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My Cute Fisherman
September 30, 2007
My cute fisherman is 28 today! :) His birthday presents were variegated costus, a watch and some pb M&M's. We had planned on going to Vizcaya, but after driving around to find lunch and ending up at Friday's, it started raining so we ditched that plan and went to our friend JC's house instead. He's backyard is a jungle anyway. ;) Then, home for a few errands (scoping out the new Canon 40D for work... YUM!!! I can't wait!) and getting the watch sized. A little naptime and then we plan on going to get some good seafood for dinner. I'm already hungry!

Enjoy your weekend!

Cotton looking cucumber thing in saltwater tank
September 26, 2007
Sometimes, no matter what, you can't stick it all in through your ears. Or cram too much into your head. 1994. Spring of 8th grade. We had been at the Battle of the Books and had gone to CiCi's pizza for lunch. Nothing better than getting non-cafeteria food and being out of school! Misti in 1994: Braces, huge earrings, bangs and a broken pinkie finger thanks to playing basketball in P.E. I can still smell the middle school gym and the hall outside of it.

If you thought the title was weird, so did I. The fun thing with having a blog is getting to play with Google Analytics to see who's coming to your blog, what kind of search terms they use and if you are entertaining or not. That was one of the search terms. I've also gotten: recipe for a birthday cake baked in the wilderness, seed pod in four sections with burs, seed inside looks like a full tick, heliconia's are invasive and i want mine dead. Most of the others are normal, but those cracked me up! Hey, if you're still here from those search terms, more power to ya! And I for one don't want my heliconia's dead!!!

It's been raining here since I left for Texas and I don't think it is going to let up. I like the rain, though. It has cooled off considerably, too. WOO!

My creation
1. Baby blanket, 2. Granny Squares Headboard, 3. Best fall quilt ever!!, 4. 155

These are four of my favorites right now, some inspirational fall creativity. Talking about doing a scrap granny afghan has made me want to crack open some more crochet. I have two baby blankets and two full sized afghans to work on and want to get them done by Christmas. The baby ones need to be done before then, but the other two would be nice to have for Christmas gifts. I've long abandoned the shirt I was working on. Purses...coming this weekend. I really need to either abandon my Etsy shop or get cracking on some new things. I had to re-list some items that had expired, which I probably shouldn't have. Oh well. I'm really sitting here procrastinating working on my drawing. I'm so tired. :( I think I will stay home and sleep all day with the kitties. HA!

Bzzzzy Week/end
September 25, 2007
Busy. As a bee. That is me. This past week has been hectic. 4/5 days last week were spent in the field at work and therefore made me too tired most evenings to bother posting. Keeping up with blogs on Google Reader is hard enough. I had almost 100 to read that I flipped through this weekend. I wanted to comment on some but now I can't remember whose.

Alas, two weeks ago I said my grandmother fell. She ended up breaking only her leg, though at the time and until this weekend I thought she had broken her pelvis as well. Anyway, a short trip home was planned early last week and I flew home Saturday morning and returned back here yesterday night. Any plans on trying to recoup some sleep from last week were quickly dashed once I got home. Nanny (aka: Nan), was put into a rehab/nursing type place after she was discharged from the hospital last week. That in itself has proven to be one challenge after another and so many questions and situations and issues have arose from being there. And things still are situated with schedules, doctors and everything else. So, we spent a few hours up there on Saturday evening and then went to her house to clean things out.

Note to self: check pantry before going to grocery store. I do have a habit of going to the store and buying a can of tomato sauce/paste or olives and then realizing when I got home I had four cans already. Nan seemed to do the same thing and there were can goods several years out of date. Luckily I didn't have to deal with the fridge. That was taken care of the week before. Going through everything was extremely tough. I felt bad going through things because she's still alive and there is a slim chance she could come back to the house and stay, but more than likely there isn't. I did take a few things that were memorable to me; some plastic, color spoons that my brother and I and my cousins used to eat ice cream with, some old coffee jars that have cool vintage look to them, and some yarn bits that I am going to start a scrap granny blanket with.

Going through drawers and such we found old photos, which is really cool because some are 70+ years old that are ancestors of which I need to identify, and just seeing all the little things that make up Nan, or rather remind me of her. It was just a long, hard weekend and it honestly feels like it was more of a week home instead of three days.

I was expecting more Fall like conditions, but instead it was warm (sans humidity thank goodness!) and mostly pleasant out. I got to see the doggies. Isabelle is goofy as ever and Daisy is much bigger than she was in July. I met Biff, my brother and SIL's new dog. He's such a dork! Sweet, goofy, big ball of fur! I had fun playing with him and their other dog Gizmo and Ducky-wucky-mucky the kitty cat (Leo look-alike).

I am glad to be back in a way. I need to work in the yard, get decorated for Fall. I'm thinking mums, pumpkins and a new wreath for the door! The yard probably needs mowing and who knows what else. We have a stack of passion fruit that need to be eaten soon. :) I'm excited about that!

The pelican drawing made it home to my Dad for his birthday present. I took home the rose drawing I'm currently working on, never got to work on it and then when I took it out of the suitcase I noticed there was a hole on the upper left side. I am soooo bummed. Luckily it wasn't on the drawing itself, but the white space, and I think I can cut it out and mount it on something else. What, I'm not sure yet. I'm not convinced it happened in my suitcase as there wasn't anything to poke it. I think a Yoda or a Red got to it (my parents' cats). Oh well.

This weekend I am going to do some flying. Ok, errands....not flying around the garden sipping nectar and eating bugs. Check out those compound eyes!!
I dunno, maybe I'll dress up in polka dots and put some wings on anyway...
Maybe I'll just munch on some greens instead. (totally reminiscent of A Bug's Life)

Lovely Weekend
September 16, 2007
This weekend was mostly what I wanted it to be. I could have done without my grandmother being in the hospital and chores, but other than that it was good. Yesterday was spent mostly alone. Chris was off at an aroid show at Fairchild with a friend and so I did a few errands and then took a nice 2.5 hour nap in the afternoon. I love napping and cuddling with my kitties. Samson usually jumps up and lays down on his cat blanket and sometimes Leo will come and lay between my legs. And then the napping begins. Ah, a good nap. I remember when I was a kid and my mom would make my brother and me take a nap with her. We hated it because we could be playing, of course! I think the true realization of a good nap occurs in college. There was nothing better than coming back from a class and snoozing between lunch and another class. Of course this was only so you could stay up until the wee hours of the night. So, napping is good. I took a smaller one today and it was on the futon. Which is not fair because Chris said he was going to watch the Cowboy game and when I woke up he still hadn't made it to the bedroom. We only have on tv and it is in there.

This morning we made it out into the yard and started working on that. Chris got up before I did and had already mowed the front lawn and planted a new tree. Our friend JC gave us a free, I'd say 15'-ish tall
Shaving Brush tree. It went in the front yard where we have no trees or shrubs. I think it gave it an immediate boost in curb appeal. Yeah, yeah, my landlord better thank us for the yard improvements we've done.

We don't have a weed eater so getting around the edge of the banana trees and along the back fence is hard. So, I got on my knees and started trimming it up with scissors. Our yard clipper suck and I need a new pair already. We still have a bit more to do, but it looks better already. The tomatoes I started a few weeks ago are up and going and I will probably start transplanting them and putting them outside soon. Our little vegetable garden didn't do as well as we had hoped. The corn died after getting a few ears, the okra I just didn't keep up on and they were eaten by something else, the beans are gone. The pumpkins started off gangbusters, but we moved them, and they died. The only thing still going is purple basil, and three pepper plants. I weeded that bed and it is raring to go. I planted some chocolate mint and peppermint as well. So, I will probably put some tomatoes from HD or Lowe's in the bed and save our seedlings for containers. I'm so ready for tomatoes again. I really need to have an ammended garden or raised bed to do vegetables well and tomatoes are the only things I can do here. Where we live is all fill, considering 50 years ago it was Everglades. So, you dig down and it is sand, rocks, sand, sand, rocks, rocks and more sand. Not very good. I could probably do an excellent dune/beach planting if I wanted.

Probably the most fun discovery today was finding out our banana tree had bananas! Not the ornamental ones that have been flowering, but the real deal, ones you can eat! WOO! It looks like there will be a lot of bananas too! We can't figure out if they are the ones that came from Chris' old work site or if it is one my dad gave me.

I'm already working on another art piece. It is a pencil drawing of another rose. I know, you guys will be sick of roses from me. Or maybe it is just me that thinks that. I don't know. I'm having fun with it though and hope that it turns out well. I don't consider myself very good at drawing with pencils, so this is good practice. I'm usually all about the color!

In other creative news, once I get this drawing done I can work on a few more projects. I'm the world's worst scrapbooker. For some reason I've developed and aversion to it. The whole process of getting it all out and only getting a few pages done. I'm beyond trying to do everything or worry about order. But, I did start my brother and sister in law's wedding album a year ago and well, yesterday was their one year anniversary and I'm not done. Yep. That's me. A very bad scrapbooker. I intended for it to be done for their anniversary, but I'm thinking it'll be more like Christmas now. Oh well. But, I'm not feeling like much else will get done this week because I will probably be going home for the weekend to visit with my grandmother. I'm looking forward to going home, even if it wasn't a planned thing. Please, Mother Nature, send a cool front down so I can have some fall weather!

I want to make these. And lots of them for fall! I'm thinking a cute little chain of them.

I have the cutest cats. Didn't you know???

And my current favorites on flickr...
1. Cat symphony, 2. iris, 3. Ags on a Glacier!, 4. BluebonnetsFarmhouse, 5. glaicer 2008 020, 6. glaicer 2008 026, 7. glaicer 2008 029, 8. glaicer 2008 037, 9. glaicer 2008 066 Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

The top right is my friend Meghan from college. And the two in the middle right and and the bottom row are the backpacking photos from my dad (or bro???) when they went to Glacier in August.

September 14, 2007
This week has been a bit blah. The first part started out alright, seemingly too slow for me, and then Wednesday after work I got a call from my dad saying that my grandmother was in the hospital after having fallen in the backyard. My grandmother is a gardener and just doesn't move around like she used to. She still tries to get out and do what she can, and apparently she was watering and trimming some things when she grabbed onto a limb and lost her balance. In the process she broke her femur and pelvis and will have to have surgery on her knee to have it fixed. The surgery keeps getting pushed back, from last night and now until tomorrow. I've talked to her a few times and she sounds surprisingly upbeat. I'm wondering what kind of pain killers she's on!

Between that and Leo keeping me up at night and in the early morning, I'm beat. I've spent a lot of time outside, too, for work so that has me beaten. This heat is just getting to me. Dripping in sweat two minutes after setting foot outside is not fun. I checked the Ft. Worth Star Telegram website the other day to check on the happenings of Texas and saw it was 72* at noon. I was then jealous for the fall like conditions and reminescent of those back to school days of when I was a kid. When I'd come home and my mom had cleaned and the windows were open. Crystal clear sky. Just a sense of cool weather and fun, fall activities. No, it's still summer here. Dreadful, dreadful, dreadful. At least we've had some rain.

Speaking of fall, I think tomorrow I am going to do some fall cleaning and decorating. Yard work as well. I've been so anti gardening this summer for some reason. It has to be the heat. Just spending the time out there is torturous. I'm almost in a hibernating mode. I just need to get some things done around here and maybe feel like I can ease myself into the cooler months. I wish had a pumpkin candle, but I think I will have to suffice by making pumpkin bread! :)

Quick poll: Is tracing cheating? As in if you traced something and then painted it, is it cheating? I think so. Especially if you try to pass it off as something you did on your own. I mean, if you were showing a painting to someone and they remarked on your drawing abilities, wouldn't you be a little bit remiss to admit that you'd traced it? Would you as a potential buyer think it is less worthy if it was traced? I don't agree with tracing unless you are learning to draw and trying to get shapes into your mind. I don't know if I'm "old school", but I think one should be able to draw on their own. I may suck at drawing some things, but I don't think I'd feel right passing something off as my own if I'd traced it. You're answers are helpful.

Another small debate is
Original vs. print. I'm not as big on this for photos, but for art, I think original is best. I just don't see myself printing copies of my art. It seems odd. I say this like I'm some fancy artist out there who actually has a following, heheh, but it is something I've thought about. I think it's possible to do art that's affordable but also art that's higher priced depending on the size, time, and subject.

