Page 6 Archives

 

JBAJB_small JBA_small Julie LW_small

 

Welcome to the Archives

 

Watch your step as we  enter into the library filled with books and antiques that house my past blog posts.

can you not see that I am busy_small

Remember not to touch anything without the librarian on duty. 

Also a warning. 

Many have been known to get lost while in this room.  So be careful.

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Thank you for your interest and your support.

I would like to dedicate this page to our old bookstore,

The Book Nook,

that we opened in 1980 in Rockingham, N.C.

It was located at the corner of Washington Square, downtown.

Me, (from my Erica Kane days), with a former employee working at the store in 1981.

This bookstore represented our love of books that we wanted to share with the community.

Read Forever,

Julie Archives

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I was brought up to love and respect books.  Always handle books with the greatest respect as I fear they will soon be a thing of the past.

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Julie Lancaster-Whann

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Shhhhhhhhhhh………….

This is a library you know.

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Archives Start Here

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May 24, 2014

Sushi Saturday

This is Memorial Day weekend.  We get a 3 day weekend and instead of going to the beach or some weekend getaway, we are finishing our backyard path around the new retaining wall.  When I say “we” I mean Gordon.  Hey, filming and taking pictures is hard too!

Look what all “WE” have done!  Tomorrow is the finishing up of the border.

Because this was such a busy day I thought ahead the picked up sushi from the sushi chefs at the commissary yesterday.  So refreshing and cool.  Especially when you have the hard job of standing there taking pictures and filming.  And Gordon has it tough too.

Konbanwa

(Good Evening)

Mangoes, Orchids and Plum Wine

I am going to make the best anti-oxidant salad this weekend with these mangoes but they do look so pretty here.

Plum Wine and Sushi Dinner

Beautiful Setting

The one thing that I love about sushi, other than the taste, is how beautiful it is.  Such an art form.

Try Using Sea Shells as chopstick Holders

Sushi Dinner and Sushi Pajamas

Our Bento Boxes

Lunch the next day.  Our leftover sushi.  The prefect little lunch container, wrapped in a napkin with chopsticks inserted.

I love orchids.  It is my birthday flower in Astralasia, but here in America it is the violets.  Which is fine because I love both of them.

Beautiful Mangoes

To me fruit is just as beautiful, if not more, than flowers.

Oyasuminasai (Good night),

Julie

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May 23, 2014

Flash Back Friday

I was looking through the old photo albums of our life in Hawaii, (I was looking for photos for a project that I will be working on), when I came across these cute ones of my son Brodie and his neighborhood friend.  He and his sister Michelle brought over the cutest little gecko, Brodie is holding it in his hand.  Both boys are about 4.

Weren’t they cute?

Here in Florida we have the lizards, but in Hawaii they have the cute geckos.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore our lizards!  After all, they keep our yard bug free, along with all the frogs that we have brought into the world.  And our nice spiders.  But the geckos were special.  They lived inside your house and you did not mind.  Some locals would catch geckos and deliberately place them into their homes so that they would eat all the roaches that were everywhere.  When you live in paradise everything thrives, especially the bugs.  I do admit that at first we were a bit reluctant having all these geckos prowling all over our house, but we got used to them and they became part of the family.  No need to use dangerous pesticides when you’ve got them around.

My daughter Veronica’s friend Michelle with a gecko on her nose.  Michelle was a cute girl.  I used to call her Mulan because I thought she looked just like her.  Veronica and Michelle still keep in touch.

Brodie Climbing Our Old Plumeria Tree

I miss this tree.  This tree was in our backyard in Ewa Beach.  Both Veronica and Brodie grew up climbing it.  I loved that all those beautiful plumeria blossoms would fall on the grass.  Every time I would walk out back I was walking on flowers.  Almost as if I was getting married everyday.  🙂  They also made the prettiest leis and had the loveliest scent.  I have been looking for a tree just like it ever since we bought our house.  It would look so lovely in our backyard now.  I did find a plumeria tree that I still have in a pot out back.  But it is not the same kind as what we had so I don’t know what to do with it yet.

Brodie’s Pre-School Graduation in Ewa Beach, Hawaii

Brodie is the Haole on the left.

