Looking forward to sharing with everyone. Thankful to BaCA for this wonderful show.
Read More and RSVP Here
Bailey Contemporary Arts Presents The Everglades: Spirit of the Land
Acclaimed Photographer, Phoenix, Captures Fragile Beauty of Our Backyard Wilderness
Bailey Contemporary Arts (BaCA), in Pompano Beach, is proud to showcase a stunning exhibit that captures both the majesty and the frailty of the Florida Everglades. South Florida photographer Phoenix began a year-long photojournalism journey to inspire love and respect for the essential wetlands. Now, her solo exhibit of twenty photos will be on display in the west gallery, located inside Blooming Bean Coffee Roasters. The exhibit runs from August 3 to September 28, 2018. A free opening reception with the artist will take place on Friday, August 3, from 6-9 pm, during Old Town Untapped, and the Artist Talk is scheduled for Saturday, September 15 at 3pm. For more information, please visit www.baileyarts.org.
“With this exhibition we are inviting viewers to slow down and enjoy the moment,” said Juliana Forero, Ph.D., BaCA’s gallery curator. “Phoenix has a great understanding of how light and timing work in photography. It's evident that for some of the photographs exhibited, she waited for the ‘decisive moment’ to quote French humanist photographer Cartier-Bresson; working the composition in her brain and waiting for the ‘it’ that would make the photo worth the shot.”
The photographer, who goes only by her first name, established a love of nature as a child during family vacations to national parks. As she matured, she developed an exceptional talent and a passion to help protect nature and wildlife.
“Being a nature photographer is a mystical experience,” she said. “Like a meditation of light --color, texture, structure, pattern, and composition -- it awakens an inner peace and knowingness. With each image, it is my desire that viewers are inspired to love, cherish and protect the fragile beauty and wonder that is nature as they reconnect with that inner peace. For me, preserving nature and wilderness areas is not a luxury, but a necessity for the human spirit. In protecting the world's nature and wildlife, the environment, we are really protecting the family of humanity. The importance of nature is more than a scientific necessity for creating air, clean water and producing food. It is a sacred necessity for healing and bringing peace to the human soul.”
Phoenix has translated her depth of experience in leadership and community engagement for large, public-sector organizations into her career as an award-winning, fine art photographer as well as leader of art organizations participating in public art. For Phoenix the extraordinary beauty of nature and wilderness are a wonder. Attempting to fix them in time is her passion; photography is her art. Known for her painterly approach to composition, light, color and texture to capture the soul of her subjects in her photography, her works have been honored in numerous juried exhibitions, showcased in solo exhibitions, including Everglades National Park Gallery and Listowel, Ireland’s Olive Stack Gallery, featured in magazines and calendars worldwide and can be found in private collections in America and Europe. She is the recipient of several awards including the Broward Cultural Council’s Creative Investment Program Grant two times and Best in Landscape at the International Photography Juried Competition as well as the Olive Stack Gallery AIR. Professionally Phoenix serves as president of National League of American Pen Women, Fort Lauderdale Branch and Project COAT and is a principal in the Innovative Public Art Group. A native Miamian, Phoenix lives and works in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Exhibit Times - during Regular Café Hours Tuesday– Friday 7:30AM - 5PM, and Saturday: 7:30AM – 3:00PM, Sunday: CLOSED
Bailey Contemporary Arts is located at 41 NE 1st Street, Pompano Beach, FL 33060. For more information call 954-284-0141.
About the Pompano Beach Redevelopment Agency (CRA)
A Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) is a dependent district established by City government for the purpose of carrying out redevelopment activities that include reducing or eliminating blight, improving the economic health of an area, and encouraging public and private investments in a CRA district. The CRA is governed by State Statutes, Chapter 163, Part III. The Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency is funded through Tax Increment Financing (TIF). The funds are collected as property values increase and a portion of that increase is captured by the Agency. TIF raises revenue for redevelopment efforts without raising taxes.
