The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Afternoon storm 

A storm roared through here about 4:30PM.

Curtains of rain. Howling wind. Dark skies when it was light moments before.

Bottom line...five minutes of panic followed by days of clean up.

Branches to be picked up.
Furniture to be righted.
And you know all that pool cleaning I did?

Forget about it!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


There is so much I love about Central Florida, but every spring I still miss Daffodils. It was nice to visit them in North Florida.

When we visited the Maclay Gardens, I asked about their policy on cuttings...some botanical gardens allow it (Leu Gardens does); others not so much.

Maclay is a hands off kind of place. The volunteer said they even fuss at children who pick fallen camellia blossoms up from the ground.

Of course, I'd have picked a few daffodils if it had been allowed.

The other thing I asked was whether or not they had agressive squirrels. I did not want a repeat attack a la Bok Towers!

She told me they did not have agressive squirrels because the Maclay Gardens has agressive hawks! Go Hawks! Yay!

Anyway, had a great turnout last night. About 40 people came. I won a little money, so on the way home we stopped at the Circle K and bought a Lotto ticket.
This time fer shure!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pisces Rising 

Temperatures climbed past 90° this weekend. We’re hot. Swimming season is just around the corner. So Plant Daddy and I worked on our pool this weekend.

This is not our pool. This is the reflecting pool at the Maclay Gardens. Pretty, huh?

There are 2 things you might want to know about this pool:
1) It is not actually deep enough for a swim, and
2) They have a staff to maintain it.

Around here, pool maintenance falls to me and a 10 year old D.E. filter that is on its last legs.

We removed the leaf cover and the solar cover.
We vacuumed the leaves off the deck.
We hose washed the deck.
We unclogged an ant nest from the water vacuum hose then vacuumed the pool floor.
We mucked out 2 filters and traps. We added chlorine. We brushed the side walls.

It took all afternoon, but the pool looks great.
Unfortunately we won’t be swimming yet. Water temperature is only 75°; way too cold for us.


Don’t forget tonight at Pisces Rising Restaurant in Mt Dora
The Finalists in the Pisces Rising/Pulse Magazine Contest will be reading their winning flash fictions.
Come on down and I’ll read you a story!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

This is how I teach myself to write 

Arizona State University Professor Lee Gutkind spoke about the popularity of memoir as a category of creative non-fiction. He spoke in depth about Angela’s Ashes, but then, almost as a sidebar, he mentioned another memoir.

He mentioned “This Boys Life: A Memoir” by Tobias Wolff.

Tobias Wolff wrote one of the best short fictions ever called Bullet in the Brain. No flash fiction writer can go without reading that story. It is the story I kept in mind as I wrote the sentence (see previous blog post).

As soon as I got home and unpacked my suitcases, I called up Powell’s Book Store and placed my order. Within 24 hours I got this happy email…

Hello from Powells!
Your order number is 10902.

The following items have been shipped:

1 @ $4.50 This boy's life: a memoir
Wolff, Tobias (USED, trade paper)

1 @ $6.50 In Pharaoh's Army: Memories of the Lost War
Wolff, Tobias (USED, trade paper)

1 @ $7.95 Books: A Memoir
Mcmurtry, Larry (USED, trade paper)

1 @ $6.98 Roads: Driving America's Greatest Highways
Mcmurtry, Larry (SALE, trade paper)

Carrier : Economy Mail

Item total : $ 25.93 (4 items)
Shipping total : $ 6.95

TOTAL : $ 32.88

It takes forever for the books to arrive when you opt for economy mail, but I think this order will give me an awesome panorama of creative non fiction memoir.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday Hooker Report 

Regular readers of Mosaic Mom know that I go out shopping on Saturday and I report back to you about hookers I have seen.

Last Saturday I was in Tallahassee.
Lo and Behold! They have hookers there, too.
Here’s the report:

Plant Daddy and I had been traveling a few days and whenever we got hungry, we’d pull into a McDonald’s. We own stock in McD’s, so we feel that with every burger we eat, we are funding our retirement. However…

We were getting tired of McD’s , so last Saturday afternoon we walked in to a Burger King. I got the fish sandwich and coffee…(basically what I get at McD’s everytime).

Plant Daddy and I got our food and sat in a booth and the only other people there were 2 employees having their break and…three hookers. We figured out that the hookers were using the Burger King as their office. They weren’t eating; they were just hanging out.

There was an older lady with the most enormous bosooms. She was hanging out all right. She wore a white, peasant blouse pulled way low so as to show off the wares. However, her skin was alligatored…she’d lived in Florida a long time and had weathered skin like hide. She had on way too much eye liner and harshly dyed black hair.

There was a small girl with mousy brown, shoulder length hair, straight and parted in the middle with big ears and also way too much eye liner.