(Haole means foreigner but it has come to mean white person.  Although Brodie was born in Hawaii so he is more of a local).

Which brings us to why I am posting these old photos of Hawaii.  I have been craving Spam Musubi and a Hawaiian Plate Lunch and Sushi Nori for the past week now so this weekend Gordon and I will be getting out the sushi molds and the platters and the shoyu and the wasabi and get down to business.  We have a 3 day weekend ahead of us and we will be finishing up the backyard path around our new retaining wall.

I’ll bring those photos to you this weekend.

Cannot wait!  We also bought the movie Monument Men and I cannot wait to see it.  Jorge Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray.  Great cast, great story, these are my heros.  People that care enough about the past to save and to preserve it.  True historians.

Have a good weekend!

Julie

 

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May 21, 2014

Elin Nordegren graduates from Rollins College

Elin Nordegren, formerly Elin Nordegren Woods, former wife of Tiger Woods

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/12/elin-nordegren-_n_5310692.html

I came across this article a few days ago.  I read it and listened to Elin’s commencement speech at her graduation and I was very impressed with her.  Wow, a 3.96 GPA.  Prior to this she has certainly been through a lot, what with her former husband, Tiger Woods, cheating scandal with all those many women.  Elin was after all the devoted wife and mother of his two children, Sam and Charlie.  She is beautiful in every way.  I do have to say that I admired the way she handled the scandal and the divorce.  With class, dignity , grace and decency all the way.  She truly is a remarkable woman and a woman to be admired but here is where I have the problem with the wonderful, beautiful Elin.  She is a millionaire. 

Elin and her kids embarking on the yacht, Privacy.

A millionaire.   Someone who has millions of dollars in the bank.  Someone who has the money to hire housekeepers to clean her mansion, nannies to babysit her kids while she studies, chauffeurs to drive her children to school, body guards to protect her and her family, while she has the time alone to study and make that 3.96 GPA to graduate with honors and give that commencement speech at Rollins College.

As I said, she is someone to admire and emulate.  But she is not one of us.  She is one of the 2% in the world that has far more of her, and her children’s needs met than the rest of us.  Let’s face it, if we did not have to work, clean our house, wash dishes, cook, do errands, take care of children, pay bills, drive them here and there to their sporting events or various activities then we just might achieve our goals as well.  We would then have the time to devote to those things that we wanted or needed to do.  But we don’t have those things.  We don’t have that kind of help.  We don’t have those resources.  Nor do we have the money to hire that help so that we too can achieve great accomplishments ourselves.   So many of us have to go to school while working 1 or 2 jobs, taking care of our children, cleaning and cooking for them, helping them with their homework, driving them to school the next day, and thus the cycle continues……

(Why do you think that Gordon and I are the do-it-yourself’ couple)?

By the way, I do not think that Elin is a bad mother that neglects her kids to achieve her goals.  I’m simply stating that she has help.

A few years ago I was out at the condo with my mother and her friend Judy when Gordon arrived to tell us that he had just seen Elin Nordegren at the Home Depot in Pinellas County.  We of course, laughed at him and told him how preposterous that was.  I told him that it must have been some lookalike.  What would Elin Nordegren be doing at Home Depot?  He told us that she got out of an expensive black SUV.  He assured us that it was her.  Needless to say, we didn’t believe him.  Then one week later me, my mother, and her friend Judy were sunning ourselves on the beach in Indian Shores when we spotted this gorgeous young blond woman with this terrific figure walking down the beach wearing cute shorts, cute top, and carrying a beach bucket and shovel. We recognized her immediately.  It was Elin Nordegren!  (Gordon got his apology from me).  🙂   As we sat there in our beach chairs with our mouths gaped open, we watched her walk by. She couldn’t miss us, we were the crazy looking ones staring at her.  Our heads literally followed her as she walked by.  About 30  minutes later she came back down the beach minus the bucket and shovel.  Again, we gaped and awed.  Believe me when I say that this woman is truly perfect.  🙂

Exhibit A

You know, I’m not trying to diss Elin.  She has been through a lot.  She deserves accolades of recognition for her achievements.  She is not your typical celebrity divorcee.  I like the fact that she shops at Home Depot and walks down the beach by herself without some entourage.  I think the fact that she is going into child psychology is commendable.  But what I am doing is pointing out the obvious.  She had help.  She had the money to hire the help she needed so that she could achieve her goals.