About Bailey Contemporary Arts
The mission of the Bailey Contemporary Arts (BaCA) is to cultivate, incubate and nurture a vibrant visual arts community that enriches Pompano Beach and its goal of being a nexus of art, creativity, diversity, and inspiration. Serving as an incubator for artistic innovation and education, the staff of BaCA amalgamates emerging local and national artists with industry professionals to elevate the creative process. Located in the historic Bailey Hotel building, which was, at one point, the center of a thriving downtown in Pompano Beach. Built in 1923, the historic Bailey Hotel is the second oldest remaining building (right behind the old Farmer’s Bank building next door) and is part of the longest contiguous collection of historic buildings in Broward County.
The Everglades: Spirit of the Land
Photographic work by Phoenix
The photographs in this exhibition portray the waters of the Everglades in a moment of serenity and reflection. They invite viewers to pause, become one with the vista, and appreciate the beautiful landscapes in this exhibition. This body of work is part of a year-long project by Phoenix, where she photographs South Florida’s wetlands and the Everglades.
“It has been said that the camera reflects both ways. As an artist, every vision I capture through my camera’s lens is a reflection of my heart being touched by the soul of wild places and their inhabitants. Like a meditation of light--color, texture, structure, pattern and composition--it awakens an inner peace and knowingness. With each image, it is my desire that viewers are inspired to love, cherish and protect the fragile beauty and wonder that is nature as they reconnect with that inner peace.
“For me, preserving nature and wilderness areas is not a luxury, but a necessity for the human spirit. In protecting the world's nature and wildlife, the environment, we are really protecting the family of humanity. The importance of nature is more than a scientific necessity for creating air, clean water and producing food. It is a sacred necessity for healing and bringing peace to the human soul.”
Last fall I was challenged to take my photography skills to a new place. MAC Art Galleries' owner Mary Ann Cohen invited selected artists to create their versions of Dali original pieces she was exhibiting at her Fort Lauderdale and Jupiter galleries. This was extra special since she had never invited a photographer to participate in this exhibit in past years. I was simultaneously honored and puzzled. How was I, primarily an outdoor and nature photographer known for my painterly approach to realism, going to "tackle" surrealism photographically.
From the available works I narrowed it down to two that spoke to me: Surrealist Flower Girl and Beatrice. At the time, I felt I had made my choices based on visualizing how I could reinterpret them through photography. Reflecting back as I write this post I realize that I was possibly also attracted to these pieces subliminally. I have a life-time of being called "a strong women" and I haven't always liked the connotations that come with it. Often wanting to be the "feminine" I was raised to be self-reliant, independent and, honestly, strong, not in the physical sense, but mentally, emotionally and consciously. Looking back, I have no regrets and, best that I know, it has served me well to handle the roller coaster rides of life.
I share these two images with you since they have been accepted into the "Wild and Crazy" Red Eye Beyond Exhibit that opens this Saturday at ArtServe. They are also available through MAC Fine Art.
I hope you enjoy the images of the Dali original (on left) and my homage (on right) to it along with my interpretation -- photographically, color palette, symbolism and verbal notes.
Special thanks go to my longtime friend, graphic artist and yoga fashion designer Sushila for helping me turn my visions into reality; painter and sculptor Colleen Rochette, who granted me permission to use photographs of some of her eggs in "Surrealist Flower Girl/I Am Women" and my hair stylist extraordinaire Jasmine, who graciously sat as my model for both pieces.
Surrealist Flower Girl
Inspired by Salvador Dali's Surrealist Flower Girl, "I Am Woman" reveals all that is within every women. I delighted in the nuance of each piece that created the whole art work – individual photographs, drips of color, colorful birds’ eggs, the scanned watercolor background, every color choice. Each individually and collectively tells the story of I Am Women. I am Mother Earth. I am spiritual. I am intuitive. I am all knowing. I am beauty. I am mystery. I am birth. I am rebirth, renewal, regeneration. I am air, sand, land, water. I am strong. I am vulnerable. I am Mind, Body and Soul. Dali’s symbolism speaks loudly so we may notice the powerful and complex being Woman.
