Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Greetings to All

Just want to wish all my friends, family, and my blog readers...
Quiero desearles a todos mis amigos, familiares y visitantes a mi blog una...
¡Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo 2014!Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Thanksgiving Weekend Aftermath

I was visiting some dear friends in Charleston and this is what happened after Black Friday shopping.  You have to go home.  I had to face a six to seven hour road trip and this is what I wrote a friend:

Do you know that I drank so much tea and coffee yesterday, and was so wound up from facing all the crazy driving that I stayed up till three o'clock in the morning?  That is something I have never done before.  I couldn't believe it myself.  So you got more sleep than me! I got up at nine thirty this morning and I have been napping and cleaning, and cooking, and napping, and arrranging and napping, and watching my art programs and putting up Christmas lights (repurposed some hanging ones) and picking up pinecones and finding my old ones....I put my wreath in the bathtub and a bunch of dirt came off it and it is smelling up the bathroom because I am in the process of putting it up.  So, since I am working Monday, I am bringing all my decorations down now...It is a lot of fun, but do I have a mess!

Then it will be become the aftermath of Christmas decorating, but I do so love the lights, don't you?

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cooking on the day before Thanksgiving

Thankful that for today, I can help and be helped, to have my cup filled and help fill another’s. 

Thankful for
Windy days
Sheets of rain
grey skies
puddles deep
that cause you to think
and remind you that you are alive.

Shopping and juggling
Talking about family,
Young boys and girls turned to adults,
That make you proud and
remind us that life goes on
And we too have grown if
Not outward, inward

Stirring spoons, salt
Sugar, cinnamon,
Filling the air as we talk
Falling into our hair
Sparkling on our skin
Sisters from around the
World making memories

Somehow as we cook
Together I realize it is
Much better than if we had
Cooked apart
We bent,
we turned
we squatted
we danced
we laughed
as we made a dinner
we made a long moment
to remember and
be thankful.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful For


Air conditioning
Long sofas
Long car rides that take you out of state,
Fall leaves that linger
when others have fluttered to the ground
and turned brown

Little girls bows,
blue colored bottles,
a week off from school,
just thinking about retirement,
and being able to choose when
and shoes

Thankful for memories of
A boy who won my heart,
that hid under white rattan tables
or in a clothes basket for a nap
or play in a sand box for hours
or dress in cameoflage, now
jumping like a gazelle
over fences
and tight spots

Thinking about a
Bright daughter Rose with a heart of gold,
in blue jeans and a red top
punching an old atari,
climbing trees,
or painting with Abuelito Tito or
lying on the ground with sister, brother, and me
spotting the stars,
looking at the Christmas lights
or dreaming of horses and galleons in the clouds, or
listening to the thunder and rain, or watching little riverlets
stream down the hill
It was always adventure with you

Then daughter Ana
Sitting on a kitchen counter
telling me about her day
writing an essay
Cuddled up in a book, or planning a trip
to the Library and coming out with piles of books on their arms
dreaming of clouds, Monet,
her own apartment, her room,
trying beans across the street and liking them,
and flying away to spread her wings
and live her dreams.

How time flys
and the wheels keep turning
the years spin by you,
You are in the center and you don't
notice that everything is turning
your dark hair is silver
your hands are no longer quite as
smooth, your hearing not as sharp
but your heart
it still feels and remembers
the giggles, the laughter,
the lullabyes, the diapers,
and we remember.

I am thankful.
I am thankful.

For having made memories.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Friend Died Two Nights Ago

I hesitated to say anything.  Life is like that.  I mean death.  Death makes one slow down like a slow motion movie with its slurred voices forever taking in time to say the slightest thing. Death slows us down.

A friend died. On my birthday, a couple of weeks back I had gotten together with my birthday group to celebrate several of the ladies birthdays and the celebration happened to fall on mine.  There was a festive table, a potluck, and about twenty ladies in all.  When I arrived with a friend another two ladies arrived as well. It was Jill and Sue.  Jill looked so ill and was slowly getting out of the van.  I helped her  out and walked with her to get inside.  I realized she had made such an effort to be there.  Her life had been ebbing away these past two years due to diabetes and kidney failure.  It had taken its toll.  Her vision was about gone. She told me she could not longer see me but for an outline but she was still joyful.  It was nice to hear her laugh.