To me a truly outstanding woman is someone that had to work full time, went to school, raised her children as a divorcee and made that 3.96 GPA by sacrificing sleep and a life to do it.  That is a woman for whom I admire.  Someone who did not have help.  Did not have the advantages of the wealthy, but achieved those goals against all odds. 

I would like to hear HER commencement speech.

Which brings us to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs. 

I’ll get to that in a minute. 

Do you remember when Brad Pitt left Jennifer Anniston for Angelina Jolie?  How America and Canada grieved for poor Jennifer?  Poor, poor Jennifer.  How could he do that to poor, poor Jennifer?  America’s sweetheart!  I must have been the only person in America that did not feel sorry for poor, poor Jennifer.  She was young, attractive, popular, wealthy, a successful woman with a flourishing acting career and tons of support from her “Friends”. 🙂  The world viewed the split as an upgrade.  America didn’t.  After all, Jennifer was so cute!  She was nice.  She was charitable.  So while Jennifer is answering telephones at telethons Angelina is helicoptering into refugee camps in Pakistan and giving speeches at the United Nations.  Your right America, who in their right mind would leave Jennifer for Angelina?? 

Because of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs I don’t feel sorry for rich people.  I don’t hate them, I just don’t pity them.  Automatically, most of their needs are met.  I’ll explain.  I don’t wake up in the morning saying, ‘Gee, I hope I have air to breathe and water to drink.’  Those needs are met so therefor I don’t think about them.  They do not enter into my head.  I also don’t wake up thinking, ‘Gee, I hope I have somewhere to live, clothing to wear, food to eat.’  Those needs are met so therefor I don’t think about them.  I’m not worried about IF I will eat, I’m thinking about WHAT I will eat. 

Yes, let’s all feel sorry for Elin.

The wealthy have far more of their needs met than the rest of us.  I’m not saying that they don’t have their broken hearts, or their family dramas, but when they have a broken heart they can fly off to the French Riviera and sun themselves on the beach for 6 months nursing that broken heart when the rest of us have to get out of bed, go to work the next day, take care of children, do homework, clean house, pay or not pay the bills because there is no money, screen the phone calls because the bill collectors are not sympathetic to a woman going through divorce and having half the pay she used to.  While we are worrying about making ends meet, feeding our families and paying bills, they are worrying about those botox injections that they need before that red carpet event.  Oh no!  I have gained 1 pound!  Whoa is me!  What am I going to do?? 

If they get sick then they are not in danger of losing their home because of high medical bills or that insurance companies won’t cover their sick child because they have labeled their cancer a “pre-condition” like so many did before the Afordable Care Act, a.k.a.  Obamacare. 

(Yes, isn’t he terrible for wanting to give us all affordable healthcare?)

By all means admire the Elin Nordegren Wood’s of this world, or the Jennifer Anniston’s of this world, but don’t feel sorry for them.  They are doing far better than you and me.  If you and I had the help and the resources that they did then maybe we would be doing the commencement speeches at graduations. 

To learn more about Maslow and his hierarchy of needs you can check out this wikipedia page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs

 

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“If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.”       

                                               Abraham Maslow

I am who I am because of my life experiences.  Even if no one likes me the way that I am, I am still going to be me.   I only know how to be me.  Even if that “me” is unwanted or undesirable.  I am still going to be me.  Even if in the end I am my only friend.  I like Julie, and I will miss her if I become someone other than me. 

Julie Lancaster-Whann

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You know the old saying, “Money doesn’t buy happiness”?  Well, I disagree.  I think whomever came up with that was just trying to make themselves feel better because they didn’t have any money.

I’m not saying that having a big pile of money sitting next to me is going to make me happy.  But what I could do with it would.

I could start a charity.  I could help people.  I could pay for my daughter’s student loans so that she would not have that burden throughout her life.  I could throw her the nicest wedding ever.  I could buy myself my own beach condo.  I could travel the world.  All those things that I mention above would make me happy and the only way to have those things is with money.

I think the oracle Cher said it best.

“I’ve been 40, I’ve been 50, 40’s better.”

