Rain days and Mondays always get me down.. Friday 31

Rain, rain go away! Come again some other day.. like in a couple weeks when we are out of here!  UGH!  I know I shouldn’t complain at least it is relatively warm, but we need sunshine for good art shows and we are getting rain.  Rained on Sunday at the last art show.. so we have to try and figure out how to dry the tent sides on Monday.   I am so glad we doing have to worry about our product. 

 

I do worry about my dog though Bitty.. he is terrified of heavy rains and thunder.  Both of what we are getting now.  The forecast says 20% chance… nothing about pouring thunderstorms.  Ugh!  Can I just bargain with the heavens.. good weather on the weekends and you can do some crap during the week? But no, I want it all.. it is my one and only vacation in the last fifteen years or so.. COME ON!

 

Ok, I’m done with the rant.. just had to get it all out.  I feel better now.  Deep yoga breathes.. Breath in and out… in and out..  Hack, hack cough cough.. so much for that..

 

Life came crashing into our vaca this week in the form of FASFA.  The whole relax and enjoy ourselves came to a halt as we scrambled to get the estimate done of the taxes so we could get the FASFA in for our kids before the end of the priority deadline.  Makes me crazy every year.. but thanks to Scot it’s end for the most part. 

 

The show this weekend is on the Atlantic coast of Florida.  In a town called Hobe Sound.  It is near Jupiter.  It is our first Howard Alan fine art show.  We’ve heard great things about the show and the organizers do a lot of different shows around the US.  We will do this one this weekend and than one on the Gulf Side at Coconut Point which is near Ft. Meyers area.  We are thinking of seeing if we can find a campground at Ft. Meyers Beach for the few days between shows, though we will be at Johnathan Dickson State Park close to here on Monday and possible Sunday night.

 

We drove across the state today.. lots of cattle and sod ranches and bunches of orange groves.  And pretty much nothing else.   Was strange to see.. wide open spaces.   Guess I was expecting heavier population in all of lower Florida.  To much TV where all you see is Miami! 

 

Anyway, it wasn’t that.. going to cross my fingers toes and everything else and hope for a fantastic weekend with huge sales.. and lots of space when we leave here.  

 

Do you have a twin? Monday 27

Crazy weekend with the Venice Arts and Craft Festival, set up was 5:30am on Sat. It was more craft than art and though we had a lot of admiration for our work, sales were few and far between for us. Some artists did great, some did ok and some like us did little. The set up and break down were relatively easy and one of the organizers, Elaine came by introduced herself and brought snacks both days. That is always appreciated. The weather was good on Saturday, but despite the weather predication of only a 20% chance of rain after 3, we had showers on and off all day. Meant a wet break down, so we had to dry out the tent today. Ugh, one of my least favorite activities.

The show was what it was and we both agree, it wasn’t really the venue for us. So we will try something else next time. But now the weekend is over and we are on vacation. Definitely a lifestyle I could get use too.

Before I completely leave the weekend behind, I want to talk twins with you all. You know when we see someone is almost a twin of someone you know… maybe a younger or older twin or a chubbier or skinnier… that twin.

Well I got news for you all… the majority of your twins are here in Florida attending art shows in Venice. Was just a little freaky. I’ve been lots of places and met many people, but I have never seen so many twins in one place in my entire life. They say there are only so many DNA combinations, so at some point you are bound to repeat a combination that is close. Do you think it is true? If it is.. the doubles are vacationing here. To freaky!!

Today was nice. Scot and I are finally embracing the idea of being on vacation. We slept in, took Bitty on a long walk and then I went with a neighbor, Rhonda to yoga class. Rhonda and her husband, Larry are from KY too. Interesting, we are right next to our fellow Kentuckians. Anyway, we enjoyed an hour and a half of stretching and relaxation, something my back and body really needed. This park has tons of activities. It’s one of the biggest reasons people come here. If they had shopping, you’d never have to leave the park. Exercise classes, computer club, wood shop, stained glass, and to many more to name, like being a resort, but having your own place to stay. Nice or Freaky… not sure on that one?