Last weekend we went to Fakahatchee Strand to walk around. I was a bit bummed for a bit once we got there. I had this urge to just leave. I didn't really want to be hiking around and being out in the swamp. I have to say that I must have been burned out by going to Little Slough so much. I don't know why I have an aversion. Actually, it's probably just to the swamps. I need the beach. We never got and it actually makes me mad. There. I said it. I want to go to the beach more!!!!! Anyway, excuse the tantrum, but I did take some photos with my camera phone. Sorry for the sucky shots, but it is what it is.
There's an owl in the middle of the picture. I thought it would come out better. I had a better opportunity when it flew lower and I was about 20 or 30 feet from it, but I didn't get a better shot. :(
This is a shot of a wild variegated Bidens alba. I love bidens in that it is a big time butterfly attractor, however it is very weedy. If you want to grow it, put it in a wilder area of your yard, maybe a cottage type garden. There were butterflies all over the flowers that day. Anyway, we happened to stop for a second, I looked down and was double checking that I had a found a wild variegated plant! Even admist our/Chris' very variegated addiction, we didn't pull it up because it would have just died anyway and probably not come up true from seeds. And we were in the strand anyway.
And this is a bitty baby turtle I found crossing Loop Road last year and the photo was still in my phone. Totally cute!!!

A blogger I like to read was on Martha Stewart on Wednesday (or was it yesterday??). She does cool little puppet/doll collages and she demonstrated that on the show.

I finished The Constant Princess and while it wasn't my favorite book of hers, it was still really good. Depressing to know what her end was because she didn't deserve to be treated the way she was by Henry the VIII. And learning a bit more about his family and their rise to power, they were kind of scoundrels in a way. If you are looking for a good book, check this out.

Have: Mouser for Sale
September 11, 2007
First, take some time and review the names from six years ago, that lost their lives.
Trent at Pink is the New Blog has them listed out. Pick a few out randomly and think on them a little bit. Where did six years go?

Well, the pelican is "finished". Aside from some nitpicking I will continue doing over the next (ooh, I just made the coolest music notes some how with my keys) few days, I'll call it "done". I think overall it was a good composition. I see some flaws in it from the original that you can see here. Oh well.
Comments??? Hard critiques, just email me. Spare me the embarassment!!!

As the title states, I have a mouser for sale.
He comes neutered, lean and ready to play! Ok, the Leomeister is not for sale. But he is offically a mouser. He's gone for daddy long legs, roaches, lizards, as well as my feet under the covers, but apparently his little mouse friend that he watches from the window, one of them made it in the house last night. Probably from when I did laundry or perhaps from coming in and out of the garden. Hrm. Chris called me this morning as I was getting coffee to say that he had found a dead mouse that Leo had killed. He didn't eat it, just killed it. He's highly skilled, you see. He has a zillion play mice and LOVES them. He even has his "friend", which is the left over skin fabric part of a mouse. He carries that around and plays with it too.

So, tonight I got home from work and actually paid attention to the floor; I was a bit groggy this morning and had no idea that there were drops of blood leading from the hallway to the garage door. I got out the Swiffer and cleaned that up. Found out that Mr. Mouse's body was in the garbage can inside the house and had Christopher take it outside before we started smelling rotting mouse carcass. ewwwwww! *grrr*. Leo did act a little odd this morning. He was looking for attention, that's for sure. I think we'll be getting another storage container for the sunflower seeds so we don't have any more incidents.

I meant to post awhile ago about The Cupcake Blog. I found it in a magazine a few weeks ago and I made the truffle cupcakes (Aug 27) when Chris' mom was in town. I thought they were going to be truffle like, but they weren't. They are fattening and not good for you, but they are mighty tasty! I didn't use the truffle ingredients listed, I mixed in some Bailey's Irish Creme and a bit of ground coffee instead. I can't taste the coffee, but the liquor is a bit apparent. I'm sensing a peanut butter cupcake reunion soon. As well as a pumpkin cheesecake in the making. I made that two years ago for a work party and it went off well. I think I made it for Thanksgiving at home too. Mmmm yeah!!!

Is anyone else ready for Fall tv? Going without tv much of the summer has helped me get some things done this summer, but I have been craving new stuff too. I'm almost done with season 2 of Friends, which means I will have watched the first five seasons in about a three week period. I'm not ashamed of my addiction! Could I be more addicted? (That's my Chandler impression. ;) I'm also bobbing my head with a grin/smirk on my face too. LOL)

Now that my pelican is done I am starting another small drawing project, and I wrote out in my moleskine the creative things I want to do this month. One of which is finish two books that I am concurrently reading. The first is The Constant Princess and the other is Suite Francaise. The first is awesome, which is a given because the author always write excellent work. If you are into Tudor history (Henry the VIII and Queen Elizabeth I) then she is the writer for you. She brings history to fiction, or fiction to history I suppose, and wow!!! This book is about Katherine of Aragon, Henry's first wife and daughter of Queen Isabella of Spain, and chronicles her early history. She was first married to Henry's older brother Arthur, but he died less than six months after they were married. There are a lot of questions regarding the marriage and that is also one of the reasons Henry gave when he ended up divorcing her later on. I highly recommend this book!

The second is good, but tough to get through. I picked it up on a whim at Target. Target always has a good way of getting me to buy a book. This book is written by Irene Nemirovsky, who I found out died at Auschwitz just months after being "arrested" in France. The book is the beginning of what would have been a series chronicling WWII in France. Considering the circumstances, it is depressing. Describing the fleeing Parisians on the roads to the rural countryside, well, it'll make you think.

Still planning on hitting Chile this week. Stay tuned! :)

What's the Story...
September 9, 2007
Morning Glory??? I grabbed that Oasis cd when I bought the other two and now I'm jamming to it. Woohoo!

I'm FULL. Stuffed. Roll me out and call it a day. We went to
Moe's Southwest Grill which is a copy of Freebirds. It was good, but it isn't The Bird. Freebirds is best eaten before or after an Aggie football game or with a bunch of friends. And the best part is making cool little things from the foil and displaying it around the store. Oh yeah! It's your meal for the day. It gives you the energy to do yell’s at the game. But today, I am just stuffed and it is appropriate for this cloudy day. I slept in this morning despite the playing/fighting the cats were doing. Then I hit Jiffy Lube for an oil change. Afterwards I hit Victoria’s Secret because I had a coupon for a discount on a bra, but the bra straps would not stay put, so I gave up and only got their normal 5/$25 undies. (sorry if I’m boring any men, but it’s a girly post today!) Then I hit Joann’s and scored some cute pumpkins that were on sale. I also found some fabric for my purse that I am going to line. It was normally $6.99 but rang up for $2.00! WOO!

Is that not the prettiest fabric?? I found some other in a blue but I didn’t get it. Should have! The fabric is by Tracy Porter

I don’t think I ever posted the apron I made. Anyway, this is a scan of the pocket and the main fabric. I am using it mostly as an art apron, so I can wipe my hands on it between the pastels and the paint I get on my hands.
This is my little friend, an Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly. I’m afraid he’s injured. :(
Riding in the airboat is much like driving in a car, except you hit a lot more things that are flying around. We regularly hit dragonflies and I am pretty sure we hit this fella. It was having some trouble and I noticed the wings were beat up. I ended up letting him hang out near a cypress so he could rest, perhaps live or just die in peace. :(
Hope you’re ok fella!

See there, in the water? That’s a baby gator! Maybe about a foot long. Very cute! We were at one of the camps in the ‘glades and I heard the little noises they make, small grunts, and sure enough we found a whole slew of them. Mama wasn’t too far either, just eyeing us and keeping an eye on her younguns!

I have two sweet things sitting here on my desk. They are worn out from playing a bit too much. ;) I wish I could take a photo! Their sleepiness is going to wear off on me!

On the agenda today, I plan on finishing up the pelican. I am having issues with the water. Issues enough that I want to just throw the pastels at it and curse. I am definitely making it more difficult than it really should be. Here’s comes the anal part of getting things “perfect”. Lest I remind myself that Perfect is the enemy of good. (quote unknown). I also need to scrapbook. A lot. As in get my butt in gear before the 15th. I’ve had this anti-scrapbooking mode for awhile. Probably because I am, again, being anal about it. See, you wouldn’t want to be in my mind. I’d drive you insane. I already drive Chris insane, so I should limit it to him.

Happy Birthday to my Dad! :)

September 6, 2007
cruise014 copy
We're finally returning to our Latin American adventure! We arrived in Panama after a night traveling through the Panama Canal. When we all awoke, we were docked at the Rodman Naval Base. It was a little piece of the U.S.A. in the heartland of Latin culture. The picture above is a scan of a scrapbook page I had done. The bottom left is a stop sign I took a photo of on the base. I was enthralled with the dual language system and being in a different country.

The first thing we did when we got off the ship was hand over our "lib" cards, or "liberty" cards, so they could keep track of who was off the ship and wandering around. Luckily someone in my company happened to have been to Panama, or actually lived there for awhile because his parents had been in the Navy and stationed there. So, we had an automatic translator. I can't quite remember how, but we got taxis to show up near the entrance of the base. Once we negotiated what the price would be, we'd pile full so that it would be cheaper. Taking a cab in Panama was an experience. Try sitting in the backseat while the driver goes insane speeds across bridges and streets, weaving in and out of traffic and being an all out crazy driver. It makes Miami look normal. Our first stop was this area you see in the top right photo. This was a pay phone booth so we could call the cab company up again to pick us up. Our first day out wandering around I remember eating empanadas and plantains at some little cafe on the side of the road. We walked around, taking in the tropical sights.
Who knew that I would eventually hang out with many Royal Poinciana's in the future???
This is the Balboa Union Church. Pretty, no?
Some ephemera from the Panama part of the trip. The little card at the top left was in case we got into trouble for some reason. I wasn't 18. That's a typo. I was 17. And yes that is a little fruity thing from my first real alcoholic drink. Underage. But in a country that didn't care. So, no laws broken. ;) We had an Aggie party at that club!

The top left and bottom left on that first scrapbook page are of El Central in Panama City. It was a very interesting part of the city. For one, it was the first time I had really seen poverty stricken areas. We were excited that there was fast food, and ordered McDonald's in Spanish! How hard is "Numero Uno"? Someone also told us, though I don't know how true it was, that the man had to walk on the outside of the sidewalk, because if the woman walked on the outside it signaled that she was a prostitute and he was her pimp. True? Who knows. But one thing was, we did watch what we carried. I stuffed money down my bra so I wouldn't have to lug a purse or bag and worry about it getting stolen. Oh yeah, there were also these police dudes carrying autmoatic weapons in the street. That was a reality check!! The other cool thing was the deals on clothing and interesting shopping. If you've seen the tight clothing many Latin folks wear, then you know what I am talking about. I was able to get some dirt cheap tank tops in these cool shops. Some are still in my closet!

The one fun thing we did get to do was going on a trip to the rainforest and swing/slide from the canopy like they did in Medicine Man. That was a blast! We took a bus through the country side, stopped a road side stand to get refreshments and carried on our merry way. I couldn't tell you where we went, though!
Terrestrial bromeliad. This is pre-Misti-knowing-what-she's-doing-photography-wise days. A bit blurry!
I like this little guy! He probably thought I was insane for taking his photo.
Hehe, see the Panamanian flag hanging out there on the fence?
I wish I had more photos! But, my clumsy self slipped on some rocks in a little creek when I went to photograph a waterfall. No neat photos then. :( I left my panoramic throw-away in the bus so when we went to this little "zoo" on the way back, I snapped some photos there.
This was the road around the "zoo".
I can't decide what this is, other than a cute, poor, little kitty. Jaguar? Ocelot? Leopard?
The Texas Clipper docked at the base. cruise021
Farewell, Panama!

The naval base is closed now, I think, because of the handover to the Panama Canal Authority at the end of 1999.

This weekend I will work on scanning the Chile photos and we'll head south of the Equator soon!

Jam Session
September 4, 2007
I am in love. Seriously. Well, besides my Christopher, I am in love with my new cd,
This is Somewhere by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I bought their Nothing but the Water last Christmas and loved it. I listen to a lot of cds in the car mostly because the radio gets OLD. Borrrring! There's only so many repeats I can handle. Anyway, thanks to good 'ol You Tube, you can decide if you like the band like I do.

SO???? Come on, you know you enjoyed it!!! I think I'm going to be a groupie! ;)

It's September. Does it feel like it? People are talking about cooler weather and fall like foliage and here I am sweating my butt off. It's hot, it's humid, and I think it's going to keep on going for the next five months. February is Florida's fall. Ok, so here's the short list of how you can tell it is Fall in Florida.

  1. The beauytberry turns purple (or white if you've got that one)
  2. The cypress start losing their leaves.
  3. Red maples start turning a tad bit red.
  4. The pond apples turn yellow and fall off.
  5. The snow birds start coming back.
  6. The grocery stores sell Fall like things. They have to remind you that it is indeed going to be Fall, not Summer.
  7. Yep, that's it.
  8. Ok, so it starts getting darker earlier. Boo hoo on that.