“I’ve been rich, I’ve been poor, rich is better.”

I seem to quote Cher all the time.  Hey, the lady is smart.  And 40 is better, by the way.  🙂

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P.S.  About Tiger

Even if he never wins another competition again in his lifetime he is still the greatest golfer that the world has ever known.  After his big winning streak that lasted for years he started losing tournaments.  Everyone just naturally assumed that he has lost his touch.  Not so.  He did not get worse, all the other golfers got better.  They started emulating him!  That is what you do.  Look to that successful person that you admire and want to be like and do what they do.

Tiger Woods is also the only golfer to ever exist that is good on every golf course in the world.  No other golfer has been able to achieve that.  So no matter what you may think of him personally, he is truly to be admired for his skill.

Julie

 

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May 20, 2014

Some Photos From the Weekend

Marinated Artichoke Hearts and Saltine Crackers

Pretty much my favorite dinner when I don’t feel like cooking anything.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

(Gordon cooked dinner).

Julie’s Dinner at the Computer

Typical Sunday night snuggling with the pugs on the couch.

Life just doesn’t get any better than this!

Julie

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May 18, 2014

Weekend Progress on the Path

Gordon working on the path.

Fitting the stones together to make a nice pattern.

Walking outside our lanai into the backyard.  Not finished yet but getting there.

Cute Pug Break

Sugar to the left and Monk to the right.

(A.K.A. The Bookends)

Exploring in the Backyard

Hope everyone had a happy spring weekend.

ttyl……

Julie

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May 18, 2014

Sunday, Sweet Sunday, With nothing to do…………

My perfect Sunday.  Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Sunday sung by Nancy Kwan and Jack Soo in The Flower Drum Song.  I could watch this movie over and over again.  I pretty much do.  🙂

Ah, I do love the classics!

Julie

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May 17, 2014

Thrift Store Art

(Hey, don’t knock it)!

Robert Cox, Benjamin Jorg Harris, Izzard

The 3 oil paintings/water colors I bought at our favorite thrift stores in Sun City, Florida.  The oil painting (top) is a Robert Cox.  We bought this painting for $50.00, it retails online for anywhere between $600.00 and $2,000.00.

Benjamin Jorg Harris

This is my favorite and this is the one that I am keeping.  Benjamin Jorg Harris was an African-American born in Albany, Georgia.  He is deceased now but he and his wife Georgette perfected the art of water color air brushing.  I am not selling this one for any price.  I love it!  I also really love his style and I am on the look out for more of his watercolors. I looked online and a painting this size goes for around $600.00.  I got it free with a ‘buy one get one free’ deal at my favorite thrift store.  The painting below right, is the one that we bought for $20.00, in order to get this one free.

The Izzard is on the right.  Gordon liked it.  It is a nice boat on a river in winter.  Very nice.  I have been trying to research this artist but there are a few Izzards and I don’t know which one painted this.

Never overlook thrift stores.  Many a treasure has been found there and I love nothing more than a good treasure hunt!

Happy Hunting,

Julie

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May 15, 2014

Hydrangeas in the Kitchen

You know, I love hydrangeas.  They are so beautiful and fluffy, they kind of remind me of ice cream.  I do tend to buy a lot of them during the spring and early summer.  I cut off their blooms and place them in water to enjoy in my kitchen.  Above I have some in a container I bought at the Asian supermarket.  I have no Earthly idea what the container is used for, it was in the cooking section,  but I loved the shape of it and had to have it.

My Grandmother’s Old Thermos

Above is my grandmother’s old thermos.  I went on many a vacation with my grandparents when I was little and this cooler had the coldest most refreshing water to drink.  I can remember it well.  We all had a different color cup and we would drink water from this cooler while in the car on our various road trips all over America.  My grandparents had taken me to most every state in America by the time I was 13.  I only have a few states left that I have not visited but they are on my wish list to go to someday.  When my grandmother died I asked my mother if I could have this cooler.  It is a constant reminder to me of our wonderful happy memories together traveling all over America.

White Hydrangeas

The white hydrangeas above were from my Mother’s Day celebration at the beach.  They look like vanilla ice cream to me.

