MacDill AFB camping

We are at MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa. They have a campground here for any of you retired military or active duty. Also DOD can use it, but only the dry camp part from what we’ve heard.

They have the full hook up section, which is harder then hard to get a reservation for. You can book ahead for I think a month at a time and pay for it in advance. All lesser times are booked 14 days out. Call at 10 am if you want to even hope getting a spot during high season. They do have a dry camp area, which is where we are. They allow people to stay 14 days in full hook up, then they must leave and go to the dry camp area. From they there go to the bottom of the list and start waiting for a spot to open up. Right now they are saying five day waiting list.

However they have bathhouses, laundry and are right near the beach. Dry camp is $10 a night, full service $15-20 depending on time of the year.. so we can deal with it. Sure between the $60 elsewhere this time of year.

We stayed in dry camp until Saturday, then moved to full hookup.  love having full hookup.

MacDill sunset
MacDill sunset

Note:  Today Scot and I went to Seascapes.  It’s a restaurant located right in the marina/campground area for lunch.  If you stay here.. don’t bother.  You order your food at a counter and pick it up when your pager goes off.  That’s okay.  But I ordered a Grilled Salmon Caribbean Salad ( grilled salmon over a field of mixed greens with sweet potatoes and jicama  slices served with orange-pineapple vinaigrette) $7.99.  What I got was a salad about the size of a side salad  with a small piece of salmon, romaine lettuce, a couple cucumber slices, and four small tomato slices served with balsamic vinaigrette.   Scot’s three decker club sandwich.. one layer sandwich with pathetic filling!  $7.49

A camper said they do a pound of crab or shrimp on Friday nights.. but after today’s experience I wonder if it’s really a pound maybe a 1/4 lb.   UGH!


Hotworks- Boca Raton Art Show

Well we did our third show after having a weekend free. It was also in Boca Raton, but different location. The location was great. The organizer, Hotworks, has arranged with the city and such to shut down a portion of US Federal Highway #1 right next to Sanborn Park. The Festival fills the street and a good portion of the park. Friday set up. If you are in the park, it’s anytime set up. If you are in the road it’s after 3 or whenever they get done marking booths. So I’d recommend you get there about 1 and watch carefully. There is a Burger King close by and some other restaurants that you can do lunch at while you are waiting.

Saturday’s weather was a little bit problematic with rain.. not really much, but I think the forecast was enough to discourage attendance. We did sell our one an only pelican. The customer had seen it at
the last Boca show, but since the weather was awful that show on Sunday, she did not make it back.
Sunday’s weather was beautiful. For us sales were slow, but traffic was steady through out the day. A lot of artists seemed to be making sales. Some of them were large.
Lots of bartering… if you do a show in the Boca area be aware of this.. people like to barter, plan accordingly.

"Air-dry"  Stainless Steel and Copper Pelican
“Air-dry” Stainless Steel and Copper Pelican

Positive things about the show:
Great location – Easy for customers to see you and plenty of room in each space. Enough room behind the booth and room enough to mess with walls between the tents.
Crowds were decent and several people buying. Though I’m sure that is different year to year.
Amenities: Artist breakfast on Sunday morning.
Setup & Breakdown: Friday setup, easy in and out.
Organizer: Hotworks from our one experience was a good organization to do a show with, they answered questions, seemed to care how things were doing and didn’t bother you about little stuff.

They do have awards for this show. Not really sure how they work. They have one judge. Something that I don’t really agree with, since awards are really a matter of opinion. And with only one judge, you get one opinion. We don’t really pay attention to the whole thing. The judge does come by and talk with you for about two seconds. He is allowed maybe 2 minutes to look at your art. He asked us how we formed ours and what the primary medium was. If you do land an award, you can get cash if it’s one of two (I think) and ribbons if it’s not.

Overall, it was a positive experience and we would apply again if we are in the area during the show.

On a side note.. we delivered the pelican on Monday. The customer had wanted us to remove the patina from the copper and clear coat it. She knows she’ll have to do it again to keep it that way, but it’s what she wanted. She had also been interest in one of our spoonbills. Before we left her house she gave us a deposit on it. We’ll will do the same clear coat process on it and drop it back at her place when we go through there next week. Sweet!

spoonbill in flight
spoonbill in flight

It only takes one person to make a show great, but will you always have that person, who knows?

Gurgi Von Varmit

A little over three and a half years ago, we had a new addition come into our family.. not really by choice or even thought, but by fate. That’s the only way I can think that we ended up with a matted and ruffled long-hair chihuahua. You see we live out in the sticks on a small farm in Kentucky, where the coyotes roam free and the life span of a small animal at night is definitely limited, but still one fall day as my husband worked in the shop he saw a small tricolor varmit headed his way. Though he said to it, turn right, it turned left and headed right to him.

