Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Willa Cather short story for sale today on Audible

My latest recording, The Joy of Nelly Deane by Willa Cather, is now available for purchase on Audible.

Although born in Virginia, Willa Cather lived most of her life in the Midwest and set most of her stories there. This story is told from the perspective of Peggy, a teenager in the tiny town of Riverbank. Peggy is good friends with a girl named Nelly Deane. Nelly is considered by many to be the prettiest and most fun-loving girl in town. What happens to Nelly in the ensuing years after Peggy leaves Riverbank for college and then abroad is related through Peggy's infrequent visits back home and the letters she receives from one of the older women of Riverbank.

The book can be purchased here.

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Franklin Loves Lucy" on sale today at Audible!

The historical romance I recorded, Franklin Loves Lucy by Mary Matthews, just went on sale today at Audible.  This novella tells of the romance between Lucy Mercer and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  It's written from Lucy's perspective.  Lucy Mercer fell on hard times when her family lost their money.  She took a job as Eleanor Roosevelt’s social secretary.  Franklin Loves Lucy is the story of a relationship that began when Franklin Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary of the Navy and ended when he was President and took his last breath with Lucy by his side.

This recording may be purchased here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Classic car show and swap meet at a nudist colony

Well, today was a first for Linda, Duane and me in several ways.  We attended a classic car show -- which we really only went to because of the swap meet being held at the same place.  And, oh yes, they took place at a nudist colony/resort.   The resort is pretty well-known in this area.  It's not too far from where Linda lives so we decided to check out their swap meet and classic cars.  The cars weren't the only vintage sights we saw but it wasn't as uncomfortable as I thought it might be.  The swap meet was actually held along a street outside the entrance to the nudist colony.  I found a couple of cool items there -- a vintage ceramic picture frame and a DVD of a movie I hadn't seen.  Then we decided to venture into uncharted territory.

The man who flagged us in was very sweet.  He thought we were bringing my Mini Cooper, Mrs. Peel, to the car show.   I hadn't thought about that.  There were no Minis of any kind at the show.  We told him we were there as spectators -- hope that didn't sound weird -- and he smiled and waved us through.  One thing about a nudist camp is that when you first spot someone -- this resort is on a lake and in some very nice woods -- it almost looks like they're wearing longjohns.  Tan ones.  Very tan ones.  In fact, speaking of tan, the first thing I noticed was the absence of tan lines on the residents.  Some were walking around naked but others were wearing clothing.  Probably to make outsiders more comfortable.  You had to be 18 or over to attend and they asked that you be respectful, which we were.  We had a hard time understanding how it could be comfortable to ride a bike while naked, though.  A couple of men rode by on bikes.  Many people did wear hats and even more wore some kind of shoes.  Oh and we noticed that many people had towels with them to lay on chairs, etc., before sitting on them.  I had heard about that practice.

I don't know if it's because this is Florida or because they've all been exposed to the sun for so long but everyone looked over 50.  Probably a combination of both.  There seemed to be more men than women but that might have been because it was a car show which many people consider a 'guy' thing.
They had entertainment and food and you could also guess how many balloons were in the clown car (a Toyota Scion) for a chance to win a pie from Village Inn.  The three of us all made our guesses but I doubt we won.  The guy in charge of the clown car wasn't sure if you had to be present to win but we had other sales to go to and we weren't planning on staying all day.

I've never been so glad to be wearing sunglasses in my entire life.  This is definitely a place where you want to make eye contact.  Otherwise, it seems weird.  Not in a sexual way but in the context of being polite.  As we looked over the cars, there was one elderly man wearing just a baseball cap and sneakers who was kind of following us.  He never said anything.  I asked for permission to take photos of some of the cars and there was no problem with that.  I was careful not to get our elderly nudist in them. 

All three of us picked out a car that we'd like to have taken with us.  I took pics of those along with a couple of others that we liked.  There were some huge classic American made cars which aren't my thing -- Cadillacs with fins, etc., but they were in really beautiful condition. 

Adorable 'Love Bug' Beetle.

Beautiful classic 1951 MG.
And now for our favorites.  Duane loved this classic black bug because her first car was a bug.
Duane's choice.
Linda had a hard time deciding between the red MG, pictured above, and a baby blue convertible bug but she went with the bug.
Linda's pick.
And my choice was an easy one.  As soon as I laid eyes on it I knew that this 1974 Triumph was for me.
Mine, mine, mine!

And, in case you're wondering, no I did not photograph any of the nudists.  I thought about it -- Linda figured the old guy following us would have posed -- but decided that it would be invading their privacy, even with their heads completely blurred.  When I was still wondering, Linda commented that we could never have posed ourselves because the three of us are so pale that we would have probably blinded people from the glare of the sun hitting us.  Heh, heh.

