In 2002 we ran away from Illinois where we were born and raised, and started a new life in SW Florida. This blog is about me (an eccentric old artist), ROM (my Real Old Man), Isabella (our neurotic Standard Poodle) and Emmy (our crazy snake killing Jack Russell Terrier). Oh- and the neighborhood old people. Life is good in Florida!


Monday, January 30, 2012

Photos of the Week

I've fallen hopelessly behind with my intention to post a photo a day, but I'm trying to keep up with the Photo a Week posts so as not to let Cyn down.  Be sure to visit her blog to see her amazing photos. 

My Christmas cacti were done blooming by New Year's Day, just as they usually are. Their blooming has always been predictable- the buds form right around Thanksgiving and they erupt with flowers through out the month of December. From New Year's Day to Thanksgiving I pay little attention to them and they seem to thrive on neglect. I hadn't even watered them in the past two weeks.  I thought I was having an Ambien induced hallucination the other night when I was taking Isabella out for her last potty and noticed a couple of blooms and lots of flower buds on one of the white xmas cactus. For some odd reason, one of my white and one of my red are blooming again- just as heavily as they did in Dec. I have no idea what's causing this, or why the other two aren't blooming. Everything I've read says the blooming is triggered by the the shortened number of daylight hours in the winter. But the days have actually gotten a few minutes longer in the past few weeks so I haven't a clue what set these two off, but I'm sure enjoying this blooming bonus. 
Click all photos to enlarge

When I was taking photos of the xmas cacti the other day, I started looking around and found that a few of my small air plants were also blooming.  These are air plants I glued onto a driftwood tree several years ago. After they bloom, they slowly die after putting out a pup plant. It's amazing how they propagate.

These air plants have a fuzzy surface that you can see if you click and enlarge the pic. They send out a tiny vividly colored  flower...

And this little girl was hanging around out back enjoying our warm and sunny January.

Happy Monday! Hope you all have a fantastic week.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Photo of the Week- A Night At The County Fair

Though we've lived here almost 10 years, this was the first time we've attended the county fair. It's always held in Jan. and usually the weather is so freaking cold and windy we had no desire to go. That wasn't the case this year- other than a couple of brief cold spells, our Jan. weather has been gorgeous. Saturday night was perfect weather for a visit to the fair- clear skies and 70 degrees.

Having spent most of my life in Midwest farm country, I've been to more fairs than I can possibly count. County and State fairs are a big deal in rural Midwest communities- a very big deal! The Manatee County fair was rather sad in comparison. It was small and not much to see. The arts and crafts competition was so small it was all housed in one building. We did see some great photography and painting entries, but not much else.

My favorite things to see at fairs are the farm animals. We never did find the livestock barns but did stumble across one open building of cows. And what friendly critters they were! A couple of them even had mooing conversations with me. One of them took a hankering to the canvas the bag I was carrying, reaching through the bars and grabbing my bag in her teeth. After a brief tug of war, she let loose and let me have my bag back- with a big wet spot on it.  

(Click Photos To See Full Size)

Something you don't see at Midwest fairs is a view of the midway lit up behind live oak trees draped in Spanish moss.

Of course, like at all fairs across the county fried crap is popular.

There was even a booth where you could find out if you're going to heaven. I didn't stop to find out because I'm hoping I don't go to heaven. Some the most boring and self righteous people I know claim they're going to heaven and I sure as hell don't want to spend eternity with them.

Though these photos aren't my best, they'll have to serve as my Photo of the Week. Be sure and visit Tweatcyn's site to see her photo of the week.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Warming Temps Bring Out The Geckos, Old People & Danglers-

During the recent bitter cold spell the streets were deserted... not a biker, walker, scooter rider or golf cart to be seen. Even the little geckos disappeared into their hidden nooks and crannies to stay warm.  Today as the warm temperatures return to sunny SW Florida the local wildlife are emerging from their warm hideaways. Geckos are basking in the sun and the old people are out roaming the streets once again.

I like the old people, really I do (well most of them). They're cute, often funny, and are usually entertaining to watch. They're so friendly and I try to be friendly in return, though I've had to put a limit on the numbers of waves each gets a day. It was getting completely ridiculous the number of times I was having to wave to certain individuals. So I made a new rule- two waves per person per day. I don't care how many times you ride your three wheel bike around the block, I'm only going to wave to you twice. I'm sorry, it's nothing personal but that's the way it is. I can't wear my arms out waving over and over again every day. I have other things my arms need to do.