The third girl was a hoot. She was about late teens, early 20’s and was very lively…or what ever drug she had taken was making her very lively and peppy indeed. She sat at the booth then she’d jump and fetch more soda. She sat at the booth then she’s jump and fetch napkins. She sat at the booth then she’d jump and try to talk to the employees. The employees wanted nothing to do with her.

Finally the older one told the two younger ones to go work the drive through lane.

So Mousy and Peppy went out the front door and stood in the lane where people picking up their orders at the window might spot them and presumably offer to share a meal, so to speak. The only problem was, they were just out the window from where Plant Daddy and I were trying to eat.

Peppy had short brown hair tucked under a cute black newsboy style cap. She had on a Kelly green, spaghetti strap, stretch nylon top, which was altogether a size extra-small and she was a size extra-large. Think sausage here.
“Plant Daddy,” I said, “she hasn’t changed her clothes since Thursday.”

“How do you know that?”

“She is wearing green. Thursday was St. Patrick’s Day.”

Miss Peppy was also wearing a black mini skirt that from waist band to hem was only about 12 inches long and barely covered Texas. And then…oh yes…

Her modus operandii to signal the driver in the take out lane that she was available…

She dropped a dollar on the driveway and bent over.

This was a view one would never want to see.

She was wearing underwear with a POT OF GOLD motif.

“I can’t finish my food,” said Plant Daddy…and we left.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lee Gutkind at UCF 

I just found out that Creative Non-Fiction Professor Lee Gutkind is going to be at the University of Central Florida Book Festival in April.

Check it out...UCF Book Festival

Will I go?



Because UCF is LEGENDARY for lack of parking. Legendary.

Mt. Dora has parking problems. Thomasville GA has parking problems. Orlando has bad parking problems.

But from everything I have ever heard or read or seen on the news...UCF has zero parking.

So I will not go.

I was glad I drove all the way to Tallahassee to hear him. Good parking spots were always available at the Holiday Inn and Monroe St. Conference Center.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lee Gutkind at TWA 

I cruise the internet looking for workshops to improve my writing skills. I do it all the time. Most of them just don’t appeal to me, so I keep my money in my purse.

(I want to interject here that I met a woman who said she goes to several of these conferences each year. I was thinking to myself, “When the hell do you ever sit down and write anything?” and “How rich are you ‘cause this ain’t cheap! I had to save up.” Anyway…)

Tallahassee Writers Association was my first workshop ever. I picked it and committed my time and dollars to it specifically because Lee Gutkind was leading the workshop sessions on Creative Non-Fiction.

I had read his book “Keep It Real”. And I had read lots of Creative Non Fiction pieces, but I just couldn’t crack the code. I loved the pieces, but how were those writers constructing the work? I was willing to take the clinic.

Yes, I could write magazine journalism, but I just wasn’t getting the fuller, richer version that I wanted.

Oh My God!
Gutkind laid out the pattern.
Now I know how to put the story out on the page in CNF form.

Now it’s butt to chair time! Gotta get writing.

I also attended the James Scott Bell sessions and they were pretty good, but I got tired to watching the videos. Bell said he studied with Raymond Carver and I wished he had talked more about Carver.

There was also a presenter named Ron Cooper. He talked about choosing a point of view and narrator voice. He gave some great information on rhythm and metaphor, but when he got around to discussing Second Person Singular as a point of view, he said…
“…any writer who tries that is considered a smart ass writer. This point of view can’t be sustained over the length of most pieces and is considered experimental.”

To which I say, Dang!

I have a piece being judged right now in a contest I’d really like to place in and the piece is in 2nd Singular. I hope Ron Cooper isn’t on the judging committee.

“Smart Ass” writer.

Attendees waiting to hear Lee Gutkind.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tallahassee to Thomasville 

After we toured the Maclay Gardens, we drove over to the Dorothy B. Oven Gardens a few miles away. It was a home that reminded me of many of the large, older houses in the Atlanta area.

It was apparent from the driveway that the azaleas and camellias were bloomed out. We were tired and hungry, so we decided against hiking more garden paths, especially garden paths that weren’t going to compete against the fabulous beauty we had just encountered at Maclay.

We went to McDonald’s for a rest.

After devouring a fish filet and a caramel frappe, I said, “Look, Plant Daddy. The highway sign out in front says ‘Thomasville Road’. I have heard from George that Thomasville is very nice. They have lots of antique stores and boutiques. We should go see it.”

Plant Daddy says, “I have heard from Jimmy that there are good restaurants there. We should go see it.”

So off we drove to Thomasville, Georgia.

Well…not so much.

As we drove in from Tallahassee FL, we entered into Thomasville GA along a very shabby, dirty looking part of town. It weren’t cute; it weren’t clean; it were creepy…and this was on a bright sunny day.

There was no parking. Not a thing that looked tourist friendly or invited you to stop and stroll. It was pretty awful, so we did a U-Turn and left.

