Julie Blogs

Welcome to Julie’s Blog as part of BareFootInFloridaWithJulie.com 
If you are familiar with our many other pages in this website then you know me and my husband Gordon.  We thank all of our regular reader’s for their support and we welcome any new like minded people to the website.  We appreciate your interest and the time that you devote to us. 

 

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Go at your own pace.  Be the person you were born to be.

For all we know the time we have here is all that we will get.  Speak out even when it is unpopular to do so and quit waiting for others to catch up because they may never. 

When you are on the right side of history you don’t have trouble sleeping at night.  Except when you are going through menopause, but that is another story.

                                                    Julie Lancaster-Whann


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For Current Blog Posts See

Blogging With Julie Continues…..

AND

Blogging With Julie

On The Homepage

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December 15, 2015

Dinner and a Movie

The Food I Love The Most

roasted garlic with peppers and sundried tomatoes feta cheese_small

I am anticipating a lot of feasting in the next couple of weeks so I am trying to eat light until that happens.

This is my favorite kinds of foods to eat anyway so it’s not a problem.

great light dinner_small

Nice bread, good feta, sundried tomatoes in olive oil, roasted garlic and roasted red peppers.

I can eat about 50 garlic cloves in one sitting.  I just make sure that I don’t leave the house the next day.  It’s healthy for us but it does eek out of every pore and people KNOW IT!

Above is Dinner, Now for the Movie

Sneakers Movie_small

1992

Excellent Movie, Excellent Cast

AND MY most favorite Christmas Movie

Sneakers Cast_small

But what’s that you say?  Sneakers isn’t a Christmas movie?

Well, I know that but for some reason I love watching it around Christmas.  And I will watch it over and over again because it is one of my most favorite movies of all time and everything they predicted in this movie in 1992 has come true.

I think the reason I love this movie so much around Christmas is because of the party scene here where they are celebrating.  It just looks like Christmas to me.

party scene with Sidney Poitier_small David Strathairn_small

Sidney Poitier and David Strathairn with Mary McDonnell

AND

Dan Ackroyd_small River Phoenix_small

Dan Ackroyd and River Phoenix

Not to mention, the great Robert Redford.  Good company to be in.

Sneakers scene_small

You know Mary McDonnell was pretty much the only lead female in this huge cast of men and she held her own just fine.

Mary Mc Donnell_small She was a cutie_small

She is a cutie!  Here she is with Stephen Tobolowsky.

I love this Chinese restaurant.  Now I am wanting Chinese.

Oh, well.  Have a super-duper day!

Julie

(180 I.Q.)  For those in the know.

p.s.  RIP River Phoenix.

We will never know how far you could have gone in life but I would have liked to have known.

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December 14, 2015

Chef Leilani Wolfenden of Cakes and Ale Restaurant

Australia

Described as:

Gwyneth Paltrow Meets Nigella Lawson

Leilani Wolfenden Cakes and Ale Article Link

We have a friend that is a chef at this restaurant and I wanted to post an article on her as we are very proud of her.

Leilani Wolfenden_small

Chef Leilani Wolfenden

You’d never suspect this was the best place for local seafood on the Mornington Peninsula.

This two-year-old Sorrento cafe morphs from breakfast spot to bistro throughout the day at the rate it takes to get a terracotta tan. The look is Country Living meets Temple and Webster. Gwyneth Paltrow meets Nigella Lawson. It’s copies of Monocle and turquoise walls meets flowing ferns and Mumford and Sons.

The name Cakes and Ale doesn’t help, though it’s not a total red herring. Chef Leilani Wolfenden knows her way around a bag of flour, as evidenced by fat eclairs and fat lacquered pies that sit in squat formation on the counter. At night the choux dough has a little mustard added and becomes gnocchi Parisienne – rich, pan-fried nubbins of golden squish dressed with a rubble of fresh broad beans and broccoli with a white pepper left hook and melty lobes of mild squacquerone cheese.

Cakes and Ale Restaurant atmosphere_small

Polished Affair:  The decor is Country Living Magazine meets Temple and Webster.

But eagle-eyed fish fans will see straight past the charcuterie boards loaded with fiery slips of Spanish salami; beyond the sandy diners demanding caprioscas when they mean caipirinhas (and which the team makes twice to keep them happy despite needing to hand-crush the ice). They see past it all, straight to the St Leonards whitebait, to Bass Strait mackerel, and pickled mussels from Dromana bay.

This shouldn’t be an anomaly in a seaside town but it is. The struggle to land that fish on your plate is a farce. Owners James Langley, who had stakes in St Jude’s Cellars and Panama Dining Room, and Mathew Guthrie, who trod the boards at Libertine and cheese-centric Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder, moved to the bay to get close to quality goods.

They found that their only local fish access would be from the supplier they’d previously used in the CBD, only here they’d have to wait the several extra hours for delivery. Finally, they found they could get the fresh-caught snapper, sardines and mackerel ferried across from Geelong. If new laws come into force in April banning commercial fishing in the bay area, even that could be off the cards.

Leilani food_small

For now, celebrate the good times while you can. Also celebrate that Wolfenden knows how to treat that seafood right.

It might be mackerel, far less funky than you’ve ever seen it, gently poached in olive oil with fennel seeds until buttery soft and rumbled with waxy potatoes and shaved fennel. It’s nicoise, but not as you know it.

You order the pan-fried prawns just for the dregs that remain after you’ve pulled the fat crustaceans from the ramekin, leaving a pool of sweet, prawny butter with whole slices of garlic for sopping up on your cob of bread.

Leilani food 2_small

But most nights, one in three people orders the whole snapper, also treated with the lightest touch – pan-fried with brown butter, delivered with a warmed cheek of lemon, capers and almonds.

It’s fish un-fussed because it needs nothing else. You on the other hand want a picpoul de pinet from the Languedoc or the more ballsy Crittenden Estate fume blanc. It’s a sharp list they like to keep fresh. You can see much the same care on a beer list that veers crafty, though familiar (Two Birds, Prickly Moses). Or how about a caipirinha? I hear they’re all the rage.

Dessert? Eclairs are never a bad idea, unless you’re anti coffee cream. If so, mainline your custard in the form of a strawberry fool with sharp rhubarb poached in bubbles. It’s face in a rose bush floral, stopping short of potpourri.

Leilani food 3_small

This is a polished operation, where everyone’s going to a lot of trouble to deliver good times on the floor and put good things on the plate. Run, don’t walk.

THE LOWDOWN
Pro tip 
Show up early afternoon for a seat in high season

Go-to dish Spencer Gulf prawns in garlic butter, $19
Like this? Bacash is still fighting the local seafood fight. 175 Domain Road, South Yarra

How we score
Of 20 points, 10 are awarded for food, five for service, three for ambiance, two for wow factor.
12 Reasonable 13 Solid and satisfactory 14 Good 15 Very good 16 Seriously good 17 Great 18 Excellent 19 Outstanding 20 The best of the best

  • Cuisine – Seafood
  • Prices – Charcuterie $12-$15, entrees $12-$19, mains $26-$33
  • Features – Accepts bookings, Licensed, Vegetarian friendly, Wheelchair access
  • Chef(s) – Leilani Wolfenden
  • Owners – James Langley, Mathew Guthrie
  • Opening Hours – Daily 11am-11pm
  • Author – Gemima Cody
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Leilani’s mother Trish, has a blog on our website if you would like to check it out:

Trish Wolfenden

(Where do you think Leilani gets her talent from?)

Our Kiwi Friends, Trish, Leilani, Bob and Carl

(We adore this family!  Probably the nicest and most genuine we have ever known.)

Leilani is under strict instructions that if she ever meets Nigella she is to get me her autograph and I would LOVE a photo of her as well.  

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But, Speaking of Nigella…….

Beautiful Nigella_small

I came across this video interview of Nigella from November 9, 2015, being given by a woman named, Gabrielle Hamilton.  I do not know who the interviewer is, nor do I know anything about being a food critic or a chef for that matter, but I was really surprised by this interviewer.  I can only describe this from a  casual viewer point of view but you couldn’t help but notice how this woman seemed to not like Nigella.

She always seemed to have this smug look on her face, using something of a mocking tone and she kept flopping her disheveled hair back and forth, asking the same sort of questions over and over again.

Nigella was very polite, as usual, but in a way I wish she would have been a little bit more outspoken on how the interview was going and the disingenuous direction it was going in. I could only stomach a good 15 minutes of it before I had to leave.  No insult to Nigella.

Nigella interview with Gabrielle Hamilton Link

I can only surmise that being a smug human being is Gabrielle Hamilton’s nature and she was just being herself.  She did seem to complain that she had to look up a few words from Nigella’s book, Simply Nigella, and that seemed to annoy her.  Yes, I know, American’s don’t want to learn anything they just want to be entertained.  So sorry you had to get out the dictionary and learn something before the interview, actually doing homework, you poor thing.

Kudos to Nigella for being herself in the book and not dumbing herself down for some average audience.  Make them come up to you, don’t dumb yourself down for them.

Nigella deserved better and she didn’t get it in this interview.

Good luck to Nigella and Leilani!  We are fans of BOTH!

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December 10, 2015

Now Why Did I get an Easy Bake Oven?

Hmmmm………

now why did I get an Easy Bake Oven_small

Me, Christmas 196?, Rome, Georgia

I came across this old photo of me with a candy cane in my mouth and my Christmas gifts behind me and it dawned on me,

THAT’S  why I got an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas!

Allow me to explain.

I grew up in the south watching all these wonderful women dote on their husbands.  My grandmother, my great-grandmothers, my great-aunt Margie, my mother, family friends, ladies from church……you name it! 

I watched these women wait ‘hand and foot’ on the men while they just sat there in their comfortable chairs smoking their cigars, reading their newspapers, watching a ball game on t.v…..

One Thanksgiving, I believe it was the Thanksgiving before that photo of me above was taken, I had watched the women in my family work for days to make the biggest and best Thanksgiving dinner ever.  The corn bread is made two days before Thanksgiving, a big huge batch of it, and it sits in a bowl all broken up with some aluminum foil covering it, but not all the way so that it can get stale.  That will make the most delicious corn bread dressing you will ever taste.  I would always go into the kitchen and dip my hand into that big bowl of cornbread and grab a little piece to eat.  Unfortunately there was always someone nearby to see me do it and scold me telling me that cornbread is for Thanksgiving dressing.  (But that never stopped me because I would continue to sneak little bites of cornbread up until that dressing was made.  Didn’t matter how stale it got, I think most of us at that time grew up loving cornbread whether it was fresh out of the oven or stale and hard as a rock.)

