Yes, yum! Okay, score 2 for MCD.

My fries were uber-salty. I had to wipe each one with a napkin before I could eat it. The fish sandwich had no lettuce. But no surprises there. I choked it down. My friend loved her Eggnog milkshake BTW.

3) Promote cheap dollar menu. I noticed at the cash register that you can purchase McDonalds gift cards in $5.00 denominations! Cashier said they were selling a lot of gift cards. Triple score for Mickey D’s. I will buy some stock after the first of the year.

Here’s a link if you want to check out McDonalds yourself! Besides, they just opened their 1000th restaurant in China.

Then it was on to the UPS store to ship Christmas packages…but that is a blog in and of itself!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Polar Bear Poinsettias 

Our friend who visited yesterday invented the Polar Bear Poinsettia.

When you buy one, part of the proceeds are donated to Polar Bear International to save the bears.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Poinsettia Beauty 

Here are some more beautiful poinsettias to see. These were in Oregon at a garden center we visited last year.

Friday, December 04, 2009

UF Poinsettia Trials 

Every year the University of Florida tests poinsettias to see how they do here in the land of heat and humidity and bugs. Plant developers from all over the world come to see the results.
One of Plant Daddy's college buddies from Minnesota is coming in from California en route to the show. And another breeder from Sarasota. It's always fun to share breeding info and have dinner.
Here's a few of this year's pretty points.

After the tests, they sell them off! The show is open to the public on Wednesday after the breeders finish their results on Tuesday.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Two out of Three 

I entered 2 writing competitions today…both with 100-word stories.

The first went local…to Pulse Magazine. Their prompt was “Bacon, Eggs, and Re-Grits.”
They had a word limit of 650 words, but I could only think of 100. I think my story worked well, but I know it won’t win. As soon as they post results, I will post the story for all to read.

The second went out to Sam’s Dot Publishing in California. Their prompt was “Alien Architecture.” I had a lot of fun with that one. It was a real “groaner” and if it is rejected, I’ll post it too.

Mt. Dora Library Writers Contest is a complete dud. No results posted. What a waste! It reflects so badly on the library doesn’t it? To say results will be in by Nov.1st and here it is Dec.9th. I will never enter there again.

I found a Creative Writers Workshop on line through UNF (University of North Florida). Unfortunately the class was full for Spring 2010.

I found a Fiction Writing Class at LSCC. I am thinking about taking that. It’s only 6 weeks, starting in January. I have to think about that. I get busy with taxes in January.

A businesswoman I know showed up at her bank today to pay an 1120 tax deposit. The bank told her the deposits all have to be electronic now. I’m glad she gave me a heads up. I would not want to show up at the last minute and be shut out.

I missed a state tax deadline once, decades ago. The interest and penalties for being 24 hours late were brutal. You never want to do that twice!

The telephone repairman came today. He did NOT get the repair accomplished. He is sending the contract crew to bury a new line. Here we go again!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bye Bye Bobby Bowden! 

While I was supervising students at Tavares High School making this mosaic on the wall of the gym in about 2002, a football player, dressed in his uniform and tackle and cleats, came by and kicked one of the art girls, laughing as she pitched forward into the dirt.

I reprimanded him. And do you know what this kid said to me? Sports Boy said to me, “I don’t have to listen to you. I’m in football.”

This was the legacy of Bobby Bowden.

Bobby’s players were shoplifting at Dillards and driving drunk and parking anywhere on campus they damn well pleased. Bobby’s response was always to let them off the hook, bail them out forgive and forget for the all mighty FSU team football.

It got so bad we all called his team the “Criminoles”.

It was so notorious that even this Tavares High school football player recognized he could get away with anything as long as he could play the sport well.

I did report that kid to the coach and you know what the coach said?

“That’s football”

This attitude was part of why I quit being a High School volunteer. Sports outranked everything academic, moral or otherwise because of Bobby Bowdon’s bad influence on kids playing the sport.

I am glad to see him go. Long over due.

By way of comparison, Urban Meyer had a player arrested for DUI this week. The week before the playoffs.

Know what Urban did?

He suspended the player.
Read details here

Thank you! Oh God! Thank you, Urban Meyer!

Thank you for sending a message that no body is above the law…now about Tiger Woods…

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Rosemary's Baby 

Remember that movie? It was soooo scary for its time!

On the corner of our garden we had a rosemary plant for years and years. Finally she got too big...more than 6 feet across. So we had to pull her out to reclaim some space for peas.

Over the years we had rooted several cuttings off her and started lots of children from the Mother Plant. Yesterday we transplanted one of those into the empty spot.

I present..."Rosemary's Baby"...

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