After yoga, we went out to lunch. Something we don’t do very much since we can cook in the trailer. Then we walked the beach and after awhile, Scot dug out his metal detector and spent an hour or so combing the beach for that ten carat diamond ring. I’m sorry to report he didn’t find it. But there is always tomorrow…

Then it was back to the Artship, an evening walk and a dinner complete with reading. We are such an old couple. What do you want to do tonight? I don’t know.. maybe we could fix some chow and read across the table from each other… Yeppers.. another exciting day on vacation.

The Art of Allowing.. Thursday 23

I must truly be on vacation, because the last two days are a blur of nothing but relaxing.  Walking the dog, talking with neighbors, sleeping, eating and moments of nothingness that leave a smile on my face and a hope that I might catch up on relaxation after too many years of stress. 

 

Next week, we are truly going to have to be a little bit more productive, if we want to metal detect on the beach (it requires a car trip) and if I’m going to get some design work done while I’m here.  But I’m not going to stress, just accept that it’s ok to relax. 

 

I told myself that I was going to work on the art of allowing here.  What’s that you say?  Just stop fighting so hard to make things happen and trust that they will happen if I ask for them and gently set up the parts that are within my control so they are in a row.  I’m finding out there isn’t really all that much in my control, so mostly it’s trusting that things will work out if I open myself to them. 

 

If nothing else, it is certainly less stressful then trying to control everything around me. 

 

Tomorrow we pack up and head to downtown Venice for a show.  So the test of allowing begins as we want to it to be the best possible show and we are setting up so it can be that way… but there are so many factors we do not control at the show.  So trusting it will all be for the best if we allow it to be so… Ugh!  Sometimes this whole thing doesn’t feel very relaxing at all! 

Camping – Wednesday 22

Let’s talking camping…there are all sorts of it, but for our purposes let’s just talking trailer and RV camping; kind of taking your home with you type camping, but not so much how that you can have all the clutter that normally complicates your life!  I love this kind of camping.. we are getting away from all the to dos in our normal life, but still have a space to call our own. 

 

Artists if you do out of state shows, you might want to consider some type of camper if your art lens itself to it.  Despite the fact we have some larger sculpture, we managed to fit in all in to our truck with some overflow in the camper.  It feels so great to come back from a show and have our own space.  No more hauling suitcases to hotel rooms or searching out a place to grab chow after working a 10 hour day.. it’s all here. 

 

I’m not saying it doesn’t come with it’s own set of woes.. something breaking while on the road, figuring out what appliances you can run at the same time and don’t’ kill the generator or just the general getting to know your camper and love it’s little hiccups. 

 

Anyway, I thought I’d share with you some of the cool things we have discovered that work well in a small space.. 

  1. Get yourself a couple of small crock pots.  These work great for cooking things while you are out at a show all day or playing at the beach some where.  I recommend two instead of one so you can do different things in each one.  Like cook a pot roast in one and cook some vegetables in the other.  It doesn’t make to big of a meal and best of all they don’t take as much space to store.
  2. Find some mesh storage bags, you know the kind with the many different pockets like the over the closet shoe holders.  Mesh seems to work best, because you can use it anywhere.  I recommend using those non-damage hooks and hanging on in your shower.  It will hold your shampoo and stuff even when you are traveling down the road.  On the door of a closet is a good place for another.  Be creative!
  3. Find some containers that fit in your cupboards.  We all have to admit that camper cupboards offer some unique space considerations.  Don’t look at it as you have to fit your stuff in that space, but rather how you can break the space up to make it usable.  For instance, the cupboards over the bed offer a lot of space, but unless you can stack things or have tall things forget using the top half.  We found plastic containers that our nesting open storage boxes, now we can roll our socks, tanks and underwear up in them using the total space.
  4. Two neat tricks we learned from the campers previous owners:

Take a plastic over the door shoe holder and cut it into strips.  Each strip is one row, Velcro or staple them along the bottom of your bed.  Useable space becomes a place to hold your shoes.

