Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Downtown Orlando Art and Living Expo, February 19 & 20th, 2011

This past weekend I was in Orlando at the Downtown Art and Living Expo show around Lake Eola.  The black and white swans were all out in force.  I was on the other side of the universe from where I am at when I do the Fiesta in the Park in April and November.  I missed the coziness of that area--I did not miss the Farmer's Market vendors.  LOL   

It was a gorgeous weekend.  In fact the week before was pretty near perfect.  Sunny and warm...finally!  Thanks to all who came out to visit...even Hal from South Florida turned up with his daughter who lives nearby.  It was fun seeing all of you.  Hey, let's do it again in April at Fiesta in the Park!!!

Oh, and does Orlando have more dogs than the average U.S. city?  I always marvel at the number of people who bring their dogs out at the Lake Eola.  I am a people watcher, but, when I am at Lake Eola I always become a dog watcher.  They are infinitely more entertaining than the 20-something crowd who shows up dressed to shock.  I especially like the frou frou outfits and dog strollers...sometimes.  When the people are serious, it's kinda scary.  But when the owners are having fun--as much as the dogs--then it is a good time for all.  Bonnie Dog and I need to make a trip down here one afternoon...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011

Well Happy Birthday to my good friend, Cindy Pease Waicukauski--yes I had to check the spelling on that as usual!

The guys on my favorite talk radio station were talking about training their wives/girlfriends into not celebrating on V-Day.  They argued somewhat persuasively that it is a made up Holiday, one manufactured by the greeting card companies to sell cards.  I don't disagree with that.

I do however think it is an awesome way to say thank you to someone you may take of advantage of during the year...however slightly, infrequently or unintentionally that may happen.  Or to say, "I love you".  Or maybe, "you rock my world".  All of these happen to be true in my house.  I got lucky by marrying one of the good guys.  So, he got a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies that I will try not to sneak when he goes to bed.

And I got a beautiful card and some pretty red roses.  So, my vote is to celebrate each other, but perhaps not the day...specifically.  

Now lets hope the cat and dog don't tip this vase over when they jump up on the table!!  You know how often that happens.  LOL

Saturday, February 12, 2011

February Shows so far, February 12, 2011

 The Country Fair in Lake Placid is one of my favorite little shows of the Winter.  And not to disappoint, it usually feels like Winter.  This year we had one great day and one winter-y day--at least it looked like Winter all day long.  I set up Friday afternoon as usual and had dinner at this great little spot adjacent to the park.  They looked like they were doing a great pizza business that night.  And the tables were packed full with diners.  The Clams with Linguine were great!

One of the neat things about this show is that it is very much a "fair" for the community.  Plenty of activities for kids of all ages.  The pictures below were taken primarily for the benefit of my husband, but, there is so much to do.  Plants, food, fresh produce--I usually find a couple bunches of Swiss Chard to make a great spaghetti dish when I get home.  

Since I have been doing the show for several years, I do have a nice following.  The folks below are some new customers who were performing on Sunday morning.  Becca, on the right, is 11 and she and her Mom put on a nice show.  Later in the day we heard one of Becca's friends--and that girl, I swear will be on American Idol one day.  She was fantastic.  This show has not been known for it's quality music--it's more Mom and Pop acts.  But, this year there was a definite improvement.  

 This year with the construction going on in the DeVane Park, we were set up along the road--which many vendors liked a  lot.  I had customers asking me if I was new--and I have done the show 6 years or so.  I KNOW I did better set up along Green Dragon Dr. so I hope they will consider doing this in the future!

I also get to see one of my favorite customers, Jan H., who taught herself how to make soap.  She brought me a bar to try--it's the one wrapped in tissue with a big bow.  I also met up with Kurt Elliott, a soaper from Pennsylvania--he was up at Crystal River a few weeks ago too.  We traded for that round bar of soap.  I can't wait to try both!

And that brings us to the show today at Florida Estates Winery.  It was a beautiful setting under some old oaks out in the middle of nowhere--near Land O' Lakes, Florida.  The "winery" itself was nothing like I imagined--think taking a typical concrete block ranch and plucking it down and putting a "winery" sign out front and you about have it.  I guess the Clermont Lakeridge Winery really is my new standard for wineries.  

There were about 10 vendors set up and if wasn't for long time customers Adrianna and Louis I would not be too happy with my results.  But those two took home a big old bag of soap and made my day!  Thanks so much!!  We had a lot of time to stare off in the distance, so, I caught these two making off with a couple bottles of Red.  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Operation Beautiful, February 10, 2011

Operation Beautiful...transforming the way you see yourself one post-it note at a time.

I came across this website/blog in my travels around the web and thought what a great thing it was for women.  Then I learned it was the brainchild of a twenty-something who wants to change the world one positive note at a time.  Caitlin Boyle spent years battling her weight and depression.  One day in a public bathroom, she put up a note on the mirror with a simple message, "You are Beautiful" and with those words and a quick photo  a movement was started.  In her own words:

"The goal of the Operation Beautiful website is to end negative self-talk or “Fat Talk.”  If this little blog only does one productive thing, I hope it helps readers realize how truly toxic negative self-talk is  — it hurts you emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  Through my own experiences fighting Fat Talk, I’ve realized the power behind an anonymous act such as Operation Beautiful.  When I post a note, I’m saying, “I CHOOSE to be positive!”