My oldest was thrilled when he called and told her about it. Came right down to the shop and picked him up. Cleaned him up, cut away the mats and was happy to find a good looking baby underneath. From there she begin to think names Goliath, Gurgi Von Varmit… and then I arrived home from a friends and the varmit looked at me and I looked at him and we knew that he had come on his long journey to find me. Sometimes things are meant to be and he was meant to be my baby. Soon Gurgi von Varmit became Gurgi and finally Bitty.


For the next six months we worked on manners.. seems that having found me, he decided that he was the only one that could have me and when he was in my arms he’d growl and sometimes snap at someone who wanted my attention. Doing alpha dog over a twelve pound chihuahua is pretty strange. But slowly he learned that biting wasn’t ever an option and that growling wasn’t the way to express himself. Though he still would growl if you kissed him to much.. even with me. Oh he’d try to hold it in.. as you kissed his belly again and again and love him proper… but in the end it would sneak out. And somehow, that made me know he was okay.

About the time that everything was going well in the manner department.. he had his first seizure. So begin the next phase of the journey as we learned to resuscitate him. After a visit to our vet we discovered he had a serious heart murmur. No doubt from the condition that his teeth were in when he came to us. To much wet food, no cleanings or care . During this time he started vetmedin which helped, less seizures and more time between them.

Having days when I could loose him, made me thank heaven for every day I had with him. I couldn’t have lost him then and dealt with it. I remember the day when he had one of his seizures and I’m trying to get him to come back saying “Don’t go to the light, don’t go to the light..”. I know what responsible adult says that? Apparently I do when enough stress is applied.

He totally and completely took over my heart. With his little grrs and his adoring eyes, he stole a piece of my heart and showed me I could still love even with a heart as shattered as mine. I didn’t think I could or ever would allow someone in so completely after my son died, but apparently even broken hearts love as deeply as whole ones.

It came apparent last fall that Bitty wouldn’t be with us forever, when he started the cough and spitting foam. Having lost a dog to congestive heart failure before I knew what it meant. And even the vet who was generous enough to give us some Lasik to ease his time told us that. I was surprised when he lived to see Christmas and even more surprised when he lived long enough to make it to Florida with us. For a time, things seemed to be going really well, then about a week ago he had another seizure. Though he seemed to be okay the next day, I did notice he seemed to move slower and rest more. Then yesterday, he didn’t want breakfast. I left to drop Scot off to go metal detecting and when I go back he had thrown up his meds and was just lying so still. So for the next three hours as I waited for Scot to call to be picked up and held him close and talked with him. And I told him that it was okay to go to the light, that he could run and jump and not have any problems he did.. that I loved him and I was so grateful that he found me. And that he was welcome to visit anytime and anyway he could… and while I talked with him. I begged the angels to take him home.

In My Heart.. forever.
In My Heart.. forever.

When Scot called, he went with me. Silently laying on the seat, not moving. Together, we petted him and told him we loved him. Then we went back to the camper. Then night was filled with a lot of cuddling and love. I knew in my heart if he lived through it, we would be taking him to a vet’s for the final release in the morning. He passed in the wee hours after in exhaustion I slept. Part of me, thinks if I hadn’t he wouldn’t have let go. Though part of me is so relieved that his suffering is over, part of me is so shattered. And yet, even with this outcome I’d live it all over again for a moment to hold him again. My Gurgi, My Bitty.. Thank you for finding me, for teaching me that even shattered hearts can fall in love … run free my little one.. you deserve it.

Little things….

2015 hasn’t started out to be the best year ever, though I suppose it’s not the worst year either.  January is filling up with little things gone wrong..

It started out with two art shows, Las Olas Part 1 and Boca Fest.  Then only good thing I can say about them money wise is we won’t be doing them again.  As we are looking at whether or not it was a wise decision to do Florida art shows this year and whether or not we can somehow make up the money spent from all the jury fees ($25-50 per show), show fees ($225-600) per show and living fees ($40-60 per night) in a campground just discounting all the buying food and living stuff, we get a call from our recently licensed son, his car has quit and won’t start.  After calls to AAA we got it towed to the house and told him to use our old van to get to school.  Problem solved right?

Next school day we get a text he is leaving for school.. 10 minutes later we get a call from him.  Seems it was slick, the fastest and the worst the sheriff deputy has seem it since he’s lived there and Russel slide partly off the road and struck a tree.  Airbags deployed and the van has a huge dent into right in the middle of the front.  Totaled!

Now I know it’s just small shit.. the little things.  Having dealt with major things, I truly understand.  Russel is okay, that’s the important thing.  But I also understand Russel now has no ride to school.   And thanks to the school cancelling one of his classes he now has a split schedule with day and evening classes…

A good friend of mine took Russel to doctor, so we have confirmation that though bruise and shaken he is fine.  The same friend looked over the his car and thinks it the fuel pump, but having thought that before with this car we are unsure as last time it ended up the computer after we had replaced the fuel pump.