Well, crap. That's not long is it??? Alright Floridians, help me out. We can prove that it isn't summer year 'round here!!

I am excited! Today I found a park that I can jog at! I really hate running in the neighborhood. Pounding pavement is about as fun as pounding the treadmill. Give me a trail to run any day. However, parks and open space in South Florida were steam rolled for nice condo's, townhouses, and over priced normal housing, so finding a park here is few and far between. This park has a nice marsh with several board walks, a concrete path, and a "horse" trail because I live in a "horse country" area. Horse country in Broward and Dade, just means wayyyyyy out west of town, where five or ten years ago it was the boondocks. People had some land and maybe a couple of horses, and now they are surrounded by developments. Anyway, now there is a bit of of a park with a horse arena and a dirt trail. I'm excited because I can at least pretend I am running on a really cool trail. I always get jealous when I see runners in the magazines tromping through hills and mountains and seaside cliffs. So, I suppose I'll take my urban marsh park.

I'll leave you with a Rilo Kiley song. Dang you Curt!

Mucking About
September 3, 2007
I can't believe the weekend is over. I could use a couple extra days. Or just finish this week off. Friday I picked Chris' mother up from the airport and we hit Panera for lunch (really have to go there more often!), and the mall for a bit. I found some cute shirts at Fossil, one was a diagram of a strawberry plant from seedling to fruit and the other said "Follow Nature". They had a cute tree hugger type one but the print was smudged and I was afraid it would be too distracting. And then hit Bed, Bath and Beyond for some fun! I love that Fall and Halloween decorations are starting to come out. I could use a big cool off and maybe some color change. Oh and the Pumpkin Spice Latte's are back at Starbucks. Mmmm yeah! :)

Saturday we went to Fairchild Gardens cameraless. Not that I don't have at least 500 shots from previous times, but it wasn't too bad not having the camera. I was surprised at the lack of a crowd considering it was Labor Day weekend. I suppose the heat and humidity was really bad and the Chihuly exhibit has long been gone. We did take the tram tour again and it was good learning more about the garden and why it started. We also saw a palm we had never seen before. It was off the beaten path and unless you knew to look you wouldn't have seen it. Apparently it flowers and then dies and they only have one palm. It is flowering now and we also noticed that the stalks to the fronds had some neat patterns on it. I can't remember the name of it, sorry! Their butterfly garden is really starting to take off right now and it was swarming with monarchs and other butterflies.

Yesterday was a pretty busy day. Last weekend Chris had talked with Clyde Butcher and he has asked if we would volunteer to do some tours on the day we came out do to the
Muck About. We got there around 8am and started the tours at 9. Clyde owns 13 acres in Big Cypress Nat'l Preserve and he started the Muck About's a few years ago. There are two trails along the back of his property that he lets people go on and it was pretty cool! The first tour I went on was the longer path and it ended up taking 3 hours to go through because we had some elderly people comprising most of the group. There were some folks in their 80's out there slogging through the swamp. Stopping to point out just about all of the branches and stumps in the water as well as the drop off points was crucial. This was supposed to do only an hour to do! I was starving afterwards and grabbed a sandwich and then took off on another tour. Chris was already gone on another one and I happened to meet up with his mom for a bit. This time I got a group with some kids so that was entertaining. Basically there are three volunteers guiding the walk with one main person talking about the swamp and the surroundings. I was leading the group but wasn't the main talker, but the kids were fun because they reminded me a lot of working at Moody Gardens. I asked them if they were taught about the Everglades in school and they answered no, which I thought was incredibly sad considering it is such a valuable part of South Florida. I suppose, at least they are getting out here for a little bit of it. But, how many ever come out and know about the Everglades? After that group I found Chris who was joining a group that Mike Owen was leading. That was a fun little group, but because we were at the front we didn't get to hear Mike talking all that much. He did his hooting and hollering and got everyone engaged in the moment and being out there. I think the kids would have enjoyed a tour with him! After all the mucking about we ended the day by going down Loop Road again. I passed out somewhere in the middle, if you can believe that, with all the bumps and potholes that road has to offer! We finally finished off the day with Cheesecake Factory at 9pm. Mmmmm, yeah. No cheesecake though. Too stuffed!

Today was slept in and ran to a few plant nurseries for the fun of it. It finally rained this afternoon, which is a good thing because the grass was getting crispy again. Such an abnormal summer! I got in a bit of mowing before it started pouring and then we worked on starting seeds outside. The tomato seeds are ready to go but I want to sow the greens in the ground tomorrow night when it isn't raining. I picked up some peppermint and chocolate mint at the nursery today that I am going to plant. I noticed when I went out that my Cuban oregano keeled over in my neglect. :( Will have to find some more.

Not looking forward to this week. It's going to be busy at work, but I suppose that's ok too. I just wish it wasn't so darn hot! I'm going to be adding a links sidebar to my "about" page, so look for that later this week. I also plan on finishing the Panama portion of cruise and moving on past the equator and into Chile this week. Just takes a lot of time scanning, documenting and all that good stuff.

Hope everyone's weekend was superb!

Marker's and Crayon's
August 31, 2007

"Setting Sail"
August 30, 2007
First, before we leave, ship rules. Better get those khaki's tucked in and your bunk better be clean!
RE: The Rules, #7: Yes we dumped trash over board. I recall a couch going over, as well as large metal objects. And you had to separate your feminine stuff to burn. Fun stuff. #12: LOL, riiight. College kids, on a ship?
Wave goodbye! I missed highschool graduation for this. Which is cool, because who wants to listen to 528 names being read when yours is at the end of the alphabet?
Pulling away for real now, the tug boat is ready to get us going...
I think this is the first or second day at sea. See, the thing with this "cruise" was that you had to go to school six days a week, unless you were coming or leaving or in a port. But for the first day or two out to sea we pulled up chairs on the quarterdeck and watched the sea in front of us. It was so blue for miles, waves were scarce. Flying fish were everywhere and lots of cabbagehead jelly fish. This was the time for meeting everyone and getting to know them. The two classes I took were oceanography and U.S. history. The guy in the photo above was my professor, Dr. Schlemmer. The girl on the left was my bunk mate and the girl poking her head out on the side is one of my bff's Erika. So, we sat and enjoyed our first day.
And enjoyed very nice sunsets on the high seas! Like I said, this wasn't just a little cruise. We were here to work! On a ship, to keep it running, you must keep it clean and help out around the place. And for some very new out of the house freshmen kids, getting up at 5:30 am to clean your section of the ship isn't a fun way to start a morning. Because this was part of the Corps of Cadets and the Texas Maritime Academy, we new sailors were inducted into the routine of the upperclassmen. Except, we got the grunt work. Sweeping and mopping the floors, cleaning the bulkhead, chasing after propwash when asked (no, you don't wash the prop with it.... ;) ) and keeping the place tidy. Everyone is put into little groups, companies, and I was E-2, which was the engineer (all "E's") group. Our sophomore's, who were our "bosses" worked down in the engine room. Every morning right after breakfast we would all have formation on the quarterdeck where the head Corps guy would give information on the ship and what was going on. What was the most fun on those mornings was having to stagger your stance to work with the roll of the ship, and watching those across from you sway back and forth! Another fun aspect was having lunch duty on particular days. I think we had odd days. Each company had galley duty and served some way in the galley. The worst is washing the dishes. The best was being a "floater", which meant you just filled the ice in the coke machine and did little things here and there, but mostly hung out with your friends while they were eating lunch. Doing dishes, smelling the smells of hot water and detergent on a rolling ship, well it is a recipe for disaster. And finally, the last thing we had to do was to sweep the decks in the afternoon. I'm trying to remember if it was a daily thing or what.
I lucked out in only having me and my roomate in our room. Most had three bunks and it was a tight squeeze. You had to fit everything into your locker or under your bunk. Then the shower connected to your suitemates. The toilet was washed by sea water. And the showers were desalinated on the ship, so on the longer weeks at sea we would have to conserve. Forget a good, hot shower!
We left Galveston on June 2nd and made it to Panama on June 12th. Almost two weeks at sea. Imagine the excitement at seeing land!!
We were headed straight for the Panama Canal! Tankers and ships of all sizes were around, and now you can compare the sizes of ours vs what goes out to sea!
Off in the distance, can you see it??? We had to wait our turn before we made it through and we ended up doing it all during the night. I remember we sat outside while we first entered talking about the whole trip and who knows what else.
A little wild side of Panama, showing what was to come!

The journey will continue on Saturday, with sights and stories from Panama, as well as how one goes from being a pollywog to a shellback. I didn't realize how long writing this all out would be. Nor did I realize how many stories I have forgotten. Michelle, you'll have to fill me in on things I forgot. ;)

Tomorrow: art with markers and crayons. Pelican sketch update, and Chris' mom comes in town to visit. 4 day weekend for me! ROCK ON!!! :)

Hello. My name is Regina Phalange"
August 27, 2007
”I'm a businesswoman in town on business. Would you like to see my card?”. I’ve gone through three seasons of Friends in two weeks. I started with season 3 and just finished 5. Really, they are my long lost friends. I loved this show and I forgot how funny it was. Chris probably thinks I’m insane at all the little things I burst out laughing at. Chandler? HILARIOUS! Monica really was neurotic! I don’t think I have season 6 so I’ll have to do 1 & 2 to keep me going. I have a feeling an Alias kick is after this, though.

The next thing is hilarious and slightly nutty. Ok, really nutty. I also don’t claim to know any of the swamp men in these film.

Yes, you can swim in the swamp! Only boys in the swamp would think of shooting a video. ;)

Kasie, thanks for supporting me on the artist embracement. I think that it is the whole no art school background that makes me feel like a sham as well. I mean, I could say my hobby is art, but no, I’m an artist! I think, if you can do it, then why not be an artist and say you are?? Works for me! Now, just need to devote more time to being that artist I say I am!

I’ve been mulling the next thing for a few weeks. I’ve decided to take you all on a little tour of Central and South America. The summer before my freshman year of college I went on a
Summer School at Sea with my university, Texas A&M at Galveston. Chris went with me and one of my best friends did as well. I’ve been thinking of a blog topic and thought this would be a fun thing to write about and show some photos. The ports of call were Balboa, Panama; Valpariso, Chile; Galapagos Islands, Ecuador; Costa Rica; and Key West, Fl.

This is Chris and I the day we arrived in Galveston to move onto the ship. We stayed there for a day or two and then set sail. Boy, we look young!
And my brother is going to kill me, but I giggled when I saw this photo. What a silly cutie pie! :) Now he’s married!!!! Insane, right? You’re making me feel old, dude. What must you be doing to our parents????!!!!;)

So, tomorrow we set sail and we’ll go through the Panama Canal. Bring your life vests, your work boots, a camera, and your books, because it’ll be a fun ride!

It's a Miracle!
August 26, 2007
It's a rainy morning here. Thunder popping off around here and I checked the radar and a little storm formed nearby. Pretty clear everywhere else, just a few cells dotting the coast. Makes for a good morning of writing here! So, the miracle is....
miracle fruit004
Miracle Fruit!!! Miracle Fruit is candy. Or rather, it makes the most sour things taste like candy. Sweet, divine, little plant. We encountered it first at the Fruit and Spice Park several years ago where they let you taste something sour like a lemon and then you eat a pit of the miracle fruit and then try your lemon again and it is CANDY! We started a plant from a seed we had obtained from the park and it is still rather small. Plants are fairly difficult to find but we found one about six months ago and now we have a fruit! I scanned this. Yes, I'm a ninny, but whatever. ;) And it is really small, so Chris and I will be fighting for our half while we eat a lemon. Or make bitter lemonade.

Yesterday we did make it to Loop Road. It was a nice drive and our friend Kathy came with us. She's in Chris' aquarium club and an avid photographer. So, Chris had our old 35mm SLR and she had her digi SLR and I was armed with my sketch book and we made the trip. Rain was following us the entire time and finally caught up with us at Sweetwater Strand, which blows because that is a neat little place to stop and take pictures. In the dry months you can get out and walk in the swamp because it is dry with just a few puddles. Yesterday was full of water and we sat waiting for the rain to pass but it was not to be. We ended up at Clyde Butcher's gallery and we were all first timer's. WOW! I need to be rich so I can buy his large originals. He has some smaller giclee's and open edition's that are afforadble, though. It was cool, Chris picked up the photo of the ghost orchid that Clyde took in Little Slough. It turned out well! It is a giclee and framed and Clyde even put a little note on the back. Now I wish I had gotten up and gone that morning! :( Bummer on me. If you aren't familiar with Clyde Butcher, he is considered the Ansel Adams of the Everglade's. He does sweeping photo's of the Everglades that are brilliant! And he totes these large format camera's out there too. Next weekend we're goint to the Swamp Walk that he holds behind his house in Big Cypress. He called Chris yesterday to ask if we could volunteer to help on the day we came, so we'll be doing that on Sunday. I'm excited! I plan on taking my old camera and getting some photos so I will scan those after and share them here.