I can remember that Thanksgiving because after watching the women slave away for days cleaning the house, washing the finest china and crystal, setting the most beautiful table with their finest linens, and then cooking the best Thanksgiving day ever, I saw these women were exhausted.  Once the meal was over with the women’s work wasn’t done.  There was food to put away, a table to dismantle, dishes to wash.  I remember it took the women a good two hours just to clean up all that mess.  I also remember seeing my grandmother collapse into a chair, desperately needing to rest.  It was at that moment that my grandfather turned to my grandmother and said, “Nell, get up and make me a sandwich.”

It was at that moment that the feminist in me stood up and looked at my grandfather and said, “Why don’t you get up and fix your own sandwich granddaddy?”

Once the gasps subsided, you could hear a pin drop, that is before my grandmother lept into action with a strength she didn’t have just one minute prior, grabbing me by the arm and leading me out of the room into Honnie’s bedroom.  I could hear my Great-Aunt Margie saying to my grandmother, “Nell, don’t be hard on her she’s just a little girl.  She doesn’t know any better.”   Once in the bedroom my grandmother scolded me for daring to speak to my grandfather that way.  It’s funny but all the men were laughing about what I said, (my grandfather, great-uncles,), but the women were horrified!  I couldn’t understand why they were so mad at me?  I was only trying to help them.  I was sticking up for them. 

Now looking at that photo above makes sense, now I know why I got an Easy Bake Oven that year for Christmas.

Well, Grandma, Honnie, Aunt Margie, and Grandmother Keith, I think it was at that point when I decided that I would marry a man that cooks.

And  I did!

I also married a man that knows how to clean, iron, fix things, and give great back rubs. 

He also knows how to make his own sandwich, after he cooks a great Thanksgiving dinner most of it by himself.

I’m the luckiest lady in the world and I know it!

I think Gordon was the one that should have gotten the Easy Bake Oven.  

(He did tell me that he played with his sister Heather’s Easy Bake Oven.)

Christmas Memory,

Julie

p.s.  They say that feminists aren’t made, they are born that way.  I agree.  I never turned into my mother or my grandmothers or my great-grandmothers for that matter.  I’ve always just been me, a feminist, born and raised smack dab in the middle of the south.

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December 7, 2015

Making Delicious Cookies

Baking cookies in the nook_small

Having a Christmas Blast Baking Cookies

Christmas in my cookie nook_small

Be sure to check out our:

Delicious Christmas Gifts

cookie making dragees_small

Getting ready for Christmas!

Julie

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December 3, 2015

My Niece Vivien’s Message From Santa

Vivien Santa Picture

It’s really Cute!

Vivien Santa Video Link Click HERE to View

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December 2, 2015

Dragging out the Old Recipes

getting out the recipes_small

Getting ready for holiday cooking and entertaining.  I’m dragging out the old recipes and I’m looking forward to cooking them.  Some old family recipes I haven’t made in decades!

light dinner_small light dinner part 2_small

I think we’re so sick of turkey and turkey salad that we are down to cheese and crackers with mustard and a sweet turkey summer sausage, trying to slim down from all that feasting.

Gordons Naan Bread Pizza_small Just look at all that_small

Gordon’s Naan Bread Pizzas

Gordon does made some excellent naan bread pizzas.  And they are healthy!

Win-Win!!

Julie

p.s.  Oh yeah, another day, another mass shooting in the’ land of the free and the home of the brave.’

Another sad day in America. 

So what else is new?

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November 30, 2015

Yesterday, Sunday

Now that Thanksgiving is officially over with, except for all the leftovers we still have stocked in the frig, it is time to really tackle Christmas head on and this is the big week for me to do that.  But first Gordon and I did some shopping and errands yesterday.

taking turkey salad with us_small Turkey Salad to go_small

Turkey Salad to Go

Still eating that turkey.  But this time I’m taking some to my daughter and her boyfriend for their lunches.  Gordon and I also took over several Christmas lights and decorations that we no longer wanted or needed.  It feels so good to get rid of some things.  This is their first Christmas in their new home and money is tight when you are new home owner’s and on a budget so we’re just happy to help.

I always take food with me wherever I go so that I am not dependent on whatever is out there.  I also tend to eat really light for lunch.  Lunch to me is very casual and I tend to eat it standing up.  Just a quick bite.

eating turkey salad_small lunch at Veronicas_small

At Veronica’s

Oh, someone asked me for my turkey salad recipe and I cannot begin to give you any measurements as I just throw it all together but it includes:

Turkey Salad

(and my chicken salad for that matter)

Chop Everything:

turkey

onions

celery

pickle relish

hard boiled eggs

Then add your:

ground black pepper

mayo

yellow mustard

Tabasco sauce (a few dashes)

pickle juice to sweeten

Most of the time I prefer eating it on really nice crackers instead of making a sandwich out of it.

Turkey crackers_small

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Brian and Veronica’s Betta Fish

Brians betta fish_small

Veronica and Brian also have some betta fish that are so beautiful.  I couldn’t take my eyes off them.

beautiful betta_small Veronica and Brians betta fish_small

The betta males are the beautiful ones.  The female’s are quite plain.  You do have to keep the males separate though, it stresses them out to be around other males.  We have Tasso, he’s our betta if you would like to check out his blog.  

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Veronica and Brian’s Gold Fish

fish at Veronicas_small

And if you haven’t noticed we are fish people.  Being around such a soothing and calm environment is good for your blood pressure, your stress level and just makes us happy.

They are also the easiest of all the pets.

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Now that the visit with Veronica and our Grand-Fish has ended it’s time to go shopping!

guess what i bought_small

Look What I found at Home Depot!!!

Cinderellas carriage_small

Cinderella Christmas 2.0 Here I Come!

Look Out World!

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So after breaking the bank at Tuesday Morning, Home Depot, Lowes, and Walgreens, it’s time for the Latino’s Supermarket shopping and some take home dinner.

Latino's Supermarket_small

I’m in here to get my spices for the holiday’s.

buying my spices_small

And to get the best dinner around town from the cafeteria.

avacado salad_small this is pretty don't know what it is though_small

All the food is so beautiful!

The avocado  salad on the left is the best you will ever eat.

my chicken and rice_small the fried plantains_small

I got the chicken and rice at left and Gordon and I bought two pounds of fried plantains for something that I will be making soon.  I’m very excited about it too.

take out at home_small Julies take out from the market_small

Don’t forget the yucca and black beans.

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Now it’s time to slip into something a little more comfortable…………

decorating the high places_small now where do i put these_small

and do some decorating for Christmas.

trying to decide if I like it_small

I’m still trying to decide if I like that there.

I just don’t know….

Julie

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November 29, 2015

Happy Birthday Brodie

Baby Brodie in Tennessee_small

(Brodie playing in a creek in Tennessee.)

After the longest labor in the history of the world I gave birth to the cutest little trouble maker in Hawaii.

Brodie and his friend with gecko_small

He and his friends were always catching geckos, climbing plumeria trees, and playing in mud puddles.  Brodie also scaled our 4 1/2 foot backyard fence one day at age two, while I went inside putting a load of laundry into the dryer.  When I came outside he was gone!  After tearfully gathering up some neighbors to help me find him and calling the base police for help as well.  All of a sudden I see this little figure of a boy skipping merrily down the side of the road a  good distance away.  It was him!  It’s amazing how you can go from grief and panic to joy and happiness in the snap of a finger.

Brodie on floating dock_small

Brodie on the Intracoastal Waterway in Indian Shores on a floating dock.  It washed ashore after a hurricane and Brodie was playing on it.

Brodie Condo Hurricane Frances_small

At the beach condo during Hurricane Francis me, Veronica and Brodie saved the condo when the hurricane blew in the window.  We grabbed the skim board, the boogie boards, and the ironing board and kept the window in place so that it didn’t blow in and shatter.  Had we not been there the condo would have been ruined.

We could see wood flying off the building across the street from us and whizzing past our windows.  Lots of close calls that day.

This is beach living.  For every gift there is a curse.  But we wouldn’t trade it for anything.  

Happy Birthday Brodie_small

So happy birthday Brodie!

Love you,

Mom and Dad

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Thanksgiving Leftovers

It is said that the reason we all gain weight around the holidays is because of all the leftovers that we eat.  Just eating one large meal is not going to cause very much difference in our weight, but eating one large meal after the other for days will.  So we tend to turn our leftovers into a lighter fare.  For example, my turkey salad.

delicious turkey salad_small

Delicious Turkey Salad

Instead of doing a lot of chopping by hand I like to put everything in the food processor so that it will be chopped very fine.  However, when I went to drag out my food processor I couldn’t find it.  That’s when I remembered that I had thrown it away last year because it was old and had cracked.  So I dragged out this teeny little chopper instead.

teeny little mixer_small chopping the eggs_small

My half sisters and their mother gave this to me years ago and it ended up saving the day.

chopping the chicken_small making my turkey salad_small

I wanted to turn this turkey salad into more of a spread so that it would go nicely on crackers as well as bread for a sandwich.

pickle relish_small

I do use pickle relish but it still needs more sweet than that.

I am told that I make some of the best salads.  The secret ingredient for any salad in the south is pickle juice.  Our Great-Great-Grandmother’s used it, our Great-Grandmother’s used it, our Grandmother’s used it, our parents used it, I use it and I’ve passed the tradition down to my own daughter and son.

So whether you are making chicken salad, turkey salad, egg salad, deviled eggs, ham salad, potato salad and even tuna salad, always sweeten with a good flavored pickle juice.  I must have used half a jar in this batch.

MY special ingredient is Tabasco, that I put in all my salads.

Julie

 

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November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Day

Waiting for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade to start but first I wanted to share with you my secret banana pudding trifle recipe.

Julie Banana Pudding_small

Shhhhhhh……….

Be sure to check out our:

Beachy Thanksgiving

Have a great turkey day!

Thanksgiving morning moonset_small

(The beautiful moon I woke up to on Thanksgiving morning.)

Gobble, Gobble,

Julie

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November 23, 2015

sunny chandelier_small

I finished with my sea shell chandelier and just in time for our ‘Beachy Thanksgiving’.

It took me a few days to complete it.  I really do love the results and I’ll be bringing the write up to our ‘Beachy Crafts’ post soon.  I do realize that we have lots of “UNDER CONSTRUCTION” pages on our website but we don’t have a staff that works for us and we do what we can, when we can.  But we do appreciate your patience.

But here is a sneak peak into our ‘Beachy Thanksgiving’ that we shot over the weekend.