Beatrice, Dante’s real-life muse and literary angelic guide through Paradise, symbolizes beauty and grace. There is a dichotomy about her in Dali’s art. She seems to have an exaggerated strong or is it firm profile, yet she has a soft side too as she’s embraced by what appears to be small birds along with locks of curls. I saw her as one with nature – the world and herself – a living goddess wearing her crown of roses graced by a hummingbird, who too is simultaneously strong, demur and at peace.
As I spent time with each Dali piece, merging the metaphysical and physical symbolism, envisioning my homage photographs to his master pieces, I feel I discovered a new truth, that perhaps I always knew and chose to overlook. The nature or perhaps perceived idealized nature of the feminine is really a balance of many strengths; all worthy of embracing.
Now you've seen another side of my photography. For more "conventional" portraits, click to see more strong and beautiful women and beautiful life moments.
And, next time you need a new, updated portrait (for work, social media, websites, magazine articles or gifts) or have special, intimate events you want to capture for life-time memories, I hope you'll call on me. firstname.lastname@example.org
l'd love to hear your feelings. Abundant Blessings!
Love to share my fine art photography. Here's a listing of the special solo, juried and group shows where I am currently exhibiting.
Honored to have 11 pieces in this all women art exhibit. Here are a few.
Broward Art Guild , 3280 NE 32nd Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
Runs Through June 15th
707 Northeast 8th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
Click here: More Info and RSVP
Honored to be selected as Las Olas Capital Arts featured artist for this quarter.
Please join the celebration: 38 newest fine art photographs, hors d'oeuvres, music, libations, friends and new friends. Scheduled in March to also celebrate St. Patrick's Day since showing many new photographs from Ireland. Ian O'Flaherty, appointed Honorary Consul of Ireland in Miami with responsibility for South Florida, will be there too!
If you can't make special reception on March 1, email me and we'll set up a personal viewing for you and/or your friends.
River Feale, Listowel, County Kerry, Ireland ...part of the Ireland Gallery
Exactly a year ago tonight the lovely folks of Lovely Listowel came out to celebrate - my visit, my art, perhaps even me. I was and still am touched by all the wonderful friends I made in just a short month during my artist residency at Olive Stack Gallery. And, I countinue to be grateful to Olive Stack who invited me here. Celebrating in Listowel is a community affair. And, it took a community for the exhibit to even happen. Just the week before I wasn't sure if I would even have an exhibit. And, then the magic of Listowel took over when I simply said "Yes" it is done, it is to be, with an open, loving and expecting heart.
The morning of the week before that last Friday I would be in Listowel, the night of the exhibit, I didn't have a printer, access to mats, media coverage, invitations, refreshments planned or anything else one needs to hold an exhibit. By shortly after 6 pm that night it was all in place and I was off to enjoy friends at the 6 - 9 Club at John B. Keane's Pub.
It all came together organically. Even though I had taken over 5,500 images by months end, professional photography labs weren't to be found in Ireland. Thanks to Mary O Flaherty of Chic Boutique the solution walked through the gallery door one morning, as the saying goes, just in the nick of time. Mary had sent Dillon Boyer, who had founded the local photo club many years ago, to drop-by and say hello. Dillon, a kind soul, is a wealth of knowledge about life and photography. He shared his contacts for printing and cutting mats to size who just happened to be in England. Miraculously everyone turned the orders around in about a half a day when it should have taken five. However, no one would guarantee the delivery date simply saying it was out of their hands and up to the Royal Mail. Again, what was to take days took only one or two. That same day I went to the Friday Farmers' Market in the town center and saw Caroline Rigney of Rigney's Farm and Bed and Breakfast. She told me which newspapers to purchase and who to call at the local media. Calls were made and press releases emailed by the end of the day and by the following mid-week the article was in the weekly paper. Two days before the exhibit opening photos and mats were delivered and now it was up to me to mat, sign and package the 35 prints. Earlier in the week Invitations were printed at the local printing and computer repair shop. Store owners graciously agreed to display them on their front counters. I called the manager of the local grocery a couple days before, gave him my budget and left it to him to decide what wine to deliver.