Well, I'm off to enjoy the day. Gym time, a bit of house cleaning (not much!!!) and if it stops raining yard work. I'm ready to start my tomatoes for Fall. YIPPIEE! The store bought just don't taste the same. I plan on starting the winter greens as well, get them going. And then some art work! Maybe I can get the pelican finished today. :)

August 24, 2007
focus quote
Chris and I were talking yesterday and some things he said made me think a little bit. I have lacked focus lately, for awhile actually. Not that in my head I wasn't trying to focus, but rather it was jumbled up into what I thought I should be. One being that I needed to be a marathon runner. While I really love this idea, my asthma is just preventing me from doing so at this time. While a jog here and there is nice, I much prefer rollerblading or lifting weights. And so I am going to get a gym membership. There is a gym down the road that has no contracts and it is $30 a month and I found a two week try out coupon on their website, so try it out it is. I'm going to check it out this weekend. I've been mentally beating myself up for two years now on putting on 10-15 lbs from when I started my job. Honestly, I don't like that I can't fit into some of my jeans and clothes and I do feel a little blah with the extra weight. Instead of really trying, I have become complacent. Just losing five lbs, putting it back on, not focusing and doing it because I wanted to do. Well, I want to and I want to now.

I will focus and embrace the word artist for myself. I know Chris will come back and mimic me on that because he likes to be silly like that, but if that is what I want to be that is what I should call myself, right? Even if it is not full time, but a hobby, I am still an artist, right? I'm not Monet, Wyeth, or someone else famous, but does it matter? Not really. Just do it, eh? I'm also focusing on bringing a few more items into the Etsy shop. I neglected it this summer and it is time to get cracking again.

And something I want to bring to this blog a little is getting some people who consider themselves non-creative to come out and be creative! Some of this was from watching this video on creativity and education which I found on Kal's blog. Sheesh, if that girl isn't one big inspiration bubble, I don't know what is!!! So, what do you really love to do? Sew? Write? Garden? This coming week dedicate yourself to doing 30 minutes to an hour of it. If you keep telling yourself you a: don't have time, b: aren't really good at it, or c: see it going nowhere, then this is the place for you. Because, yes you can find 30 minutes. Skip that rerun after dinner. Get up a bit earlier to start that novel. Go to the garden center and pick out flowers you really wanted to try and start building a garden. Or, mom, get out the sewing machine and make something cool! :) And Robin, get thee to the nearest craft store and purchase a crochet kit for $10 and some cheap yarn and start practicing. ;) The Golden Girls will keep you company while you are learning. ;) So, tell me what it is you want to do. Even if you already are committed to doing something creative, maybe you want to do more of it, or expand to something else. I want to hear about it!:)

In other random news, today is the 15 year anniversary of Hurricane Andrew hitting Miami. While most of Miami has rebounded, you can still see remnants here and there. We have a geocache in an old mobile home park in Florida City that was never rebuilt. There are also snippets of memories from when we came on a family vacation the year after and going through Homestead to the Keys, and downtown Homestead was still nearly a ghost town. Now, there are yummy Mexican restaurants and it is a booming little city again. The Sun-Sentinel has articles on it and you should check out the slide show from then and now. Crazy stuff. Just seeing the leveling of homes and especially of some of the parks we go to, it's insane. One of my coworkers was a student at UM at the time and she was holed up in her dorm room when the eye went through and recalled it swaying. Chris even blogged about it because she was here when it happened. I'm ready to see those photos! And in just a few more days, will be two years Katrina caused hell. To see it from the point of view of someone who went through it, start here and then work your way through September '05 and on. Can anyone really imagine?

And a bit of final fluff, I have to thank my brother for introducing me to the band Rilo Kiley. The lead singer is Jenny Lewis, who after googling a bit I find out she was the daughter in Troop Beverly Hills. And the other main player is Blake Sennett, who was in one of my favorite shows growing up, Salute Your Shorts on Nickelodeon. They had their entire album up prior to this past Tuesday on their MySpace page and now that their album is out I had to buy it. So, Amazon, hurry up with my order!!!

Tomorrow, we're heading to Clyde Butcher's Big Cypress gallery to pic up a photo of a ghost orchid he took out in Little Slough with Chris. Then we're heading for a drive down Loop Road because it has been awhile.

There are reasons I don't go to Walmart.
August 21, 2007
And there are good reasons I don't, too. Now that I buy groceries at a real grocery store instead of a SuperWalmart I have become accustomed to better customer service and just an all around better shopping experience. I tend to drop in Super Target to pick up essentials as needed instead of going to Walmart. (As an aside, I realize not all Walmart employees are bad. I just seem to think that customer service has been forgotten in the past while at that store.) However, I do run in Walmart to hit the notions department because the nearest Joann's is 10 miles away. I got to the fabric department and go to the counter to find no one there. This is the second time it has happened and there were two other ladies there waiting. One went so far as to cut it herself because she gave up looking for them. Well, I was tired and not in the mood to be waiting and so I went hunting for the lady. The layaway center is not too far and the last time this happened that's where I found someone to call. I ended up running into a woman coming 'round the corner and asked her if she worked back in the sewing department. She got a little fussy because I was looking for her and then asked if I had a manager page her and I said no because this was the first time I had gone looking. She was really irritated, which made me even more angry. She didn't even give me much of a chance to explain anything. We went back up to the counter and she got fussy at one of the ladies who had already laid our her cloth and the lady's daughter was sort of playing with the scissors and the Walmart lady, can I call her something else? Like witch with a b?, the Wal-witch asked for her scissors and got the one customer's cloth cut, then proceeded to do mine. I was even a little more calm by then, said "thank you" and walked off to the bead aisle. I was going to let it blow over until Wal-witch started bad mouthing me in front of a customer/friend/potential Walmart employee, and knew what she was doing because she motioned toward me in the aisle and said "that girl". Ohh, yeah, I was about to go blow my top, instead I beelined it to the customer service desk, waited in line for 10 minutes because only one person was there, asked for a manager and was able to talk to one on the phone. The manager was nice, I told her three people had been in line, she said someone else was supposed to be covering for Wal-witch and she was sorry. I made mention that it would be helpful to have a bell or a note up when someone was away so that customers weren't wandering around waiting for help. Shortly after hanging up the manager came over the loud speaker asking Wal-witch to go to layway. LOL! I did want to get out of there right away, because I am paranoid. But I plan on avoiding the notions department from now on. So, 10 miles to Joann's it is. To make matters worse I ended up at
Pollo Tropical for dinner and it never fails that something is missing. This time it was my plantains and you can't have Cuban/Caribbean food without plantains! So, inside I went. GRRRR! Oh and I won't even tell you the time I was at a Walmart and nearly bitch slapped a few people who went off on Chris for no real reason, only because they were idiots to begin with. That was probably the closest time I really felt like throwing a punch.

Well, now that is all cleared up let's talk cool stuff! Space stuff! Space Shuttle Endeavour came in to land yesterday and around lunch time I checked into the Nasa tv to watch the landing. For most of it they had a little map showing the location of the shuttle and how far away it was from Cape Canaveral. Around 12:10 it was leaving Costa Rica, by 12:20 it was getting to Cuba, five minutes later or so it came up Cape Sable and around that time all of my coworkers were bouncing back from the computer and the window, debating if we would be able to see it because it was pretty cloudy. I work smack dab in the middle of the Everglades and it was in our direct path. The coworkers ran outside to see if they could see it, meanwhile I watch it fly by us on the map, and up around the southeast edge of Lake Okeechobee. By that time they had come back in all excited because they heard the sonic boom. Another coworker with a corner office heard it too, but I'm tucked away inside and didn't hear it until the shuttle was near the space center and it was over the tv. My friend Christine heard it as well, though she was well to the southeast, down in south Miami. I've seen many rocket and shuttle launches having lived on the Space Coast for a couple of years, and it is never tiring. We drove to Cocoa Beach once to try and see a launch only to have it end up being scrubbed at the last minute. Shuttle launches and landings are always amazing experiences!

On the craft/art front I have another purse about 3/4 done. I've got plans for another. I want to have at least three total in the next few weeks and then I'll add them to Etsy. I'm also working hard on a pelican pastel, which I'll show at the bottom. It's a scan of it and it is a work in progress. So, don't think it is a final by any means!!! I'm hoping to work on it a lot in the next few days and maybe finish it sometime next week. I've also got a collage in my head that I am set to begin too. I did finish an apron I had started. Very rudimentary and well, I have a lot to learn, sewing wise! EEK! Next time I'll try a pattern and see where that leads.

Until tomorrow, when I'll do my weekly sketch, here's the pelican.
Tentative title if "The Fish Thief at Robbies". From a photo I snapped at Robbies in Islamorada.

Until tomorrow~~~...

Weekend Relaxation
August 19, 2007
Lachnanthes caroliana, Redroot.

After a summer of going, going and going some more, and most of that going out to Little Slough for ghost orchid documenting, having a weekend at home is a little odd. I love it but I still have that feeling of anticipation, a sort of need to do something. With the camera being out of commission (photo above from work) that leaves us little to do outside. Yes, we could go and do things outside but I am a camera-acholic at the moment and I feel like not having it and missing pictures would be just devastating to my little mind. ;) I already nixed going to the Fruit and Spice Park for the umpteenth time, and we check out Butterfly World, which looks amazing and again an photo opportunity, but at $21.95 a person I wasn't ready to spend that today. So, I think it is the movie theatre today. It's a toss up between Harry Potter again for me, first for Chris, or Pirates of the Carribbean.

I love this field. We went to check out a property we hadn't been too yet, last week, and it was in a nice pine forest area. Very reminescent of our Melbourne days. Mmmm...pines! Yesterday I did a bunch of errands, boring stuff like the bank and postoffice and recycling bags at the grocery store, but also taking a computer monitor to Goodwill and a few other little things too and roaming around Borders bookstore for a few hours. At Goodwill I always browse the books and movies and I ended up finding Somersby (which Mom will love...) and Stargate. I had the biggest crush on James Spader after that movie. He was such a geek in that movie too! Eh and for $2 each, good buy. At Borders I picked up an iced tea and cookie, sat down in the cafe and browsed through some magazines. I picked up Somerset Home, which after browsing I felt a little cluttered in my head. There are some neat ideas, but I personally think the whole utilizing antique photos is getting a little overrated. I also picked up Adorn, which I fell in love with. This is an amazing little magazine! A mix of various crafting techniques and just overall eye candy! I also flipped through American Art Review which is pretty cool but I had already finished my cookie and wanted to get up so I didn't finish it. My whole purpose of going to the bookstore was to get a new journal for my book bag. I like to keep something handy to write down hair brained ideas when I'm at work or wherever as well as keep track of my lists. I ended up picking up a Moleskine which I am already thinking I'll love. It also helped I had 20% off. Go Border's Rewards!

Xyris spp. Yellow eyed grass, relative to Irises.
Over the years I have seemed to sort of step away from the fiction section of the bookstore. I seem to be heading to the non-fiction lately, browsing the gardening and outdoors books, craft and art sections, history etc. So, my first stop was the gardening section and I found MaryJane's Ideabook*Cookbook*Lifebook. I had been to her website before but never delved into it more. I LOVE THIS BOOK! I would have bought it if it wasn't $35, so I will be browsing soon. It is just this little amazing book about being a "farmgirl", homesteading, raising your own food, and living a simple life. I love this! She has old pictures of "farmgirls", which remind me so much of the old pictures I saw at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. I'm thinking of subscribing to her magazine too. I've been trying to find magazines I like and will stick with and it seems very much like Mother Earth News which I also get.

"That is happiness; to be dissolved into something completely great."~Willa Cather.
What moments are your happiest when you are dissolved into something great?
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Daily/Weekly Something
August 15, 2007
This is spurred from Ali Edwards' challenge to do something daily to record your life. Most likely people will be doing scrapbook pages, but I am in a lull on scrapping now, but sketching is what I need. And daily is too much for me to commit to at the moment but weekly is something I can do. So, every Wednesday I am going to make it a point to do a sketch and do some sort of creative journaling with it. Daily Something Flickr Group.
PS: Robin, don't be jealous I am sewing. I can only sew things that are squares of rectangles at this point and I don't know much more than the very, very, basics. We could learn together?