Julie in the Condo Kitchen

Forming the ice cream into balls and rolling them in colored coconut.  This was my Mother’s Day dessert.  Ice cream balls rolled into different colored coconut.  Then put them in the freezer.

Prior to this stage we had divided coconut into 3 different bowls and added food coloring to each one.  Yellow, pink and blue.

It was then easy to scoop out some vanilla ice cream and roll each ice cream ball into the colored coconut.  Sometimes I did need to pack the coconut around the ice cream.  Once you do that you very quickly put them into the freezer.

Don’t they look great?

Summer Beach Balls

What a pretty summer beach dessert.

Pretty Mother’s Day Cake

Pretty Spring Dessert

for a hot day at the beach.

You know, when you have cut off the blossoms from your hydrangeas or any flowering plant for that matter, you can always then plant them into your garden so that the beauty can live on.  Like so.

The memories live on in your garden………..

Julie

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May 14, 2014

Sugar’s Surgery

Sugar Whann

Dropping Sugar off at the vet for her surgery.  She was traumatized, as usual.  We don’t take Sugar many places because we’re scared she’s going to have a heart attack.  She is a rescue dog that we adopted.  I believe that she thinks that when we get in the car to go somewhere that we are going to get rid of her.  This was the first time that I had ever taken her anywhere without Monk.  (I always arrange their vet appointment together).  It was also the only time that I have ever taken her somewhere and then left her.  So this has been a traumatic experience for me, Sugar AND Monk because he was left alone without her all day and moped around.  He had the saddest face all day long.

Sugar and Monk

When we adopted Sugar we wanted Monk to have a companion.  Dogs seem to be a bit happier when they have a friend.  Cats are the ones that do better alone.  People think that we named Monk, but we didn’t.  You see, I used to be a HUGE fan of the t.v. show Monk, staring Tony Shalub.  I loved that show!  I miss it to this day.  But when we were looking for a dog to adopt I couldn’t make up my mind.  Which breed?  How large?  How small?  They were all so wonderful.  I saw so many dogs that I just couldn’t make up my mind and then I saw the name MONK by this cute little male pug.  THAT’S our dog!!  Monk!  That is the dog for me!  So we adopted Monk first.  He is the funniest dog that I have ever known.  He is also the canine version of the t.v. character Monk.  Monk is scared of everything.  If a goldfish cracker falls on the floor it scares Monk.  Whoever named him got it right.  🙂

Then we adopted Sugar a year later.  Sugar was blind in one eye and going blind in the other.  She was attacked by the doberman dog that lived in the same house with her.  That dog blinded her.  When we first got Sugar and brought her home we could never find her.  She was always hiding.  I think that was how she survived living with that mean doberman.  So we had to prove ourselves to her and let her know that she could trust us.  We weren’t going to hurt her.  When we got her she was overweight, unhealthy, sounded like she had a smoker’s cough, and she had gingivitis.  So this surgery was about pulling two rotten teeth and cleaning up her mouth.  Now she is doing fine.

All the drama has me drained.  That, and the $420.00 price tag.  But she is worth every penny!

What a day!

Julie

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May 13, 2014

What a Weekend!

A Car Full of Goodies

Julie at Lowe’s

Car full of plants, urns, soil and paver sand equals a Happy Julie!

This past weekend, Mother’s Day weekend, Gordon and I worked round the clock on our many projects and we actually made quite a bit of progress.  We can pack a lot into a weekend.

This is my Mother’s Day gift from Gordon, a white bird-of-paradise tree with some lovely green spider plants for a border, white hydrangeas, white bulb solar lights and cedar ground cover.  Oh, and a new hose.  🙂

What a great gift!  Something that will hopefully live on for many years that I can look at and admire.

So what do you think?  Although this photo does not do it justice.  We wanted something nice on this side of the house.

So while Gordon was making me this, I was taking pictures of our front and backyard.  Thought I would share a few of them with you.

A few weekends ago we painted the fascia and the gutters.  I love spring in Florida.  Everything looks so nice and green.

Everything all power washed and pretty and clean.

All angles nice and crisp.

With the front all manicured it’s time to visit the backyard.

Gateway to the Backyard

We started the path around our backyard retaining wall.  I even bought some lovely ferns to plant into it.  I’m awaiting the hostas that arrive here in Florida in early June then I can start to plant everything.  I just wanted everything to be green.

