Blogging With Julie, Continues On….

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Blogging With Julie, Continues On….

My name is Julie Lancaster-Whann

Once again I’ve had to start a new blog post as I have a hard time posting on the previous one. I can still post but the page doesn’t refresh like it should.  Yet, I also think it’s a good idea to start a new one as we are entering into a New Year, 2018. 

Everything new, and yet everything old, all at the same time.

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When I listed all of my blog posts below it is kind of embarrassing there are so many of them. 
But there is really nothing I can do about that.  I wish my website were in a better order than it is but I also do the best that I can given that my website experience is learning as I go.  I’ve also had a saboteur from day 1! 

I do write about him in my What It’s Like to be Cyber Stalked, blog.

Julie Lancaster Whann 5

Click Here for: What It’s Like To Be Cyber Stalked

He is also in my Twitter and Instagram accounts.  He loves letting me know that.  He always leaves behind his subtle clues, for example, I will suddenly notice that I’m following Melania Trump when I know I didn’t.  He tampers with my settings so that my location and email address is exposed.  I’m also incapable of reading my stats because he tampers with them so that I can’t access them. 

He even controls the order in which my blog posts appear, or don’t appear, on the Search Engines.  Making sure my Home Page doesn’t appear if anyone were to search my name.  (After all, What It’s Like to be Cyber Stalked is on the home page.)  There are also “Security Warnings” for many that come to my site.  What better way to scare off readers than to put up warnings?  There is nothing wrong with my site, it is perfectly safe.

I no longer get the large traffic volume that I used to before I started exposing him as my STALKER,  by blogging about my experiences with him.  But oddly enough that is o.k. as my website is becoming more of a diary and we don’t always like just anyone reading our diaries, do we?  But if someone is willing to avoid the “warnings” that Paul puts up, yet still come to my website and look around, then you are very welcomed!

So, if I am to be judged by the appearance of some of my blog posts, or the order in which they are in, there is nothing I can do about that.  However, feel free to judge me by the content of my posts.

I’m very happy you are here,

Julie

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(For past blog posts in descending order, see the Julie Blogs at the top of the homepage bar, or click on the links below.)

Blogging With Julie Continues Part 2

Blogging With Julie Continues

Blogging With Julie

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Julie Blog

Julie Blogs Page 2

Julie Blogs Page 3

Julie Blogs Page 4

Julie Blog Page 5

Julie Blogs Page 6 Archives

Julie Blogs Page 7 Archives

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We have been having lots of fun on Twitter if you would like to follow us:

https://twitter.com/JulieBarefoot

(My Twitter Account)

https://twitter.com/GordonWhann

(Gordon’s Twitter Account)

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Blog Posts Start Here

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June 1, 2018

What’s New With Us

AND

My Take on the Rosanne Barr / Samantha Bee Controversies

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I haven’t been posting very much on social media (Twitter) because I just haven’t felt like it.  The fun newness has worn off.  It does take up a lot of time, and I’ve wanted to use that time to do other things.  I’ve been trying to catch up on the write up’s of some of our posts on the website. 

Gordon and Julie Greek (Beta) is Almost Ready

I’ve also created some new ones.  I’ve been working with some new people on more ways to protect my website, (for those of you that are aware of the troubles I’ve had.)   I’ve also just wanted to catch up on things around the house that I have neglected for a few years.  For the past 14 years I literally lived between my home and the beach condo (that I used to manage), so now that I no longer manage it I’m trying to catch up on things I have neglected around my home.  I literally have had suitcases packed for 14 years!  In some case’s I never even removed them from the trunk of my car because I was always having to drive out to Indian Shores for this, or that, and I would just spend the night in the condo instead of driving all the way back home.  ( I used to wonder what the neighbor’s thought of me constantly loading and unloading luggage all the time in and out of my car, being gone for days at a time.  Gordon and I would joke that they must think I keep leaving you and then coming back.)  ?  AND, even though I resigned back in December, I’ve still got my suitcases packed because I have no where to put the contents!  I’ve had two of everything for so long.  But it turns out that my no longer managing the condo ended up being a good thing because…..

A few months ago I hurt my back and that aggravated my sciatic nerve pain in my left leg.  I had trouble even walking for ONE MONTH!  ONE MONTH!  Can you imagine that?  I was in excruciating pain and taking my ibuprofen daily, an anti-inflammatory.  I mostly just sat at my computer with two heating pads blasting heat on my lower back and my left thigh.  For the first week of my hurting my back I slept on the Lazy Boy chair because it was easy to get in and out of.  Not to mention extremely comfortable to sleep in as well.

After about a month I did start to get better but it was still painful.  But the pain was manageable to me.  I’ve always been very good at managing whatever pain that I was in but this pain knocked me off my feet and I’ve never had that happen to me before.  I now know what a “shooting” pain is.  I never knew.  I mean, I’ve been familiar with “dull” pain, and “throbbing” pain, but never a “shooting” pain.  Now I know!  It SHOT straight down from my left buttock to my foot over and over and over.  The only time it didn’t was when I was sitting down.  But interestingly enough, I viewed it as an education.  I now know something about pain that I didn’t know 2 months ago.  Life is all in how you look at it.  ?

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But now the pain is gone but I am having to pick things up differently than I used to.  I now do what I call the “Bunny Dip.”  The Bunny Dip is how Playboy Bunnies were taught to pick up drinks when they were waiting on men at the Playboy Club.

Barbra Walters Learns the Bunny Dip (starts 4 minutes in)

Interestingly enough that is how I would pick up things anyway.  I always thought it kind of vulgar to just bend right over something.  However, when I was reaching for the coffee creamer that was on a lower shelf in the pantry I had to contort my body around a stepping stool and a large box, and that is when I hurt my back.  But it is healed now and I am back to doing everything that I did before I hurt it.  I just need to remember to be very careful from now on because I don’t ever want to feel that pain again!   Sometimes I need to remind myself that I am 57 and not 37, or even 47, and I need to think before I move something.  (Which is why I am glad that I no longer manage the beach condo.  I was always lugging things back and forth.  Heavy things!  My mother would order furniture delivered out there and I would have to unbox it and set it up and even move it from one room to another.  Not exactly good for a woman my age to be doing.)

The only “good” thing about hurting my back was that was when we were having our lanai extended and I could sit here at my desk and watch all the work going on.  For the most part things did run smoothly and I think it was because I sat here watching them.  I suppose your wondering why I haven’t been talking about our brand new lanai.  Well, because it’s not finished yet!  What was supposed to take 2 weeks, TOPS!, has turned into 9 weeks!  Even now I am waiting for Robby, not his real name, to apply some sort of sealant and then the inspector will have to come out and approve everything.  (Psst!  An inspector came out last week to look at it but it DIDN’T PASS!)  That’s right!  So, I am kind of aggravated with how long it’s taken, not to mention that we are into rainy season…..

Rainy Season 🙁

Our Cement Entrance Landing is on Hold due to Weather

…..and our yard is nothing but mold and mud.  It’s not like we can get out there and enjoy it.  It has to pass inspection first before we can start moving things out there.  When everything is done then I will talk more about it.

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Julie Diamond/Junq Closet

Julie store dresses closet_small Julie store closet_small love this vintage dress_small

This is one reason that Julie’s Diamond in the Junq Shoppe has been moved to fall 2018.  (Not that any of you will ever believe I will finally get around to it.)  ?  Now that I’m not managing the beach condo anymore and I am no longer living between here and there, this is the year to get it started.  We’re just trying to finish up some other things first.

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And finally to the Roseanne Barr / Samantha Bee controversies:

Who is worse?  The person who spouts racism, and has for decades, or the person who crudely and rudely calls out a woman for her role in destroying families and causing permanent damage to people’s lives by using vulgar language? 

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I didn’t want to put this on Twitter because I just don’t want to start a conversation that I then have to keep responding to.  Although, if Samantha Bee does lose her job I might just do it.  But to me, and again this is My opinion, on My blog, on My website that I pay for.

But, first I’ll start with Roseanne Barr. 

The Original Cast, and the New Cast of Roseanne

I can remember back in 1988 when the show Roseanne first appeared on television.  It was something of a breath of fresh air.  It was funny, honest, a more realistic take on the average American family.  After all, prior to that show, we had unrealistic family’s portrayed on t.v. like The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family.  It was nice to see Roseanne’s t.v. kids eating cookies before dinner and Roseanne’s only problem with them doing that is that they didn’t use a plate.  ?