Gordon beachy Thanksgiving_small pumpkin cocktail_small Julie BTat the condo_small

Our Beachy Thanksgiving

Two things we love a great deal, Thanksgiving and the Beach.

(With a pumpkin martini in the middle.)

Beachy Thanksgiving Table_small

It couldn’t have been more beautiful!

Great food and an ocean view with a cool tropical breeze .

We did put a tropical twist on the food with great recipes that we can’t wait to bring to you.

If I don’t blog before Thanksgiving then I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.  We enjoyed celebrating here in Indian Shores, first settled by the Seminole Indians.  Gordon’s heritage is Delaware Indian.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Julie

p.s.  You know the real meaning of Thanksgiving is about coexisting together.  Something we all need to work on.

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November 20, 2015

Current Project

Sea Shell Chandelier

J C 3_small

I haven’t worked on a craft project in awhile and I had forgotten how much fun they are.

Here I am gluing seashells onto an old light fixture.  First I did spray paint the light fixture from that guady gold to a subtle white and with using lots of hot glue I proceeded to attach the shells all around, making it a one-of-a-kind light fixture.

Chandelier supplies_small

My Supplies

chandelier in progress_small CIP2_small

Julie Chandelier_small

Gathering my seashells for the project.

my seashell roses_small rose chest_small

I love to make roses out of the jingle bell seashells and fashion them into a rose.  Then adding a pearl bead to the center.  Here is a treasure box that I made a few years ago.  I wanted you to see the roses as I have glued them all around my seashells chandelier.

I’ll bring you the finished results soon.

Julie

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November 14, 2015

Jesuis France

Jean Jullien peace symbol_small

By Artist Jean Jillien

I am so sad.  France is one of my top countries that view my website.  This really is a small world.

Peace and Love,

Julie

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November 11, 2015

Happy Veteran’s Day to my Special Vet, Gordon!

He pretty much hit every Veteran’s Day freebie out there today.

That’s my guy!!

Gordon with his food_small

Also, I wanted to make something of a retraction of what I wrote about Nigella Lawson the other day.  It wasn’t anything bad but I do wonder if I wasn’t a bit hard on her.

I pretty much criticized her for making a change in her latest cookbook and her personal appearance.  I really shouldn’t have done that.  There is nothing wrong with change and I shouldn’t criticize her for that.  There is nothing wrong with changing with the times and moving on to something new.

Nigella with her books_small

Nigella with her Books

This to me is heaven!  Look at all these books!!  I love it!

Nigella is a very strong and independent woman that is a good example for all of us.  I do wish her the best and I hope we can find her new t.v. cooking series on the tube, or at least on some DVD that I have to order from Australia.

Either way, good luck Nigella!

Julie

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November 10, 2015

Photos From Ireland

Sabina and Vivien Halloween_small

Sabina and Vivien in Ireland

Halloween 2015

My niece Vivien as Cinderella for Halloween.

(I sent her the dress.)  

Lola and Vivien Halloween_small

My nieces Lola and Vivien

(I sent Lola that dress as well.)

I do love to spoil my nieces as I don’t get to see them that often.  

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And Happy 4th. Birthday to Vivien!

Vivien birthday number 4_small

Sabina made the cake.

She makes wonderful cakes and I will be bringing those soon to the website.

Julie

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November 8, 2015

Simply Nigella?

https://www.facebook.com/Simply-Nigella-Feel-Good-Food-1528877024023162/

Simply Nigella has arrived_small

My copy has arrived!

I have been a fan of Nigella Lawson’s for a very long time.  Ever since I first saw her on the Style Network when we were living in Maryland over a decade ago.  Actually, she grew on me.  I have written about her in the past and I am always ready to buy any new book that she has coming out and I’m always ready to watch any new t.v. cooking series that she debuts as well, as long as I can find it on the t.v. or DVD/Bluray.   My Kiwi friend Trish who lives in New Zealand just sent me her latest copy of The Australian Women’s Weekly, New Zealand Edition, with Nigella on the cover talking about her new book, Simply Nigella.  She also seems to appear quite regularly in their magazines as she is very popular down under.  But I have to say that I was a bit surprised with this new cookbook, Simply Nigella.  First of all, I don’t think there has ever been anything “simple” about Nigella, that is one reason I always liked her.  She was fancy, she was fantasy, she was glamour and beauty and she brought a sparkle to everything that she did.  that really is a gift, though unacknowledged and  unappreciated at times.  I like those kinds of people that just have that touch and can brighten a room simply by entering it, or set a table and make it look special with just a few touches here and there, or someone that is just so animated that you can’t take your eyes off of them.  Those kinds of people make the world a beautiful place.  Nigella has always been, to me, one of those people.

Nigella that I know and love_small

Exhibit A

http://www.nigella.com/

Born into a family of wealth and privilege.  Nigella’s father,  Nigel Lawson the former British Chancellor of the Exchequer, , was right hand man to Margret Thatcher during her reign.  Nigella even has the title of Honorable, I believe, bestowed upon her, although she does not use it.  Her mother was Vanessa (née Salmon) Lawson, whose family owned the J. Lyons and Co. food and catering business, who unfortunately died when she was only 47 to liver cancer.  A great beauty herself.

I have followed Nigella’s career since I first discovered her.  She’s not just beautiful and talented.  She is intelligent and a savvy business woman with a very impressive educational and working background.  It would take a very long time for me to list her accomplishments so I will skip that.  Besides, I do think that most everyone has at least heard her name before and is familiar with her.  Although she has not really taken off here in America in the same way that she has in other parts of the world.  I happen to think that most Americans are intimidated by her and prefer someone along the lines of a Rachel Ray, someone who seems a bit more approachable.  I feel sorry for those that are not in to her because you are missing out on some excellent food.  We have incorporated many of Nigella’s recipes into our lives, especially around Christmas.  Thank you Nigella for introducing us to ‘Drunken Devil’s on Horseback’.  They are a Christmas staple for us now.  Not to mention the many other recipes that we have discovered in your cookbooks.

But in reading through this cookbook, it is very different from the Nigella that I have come to know and admire.  I knew this would be different when I first saw this photo on her Facebook page.  I mean really?  Nigella in a button down, what looks like a flannel shirt?

Nigella in flannel shirt_small

  I don’t think so!

There is also this photo of Nigella standing in front of a pile of wood.

Nigella looking for a critter to cook_small

It looks as if Nigella has been dropped off into some forest and left to fend for herself with her little pot.  Searching for some critter to cook for dinner.  What is that line from the movie Dirty Dancing where Patrick Swayze says about Jennifer Grey’s character, Baby?  “No one puts Baby in the corner?”  Well, no one puts Nigella in the forest!

When I first learned of the title, ‘Simply Nigella’, and saw what she was wearing in the photo, I assumed that these recipes would be “simple”.  Simple kinds of food, as in very plain food.  But when I received the new cookbook in the mail, it seems that the ingredients are what is “simple”.   She does use a lot of vegetables.  There are several Asian recipes as well.  This does look like it is something of a “health food book”.  Which I think is a very welcome format from someone that does not apologize for gluttony and in fact usually condones and encourages it.  In this age of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, I think a bit of restraint is in order and should be encouraged.  In the age of cancer fat does act as an incubator for cancer.

Simply Nigella at the condo_small

I spent the weekend at the condo and took Simply Nigella to read.

I enjoyed it very much.

I do think that celebrities that promote their products do have some responsibility to educate their audience and not just take their money.  When you promote unhealthy or over eating then you do your audience a disservice.  They look to you for guidance and they follow you because they have come to respect and admire you.  Not everyone can be a leader.  That’s why there are so many followers.

I do hope the cooking that Nigella does in the future will promote less excess and more restraint.  We are living in an age of cancer and there is not anyone that knows that better than Nigella.  She lost her mother to cancer, her sister to cancer and her first husband to cancer.  The World Health Organization has just declared red meat as a cancer causer.  I haven’t eaten red meat in 25 years.  I say that with pride!

When you are ahead on the issues then you are ahead.  But when you are behind, then you get left behind.

Ignorance isn’t bliss, in this day and age it can get you killed.

This cookbook of NIgella’s was a very toned down Nigella.  I do wonder why?  She has been through quite a lot over the last couple of years.  Our life experiences do make us the way we are.  She had a very public and messy divorce from her second husband.  He was obviously very abusive towards her judging by the photos that made the papers around the world, and I am happy for her that she is rid of him and has gone on to better things.  She is a great talent that I hope will go on indefinitely.  Which reminds me, I was a great admirer of the late Princess Diana and I miss her to this day.  I woke up very early in the morning on her wedding day July 29, 1981 to watch her walk down the aisle.  I was at King’s College in Charlotte, N.C. on the dorm of the 3rd. floor at the time and luckily for me my roommate Bunny had a t.v.  I was able to watch the wedding before I had to get ready to go to classes that day.  Diana and I were the same age.  I own every book ever written about her, every magazine article, every souvenir calendar, not to mention countless serving trays, dolls, coins, etc. etc. etc……..

But one reason that I was so sad to lose her was because she could have taken all of us into our 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s with style and grace, making seniors for lack of a better word, cool.  I wanted her around for selfish reasons and I miss her to this day.  I even gave my daughter, Veronica, a middle name of Diana.  Actually, Veronica is also one of her middle names as well.  However, my point being, perhaps Nigella can take us all into our later years with good health, grace and style.  There is only one thing more that I wish from her.  I wish that she had some sort of charity, a foundation that helped people, educated people, something that has to do with food that fights cancer.  I admire those people the most that give back.  People like George Clooney, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, LeBron James, Nicole Curtis, even Jane Seymour’s Open Hearts Foundation.  Christie Brinkley is very charitable as well.  But judging by the amount of money that Nigella paid her assistant’s, that came out during their trial a few years ago, she spends more on flowers than she does on her employee’s.  The thing is their salary was probably the going rate in Nigella’s kinds of social circles but that doesn’t mean that you have to go along with it.  I believe in spreading the wealth around if I am making millions then the people around me are going to benefit as well.

I do wish Nigella the best and I look forward to many cookbooks in the future.

I will always be a fan!

Julie

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November 6, 2015

Flashback Friday

Julie age 21 Grandma house_small

Me, age 21 at my Grandma Nellie Mae’s house.

I was looking for some old Christmas photos when I came across the photo at top.  I remember taking those test head shots.  I needed to have some photos to leave at prospective modeling jobs and I had my grandmother take them with her Polaroid camera.

So as I was looking for Christmas photos I came across this one as well.

Julie age 3 bathtub_small

Julie age 3.

I do remember those bathtub shampoo hair-doo’s.

Have a super-duper weekend!

