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Category Archives: Paradise Living

Adventures of a Closet Video Gamer

Yes, I have to admit it.  For the last four or five years I have been and am a closet video gamer.  After a day of creative creating, these games relieve my mind.   I’ve gone to exotic lands with Nathan Drake of “Drake’s Fortune”…traveled the planets and fought battles with Star Killer in the “Star Wars: Force Unleashed” games, wreaked havoc in the Infamous games and taken

Trionna of Defiance

Trionna of Defiance

care of the Joker in “Batman: Arkham City.”  If my real work day has been a little hectic, I can take it out on the monsters who try to kill me. It is a whole lot of fun being a warrior especially one with super powers.  My newest character can do back flips, land on her feet and still put the bad guys in their place.  I’ve always wanted to be able to do back flips!

Up until this summer, Bob has gamed with me a little.  He Motor Stormed with me for a few months racing around Australian Badlands in wild and crazy racing cars.  We also raced fancy cars in the ProLogue game and Paradise City.  But as all video games go…they lost their luster.  So, this year,  Bob would go to his “Man Cave” and watch Syfy while I played video games.

This past year a new type of video game was launched along with a television show on the Syfy channel.  Being a Syfy junkie, Bob loves “Defiance” and was interested in the game and encouraged me to buy into it.  I was apprehensive about playing an MMO (which means Massive Multiplayer Online game).  The name itself is intimidating to me.  I had been playing single player games all this time and the thought of being the player that occasionally shoots her own foot and ending  up the laughing-stock, I wasn’t so sure playing with strangers was a good idea. But, in the middle of summer,  we found the game at GameStop for $18.95 (down from $59.95).  Bob convinced me to give it a try, so we bought it.

I set up my character and played for a few days.  It was such fun….. and I was a really, really good shooter, thanks to Drake’s Fortune’s point and shoot practice.  The other players were so nice and I was invited to join a clan and a group.  Other players healed me when I got shot and it turned out to be a great community.

In the meantime, Bob loved watching the action and figuring out how to increase your weapons, your health, how to get a vehicle and all of the intricacies of the game.  I convinced him that he should join in the fun.  Back to the store for another game and gaming system and we were in business together

Dartaan of Defiance

Dartaan of Defiance

Since then, what fun we’ve had.  We’ve laughed at each other’s antics until we cried.  I turned my character around one time and Bob’s character was ablaze.  He had accidentally blown himself up with his own pyro grenade.  Together we feel elation when we team up to defeat some of the biggest, baddest characters of the game.  It would be so cool if we could actually high-five each other!  We fight alongside and interact with other warrior friends and everyone is having a great time. It’s not real life, but it is a very rewarding experience.  A lot of people bash video games but if they are very well written and executed, they inspire you to do and be a better person.  Our kudos go to “Defiance!”



Spending a Saturday Morning at the Farmer’s Market

Saturday Morning at the Market

Organic produce

A really cool place to find unique photo opportunities as well as organic produce is to spend a Saturday morning in Sarasota, Florida at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.  Individual booths line the streets of Lemon Avenue and State Street filled with colorful locally grown produce, plants, trees and orchids, tantalizing foods for immediate consumption, intriguing books by local authors and delightful treasures from local artists and craftsmen.  Friendly dogs of all shapes and sizes stroll the streets with their masters. Market hours are from 7 a.m. until noon.

The mission of this not-for-profit organization is to educate consumers and share knowledge about the products and services of our local farmers, local businesses and local creatives.  This venue encourages foot traffic to downtown Sarasota sustaining the economic viability of  the entire downtown.  It’s a really fun way to start your day as well as supporting the community.



Our American Way of Life

Last Wednesday on my way to work on Longboat Key I was listening to a DJ  interview one of our armed force heroes asking him questions about military life.  The young man shared that he was God Bless Our Troopspreparing to deploy to Afghanistan.  The DJ asked him, “How do you prepare to deploy?”  He answered, ” I get my will and papers in order to take care of my wife and family…..”  He went on with other details but his first words deafened me to anything else he had to say.  Here I was driving along through paradise, heading to a high rise condo on the beach to paint furniture, one of my favorite things to do.  This young man was headed to a war torn country with the thought that he quite possibly would lose his life leaving his wife and children all alone.  I felt ashamed of how much I take for granted.