The Elephant in the Atlantic
August 14, 2007
This summer has been nice. Quiet. Peaceful. Drought-filled. You know, uneventful. Which is fine and dandy with me. In fact, give me a repeat of last year. A very weak Ernesto came by, delayed work for three hours and that was it. There is a sort of anticipation with hurricanes. A rush, a feeling of fear, but of excitement. Everyone rushing around, talking about how far away it is, the landfall probabilities, talking about boarding up, waiting in line for gas for after the storm. Stocking up on food. Doing laundry. It's a bit fun, and exciting. As long as it doesn't blow your roof off. There's that as well, you know.

I think Katrina really did it for me. One minute New Orleans was ok and the next it was gone. If you visit my friend Mae's page up there on the left hand side you can read about her first hand account of the storm. She was there, downtown, in one of the buildings that had a lot of windows blown out. Her rental home was completely destroyed. There are many photos of the destruction she saw. And I think that is where my mind was changed. A mild Cat 1 is one thing, anything else is really just nothing you want to bother with. And so, I prefer the peace. The summer afternoon storms that blow in are enough for me, and the continuous growing of my garden without the worry of destruction is fine with me.

We're watching you Dean. You better hit some sort of trough that takes you back out to sea.

So, it looks like I have my first prompt. I need to think on it for a few days. 3 years is such a short time, but long too. Life could go in a few directions. 3 years is 30 for me. What is 30 going to look like? What do I want it to look like? I'm thinking there should be a dog friend for Sam and Leo at least. Maybe a girlfriend for Leo. ;) Other than that, I definitely need to think on it.

I'm thinking on this little bit from Kasie tonight. Busy-ness and Laziness. Very interesting.

Butterfly Dreams
August 13, 2007
My friend the Zebra Swallowtail was very good and posed for me the other day. I had not seen one of these before, or perhaps I have and have not paid much attention. We were touring some of the property at work, a vast cattle pasture, oak hammock type of land in the central part of the state and I happened to see this guy. I was thrilled that it stayed long enough for me to get several shots.
I zoomed in on this one from the porch of the trailer that is on the property, a distance of probably 20 feet. The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail was flittering about on the bottlebrush tree, sipping nectar and enjoying the sun. While I was watching it I am pretty sure I saw a hummingbird zip by, stop for some nectar and then zoom off. It was such a fleeting thing that I am not positive, but am quite sure...almost. ;)
There were a bunch of these yellow buggers flittering around, zipping in the grass. I was barely able to get a few shots of this one, blurry at that, but at least they came out. I am thinking this is a cloudless sulphur, but am not sure. Anyone know???
While inspecting the garden yesterday I found this going on. I was thinking it was a leaf roller trying to form a chrysalic on my canna, and then I saw the wasp seemingly torturing the poor thing.
In other garden news, is this not the biggest sweet potato ever? That is, I'm fairly certain it is a sweet potato. Our sweet potato vine just sort of rambles everywhere and having neglected the garden for half the summer it has grown everywhere. Chris tossed this out to me thinking it was an air potato tuber, but then I thought it was probably a sweet potato tuber since that was what was growing over there. I'm going to cut it open this week and find out for sure! Now, I wonder if I can eat it?
This is necklace pod, Sophora tomentosa.
Giant sweet potatoes aren't the only thing in the garden, but 5' tall elephant ears too.
Here's the tote I made the other day. My first foray's into sewing. I tried working on an apron tonight and I am going to throw that extra small bias tape against the wall. Good thing I bought a seam ripper. #*#*#*#*#*#*
And last but not least, or maybe least, the finished, or mostly finished, rose painting. I'm thinking the title will be Gayle's Rose Garden #1, because it is from a photo of a rose in my MIL's garden. I have several others I plan on painting as well. The coloring is not that dark, the lighting was dusky last night. I'll try and reshoot it tomorrow. I am still contemplating a few issues on it though, particularly the lower right side, as well as more work on the anthers. Any critiques???

With the camera being down (used my work camera for these photos) I am going to try to work on my creative writing skills. Maybe I'll try and tell a story or two about, mmm, I dunno, we'll see. ;) Or maybe you ask me a question and I'll answer it?

August 11, 2007
Today was productive and therefore I feel very list-y. So, a list it shall be!

~The garage is clean! WOO! I have been wanting to work on it for months now and today was the day. I had just about had it with only walking in to do the laundry and hurrying out again. So, I got rid of some stuff, put things in containers, organized and now there is a nice walkway. Don't get me wrong, there's a few boxes of items of Chris' that he needs to go through, but I wasn't going to be touching that without permission! Now I can get to the bikes and we can go bike riding! WOO!

~I did start working on the yard, but then was distracted by the garage. So, tomorrow will be a continuation of yard work.

~I am finished with the rose painting, pending a critique by whomever reads this blog and those I get on Wetcanvas when I post it.

~The pelican is coming along. I have this tendency to do little pieces and come back to it. I'm liking it so far!

~Leo was the laziest, cutest cat today. He's always the laziest, cutest cat, but he was so lovable today. Sam too. But Sam was this little bunny that was just sitting really close to me while I was eating lunch today. I was eating lunch on the bed because I wanted to watch Friends and that's the only tv in the house.

~Season 3 of Friends is great! I am loving watching these again. I could have sworn Ross and Rachel made it through a few more seasons before breaking up, but this it the whole "We were on a break!" season. And speaking of tv, I'm totally ready for new seasons of House and Grey's Anatomy. Anyone else going to watch the new spinoff of Grey's?
~Groceries are good. I love grocery shopping. I used to go to Walmart to get my groceries but there isn't a Super Wallyworld nearby, so now I go to Winn-Dixie. Publix is too $$$. I love the quietness of a real grocery store vs. Walmarts. Though, I did go to a Walmart in Clewiston the other day and it was very quiet. Clewiston is the sugar capital of Florida, at the south end of Lake Okeechobee and is a small town with lots of field workers and farmers. I do miss going to Walmart sometimes. Anyway, the grocery store is fun. Just going up and down the aisles, choosing what kinds of things I want to eat for the next few weeks. Sipping my Raspberry Mocha from Starbucks. Am I odd that I find grocery shopping fun?

~And since I have groceries I am eating a really good salad. Smoked salmond on some organic greens, orange pepper, tomatoes, croutons, feta and goat cheese, and Northern Italian dressing. Ohhhh yeah! Leo smelled the salmon as soon as I opened it, started doing his little squealing meow, and so I gave him a little piece. Oddball will eat that but won't eat freshly grilled salmon. He was so excited he kept jumping onto the counter. I had to distract him by giving him some treats.

~It was a good mail day. Body and Soul and The Artist's Magazine arrived along with a Dick Blick (art supply) ad. COOL!

~Loving these blogs: Antique Mommy, The Art of Life, Daily Relish, Moonstitches. Share your favorites with me so I can find more cool blogs to add to my Google Reader!

~I talked to my mom like three times today on the phone. ;) FUN!!!! She's lonely since my dad and brother are in the wilderness of Montana for this week.

~The photos today are from the Ft. Worth Botanic Garden during my trip home in July. Still without the camera. I'll have some butterfly photos from work on Monday and since I have the work camera with me I'll take photos of the bag I made and the painting, but I can't upload until I go to work Monday.

Lizard Catchers
August 9, 2007
Our camera is broken. This is an old photo from Fruit and Spice Park last summer and it was a nice cheerful thing to post. I'm so sad that the camera is broken. Chris came back from the swamp last weekend and it wouldn't turn on. So back to Fujifilm it goes. :( As for Chris and the swamp, he had a bear encounter. Rather, the bear encountered him when he went to explore a nearby slough to Little Slough and the bear saw him and started coming towards Chris. Yep. Of course Chris was spooked, turned and hightailed it out and didn't get a photo. So now the slough is called Running Bear Slough. ;)

Early Wednesday morning the little grey and white booger decided to have some lizard fun. Before bed on Tuesday night I had spotted a lizard on the wall running behind the tv. I didn't sleep well that night because my back has been killing me (another story) and around 4am I heard a nice "thump" and crash against the hallway wall. I knew exactly what had happened. Leo had captured a lizard. I got up immediately because I didn't want him to eat it and I chased him into the living room where he promptly dove under the futon. I grabbed his mouth and forced the lizard out, this one was smaller and not the one I had seen, quickly went to the kitchen for a paper towel, and went back to the futon where he'd dragged it as far back as he could to keep me from getting it. Little rat. I was able to get it from him and the dead lizard made it into the trash can. He was still wound up most of the night. I was thinking it was last week, but it might have been earlier this week, he was stalking something else in the corner of the bedroom, too. He kept walking past me on the bed, trying to hop into the window or climb across the nighstand and was staring intently at the wall. I got up a few times to shoo him down and to possibly distract him but to no avail. I'm pretty sure he was staring down a lizard. ARGH!!!! At least I know he is a hunter. ;) And good thing he stays inside or he'd be bringing me lizards, birds and who knows what else.

As for the back, I'm not sure what is up. For a few weeks now it has been hurting. I don't know if I slept wrong, pulled it or what. It's the upper to mid back and it hurts primarily when I try to look down to stretch my neck out and when I am laying on my back. If it doesn't work itself out soon I am going to have to go the doctor. Then I started thinking that perhaps my lack of exercise these past few months has caused my muscles to become too weak and that I need to start lifting weights again. So, I'm back on that wagon. The workout wagon. Goal is four days a week of cardio and three days of weights again. I'm starting to feel it. The "blah" of not working out.

I'm also thinking about ways to become more "green". Since I made that bag for small grocery shopping I have been thinking more on it. It's interesting, this green revolution, or evolution, seems to go in a sort of 10 year cycle and we're on the third one or so. Obviously the first one being in the 70's with the advent of Earth Day, then the early 90's and now. A good book I read about five years ago called The War Against the Greens outlined some of the issues from the early 90's and I think it is coming around again. The Miami Herald had an article about how with the flick of a pen and some creative writing (lying) the Everglades weren't listed as "endangered" any longer. Hrm. Really? That's interesting. So, I'm wondering, what "green" things are you doing?

My biggest green thing is that I carpool the 70ish miles to work. I don't have to drive my car and I just give the other three guys I carpool with some dough for the gas every month and that's it. I do drive occassionally when it is two people, but other than that I don't. I am switching to environmentally friendly dish soap. Soon to try the laundry soap. I garden. That's very green! We don't really use pesticides or fertilizers much. But I know I could do more. I don't recycle like I should. I need to request our bin from the city so I can start. So, do share your green tips!

This weekend I plan on doing a lot of scrapbooking. I'm behind, like usual, and I need to finish up my brother and SIl's scrapbook. Their first anniversary is next month and I've had a year to do their album and haven't finished. I plan on trying this, finishing up my rose painting (so freakin' close) and working on my pelican. Big plans, let's see if I do it!!!

My dad and brother are in Glacier Nat'l Park backpacking this week, so I hope they are having fun!

Listless, followed by creativity
August 6, 2007
Yesterday I was so listless. It is still with me to some extent. It started wtih good intentions. I slept until 11, woke up with the kitties, who stayed on the bed after I got out of it, made some waffles for breakfast and drank some coffee, read some blogs and then got up to start cleaning. I did some of the chores, showered and was going to proceed to crochet for awhile, and got frustrated/lost interest quickly. I ended up watching Sense and Sensibility while crocheting on and off. Afterwards, I really wanted to paint but could find no energy, so instead I layed down with my head at the foot of the bed so I could be closer to the cats. Samson was on his cat pillow and Leo crawled up on my legs like he always does. I didn't really sleep, just laid there for an hour. Got up. Tried to do something else. Ended up putting in Season 3 of Friends and watching some very fun, very vintage episodes. I miss 90's styles.

Along with this mood, a very blah sort of attitude toward food has occrrred this past week. More like opening the fridge and pantry and going, what am I going to make? Nothing sounds good. Eating out doesn't sound good either. I don't want to get in the habit of eating out often. I ended up making some chicken with buffalo sauceo n the stove and a baked potato. Then went out for a Blizzard afterwards. And still sat and watched Friends.I accomplished nothing. Boo. I think I would have felt better had I planned on a completly vegging day, but I hadn't. It was going to be full of creative activities, accomplishments and blog fodder.
Saturday I went to see Becoming Jane by myself because I knew Chris had no interest. Oh! and what a tearjerker! It is based on her (Jane Austen) life and fictionalized, and fiction or not, I felt so bad for her. I highly recommend the movie. I also saw a preview for The Jane Austen book club which comes out next month I believe. It looks cute as well. Now, to read more of Jane's novels for once! Instead of just swooning over hot, British men who play the hot British characters. ;)
On Saturday I also went to a yarn store for the first time. It was heavenly! So many beuatiful yarns, interesting yarns and there were a gathering of women knitting. I'm going to have to learn how soon. Too many beautiful patterns and it is so hard to find good crochet ones. There was a plethora of knitting books, complete with this one particular gorgeous robe that I am determined to find a crochet pattern for. I did buy two skeins of yarn, because I had to. I mean, if you walked in there and saw the arrangement of colors, you would too. The two I got were both turquoise,
Manos del Uruguay and Ironstone Yarn, Felicia the top one in that link. I had begun making a purse and then frogged it because I wanted to make it smaller. Now, I am thinking of using the Manos for socks and the Ironstone for a purse, instead.