If you have pantry cupboards like the ones we use to have with lot of space for tall things, but you just need more space for cans.  Cut pieces of wood that make shelf across and use smaller pieces that fit along the inside wall space to brace them.  Don’t forget to add a thin strip of wood in front to create a lip over cans will come jumping out at you every time you travel.  

  1. Put your TV on a fold out/pivoting bracket.  It stored easily and is out of your way when you are using it.
  2. Build an undercarriage storage.  We use ours to storage our sewer tote and blocks to put under the wheels.  Built a metal frame in front of the tires. 
  3. Put of box on the back of the traveler.  You will have to reinforce your structure, but you can add a large tool box on the back and use it to hold a generator or two, plus blocks, gasoline and more.  This will free your garage for extra inventory. 
  4. If you have an open space that they should have put a cupboard door on and you can’t find a door that fits, go to your hardware store and gets some fancy decorative trim that is taller and put it across.  Then put some nonskid stuff done and use it to store those crock pots and your coffee pot and more. 
  5. Above all.. BE CREATIVE and HAVE FUN!  Remember this is a vacation. 

 

Campers are some of the friendliest and strangest people you’ll ever meet.  It never ceases to amaze me when we go to a campground at some of the decorations that have put out.  Looking at their campgrounds I can’t help but wonder if they had to bring a separate trailer just to bring the decorations. There seems to be some sort of contest going on that but I haven’t figured out the rules.  

Yet, some of their creations are just amazing.  For instance we ran into a Dog Taxi the other night while walking.. Take a look at the pictures to see what I mean… Wow!ImageImage

Tuesday 21

Ah vacation!  I could so get use to this.. sleeping in until 9!  Who does this?  Me that’s who! 

 

Began the day with oatmeal for breakfast.  If you all haven’t tried it then try this recipe:

Slower cooker Oatmeal Recipe

 

Unsalted butter

8 ½ cups water

2 cups steel-cut oats

1 (14oz) can of unsweetened coconut milk (or you can use 1 ¾ cups whole milk

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

½ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Coat the insert of the slow cooker with a thin layer of butter.  Add water, oats, coconut milk, brown sugar and salt and stir to combine. 

Cover and cook on low until oats are cooked through and creamy; about 7-8 hours.  Stir in vanilla and serve immediately. 

 

We topped ours with some frozen berries.  Boy was it good. 

 

After breakfast we went on an hour and a half walk.  Took some pictures down by the river of birds and just relaxed.  What an incredible time. 

 

On our return home we were accosted by Beulah the sassy squirrel that lives in the trees next to us.  I have no idea if she’s Beulah or Beauregard, but boy is she sassy.  Told us off for existing in her space and we just let her say her piece while we snapped pictures. 

Sassy Squirrel
Sassy Squirrel

 

After a while we ventured out of the campground to the local RV shop to talk parts for the ones on the awning we damaged backing into the tree.  The guy was really knowledgeable.. how rare is that? and told us exactly where to find the part number on the awning so we could call back and get the right part. 

We also picked up the connection we needed to get Scot’s computer hooked up so we could do design work and have access to all the documents stored on it. 

Picked up a few necessities from the local Wally’s world and then found a Gyro place for lunch.  Wonderful little spot though they are only open til two.  But melt in your mouth Gyros!  M&D Country Kitchen! Mmmm… just what I wanted. 

 

The heavens opened while we were out and everything got drenched.  But it was cleared up when we got back to the trailer, so while Scot was getting the computer hooked up I took Bitty and took a long walk down by the river.  While I was there, one of the many birds here landed and took great pleasure in cleaning up the bits of fish some fisherman had left while cleaning his catch. 

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Me in my inexperience photography mode happily snapped pictures of the poor thing while chatting on the phone with my sister; something that has become quite a habit for me when I’m walking the dog by myself.  Anyway, I’m chatting along with her telling her all about the great wildlife we see here including the awesome birds and the cutest armadillo I saw today when for whatever reason I panned with the camera out on the river… I think what I said next will probably be the talk around the couple’s on the docks table for a month or so.  “HOLY SHIT!”  Yeppers.. that was me as my camera lens caught the huge alligator that was floating in the water about 7 feet away from where I was standing… Needless to say the couple on the dock was rapidly joined by Bitty and me.  I still get all heepy jeepy when I think about it. 