Unless you have been in the military or are the family of someone in the military, most of us go along with our daily lives never giving a second thought about those putting their lives on the line every day. This Fourth of July we all need to take a moment from our joyful Fourth of July  celebrations and give thanks to God for the brave men and women who fight and have fought to assure our freedom and our American way of life.  God bless our troops!



It’s All About Fun at Tampa Bay Comicon!!!

Princes LeiaPrincess Leia and Boba Fett were just a couple of the numerous comic book fans wandering the showroom floor of the Doubletree Hotel last weekend in Tampa, Florida. It was as much fun watching the costumed attendees as it was being photographed with Darth Vadar and the storm troopers.Illustrator

Once inside the convention rooms, we found booth after booth loaded with new comic books, collectible comic books and memorabilia, t-shirts, costumes and more. Attendees  got the chance to get up close and personal with some of the illustrious comic book illustrators who worked on projects as people watched.  A couple other illustrators would sketch you in comic book style for a fee.

Boba Fett

Needless to say it was a fabulous weekend filled with fun and artistic inspiration….and maybe, just maybe, the Crick family will be dressing up and going to the next Tampa Bay Comicon being held at the Tampa Convention Center, August 24-25, 2013!

Newsflash … The Flamingos are coming to Osprey, Florida!!!

Wednesday, March 13 at 10 a.m. The Flamingos Nest opens its doors for business.  With the focus on artist and artisan works of art, furniture and decorative accessories, Bob and I delivered a van full of painted furniture to the store that will be for sale exclusively through The Flamingos Nest.

The Flamingos NextDarrell and Nicki Hoke have created a tropical paradise in Osprey, Florida.  Their wit and ingenuity will delight your senses when you walk into the 10,500 square foot store.   A custom-made boardwalk and beach area leads you into the store past the little beach car, flamingos and an alligator spitting water into a pool to the left.  Lights made from sand buckets hang over the bamboo checkout counter at the back.  Delightful touches that inspire.

On the floor you will find quality new furnishings by Tommy Bahama, Seawinds, Broyhill, Lexington and many, many more mixed with on-of -a-kind creations by hand-picked artists and artisans from Florida and neighboring states.  If you see it and love it you had better buy it right then as you may never  see it again.

Their sister store, Pelican Cottage, is just down the street.  The focus there is on new and used furniture and high quality consignment items.  Spend a day cruising these tropical retreats and then do lunch at one of the nearby restaurants to end the day.  Check out their websites at and and see what they are all about.




Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone….

“Life Begins at the end of your comfort zone”…. what a statement!  It brought back memories of the ride I took through the rain forests of Puerto Rico suspended hundreds of feet in the air on a wire.  Ziplining in Puerto RicoAs if that weren’t bad enough, I then had to rappel 80 feet down from the branches of the tree I had just landed in.  A feat accomplished with body intact by a woman afraid of heights.  On one of our trips to Key West my little speed demon husband flipped our Skidoo and us upside down in the water leaving us struggling to get to the surface.  My daughter-in-law thought I would come up swinging, but Bob survived and so did I and in the end it was exhilarating.

Throughout my life and my art career I have been blessed with many opportunities to step out of my comfort zone….some intentional…some not so intentional, like the Skidoo episode.  But, I think about where I would be now if I had said “no” to making a career out of art and taken a “real” job instead; said “no” to my publisher because I was afraid I wasn’t “good” enough or “no” to moving to Florida where I didn’t know anyone other than my parents who were here only four months out of the year.  When the opportunities presented themselves, I juggled the yes and no because they were life changing events.  In the end ” yes” won out and I gained one of life’s greatest rewards…I GREW!  My art expanded, my reputation expanded and my life expanded.

May your faith be bigger than your fears!





Living the Dream….

Work is such a joy!  Bob and I spent the first of this week at the beach working in a quaint little condo on Manasota Key.  Bob hung fans and did some carpentry work Chest and Delft Tilewhile I tweaked a cabinet to go with the decor and touched up the dining room Delft tiles that had been chipped from years of use .  The sound of the ocean waves lapping at the shore as I worked bathed me and I have felt rested and happy for the rest of this week!

God has certainly blessed me throughout my life.  Years ago in Oklahoma I told Bob that I would be happy with a cardboard box on the beach.  Not long afterwards he came home from work with a cardboard refrigerator box and said…”We’re ready to go to Florida!”  We made that move eighteen years ago and have never regretted it.  If you can dream it, it shall come to pass….from the lady with a hibiscus behind her ear and sand between her toes!