I was never a diehard fan of the show but I did watch it occasionally off and on for a few years.  But it seemed to take a raunchy turn and that is when they lost me.  So, when I heard they were bringing it back my first thoughts were WHY?  But then when I read that Roseanne was going to portray a middle class Trump supporter who was having a hard time in life and that’s how she would play it, that when all the criticism came at her I actually said that why don’t we wait and see what she does with it?  I was not aware that Roseanne was an actual Trump supporter.  I thought her show would be about portraying the hard times for middle class families under Trump and the republicans.  That sounds like a better concept.  So, I then went on with my life and forgot all about it.  Until……. Her tweet about Valerie Jarrett. 

What Roseanne said was horrible and I’m not going to repeat it here but had that been the very first time she said something like that then I would have said to just accept her apology and then we all move on.  I was not aware that she had a history of saying such racist things.  That changes things.  I mean, we all screw up.  We all have said things that we regret.  We all have said things that we really didn’t mean to say, and I believe in second chances.  But when there is a history of racism then it finally needs to be addressed and I applaud ABC for dumping her.  I even applaud her talent agency for dumping her.  I do feel though for all the people that her show employed because they all lost jobs because of Roseanne. 

Which brings me to the next point.  If you are responsible for that many people’s employment and livelihood, then shouldn’t you be careful that you don’t jeopardize that?  Maybe take a more responsible attitude? 

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And as for Samantha Bee:

I love her!  Did you know she is Canadian?  I first watched her on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and fell in love with her!  She was funny, smart, quirky, intelligent, sensitive….  She is someone whose friendship I would cherish.  She speaks truth to power.  How many democrats do we have that do that?  Not as many as we need.  How many republicans speak truth to power?  I think there is one and his name is Jeff Flake.  Of course, I am referring to our Congress and Senate. 

When I heard that Roseanne’s show was cancelled I let out the biggest WHOOP and HOLLAR!  I haven’t done that to the t.v. news in the last few years.  When I watched Samantha Bee’s commentary where she said what she did about Ivanka, I let out the biggest WHOOP and HOLLAR!  As I said, I haven’t done that in the past few years.  Seeing a racist taken down and being made accountable in a country where racism has been given the green light by this Administration, was rewarding.  And having Samantha Bee call out a woman who works in this same Administration that is part of a regime that separates children from their parents and places some in large fenced in cages, places other’s in foster care, and looses a good 1500 of them, should be called out as well.  Samantha did that.  Ivanka had posted a photo of herself and her child on the internet which basically called out that she gets to keep her children, but we’ll take yours away from you just because we want to.  How is this any different from Nazi Germany?  We don’t know what they are doing to those children.  That’s what’s so terrifying!  Where are they?  And what does it say about the republican party that they don’t care about them?  And that they even threaten to take more away? 

As a survivor of abuse I can tell you with great certainty that these people are being permanently damaged.  Some will never recover.  Others will be haunted forever by their experiences.  This is just creating more mental illness and depression.  I just wish that I could hug everyone of them.  But I can’t, they’re missing.

This is the country that we now live in. 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

Rev. Martin Niemoller

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May 14, 2018

A Belated Happy Mother’s Day to All

Mother’s Day Backyard Bamboo

I just wanted to wish my reader’s who are mother’s, a very Happy Mother’s Day.  It’s not an easy job being a mother and raising children.  When I think back over it all Gordon was deployed with the Navy most of the time and it was up to me to be a mother, and a father.  That’s manageable when you have a village helping you, but not when you are in base housing on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with no family and having friends that come and go, as in every few years we would know no one due to military transfers.  We pretty much stayed in one spot during Gordon’s Naval career but everyone we knew would always move away.  It wasn’t easy raising children that way, or even having a marriage but we made it through, and sometimes by the skin of our teeth.  🙂

Me, Brodie and Veronica at Waimea Falls

Oh, I’m not complaining mind you, I’m just pointing out how hard it is sometimes.  We would some years have lots of friends that we knew and had lots of fun.  But, they would then all move away and we were back to knowing no one again.  Having to always start over.  Hoping that we would click with some nice new families that would move in the neighborhood.  The one thing that we all had in common was that we were all in the same boat.  No family, and we were dependent on meeting people constantly to find friends for our children, babysitters, and even friends for ourselves.

Me and the Pineapples

Understand that I am not complaining, I am simply stating a fact.

I know that there have always been people worse off than me.  What I hate is when people point it out to me and say that.  As if because there are people that have it worse off than me that I therefore have no right to complain.  I object to that rational.  If someone is indeed worse off than me then that is the life they were dealt.  I, however, do have a right to complain about the life that I was given, if I so desire to.

In the past I have written about the favorite Mom’s that I have admired.  I haven’t done so in the past 2 years though.  There are some that I still admire, some that no longer make the list, and there are some new one’s that I would love to include.  But I really don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings so I am keeping that info to myself.

I believe that we women just need to look inward for our inspiration.  Not to anyone else!  The older I get, the less I admire people.  When I want advice I look to myself.  When I want inspiration I look to myself.  When I want guidance, I look to myself.  So my message to you is to quit looking outward and start to look inward.

I think we need to have more faith in ourselves, and less faith in everyone else.

Have faith in yourself!

Julie

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April 22, 2018

Killing Eve

BBC America

I have discovered this wonderful new series on BBC America called, Killing Eve. 

The series stars the very talented Sandra Oh-My God!, and the very new actress, to me anyway, Jodie Comer from the U.K.  Jodie seems just too young to be as talented as she is.  She is just 4 months younger than my son but yet she seems as if she is an old soul and far more advanced than her young years.

Twitter Accounts:

@IamSandraOh

@ComerJodie

Instagram Accounts:

Sandra Oh Instagram

Jodie Comer Instagram

The premise to the series is that Jodie Comer’s character, Villannelle, is a psychopathic assassin for hire.  Although by the second episode you realize that she likes killing and will go out on a job without the express permission from the people that she works for. 

Vilanelle and her Postcards

I’ve also noticed that she likes ice cream and has eaten it in the first two episodes which leads me to believe that ice cream will play a role in her downfall and capture in the end.

Sandra Oh’s character of Eve Polastri is a security operative and has been assigned to track down Villanelle.   Apparently this series is based on the Vilanelle novels by Luke Jennings.  I’m not a novel reader but this series makes me want to take a look at the books.

This series stars a great cast.  I’ve only heard of one of the other cast mates, Fiona Shaw, but I can spot great talent and a marvelous ensemble as we have here.  Kim Bodnia, Owen McDonnell, David Haig, Kirby Howell-Baptiste….just to name a few.

I can tell you where I predict this will go.

(Not psychically of course.  Just as a fan and what I observe of the characters that aren’t real people.)

Owen McDonnell and Sandra Oh as Nick and Eve Polastri

I have never heard of this story until they started airing the commercials on BBC America and even then I didn’t know what it was about.  I didn’t even know if I would like it.  I am a regular viewer of BBC America because they play the reruns from Star Trek, Star Trek The Next Generation, and Star Trek Voyager.  I don’t watch much t.v. because I just don’t really like all the new stuff so I tend to have it playing in the background movie’s on DVD, and the BBC America Star Trek shows.  I rarely just sit down and “watch” t.v.  It’s more like a fireplace to me.

Oh, and I have only “watched” the first two episodes with my back to the t.v., as I type away on the computer.  (I have turned around a few times to look at what’s going on because it IS a good show!)

So, my predictions of where I think this is going given the fact that I listen to it more than I watch it, is that I believe that Sandra Oh’s husband on the show, Owen McDonnell, is the one that is informing the people that Vilanelle works for.  Also I believe that whoever that character is that works for him or with him, is involved as well.  Probably even helping Vilanelle to carry out the hospital killings.

Also, in the first episode Eve asked her husband Nick how he would kill her if given the chance?  I think that will play a role in the future when Eve figures out her husband has been working with the “bad” guys all along and her husband will most likely have her captured and will remind her of that question that she once asked him and the correct answer he will give her.  🙂

Just my predictions, we’ll see won’t we?

 

 

The Trailer for Killing Eve

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Tonight will be the 3rd. episode and Gordon and I are waiting with bated breath!  I am now a new fan of Sandra Oh’s.  I never watched that hospital drama she starred in and won all those awards for, but I did see her in Sideways and loved her in that.  She is so funny and likeable and a bit quirky in this series and I can’t help but wish that I knew her and that she was my friend. 