We sat and chatted for the longest time.  We talked about our policemen sons and how complicated their lives were.  She telling me about her recent trip to Alabama to see her daughter and two grandsons whom she adored.  One of them showed up all dressed up in complete Jr ROTC uniform.  She was so proud.  Her plans included going to Alabama to live and she was excited about the future.  In fact she announced plans to celebrate Thanksgiving at her house.  Ill as she was she was not going to miss it.  She was providing the turkey and we all could bring a side dish.  That was last week and on Tuesday night we got the news Jill passed away peacefully in her sleep.

She had planned for Thanksgiving in her apartment but God had better plans.  She is now seeing her way walking happily on the streets of gold.  Jill you are going to be missed.  Sorely missed but what can you say but God bless you!  

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm wollen mittens
wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
these are a few of my favorite things...."  famous lyrics from the Sound of Music

Which draw me to think about what I want to do today:

Winter Park's Farmers Market
with a square full of fresh flowers and veggies
Apopka's Maters and Taters
with sweet prices on apples
Cool ice tea and lemon wedges
Slow mornings,
cleaning the house
washing clothes with no hurry
Grits with cheese
Hot tea with cream
Planning my weekend
Dreaming of painting
Ordering Opera Pink by Holbein paints
Seeing my children laugh together
The twinkle in their eyes
Listening to my students converse when
they get it...priceless
Greeting them as they come in
Saying hello
Slowing down,
handing out two band aids
wishing them a nice weekend
or a great day
seeing Ginger sprint across the yard as she believes she is a mare
rather than a rambunctious beagle
Raindrops have nothing on me!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Time Change 2013

I just changed my clocks.
I woke up and it was three.
Now, it's two.
Just like that.
Guess what, my daughter, tells me.
"You are behind.  Time changed an hour ago. "
When it turned two, it went to one.
So I was an hour late, and a dollar short.

Oh, boy! Now, isn't that confusing!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Garage Sale in Orlando

A garage sale in Orlando.  A community garage sale that is.  It is much more than just selling old items you know.  You think you might use them again, you might lose that weight.  Then there are those things that still fit you but they don't look the same.  It's not the clothes; it is you who has changed.  For what ever the reason, it is time to give them up and why not make some money doing it?

That was my reasoning.  It turned out to be so much more.  Being a Language Arts teacher, I love words and a little bit of linguistics.  I love the sound of languages and yesterday I heard so many.  Of course, English.  My neighbor Pat came to chat and gave me a helping hand when I most needed it.  Following that, my next door neighbor put out their music speakers, a motorcycle seat,  and some plumbing and decorating items.  The neighbor's voice carried into my driveway when he refused to haggle with the shoppers. While that conversation ensued an older Indian woman and her daughter spoke Hindi as they strolled down the middle of the street, the mother dressed in her beautiful teal saree.

Next I heard Spanish. There were various dialects of Spanish from men and women from Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and even Argentina as they told what they were looking for, peeked at my paintings, shifted my dresses, or tried on shoes, and said "Hola!" I played the game of identifying their accents as they stealthily discussed the merchandise and I secretly knew what they were saying.  I only did that for a minute or two and would say, "O, yo hablo español!"  Only one lady was concerned she had said something inappropriate, but she hadn't.

Later it was a Caribbean lady of Indian descent in slacks that tried on all my shoes even though her feet were too small.  In spite of that she ended up buying some silver flip flops and a set of blue and white dishes that I had bought at a garage sale for five dollars.  She paid the same amount.   Later it seemed like five cars pulled up at the same time and a bunch of people came pouring out.   One group headed to my driveway.   They were four Haitian Creole women looking for bargains.  Haitians are by far the best shoppers.  They know what they want and are keen negotiators.  Knowing this,  I decided that it is better to give them what they want regardless of their outrageous haggling.  One of the ladies purchased a lovely light teal summer dress that just never looked right on me as well as three pairs of shoes and two blouses cluttering my closet. They bought more than any body else but for some reason I did not make that much money and that is okay.