On the way out of town, we pulled in to an antique store with a nice, wide driveway and a grassy parking lot and a neon sign that said “Open”…but they lied; it wasn’t open.

We made a quick exit and bee-lined it back to tourist friendly Florida.

And just on the way into Tallahassee, coming back we espied a 5 ft tall, yellow concrete chicken statue! “Pull in, Baby!” (I am a legendary back seat driver!)

We hiked all over TONY’S GARDEN PATCH. This was at 4580 Thomasville Road in Tallahassee and it is so worth a stop!

They have over 42,000 concrete garden statues.

I was in heaven!

And, yes, I bought one.

It’s a concrete, yard art, armadillo statue.

Them Georgia folks have a lot to learn about tourists, don’t they?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More Tallahassee Maclay House visit 

Here’s a close up of the Maclay house

Didn’t Grandmother paint her house this coral color at one time?
It was a very popular color in its day…remember bathrooms of this same color in the 1950’s and 1960’s? …Very tropical anyway…

And they had a stuffed bird collection…

We used to have one as kids…
We had a stuffed barred owl, a stuffed screech owl and a meadowlark.

I own a stuffed pheasant.
I wish I had the other stuffed birds. Oh well, too late smart.

Pulse Magazine Flash Fiction Contest 

We interrupt this travelogue for an important announcement....

The Pisces Rising Flash Fiction Winners' Reveal
Monday-March 28th-5:30 until ... Pisces Rising ... Upstairs inside special functions room ... Happy Hour all day/night ... hors d'oeuvres ...

Three Finalists for the Pisces Rising-Writers One Flight Up-Pulse Flash Fiction Contest will read their short-short stories based on the painting by local artist Norm Rinne. View the painting. Norm will be there, too.

Winner-2nd place-3rd place revealed ...

Show-up ... have fun ...and support the writing arts in Mount Dora and the area.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tallahassee Gardens 

The first thing we did when we got to Tallahassee was say, “Let’s look around!” since we had never been to our state capitol. We have lived in this state for 30+ years so it was about time, besides, Bobby retired, Steve moved away, the old guard had changed, so to speak.

I had looked on line for a Grey Line type tour of Tallahassee, but didn’t find any, so we were on our own. We decided to stay away from the capitol buildings since the legislature is in session and we’ve always heard that parking in the capitol city stinks on a good day.

We decided to go see the Alfred B. Maclay Gardens.
It was just spectacular. Here’s their driveway…

More driveway…

Up to the house….

We did a house tour. The dining room reminded us of the Ringling House dining room. And surprisingly, the interior was very much more spacious than The Little White House.

Maclay Gardens does not have vicious attack squirrels like Bok Tower Gardens, but the brick walkways are a little slick when wet.

We had a really lovely morning garden stroll, then went over to the Dorothy Oven House and Gardens also in Tallahassee. But we were tired and hungry and since those gardens had passed their floral seasonal peak, we ditched and went for lunch.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tallahassee Writers Association 

We just got back from the Tallahassee Writers Association Writers Conference.


I learned so much, you will be hearing about it all on the blog for weeks...
The Lee Gutkind sessions, the banquets, the Ron Cooper workshop, the Bell guy who showed lots of videos, the hookers at the Burger King, the contests, the Holiday Inn decor, etc. etc. etc...and not to mention first visit ever in 32 years to the state capitol.

Anyway here's a little taste...I won Second Prize in the "Worst Opening Line" contest (it's supposed to use a lot of cliche and corniness...it's supposed to be a stinker...so here it is...one sentence...98 words...)

The fanny seam of Charles Worthington’s pinstripe trousers split when he sat behind his mahogany desk following his typical Tuesday lobster and martini lunch with (VaVaVoom) Vivian from payroll to confer with his first appointment of the afternoon – a mortgage foreclosure on a Mr. Santos Perinni, who had the unmitigated gall, in Worthington’s opinion, to walk into the First Cathedral Bank wearing common blue jeans, and upon hearing the fabric rip and recognizing the weakness of gabardine, to pull a revolver from under his single pocket, green, cotton t-shirt and order, “Hands over your head and stand up!”

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Birthday! 

Happy Birthday Mom!

And Happy Saint Patrick's Day, too.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jeez Louise, We got some peas 

Monday, March 14, 2011

One Year Ago 

this very date, I awoke to this...

Things are so much quieter this morning. Ah!!!

On today's to do list:
Pick Strawberries.
Pick Peas.
Return plumbing parts to Lowe's.
Do laundry.

That should be about enough.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Feed Me! 

One one side of the carport, we have little wrens.
They are barely 4 inches big, but at 4:00AM, they wake up like roosters and chirp LOUDLY.
We finally got smart and started turning the porch light off when we go to bed. That worked and the wrens now sleep in until the crack of dawn at 6:30AM.