I loved the idea of encouraging and empowering women so much, I bought the book and had it sent to my two nieces for Valentine's Day.  I hope you will take a look.  Then grab a pad of post-it-notes and start changing the world!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rod's Alien Arm, February 2, 2011

WARNING--GROSS Pictures to follow...

Got a guy in your life?  Well, then you are probably familiar with the Tough Guy Act.  You know, they are on their death bed and they refuse not to get ready for work??  Well, a couple weeks ago Rod comes home and says his arm is hurting.  He is prone to cysts and he had one on his upper arm for years and years--it was like a small fatty tumor under the skin.  Think the size of a pea.  So, he slides off his shirt and this is what I find!!!

According to the Tough Guy, it had grown over the last 4 days or so!  Hm, this thing is about the size of a hockey puck and is sticking out about an inch.  It literally reminded me of a movie--I was Signourney Weaver and Rod's arm was now the Alien.

So, being a dermatologist in another life I can't wait for this thing to pop.  I told him we would do warm compresses (it was his Friday night) the rest of the day and the next.  If nothing happened by then we would let the real doctor do it.  Plus I was pretty darn sure he would need an antibiotic.  Oh, that gross little thing do at the bottom of the picture above is an enlarged blackhead.  Eekkkkkk!  Don't let them get this big!!!

So on Friday morning after the soak, this is what we had.  The thing was not going to go by itself.  So our dermatologist fit us in before their Friday afternoon off.  It was hilarious. The nurse took one look and  said, "Wow, that's huge!"   The doctor took one look and said, "Yep, let's get that drained".  And then every nurse, receptionist and every other interested party still in the office came in to have a look.  Turns out I am not alone in being fascinated by this kind of thing.  I asked the doctor if I could stay, because I really, really, really wanted to see what came out of it.  

It had to hurt like hell, but my Tough Guy survived the needles--it took six good sized syringes of "numbing stuff" to start the work.  Don't worry, I didn't have the camera, so you won't be treated to that nastiness.  But let's just say the remaining cyst material that popped out of there looked like a good size shrimp.  And the pussy green bloody mess that came out was incredible.  I learned that that was what was left of the cyst material after the body had gone to work trying to fight the infection.  Yuck!   If Rod were here he could tell you how he had to doctor himself the next two days since I was at a show.  He pulled about a mile of the packing stuff out of the hole and then had to flush it with saline solution.  It looked like the picture above three days after the lancing.   

And, the near final result, after TWO WEEKS on Cipro is above.  It is still a little hard to the touch, but, the redness is nearly all gone and his arm is back to normal size.  The whole is already starting to fill in.  Cool!  

January Shows, February 2, 2011

The first couple of pictures here were taken out of the back of my booth at Deerfield Beach over the last weekend in January.  This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Florida...maybe anywhere.  As the day worn on, lots more beach chairs and umbrellas came out.  And may I just say--thank God for Lifeguards everywhere!  Those boys were just plain hunk-a-licious!  Oh, the show was fantastic.  It was my best since moving to the beach from Pioneer Park four years ago.  

The next group of pictures is from the first show of the year, at Jensen Beach.  You are looking at the sun rising over the Intercoastal waterway.   I love doing this show--it gets bigger every year and it is so well supported by the local residents and merchants that everyone has a great time.  My friends, Janis and Candy are still going great guns at the gallery, CC Key Art, just down the way in this historic shopping district.  I got to stay with Janis at her cute little bungalow just a couple blocks away.  Janis is the culprit who turned me ont to the Saltine Cracker Toffee!  The weather was gorgeous--a bit warmer than it had been and sunny.  Lots of folks were out for the weekend.  

We had dinner and drinks with a group of artists and Janis' friend Greg.  Greg comes down with a dog and a cat (in advance of his partner who joins them in a week) on a road trip from the Northeast every year at this time.  We traded traveling tips, enjoyed the music and had an awesome dinner.  

And then there was the Crystal River Manatee Festival.  What a crowd that festival draws--the community support is fantastic.  But, not sure if it was the 30 degree temps or the economy, but, I did pretty bad.  We did have some fun camping out that weekend though.  I brought an extra two blankets to fill out the big rectangular sleeping bag.  All was well the first night.  The next night was COLD.  But I was snuggled in my bag all nice and warm until sometime in the morning...when I woke up.  My arm was asleep and the only way to get it back to normal was to put it outside of the bag and let it come to life.  Uh, huh.  That wasn't going to happen, so I tossed and turned for a while trying to get it back to normal.  

Oh, I saw "The King's Speech" at the Crystal River Mall.  Great movie--love Colin Firth...see it!!  That little mall was a hoot.  A Sears, a JC Pennys, a Belks and a Kmart.  Never seen a Kmart in a mall before!  But it was kind of nice to not have to run to Walmart for a few things.