As for Jodie Comer’s character, Vilanelle, she is making Psychopathy interesting and the fact that she is a female in what is mostly a male dominated area you can’t help but root for her to succeed.  I don’t mean to sound heartless but I think that Sandra Oh’s character is like me in the fact that Vilanelle gives us something fascinating to figure out, obsess over, and ultimately catch her and solve the crime!

But, if Jodie Comer’s character doesn’t become more likable then the series will  not last.  So far she’s interesting as HELL, but that only last’s so long.  In order for us to root for her there has to be some redemption and perhaps she will go on to be some sort of La Femme Nikita working for the “good” guys. 

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My Personal History with Psychopathy

If you are a regular reader of my blogs then you know that I have written about my step-father who was a psychopath.  He died this month 5 years ago.  He married my mother when I was 7.  My mother was the co-dependent spouse of the psychopath and a narcissist herself!  Our household was dysfunctional at best.  Imagine if your parents had no empathy for you?  I was abused by both my parents and although I’m not going to get into any of that right now as I have written about it in the past, I would like to point out something in the Killing Eve series that reminded me of my step-father.  My brother Ben once told me a few years ago that our mother had to teach my step-father how to behave in certain gatherings.  For example, she had to teach him how to act around people, the kinds of things to say to them, that sort of thing.  He was a surgeon and although I don’t think he ever had a problem talking to his patients, (people he would perhaps deem lower in status than him.)  I think he had more trouble with so called “equals” than he did with just your average person.

To my point, there is a scene in Killing Eve where Vilanelle is at an ice cream parlor and she is observing the behavior of the ice cream server smiling at a little girl enjoying her ice cream.  Vilanelle is closely trying to mimic his smile and reaction.  That just reminded me of my mother having to coach my step-father on how to behave in public social situations.  Because a psychopath just doesn’t know how.

Vilanelle is a “Crazy” Psychopath

Know that not all psychopaths are killers.  Many are your neighbors, doctors, dentists, lawyers, in media….  also know that it is more rare for a woman to be a psychopath than a man.

I can tell you this.  Never, ever, go up against a psychopath because they will always win!  There is no line they will not cross.  A decent human being will never to able to do such evil things that a psychopath has no trouble doing.  Always my advice…..STAY AWAY FROM THEM!!

Julie

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April 7, 2018

So, What do you do When you Find out Your First Boyfriend Tried to Kill his Second Wife?

Meet Laura Webb

What do you do when you find out that your very first boyfriend that you ever had in high school, tried to murder his second wife?  And not only did he try to murder her, but he beat her for a good 9 years of their marriage.

My family and I moved to Sevierville, Tennessee the summer before I started 9th. grade.  We lived out in the country on Old Douglas Dam Road.  I was to start school at Sevier County High School that September.  We had just moved from Roanoke, Virginia.  As usual, I was terrified of the dreaded first day, first week, first month, etc.  The high school was grades 9 – 12.  I settled in and did meet a few good people and a whole lot of rotten ones.  My father, and his new medical partner, Charlie Kidd would be the new doctor’s in town opening up their practice in Sevierville.  Hey, we even made the front page of the paper………..Landcastle/Kidd, the New Doctor’s in Town.  Our last name is Lancaster…..  Off to a great start there!

I think it was the summer before 10th. grade that I started dating Mitchell Webb.  He was older than me.  I think he was a senior and I was entering my sophomore year.  He played football, the quarterback actually.  Funny, but at the time I didn’t even know that.  I could have cared less about sports and I wondered why the other girl’s seemed to look at me with admiration that I was dating him?  To me, football??  What’s so great about that?? 

That summer before 10th. grade I was at Band Camp at the University of Tennessee at, well, I can’t remember, there are so many of them in various cities in Tennessee.  Oh well, I was at band camp.  It was while I was there trying to learn my color guard routine that I was playing around the jumped over some bushes, fell to the ground, and dislocated my elbow and had to be taken to the emergency room.  I was in a sling for weeks.  When I got home Mitchell came to see me and brought over roses.  That was the first time a boy had ever given me flowers.  I remember when he came over for that visit that my mother had her soap opera’s on the t.v. and the character of Clarice was giving birth to her child and I was mortified that I was watching that on t.v. with Mitchell. 

We continued to date throughout the summer and into the start of the new school year.  I remember that my very first date with him was to see a movie in Gatlinburg at the movie theater there and it was called, Blazing Saddles.  I can very clearly see this scene in the movie where they are all sitting around a camp fire eating beans and they all just started farting.  I was devastated!  My very first date and they are all farting! 

Mitchell’s car, I don’t even remember it, except that there was a hole in the floorboard where I could clearly see the road beneath my feet.  It reminded me of the Fred Flintstone car where their feet would pedal the car.  I had to keep my feet straddled so that neither of my feet could suddenly fall through the flooring and into the road causing great damage to me. 

I was also Mitchell’s date at some important cotillion in Knoxville where Mitchell was one of a few that were being presented to society.  I had to buy my first evening gown for that and I needed long gloves that covered my elbows.  I remember walking down some runway with him.  We even got our photos taken.  I probably have it somewhere but I don’t feel like looking for it right now.  Not after what all I have learned about him. 

I only dated him for a few months, maybe 3 or 4?  To tell you the truth I can’t even remember.  I do remember the day he dumped me though.  I arrived at school one morning and he was walking arm and arm around the hallway with Sonja Hinkle.  I think that was his way of saying, ‘get lost Julie.’  I got the message loud and clear and never spoke to him again.  He didn’t go on to date Sonja, I think he just had her do that to send a message to me.  Because he then went on to date a girl named Teri who was also in the band, she played clarinet.  I heard that they did go on to be married and had a couple of kids.  He must have divorced her because that is when I heard about Laura.

I only keep up with one person that I knew in Sevierville and that person currently lives in Atlanta with her wife.

You know, nothing really surprises me anymore.  There are two people inside of each and every one of us.  There is that person that we really are, and that person that we present to the world.  Hopefully those two aren’t that far apart, but in some of us they are.  For what Mitchell Webb did to his second wife he only got 90 days in jail.  He was at the time in law enforcement for the post office.  He ran his truck over his wife, Laura Webb, TWICE!  Then he drove away and left her there to die!  She crawled to the nearest cabin for help.  The people in that cabin called for help and a helicopter transported her to the nearest hospital where she was for months until she could be released.  Her rib cage had to be rebuilt with titanium.  Mitchell Webb has robbed poor Laura of her good health for the rest of her life where she has to conceal her whereabouts to him for fear he will come back and kill her. 

Because of what she has gone through she did start a program called, Laura’s Card.

http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2015/may/24/for-survivor-changing-laws-lives-now-a–1/

Here is the Facebook Article:

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Laura’s Card to Help Victims of Domestic Assault:

http://www.thv11.com/article/news/crime/lauras-card-to-help-victims-of-domestic-assault/45487502

and

https://www.ktbs.com/news/woman-nearly-killed-by-husband-gives-new-resources-for-domestic/article_5f883ceb-afa6-5629-bea5-8e704201eb23.html

Laura’s Card is a program designed to help women that are being abused in their homes.

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I will never know Laura Webb.  But if she does come across my blog post I would love for her to know that I feel so very sorry that she had to endure so much torture from such a horrible man as Mitchell Webb.  I would also tell her that I am amazed that she survived such a horrific, and traumatic experience.  How she got the strength to survive it all I am so amazed.  I am also in awe of how she turned her tragic experience around to try and help others.  Laura’s Card is a wonderful start in helping women.  I would also go on to say that I wish her the best.  Although I never saw the monstrous side of Mitchell Webb, I do believe her and I feel a connection to her.

The teenage Mitchell Webb was my very first boyfriend, my very first date, my very first kiss, my very first flowers, my very first dance.  Too bad you had to destroy all the good you were given in life.  If I were to ever get the opportunity to ever say anything to you it would be:  “Thank you so very, very much for dumping me!”

Julie Lancaster, Sophomore, Sevier County High School

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April 2, 2018

Lanai Extension Update

(Photographic Evidence Saved the Day!)

If you have been a regular reader of my blog then you know that we hired a contractor to extend our lanai out into our yard to increase our outdoor living space.  Our house is just under 2000 square feet and when we do have family over we have no choice but to spill over into our existing lanai and even our backyard.  But when we do entertain in our backyard it does present a problem with all the bugs hovering around our food platters and dinner plates.  Also, our squirrels can be quite the pests!  They love to chew on my roses and hibiscus flowers.  They especially love the buds before they bloom.  Which means I get NO Roses or Hibiscus blossoms!  Also, sometimes mosquitoes can be a problem.  Not only are they annoying but they bite and can carry diseases.  So we figured that if we could extend our lanai outward about 36 feet in length and 18 feet wide, and enclose it with a pool cage over top, we could have more living space in the backyard.  So that we could spread out some more.