So we get one problem solved and another comes along...these Sand Hill Cranes were HONKING at the feeder at 7:00AM.
The Brunch Crowd.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


We have 5 or 6 Wisteria vines on the fence in front of the house. Both purple and white varieties are in full bloom.

Four or five cars a day pull over, roll the windows down and take in the fragrance. I suppose a few try to get a cutting also.
The plants are just stunning this time of year.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Turkey Trot 

Plant Daddy was driving up the road this morning when he spotted this turkey.

She was just across the street from our other gate.
Hope she trots on over. We're offering free corn, sunflowers, and other birdseed favorites.
Wouldn't it be exciting to have her come live here?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Monday Errands 

Went to Winn-Dixie to pick up garlic powder and a loaf of bread.
Dang, I picked up the wrong stuff off the shelf. Garlic with parsley.

Went to the Accountant to pick up the taxes.
Dang…I gotta pay.

Went to the Post Office.
All I ever get anymore is junk mail.

Went to the bank.
Cashed my big dividend check from DelMonte…a whopping $4.14.

Went to Publix.
Got a gift card to send for a birthday present.

Went to Walgreen’s.
Picked up the Synthroid.
A miracle happened. They had a new address and phone number for the endocrinologist!
I sped home and made an appointment for my annual thyroid check up.

Went out to the garden.
Hauled in the harvest and concocted a meal of cauliflower dressed with buttered saltines and hard boiled eggs, fresh garden peas and red bell peppers sautéed in butter, (I used the garlic and parsley stuff I bought at Winn Dixie and it turned out OK!). Also cooked curried pork chops.

Went on a walk with PD.
Enjoyed the orange blossoms, banana magnolia, prickly ash, and wisteria in bloom.

Went straight to the medicine cabinet for some antihistamines!

Went to bed.

Monday, March 07, 2011


Here is the editor of Pulse Magazine giving us encouragement at the photo shoot.

I have always had good editors.
I am grateful for every one of them.

They guided me through a lot of beginner mistakes.
They have corrected my work and always made it better.
They have taught me to laugh at rejection.

I once sent Drabble to a poetry literary magazine.
I was a beginner, excited, in love with the ultra-short form.
I thought they might love it, too. I had read their journal, liked it, didn’t have a clue about poetry at that level. I honestly didn’t know any better.

That editor was kind enough not to write, “What fool sends Drabble to our esteemed journal?”
I got a nice form letter instead saying, “Thanks, this isn’t for us.”

Oh my God, was I that green?

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Gopher Tortoise 

It got warm today and look who showed up...

And man was he hungry!
He scarffed an entire tomato and three strawberries.
We think he would have eaten more, but we wanted him to start slow.

Also today, Uno, the Sand Hill Crane showed up.
Plant Daddy fed him corn, but I didn't know that, so I fed him a slice of bread.
Don't know where Uno went, but he was walking not flying on a full stomach like that.

PD and I smoothed and watered the bed to get the corn transplanted tonight.

I went to the Lake Square Mall this morning. Noticed that the carnival is in the parking lot. Another sure sign of spring.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Photo Op 

I had to go today and get a photo snapped for the Pulse/Pisces Short Story contest.
Here is the photographer setting up.

The painting was the prompt that we had to take our stories from.
We will be back in this room on March 28th and the three finalists will read their winning pieces.
Come hear me read "Marci Rogers, Come On Down!"
5PM March 28th Pisces Rising Restaurant in Mt Dora.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Sesame Street Gardening 

Today's Gardening Episode is brought to you by the Number 3 and the Color Red.

This morning's harvest was strawberries, red bell peppers and Walter tomatoes. Yum...and lots of Vitamin C and lycopene! Healthy.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Gorgeous Orchids 

These are visiting from the greenhouse for a week or two. They look perfect here in the dining room. Bon Apetit!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Randy Cadman Memorial Services 

Memorial gatherings for Randy:

1.) Saturday, March 5th, 3:00pm at the Garden of Life Chapel in Waterman Village. This is a service organized and presented by the Unitarian Universalists. Randy used to go to their services with a couple, the Beckers, who lived in independent housing at Waterman Village. If you want to carry your tribute in your pocket and see what happens, that would be wise.

2) Monday, March 7th, 7pm in the Edgewater dining room at Waterman Village. This is the regular monthly meeting of the Mount Dora Writers Guild. Dorothy Gray is a recently joined member who lives in independent living at Waterman Village. She has arranged with the staff their at Edgewater for the Guild to continue to meet in the dining room.

3) Tuesday, March 8th, 7pm in the Community Room of the W.T. Bland Library. Writers at Bland Library have arranged this extra gathering to give the large group of writers in the area alternative venues.

These gatherings are open to anyone who wants to remember our good friend and brilliant poet, George Randall Cadman who passed away on February 16th 2010.

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