Speaking of purses, my creativity finally came back to me tonight. Phew! I had some cloth sitting on the sewing machine for awhile and had cut out a little tote last week. Well, tonight I sat down and sewed it up! It turned out pretty cute and for my first sewn "purse", not too shabby. I am going to use it for the grocery store. I am getting really sick of the amount of plastic bags I get and I try to take them to Publix when I can to recycle them. Today on Flickr I was browsing crochet purses to get ideas and came across this purse made out of recycled plastic bags. Ingenuity! Anyway, I best move on to other items because Chris is afraid we'll be overrun with purses soon. I am planning several more crochet purses to use my stash and want to have a few more on Etsy by the end of the month. Hopefully!

It's been *HOT* *HOT* *HOT* here the past few days. So much so that I just don't want to go outside. Humid+Hot=South Florida right now.

PS: Mom, not going to work tomorrow, will be in the field. Also, got the package y'all sent. :)

August 3, 2007
My great-grandmother, Granny, would have been 104 today. Unfortunately she passed away in 1999 at 95. I was talking a bit a few posts back about people who crocheted in my family and she was one of them. She crocheteed a lot of things. I still have a doll (I think...) in the attic at home that she made. My mom was asking me when I was home a few weeks ago if I could figure out how to make these slipper things she used to make. We'd wear them out too, put big holes in the bottom of them. I'm pretty sure mom sewed them up so we could keep wearing them. I think it was mostly from running down the hallway to the foyer and sliding. That was a lot of fun!

Anyway, I was flipping through the photos in my genealogy scrapbook to-do pile to find that photo and I found some others as well. So, the little things started coming back to me. Strawberry ice cream in their fridge. I think there was also butter pecan. She had a jar of candy too on the cabinet and I always loved the butterscotch. Jack, her husband, and Granny lived on top of a hill in an old community and from there at certain points in their yard you could see Eagle Mountain Lake, a lake my family would go to often in the summertime. They kept chickens and had a big garden where she grew a lot of the food they ate. I remember her taking all the leftovers to feed the chickens. My brother and I would roll this small stool/ottoman thing in the living room. They never used the front door. Everyone always came in the side door. I remember picking the celosia flowers from right outside the backdoor. I'm such a bad writer that I can't explain half of what I see in my head and remember. I remember my dad going out with my grandad and uncle sometimes to pick the pecans that had fallen to the ground. LOL, I remember sitting at the kitchen table, which the kitchen table seemed to be the gathering place for talking for the adults, and my Grandad telling a story about how he brought home a report card once and it had an "F" on it and he couldn't understand why everyone was upset because he thought it meant "fine". Now, I know that is probably not the exact wording but that's what I remember. And when I was around six or so I think I was asked about school or something by my great-aunts and then I remember saying something about how I liked glue and it smelled good. LOL, I was getting high at 6! I was promptly scolded and told how bad it was. But I do remember that. Oh, the cats of my parents, Red and Yoda, were found in their garage. They were two horribly little kittens who might not have lived had my parents not saved them. Curt and I would sometimes play in the garage and I remember there being some really old equipment. And spider webs. Ick! I know there is so much more but like I said, it is hard for me to put memories into words. Perhaps I'll save that for a scrapbook page.

My goal is 100. I think I can make it. But I can't be the only person I know that is alive. I need to have someone hanging around to be crotchety with. In 73 years (whoa!....)....

Self Doubt
August 2, 2007
This isn't meant to be a pity post, or a please, look at me and feel sympathy for me post. Just a little self doubt moment that occurred as I was trying to take photos of some art for that section of the website. And I'm sad and dissapointed. I don't have a lot of "good" stuff, or what I would consider "good". I realize I'm a young artist and am developing my skills, but I honestly thought I had some better, or rather more, better pieces from highschool. I should realize that that was highschool. Dur. And I was pretty much non-existent on the art front during college, save an impulse "I need to paint!" moment when I bought some acrylics at Wallyworld and went for it. And then a few dabblings when we first got married and it seems like I finally started getting somewhere last year. But then I look back at this year and realized that I've only been working on 1 thing. I did try to work on an orchid but had some issues with the paper and the pastel. So, it's not like I haven't been trying. And I have been crocheting like a maniac. So, I can't feel guilty.

So, this brings up some goals I need to be working on. Painting every week. Drawing every week. Good or bad, just doing it. And, I'm trying.

Enough of that! I do think I shall share a very cute photo of Samson. :) It's a repeat, but it's a cutie.

Now, go check out the art section!

Never turn your back on a garden.
August 1, 2007
This evening I finally came home and began working on the yard that I've neglected for a month. Chris has done a bit here and there but the yard has really gone to the birds. Quite frankly I'm surprised we didn't have a forest of animals living in the yard. The only things I am finding are snails. Lots of snails. They'll be getting the snail "food" soon.
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The good things about coming into a yard that has been neglected is that you see a lot of new things that are blooming. Or dead. Which is actually a bad thing. Luckily not too much was dead. Just really overgrown.
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Like I said, there were snails eating things. But there are things for me to eat too.
My creation
Mmm, passionfruit. This is the second fruit. My first pepper, OKRA!!!, the buddha's hand citrus, corn!!!, and variegated lemon. There are also lots of flowers...
My creation
Loofa flowers, remaining flowers of the beautyberry, blackberry lily, society garlic (this is the first time it's bloomed and I've had it two years at least), variegated sunflower, crape myrtle. And of course, more flowers.
My creation
Pink banana, spoonleaf plumeria, torenia that volunteered itself to a pot, lantana, Florida gardenia, buddha's hand citrus flower, bird of paradise, and candy lily. It's the first year for the candy lily to flower.

I still have a lot to do out there. Finish mowing, weed the pots, start seeds for fall. I'm ready for tomatoes again. There are some 'maters that are still hanging in there and maybe they'll give me a crop in the Fall? Hrm, who knows.

I thought I was going to finish that top this week, but I'm thinking not now. I went to measure it last night and I am way over on my gauge. I ripped it all the way to the second row and started over. I guess my stitching is too loose, so tighter it will be. I have a few things on my creative agenda this week besides still working on that top. Painting wise I plan on finishing the rose painting, starting on a pelican pastel that is already drawn out (for months now!) and sketching out a ghost orchid for either pastel of oil. Probably both eventually. Craft wise I want to start working on some tote bags with some extra cloth I have as well as do an apron. Now that I know how to use the sewing machine again I feel ready to start some sewing. And I want to/need to scrapbook this weekend. Chris has a frag trade on Sunday so I think I'll drag everything out to the kitchen and get some layouts done. Oh and finish working on the website. So, lots to do!

I have a little notepad that I write things I want to do down in it, no matter if it is buy something, clean something or for future art and craft related activities. I was looking back and I was finally able to scratch a few things off. It seems to take a long time to get it done but it finally gets done.

I have one call for my readers. Please send a very lazy, tired, non-cooking mood couple some easy recipes. Sometimes we just home from work and it's kinda like "blah, nothing to eat". And I don't feel like eating: spaghetti, grilled chicken, hamburger/chicken helper. So, something easy, quick but tasty and preferrably semi-healthy. ;)

Artful Blogging
July 30, 2007
Tonight I went to my first knitting/crochet group thing. Meeting. Whatever you want to call it. I was a bit unsure and the shy part of me hestitated to go. And the angry side as well. I was down for a moment about not receiving my new debit card (#*(&#($*&#!!!) because my current expires on Wednesday. Phhhhh. I had just had a very pissy call to the bank where they told me that it would 5-7 business days before I got a new one even though they sent me a new one back in June, and Chris just got his last week. Well, um, 5-7 business days isn't going to do it for me, can you overnight it? Apparently I need to call my local branch for that permission. So I did but they were closed and so my frustrated self hung up the phone and was beginning to pout when Chris told me to cheer up and go to the meeting. So, I brightened up a bit, we went to dinner and I decided to meet the group. I had found them on
Ravelry and they are are called the Sweet Stitchin Betties. We met at the Roasted Bean coffee shop, which is a cute little place and not the typical crowded Starbucks. I didn't talk to many but the few next to me and this one lady was wearing a sweater she had knit and it was gorgeous! I'm determined to figure out knitting soon and hopefully they can help me out. Just watching them going at it knitting made me a little dizzy. It's seems so complicated!

On the way home I stopped by B&N to pick up Artful Blogging a new magazine out by one of my favorite craft/art magazine publishers. I have been reading about it on a few of my favorite creative blogs and so I knew I had to pick it up. Maybe once I get this site completely developed I'll submit it for possible publishing! Just felt like a small post today. :)

Frog Symphony and Shake, Rattle and Run!!!
July 29, 2007
little slough 7-28-07 002
Yesterday I went back out to Little Slough for the first time in four weeks. It has been a nice refreshing break after almost two months going out every weekend. Chris actually has been out every weekend since he found them, save the weekend that my dad came to visit and we went to the Keys. That's a lot of time in the swamp! It's quite amazing the water level out there now.
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There's a good foot or so in the middle and the rest of the outlying areas have ankle deep water now. Chris said last weekend it wasn't like that, so the rains this week have really filled it in.
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It was very dewy yesterday morning so all the spider web's were visible. It's quite amazing how many are hanging out in the grass that you don't normally see. When we got to the slough all of the treefrog's were making a racket.

Pretty cool! Compliments of...
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this little guy and all of his friends and family. I'm fairly certain it is an exotic Cuban tree frog, famous for devastating our native tree frog population. But, I just can't harm these guys. There's an on-going debate at the Florida Gardenweb forum about how to get rid of them.
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Mr. Slug was also out and about today, as was this next creepy fella.
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A fish eating spider. EWW! Kinda cool, but EWWWW.
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I stepped over a log to look at one of our more densely covered ghost orchid trees, looked down at the next log and found this guy. I jumped back quickly and then Chris took the photo. Cottonmouth snake.

Afterwards we went to another slough to meet Rick Cruz and Jay Staton. Chris met them a few weekends ago and he had been in contact with them for a few weeks prior to that. Both are active with Friends of Fakahatchee and also know Mike Owen pretty well. We were out to explore another slough with quite a lot of ghost's as well. So, we're walking along a trail and come across this badass thing...
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Yep, that's an Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake. It's the first one I've ever seen, save the pygmy rattler I nearly stepped on last Thanksgiving at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park. The picture sucks, but it was HUGE. I mean, huge to me. I'm used to docile black racers and those little cottonmouths. We got a video too.

The rattle and face you can see best at the end of the video. I was more worried about it trying to come out and bite us, and I don't speak parseltongue, so I couldn't tell it to calm down a bit! But we boogied on past it and didn't come across another the entire time out there.
Oh, I forgot, before we started I was watching two Queen butterflies hanging out
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Anyway, this slough is much deeper than our slough and Chris said last weekend when he went it was much less water than it was yesterday.
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The water felt very good. When I met Mike Owen he described the water as being the air conditioning for the swamp, and it's true. It cools you down and you don't sweat so much. If I wasn't afraid of the alligators (which we didn't see..) and the random logs lurking underneath, I think swimming around would have been fun!
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Kinda floating around like this pond apple flower.
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This is one of the ghost's we found. The plant itself is sort of dangling off the tree limb, which makes me wonder how long it'll live like that. Probably a goner in a few years or the next hurricane.
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This wasn't the deepest spot, it was mid belly for me in some areas. Sometimes being short stinks.
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I loved this little niche in the slough. A large, old pond apple and the alligator flag pond behind it. Probably 3 feet or so deep in the middle. There were a few limbs on that tree, or some tree hanging out near it, that had about 20+ ghosts on it along with a seed pod.
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This is the same flower as above, but I loved the light reflecting off the water. little slough 7-28-07 258
That's Rick and Jay scouting for the ghost's. It ended up being a pretty nice day and we dodged the thunderstorms, thankfully!

I said I had finished the next purse and here it is:
purse 001

purse 004
I'm debating whether to put it on Etsy. I love it a little too much.
purse 006
The back side of it. It needed a little something to the back so I wove ribbon through it.
purse 009
Sorry for the sloppy looking self there, but it is Sunday after all. ;) I think if I decide to sell it it'll be $35. If someone wants it bad enough you can email me. I think I can part with it then. ;)

Lastly, Shelah posted something awhile back, a little quiz. Here is what it is and her responses for me. You can do the same if you wish.