 

From now on I’ll be paying better attention to what is around me… in the meantime.. enjoy the pics! 

HOLY SHIT!  Alligator
HOLY SHIT! Alligator
Egret
Egret
Algae Eater in the Wild!
Algae Eater in the Wild!
Lizard
Lizard

Monday 20

Ugh!  I really hate it when I can’t sleep.  Ended up finally getting up at 5:25 and checking email.  Makes me drag all day when I don’t get a good night sleep. 
Went to a café for breakfast since we had some time to kill before delivering the eagle.  Nice place, good breakfast.  If you are down in southern Florida area check out Popi’s Place, a Greek American Diner.  They have a few restaurants around, we ate at the one in Palmetto.  Very relaxing local hang out.  Sat and read for awhile while enjoying our breakfast. 
After breakfast we called our client and drove over to their home.  They live in a gated community.  First part of the community is condos, but then over a bridge starts the homes.  The very palatial homes. Our clients live in a large home right on the bay, behind their home is the dock with their 57′ yacht. The eagle certainly will have a great home. 

I want to be an eagle!
I want to be an eagle!
Love it with the fountain rock behind it!
Love it with the fountain rock behind it!
After setting the eagle up and chitchatting with the husband, we continued on the road to Rambler’s Rest.  Set up went a lot smoother this time since we know how to approach our space and soon we were figuring out our plans for the day. 
I did laundry, put some spaghetti sauce in the crock-pot, and did some cleaning; Scot went metal detecting..  hmmm, that seems a little wrong.  But I actually enjoyed the mundane things with some alone time.  Was able to start a book I’d been wanting too.  And after the laundry was done take a long nap.. which I totally needed.  Scot can back about 36 cents richer and decided that a nap was a good call for him too.  Guess we are definitely on vacation! 
After naps we took Bitty on a long walk and enjoyed the river at dusk.  Then back to the camper for spaghetti and some more relaxing.. I could totally handle this kind of life. 

Saturday 18

Aloe taller then me.. haven't seen this big since Hawaii!
Aloe taller then me.. haven’t seen this big since Hawaii!
Saturday 18
After a pretty good night sleep, we were up to a crisp cool morning.  The temperature stayed in the 50’s all day with a chilly breeze that made us appreciate the warmth of the sun when we were able to bask in it.  The crowd didn’t appear slowed by the weather and remained a steady stream until about two in the afternoon.  Our first two sales of the day were surprisingly our new coral rocks to couples who lived within 50 miles of our home in Kentucky.  We had to laugh as we’ve had very little luck selling sea inspired items at shows close to home.  
We had some promising conversations with several individuals and a large sale of Scot’s eagle to be delivered to Palmetto on Monday.  Talking with other artists found that sales were the normal range of a show.. some wonderful, some less than expected.  For us, the show has been very promising.  Bill Kinney of Paragon Events does a great job of organizing and advertising for the show. 
The farmers market was open until 1, so I made a quick trip up there.  Snagged some fresh oranges, pineapple, baby watermelon and avocadoes for later meals, looking forward to some good eating. 
Wow, love these!
Wow, love these!
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Evening brought a cold wind, but we ventured out to Bill Kinney’s home for some BBQ.  Gave a ride to some fellow artists from Texas that do a fabulous job combining photography and painting to create some awesome works of art, Fushion Painting is what they are called if you want to look them up.   Talked a lot to them about shows and what they attribute their 22 year success too. 
Bill’s house is about 7 miles away from the event.  He puts on a lovely spread for the artists as a thank you for doing the show.  The food was great and the hospitality wonderful.  If you do this show, make plans to attend his dinner.. it’s worth the trip.  Thank you Bill for the invite!   We didn’t stay to long because it had grown quite chilly and none of us were dressed for it.