I took these photos on Friday afternoon after the cement pour. 

Gordon took the day off to be here.  I just didn’t want to deal with it all by myself.  I think that I have a deep seeded resentment that for Gordon’s 20 year Naval career he was deployed a lot and it was always up to me to take care of everything.  Now it’s his turn.  🙂

 

The Cement Truck and the Workers

Our contractor had subcontracted the cement job out to another company to do, which is a very common thing here in America.  We were told the job would take 4 days.  It actually ended up taking about 6 days spread out over a period of 2 weeks.  Which is now, thanks to a big problem, will spill over into week 3.  (Keep Reading)

Permits Taped to our Lanai Door in our Backyard

(I cannot tell you how many times I will look up and there will be an inspector plowing through that paperwork taped to our glass doors on our lanai, usually scaring me to death!  I’m not a screamer but I am a yeller (hollerer), usually letting out a loud yell when I turn around and see a strange man standing there.)  🙂

For the past, going on 3 weeks now, I get up before dawn, shower, get dressed, unlock both of our backyard fence gates very early, prop open our screen door, (if that screen door is locked then inspectors will just walk away and then we are at their mercy as to when they will come back),

and wait for the trucks to arrive……………or not!

You never know when they will show up, if they will show up???

Sadly, that is pretty “normal.”  I know from previous experience with the condo I used to manage out in Indian Shores, that whenever they would contract work out to be done to the building sometimes it was a total disaster in getting them there to finish the jobs they would start.  According to so many horror stories I’ve heard, ours certainly isn’t that bad, not by any means.  But, it is a delay and it did cost us some aggravation.  (Keep Reading)

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Gordon Searching for the Pipes

Found ONE, but Can’t find the Other one.

Because we have  been undergoing this backyard work we have had the sprinklers turned off.  Some of our things have died because of it.  We have been watering with the hose a lot when we do go outside trying to keep some things alive.  But when the dig was ready for the cement pour Gordon did turn on the sprinklers that night to give everything a good soaking because we then needed to turn them off again to get ready for this cement pour.

Ready for the Cement Pour

Gordon specifically made sure that the sprinkler’s were all working fine prior to the cement pour. 

Also, we have appreciated all the hard work that these guys have done.  They work on a few job sites at once so they tend to come and go from each job sometimes on a daily basis.  Arriving at one job site at 8:00 a.m. and then arriving at our house at noon.  They work very hard.

Pouring the Cement

The pour went great, there were no problems (that we knew of at the time.)  The men worked hard, everything went according to plan.  Gordon took off from work for the pour and between me and him, we took lots of photos.  Luckily!

Of course, we usually always take tons of photos of everything that happens to us.

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The cement pour was on Friday, and one of the workers came back Saturday morning to cut the cement.  By cutting it once down the middle and twice along the width, that helps to insure that the concrete doesn’t break and relieves some of the pressure.  The trenches that were initially dug with cement poured in them as well, are there to insure that the slab of cement is secure.

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So, with all of that work out of the way I told Gordon to turn the sprinkler’s back on because we need to water our yard before everything dies.  So he did, and that’s when Gordon noticed all this water pouring out the back of the cement slab!  And that’s when he saw a long CRACK!!!

The crack is in a crescent shape and goes from one corner of the back left to the other corner of the back right.  That makes it a good 18 feet, but because it’s curved that makes it more like 25 feet!

Gordon Digging Trying to Find our Pipes

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Gordon called our contractor to tell him of the problem, with the assumption that he would then take responsibility for this problem that obviously his guys did. 

Weh..heh..hell…  Not So!

Our contractor told Gordon that he knew a guy that we could hire to fix the problem, and that he would email us his name and phone number.  He assured us that what Gordon was describing to him was a ‘simple fix’ that shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred dollars. Of course he went on to be friendly and talk about the rest of the work to be finished this coming week…..

I’m usually the panicker while Gordon keeps controlled… so yeah, that’s how it was this time as well.  🙂

It’s not funny but Gordon just assumed that our contractor, we’ll start calling him Harry, would take care of it, after all, he’s just so nice…..

What upset me the most is that Harry was going to pawn this off on us and not take any responsibility.  He then started avoiding our phone calls.  That’s when Gordon and I started plowing through all the photos that we had taken of the work being done and that’s when we saw

THIS ONE………

This is the same photo below, but we cropped the bottom shot so as to better emphasize the wooden stake that you see nailed into the ground to hold that cement hose back. 

VIOLA!!!  THE KILLER!!! 

Suddenly we were Sherlock and Watson, Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot!!! 

And my personal favorite…………….ADRIAN MONK!

That is when we emailed Harry these photos showing the exact point of contact with our pipe, that stake!  Hard to see in this resized photo, but it’s there.

It was a few hours before Harry emailed us back but as an empath I turned to Gordon and said, “He’s gonna pay for it.  He’s gonna take care of it.  I’m feeling it.  He’ll let us know shortly.”  So, Gordon was then relaxed by my news and went outside to bring in some things.  A few hours later we got our email telling us that he would take care of it.  (This is when being an empath is fun.)  🙂

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So, good news right?  It is good news that Harry is finally owning up to his responsibility to us as a business owner and hopefully decent and honest human being.  We are happy that as I have been working on this blog post, a man did come by to have a look at it and has told me that it is much worse than what was described to him by Harry on the phone.  According to him he will have to reroute our irrigation all along the cement slab and half of our yard will be on a new system.  He assured me that Harry will pay for all of it, he just needs to get in touch with Harry and that the appointment to get this work done will take place next week. 

Hopefully our plants won’t all die off until we can turn our sprinkler system back on.  We are planning on buying a new front yard once this work is completed but until then we have to water all the plants located in the landscaping and retaining walls, and all around the house, with the hoses.  That’s a lot of work!  The grass in the backyard can die but nothing else can.

I suppose that problems do arise in these kinds of jobs and that is o.k.  Both Gordon and I understand this.  And it looks like our water problem will probably run up into the thousands of dollars.  And that is terrible.  It was no one fault and I appreciate that Harry is going to take responsibility for it.  But I can’t help but wonder that if we didn’t have photographic evidence that we could use against him in a court of law, if that is what gave him the change of heart?  Or could it have been the Easter Bunny?  Hmm…. we’ll never know….

Actually I DO KNOW!  Empath, remember???

Julie

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March 25, 2018

Our Lanai Extension….in Progress

Monk Fell in the Trench

With the exception of hiring a business to give us a new roof, and the installation of a new water heater many years ago, we are new to hiring a construction company to have work done on our property.  Gordon has been our construction guy for years building all of our retaining walls and landscaping, and installing our new appliances saving us money, but Gordon can’t do this.  We are at the mercy of a contractor and the people he hires as his sub-contractors for jobs the contractor doesn’t do.  For example, all the work you see above has been sub-contracted out to a cement business which is a fairly common practice with all contractors.  HOWEVER, the contractor may assume that the people he sub-contracted out to are actually working……..WHEN THEY AREN’T!

We were initially told that this project of preparing and pouring the cement foundation would take 4 days.  4 DAYS!  So, Gordon took off from work to oversee this all last week so that I didn’t have to.  I am out of my league here.  We thought that we could knock out the foundation and have this leg of our new lanai done, then clean up the outside and prepare for a great Easter dinner, and then resume the construction with the pool cage, electric, French doors, two outdoor ceiling fans, etc.  But now we’ve been told that the entire project will take up to one month!  There is no way that Gordon can take off from work for a month so it has to be ME to deal with this.  (So, you know I’m happy about it.)  🙁

Because we never know when they are going to show up someone has to be here all the time.  That falls to me!  I love my home life but I also like to get out of it and go somewhere occasionally.  I just don’t like it that for the next month I have to revolve my life around a bunch of workers that only show up when they feel like it.  And yet, that is how it is here in America when you hire contractors. 

Therefore, I will go with the flow, I will make the best of it, I will clean my house, work on my website, start a few new projects, and just have a blast in my home sanctuary.  🙂

My philosophy on life is to just bring a book and make the best of it.  So that’s what I shall do!

