Casting Call

I found out today that a film is being made this coming Thursday and Friday at Gatorama in Palmdale FL.  If you’re visiting the area or live here and want to be in a film here’s the info:

Gurney Productions (telephone number:  310-271-1197) is holding a casting call for people who would appear in a show being filmed at Gatorama and the Lake Placid area March 5 & 6, 2009.   Anyone interested should send a digital photograph to by Monday 3/2/09.  A fee of between $0 and $100 will be paid for your time depending on the part you are cast in.

This could be a lot of fun.  We won’t be trying out for any parts, however, because we have so much happening right now that I can’t possibly schedule a day trip this week: history/science fair with the homeschool group; 4H projects that the boys are entering into the Sarasota County Fair (; speeches that they need to be prepared for for the upcoming speaking engagements the group, Speakers of Sarasota, is scheduled for; and Cincinnati Reds Family outings (my husband works for the Reds and it’s Spring Training this month…All Cincinnati Reds’ staff and most family members are in town for fun events; go to for schedule and ticket info).   But, YOU should send your picture to the production company and try to get your 15 minutes of fame.  Remember the deadline is Monday the 2nd.  Only two days left.

I looked into Gatorama.  Its located just west of Lake O on Rte 27.  Here’s the website:  We, as a family, love gator meat and you can order it through this site as well.  Yum!  What’s it taste like?  Well, chicken, of course!

Good luck to all who try to get a part and to those of you who do…break a leg!

Are You Being Served?

I don’t enjoy tv all that much but I do like to watch British comedy on PBS. My favorite has for years been “Are You Being Served?”. I was saddened to hear that Wendy Richards, who played Ms. Brahms, died today. She was only 65 and was taken by breast cancer.

From the AP story, her bio:

” British actress Wendy Richard, whose four-decade television career included roles as a sexy sitcom shop assistant and a working class matriarch on the soap opera “EastEnders,” died Thursday after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 65.

She had parts in several of the cheap-and-cheerful “Carry On” film comedies, and in TV shows including “Up Pompeii!” and “The Likely Lads” before becoming famous as Miss Brahms, a staff member of the fictional Grace Brothers department store in 1970s sitcom “Are You Being Served?”

Richard was known to millions around the world as put-upon matriarch Pauline Fowler in “EastEnders,” a long-running soap set in a close-knit east London neighborhood.

Richard was diagnosed with cancer in the mid-1990s and again in 2002, and learned last year that the disease had returned and spread.

She is survived by Burns, her long-term partner and fourth husband, whom she married in October.”

Whooping Crane sightings in the Sarasota area

Near the end of January, Whooping Cranes and their accompanying Ultralights, flew into the Dunnellon/Ocala, Florida area from way up north.  I’ve been trying to find a time to make the trip up there and try to spot them.  I haven’t heard any spotting activity and was hoping for some before making the long drive.  But now it seems they’re coming this way.

On February 22nd I read a report, through the SRQ bird alert that I receive daily, that two whooping cranes were spotted heading toward Carlton Reserve.  They were seen just north of 681 in the I-75 vacinity.  Rt 681 is south of Clark Road.   The report said ” they were flying quite low — treetop level — northward just west of I-75 over a cow pasture that lies between the interstate and Thaxton Preserve, north of 681.” 

Then I read another report on February 24th which stated that whooping cranes were spotting flying near I-75 & Jacarand Blvd., which is near Venice, FL. 

I’m hoping that this pair will find a nesting area;one that I can get to.  I’d love to see a whooping crane again.  Before we moved from Houston, TX to Sarasota, we took a trip to Aransas, TX, winter home of the whooping crane.  Before we got there I saw one.  We were soon to arrive and in the median of the highway was a whooping crane.  It took off in front of us, but thankfully not close enough for us to hit it with the car.  It was beautiful.  I was hoping to get a picture of a whooping crane on the trip.  We never saw another the whole weekend, but I have a great memory of the one I did see.

For more information about bringing the whooping crane to Florida go to

I stepped on a sea urchin

Ouch! But when it happened I just thought I kicked a sea shell. When I looked down the tip of my big toe was bleeding. Thankfully I was on land rather than swimming with sharks.