After the car show/nudist colony, which was pretty hard to top, we did visit a couple of estate sales.  One was being given by a talented artist.  We loved her work and got her card since she participates in a show once a month held on one of the tiny islands on the other side of town.  Linda found a Paul Newman cookbook, I bought a mother of pearl pot with vines painted on it and Duane purchased a lovely piece of Delftware and a brand new (with tags) cotton Burberry sweater.  Then we went to Starbucks for a snack and to relax.

Our purchases.

Oh, here's another shot of my favorite car from the show -- the '74 Triumph.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Edna Ferber short story on sale today!

My latest recording of another Edna Ferber short story just went on sale today at Audible.

Blanche Devine is a middle aged woman who has lived in the same small Midwestern town most of her life. She decides she wants to purchase a 'real' home in a pleasant neighborhood in the town. Because Blanche has a past as the town's 'scarlet' woman, many of the self-described good and respectable people do not want her as a neighbor. Edna Ferber wrote mostly about women and their place in society along with their plight when they did not follow society's norms.  The themes of intolerance, sexism and hypocrisy in this story illustrate Ferber's keen eye regarding the human condition. Told from the viewpoint of an unnamed resident of the town, Ferber allows us glimpses of goodness despite the pervasive cruelty.

You can listen to a sample and purchase the story here

Friday, October 11, 2013

A shopping day

Linda, Duane and I decided to check out the new West Elm store that finally opened in our area.  Before this, the closest one was in Orlando.  West Elm opened a store in a section of town called Hyde Park where there are stores like Anthropologie, Restoration Hardware, etc.  We've all ordered items from West Elm via their catalog and/or website but it's always fun to check stuff out in person.  Linda and I both made purchases there.  I bought an adorable carved wood rocking bird.  It's probably going to go into the guest room.  Linda bought a beautiful silk pillow and a candle in a ceramic holder.  Then we decided to head over to Anthropologie.  I've also bought a number of items from them over the years but usually via their website.   It's a great store to browse.  Linda found a really pretty pale blue long sleeve tee that she bought. 

After we finished up with a walk through Restoration Hardware (their furniture makes me feel like a toddler due to the size of the pieces), we headed back to Duane's neighborhood for lunch.  We ate at one of our favorite places, Mikey's, which is a sandwich shop and a full bakery.  Then we headed to a couple of shops we can never resist, beginning with A Modern Line.  You never know what you'll find and there had been a big turnover in merchandise since our last visit.  It's always beautifully curated which makes it a pleasure to shop there.  Linda found a small piece of burgundy pottery for her living room.  We also visited D & D Antiques -- another store with a frequent turnover in their merchandise.  After that we were all ready to call it a day.  It was a nice way to spend some time.  Nice shops, good food and good friends.

Our purchases.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Eilen Jewell and her band return to Skipper's Smokehouse!

Duane, Linda and I last saw Eilen Jewell and her band perform almost exactly two years ago at Skipper's Smokehouse.  When we heard she was coming back, we knew we wanted to see her show again.  Besides her terrific voice and songwriting, Eilen has a top-notch band.  We had all noticed when we last heard them that the guitarist, Jerry Miller, was a stand-out.  This time around, Jerry Miller and the rest of Eilen's band played as the second act after a group from Gainesville called Nook & Cranny played.  Nook & Cranny was a good band for an opener.  The girl singer had a big voice and the band featured some nice solos from the violinist (or I guess I should say 'fiddle player'). 

Jerry Miller has released a CD of his own music -- mostly instrumentals -- and his songwriting ability is on par with his playing.  Really enjoyed his part of the show.  Then Eilin came on and joined the band.  As usual, her distinctive voice rang true and clear in the night air.  She sang a mix of songs from all of her records and took requests.  A great show by all involved.

Eilin on the right.
Before the concert, we had our dinner at Skipper's.  Nothing like a good reason for some fried shrimp, hush puppies and key lime pie.  REAL key lime pie with graham cracker crust.  Yum.  The three of us were pretty stuffed by the time we finished eating.  It's a good thing we don't go to Skipper's too often.  Our waistlines couldn't handle it.

While eating we noticed that Eilen and her band were having dinner on the outside area of part of Skipper's.  I had my back to a screened window on my side of the booth but Linda got a quick shot of Eilen waiting for her dinner.  That's her on the right.  We're so subtle.

I wish I had remembered to bring my camera -- not that that means I would have gotten any good shots -- but Linda did get close to the band with her phone and shot several.  The pic below was the best of the ones she took during their performance.   If Eilen and her band come your way, they're terrific in concert, so make a point to check them out.

Eilen and her band performing.