Julie

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March 24, 2018

Click Here for:  My Mardi Gras Birthday and New Orleans Soul Food Recipes

How often does your February birthday fall on Fat Tuesday? 

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My Birthday, and My Childhood Charm Bracelet

In my young teens my mother bought me the above charm bracelet.  From top, counter clockwise, a ballerina, a button that says, “Cute as a button,” a sleeping bag, a horseshoe with a pearl, a Christmas stocking, a record, and an antique telephone.

I wore that bracelet the night of my birthday celebration.  You can see it on my wrist.

That charm bracelet is important to me because my cousin Susan gave me two of those charms.  The ballerina (for the Nutcracker, a favorite of mine), and the button that says, “Cute as a Button.”  You see, we were living in Roanoke, Virginia at the time and I was horribly bullied at school, Junior High School, and horribly abused at home, so when Susan sent me that button charm, it was at the height of my abuse.  Receiving a charm that said, “Cute as a button” was the first compliment that I had received in years. So, when she sent me a birthday card this year, it reminded me of how good that she made me feel so many years ago, so I dug out my charm bracelet and wore it to dinner the night of my birthday.  Actually, it was the night before my birthday that we had all gotten together at Tibby’s, a New Orleans themed restaurant.

Susan is married to my mother’s first cousin, Joe, my Great Uncle Ray and Great-Aunt Margie’s only child.  That is the connection.  My Grandmother’s brother and sister-in-law’s, child.

Gordon, Julie, Brian, Veronica, Brodie and Lauren

Gordon and Julie

Brian and Veronica, and Brodie and Lauren

(We are very lucky to have this great family!  I love being the Matriarch.)

I turned 57 on Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, February 13, 2018. 

When I received the lovely card and letter from my cousin Susan I decided to write her and tell her of my abuse and to thank her for that very small gesture of the charm that said, “Cute as a Button”.  I wanted her to know that sometimes the smallest gestures that we make toward people can be very powerful.  I treasure that bracelet because of the charms that Susan gave me, not necessarily because of the charms that my mother gave me.  The charms were very thoughtful from my mother.  The sleeping bag, I loved my sleeping bag!  I did a lot of camping and I would sometimes set up my sleeping bag in the living room pretending that I was camping underneath the stars.  The horseshoe with the pearl.  That to me is my horse riding experiences that I had.  The horseshoe.  I rode horses, I won ribbons, we even owned a few horses.  And the antique telephone?  Well, I have a love/hate relationship with the telephone.  In my day growing up the telephone was the weapon of mean girls.  I did enjoy talking on the phone but far too many times I had girls calling me up to say terrible things to me.  So, even now when the phone rings I tend to cringe.  I don’t run to it.  I usually wait until someone starts talking on the answering machine before I go and pick it up.

The record because I loved listening to music on my record player.  The Monkee’s, The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkle, Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, etc. etc. etc.   

Susan wrote me back the nicest response.  Telling her about my abuse actually helped to lift a huge burden off my shoulders.  I do feel better.  I suppose that what I want people to know from reading about this is that even the smallest gestures can make a difference in people’s lives.  So do it.  Go out of your way to let someone know something nice that you see in them.  It can make a difference.  I am proof of that.

Julie

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March 22, 2018

Ugh!  Notifications

My Instagram Account

My Instagram Profile Photo

I joined Instagram… O.k. I don’t remember when I joined Instagram but it must have been about a year and a half ago….??

Anyway, I have never posted ANYTHING ON INSTAGRAM, EVER, except my profile photo above.  I singed up for Instagram just to follow a few interesting people.  I really don’t care if anyone follows me back or even reacts to anything that I comment on.  I have certainly given more than my fair share of “likes.”  And I do make some comments here and there, but I don’t care to really get involved too much.  As it is I have this website that I work on most days, adding content, photographs and doing write-ups.  I am also active on Twitter.  But I do know my limitations and all this social media seems to be quite a bit of a responsibility that I just don’t want. 

I have discovered that the people on Instagram seem to be a bit “meaner” than on Twitter.  In my year and a half that I’ve been actively on Twitter I’ve only encountered 2 nasty people and after some back and forth I was able to manipulate a softer tone from both men and one even apologized to me for starting the conflict to begin with.  (The reason I use the word “manipulate” is because that’s what I did.  To tell the story any other way would be a lie.)

I have discovered that Instagram people do seem to be a bit meaner, vindictive, high schoolish, petty…..

I’m assuming it’s because most are women.  I love women, but women haven’t always loved me, or the way that I am.  Women seem to have this love/hate relationship with me.

I set up my Instagram account using an email address that I never use.  That way I don’t get notifications and never have to know anything if I don’t want to.  I can walk away from Instagram at a moment’s notice and never visit the site ever again.  Never.  And unless I remember the email address that I opened up specifically for Instagram (which I don’t), then I never have to know anything that anyone is saying to me.  So, when most people get excited about some notification, I tend to groan.  Ugh!  Not another notification! 

Now, sometimes the notifications have been positive, but a lot of them have been negative, so most of the time I tend to ignore them.  Sometimes I will click on them, I think the last time I did view them was about 2 weeks ago or so.  There wasn’t anything mean in there at all, and there may not be anything mean in the ones I have now, I’m just not interested in reading them.

Used to I only had to contend with that red dot underneath the heart at the top right on the screen of my Instagram page, but now they are flashing numbers at me!  If I want to look at it, then I WILL! I’m NOT Blind!!

Sometimes social media is great, and other times it’s just a pain in the butt!

Julie

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March 6, 2018

One Special Summer

Published 1974

Jacqueline and Lee Bouvier

Of course Jacqueline Bouvier went on to become Jackie Kennedy Onasis and Lee Bouvier Radziwell, her sister.  Jackie became our first lady, married to President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who was then assassinated in 1963, I was 2 at the time.  I remember my mother telling me that she was pregnant with me when she stood in line to vote for JFK, just as Jackie was pregnant at the time.

Magazine Article and the Book

In 1974 I was 13 years old.  I had read my mother’s Ladies Home Journal magazine with Jackie Kennedy and her sister Lee Radziwell on the cover discussing a book that they had written together and I was immediately intrigued.  I wanted that book!  The article came out November 1974.  So, by my birthday the following year, my mother had bought me that book!

Jackie and Lee had gone abroad in 1951.  They wrote the book as a gift to their mother and step-father for allowing them to go on this adventure.  Their mother preferred gifts from her daughter’s that were either written or painted.  So, the girls gave them both.  An account of their trip.

They Even Wrote a Poem

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I remember seeing this particular shot and thinking how sophisticated that was.  Just sitting in a restaurant in Europe all day talking, laughing, eating, engaging. 

SNAP SHOTS

 

I love the “Snap Shots” terminology.  It’s been a long time since I’ve heard that. 

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What made me think of this book is that CNN is doing a series about the Kennedy’s on March 11th..  That’s when I got out this book. 

I begged my parents to let me go to Europe in 1976, they let me, I was in the 9th. grade at the time, and it is all because of this book.  My own European adventure!

I do love the “Photographer” illustrations that they do.  Here is a favorite of mine!

A Wonderful Book!  A Wonderful Memory for Me!

Julie

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March 1, 2018

Brodie’s Class Lip Dub 2009 Jay Sean “Down”

Bloomingdale High School

Can’t believe I never posted it until now.  🙂

Oh, and their other 2010 video.  Love it!

 

Brodie’s Class of 2010!

 

 

 

 

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February 5, 2018

I do love this song by Johnny Cash.  I grew up with him.

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February 1, 2018

Welcome to February!  My most favorite month of the year!  🙂

Well, we’ll get to all that later on but for now I wanted to post a photo of Gordon and our almost son-in-law, Brian.

The Moment that Brian asked Gordon for our daughter’s hand in marriage.  🙂

Can’t wait for this wedding…….

AND this wedding……

Meghan Markle

Ahhh, Amore…..

(I do that dotdotdotdotdot thing a lot, don’t I?)

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January 22, 2018

My Brodie

A Treasure I Found in His Room

Brodie lives with his girlfriend but his room has been left intact.  I started cleaning it up to use as a guest room and I found this cardboard likeness of him shoved behind a bookcase.  I noticed that it was dated 2010.  I never even knew it existed.  So, being the proud mother that I am, and seeing as how his birthday was coming up, November 29th., I set it out in my nook, and draped it with lights.  When he came over for Thanksgiving he saw it and was amazed that I had it out.  He told me that he started the project at 10:00 p.m. the night before it was due.  That’s my Brodie!  The thing is, it looks like him!  He did an excellent job on it!  I will keep it forever.  My little boy Brodie….