Julie

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Darrin and Samantha 1_small

Gordon and Julie as,

Darrin and Samantha Stevens

Bewitched!

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Everyone getting ready for Halloween?

I sure hope so!

Oh, and be nice to those older looking trick-or-treaters!

They may be poor and your treat will be their only treat for the month.

Everyone is welcome at our door!

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November 1, 2015

(Dia de los Muertos)

Did everyone have a nice Halloween?

Brodie the pirate_small

Brodie on his way out to the door to a Halloween party.

Halloween night dinner_small chicken sausage hogs_small

Light supper for All Hallow’s Eve

Broccoli dip with corn chips and chicken apple sausage hogs with spicy mustard.

Julie Halloween candy_small Julie answering the door_small

Trick or Treat!

Julie

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October 29, 2015

Julie and the Mummy_small

Me with Anck-su-namum

(You know, the hot corps from The Mummy)

Mummy 11_small

Patricia Vasquez as Anck-su-namun in The Mummy

Can’t wait for Halloween!

Julie

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October 27, 2015

Guess who I am going as this year for Halloween?

Julie Halloween Selfie_small

Alrighty, I’ll give you a hint….

The Mummy_small

I’m going as Evy from The Mummy

Can’t wait to do the write up!

Happy Halloween,

Julie

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October 23, 2015

Note to Benghazi Committee:

You can’t take on one of the smartest politicians of all time and expect to win.

CRAZCOM_small

You just got something handed to you.

Hillary for the win_small

After 11 hours of testimony a triumphant Hillary!

Now I want to vote for Hillary, and here I was a Bernie fan.

Thanks Benghazi Committee!

Bernie Sanders_small

Bernie Sanders

Actually, I don’t care which one is the nominee now.

Julie

p.s.  Bill Clinton is the smartest man (I.Q.) to ever hold the office of the Presidency.  (At least as long as we have been recording I.Q.’s.)

However, Hillary is smarter than Bill.  They met in college and he was so impressed with how smart she was that he would stare at her all the time.  Finally one day while they were both in the library Hillary noticed that he kept starting at her so she walked over and introduced herself.  I believe she said something like this, ‘If you are going to stare at me and I am going to stare back then I might as well introduce myself.  Hello, my name is Hillary.’

The rest is a political love story that is still to be written.

Good luck Hillary!

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October 13, 2015

I am awaiting the first Democratic Debate in Nevada and I am just going over some things on my website and I thought that I might do a bit of blogging while I wait for my candidates to arrive.  To be honest I am torn between Bernie and Hillary.  But whoever the candidate ends up being I will support them because the representative that helps the lowest common denominator will help all of us above that line.  If you vote for the candidate that does for the poorest then you will be o.k.  Your family will be o.k., your loved ones will be o.k., your neighbors will be o.k.  But if you vote for the candidate that only does for the rich, then no one will be o.k.

   It’s really that simple.

Why vote to make our lives harder?  Isn’t life hard enough?

I can’t tell you who to support, but think about the overall picture and not just your personal agenda.  I vote for the candidate that will help everyone and not just the candidate that will help me.  I am just a teeny bit better off than a lot of people and I vote to help the lesser.  I don’t mind paying a higher price if I know that all of us will be o.k.

You know our governor, Rick Scott, decided to drug test everyone in the state of Florida on food stamps.  It cost us tax payers millions of dollars to do that and they only found 5 people.  5 people!  Is it really worth spending millions to save hundreds?  There will always be some bad apples.  There will always be someone that will try and abuse the system, that is life.  But should we turn our backs on everyone just because there will be 5 people that will take advantage of everything?  I don’t think so.  And I hope that you don’t either.

Think before you vote and vote smart.

You know, Gordon and I were on food stamps for 6 months when we lived in Hawaii in the mid 80’s.  Our daughter Veronica was on the WIC program for 5 years of her life.  the Government of Hawaii helped us when we needed help and we appreciated that.  So I am not opposed to any government organizations helping those that need help.  Neither should you.  Who knows?  Maybe someone you love may need that help some day?

Julie

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October 9, 2015

What a Week!

I am enclosing some photos of our house and front yard that I took yesterday.

The blue tarp shame_small

All that is missing is a car jacked up on cement blocks.

We have a blue tarp draped over our roof and is being held in place with sand bags.   About a month ago Gordon bought this weed killer product at Home Depot that killed our entire front yard, or at least most of it.   So now our front yard looks like hay.   Luckily for us the company that owns the product is going to buy us a brand new front lawn, or so they say.  We are in the process of getting the 3 estimates that they require and then submitting them.   We’ve had tons of rain this summer which has damaged our roof beyond what Gordon and I had feared.

oh the horror_small

We did know that we had some leaks from all of this rain but we are discovering that we also have hidden rot as well as water damage and the roof leakage is causing water to come into our dining room window so when we had the insurance inspector come out to our house yesterday to inspect it he considered it quite urgent and tarped the roof and called in his squad to install a humidifier and it is pumping water from our dining room through a hose and into our sink in our laundry room right now.  That damn thing is so loud!!  It will need to run for a few days.  They did come back this morning to inspect it and make sure that it is running properly.

the lawn mower humidifier_small

The noise is so great that it’s like having a lawn mower running inside your house.  Yes, that’s right!  I can’t even hear the phone when it rings.   I have the t.v. on but I have no Earthly reason why because I can’t hear it.

The people associated with all of this have been really wonderful to work with.  The nicest and most polite people.  Gordon and I have really appreciated all of them for their hard work.  I also love it that they are the only people that show up when they say they will.  As in ON TIME!  Never a minute late.

  I think I may just actually love these people.  

So where do things stand with our home?  I’ll keep you posted but it looks as if we will be getting quite a bit of work done to our roof, attic,  dining room, kitchen, breakfast nook and even the living room.  But until then we have that loud humidifier to keep us company.

Oh, and not to worry, I have EVERYTHING under control as usual with my take-charge personality.

the only way to handle it_small

  Did I mention that Chile makes an excellent Merlot?

Also, did you know that important notes that you take make great coasters for wine and other spirits?

(All this work and noise just might interfere with the start up of my little Ebay business but there is always next year.

No biggie!)

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However,

To those that do not respect my

NO SOLICITING

sign on my front door:

(Which is most everyone.)

Take heed.

When we first bought our home and moved in 9 years ago most of our neighbors used the same yard service to cut their grass.  We didn’t however because at the time we had a teenage son living with us and that is what teenage sons are for, mowing the lawn.  But every single Friday when the certain lawn service was here to cut everyone’s grass they would always come to our door and knock on it trying to get us into their business.  I politely listened to their speil (the first few times) and then I told them that I have a teenage son that mows our yard and therefor I don’t need to hire them.  This back and forth went on for a good couple of years with me getting a least a knock or two every few months trying to get us into their neighborhood family circle.

But in addition to the lawn mowing service bothering us we would also get knocks on our door from the neighborhood toxic chemicals company that sprays certain yards with cancer causing carcinogens, but hey, at least the lawns are beautiful!!  That’s really all that matters, isn’t it?  A green lawn?

I am not going to name the company, but we don’t use those services because we care about our health and our pets health.  After all dogs that come in contact with those chemicals are getting cancer of the mouth.  Children who play on those lawns are getting cancer as well.  We have fruit trees in our backyard and an herb garden.  We don’t want those chemicals in the soil and thus coming up through our plants where we will then ingest them.  So I have not been very happy to see a certain company that our neighbor employs spraying a wide range of those toxins onto our yard as well as theirs.  So when I got a knock on my door a few days ago from that company’s toxic chemical employee trying to recruit us into their business, well, let’s just say he got an earful.

My anger is not just directed at lawn mowing services or chemical lawn services, it is directed at anyone who knocks on my door to sell me something.

(With the exception of Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts or local school fundraisers.  We as a community should always support those kinds of organizations.)

 I do have a sign that specifically says, ‘No Soliciting’.  That should be clear, right?  There are also signs before you even enter our sub-division that read, ‘No Soliciting.’   Again, that should be clear as well, correct?

When someone knocks on my door and sees the sign but yet they knock anyway then they have absolutely no respect for me or my family.  That is what that means.  In which case I will never do business with them anyway.  Who wants to be associated with someone that has no respect for you, right?

Bottom line.  This is my home, my sanctuary, this is also the one place in the world that I should not have to come in contact with the local salespeople.  So if someone is going to be stupid enough to knock on my door to try and sell me something then be warned, you will not be welcomed with politeness and you will get exactly what you deserve.

(Just ask the guy from T_ _- _ _een.)

Julie

 

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September 14, 2015

What We’re Up To Next

 Julie Shoppe Close Up_small

Now that the website has been debuted we are still working out the glitches.  There are a lot of them.  But if we wait until this website is perfect then we will never get it out there.  This has been a very busy summer for us building this website and transferring the content from the old site to this one piece by piece but we picked the perfect summer to do it.  We have had nothing but RAIN since June.    Since our debut we have been hacked twice and attacked once.  (I don’t know the difference but our web hosting company does.)  The “gremlins” have certainly been busy.  Who knew that little ol’ us were so important?

Since the debut of this new website we have had two comments.  The first one from a woman named Mary in Ireland who wrote on Grillin’ With Gordon about how lazy that we are and alluding to the fact that this was all the same boring material and that if we can’t blog everyday then we need to get off the internet.  We don’t know whether she was commenting on Gordon’s grilling skills in which case, who knew Ireland was so versed in outdoor grilling?  Or she just chose the Grillin’ page to voice her objections to us.  So allow me,

we are AMATEUR’S!

We have regular lives with work, paying bills, doing yard work, errands, shopping, washing dishes, cooking, cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry……….

Now if Mary would like to support us , (we do have a Paypal Donations Button on the Homepage) I could blog everyday for you.

But after over two months of trying to put this site together to the best of our AMATEUR abilities, we need a mental break and I will be telling you all about that soon.

However, once that little break is over then I will be having the grand opening of:

JDITJ 2_smallJDITJ_small

coffee and eclairs_small

Julie Diamond in the Junq Shoppe

Julie and Sugar_small

So sit back and join me and Sugar with a cup of coffee and an eclair while you do some shopping with us.

Here is a preview of some of the clothing that will be in my shoppe.

AT pantsuit_small LK Dress_small dress amd skirt outfit_small

Ann Taylor, Laurence Kazar, Liz Claiborne

and many, many more….

channeling Marilyn_small

Trying to channel Marilyn in a vintage bridesmaid dress.

(The bodice could have fit about 5 of me inside of it.  Must have belonged to Barbie.)

Thank you to all of our readers, even you Mary.  