Leave a blog comment with your name ONLY and the title of your blog

Once you do that, this is what I’ll do for you…
1. I’ll respond with something random about you.
2. I’ll tell you what song/movie reminds me of you.
3. I’ll pick a flavor of Jell-O to wrestle you in.
4. I’ll say something that only makes sense to you and me. (if possible!)
5. I’ll tell you my first memory of you.
6. I’ll tell you what animal you remind me of.
7. I’ll ask you something I’ve always wondered about you.
8. If you do this you MUST post this on yours. You MUST. It is written.
Also be sure to come BACK and check out what I wrote in response for you.

1. You are the only chick I know who has seen a real live Ghost Orchid.
2. The Horse Whisperer...only I would change the title to The Cat Whisperer or something for you. There is just something about you that connects you to all gentle things of the world.
3. Lemon - Its bright and happy - plus it probably wouldn’t dye our skin. FYI - I bet you could so take me too.
4. Too easy. 5/5’s turn us on. Except for the bee hives.
5. You were setting in your chair, with a box of Kleenex, in the middle of the Everglades. I know that I saw you in passing before then but that was the first time I think that you and I conversed at all.
6. A bird. Not sure which yet. Something strong and feisty… but pretty...with an awesome song that always makes ya smile.
7. Do you pee in the woods? Ya kind of have to, as much time as you spend in them. I bet you don’t when you are heading out to that ghostie place though. I think I would be too excited to pee.

My responses...1: :) Yeah I'm kinda cool like that. ;), 2: I can't say I've seen the whole movie. At least you didn't say Adaptation, 3: Mmmm, lemon! I dunno about taking you, I'm kinda out of shape at the moment, 4: My geosense is kinda disrupted at the moment, 5: Heh, I was sick about three times during Feb and March. It sucked! Gotta love camping while sniffling., 6: Awww, birdies. :) Must be a bird...must be a bird. Can I please be an ivory billed woodpecker? Because they are extinct. And extinct things pack on that whole rarities thing we seem to have going these days. 7: Yep, I pee in the woods. In fact, TMI warning here, it's usually the first thing I do when I get to the woods. I'm going to be wearing Depends by 30. Bathroom breaks in the woods aren't bad, just watch where you squat and be sure not to tinkle on you shoes. Guys have it easy.

When you ignore things...
July 27, 2007
Yesterday I set foot for the first time in the backyard in about three weeks. It had been one of those things that I knew was just bad so I just thought I'd ignore it. Rather, too much work that needed to be done. With the rains (FINALLY!) and the heat I knew that the weeds would be taking over. So, I was cooking dinner on the grill, I decided to venture into the yard. Holy mess. Holy ginormous things. The brugs? They are wretched looking sticks of nothing. With a few leaves maybe, but not much else. The elephant ear is HUGE, the grapes that last year I thought were done for in our move have taken over the passion vine. That's good I suppose to camouflage it from the gulf frit's. I was pleasantly surprised to see I had okra. The candy lily and blackberry lily has flower. Some tomatoes are still alive. I'm kind of amazed.

. Yes, the yard is bad. Sunday is now listed as a complete yard day with some painting. And a massage. I've got this pain in my neck and back and I'm not sure how I got it, but I know a massage will help. In other news, I finished another purse!!!!!!! No one has seen it, as I started it when I was in Texas. I'm quite pleased with myself. LOL, yes I'm a little smug. I'm thinking of keeping it for myself, but not quite sure yet. It'll probably go on Etsy. I did finish the other purse I was showing you and my lovely Gladeslvr (Christine) bought it from me last week. She's says she loves it, but I still thought I needed to do a few things to it to make it better. Oh well. I'm becoming quick friends with my Singer, though. I'm thinking a small break from crocheting and maybe I'll piece together the beginnings of a quilt.

Tomorrow we're heading back out into the slough again. It's been a few weeks for me and we need to finish the count. Crossing our fingers we can get it done. Oh, Chris has a front page to his website now, so click on Little Slough up at the top and you'll see what he's got in store. I would guess it'll be a few more weeks until it is fully developed, so keep checking back. :) Au revoir for the night....:)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MOM! :) 47 is the new 37. ;)

"How old are sea turtles?". ~ Nemo
July 25, 2007
For the past couple of years Chris'
aquarium club has been going to a sea turtle release hosted by the Miami-Dade parks department. Yesterday was my third time going to the release and as always I had a lot of fun! It made me miss my time watching loggerheads nest on the Melbourne beaches and doing the turtle walks with the Sea Turtle Preservation Society. The first year we saw the babies released we got to see several leatherback hatchlings. Last year there were none, but this year we were lucky to have one! :) It was adorable, of course! :) I took some photo's but I love the video I shot. But, I did take it sideways, so you'll have to alter your head a bit to watch. I was already reprimanded by Mr. Christopher. :p

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We got there after a pretty bad rainstorm, so the storms had moved offshore and the sun was shining out to the west.
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This is where the majority of the turtle nests are relocated in Miami-Dade. They leave the leatherback and green turtle nests because there are not very many, but all the loggerhead nests are relocated here. They do a little slideshow and show how the beaches were eroded to nothing in the 60's and 70's after all the condo's were built. Then they show them dredging and putting new sand onto the beaches. It's pretty amazing to see the differences. Soon after the turtles returned to start nesting. Sea turtles return to the beach they were born on to nest. So, it is imperative that these beaches are not destroyed.
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The water was looking very nice. I really wanted to get in!
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I know you want to put your toes in....
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These were the little loggerhead babies that were released. :) SO CUTE!!
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Just a wittle bitty baby!! Freshly born, ready to take on all the tarpon, barracuda, sharks and other things in the sea. Take me to the Sargasso, please!
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Sea turtles follow the light. On a pristine beach there will only be moonlight or the white of the waves crashing on the beaches. With hotels and street lights nearby it can be especially dangerous to them. They will cross roads, end up in swimming pools, and a lot of times die trying to cross dunes.

I love sea turtles. Somewhere out there our first two baby turtles we came across back on Melbourne beach are out there. Let's hope at least!

Texas Trip
July 23, 2007

DSC02755So, I went home to Texas to have a baby. Ok, well, maybe not. ;) I baby-napped my sister in law's friend's baby, Leah, at Curt and Stephanie's housewarming. The babies I have usually been around were older than this one (one month) so I was sort of new at the whole how to hold it. I forgot she couldn't hold her bottle. I had to hold her head. That sort of thing. She was adorable too. :)

DSC02770One of the other highlight's of my trip home was meeting this little gal for the first time. She's my second cousin, Baileigh, and the more I look at her the more she looks like my cousin, Crystal. She's an amazing little girl, smart, funny, playful! Holy cow, does she play. I think you could twirl her around, play horsey, piggy back, whatever for hours on end and I'd be the one asleep before she was. She just turned three a few months ago but honestly, she seems a few years older than she is. She's a doll! I'm a bit jealous that I don't get to spend enough time with her. She ran to my sister in law more than me. :( WAHHHH!

DSC02601And now for the really cute animal posts. This is little Daisy Lou sleeping.

DSC02628I somehow managed to get the shiest animal in the house to come out and get a pet at midnight one night. I think I saw her a total of three times the entire time I was home, save the time I peeked under my parents bed to find where she was hiding out. Yoda is friendly, likes to walk on her claws, and hates people, mostly. Really, she just likes to hibernate most of the day. And she's really skinny. Like 5 or 6 lbs is all she is. The vet says she's ok!

DSC02580And then there's Red. He's become a little more friendly in the past few years, even lets Daisy lick him and come up to play with him. Red, he's a little devil. He's mostly nice, and partly bad, just like the Leomeister. You can snuggle up with him but at the tiniest bit of annoyance you had better put him down because he is not afraid to bite or scratch. I saw him quite a lot and he'd hop up for some loving at the computer chair.

DSC02587Last, but not least, Isabelle. Snizzy. :) Poor girl has so many allergies she has to wear clothes to keep from scratching and getting sores. She likes little Daisy and is glad to have a new friend to play with. :) Wittle Snizzabelle. :)

DSC02663Dad and I went to the Fort Worth Nature Center on the Saturday before I left for a six mile hike. He's preparing for his trip to Glacier Nat'l Park here in a few weeks. My brother was supposed to go with us that morning but he copped out and said he was too tired. I hadn't been out to the refuge in years, but I always liked going and the trail we went on, I hadn't been on before. This is bee balm, I am pretty sure. I was hoping to get better macro's but since I had my parent's camera and couldn't find a macro buttong I was left to just get as good as I could. It was fun seeing all of the different wildflowers. Some thing I don't even recognize but I did try to id them online.

DSC02666It wasn't a flat terrain I am used to. It's not like it was that hilly, but it did get my shins and ankles a good workout.

DSC02700I did get some good photo's of butterflies. Not sure what this one is, but I was surprised that I was able to get the next one!

DSC02753It's an Eastern tiger swallowtail! I had seen some flitting around here in Florida and was unable to get one on the camera and this one was patient enough to let me get a photo! It wasn't that glowy-like, I think the camera was having some issues with the humidity.

DSC02721This guy I found at the halfway point, when we'd stopped to rest. I was looking for some interesting things to take photos of and here it was! I ended up spotting one on the trail on the way back, too.

DSC02714Some Texas prairie with an old CCC building in the background. We found several of these and remaining portions of old buildings out there. My dad speculated that it was an old campground or maybe picnic area, because I did find something that looked like a very old sort of septic system.

DSC02718Dad and I....

Well, I keep trying to do some wildflower photos but they are being annoying at the moment, so come back tomorrow. I'm almost finished with another purse! :)

Still a bit sad about Harry. :( I am just itching for my coworker to finish tonight so I discuss on the car ride tomorrow.

Welcome and a bit about Harry Potter
July 22, 2007
Howdy! I was on a hiatus the past two weeks because I was out of town in Texas and then when I returned I found out that Chris had bought a website and hosting for me for my birthday. So, here I am at It has taken a bit of time working out the kinks, learning Photoshop and trying to make some interesting graphics. I hope to have most of it moved over and updated by the end of the week. I hope everyone makes the moves over here and updates links accordingly.

I wasn't prepared to really write much today but I just finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at about 3:15pm EST. I had thought about going on Friday night to pick it up at Borders but we drove by and there was a line. Plus by 11pm I was zonked and decided to hit the sack instead. I got up on Saturday morning, did a few errands, grabbed a Starbucks coffee and a sweet bread for breakfast and hit Borders with my little reservation paper in my hand. I was excited! There wasn't much of a line and seeing other's being handed their books only made me more anxious. I hurried to the car, opened the front page and read the inscription and almost started crying right there. Yes, I am insane. Good books do that to you. It's like leaving a friend for me. I am sure other bibliophiles will empathize with me. I went home and had to do some chores. Yes, the laundry was piled up and I needed to dust and change the sheets. Something had to be done. Around 2 or 3pm I settled in on the futon, a couple of Lindor truffles and some iced tea to keep me started and I sat down to read. I made it to page 500 or so by 1am, after breaks to work on this here webpage and other little issues. I decided to sleep on it over night instead of staying up reading. This morning I settled back in around 10:30 am and just finished today. It's slowly sinking in still. I won't ruin it, but later in the week if you've read it finally, comment and we can have a discussion about it. I feel a little sad. The only thing I have left to anticipate is the Outlander series finale by Diana Gabaldon, and she takes years to write her novels so I don't expect that anytime soon. I remember when I was introduced to Harry. I was working at Moody Gardens in Galveston and a girl there had let me borrow the first book. It'd been out for awhile and I thought it was just a children's novel. I devoured the book and promptly went out and got the second book because it had already been released. I think the first book I reserved was the Prisoner of Azkaban, but I cannot remember. I was hooked from then on. So, of course now it seems a little like losing a friend. The book will be put on my bookshelf to revisit when I get in the mood to reminisce. It will definitely be passed down my children one day and hopefully it'll be a classic that is read for years.

My trip to Texas was good. It went quickly and I was sad to leave everyone. Of course I didn't get to do everything I wanted; I never made it downtown. I did eat a lot of good Mexican food, went hiking at the Ft. Worth Nature Center with my dad (I'll blog about that tomorrow) and did a lot of shopping! I also got to see my second cousin for the first time, met the newest puppy in the household, Daisy, and saw my brother and sister in law's in house. So, tomorrow we'll go for a hike to the nature center and I'll finally do the cute animal post. :) Keep looking for updates around here.