Finally, a gentleman in his middle sixties wearing an American Viet Nam veteran cap came over .  I told him about my brothers and father all being in the service and how Hector served in Key West of all places during the Viet Nam Conflict while Edwin went to Viet Nam. Both survived. Yet this gentleman, said it had not been rosy for him.   He had been exposed to Agent Orange you see.  He said they sprayed it on them.  To this day, he just couldn't understand that his own government would spray a toxic liquid on their own soldiers.  As a result, he said, " I have seen many of my friends' funerals."  It was sad.  I told him my own brother had died of cancer and though I know it wasn't enough,  I thanked him for his service.

It still wasn't over.  When I was picking up early since I really don't enjoy a garage sale after eleven, loading a lot of the things into my car, I still had several heavy items left to put away.  I started with a heavy metal table, and then rolled in my round patio table.  Finally there was the Total Gym.  Since my driveway has an incline of over 30 degrees it was going to be quite the task.  To make things worse, just when I started pushing it up a back panel slipped out and I had to stop.  A gentleman heading to my neighbors stopped and asked me if I needed some help. He was a God send, really. He easily pushed it into my garage! Gratitude is too small a word when you are dead tired.

In summary, there was a parade of humanity that morning I had not expected. There are smiles, stories, conversations, and interesting faces.  I made a couple of dollars selling my odds and ends but I really made much much more.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Real Treasures

There are some days when you remember why you teach.  Today, was that day.

I had my students recall, well basically write a list of the things they cherished.  It went so well, that looking back, I could almost cry.  I told them to write a list of three to five things that they valued.  It went so well.  Did I tell you that already?  The first breakthrough didn't come in my second period advanced class. No, it came in third period with my bugger heads.  Oh, boy, I should not have said that but it is true. They talk out of turn all the time saying, "Look at me! Look at me!" Yet today, for some reason they were listening. I set guidelines.  If they couldn't say anything nice, not to say anything.   I started getting the usual iPods, PS3s, their pets, and Gia said, "guinea pigs." and I asked her about her guinea pigs.  You see my daughter Rosangela, had once had a guinea big named Prince and well he lived what I thought was a long time and often getting out of his cage and going on adventures.  Rosita would even would let him roam around her shirt.  She loved Prince and I guess telling Gia about that encouraged her.  Gia's, guinea pigs had lived for four years.  So I told her she must have taken real good care of them.  More kids shared from their list and then quiet Gia raised her hand again.  I almost didn't call on her again but since she doesn't talk often I thought what the heck.

That is when it happened.  She voiced,  "I value my dad.  He is the one person who loves me unconditionally.  After I lost my mother, he is the only person I know that loves me without reservation."  She added," in this day and age when kids don't value their parents, I love my dad!" She just let them have it. Then she just talked a little bit more and everyone was glued to their seats.  Gia the soft spoken one said the truth! I thanked her for enriching our class. I told her that she had just brought value to our class. Then the kids clapped. That was third period.

Fourth, fifth, sixth periods, were more of the same.  Not as dramatic, but by then I had figured out that what they had put on their lists was reflective of who they were as people and that even if they had not realized it, all the objects they named were either connected to someone they loved or a personality trait or talent they held dear.  Some loved their sheet music, others cherished, a kitchen or a house because of the safety, warmth, food or security they received there.  There was Klaryssa who loved her father's big ole Ford truck.   She said he had had it as long as she had been alive and that they had gone on adventures and mud riding in it.  It was her connection to her dad.  She talked around it but suddenly, she knew why she loved the truck.

We live in metaphors.

Then, came seventh period made up of my disjointed come lately advanced students.  One student mentioned his iPod, another his house, while a lot of them cherished internet service and realized that it was their connection to their social world.  We talked about how we were meant to be closely knit together.

Then came Yasmine.  She said that she loved a gold chain, and I said, "Oh, a family heirloom," and she said no.
"No, not this chain."  She added,  "This chain came to me from my mother as she was dying and handed to me. It is the only thing I have left from my mother. " It meant the world to her.