Julie

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 September 8, 2015

The Debut of our New Website Format

I started this website 4 years ago.

  I remember waking up early on May 26, 2011 and as I was lying in bed the idea came to me.  I know!  I’m going to start a website!  I could literally see before me the entire format of how I wanted it to be.  I could visualize the whole thing.  I was excited!  But one problem, just how do you start a website?  So I got up out of bed, dashed to the computer, Googled ‘How do you start a website?’, and within 10 minutes I had one!  My very own domain name.  I first wanted to name our website BareFootInFlorida, but it was already taken.  So I tried a few other variations but they were taken too.  So I realized that if I personalized it then whatever I want will probably be available.  So BareFootInFloridaWithJulie was born.  Then 20 minutes later when Gordon woke up and walked into the room I told him, “Guess what?  We have our own website!  Cool, huh?”  I don’t remember exactly what he said but it was something to the tune of, ‘Why do we need a website?’  I replied, “Because I want one!”  So being the good husband that he is he said, “O.k. then.”

I decided to launch our website on our daughter’s birthday, which was July 6, 2011.  Seemed like a nice idea at the time, although I now wish I hadn’t because every July 6, we do two birthday cakes.

Veronica the Artist

So for 4 years we had the old format of a website that just didn’t work anymore.  We had been hacked so many times by a former (EX-FRIEND) of Gordon’s who is in the business, and a few other man-children that just had no life or a girlfriend, (or boyfriend.)

 Our old website was distorted in areas and as much as I tried to work on it I just could never get it back to what it was when we first created it. It also endured a “migration” from one web hosting company to another. Finally after 4 years I told Gordon that we need a new website. Something more interactive, modern and just a better concept for us. So we shopped around looking at templates. We realized that because we do feature so many topics on our website that a newspaper or magazine format would be best for us. That is when we found this one.

All the stars were aligned in order for us to make this change. I knew that I could not do this alone. Gordon had finished with his school so finally there was no more studying and he had the time to help me. So we got to work 2 months ago and started building this website. The funny thing is that this website template doesn’t come with any instructions. We chose this template and all that was on this template was a few boxes. Really! We asked our web hosting company if they could help us to set it up? All they would tell us is to hire a web designer. That would have cost us $1,500.00 to hire someone to help us. So we contacted the creator of the template that we had downloaded from our web hosting company but he wanted $250.00 for the instructions. Because we had downloaded the free version that meant that we didn’t qualify for any (Good) instructions. So Gordon and I hit the forums trying to learn how to build it from anyone willing to help us. We did get some helpful instructions from some people but most just wanted money. You see, there is code for everything on the template. There is a code for the colored bars on the side of the page. There is another code for the bar at the top, there is a code for the background as well.

  Codes, codes, codes…..

Finally we are ready to debut it and are just waiting on our web hosting company to replace this new site with the old one.  Granted, we still have content to bring over from the old site to this new one, but if we wait until everything is perfect then it will take us a good 6 months.  So we decided to debut it anyway and work on it as we go.

We hope that you will enjoy it.  We are amateur’s and our website is of our lives.  We are real people who live on a budget but do the best that we can to live our lives to the fullest while we are here.

We appreciate all of our reader’s and welcome you every day that you take the time out of your busy lives to read our website.

 Photo at right is one of my first blog photos.  I am blogging at the condo out in Indian Shores.

Thank you very much,

Julie

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July 6, 2015

Happy Birthday BarefootInFloridaWithJulie

We are 4 years old today!

I started the website 4 years ago today and after many posts and pages we literally outgrew our old website and decided to try a new format.  So we are starting off year 4 with a new look and hopefully a better website than we had before.

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Champagne By the Fountain

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Thank you to everyone that has supported us over the years.  We appreciate you very much!

Love,

Julie

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July 6, 2015

Happy Birthday, Veronica

Above, Gordon and I are pregnant with Veronica 1987

Pearl City, Hawaii

She is 28 Today!

When Veronica was born Gordon was on a ship in the Persian Gulf.  The U.S.S. Stark had just been hit and the U.S.S. Worden was the more northern ship so they took the Stark’s place.  Coincidentally when Gordon and I were in Tarpon Springs on the sponge docks in June waiting for our take out gyro’s to cook, we noticed a couple that were trying to take a selfie of themselves in front of one of the sponge boats so Gordon walked over and asked if he would like for him to take the photo? The couple were a son and his mother.  I also offered to take some photos of them and email them to him because I happen to have this great camera.  So we exchanged email addresses, I took a few photos, and that was when Gordon and him got to talking and discovered that he was on the Stark when it was hit.  The second missile was a dud and as he said, “If it weren’t a dud I wouldn’t even be here right now.”

It was so nice meeting the two of them.  Brought back a lot of memories of military life in Hawaii.

While Gordon was deployed I gave birth to Veronica by myself.  My grandmother and my little brothers and my mother did fly over to be with me but it was just me in the delivery room and then the operating room.

The mobile in back of me was origami that Gordon made for her before he left on deployment.  He didn’t get to see her until she was 3 months old.  You can see the ship that he made, that was his ship.

I can remember thinking that little baby Veronica was the most beautiful thing in the world that I had ever seen!  I was so proud of her.  When I got out of the hospital 5 days later I brought her home and presented her to my grandmother to see her for the first time.  My grandmother took one look at her and I will never forget what she said after that.

“We need to tape those ears down.”

Yep, that’s my grandma for ya.

Happy Birthday Veronica!

Also,

Congratulations on Buying Your First Home

This was taken over the weekend.  Sort of an impromptu birthday party.  She and her partner Brian bought their first house together and we spent the afternoon with them.

As Gordon put it, ‘that tree is just begging for a retaining wall.’

Veronica and Me

I envy them having a clean slate to work with.  They will work on it while they live in it.  Gordon staked out the best feature.

Veronica, Me, and Brian

I did inherit something out of this deal.  Some furniture was left behind and they gave the two antique tables to me.  I call them my “Halloween Tables.”  I love them!  Very goth and just perfect for what I have in mind for them.

Ttyl….

Julie

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Happy 4th. of July!

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July 4, 2015

Meet the Newest Member of our Family……..

Tasso The Fish

I have wanted a fish now for quite awhile and I decided to finally get one.  I just wanted a nice fish that I could keep in a bowl in the kitchen to look at while I did dishes or cooked dinner.  I didn’t want to deal with any pump or elaborate lights, I just wanted something simple.

So I bought a bowl, some fish tank sand, some greenery, and of course, a diving helmet.  Oh, and a seashell that I found on the beach.

Tasso was originally part of our condo sponge diving party, seen here.  That write up is coming soon.

Tasso is a betta fish.  They are from the rice fields of Asia.  The males are beautiful and take care of the “children” fish, the females are not so attractive.  Tasso is a male.

The betta males prefer to live alone.

Also they bond with their caretakers.  I have noticed this.  Tasso will recognize my face and come to the side of the bowl to greet me.  Tasso can also play games with you.  I find this fascinating.  Bonding with a fish?  Who would have thought that?

Tasso’s Bubbles

See all the bubbles gathering at the top of the bowl?  That means that Tasso is happy.  He is making a bubble nest.  Watching fish in aquariums is very healthy for us.  A natural stress reliever.

We named Tasso after our sponge diving friend.  A good name for a good fish.

I’m so glad he’s happy to be with us,

Julie

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July 3, 2015

Back to Tarpon Springs

Gordon and I were so impressed with Tarpon Springs that we wanted to go back and spend the day and it was a lucky thing that we did.

We got to meet Tasso the sponge diver.

The last time we were in Tarpon Springs we purchased a PBS DVD of The Sponge Divers of Tarpon Springs, filmed in 2005.

That is when we recognized one of the sponge divers on the documentary and went over to say hello.

Gordon Talking to Tasso

The Sponges on Tasso’s Boat

Gordon is a PADI Divemaster so they are talking diving while I’m in my element taking pictures.  I love all the sponges and the lifestyle.  Greeks have been walking the floors of the ocean for centuries collecting sponges.  It is considered one of the most dangerous professions in the world.

Anastasi

To the left of us a boat was throwing their sponges onto the docks.

Sponge diving was established in Tarpon Springs in 1905 by John Cocoris from Leonidion Greece.

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Back to the Shoppes

Hey, I had to go back and purchase all that I didn’t get the first time we were here.  You know how that is.

I found it!  My saganaki that I have been looking for!  Yes!

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I found my haloumi cheese!!!!  YES!

The white cheeses are healthier for you than the yellow ones.  Less cholesterol.

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Oh, I want THAT one!

Gordon picking us out some of the Greek wines.

Yes, we did buy some octopus in a can.

(See Greek Octopus post.)

Ibrik’s.  I bought a bunch of these for Christmas gifts.

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Our Favorite Bakery

Fournos

Gordon and I love playing tourist.  Tropical clothing, hat, backpack and water bottle, check!

Delicious Baked Goods

Baklava to Die For!

(Or so I’m told.  I can’t eat much sugar.)

It was at this bakery that Gordon was busy ordering baklava and I was ordering other breads such as tyropsomo and a few others that I cannot even spell.  I was just reading the names of the breads off the cards identifying them.  That was when I was asked by a woman behind the counter if I was Greek?  I was so surprised that she asked me that so I asked her why she would think that I was Greek?  (If you are a regular blog reader of mine then you know that my grandfather’s heritage could be Greek but we don’t know for sure.)  The woman replied, “Because you are pronouncing the names of the breads the way a Greek would.”

MADE MY DAY!!!!!!

Once Gordon finishes paying for our things it is then on to Fred Howard Park for our picnic lunch.

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Fred Howard Park

Gordon Enjoying our Picnic Lunch

We love this park.  It is not just for picnicking, it also has hiking, lakes and even a peninsula with a great beach, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, paddle boating, you name it!

The Park Peninsula

I love these beach buildings.

This is a great place to spend the day with your family whether you just want to spend a day on the beach or rent any boating equipment.

Paddle Boards and Kayaks

There is a life guard on duty and parking is $5.00 for the day.

Everything about the beach is beautiful!  I especially love all the bright colors of swimsuits and beach towels and umbrellas.

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Meanwhile, back at the picnic grounds…….

We are enjoying a great lunch.

I do tend to eat very light when it is so hot.

Our Greek Chicken Salad

This was very similar to our last picnic that I wrote about but good food, is good food, whether we are constantly coming up with something new or we have the same things over again.  It’s still a good picnic.

We did find this great ‘Fiesty Feta Spread’ at Agora Foods that we bought to have with our picnic.  It was good too!

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I did make a new friend,

with a pita chip.