It's the afternoon of the exhibit. The matted prints are on the wall. The wine and glasses are delivered (with the promise to pick-up glasses after the event). And, three lovely ladies stroll in like sunshine. It's Mary Lynch and her girls of Lynch Bakery (home to my daily cappaccino) all smiles as they deliver trays of fresh baked goodies and finger sandwiches. Then there is that moment when you wonder will anyone actually show up. And, by 5 pm the gallery is filling up. Laughter. Hugs. Good cheer. New dear Friends, who I feel I've known forever, show up one after another. Many take a little bit of my heart with them through photography sales. And, even sweet Ann, who has gifted me with wool scarfs, a photography book of Listowel's history and never enough chats, and who has just delivered her latest sweet "hero", comes directly from the hospital to be there.
And, on this anniversary of being blessed with so much love I want to continue the blessings. For one week only, though November 4, all photographs in the Ireland gallery are on sale, 20 % off plus $2 shipping. Normally $60 all 8X10 and 8X12 (size depends on the image) are a total price of $50. For those in Listowel, your orders will be delivered to Mary O Flaherty, who has already placed her order and graciously offered to receive the shipment. Orders will be shipped in plenty of time to give as Christmas gifts.
Now there are 66 images to select from in the Ireland Gallery. A year ago there were only 25 at the exhibit. Hope you find one or a few that touch your heart as you all have touched mine.
Love, From My Heart!
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"Before the Storm"
Outside the winds are beginning to pick-up, screech and howl as they pass over and scattered, light bands of showers are passing through as well. There is a quiet peace that fills me, my house, my block and neighborhood. We've spent the last two to three days preparing for what was forecast to be the most intense, widest and most damaging hurricane in past 25 years, if not almost 100, Hurricane Irma. On Wednesday she had sustained winds of 185 mph with gust at 225 mph and was a CAT 5 storm (the highest, most intense rating).
And, as Irma's outer bands are swirling through I feel peace. So very grateful for all the friends from across the country who cared enough to invite me to "get out of dodge" and live with them for a while. At first I wondered if indeed my safety was threated. As I reflected for higher guidance, I realized each offer was an out-pouring of love. For you see even spiritdivas, still being human, wonder every once in a while if they are loved and important to others.
Most of you know me as a professional photographer; however, I've been leading meditations and doing spiritual service for years. And, this blog isn't about me. It's about storms and their messages. Although, I haven't been guided to do a meditation for hurricanes in a couple of years, I was for this one. And, each time since 2004 friends and friends of friends have gathered in person or over the telephone (and, now the Internet), we have helped raise the vibration and shifted the storm in some way for the good.
Each storm comes with its message. I have been privileged to receive it and be their messengers. You can read previous ones at http://messagesfromgod.com/hurricanes.htm.
Below are Irma's messages from this morning:
"I bring a message of love.
All storms come to raise your consciousness to Love.
The kinder you are the more good things happen to all.
Kindness is an extension of God.
God working through you.
Choose to be, act, live, think and feel as God.
That is your true nature.
Abundance, joy, peace, health--all that you seek is found in this consciousness.
This is the only true reality.
Be kind. Be Love. Be Divine. Be your God-self.
Know this is true for the inside-out.
All is well."