I can't explain it.  We sometimes have great days.  I have taught this same lesson before but today.  What did I do differently?  I let them talk and I really listened.

My goodness.  What did this mean for my class?  No more shallowness that is for sure.  The drapes have been drawn back, the light has come in, and for the first time in a long time, my students found their voices.  Only because I asked them about what they treasured and I listened.

I am so glad I did.

Friday, September 27, 2013

If I Had a E

Well, yeah, if I had had an E playing Scrabble I would have written fore not for.   After I said it, I  thought it sounded like a good title.  If I had an E.  If I had a hammer, I would hammer in the morning, and if I had known better I would have been reading Rick Reilly for years.

I just finished reading two articles by Rick Reilly, and you can't read Rick Reilly without having your mind energized, zooming instead of slowing down, and dreaming instead of sleeping.  The man is a genius when it comes to writing.  How amazing to have a job that you love and can do from a computer.  Now that I analyze his writing and every thing he puts into it,  it is doubtful he does it all simply by sitting in front of a computer.  I know he must be a sponge or he takes copious notes, perhaps both.  Many of his articles include vignettes of common people with funny sounding names which he uses for entertainment or sentimental purposes.  He makes us feel in his best articles that there is depth in the mundane and ordinary.  Take for example his article titled, "Be the 74,659th In Line," written October 10th, 2007.  By the end of this article about the Green Bay Packers, you not only wished you liked football but that you were a die hard Green Bay Packers fan. In fact, you are kicking yourself because you had not signed on for some of those season tickets way back in 1970 even if it will take 37 years to get them.  He makes you cheer with the team and cry with the man whose father did sign up for the tickets.  Sadly his father died six months before his tickets came through. You read about how heartbroken his son is and your eyes start to water.

I think I know what Reilly does. He puts a face and heart to all those anonymous fans behind this big operation called professional sports.  He lets us hear their intriguing stories, their opinions, and unusual insights.  He lets the little guy speak and tells you his secrets.  Suddenly all those fans with a radio on their ear and watching three games simultaneously don't seem so bizarre.   For doing all of that with a heart, and also making all of us laugh with the analogies, similes and metaphors, that are as down to earth as southern grits and bacon, Mr.Reilly,  I salute you!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Wordle on Mi Madre by Pat Mora and Canyon de Chelly by Simon J. Ortiz

This is what this wordle looks like with some key words for each poem:

Wordle: Mi Madre by Pat Mora; Canyon de Chelly by Simon Ortiz


I love word posters.  Today I did one on elements of a persuasive essay on Wordle.  It looks like the following.  I plan to do more.

 Wordle: Persuasive Essays

Friday, September 20, 2013


Untitiled is a powerful little painting and will be a treasure to any one that purchases it. There so many things to see here. You might find a bride, a couple about to kiss, a turbulent ocean, and plenty of symbolism. This one even surprised me as I started editing it for display. I might change my mind and keep it, it is that intriguing. Nice to be surprised by something you have painted.

It is not that big but it packs a punch. It measures 7 1/2 W by 8 1/2' H.

If you decide you have to have it, you can be sure you will receive the same excellent service my other customers have received and have the painting delivered to you quickly and in perfect condition. Though you would receive the painting, the reproduction rights remain with the artist, namely myself. 

If you have any question or you want to receive authentication papers simply drop me a line in your order.  Please find this at Mi Jardin on ETSY at:

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Abstract Art on Yupo

 Will be at my Etsy store soon. For more art there follow this link:
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I Sold a Bracelet Today

It wasn't very fancy. It was of gold with little charms I had bought over the years. One had a number one mom, another a heart, and a coqui.  I know it was worth more than what I got for it.  These people that buy gold rip others off so easily.  First he did not tell me how much it weighed and I didn't have any thing to weigh it before going to the jewlery store.  The government should regulate this to protect the consumers.  A scale should be available to weigh the gold with a visible reading and current gold prices available in a visible spot in the store.  Why isn't this regulated?

Too late for me.  I don't have anymore gold to sell.  That was it, but it left me with a bad feeling.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dew Drops and Rain

 The other night it rained all evening and this is what I saw the next day. Big fat dew drops, littered across the deep green plantain leaves.  Some were cascading silently towards the leaf's end ever so slowly.  It was a delight to see.  Hope you enjoy seeing what I saw, too.