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Dessert

Gordon and I shared a chocolate croissant for dessert.

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What a great day we had!

After all the shopping and touring.

There is just one more thing that we have started doing at the end of every day that we are out in Tarpon Springs at the sponge docks, we grab a gyro with Greek fries to go from Mykonos Restaurant.

This is honestly the best thing that I have ever eaten in my life!!

Gyro with Greek Fries

(pronounced year-o)

What makes the fries Greek?  Oregano and Lemon.

My mouth is watering as I write this.  Can’t wait to go back again.

Julie

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Happy 30th. Wedding Anniversary To Us

June 22, 1985 – June 22, 2015

OMG!  We are so old!

However sunset is my best lighting.  🙂

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June 27, 2015

Congratulations America on it’s Supreme Court Ruling

Baby Veronica with George Takei in Honolulu, Hawaii 1987.  Hey, we were going to Comic Con long before it was popular to do so.

George Takei has been an activist for many years for the LGBT community and we have been big Sulu fans for years.

Thinking about you at this time,

Julie

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June 24, 2015

My Fountain, So Pretty

Makes me Happy,

Julie

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June 23, 2015

Tuesday’s Jabberwockey

Rainy Season Blooms

Every June in Hillsborough County, Florida is our rainy season.  Although more and more as the years progress our June rainy season is starting to extend into July.  But no matter, all of this rain has done wonderful things to our outdoor garden.

Looking so nice and GREEN!

Our Greek Oregano is thriving.

Sage, Chives, and Parsley

My MINT!!!

My roses and Gerber Daisey’s

I like lots of PINK!

Heliconia and Curcuma

Love these tropical flowers.  They just thrive in all this moisture.

My Hydrangeas

So proud of our backyard.  We’ve both worked very hard on it and it is so rewarding to see everything progressing nicely.

Julie

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June 22, 2015

Our 30th. Wedding Anniversary

It’s so hard to believe that Gordon and I have been married for 30 years.  It just doesn’t seem like it’s been that long.  Seriously, the time has flown by.

June 22, 1985

We wanted to do something special for our 30th. but there were just too many things going on so we are enjoying happy weekends here and there around Florida.  Those weekends will last a month.

We’re hoping to get away this fall by ourselves.  That is still in the planning stages.  As I see it this is our 30th. year so we plan on celebrating all year long.

Gordon’s brother Jeff catching my garter.  My grandmother to my right and Gordon’s grandmother to his left.  I miss those women so much!

Happy Day to us!

Julie

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June 21, 2015

Happy Father’s Day, Gordon

Father’s Day Dinner

Brown rice with Gordon’s famous dipping sauce, Teriyaki Chicken Wings, Stir-Fry Noodles and Veggies

Father’s Day was very simple for us.  We are homebodies and proud of it.  Our happiest times are when we are together at home.

Gordon’s Father’s Day Wok

This is what Brodie and I gave Gordon for Father’s Day.

He couldn’t wait to try it out.

I think he likes his new wok.

Teriyaki Chicken Wings with Black Sesame Seeds

Teriyaki Chicken wings with Regular Sesame Seeds

Veronica and Gordon

Veronica and her boyfriend Brian came over to spend Father’s Day with us and we enjoyed a great dinner and time together.

We don’t need some fancy restaurant or expensive gifts.  We are quite content and happy with the simple things in life.  Necessities mean more to us that luxuries.

I hope everyone out there had a wonderful Father’s Day with the special men in their lives.

Julie and Gordon

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June 19, 2015

Father’s Day is Approaching

This Sunday, June 21, will be Father’s Day here in America where we take the day to honor our father’s, or in my case my grandfather.  I only had him around for 14 years but he was a very special man and role model in my life and probably the only positive male role model that I have ever had.

Franklin Elwood Haskin

Postmaster, Rome, Georgia

The photo above was taken some time in the early 70’s.

He was the nicest man that I have ever known, other than my husband.  He always had this big smile on his face.  He was good.  I know that everyone thinks their mother or father or various relatives are the best but I’m not that way.  I only say it if it is true.

Coy and Lillian (Honnie)  Lone, to the left, and Frank and Nell Haskin, on the right.  My Great-Grandparents and my Grand-Parents at their home in Rome, Georgia in the mid 1960’s.

Coy and Honnie were my grandfather’s parents.  Actually Coy was his step-father and one of the original ‘leather heads’ in college, football player that wore the leather helmets.  Honnie was originally married to Gordon Haskin when she adopted my grandfather in Vincennes, Indiana in 1916, I believe.  Gordon died when my grandfather was a boy, so the father that he knew the best was Coy.

Lillian (Honnie) and Gordon Haskin, Vincennes, Indiana, early 1900’s, adoptive parents of my grandfather, my Great- Grandparents.

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Now that I have introduced you to everyone I would like to tell you a story about the most special person to me in the world.  The man that raised me up until the day he died.

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Frank as a Boy

I have written about my grandfather in the past and I will probably write about him in the future.  I think of him the most around Father’s Day because that is the day set aside for those great men in our lives.

Young Man Frank

None of us, (me, my mother, my grandmother, my great-aunts/uncles etc.) knew that my grandfather was adopted until he died and my mother found the adoption papers while she was going through some things for my grandmother after his death.  It was a big surprise to all of us, to say the least.  We all wondered why he never said a word about it?  Was he ashamed?  There was a stigma at that time attached to children that were adopted.  But we’re wondering if it just wasn’t that big of a deal to him?  The reason I say that is because we came to find out other things about him that he never mentioned.  Things that were worth bragging about.

For example, we discovered when looking through his old Darlington School year books, The Jabberwock, that he was an honor student.  His teachers even wrote in his year book that Frank was the best student that they had ever had.  Also mentioning that my grandfather, who had taken a Spanish class was the best Spanish speaker that he had ever taught.

We never even knew he could speak Spanish.

Ironically, I used to use the logo “Julie’s Jabberwocky” in the past, then I find my grandfather’s yearbooks called, The Jabberwock.  (Not exactly a very prominent word that you hear everyday.)

My Great-Grandmother Lillian (Honnie) in her Youth

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It was after we discovered that he was adopted that my mother starting asking his Vincennes, Indiana relatives if they knew he was adopted?  Those that were still alive anyway.  It turns out that they all knew it.

Once Gordon Haskin died Honnie married their friend, Coy Lone.  Then the Great Depression happened and Honnie, Coy, and a 7 year old Frank traveled south on their way to Macon, Georgia to find work.  But they didn’t quite reach Macon, Georgia because they found work in Rome, Georgia instead and settled there.

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What my mother was able to learn from the Vincennes relatives was that Frank’s birth mother was very young, probably a teenage pregnancy.  She would also bring him a gift every year on his birthday.  At least until they left Vincennes when my grandfather was a boy.

We always wondered why my grandfather had such dark skin?  All of his Vincennes relations were so pale.  He also, as he aged, took on a more ethnic look to him.  If you are white in America with dark skin then you have some sort of ethnicity in you.

When my mother was doing the genealogy of my grandfather she discovered that at the time of my grandfather’s birth in Vincennes, Indiana there was a Greek population.

Greek?

Wow!

Wouldn’t that be so cool?

My mother has had a DNA test done but they focus on the mother and not the father’s lineage so of course, it read European.  We knew that as we are Scotch-Irish on my Grandmother’s side.

It is doubtful that we will ever know the lineage of my grandfather.

If you read my blog then you know that we recently visited the Greek community of Tarpon Springs.

One reason that I wanted to visit the charming Greek fishing village was that I was hoping to learn something about the culture and maybe find something recognizable in it’s people.  Tarpon Springs has the largest Greek population of Greek-Americans in the country.

I guess that I was hoping to find something familiar about the culture.  Something that reminded me of my grandfather.

Granddaddy and Me

What I did find was a wonderfully kind and friendly people that were very polite to us.  (With the exception of “Ze sexy sponge diveayre.”)

(See Tarpon Springs Blog Post Below)

But all kidding aside, I would LOVE to find out that I have Greek blood in me.  But in reality I will probably never know that for sure.  But it is sure fun to hope and learn about the culture anyway.

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Sunday, June 21st.

is the

First Day of Summer

Me, 1962, age 1 1/2 at Callaway Gardens

My First Trip to Florida

It just wouldn’t be Father’s Day without talking about my grandfather or of me talking about Florida.  This is most likely my first trip to Florida with my grandparents.  There will be many to follow through the years.  Maybe that is why I am living here now.  It is in my head all the happy memories of me with them.  Now I get to relive those memories every single day.

Me with my Grandparents in Florida 1962

My grandfather always had binoculars around his neck when we were on vacation.  He loved to spot birds, or dolphins, or any sort of wildlife.  Because of him I keep binoculars in my car just in case I spot something worth looking at.

Here we are on a Picnic at Callaway Gardens

I am sitting on my grandmother’s lap.

In this photo I am telling my mother, Mary Keith, to wash my feet off.  Hey, I may love going barefoot but I still like clean feet.

First Day of Summer…….

You know, I would do anything to be able to go back in time and be that little girl again with her grandparents, all that love,  but that will never happen.

I would also love to be able to know the woman that gave birth to the greatest man that I have ever known, my grandfather.  She must have been a very special woman herself.  And I would embrace whatever culture that she came from because she produced the nicest man that I have ever known.  So whether I be part Greek or anything else, I will embrace it, appreciate it, and learn as much as I can from it.

Happy Father’s Day,

Julie

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June 17, 2015

Tarpon Springs Castle Winery

Although hard to see there are cute little cut outs of fleur-de-lis on the shutters, or as my ‘young’ son would have called them, “a banana done been peeled.”

320 Tarpon Avenue

Tarpon Springs, Florida

Gordon and I had the pleasure of visiting this winery in the heart of Tarpon Springs historic district earlier this month.  We didn’t make an appointment, we just showed up, along with two other large groups of people, we were ushered in, found a table and thoroughly enjoyed the demonstration by our hosts Joseph and Diana Marks, the owner’s and wine makers.

The winery is constructed to resemble an 1820 federal building.  Both Joseph and Diana Marks consulted the historical society of Tarpon Springs and the historical boards of Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia (my favorite place on Earth.)

They built the building themselves.  The winery is on the lower level and they live on the upper level.  I LOVED this place!  Oh, it was a bit cluttered and not decorated as well as it could be, but I didn’t care, to us it was perfect!

Our Host and Hostess, Joseph and Diana Marks

Joseph Marks is the wine maker, he makes the wines in the old world European tradition.  Each bottle is handcrafted.  They market an ancient beverage, and it truly is!  Gordon and I would have loved to have them all to ourselves.