And it's not just the waving that gets annoying, the stopping to chat thingie gets tiresome, too. Sometimes I'm clearly busy doing something and it's not a good time to talk. Like this morning when I was dealing with Emmy and her dangler...

Emmy loves to bite at Isabella's long ear fringe and for some reason I don't understand she frequently swallows some of that long hair. Well, what goes in has to come out and that's how Emmy ends up with danglers... a poopie that's come too far out to go back in, but attached to a long hair that's still way up her pooper.  

So back to this morning... Emmy had a dangler and regardless of how much effort she put into it, it just wasn't coming loose. That's when I have to put a baggy over my hand and assist her. It's disgusting, I don't like it, but you do what you have to do when you have dogs. As I'm bent over, gently working the dangler free, a couple in a golf cart pull up and the woman cheerfully asks "Whatcha' doing?" What in the hell does it look like I'm doing? It's obvious what I'm doing- I'm holding Emmy's tail up with one hand and pulling on poop with the bagged hand. But I was polite as I smiled and cheerfully told her "I'm just pulling shit out of Emmy's ass. How are you today?" Of course that led to questions about why I was having to pull shit out of my dog and I had to go through the whole dangler explanation before they were satisfied and drove off. I think that exchange was equal to two waves so I'm not waving at them when they come back by later.

Photos of the day.... packing away Christmas for another year...

Christmas decorations are replaced by hibiscus blooms that withstood the freezing temps...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Aftermath...

It was predicted that our temperature would drop to 28 last night but I haven't heard if it actually got that cold. The weather people suggested we turn our xmas lights on if we still had them up, so I did as they suggested but it doesn't look like it helped my poinsettias. Between the wind and the cold, they really took a beating.

The sweet potato vines that were so lush and healthy are looking quite limp and sickly today. After all threat of extreme cold spells are over for the winter I'll cut them back and hopefully they'll regrow.

The wind blew over some of my pots leaving a mess. This poor plant has already been safely placed in a new pot and hopefully will be fine.
We have one more night of cold temps and then we are supposed to warm back up. And I'm more than ready to get out of these sweatshirts, flannel pants, socks and real shoes. By Friday I should be back in my normal winter attire- capris and flip flops.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Blows...

... literally, and in more ways than one. I came down with a cold a few days before New Year's Eve and spent the big night in bed with my laptop watching season 1 of Mad Men on iTunes while repeatedly blowing my nose. Probably just as well we stayed home because even though it was a warm night a heavy sea fog rolled in and I couldn't see more than a couple houses down the street. Of course staying home on NYE in Florida is no guarantee you'll be safe.

For some reason, NYE is a big night for fireworks here in Florida.  We started hearing them early in the day and it continued all day long.  After hours and hours it gets annoying, but when the gunshots start it gets damn right scary. Every year as it gets close to midnight idiots start firing guns into the air. I don't know if it's because they've used up all their fireworks or if by that time they're so drunk they forget that things that go up must come down.  This year from about 11 pm. to around 2 a.m. we could hear gun shots from all directions. The rapid fire of automatic weapons is rather unnerving to say the least. The following day the local news reported  that bullets had hit quite a few homes around town. A woman found a hole in her bedroom ceiling and  a bullet in her bed- the bed she where she had been sleeping! In a town north of us a 12 year old boy was shot in the head from "celebratory" gunfire and is in serious condition. If only we could round up all the stupid people and confine them to one area where they can only hurt each other.

Our beautiful weather has come to an end with 20 mph winds and high temps barely hitting 50. We have freezing temps predicted for tonight so my beloved xmas cacti and the ruby & pearls plants are being kept safe on my kitchen island. All my other plants will be covered and we'll just hope for the best for the landscaping. Last winter we lost all our frangipanis and grass. These hotter than normal summers and colder than normal winters are becoming  the new normal and I don't like it one bit! 

Here is my photo of the day...

Photo Of The Week...

My Twitter friend, @ , and I both love photography so decided to have a photo a week challenge. You can see Cyn's photos on her site. And if anyone else would like to join us, you're more than welcome. Actually I'm going to try to post a photo a day, just because I love to take photos. Here is my first photo of the week for 2012... click photo to see full size. I love the colors and textures in this scene.