Lori, a longtime friend and former coaching client from New Jersey, joined the call this morning. Afterwards she shared vision she had during the meditation:
"A metaphor perhaps. What came to me was an image of Irma's loneliness and sadness and that she needed/wanted our 'embrace'. It came to me as if we were taking her core into our arms to dance with her slowly back to her joy. It felt incredible for the moment it lasted. Thank you for leading us to soothe her soul. Namaste my dear friend."
It's so important to see outer storms right. Even the photograph above taken at the Everglades National Park had a message. You see, it was taken just before my friends and I thought the storm was going to come in hard. We had just set up our gear for the sunset. Then the winds shifted, the dark clouds rolled in. We quickly took a few shots and rushed for our cars to avoid the storm. As I drove out of the park that day it never rained. In fact the sky took on the most beautiful orange glow. Things at not always as they appear.
This is not to say to not take the storm seriously. Yes, absolutely do all you can to be prepared, not worried. Stay open for love, be kind, be calm and you can help transform the reality from the inside-out.
To playback today's meditation, click here: https://fccdl.in/PH1ji4zLa
*** MEDITATION GUIDELINES ***
* Simply from your heart center send the highest vibration of love. See and feel it flow through you as green light to the heart of Hurricane Irma.
* See her spinning clockwise (opposite direction that hurricanes spin)
* See and feel all around her, through her and in her:
green, cool, gentle, calm... ocean, water, rain, breezes, lightness
* See and feel God's light shining through
* See and feel Irma take the path of least destruction
* Thank Irma for returning to the nothingness from which she came under grace
* Bless her and know that all is well.
MORE SIMPLE STEPS TO CONNECT AND MEDITATE
WITH HURRICANES Scroll to bottom of page for more detailed directions.
From My Grateful Heart, I bless you and thank you for your kindness and love!
“Lots of people love you right now.” That’s the state trooper who is taking the report on the car accident I just had on the highway. I’m rather puzzled by his remark, as he reviews the damage to my car and takes down my information. It’s even more puzzling (or is it disconcerting), that when I called the highway patrol to notify them of the accident and debris on the road they informed me that they knew about that chair and had been receiving call on it all morning. The accident happened about 1:30 in the afternoon; 15 minutes later and the trooper says the debris is still not picked-up. “They are working on it.”
What happened? It’s a beautiful, sunny day and I just had a successful meeting with a new art gallery curator. After showing me possible display spaces we shared a delightful lunch and discussed themes and dates. I’m driving home and bout one-and-a-half car lengths in front of me in the middle of the middle lane is a huge oversized, stuffed armchair blending-in with the color of the road laying front side down. It doesn’t take an intuitive to know hitting it straight-on isn’t a viable solution. Looking left, right, behind, left again, I “think” it’s clear on the left and move over as quickly as I can holding on tight to the wheel to keep the car straight while continuing to drive 65 mph to be sure I don’t over shoot the lane and hit the dividing wall.
Impact. Quick glance back via rear view mirror. The chair instantly disintegrates into little pieces of “logs” and splinter no longer resembling a chair. Thankfully, my car is still moving and I’m driving as if nothing unusual has happened. Of course, I feel the adrenaline pumping through every cell and atom of my being.
That adrenaline will keep on pumping for next couple of days, albeit to a much lower degree as all the follow-up to a car accident has to be done… car repair estimates, deciding do I or don’t I report to insurance company (after all who wants points and increased insurance rates), adjuster’s estimate, rental car, deciding the body repair shop. I feel my neck tightening up all over again just writing and re-living this experience.
The insurance company declares the accident my fault (Florida’s a no fault state) even though there was no “drive-around”, people or cars involved; although, since I have a 10-year clear driving record (actually it’s 17), they “forgive me” and this accident. There will be no points, no rate hikes.
It’s a week later, my birthday. I declared this my day, no work, no commitments, no email, no Facebook.