This is an Italian Winery

I seem to remember the cost of our wine class as being about $18.50 a person.  With that price you receive a free wine glass and a free bottle of wine of your choice, but that is one free bottle per two people.  They also have a Groupon but we didn’t have one.  I do know that they honor coupons and groupons forever though.

Me with Bailey, the winery mascot.

We tasted 5 wines and then were given a free glass of wine of our choosing.  I chose the Cabernet Sauvignon.  So lovely!

They have a Chardonnay that is wonderful!  I tend to not drink any Chardonnay as our American wineries make them very hard going down the throat.  But this Chardonnay was so smooth.  They use a Hungarian Oak as opposed to our American Oak.  A much better tasting wines.

Very nice experience we had!

The Marks taught us to all be wine snobs next time we order a bottle of wine at a restaurant.  One thing that we did learn from them is that many restaurants will replace the wine in an expensive bottle of wine with cheap wine.  The big clue?  If after 3 sips you start to develop a headache?  Then you have been fooled!

Always have the waiter open the bottle of wine in front of you.

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NEVER smell the cork!  The waiter then knows you are easily fooled!

You do need to examine the cork, but don’t smell it.  You want to look for any sort of lines down the cork, or any sort of mold on the cork, but never smell it.

I thought this looked like a Picasso.

I loved their art around the winery.

I also loved all the wine bottle openers that they have on display.  They told me that people just give them to them as gifts.  How nice is that?

What a Nice Collection!

Gordon Buying Our Wine

Always put the wine in bottle neck first in the box, not bottom first as they all do at the liquor stores.  We bought several varieties and are looking forward to enjoying them.

Our Wines From Castle Winery

We will be back to give Joseph and Diana a visit from Gordon and Julie and buy some more of their delicious wines.

Julie

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June 12, 2015

Day Two:  June 7, 2015

Tarpon Springs, Florida

Me, at Fred Howard Park

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We started out our morning with the best tasting Greek coffee that we had bought the day before.

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I’ve never seen coffee this color before.  It’s just so tan and packs together like your building a sand castle.

How you can tell a good coffee is in how fine the grounds are.  Tea is the opposite.  You want to see some leaves in your tea to know it’s good.  Most of our American tea is just tea dust, the lowest grade of tea.  So remember the finer the grounds in coffee, the better.

This is an excellent tasting coffee, very smooth and creamy.

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We knew that today was going to be an easier day.  We just wanted to do some shopping and just enjoy the atmosphere until our winery tour downtown Tarpon Springs later on in the day.

I knew that I wanted to buy a large sponge for myself but I didn’t know which one.  There are different kinds of them.  Some useful and some decorative.  Some look like big elephant ears and some look like fingers, hence the terms:  finger sponges and elephant ear sponges.  They also have wool sponges and vase sponges.  Those are around $100.00.  I want one of those next time we visit.

At this store we bought a PBS documentary DVD of the sponge diving industry and history.  And as always, books!

I love all these dive helmets that you see all over the place.  Some of them are really very old.

Window Shopping

I did buy some beautiful finger coral at one of the stores.

WE fell in love with this etching on this store shop front door.

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As always there are the sponge divers about.

Exhibit A

Ze sexy Sponge Dyevare

Zat is correctek!  I am zee sexy sponge dyevare u silly woo man u.

So do not asooom zat I will evur give u ze time of day.

Now pleeze hallow me to finnnish my ceegar ette, no?

(O.k., that was my French accent and not my Greek one.  And he never said any of those things.  But I KNOW he was thinking them.)

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Tip for Tarpon Springs Boat Tours:

Get a friendlier sponge diver!  Someone that smiles and waves to the tourists that pay his salary.

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Gordon saw a sign ‘Diver Wanted’ and he was actually considering applying for the job for the weekends.  As I’ve mentioned before, he is a certified PADI Dive Master.  I told him that no one wants to see some white man dive for sponges, they want to see “Ze sexy sponge dyevare” that smiles occasionally and waves at the tourist that take his picture.

Oui??

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I LOVE Shops Spelled Shoppes!

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Agora Food Market

(Our new favorite Greek imports supermarket.)

Nikos & Petros Mikalef

602 Athens Street

Tarpon Springs, FL.  34689

In The Sponge Docks

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I’m listing the address above because this store is right off the main drag of Dodecanese Blvd. and not many tourists venture up the side streets where you can find nice things for cheaper prices.  For example, the coffee that we bought at one of the coffee shops we paid $15.00 a bag for it.  Whereas this store sells it for under $10.00.  Yeah!

We must have spent a good $400.00 here buying things for us in addition to knocking out our Christmas list for the year.  Everyone we buy for is getting a Greek themed Christmas care package of imported specialty olive oils, coffee’s, chocolates, pasta’s (different from ours) and olive oil soaps that aren’t all perfumey.  Also some Greek Ouzo candies.

Oh, and the Greek briki copper coffee pots.

The one in the photo below Gordon was given as a gift when he ate at a restaurant overseas and asked the waiter where he could buy one?  The waiter then disappeared and came back with the manager who then presented it to Gordon as a gift.  Wasn’t that nice?  Gordon’s is brass though, not copper.

We even still have some of the coffee from that trip.

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Fournos Bakery

As we kept walking back down Athens Street we came across what we had been looking for since we arrived in Tarpon Springs, a bakery that sold healthy breads.

There are bakeries on the main drag that sell everything sweet.  There was nothing in any of them that I could have eaten.  I can’t eat much sugar as a borderline diabetic and even so called “normal” people shouldn’t be eating all that sugar either.  So it was here that we found our whole wheat bread for our Tzatziki chicken salad that we had made that morning for our picnic lunch at Fred Howard Park.

Gordon did buy some homemade baklava and we also bought this delicious loaf of Tyropsomo, a Feta cheese bread.  Delicious!

We also found some sea salt from Greece to add to our Christmas care packages at this bakery.  We will definitely be back!

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We also stopped off at:

The Spice and Tea Exchange

Spent a small fortune there as well.  Spices from all over the world.  We even picked up a Greek seasoning that we are looking forward to trying soon.

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Lunch at Fred Howard Park

Afternoon Picnic

Fred Howard Park is just a few miles away from the sponge docks.  It is a beautiful park with lakes and ocean inlets.  You can rent a kayak, swim, snorkel, picnic, etc….

I wish I had taken more photos because it was such a lovely area but we will go back again soon.

Lovely trails that lead you to picnic pavilions by the lakes.

We found a cute little lake all to ourselves for our picnic.

It had been raining so we used all our beach towels to sit on.

The delicious whole wheat bread that we bought from Fournos Bakery and Cafe for our Tzatziki chicken salad.

Tzatziki Chicken Salad

This is so good!  We made it with Greek yogurt.  The dill in this is perfection!

Light and Delicious!!!

We also had our leftovers from the day before.

Leftover cheese, crackers and mustard, except this time we put it on a sponge diver pressed bottle appetizers tray that we bought the day before.

Also our leftover roasted olives and grapes and our Greek pasta salad.

Couldn’t have chosen a better picnic spot!

After our picnic we then headed out to our winery tour in downtown Tarpon Springs.  I’ll be bringing that to you very soon.

What a wonderful day!

ttyl…

Julie

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June 10, 2015

Our Weekend in Tarpon Springs

Last weekend Gordon and I decided to spend it in Tarpon Springs, Florida.  Tarpon Springs is reminiscent of a Greek fishing village and has the largest population of Greek Americans in the country.  Located on the west coast of Florida, just 45 minutes from our rental condo.

(Our condo is located between St. Pete and Clearwater.)

See ‘Lancaster Condo’ in Tab Bar Above

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Day One, Saturday, June 6, 2015

Tarpon Springs has a total area of just under 17 miles.  It is a very quaint and charming community, just under 24,000 people.  The region is a series of bayous that feeds into the Gulf of Mexico.

The area is known for it’s sponge diving.

The first sponge divers arrived from Greece in the late 1800’s but the sponge diving was not established until 1905 by John Cocoris.

John Cocoris recruited divers from Greece to come over and work on the boats harvesting the sponges.  I believe around 500 divers and crew arrived and worked about 50 boats.  Soon the sponge industry was the leading maritime industry in Florida, generating millions of dollars a year.

In 1953 a young Robert Wagner starred in the movie, Beneath the 12 – Mile Reef, that was filmed in Tarpon Springs.

Beneath The 12 – Mile Reef

The diving helmet above is one of the first things I ever bought for Gordon over 30 years ago because he is a scuba diver, a certified PADI Dive Master actually.

Robert Wagner is just about 18 when he filmed this movie.  Gordon and I watched the movie as sort of our “homework” before we visited the area.

A Spongy Smiley Face

Sponges Are Everywhere

I Love All This Stuff!

The Agios Nikolaos bringing in a haul of sponges.

The very first sponge divers were recruited from The Saronic Gulf Islands of Aegina and Hydra.  They were then recruited from the Dodecanese Islands and Kalymnos, Symi and Halki.

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A Statue Honoring the Sponge Divers

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Torrence R. Parker

Oldest sponge diver, in his 90’s.

The Sponge Exchange

This is where the auctions would take place.  The business men would bid on the sponges via silent auction.

Tarpon Springs Sponge Industry

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Tarpon Springs City Marina

Boats, Boats, Boats

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Tourist Boats

Of course there are plenty of tourist boats.  We bought tickets for the Spongeorama Cruiselines out to Anclote Key and lighthouse.  There are sponge diving boat tours where you can see a sponge diver jump off the boat and bring up a sponge from the sea, (but he actually keeps it in his pocket.)

We bought tickets at the Spongeorama Sponge Factory and we paid just under $20.00 a ticket per person, (adult).

Spongeorama Sponge Factory is located behind Yiannis Restaurant on Dodecanese Blvd.  Your tour boat tickets also entitle you to a discount when you shop in the store and eat at Yiannis.  There is also free parking for you all day when you take the Spongeorama Cruiselines.

Everything Spongy

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Trunk Lunch

While we were waiting for our boat ride out to Anclote Key, Gordon and I decided to have our picnic lunch in our trunk.

We like taking our own food with us and not be dependent upon some quick fast food chain restaurants.  Although we were very impressed with the restaurants in Tarpon Springs.  We don’t eat out too often, we prefer to bring our own food most of the time.  We tend to view eating out as something ‘special’ and not something ‘regular’.

Our Light Greek Themed Lunch

We made a Greek pasta salad, roasted Greek olives, cheese, crackers and a spicy mustard, and some fresh grapes.  We tend to eat light when it is so hot and besides, we were saving our appetites for dinner at Hellas.