The thing is, Brodie is just like me, and Veronica is just like Gordon.

Brodie is my little protestor.  My activist son.  He speaks out when it’s unpopular to do so, just like me.  He stands up against bully’s to protect an unknown person that needs help.  He’s smart, informed, he is scientific.  He can fix anything.  He is an auto mechanic.  We were always doing science experiments when he was young.  We read Martin Luther King, Jr. together in Maryland. 

Funny story:  When we were living in Ft. Meade, Maryland and his 7th. birthday was coming up, we had just moved there a few months prior, I asked him who he wanted to invite to his birthday?  We had decided on renting a movie theater that served a pizza dinner while you watched a movie.  So he gave me the kids names he wanted to invite from his classroom and we sent out the invitations.  All I had were names, I didn’t know anyone.  So, we sent out all the invitations.  Every kid RSVP’d that they would be there.  We were thrilled!  And when his birthday came around and everyone showed up, every child was African-American.  🙂  Only his friend Leonard was white. 

You see, I was so proud of him on that day.  All that I had taught him, mostly by example, had paid off.  He chose his friends to invite, not on what color they were, but how he felt about them.  They were his friends.  That’s my Brodie!  When I look at him I feel so much pride and happiness.  He’s a good one!

Julie

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January 22, 2018

Engagement Announcement!

Our little girl, Veronica, and her longtime boyfriend, Brian, are engaged!

He popped the question underneath the fireworks at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in front of Cinderella’s Castle.  Ahhhh……

But then again, I did pick up on it before we even know a thing:  🙂

Click Here for:  On Being an Empath Part II

Just thank goodness that song is finally leaving my head.  You’ll understand when you read the blog post.

Gordon and I are very happy!

Julie

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January 21, 2018

Hawaii’s Missile Alert

As many of you know, on Saturday, January 13, 2018 the people of Hawaii were sent out a message that an incoming missile was going to hit them and that they had 10 minutes to take cover.  Hawaii is reporting how that affected the entire island chain.  There was a heart attack victim, various car wrecks, some chaos, and general panic! 

When I heard about the missile alert my first thoughts were, “hackers.”  Russian Hackers!  I still believe that. 

It was exposed last year that our government has no plan in place to save us if we are ever attacked by anything.  Domestic, International, Alien….  However, they do have a plan to save themselves.

So, why in the world would “they”, our government, send out a “missile alert warning’ to a populace that they have no plan in place to “save?”  Oahu is an island that is 30 x 44 miles long.  It is the main island of the Hawaiian chain.  Pearl Harbor would be a main Naval institution target, Kaneohe is the main Marine base, Hickum is the main Air Force Base…  So Oahu would be the main target, and it would be destroyed instantly.

Let’s say you are a tourist staying in one of the Waikiki hotels and you were told to take cover?  Where will you go?  The hotel basement?  If a missile comes in and you are in the basement then that hotel will fall on top of you.

There is no plan in place to warn, or save any of us.  So why send out a warning?  There is nothing in place to help save any of us!

I believe that it was hackers, perhaps sending a message of how they can throw our country into chaos with a simple little warning of an incoming missile.

And we all saw how that went, didn’t we?

Maybe next time we shouldn’t be so quick to jump on that bandwagon.

Julie

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January 16, 2018

New Blog Posts

I’ve started two new blog posts that I’m kind of excited about.

The Nifty 50’s one isn’t all that great now, but I do have good plans for it as I go.  Although the laxative story is funny.

Click Here for:  Nifty 50’s

AND, my new:

My Nifty 50’s Skincare

Click Here for:  My Nifty 50’s Skincare

I do have something to contribute!

I hope you agree,

Julie

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January 13, 2018

Missing Vivien

Mystery Date with Vivien

My Old Mystery Date Game from the 1960’s

(Sometimes it pays to be a hoarder.)  🙂

Johnny, Sabina and Vivien

We had family visiting from Ireland and I knew I would be spending time with my niece, Vivien, so I got out my old Mystery Date game and we played, and we played, and we played.

I won twice, Vivien won once…..

And we had the best time.  Even though there is a 50 year difference in our ages.

What was a new game to her, was a happy nostalgic time for me.

Vivien looking at her cards underneath the table.

She enjoyed playing this game as much as if it were the latest most exciting toy of her day.

I miss this sweet little girl so much!

Until next time when we play again….

Aunt Julie

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January 13, 2018

News…..

As I’ve mentioned before I’m just going to enjoy January and get my home in order.  Nothing drastic, just packing up Christmas and holiday and putting it all away.  I also want to work on my website and update a lot of posts.  I’ve also been hitting my treadmill lately and I’m toning up a bit.  I do see improvement but I don’t want to get on any scale yet until I know I’ll be pleased with the answer. 

Oh, and we have to purchase a new front yard this month!  Thank you Bloomingdale Home Owner’s Association Gestapo!  🙁

February….  My birthday falls on Mardi Gras this year so that will be a fun birthday to play with.

I also love February as the month has so many fun holidays.  There’s Japanese Girl’s Day, Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, my birthday….  🙂

March….We have our lanai extended!  Yahoo!  $20 Grand, but hey, it’ll be great! 

April/May….  Julie’s new Diamond in the Junque Shoppe happens! 

Fingers crossed that Paul doesn’t screw with my Ebay auctions like he used to when I was listing the condo for rent.  But, things are different now, and in my favor!!  🙂

So, bring on 2018!  I hope that you, like me, have a lot to look forward to.

Julie

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January 12, 2018

January 2018

Today is Friday and I feel like doing absolutely nothing except working on my website.  I even think that I’ll carry that mood over into the weekend as well.  I’ve put in the movie, The Saint, with Val Kilmer and Elisabeth Shue.  Oh, I won’t watch it, I don’t have to, it’s just going off in the background, like a fire place.  I have the movie memorized anyway.  Not that it’s that special to me, I just memorize things.  For some reason I do love “watching” this movie in January?  I think because it takes place in winter and even though our Florida winters are nothing like what takes place in the movie, my mood sometimes seem to go into hibernation in January and I suppose that I sort of relate to that cold climate mind set. 

To me, January is something of a transition month.  A time to rest up, pack up the Christmas and holiday things away, a break from all the holiday madness, and ours was “MAD as a Hatter,”  as in Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter…. 

Vivien as Alice

All the work that went into Christmas was something that we don’t care to repeat for a very long time!  It was hard work!  Gordon and I did it all ourselves, it took about 2 months of planning and it was almost just too much for us to handle.  If family from Ireland were not coming, then we would not have done all that we did.  BUT, we created some great memories and that is what is important.  Because when all is said and done, the important things are the feelings, and the memories that people give us.

There is much more that goes into planning something this big than just decorating and cooking. 

My Typical Grocery Cart

Planning, shopping, cleaning, shopping, decorating the entire house for Christmas in general, more shopping, wrapping gifts, mailing gifts, the cleanup of the backyard, bleaching, pressure washing, decorating the entire backyard, Gordon even built a retaining wall in prep for this, setting up tents, tables, digging through my “prop room,”  a.k.a. Veronica’s old bedroom, for platters, bowls, etc.  Plowing through the attic and garage…  It was exhausting!

Gordon’s Landscaping Retaining Wall

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All the work that went into Christmas.

My hands looked horrible!  As in my lack of a manicure, but my toes were perfect!  Priorities…..

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It was a lot of work, but we would do it all again, just not for a long while.  I have enough website material to work on every day for the entire 2018, which brings me to 2018…….

I don’t feel as bad about this year as I did last year.  Meaning, the direction our country is going.  Oh, we’re all going to hell in a hand basket that’s for sure, but what is different is that there is much more of an awareness than there used to be where getting involved politically is concerned.  People I used to know would look at me as if I were some weirdo because I was political and they would always ask me, “Why are you so into politics, Julie?”  And I would answer them, “Because their decisions affect our lives!”  What I wanted to say was, ‘Because their decisions affect our lives, you stupid idiot!!!!’  But I didn’t.  One of the few times I was able to hold my tongue. 