So we are up to costly art shows, out two cars, one banged up son when my oldest texts.  Her girlfriend is in the hospital.. so between trying to run things at our place, she’s trying to help out there.

Scot and I are at a junction now… what to do?  Do we dump all the shows fees that we’ve already paid… $2000+ there, the campground fees that they will charge for canceling and just bag all the hope of earning so money selling art and go home?

Or what?

Do we go back or forward?  Up or down?
Do we go back or forward? Up or down?

I know it’s just small stuff.. but small broken pieces are what make entire towers crumble to the ground and the strongest person fall to there knees and beg.  Sometimes I don’t think it’s the large heart wrenching moments that break you.. it’s the small every day occurrences that chip away at your resolve and strength little by little until you break… Just like the small good occurrences allow you to hang on a little longer…

Today we are just left wondering how to solve problems a 1000 miles away… and hoping that it’s done for now!

Foreign Florida

We are currently staying at the Highland Pines RV Resort in Deerfield Beach or some say Pompano Beach while we do a couple art shows in Boca Raton. It’s a nice place. The usual tight spaces, but not so tight you can’t park or put out your awnings. The different thing about this RV place is it is almost made of entirely of French Canadians. I feel like I’m in Europe again except I know a little bit of German and my French consists of Bon Jour and Crepe…

Pickerelweed gently floats above the crappie, crawfish and mussels...
Pickerelweed gently floats above the crappie, crawfish and mussels… Beyond the Edge

Was swimming in the heated pool yesterday.. so nice, when an older lady came in. We got to talking after we did the dance to figure out what language we spoke. She’s originally for England, but has lived over here for many years. Anyway, she has been in the park for 10 years and full time RVs during the year as her and her husband travel the countryside. I wouldn’t mind doing that..

Anyway she told me a lot of history on the park. It is a destination for French Canadians before they move on to purchase condos in West Palm. I had no idea that there were so many of them living in this area. Guess it beats the snow.

Appreciating Art- Looking at an artist’s soul

We just came from another Howard Alan art show.. our fourth one.  And we have decided that HA customers are just not ours.  Though we aren’t sure why, but 3 of the 4 shows were not even breaking even shows…so we will just call it quits on that.

However, the slow shows gave me lots of time to appreciate others art, so I’m going to share a few finds with you..

One is Tim Dardis.. Vintage Art Made Daily.  He does bold and color paintings on wood.  You can check them out on Esty at   Below is his Egret.  I wish you could see his alligator picture, if we have a great show here and he still has it.  It is coming home with me!  And I don’t even like gators!40" x 30". "Vintage" art made daily... Handmade, one of a kind. Snowy Egret. FREE SHIPPING!

Another Artist was Shano.. he is a jewelry artist out of my birth state, Colorado.  Does some amazing silver jewelry.  His detail is well worth owning.  As a metal artist myself and a baby silver smith.. I am amazed at his designs and knowledge.   Check it out!

Prehnite, EmeraldVintage Roman Glass, Pearl, Tourmaline

Amazing art!  I think I appreciate art more than I did before I tried to make a living at it.  I use to look at it and appreciate the piece of art, but now I appreciate the work that goes into a piece.  A lot of people ask how long it takes an artist to make a piece and I suppose every artist answers them differently.  But I think the answer should be ‘A lifetime of experience, hopes, and dreams!  A lifetime of heartache, failure and disappointment!  A lifetime of joy, acceptance and triumphs! A LIFETIME!’  Because in truth that’s what each piece is.. it’s us wrapped up in the medium we use… think about that next time you appreciate or don’t someone’s art… it is their soul.

Sunny Days.. Healing Days?

I’ve been working on some health issues I had before I left.  An acetabular labral tear, which is basically a tear in my left hip joint and damage to my right shoulder from over use.  Both basically caused from being out of shape, over 40 and working at a job that is physically demanding, plus lifting and carrying metal and sculptures that are too heavy for me.  Anyway, after a few weeks of physical therapy, these months are a basically a last ditch effort to avoid surgery.  The good news, the shoulder is building and less painful.. the hip is still up in the air.  But I’m trying to make sure I go swimming every day that I can to exercise it.  Between both sides having to be modified I probably look like some beach beluga whale whose lost a fin.  But hopefully it will help me in the end.

Scot has decided to join me in an effort to get in better shape himself, so we try and go to the pool early in the evening after the pool groupies have left.  Only problem with that is the sun has also left, so it can be a bit brisk… as Scot said today “I used to have balls, now I have earrings.”   And I was thinking it was at least 4 degrees warmer then yesterday.. silly me.

Still with the nice weather we have been having it is pretty awesome to get in the pool.  Hopefully along with a lot of  happy customers, we will leave a few pounds behind when we head back up to the frozen zone in February.

Loggerhead sea turtle glides gently over coral
Loggerhead sea turtle glides gently over coral