It’s a quiet day spent in nature and in doing so rejuvenating myself. Anyways, that’s my intent. I had also intended to get out early to photograph burrowing owls a little after sunrise. Instead, I overslept by an hour. And, thankfully, I did. My neighbor Gwenn just texted asking if I’d check on the oven at her house. They’re on vacation and their son just flew out this morning to join them. He believes he left the oven on. She’s right. It appears the oven may have been on all night…. smoky house and burnt food.
So the day started with the Universal reminder that when you’re “late” you’re likely exactly in right timing and right place. And, so it was a week ago, during the car accident that was no accident. The state troopers “off-handed” remark makes more sense now. And, my higher self has asked me to be at “peace” knowing all is well, even when it doesn’t appear that way.
Today, my birthday, the day I’ve given myself permission to slow down and relax reveals another truth. The stress, tension I was feeling since the accident is more than emotional, it’s physical. Holding the camera actually hurt from my head and neck to my arms and hands. Bending my head down to look at photos on back of camera’s LCD screen actually hurts too.
Not ruling out seeing medical docs, I start with alternating ice packs and heat, whirlpools and natural creams and even apple cider vinegar to reduce inflammation with a large dose of prayer. The pain has eased considerably. The next day, I visit the health store where I ordered a homeopathic two weeks earlier. They forgot to tell me my order came in. Turns out that isn’t an accident also. When the owner learns of the car accident she recommends a chiropractor she goes to for adjusting my atlas. Still need to make that appointment and I will.
And, the ultimate reminder that I was chosen and agreed to have that accident with that oversized stuffed arm chair, comes from the Luis at the storage unit. After picking up art from a gallery exhibit that just came down, I ask Luis if he could help take it out of my car and bring to my storage unit. He graciously agrees and asks why. I tell him about the car accident. He exclaims, “It was you. I heard it on the radio as I was leaving Nova University. They reported the car accident and debris on highway near Davie Road.” Yup, that was me. The state trooper was right. Even though, the accident was a major inconvenience, at the end of the day (well now past one week), I’m emotionally (albeit rather drained) and physically okay, the car is covered by insurance and being repaired at a top body shop and lives were surely spared. I am thankful and grateful. All is well.
Rain or Shine, we're looking forward to seeing you at 2017 DBA: Chysalis Art Exhibit opening reception this Thursday, 6 - 8 pm, at ArtServe.
Chrysalis: A Time of Change
Like bringing new life into the world, I'm excited to share this major Broward County art exhibition that has been a year in the making. You’re invited to meet 13 of south Florida's top rising artists, all graduates of the Broward Cultural Division’s “Artist as Entrepreneur Institute”. Click here to learn more about the 2017 artists and their art.
Come for the innovated art, hor'doevers, like-minded spirited people and live music by NMBR11.
Looking forward to celebrating fine art in Broward County with you this Thursday.
24X36 on Aluminized Metal
Juried into "Global Connections" exhibit at Broward Art Guild that opens tonight, 6 - 9pm. Show runs through June 16.
Life is magical, even though most of us, including myself, often overlook it. It's so easy to get caught-up in what's not going right (i.e. as we expected it, our way), the noise from so many outside of us (news of the day, others' complaints) and our own negative mind talk. However, during my artist residency at Olive Stack Gallery in Listowel, Ireland this past October the magic was difficult to miss. My first visit to Ballybunion, a coastal town and seaside resort in County Kerry, Ireland, is a great illustration.
Not brave enough, or was it good common sense, I chose not to rent a car while there. Between driving on the "wrong" side of the street, narrow roads that are mostly unlit, and driving in the dark for sunrise and sunset photographs, I chose to hire the amazing Damian and/or rely on the goodness of others to get to places beyond walking distance.
The first day I arrived, Olive asked me what I hoped to do while there. Among other places, I wanted to photographs sunrise and sunset landscapes. Everything unfolded from that moment. Olive was busy getting ready for an exhibit in America that she was leaving for in about one-and-a-half weeks; although, she didn't forget our conversation. Day 6 of my trip she let me know that she asked her son to drive me to Ballybunion as soon as the gallery closed at 6pm.