You know, I lost most of my friends during the Bush years after 9/11 because I spoke out about how dangerous that administration was.  My “friends” responded by either never having anything to do with me again, or I was called “unpatriotic” and “un-American.”  Those so-called friends that did still hang around me occasionally never really liked me anymore after that and because I knew how they felt, I parted ways with them.  I was very sad to lose all of them but it made me sadder to know them.  Because I finally saw them for what they really were.  Haters, racists, bigots, war mongers, bully’s, so much anger……  And I grew to be very thankful that they dumped me.  I’m a happier person, a better person, that I no longer have them in my life.  Sometimes when I think of some of the happy memories that I shared with them many years ago I do feel nostalgic, but not nostalgic for the person they turned out to be, but for the person that they once were before all the Fox News hate machine got to so many.  Rupert Murdock is one of the most despicable haters of our generation and has no problem with his role in this.  Fox News has ruined the lives of at least 2 generations of Americans by filling their heads with so much hate.  Our seniors now do nothing but sit on their couch’s and get angry about everything.  Not living their lives and enjoying their senior years like they should.  But at least some of their children and grandchildren are turning away from that.  And it is for those people that I am grateful.  They see how fragile that democracy is and if you don’t get involved then our corporations and their political tools can take everything away from you.  So, although we have a lot to worry about in 2018, we also have more help and people on our side than we did in 2017. 

I have a little bit of Hope back…..

Julie

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January 5, 2018

Barefoot Vivien

Must be our DNA!

From the time that I was a young girl I HATED wearing SHOES!  I went barefoot most of the time.  Sabina told me that from the moment they got off the airplane and Vivien has shunned shoes!  Every photo she takes of her and sends to her parents, Vivien is barefoot.  Her parents even remarked, “Why did you not pack any shoes for Vivien?” 

Ahh…  That’s my girl!!!

Aunt Julie

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January 4, 2018

My Hopes and Plans for 2018

Also Catching up…..

Family from Ireland is still here and we have fun plans with them before they leave.  With holidays over, Gordon back at work, but me still cooking away, starting next week I am hitting that treadmill most everyday.  Taking down the Christmas will just have to be a step-by-step process.  As long as I get it all packed away by February then I’ll be happy. 

The weather has been cold since New Year’s Day, we even have the heat on.  But I am just happy that it was nice through Christmas and New Year’s Eve.  I have a lot to look forward to this year but I also have a lot of work ahead of me.  Cleaning out closets, the garage, the attic…  Veronica’s room has become a room where we just throw things in there and never see them again.  I need to fully organize my home.  We are hoarders and it is finally becoming overwhelmingly obvious.  Of course, my take on that is that we are big collectors and unfortunately we have a small house.  If we had a larger home then our collections could spread out a bit more, but we don’t, so it’s time to downsize a bit. 

I will say this, whatever project that we do, I have the props for it!  Alice in Wonderland theme?  Check!  Pirates of the Caribbean theme?  Check!  Arabian Nights theme?  Check!  Hawaiian luau!  Check!  James Bond theme?  Check!  50’s Happy Days?  Check!

Well, you get the idea.

Oh, trust me I will NOT be getting rid of a lot of things but I will be downsizing a little bit.  What I am mainly looking to do is to clean out the garage and create more storage to better organize our possessions.  I also want to start my Ebay business and sell off some of our collectibles that way.  Also all those vintage and antiques I’ve been purchasing for the past few years for my business.  So for me, 2018 is about getting organized and starting a small business.

ALSO, I want to finish the blog posts I have here on my website that all say…..  “UNDER CONSTRUCTION.”  🙂

(I know that bugs some of you.) 

Oh, and I do have some news for you…. I Quit My Job!

I am no longer managing my mother’s condo.  I’ve scrubbed the condo webpage off my site.  I quit in protest over a decision she made that I very strongly objected to.  She invited someone as a guest into the condo that I told her years ago that I would quit if she ever did.  So, that day came, and I quit.  To me it is akin to having someone like Donald Trump, or Steve Bannon, or Karl Rove, stay at the condo.  And this person is a lot like Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Karl Rove.

My mother will never find anyone to do as good a job as I did but she never appreciate all the hard work that I did.  I even saved the condo a few times during hurricane’s.  I went that extra mile.  I paid all the Paypal fees out of my pocket, I stocked the condo for the guests, I purchased my own supplies that I needed to keep the condo going.  I must have spent a fortune in laundry detergent and gas getting myself to and from. 

A few months ago she told me that the only reason I do a good job is for the “compliments.”  Well, I certainly didn’t do it for the money!  (Oh, and just to be clear, those “compliments” never come from her.)  In everything that I do there is always a motive, or so she thinks.  From the time I found out this person was coming, on December 1, 2017, in less than 24 hours I had written my resignation letter, CC’d it to a brother and my nephew, went to Gordon’s corporate Christmas party at Bahama Breeze, then drove out to the condo to retrieve all of my things.  All that within less than 24 hours.  THAT is how disturbed I was at the prospect of this person staying in the condo.

Gordon and Julie, Booz, Allen, Hamilton Corporate Christmas Party

Bahama Breeze Restaurant

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I guess I look pretty good in the photo above considering that I only got about 2 hours sleep the night before because I was so upset at who my mother invited as her guest to stay in the condo.  I had also resigned by 10:00 a.m. that morning.

The GOOD NEWS about this day was that we met the nicest couple at the party.  I was actually dreading going considering how upset that I was but Gordon convinced me that I would have a good time.  I told him that if anyone at our table sings the praises of Trump that I am walking out!  (Gordon knows that I would too.)  🙂  But the couple we met had lived in London and when I brought up how excited I was about the Prince Harry/Meghan Markle union, she lit up like a Christmas tree and we didn’t stop talking until it was time to leave.  It was great!  We thank Meghan Markle for bringing us together because that is what solidified the friendship.  🙂

Me, in Front of Quiet Waters Condominiums

One Last Time

After the Christmas party at Bahama Breeze Gordon and I drove out to the condo to get all my things.  And I do mean, ALL MY THINGS!  We were taking things off the walls, cleaning out the owner’s closet, etc.  The car was full!

You know, I knew that under whatever circumstances that I leave management of the condo that they would be sad.  For example, if my mother sold it, or fired me, or I quit, or it was destroyed by a hurricane.  So, my sadness is expected but overshadowed by how proud that I am of myself.  I’m sure that some day I will miss the condo, but that day isn’t here yet.  What is here is that I’m proud of ME for sticking up for myself, for doing what was right, and not letting my narcissistic mother throw me underneath the bus for the thousandth time.  This is after all, the #MeToo generation.

2018 will be Empowering,

Julie

Oh and p.s., Sometimes I think it’s best to no longer have hope in certain things.  Let them go and quit hoping things will get better because sometimes they never do and your left standing there with useless “hope.”

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January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

This photo, and the photos above, and below, are from our delicious backyard sunset picnic we had last night. 

We wanted to take advantage of the fact that we still had these “structures” in our backyard that we had erected for our big backyard Christmas.  Also, starting this spring we will no longer have a “yard” in this section of our property as we will be extending our lanai outward about 36 feet and placing a pool cage over top of it.  It won’t interfere with any of the retaining walls that Gordon has built.  Once the structure is built Gordon and I want to create a brick or stone path around the area and place alongside our fence a series of tall urns with some sort of tall foliage just so that we can have a bit more privacy.  This structure will increase the value of our home, as well as our outdoor living space.  But don’t worry, we will still have plenty of backyard to enjoy.  Our house may be the smallest in the neighborhood but we have the largest backyard. 

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Our New Year’s Eve Picnic

 

The Centerpiece for our Backyard Sunset Picnic

Our Lovely Table

As the Sun is Setting

 Gordon and I were getting tired of all the typical appetizers that we generally make on New Year’s Eve, so I suggested that why don’t we just get some sort of exotic take out?  Before Christmas we wanted to have our children and their partner’s over to our house for some exotic take out foods but we never had any time.  We poured weeks of work and planning into our big Christmas Day so we ended up not even having time to see anyone prior to Christmas.  So, we never got our pre-Christmas foods that we wanted.  But, we were able to have them last night and there are plenty of leftovers for the coming week which always makes Gordon happy. 

 

Our Beautiful Exotic Table Setting and Meal

My Falafal’s

 I also love any excuse to decorate and bring out our collections.

Bacon Wrapped Dried Figs and Dates

and an old recipe of my mother’s, Hot Olive Cheese Puffs

These are the only foods that we made for this dinner. 

The rest we bought from Al Medina, an Arabic market and restaurant.

Sooooooooo Good!!

 Falafel Platters with Hummas and Flatbread, Gyro Meat and Rice with Pickled Vegetables, Arabic Style Chicken and Rice, More Exotic Breads, Tons of Dipping Sauces, not to mention the desserts…..