I had 5 purple urchin spine tips in my toe. They all came out easily but one … it figures!

I poked at it once I got it home with tools from the kid’s science equipment and some peroxide. It won’t come out.

My husband said when his dad stepped on a sea urchin the doctor told him that whatever was left in his foot would eventually dissolve. He was ok with that. I’m not. Do I turn into an echinoderm? Do I turn purple? Do I have to eat seaweed the rest of my life? Actually, that wouldn’t be so bad, ’cause it’s tasty.

I did a Google search and found out the doctor was right. So here is what you should do if you step on a sea urchin.

Don’t panic! I didn’t. It’s not so bad. It hurt, and I know my kids would freak if it happened to them, but its not so bad.

Use a tweezer to get the spines out. The one’s I got out had broken off above the skin so I was able to pull them out. You can gently squeeze the sides of the spine with your thumb nails, too.

Be aware … the spines are made of calcium carbonate and they’ll crumble and stick in your skin.  (I guess I got my dose of calcium today!)

As soon as you can apply an antiseptic.  Soak the affected area in a bucket of very warm water with Epsom Salts. Do this several times a day for the duration of the injury. This helps with the pain and softens the skin for spine removal. It may even encourage the spines to either dissolve or be expelled. Apply an antibiotic ointment. If your injury is really painful, take some pain killers (like Goody’s Powder…my favorite because it works so quickly), and elevate the wound.

It could take several weeks for the spines to expell themselves from your skin. Your body may have a hard lump around the injured area, because as it heals, skin cells are reacting to having the foreign object in your body. It will go away.

If the area gets infected go see a doctor.

And last, if there is any purple dye in your foot, don’t worry. That will go away, too.

I also saw a webblog where someone had used duct tape on the injury for several days and the spines eventually surfaced.  I’m opting to treat my injury using the above rather that duct tape.  But good for him that it worked.

I’m going to Sear’s tomorrow and purchase some water shoes at Land’s End. I’ve been thinking I should have some anyway. It is a nasty feeling walking around sea grasses off South Lido Beach, but we love going over there looking for critters for the fish tank.

Today we got 2 shrimp, 2 purple long-spined urchins (I’ve never seen these before and they’re not in my Florida Beaches book), another hermit crab in a fig shell, an apple murex snail and lots of shells and seaweed.

I’ll let you know when this sea urchin spine falls out.

Edited March 24: Ok, so its been a month now.  I haven’t turned purple and spiny so I’m relieved at that.  I did lose a little bit of the spine that was really stuck.  I think there’s more to come.  The tip of my toe remains a little pointy where the spine is.  There’s a tiny piece of scar tissue but I pick it off.  I also still have a scab where I plucked the other spines out; I guess they’ll go away soon.  So, what I’ve learned is…be careful around sea urchins.  I’ve also learned that a lot of people step on or trip over them as well.  This is my top post and is visited daily by a ton of people.  There’s a fishing forum in west Florida that included my post on their site and a lot of referrals come from there (most likely to read about the stupid lady that wasn’t careful on the beach), but many many people just search “how to get sea urchins out of my foot”.  Makes me feel not-so-stupid after all.  LOL.  By the way, we still have the white hermit crab in the fig shell. You can read about his adventures in my post “Salt Water Fish Tank part 5”.

4H Demonstration Speeches

Today my boys gave their demonstrations for 4H competitions. Travis demonstrated how to make a chocolate fudge cake with chocolate fudge icing and confetti sprinkles. Austin gave a talk on collecting Pokemon cards.

They both did amazingly well. As you can tell I’m proud of both of them.

Travis handled every part of his presentation easily. Even at one part, when he had a hard time opening the cake mix bag, and then finally did, he stayed composed. At the end, he cut some pieces of cake for the judges. It looked like they had been getting samples all morning.

Austin, who speaks softly, held his voice at a great volume and spoke clearly. He handed out cards for the judges to look at while he explained what to do with them.