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My First Home Grown Bananas!

After eight years living in Waterford Lakes, I am finally going to have some home grown bananas! This is un "racimo" or banana bunch.  I can't wait to see how big they grow.  After all the frost bit, these still survey and it took them almost a year to do something.  Very excited!
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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Colorful Croton in the Morning

 Splashes of yellow, orange, green and red filling up an empty place. Yes, it's a tropical croton in Central Florida.  Definitely a nice picker upper in the morning--- even better than coffee! Well, almost!

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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Rusty's in Titusville

 Rusty's restaurant, was a place recommended by a local.  I had no idea that it even existed.  I went out there with a friend and it was such a pleasant surprise.  The restaurant sits off a channel where all the cruise ships leave Port Canaveral to access the Atlantic ocean.  So it is quite nice to be sitting there, either inside in the air conditioning or outside enjoying the breeze and then watch a huge ship sail by.  When they do, all the passengers start waving, possibly because they know that friend or relative that dropped them off is enjoying their self there.  It could be because they like waving at people, because you know that is what cruise ship people do; they are so happy to be going on an adventure and don't have to cook for a week, and some one is picking up after them.  Who wouldn't be bubbling with joy.  So yeah, that is fun, too.    
What would have happened if I hadn't struck up that conversation and not asked about a good place to eat?  Good thing I asked and that she knew. So if you want some good seafood and good prices.  Be prepared to wait a little because they were awfully busy that day, and I suspect every Sunday, but it was worth it!!

Here is the link to their website.  The site

Let me know how you like it.

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Around Titusville BeachFla

 Totally surprised to find a Flamboyan in Central Florida! It must be the mild weather near the ocean.  I just can not explain it but look at the sheer size of this tree! It still had some blossoms.  Then I saw some hibiscus and bananas overhanging over a fence right on the beach access and got a great parking spot and didn't have to pay a penny.  What a treat!

Had a great time at Cocoa Beach on Sunday afternoon after church and met some very nice people.  The beach there is a great place to visit; it is just a quarter mile north of the pier.  I think I will go back.

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Apopka's Maters and Taters

One of my favorite stores.  Unfortunately, I drove by on Sunday after an outing to Mt. Dora and it was closed.  How I would have loved buying some of those South Carolina peaches!
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Monday, September 02, 2013

Backyard Surprises!

 Another beautiful butterfly. This one was mostly yellow gold with dark blue or purple.  My cellphone cam does not do it justice but that was the only one I had at hand.  It fluttered around the plumbago for about a minute then flew high over the fence into another  backyard then hovered over again, but never giving me enough time to run into the house for my misplace camera.  So the cellphone it was.  What a beautiful sight.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

First Week of Classes

It has been grand.  Much better than I had expected.  So many nice students full of stories, laughter, listening ears, and intelligence.  They are so ready to talk to me.  I am a bit surprised.  I think it is I who has changed.  It is very good.

I can't wait to see their poems, I really can't.

My Version of "Where I Am From"

George Ella Lyons, poet and teacher,  wrote a moving poem of where she is from----
She was from Clothspins, etc. and since I do not have permission to write her poem on my website, I will put a link, but believe me,  it is worth reading:

and listening to:

So in school I am having my students do their version of the poem.  It includes a template and a sheet for brainstorming, etc.  I think it is a great way to get to know your students.  I was in for some eyeopeners since the poem has room for students to go as deep as they want to into their past. For some it has been hard and healing. I wasn't expecting it since this was my first time teaching it, but it opened the door for dialogue and healing. It can also be as light, since for other, they are from basketball or baseball bats, Nike or earrings.   All of this is quite alright.  They are all welcome in my room!

Here is the poem, I wrote, fashioned after Ms. Lyon's.