It was a perfect day and turned out to be an equally perfect night. Perfect to me while there meant weather was a little chilly and skies were clear. Of course, I loved it all, cold days, overcast days, soft rain days, early morning fog days. A resort town, Ballybunion was about a 10 minute drive away and 40 minutes to sunset that night. Unlike what most photogs profess to do, I did little preparation for the photo shoot. I was in a carefree, let's see where the universe leads space. Where ever John dropped me off was fine. I had two hours to explore until Olive was going to pick me up somewhere near the beach.
With the summer over, the Seaweed Baths and many of the beach side restaurants were mostly closed. No problem, there were three beaches to explore. I started walking from where he dropped me off to what I learned was called "the women's beach" where I saw a young girl riding her horse. Looking up I couldn't miss the remnants of the castle overlooking the ocean. The castle called; I followed walking up a steep hill to the "men's beach" overlook. I set up my tripod in first one place and then moved to another until I found the best position for the photograph I envisioned. I like to compose photographs in the camera rather than do extensive cropping afterwards. This ensure I get the highest resolution for the largest image later. To me it was aligning the castle so that the little light from the lighthouse across the water in County Claire showed along with the cliffs to the right of the "women's beach". I loved the natural curve.
And, then I simply enjoyed the sunset. Sunset actually comes in many phases. Most people, including photographers, leave once the golden light show disappears. I kept clicking my camera every few minutes even after the sun went below the horizon. New colors often light-up the sky. I felt like a child playing in the sandbox only my sandbox was standing behind the camera and clicking away with joy. I waited longer for the special blue light phase. Of course, every sunset is different; not all are equally spectacular. And, if you don't show up you never know.
This night magic was in the air; I wasn't disappointed. By now it's almost pitch black and I had to find my way to the road. And, along the path I met a lovely lady who just happened to be the sister of the woman who owns the Seaweed Bath House and restaurant. We had a nice little chat as she showed me the way. And, when we arrived at the top of the hill street-side, Olive had just driven up.
Feeling led the entire evening, I am so grateful for all who "conspired" so the magic came out to play this night. Hope you feel it in the photograph too.
"Dawn's Early Light" 8 X 8, aluminized metal. Matching mug too. Ready to hang. Available at ArtServe Gift Store.
It was suppose to be an easy going morning catching up on paperwork before going to my booth at the Home Show at the Broward County Convention Center that I was sharing with my friend and mixed-media artist extraordinaire Jen Walls. The Universe had other plans.
Pulling back the bedspread last Friday morning it seems extra heavy. My toes glazed the top of my bedside shoes; they seemed damp. As I slipped into them my eyes opened instantly. I was wide-awake looking onto two plus inches of water everywhere. Walking from my bedroom on one side of the house to the source of the flood at the other end of the house all I saw was a sea of water. It was like being at the beach at low tide only this was inside my house. It was even overflowing onto the back patio. Water was spraying big time from somewhere inside the utility room right across the entrance to the kitchen.
I called Pete, my plumber. He was out of town. Earlier this year when I had a major water leak that affected two bathrooms, linen closet and master bedroom he was out of town too. Very calmly he directed me to the water shut off value I had installed a few years back. An hour-and-a-half later his guys arrived with two water vacuums. Working as hard as they could, forty-five minutes later they had barely made a dent in drying up the water. They called Pete and reported how it wasn't going. Pete didn't seem to fathom the enormously of the situation. He told his guys to keep on doing what they were doing. One volunteered to walk in front of me as I took a video to capture the water splashing everywhere and the extent of the damage.
Since home phone was nothing but static, I started calling others on cell to figure out next steps. First my insurance agent to find out who he represented in this type case. He said both the insurance company and me. I was still mentally getting over that the same insurance company which took over six months to settle the previous water damage claim that happened in March. They finally did while I was in Ireland. On the upside, it may have been a good thing since the same areas were affected again. If they had settled before I left the bathroom walls may have been open, more mold exposed or the renovations completed. Although, the "jury's" still out on the mold since the house now has a heavy musty "stink".