We’ll find out by the end of the next week what their scores are.
The scores will determine their eligibility to go to the district level with their speech. It will also determine, combined with a visual presentation at the county fair, their status as a superior exhibitor. They’ll have to earn 2 blue ribbons for that.

We will be too busy this week to sit on pins and needles waiting for scores. Next project to finish is our homeschool support group’s Science and History Fair on March 2.

Their speeches are on their blogs: and

A girl’s best friends

Dixie is my sweet black lab/chow mix.  She looks likes a small black lab with a black tongue.  She just turned 3 years old.  Dixie is sweetly submissive, happy and loveable.  She enjoys greeting people because she knows she’ll get lovin’ back. 

She makes friends easily.  In our neighborhood her best buds are Molly, Luke, Charlie, Homer, Abby and Sam.  There are a ton of other dogs she thinks are her best friends as well, but here is the core of them.

Molly is a golden retriever pup, probably about a year old by now.  She lives up the street.  Her owner, Sally, has become a great friend.  Sally will occasionally sit for us when we go out of town.  Dixie doesn’t get kenneled anymore because something always happens to her.  In her first year she contracted kennel cough from a neighboring guest at a pet resort in Houston.  Dixie had her shot, the other dog didn’t.  I was told that the shot does not prevent getting the sickness, it just minimizes the symptoms if your pet does contract it.  Dixie has also had the exit bath that another pet resort required all of its guests.  Well, that bath cost us over $200 in ear infection treatments.  So, when we travel without her, she stays at home with a neighbor keeping an eye on her.  Sally and Molly visit  several times a day when we’re gone.  They go out for long walks and for a run around the sand pile at the corner of my street.  They always come back sandy, tired and thirsty.  When we come home I can always tell Dixie had a great weekend by how much dirty sand is all over my tile floor.  I’m actually happy to see it…I know she was loved when we were gone.101_2371molly-dixie

When Sally and Molly walk in the morning, Molly runs up to our door looking for her friend.  Sometimes Dixie is out front and they play “catch me” with each other.  Once in a while they end up racing each other across the street and down by the canal.  How do we get them back?  “Treat!,” we yell, and they come running.  Of course they both have to get a treat at that point but we’ve got them both back at home.

Luke lives around the corner.  He’s a fluffy shepard with the cutest face ever.  Its like the cutest puppy-dog-in-the-window-face…big happy eyes, huge smile with a tongue sticking out.  He’s like a little bear, so hugable.  Dixie really likes him.  Occasionally his owners, Bob and Catherine, will come by to hang out with us and bring Luke.  On his first visit he found that Dixie had some yummy rawhide knots lying around so he claimed one.  No one has ever taken anything of hers before and she didn’t know what to do.  She stood slightly back but over him as he lay on the floor chewing this thing.  She’d look at him, then at me, back and forth.  She just couldn’t relax and get another knot to chew on.  It was comedy.  We sent him home later with what was left of the knot.   101_2537Since then, on walks, Luke will make a bee-line for our door looking for, oh I don’t know, maybe Dixie, maybe another knot to chew on.  The two dogs do have fun playing together. Lately, since they now know where each one lives, they make a beeline toward the other’s house when on a walk: always looking for treats.

Homer lives next door.  There’s is a high, wooden fence between us but the dogs can see each other through the vertical slats and sometimes run along the fence together.  Homer has tried several times to dig under the fence.  The hole right now is almost big enough for him to climb through.  Dixie will sometimes sit there and just peer through the hole.  The daughter of Homer’s owner is a young teenager and she had watched Dixie one weekend.  She’s very sweet and takes good care of my pup.  When school is out and we take a trip again, I’ll call on her.  For now, our long weekends would interfere with her school schedule. 

Abby, Charlie and Sam live behind us in 3 different houses.  They’re all sweet dogs and Dixie likes to greet them in the back yard.  Sam lives up north most of the year but when he comes down with his owner,  he and Dixie like hanging out together.

That’s the neighborhood as it relates to Dixie.  Maybe I’ll write next about the neigborhood from her point of view.  I’ll take some notes on our next couple walks.