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Our Desserts

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This is the best dinner we’ve had in a long time that we didn’t cook ourselves.  🙂

(I’m not saying that to be bragging, I’m simply stating a truth.  We are both very good cooks and our food tastes good.)

Gordon Enjoying the Preview of Apps Before the Meal

Here’s to Hoping that 2018 will be a Good One!

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Mary Keith’s Hot Olive Cheese Puffs

I don’t mind sharing this recipe because they are delicious!!

Hot Olive Cheese Puffs

Oddly enough I found this recipe written on the back of a recipe that I had requested from my mother about 30 year’s ago.  She wrote it thinking that someday I might want to make it.  Well, that day came 30 year’s later. 

They are delicious!  I think it was based on a Cheese Straw recipe because when I made it, it reminded me of making Cheese Straws which incidentally, I will be making in the next few days.

Inside the Hot Olive Cheese Puffs

(They would look nice if they were stuffed olives, wouldn’t they?  Pimientos do come to mind.)  🙂

Ingredients:

(This is my mother’s recipe.  We did veer away from it a bit, but not much.)

1/2 lb. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Grated

1 Medium Jar of Green Olives (stuffed)

1 Cup Plain Flour, Sifted

1 t. Paprika

Dash of Salt

1/4 lb. Margarine

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Our Ingredients:

We used a variety of olives that were already pitted:

Kalamata Olives

We also added Ceyenne Pepper in addition to the Paprika.

Allow cheese and margarine to soften, grate your cheese into a mixing bowl.

Mixing Bowl

Add the Salt, Sift the Flour

Next Comes the Hungarian Paprika…

…but any Paprika will do.

Mix all of the ingredients together well.

The consistency is a very soft dough.

You want to make sure the olives you are using are dry so that the dough will wrap around them easily.

You can add as much or as little of the cheesy dough that you like. 

We Sprinkled with a Little bit of Red Pepper

Place the olive cheese balls onto an ungreased baking sheet on a 400F oven.

Bake for about 15 minutes.

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Dates and Dried Figs

This is yet another favorite of ours except this year we didn’t have time to marinate the dates and figs in Brandy so we just quickly wrapped them in bacon and placed them onto a baking sheet.

400F oven for about 15 minutes or so until the bacon crisps up.

They look a bit black on the bottoms when they are done but that is just the sugar caramelizing.

The figs always plump up nicely. 

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I find it interesting that on New Year’s Eve right before the start of a New Year, 2018, that my photos are mainly of me peeking out around a veiled tent.  I find it very apropos.  I am hesitant to enter into a new year.  I don’t view 2018 as something that will be good for all of us.  There is just too much bad out there.  As an empath I can say this with great certainly.  Finding happiness out there in the world is going to be harder, and harder, and people are becoming meaner, and meaner.   Resentment of those that have, by those that don’t.  Life has been made harder for a lot of people.  Rungs on the ladder have been removed so that many have a harder time climbing, some barely hanging on.  Healthcare and medication will now be out of reach for many.  And if you think that people will have it hard, animals will have it worse.  My charity will go toward animal organizations, PETA, The Humane Society, ASPCA…..

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And when I see someone on the street begging I will hand them cash. 

As an empath I know which ones are sincere and in need of real help.

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 But I will say this, I am tired of people telling me that because I have life better than a lot of people that I don’t have any right to complain about the problems that I do have.  And, what I have to say to those people is that, “There will always be people out there that are worse off than me.  But to tell me that because of that, I have no right to complain, ever, is ridiculous.  I feel very sorry for those that are suffering and I do help out when I can, but those were the problems that THEY were given.  And I will concern myself with the problems that I was given.

I will always appreciate the good that I encounter and even find joy in the small day to day gifts that most people don’t recognize.  My wish that for all of us to be O.K..  I think wanting more than that at this time is too ambitious.  I have a lot to look forward to in 2018 and I will share that with you.  But for now let’s just all try and be the best person that we can, be nice to each other, care about those that no one cares about.  A kind word can go so far.  So, having said that…..  Happy New Year!”

 Julie

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Our Backyard Christmas

Alice in Wonderland, and Pirates of the Caribbean

With a bit of Beauty and the Beast thrown In.

I think most everyone is getting a bit tired of my adoration for Alice in Wonderland but I don’t really care.  🙂

Drink Me!

To me, and people like me, and that does include Tim Burton, we find the story fascinating.  Otherwise he would not have made two movies about her.  It’s the story of a girl who knows of a world that no one else does.  A world filled with interesting characters.  A world that she cannot really talk about with anyone for fear of being committed into a mental institution.  I suppose as an empath I can relate to that.  People like me have been put into mental institutions for centuries, just because we can see things that most people can’t, somehow makes us “crazy?”  Well, I say it makes us “special.”  And not “special” in a condescending way, but “special” in a unique way.  I do love the story and the characters, I also love incorporating them into my life in one way or another.  Especially around the holidays, and I did!

I do hope that your Christmas was Grand!

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Christmas Eve

Our Alice in Wonderland Christmas Tree

Hatter’s Hat on Top

Alice Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

I was shopping around Home Depot when I saw this tree on display as the only one left.  I asked a manager if I could purchase it?  I was told that I could purchase it “as is” and that I would not be able to return it if there was a problem.  I then countered their offer with a “then give it to me with a big discount if I am to buy it “as is,” and they did!

As I was decorating the tree I got the idea to make it as if Alice were ‘falling down the rabbit hole.’  I had all this leftover doll furniture that I had previously bought at the Dollar Store for various projects so as I was creating this tree, I ran inside and found the furniture and then went to work creating.  I never know how anything is going to end up looking.  It just always evolves as I go.

Our Backyard Alice in Wonderland Section

This is a permanent section in our backyard.  Our dog Sugar is buried here, Monk will follow when it’s his time.  It’s fun, it’s playful, and it means something to me.  When I look at it, I smile.  🙂

 To me, this is Magical!

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Painting the Roses Red

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Gordon’s Backyard Retaining Wall

Gordon and his Retaining Wall

Finishing the retaining wall was an important part in getting ready for our backyard Christmas.

Here we are celebrating with our Limoncello and Pomegranate Cocktails

Happiest of Holidays

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Me, and My Alice in Wonderland Tree Christmas Morning

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Having a Quiet Moment Before the Guests Arrive

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Our Pirates of the Caribbean Backyard Christmas

I seriously never thought I would ever say that.  But I just did.  And it was wonderful!

Gordon Erecting Our Pirates Lair

As with all my projects, they evolve with time.  It was as we were creating our Alice in Wonderland Christmas that I got the idea to have a place for the guys to hang out.  Something fun, rustic, and something they all knew about and loved, hence, our Pirates of the Caribbean.  It is after all, one of the most popular rides at Disney World. 

I also wanted Gordon to incorporate our backyard palm leaves and bamboo into making it a bit more authentic and try and hide those PVC pipes.

I will be writing more about this on our other blog posts but I did want to share some of the photos with you.

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A Few Photos From Christmas

 

Our niece, Vivien, sitting on our nephew, Joseph’s lap, Gordon, obscured by the White Bird of Paradise palm leaf, Brodie in the back, and Jason with the red hair, in front.

(We always make extra food and buy extra gifts just in case some “extra” guests show up.  Never a problem!)

Vivien as Alice

I could not have asked for a more perfect Alice, or a more perfect NIECE!

Sabina and Vivien

L to R:  My baby brother Ben, sister-in-law Sabina, mother Mary Keith, brother Johnny. 

Then, Veronica, me and Vivien.

 Vivien with Joseph

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We ended up repeating a lot of our same foods that we served for our Alice in Wonderland Easter in 2017, and our Pirates of the Caribbean Halloween.  It was just easier that way. 

I have to say that this was the biggest production that Gordon and I had ever done and we did everything ourselves.  It was a lot of hard work and I doubt we will be doing anything like this again anytime soon.  🙂

It’s much more than just making food for everyone to eat, it’s a balance of everything from shopping, cleaning, decorating, creating, wrapping, yard work, building….. AND cooking.  While still going about your daily life of work, errands, dog…..

Before we found out that our Irish family were coming for a visit we had originally intended to try our hand at a Christmas Carol theme.  However, when I found out that Vivien was coming all Christmas Carol plans were put on hold until next year because I finally had my Alice!  🙂

And a Wonderful Alice she is!

 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Julie

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