More calls...public adjuster, couldn't get a live person; computer guy; Jen, graciously said she'd handle the booth and any sales of my art; my neighbor Gwenn, who checked on me several times in morning and came over as soon as she could once back from work. I set up a folding table and got computer tower off the floor (does that mother board, two separate internal drives and everything else really dry out and function like they were never touched by two inches of standing water), art that was stored in the house for the Home Show, my sister's fine art that was stored at the end of the hall waiting for me to decide what to do with it, lots of shoes (some new and never worn); of course furniture and much more.
By 12:30 pm Pete the plumber told his guys they had to wrap-up my job by 1 pm and go to next scheduled appointment. It couldn't wait. Pete told me I was an emergency and his guys had to get to customer who was moving on Monday and work had to be done. He recommended going with public adjuster again and getting their recommendation for someone to finish up. His guys felt badly. In that moment I didn't like it either; it didn't feel right. In retrospect, I am grateful that Pete did what he did. It forced me to make my decision (with Gwenn as my sounding board) to call the insurance company. Water in a house can not wait. The public adjuster left message he would be there between 3 - 4 pm. Once the claim was made and my agent called to be sure they recognized that I had water damage coverage (they kept saying it was excluded) everyone jumped into action. The inside claims adjusted called to confirm that he set everything into motion; the outside adjuster called and made appointment for next day; the water remediation company called, they had trucks dispatched (turned out to be five) to me. By 7 pm the inside humidity level measured 99 degrees and they had done all that could do this day. Water was mostly soaked up. Eleven dehumidifiers and blowers were set up to prevent mold from getting inside the walls. They wanted more machines and the circuit breaker couldn't take it. And, by 8 pm I was moved into the guest room at my neighbor, Gwenn's house, and having dinner with her and her husband Don.
It's a week later and life goes on. I had a good Home Show thanks to Jen who "held down the fort" as they say when I had to meet the water remediation guys on Saturday and Sunday for daily checks, sold art and met lovely folks. All of the drying machines come out tomorrow. And and I'm still here with Gwenn and Don. It's funny or is it "there are no accidents". When my youngest sister passed away it was at a time in my life where I was between living places. At first I was intent on selling her house and then the market fell out here and just about everywhere. I decided to buy my surviving sister's interest in this house and live here because I liked Gwenn and liked the neighborhood. I'm still glad that I made that decision. I had a glimpse of who Gwenn was the first time I knocked on her door. My sister asked me to do so even though she didn't personally know her. Sandi needed help and she knew that Gwenn was a nurse. Gwenn came right over. Then she offered that her youngest kids would feed my sister's cats and clean their litter box everyday. Whenever I needed anything for my sister or me Gwenn came through. I am very grateful for Gwenn and Don and their compassionate and open hearts. I've been their invited guest at their house for many Thanksgivings. And, even though they are celebrating at a family gathering out of state this year, I am celebrating again at their house, just not in the "traditional" sense.
And, I am thankful for you. You wouldn't be reading this post unless we've touched each other in some way. Thank you for being in my life. I know that it is better because of you dear friend.
Time to wrap this up and hit the road. Spending Thanksgiving with another good friend and her family. I am a "lucky girl' as they say, or is that SpiritDiva. I am grateful for the multiple invitations and how much turkey can one eat? Continued blessings to you.
P.S. If you have black rubber hoses connecting the water to your washing machine, please save your self a possible $10,000+ headache and a house that looks like a hurricane just swept through it and have them changed to braided stainless steal. It's incredible to image the damage that a hose that probably costs less than $10 can cause when it bursts.
Intuitive Soul Photographer of nature, wildlife and people. Be inspired!