Why you shouldn't be a slacker orchid hunter
July 11, 2007
One shouldn't be a slacker orchid hunter because one then forego's being on the front page of Yahoo! News.
Ghost Orchid in Corkscrew Swamp. Chris called me yesterday to say that Mike Owen had forwarded him an email about a super huge ghost with 9 flowers that was 8 feet in length, top to bottom, on a cypress 60 feet in the air. Chris forwarded me the email and I about had a cow in the computer chair. I can't help but feel slightly jealous. Doesn't finding 545 (Plus ~50 more) make up for finding a super ginormous, badass ghost orchid??? And here I was pussyfooting around about an article. *tsk tsk*. Naples News article with a photo of the flowers. I really wanted to send the photo's out last night but it wasn't my photo's to do that with. So, maybe in a month when we're finished documenting you'll see my name in lights on Broadway. ;) HA! Come on, doubling the ghost orchid population counts for something, right?

It's a beautiful flower, the one they found, isn't it? Wowzers!

The Good Thing About Texas is...
July 8, 2007
Really cute puppies.
Meet Daisy Lou (Daisy Mae, Daisy Duke...) 12 weeks old. And a really cute little thing
Mexican food on every corner.
Concerts in the Garden to the music of Pink Floyd.
And This, all at the Ft. Worth Botanic Garden...(and so much more!)
My brother and sister in law laughing it up...
Dad and Bro.
Trying really hard to stay awake (getting to the airport at 6am is hard.
And more fireworks.

And cuddling with a very snorty Boston Terrier named Isabelle who kept me company in bed all night. And then proceeded to sneak under the covers sometime late in the night.
And Christopher, I found you a variegated plant when we went to dinner. :) Miss you!!! Give the Sam and Leo a kiss for me.

It's Raining, It's Pouring...
July 5, 2007
It has been raining a lot lately. Yesterday we were run off from Little Slough because the thunder was getting too loud. Soon enough it started raining. And it rained most of the afternoon. Loud claps of thunder were following the bright lightning. I took a nice two hour nap and then the neighborhood fireworks sessions started and proceeded to spook the cats too much. We didn't make it to a firework show either, which is dissapointing. Though come to think of it I don't think we've gone the past two years. Oh well.

I want to share with you
HipCity Cruz. It's a band that my friend Rosemarie is in in Santa Cruz, California. She had told me a few weeks ago that they were getting ready to put up a MySpace page and now it's up. She's the one singing Long Stretches of Sunshine. I'm so excited for her!!! So, take a listen. It's a very indie, jazzy feeling.

Christine, unfortunately your purse isn't going to be ready yet. I tried the sewing machine tonight and was having a horrid time with the ribbon edging that I planned on for the strap. Anyhow, you can see the finished purse part. And if you think it's ugly you can just tell me tomorrow on Gmail. ;) Honestly though, I am liking the purple and green combo better than the other. I think the other part should have been a smaller purse. We'll see once we get the handle on. I think it'll come together well, but I need my mom to help me with it. My sewing skills are on the below average scale. So, here it is:
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Eh? Good? Meh??? YIPPIEE???
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Me likey this side. :)
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Samson likes you too.

I wanted to share a funky fungus I took the other day. How about let's call freaky funky fungus and say it five times fast!
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Quite a few popping up in Little Slough.

Last weekend we went to Snyder Park in Ft. Lauderdale for a bbq thing for Chris' aquarium club. Not many people showed up but I did get some good photo's.
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Surinam cherry. Easy to grow from seed. They are common hedges here but they grow into nice little trees. I think you can technically eat the fruit but it doesn't taste too good.
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Kalanchloe flowers. One thing about Snyder Park is that it is probably the host to the most invasive plant species I've ever seen. Whatever's on Florida's invasive list, this park has it. In abundance. It is a fun park though. They have a bark park and a doggie swimming pond. Very fun!
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Oh and invasive critters. There are about four of them and they found their way over to the picnic site looking for handouts.
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Easy to photograph despite a few hissing moments.
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And an oopsie daisy where a turtle got stuck in a fishing line. Chris go the hook out (he didn't catch it, but he has experience with sea turtles on the line) and then the turtle was so freaked out he took off and got his flipper stuck in the line so we had to untangle him then. And then after that he almost stabbed himself with a knife they used to cut the line! Silly wertle. :)
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Do you spot the other invasive animal??? You may remember, or you may not, but last July when we moved into the house I spotted a bright yellow bird in the backyard. Bright colored birds aren't all that common around here unless they are finches or bluejay's. Well, it was a spot breasted oriole. Yesterday after the rain and after my nap Chris called me onto the porch to show me a bright yellow bird. My oriole is back! Well, who knows if it is the same one, but that's pretty cool. They must come through here in July I'm guessing on their way back north. Totally cool! And yesterday morning Chris called me out to tell me there was a baby iguana on our cypress tree. I went out looking for a 2' lizard when it was this little bitty lizard the size of a gecko approximately. But it was definitely a baby iguana. Kinda cool! Just sitting on the limbs of the cypress! If we see it again we'll get a photo.

Well, tomorrow I'll be packing and doing last minute things so I won't blog again until this weekend probably. The Sammy boy says "Meow" and "mmm, can I share some water?", or really he means "goodnight!".

July 3, 2007
I snapped this on the way home today from the backseat of my carpool. We had been chased by a very nasty thunderstorm, lightning dancing around us and even probably striking just a smidge from the car because you could feel the vibration in the car. Very spooky and fun. I do believe the rainy season has officially begun. Anyway, the photo is from my camera phone and doesn't do the justice of the colors. It was a very beautiful full rainbow. ROYGBIV.

July 2nd, 2007
Tonight we had a lot of thunder and lightning. The boys were totally scared and took off running for the bed when the claps of thunder were really loud. We need the rain. Even so, Lake Okeechobee reached a new record low the other day. It's so low that it is revealing artifacts previously unknown! Ok, I was just searching for a panther article, which I'll post in a minute, but I found this about a lady who was lost in Fakahatchee Strand early in June. Woman vs. Swamp. Really now. You're supposed to stop at the board when you enter and get a map. All the tram roads are mostly east-west and if you go off a trail head or or south and you'll hit one. And what are you doing without water? And a compass? Ack!!!! For heaven's sake stay on the trail if you don't know where you are. And flip-flops?? We've come across rattlesnakes on the trail's before!!! Do people not have common sense?

Now, on the panther's. There were three killed within a week of each other two week's ago. One of them was 1 mile west of Krome Avenue on SW 8th Street in Miami. Approximately 1/2 mile from houses! Now, I know most of you have no clue where that's at, but this isn't in the wilderness. It's on the edge, the Everglades Start a few miles west, and with civilization building up the edge, it's bound to happen, along with a burgeoning population of Florida panther/hybrid Texas cougar's running around and fighting for territory. Carrying capacity seems to be starting to reach the upper limits and unless another is established elsewhere in the state, like Ocala Nat'l Forest area, I'm not sure how long a population here will last.

I'm not sure, but what do you all think. Chris thinks it would be cool to do a press release and send to the local papers about the ghost orchid's we found. I'm leery on the idea. We wouldn't take anyone out there, but just the thought of the possibility that someone finds them, it's scary to me. I also am unsure of the press, or the attention regarding it. I know I blog about it here, but my audience seems to be a handful and I'd say half aren't that interested. We're also thinking, though I've been thinking for awhile anyway, about setting up a website. I want a more permeneant website for my blog and eventually art and stuff and we're thinking of having a section for Little Slough. A kind of story about it, maybe updates on how things are going with the research sort of deal. To me, that's enough. An article would be fun, but I guess I always viewed articles as they come to you, not you to them. And, I also am not sure if I feel authoratative enough to speak on it. In a way, I feel like I am stepping on someone else's toes.

Enough of that. I am almost done with the next purse. It's more like a tote, but I hope it'll turn out cute. I went to Walmart tonight to try to find fabric to line it and to make the handle but it took awhile to find something. It's the incredible shrinking notions department. I ended up with an unbleached cotton for the lining and another cotton, but bleached, for the handle. I am hoping it turns out cute. If it's ugly, I'll keep it for myself. ;)

I'm still trying to resolve issues with Feedburner. I have no clue what the heck is wrong. The feed I sent out yesterday didn't get sent for some reason and email's are still not working. I subscribed to it again today and tried with my yahoo email but it said I was subscribed. I validated the feed, it's good, and I just can't figure it out. Maybe I'll start sending brainwaves when I post a new entry.

Almost a week until the Harry Potter movie and almost two week's until the book. I can't wait!

Wow, Just Wow!
July 1, 2007
I was browsing Google the other night, typing in various combinations of ghost orchid, Everglades and giant sphinx moth and I came across this photo from the The Everglades Digital Library which has records of photo's, journal's, articles and other items that you can browse. I came upon the ghost orchid photo above from 1929. Could it possibly be the oldest known photo of one? I'm trying to determine what is in the background. It appears to be a dock or perhaps a hopper dredge when they were building Tamiami Trail? It's kinda odd, though.
This is the Sunny Isles area near N. Miami Beach. What's there now are roads, condo's and no Everglades that's for certain. This is the early 20's too.

Yesterday was a pretty cool day. Chris has been talking off and on for the past two month's to Mike Owen, the biologist at Fakahatchee Strand. It finally worked out that he could come out with us to Little Slough. We took him out and spent a good five hours out there showing him all of the orchid's. It was fun taking him to the ones we knew were blooming, the ones we've been watching. Here in a few weeks there should be a quite a bit getting ready to bloom. Mike knows a lot! Wow, and he will talk and talk about ghost's, orchid's, plants anything! It's just really cool! I think all three of us (our friend J.C. went) were sponges, soaking up the information. And then we started thinking about all of the different questions like, does the giant sphinx moth smell the orchid's? Why are some blooming and other's don't? I mean, we can go on and on and so I tried to find more information on the sphinx moth but I really couldn't find too much in the internet. Apparently there isn't much research on it at this time. In talking with Mike about the moth's he said that they were quite loud and he had seen them on moonflower's and crinum's before, but not the ghost's. Last weekend while I was writing down the data I heard two very loud bug/animal/bird things and saw them probably 30 yards away in some popash. Very loud, hummingbird sized. I was thinking either the moth or hummingbirds. I tried to get Chris to look but they had flown away by then. A few minutes later one tore through the area and then went off in the oppoisite direction. Chris surmised perhaps they were locusts, because the locusts are humming along quite well right now out there. But then when we found out how loud they were we got to thinking maybe that is what we saw/heard. Hrmmmm!?!?!?!
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Here we all are out there. Not sure why Chris is leaning, he looks like he's going to fall on Mike!

Oh and while searching for sphinx moth info I found this video from a link on a forum. About 2 minutes in you'll see a night cam video of a moth pollinating another orchid. We had already thought about buying a night came video and hook it up to a laptop and sleep out by a ghost. Video link.
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Found this fella, and several of its brothers and sisters on an alligator flag.
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If you look you can see the nectar!
My creation
This is an orchid (if you remember the first time we saw a flower there was the four of us in the photo, this is the same plant, new flowers), that last week had two blooms on the spike and it appears that at least one of them was probably pollinated. We'll know for sure on Wednesday when we go back to and see if there is a swelling for a seed pod to form. It'll be the first this season.
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These guys are a bigger pain in the butt than the mosquito's. They HURT!
Mike also talked a little bit about John Laroche, of The Orchid Thief fame. Mike had only been working about two months when they were stolen and he said he tried to put them back and the ones that he remember where he put them back only one of them made it. That was 1/15 that he knew of and there were around 90 something that were taken. So, the success rate was not good. He also spoke of taking people on the tours and going back the next week or so and finding a plant gone. Even from groups that you would expect to be ethical, like orchid societies and botany classes. Just goes to show that even if you can trust the person you take out, you can't trust them not to tell someone else and have them come out and shred your place.

Alright, enough orchid talk. I'm boring someone out there, I'm sure. So, here's cat talk. Leo officially whined his way into our life 3 years ago today. (It was 2004, Dad!!! I promise!) Leo is also proving himself to be very smart and cunning. He can now pry open the cabinet doors under the sink. This morning Chris heard him in the spare bath and I sat up in bed just as he poked his head in our bedroom door with a mouth full of cleaning sponge. I dashed out of bed to chase him to the living room where he trotted to the barstools, promptly dropped the sponge and then hid under the stool. Rat. This isn't the first time. I left one on the cabinet once and I came home to bits of blue and white all over the floor. I also found a whole roll of toilet paper in their litter box the other morning. The roll happens to be right above the box and the roll was left on from I think my dad and his dad's visit's a month ago. It wasn't touched for a month and then he rat got the idea to destroy it one day. If only I could train him to use it properly. Hrm.

Happy 24th Birthday bro. Almost a quarter century of having a goofy brother. :) Love ya!

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