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Recipe for Roasted Olives

OMG!  These olives are wonderful!  We made them the night before our trip.  I cannot even describe to you how wonderful that they smell.  It would make the best air freshener ever.

This is now going to be a staple in our kitchen.

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-2 cups Greek olives (or any olives you prefer)

without the pits.

-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.

-2 – 3 Tablespoons fresh rosemary.

-2 – 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon-thyme leaves.

-About 2 wedges of preserved lemon sliced into skinny strips.

Our Preserved Lemon

-Freshly ground black pepper.

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Pre-heat your oven to 400*

Use a cookie sheet and place aluminum foil down onto it.

In a bowl mix together all your ingredients making sure everything is coated.  Then place on the cookie sheet and cook for about 10 – 13 minutes.  The olives will get a bit wrinkly.  You might want to remove from the oven about half way through and stir around on the tray, then place back into the oven.

(I think these olives would make an excellent edible gift when placed into a pretty jar.)

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Waiting for the Boat

I did book our cruise ahead of time to make sure we would get a spot.  This particular cruise is a 2 -hour tour.  This cruise takes us out to Anclote Key Preserve State Park. On the way out we spotted the house from the movie, Beneath The 12 – Mile Reef.

Gordon and I were the only ones on board the boat that had even heard of the movie before, much less actually watched it.

This was Gwyneth’s house in the movie.  Tony’s love interest, (Robert Wagner’s character.)

It was something of a cornball movie but it depicted correctly the sponge diving industry and the Greek immigrants that lived in Tarpon Springs.

I had my paparazzi lens on my camera for this close up.

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On the way out, and back from the island you see all sorts of wildlife, human and animal.

This was my favorite shot.  I took it from the boat.

We saw several dolphins that day.

Dolphins Everywhere

All Around Our Boat

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The ultimate head out of the car breezy moment.  I  know these dogs were lovin’ it!

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Anclote Key Lighthouse

The lighthouse is in the distance and you cannot go to it on this tour.  It is located 3 miles off shore.  Anclote Key is composed of four islands.  You can only view the lighthouse from the distance.  It is a skeletal structure built that was to be quickly disassembled, solar powered, only lights up for decorative purposes now.  There is only one resident on the island and it is a park ranger.

You can get out to the islands if you either have your own boat or charter one.  On our boat trip we only had 30 minutes to walk around.  I would have preferred to spend a few hours here.  It was not only beautiful but there were so many shells and sponges to find.

And I LOVE a good treasure hunt!

I Could Have Spent All Day Here

That current I am standing in is pretty strong.  Had I slipped it would have carried me away.

On our way back to Tarpon Springs we saw the cutest mommy osprey and her babies in a nest that she built.

It sure is a rustic looking nest.  To me it just doesn’t look like the more structured symmetrical architecture of other bird’s nests.

Once we docked Gordon and I walked around the main drag doing some shopping and sight seeing.

There are plenty of parking lots that only charge you $3.00 for the entire day.  Also the town is not that big and everything is in a short walking distance.  Once we bought a big load of souvenirs we would then run them back to the car instead of carrying everything around with us all day.

Walking Around the Docks Seeing All the Boats

Sponge Bike?

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Look out for sharks!

As always there are the corny tourist shots.

Well, when in Greece…….

Unfortunately I couldn’t find Spongebob anywhere?

But I did find this alligator sponge that the sponge diving shop owner found while diving one day.  I thought it was so cool!

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I enjoy the murals around town.

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Greek Coffee Break

We stopped into one of the Greek coffee shops and bakeries for a Greek coffee.  I’ve had Turkish coffee before and it is a bit like that.  The grounds are in the bottom of the cup.  Really good coffee though.

We even bought a few bags to take home.

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Found an Excellent Greek Imports Supermarket

(More about that later.)

Such a quaint little town.  I will say this about it, in the mornings and evenings there are not many people about, only in the afternoon hours is it busy.

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Now it’s time to get ready for dinner at Hellas.

We adore this restaurant!  There are several in town.  I did my research online when I was looking into us visiting Tarpon Springs and I looked at all the info that I could find on them.  This restaurant had the right atmosphere, the right prices and the right Greek cuisine so I booked us in for dinner at 7:00.

Hellas is located on the main street of Dodecanese Blvd. and it is pronounced Hell – ahhs.  (Thought that might help.)  🙂

Grecian urns, Grecian gods, excellent atmosphere for you’re first trip to Greece in America.

The Specials and Inside Hellas

Don’t Forget The Parthenon

Hellas Menu

Look at this beautiful tile table!

Love it!

Great Appetizers!

Grilled Haloumi (Saganaki) Cheese with Bread

Muscles Greek Island Style with Lemon

OPA!!

Alma with our flaming Haloumi, or rather Saganaki

Coincidentally, I have been searching most of Florida’s deli’s for haloumi cheese but they just look at me as if I am crazy because they have never heard of it.  So when we saw on the Hellas menu, Saganaki, an imported flamed cheese, we decided to try it.  After I tasted it I knew this was haloumi!  I was so excited!  So I asked Alma what kind of cheese is this?  She described it as a goat’s cheese.  That is when I asked her if it was haloumi?  She then smiled and said, “yes”!  Yahoo!  I have found my haloumi cheese and it truly is OPA!!!

The Movie 300 Series of Cocktails

Mine is made with Ouzo, a Greek liquor.

Mine also has the Ouzo candy with the lemon.

Right next door to the restaurant is Hellas Bakery, right behind where I am sitting.

My Salmon with Lobster Sauce and Feta Cheese on Top

Gordon got the Lamb

Gordon’s Lamb

Our Side Dish of Veggies and Rice Pilaf

Salmon and Dill with Lobster Sauce

This is the best salmon I have ever eaten!

Our bill was only around $80.00, so we left $100.00 on the table and left.  I think $100.00 was an excellent price for what we ordered.

We will be back!!

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What a great day we had!  I’ll be bringing ‘Day Two’ soon.  I not only wanted to experience this lovely location and history, but also this beautiful culture not just for the heck of it, but I also have a genealogical reason for doing so as well.  I’ll tell you about that soon.

Take Care!

Julie

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June 7, 2015

Preview From the Weekend

My weekend MONEY SHOT!

I took this photo of a dolphin swimming beside our boat yesterday.  I could have reached out and touched this beautiful creature!

We spent the weekend in Tarpon Springs, Florida and had a blast.  Can’t wait to do the write up.

Could this be my Big Fat Greek Heritage?

I’ll explain later…..

Me on Anclote Key

ttyl…..

Julie

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June 3, 2015

Bogie and Bacall

To Have and Have Not

I don’t care what anyone says.  NO ONE can compete with the classics!

And no one was more smokin’ hot than Lauren!

 

Julie

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Frolicking Barefoot in the Garden

(’cause I frolic)

Julie’s Herbs

Be sure to check out the pretty garden in my backyard.

Smelling these delicious herbs from my garden.

Gathering Herbs for meals as well as Cocktails

Learn how you can start your own herb garden.

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Pretty Breakfast

Beet humus on a whole wheat bagel, egg whites with loads of colorful peppers.  Yummy!  Great way to start our day!

Last Weekends Small Landscaping Project

We have been very busy, as usual, but we have started our yearly front yard, back yard, outdoor garden, projects and I will be bringing all that info to the various pages.  However, here is a preview of the before and after of this nice project that Gordon did over Memorial Day Weekend.

The Before Photo

Gordon is building up what was a landscaping border and turning it into an accent retaining wall.

The After Photo

This retaining wall houses our grand bougainvillea and one of our pink lemon trees.

Such a Pretty Side to our Yard

Just another face lift for the backyard.

We have many more to go…….

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May 26, 2015

Memorial Day Mojitos

Me, gathering mint from my herb garden for our mojitos.

Ready for my Blackberry/Raspberry and Mint Mojito

The mint is an herb and a cancer killer.  The berries are loaded with anti-oxidents and very good for you.  Also, believe it or not but seniors that drink 8 glasses of alcohol a week are less likely to break a bone if they fall down.  Hey, I am a pre-senior.

Alcohol does have it’s benefits.

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We also took some photos of our adorable companions that never look happy to have their picture taken.

Sugar Booger and Chunky Monkee

The Bookends

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend.  We did!  We’ll be bringing lots of project activities and photos soon.

ttyl…

Julie

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P.S.  My daughter’s job is once again, all over the news.

  This time on Huffington Post.

SynDaver Labs

My daughter Veronica makes the muscles.

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May 21, 2015

Yep, still in peasant garb and lovin’ me some tomatoes….

I’ve been working on the ‘Gordon and Julie Food’ page and I wanted to share with you my ‘Leftover Mother’s Day Salad’ recipe.  This is my current food that I just can’t get enough of.

Leftover Mother’s Day Salad

We had such an excellent Mother’s Day dinner and I especially loved the artisan lettuce salad, so I threw together all the remaining ingredients from yesterday to make this.

Of course we had the leftover artisan lettuce and the mushrooms and fresh broccoli.

Beautiful Artisan Lettuce

We also had some herbs leftover that we didn’t use so I added them into the mix.  After all, never let fresh herbs go to waste, they are cancer killers after all.

Leftover Herbs

We had some leftover roasted pine nuts that I added and some leftover shaved Parmesan cheese.

Leftover Roasted Pine Nuts

They are so creamy tasting!  This is what I cannot get enough of right now.

Leftover Shaved Parmesan Cheese

And next the best thing ever…..

Leftover Parmesan Toasts

that we made for our Mother’s Day appetizers of various Bruschetta’s.

They make excellent croutons.

Now just add your favorite salad dressing, preferably an oil and vinegar type, and you have an excellent dinner.

Buon Appetito!

Julie

NOTE:  No tomatoes were harmed during the making of this salad.

Still sweatin’ though.

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May 20, 2015

Preview of Things to Come

Julie With Dirty and Bloody Knees

(It is so hard holding this basket of tomatoes.)

We did our photo shoot for our food pages and while we were shooting the photos Gordon noticed my dirty and bloody knees.  I had cut myself while shaving in the shower this morning and had forgotten about the little piece of tissue I had applied to my bloody knee.  When I noticed it, I ripped it off and that started it bleeding again.  So while we were shooting the necktie photos all Gordon was worried about was my getting blood on his Italian made necktie.

“Oh, really?  You’re worried about your stupid necktie?  Well, looky here?  I’m putting it next to my bloody knee.  How do ya like that”?

Stay Tuned for some Excellent Recipes to Come To The Food Pages

Ciao!

Julie

p.s.  I got a band aid.

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