"Where I Am From" by Elba Vazquez Morales

I am from strings to tie pasteles and olives to pop in my mouth,
From Lestoil and Pine Sol and Fabuloso
I am from brown rich earth and green plantain leaves,
Soaring high in the sky, glistening while giving me shade
Tasting like salt in my mouth.
I am from the Yagrumo leaves swaying in the breeze,
The orange Poinciana,
Whose flaming red blossoms and roots
Go deep in my soul

I am from moist coconut candy and hair bands
From Gisela and Samuel,
I’m from Abuelita y Don Pepe,
from the torn up shoes on princess feet
to the seamstress with silver scissors
I’m from a little neighborhood church
Where I sang I Surrender All with all my heart,  
From a wooden Psalm 23
And plastic braided keychains

I am from Old San Juan and Naranjito
From pastelillos and café colao
From the buried treasure near the river and
the ghost story about murdered servants that hid it.
Under my metal lavender bed there was only dust,
On a beat up book of all the countries I would visit,
And all the places I had been, a list that included
Virginia, Texas, and Panama with memories that
Fade into my dreams
I am from all those moments and all those faces
Before I could choose,
I am only a seed from my family tree.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Favorite Words


Perseid's Meteor Shower

Got up half an hour ago and went outside to see the Perseids and didn't see any shooting stars but I did see a whole night sky that was sparkling! No disappointments here! Okay, maybe just a little but it was beautiful anyway. I do need to take bug spray next time though.

I trepidatiously stepped outside in the dark, accompanied only by my cellphone with its flashlight on. It's one of the best flashlights I have ever had, now that I come to think of it.  Three intensities.  I know, a sentence fragment, my specialty.  In any case, there I was: the ominous backyard and me.  From the bushes I heard a rustle and I pointed my handy flashlight/phone to it. Nothing more stirred.  It was as if my flashlight was a torch like in the movies, where a torch kept all those wild beasts away, even if the beast in this case was a mouse, squirrel, and God forbid a possum.  I figured that that skinny black snake I encountered the other day was probably curled up under a pile of leaves and would do me no harm.  

That was fifteen minutes ago.  Now, I just looked up the Perseid Meteor Shower 2013 they say it will only be visible from California to Chicago, but family in Puerto Rico told me that could see it there.  So I thought I would be able to see it here.  

Truthfully,  you know something, a clear moonless sky never disappoints. Even if you are in the city suburbs.  The only concern was the bugs.  I was out there for what seemed like fifteen minutes.   Considering that I was a perfect target for a bite, it was only after what seemed an eternity, that I felt an insect, small as it may have been, crawling on the left side of my forehead. I squeezed it and it crumpled up.  I took that as a sign that I needed to go in.  Once one had stealthily spotted me with its infrared eyes, all that rest would follow with theirs.  I needed to be on my way. 

But the sky... it didn't disappoint.  Not one shooting star for me tonight-- no, just hundreds dazzling the night!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Freecycled Crepe Myrtles

About a year and a half ago, perhaps two, I read on my email that someone was offering two crepe myrtle plants. I jumped at the idea because I find them so pretty.  I assumed they would be able to tell me the color but the owners who were moving had had them in some pots and they had never bloomed.

Fast forward to 2013 and now let the truth be told.  When I saw those plants in those old plastic containers, I wondered if I had driven over there for nothing but look at them now.There are bunches of gentle pink almost lavander blossoms loading every branch.  Don't you think this was definitely worth the drive and work of hulling them home and then planting them?  I am so glad I did.

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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Daisy Art

 New watercolor painting on ETSY.  Delicate daisies painted on 140 lb Cold Pressed Archers Watercolor textured paper.  My favorite.  Fun to see and nice for a nook or corner.  Enjoy!

Find it at the  link below:

Saturday, August 03, 2013


 These are the cutest caterpillars I have ever seen in my life.   In fact, I almost didn't see them.  Look at them.  They are cameoflaged!  Then they attach themselves to the bottom of a leaf and chew away.  In fact,  they virtually chewed up my tomato plant in two days.  If I hadn't had a tomato growing on it which suddenly disappeared from the plant I would not have stopped to examine the plant and the surroundings.  I did find the tomato later where it had dropped from the plant and rolled under another plant.  Unfortunately, the tomato was no longer edible and it was chewed up as well.

So now to plant another plant.  You don't win them all!