The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cat Cube 

I have GOT to stay off the aisle at Publix where they sell cat toys.

(This is the 3rd kitty bed I've bought this month.)
What's wrong with me?

But it's so CUTE!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dieffenbachia Diseases 

Visit this site to read an excellent article on Diseases of Dieffenbachia.

I have spent much of the day watching the cold front blow in and reading the Kalevala. This Finnish epic is full of talking trees! I love all the talking trees. I cannot think of any other body of poetry or epic saga with so much talking foliage. Can you?

My book order arrived from Powell's Books today. I am going to start on Nabakov's Bend Sinister...as soon as I finish the Kalevala.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


For Plant Daddy’s birthday, I got him some gadgets.

The first gadget is a key chain.
When you whistle, the key chain lights up and beeps so you can find it.

It works great… except that when you open that closet door where we keep the keys, the hinge squeaks and the key chain wails. Thrilling.

I got Plant Daddy a mini speaker gadget.
You plug it into your computer and hear music.
It works great…as long as you hold your ear 2 inches away.
We do not want to sit like hunchbacks.
It got put on the “return” stack.

I also got Plant Daddy a gadget that shoots brightly colored discs (at cats or Sand Hill Cranes)…only the package forgot to pack the colored discs.
It got put on the “return” stack.

Today I ran the “returns” back to the mall.

Here’s the good news…at 11:30AM the mall was not crowded.
Here’s the bad news…at 11:30AM the mall was not crowded.

Isn’t this supposed to be Black Friday weekend?
Where are the shoppers?

I got my returns done and headed to Sears.
Plant Daddy needs a new jacket since the zipper blew out in his old one.

At 11:30 AM of Black Friday weekend, Sears was closed!

Penneys was open. Jacket price was too high.
Belk’s was open. Jacket quality was too low.
Target had a nice jacket.

If you have to cross 3 bridges to get to the mall and at the top of each bridge is a man, kneeling down and pointing to the water below, would you be suspicious?

Nah, me either.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Decorating Day 

To get into the Christmas spirit, today I pruned a bunch of cedar branches and magnolia branches and put them in a large vase in the dining room.

I harvested 3 large white grapefruits, stuck cloves in them and set them in the fireplace.

Not the most festive looks, but it sure smells good in here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Early Christmas 

Hey...Is this Thanksgiving?
Or an early Christmas for my Aunt?

She bought herself a new car. Wow!
Love it!

Over the river and through the turnpike booth...zippy, zip, zip!
Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Eve 

Today I ran to the Post Office.

Then I ran to the bank.

Then I ran to Publix.

I'm ready for tomorrow.
Are you?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Florida Gardening Magazine 

Hey, who wrote that excellent article on HOBBY GREENHOUSES in the Dec/Jan Issue of Florida Gardening Magazine...page 28.
Look for it at newsstands soon. Has Palm Trees on the cover.

More good news in writing...got a nice certificate from Tallahassee Writers Association.

Got invited as a reader to WOFU on December 14th at noon.

And...finished my story for the WOFU Pisces Rising Contest. Go visit their web site for the prompt and other details. Deadline is January 31, 2012. I have time to write at least one more story...maybe even two!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cat Toys 

I motored over to Target today to get a Thanksgiving Day tablecloth…

Uh Oh!

How did I wind up in the cat toy section?

How did the cat cube toys wind up in my cart?

Why is there a tufted kitty king bed in my check out?

(The cat cube toys should come with a warning…you’ll need Band-aids!)

Friday, November 18, 2011

How I Am Learning to Write Flash Fiction 

I recently indulged myself.
I shelled out $44 and bought a DVD from The Teaching Company.

The title of the DVD I bought is “The Art of Reading” however, I am focusing my attention on what the professor says about the literary experience…because that’s what I have to build into the stories I write.

This afternoon I listened to Lecture 12 on how to approach the work of the Modernist writers. Specifically, he covered Faulkner and Woolf.
I had read “As I Lay Dying” but I have not read “The Waves”.
You can be sure Woolf is now on my “to read” list. As is Katherine Mansfield.

A DVD class like this is a treasure.

I live in the middle of nowhere.
My neighbors are cows.
Educational opportunities out here are real limited.

So to get better at writing, I cruise the internet.
I visit sites of Universities where Creative Writing classes are taught.
I prowl class outlines.

When I find a course I think might help me move forward, I buy the textbook.

I have bought and read:

Narrative Design by Madison Smart Bell
Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway
Rebel Yell by Lance Olsen
Short Fiction 3 by 33 , by Mark Winegardner
Chicago Manual of Style 15th Edition
Ron Carlson Writes a Story by Ron Carlson
A Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction
Making Shapely Fiction by Jerome Stern and
From Where You Dream by Robert Olen Butler

Once a year, I write 2 stories and send them to Tallahassee Writers Association Flash Fiction Contest.
Professors judge the entries for this contest.
I study my judges' feedback carefully.

This is how I am learning to write.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Making Foliage Plants Bloom 

Here is a link to Plant Daddy's latest paper on how to make foliage plants bloom!

Gorgeous photos over there, too!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tied at First Place 

I tied for a First in Flash Fiction at the Tallahassee Writers Association this year.

Here is a little bit about the person with whom I share the honor.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Writing Award 

Here was an exciting email in my inbox this morning.
Results from the Tallahassee Writers Association Flash Fiction Writing Contest:

1st (tie)“Play Dead” by Katie Cortese, Tallahassee, FL
1st (tie) “Paternity Test” by Barb Henny, Tavares, FL
2nd “Release” by Marianne Horchler, Thomasville, GA
3rd “Play Ball” by Paula Kiger, Tallahassee, FL
Honorable Mention “Bend in the Road” by Iain Baird, Annapolis, MD

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fall Garden 

The fall garden has recovered nicely from the earlir disastrous start. Here's today's view:

The onions are great. There are 3 rows of beets yet too small to be seen in this shot. The cauliflower is thriving and the broccoli is catching up.

We might even have on time green beans for Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day Mosaic 

While we were at the Zoo, I spotted this mosaic.

It was tucked away in a corner and was hardly noticeable. But I love mosaics; I am always on the look out.

I thought this mosaic might be a marker for the cremains of a beloved police dog. I was, after all, standing in the Zoo. It would seem a logical place to lay to rest a service dog. So I snapped a photo of the mosaic.

Sorting through the photos a few days later, I noticed writing on the mosaic. It reads,

Two beautiful lives that came to an end,
They died as they lived, everyone’s friend.

Jason A. Kouis & Kristin Nicole Kouis


The names of a man and a woman.
I wondered if this represented a memorial to a young couple killed in a car wreck.
I googled the man’s name.

What turns up is a tragic story of war.

This mosaic is a remembrance for a brother and sister. He was 24 and had already served a tour in Iraq. She was 21 and stationed at a base in South Carolina. They were home on leave and killed themselves.

They chose to die quietly at home rather than to die in the middle of hell in the oil wars. Read the full story here. http://www.beacononlinenews.com/news/daily/1539

I am really moved by their sacrifice.

I am also really moved by whoever made this mosaic so that we never forget.
Thank you.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mosaic Wall 

Here's a longer view of the Talavera Pottery Grasshopper as the center of the wall mosaic.

Now the wall tells a story...the little insect had better be careful...here comes the garden snake to eat him!

I finished planting beets in the "real" garden yesterday. Just in the nick of time. A cold front is expected this weekend. At least the little beets will have had a few days to get rooted in before the cold wind blows. Probably won't have to deal with frost blankets just yet, though.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Mosaic with Talavera Pottery Grasshopper 

I ordered this little grasshopper from eBay. I thought the colors were just right to match the eggplant. Got it installed, got the background done with white plastic party beads, got it grouted yesterday. No more giant hole in the middle of the eggplant now.

(I do need to add some more Heineken glass bottle shards to thicken the carrot tops, but that's a job to do at leisure. Today's job...plant more beets!

I got 2 short rows and one long row of beets installed yesterday. I hope to get a second long row into the back garden today. Yesterday I also added what is supposed to be 8 broccoli plants I bought at Lowe's. But I swear one of those 4 packs looks like cauliflower. Time will tell. (We'll eat it anyway.)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Talavera Grasshopper installed 

On Saturday, we basically sat around and massaged our Segway legs. Ouch!

On Sunday, I went to Beall’s and bought myself a sweater. I’ve been needing one for 2 years. I finally gave in and got a nice, burgundy colored, lightweight sweater. I also got a baby blue colored sweatshirt for me and a navy blue sweatshirt for Plant Daddy.

Plant Daddy rototilled the newest garden area where the figs were removed and he installed fencing. That spot is now ready for broccoli. I got the first transplanting of beets into the ground.

Sunday night just as we were turning in, Little Mind Escape called. Her car died. We told her to call AAA. She did and they got her going and she drove straight here.
Plant Daddy, who should also be called Car Daddy, determined that the problem was only a dead battery.

Monday morning, a quick trip to Sears Automotive solved the crisis. LME was back on the road to Chocolateville in no time at all. (There is another big competition this weekend, too.)

On Monday while LME was here with her magic art eyes to help get the line right, I installed the Talavera grasshopper onto the wall. She and I picked a background for the grasshopper and got that up, too. I will get that grouted today and the wall is officially finished. All pieces on. It was fun that we started together and finished the last pieces together.

Today, after I grout, I am going out to buy a pair of anvil clippers. I need to photograph them for an article. I might pick up some broccoli plants, too, while I’m out.

This morning the cat caught a good sized mouse. He is to be worshiped...and fed roasted chicken as a reward for that catch.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Segway at the Sanford Zoo 

The Sanford Zoo has changed its name.
They are now the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Garden?
Today Plant daddy and I went to check out their plant collection.
We had one of the best times of our lives!

I signed us up for the Segway tour!

We had to watch the video and wear helmets and sign our insurance lives away, but what a HOOT!

We were Zippy…OK, Plant Daddy was Zippy. I hit a palm tree!

We laughed for 2 hours solid.
We forgot all about seeing plants…I guess we’ll have to go back! Soon!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

New Drabble Contest 

The prompt for the new Drabble contest has been posted.
It's "Deathbed Confessions".

Now, that is one juicy prompt to write a 100 word story around.
One hundred words, no more, no less.

Details, deadlines, format Visit Here.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Run Around Day 

Today was run the errands day.
First stop...the Post Office.

Tell me this...Why do people have to stand at the teller window and talk about their lives in a loud voice?


The fellow I was behind was wailing on and on about the various ways he was cheating his employer! Just vulgar. No one thought well of him judging by the groans and raised eyebrows.

Well, on to the grocery store for bologna.
First of the month...all the druggies and dealers were out and about.
But you knew that already didn't you.

I skipped the stop at the drug store. We ordered Medi-Quick First Aid Spray from eBay. Cool. It hasn't been on the market shelves here in a decade. Our supplies were critical. We were glad to re-stock.

At home...hey, how did that Publix eggnog get into my cart?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Ah, November 1st 

I have always disliked Halloween and I am glad that it is over.

I have always loved November 1st. It is always a calm, sunny day. Very peaceful.

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