We have been doing some re-landscaping in our backyard.  Tearing up an old path and making a new one.

Next Retaining Wall Project

Once the path around the retaining wall is finished we will be building up this landscape border as well.  It should look grand as we walk out our back door into the garden.  We expect to get these two projects completed by early June.  I hope so.  🙂

My herb garden is thriving!  I’m so proud of it.

Owl and falcon scares the squirrels away.

Believe me when I say that we have tried everything to get rid of these squirrels.  They chew on the plants and flowers.  All the money that we invest into our yard and garden, eaten up by those squirrels.  They do leave the herbs alone.  They don’t like the smell of them.  One way that we have learned that keeps the squirrels at bay are setting out plastic owls and falcons.  But you do have to keep moving them around your yard so that the squirrels don’t get wise to the fact that they are fake.

Notice the stepping stones in the photos above?

We were looking for just a few slate stepping stones for this area of our garden but they didn’t have any at either Home Depot of Lowe’s.  But we did notice these beautiful slate square tiles in the garden section of Lowe’s.  One of the tiles was broken in half so we asked how much they would cost?  If complete it would be over $5.00.  Since it was broken they gave both pieces to us for free.  Ironically, I was going to break the tile myself once we got home because I needed two pieces.  I got what I wanted for free.  🙂  So be sure to ask when you are shopping because you can get things like this at no cost.

Also Lowe’s and Home Depot offer a 10% discount for active and retired military and spouses.  Just ask for the discount at the register when you are paying.

Once we had done our shopping and planting we headed to our most favorite Latino market.

Gordon ready to do some shopping.

We find that we get some of the best deals at the Latino’s Supermarket in Valrico.  Here you aren’t paying for some major name brand supermarket with high cost rent and high cost location.  The fruits and vegetables are perfect and cheap!  The spices are inexpensive as well.  We save a lot of money shopping here.  Granted, we are the only people that aren’t speaking Spanish but so what?  We muddle through and the people help us navigate through it all with ease.  The atmosphere is very festive with Latin music playing in the background.  I love the vegetable section because they have this mist spraying on them with thunder and lightening sound effects.  Cool, huh?

They also have the best cafeteria style restaurant that you could ever want!  They pack the containers so full of food that your take out dinner will get you through 3 meals instead of just one.

Latino’s Supermarket

Best Dinner Ever!

Julie’s Dinner

Baked Chicken, Yellow rice with Beans, Black Beans, Avocado Salad that is to die for!  Also fried Yuca, the closest thing that I can come to French fries without eating potatoes.  Borderline diabetic, you know.  Oh, and Season 2 and 3 of SHERLOCK!!!  Mother’s Day gift.  🙂

My perfect weekend!

Julie

p.s.  Gordon got pulled pork, yellow rice, fried plantains, and barbeque ribs with the meat just falling off the bone!

Be sure to check out your local ethnic food grocery stores.  Don’t feel badly if you can’t speak the language.  They will help you.  Just be nice.  There is an Indian food store in Pinellas County that we visit (Sikh) and pretty much every Asian store and Asian supermarket in the Tampa area.  They are the nicest people.

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Mother’s Day

I’ve been asked what was the best advice my mother ever gave me?  She once told me to “Stay away from charismatic people because they can get you to do anything.”

I agree,

Julie

Happy Mother’s Day!

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May 2, 2014

Pretty Poop Urn Backyard Project

(Yes, you did read that correctly).

This idea was born from the fact that we had such a lovely backyard with so many pretty white rocks and statues and plants and flowers.  Whenever we would take Monk and Sugar out back to ‘do their business’, we only had this white bucket to deposit their poop into.  We have used it for many years.  Recycling, you know.  However it is starting to tear up and I thought it was time to get something new that would do the job as well as look nice in our backyard.  That is when I came up with the ‘pretty poop urn’ idea.

So why have this…………………..when you can have THIS?

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Be sure to check out

 

Hey, who says poop buckets have to be ugly?

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May 11, 2014

The Twilight Zone Day

Do, do do do, Do, do do do, Do, do do do……….

“You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension – a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone!”

                                               Rod Serling

Da, da, da, da, DAH!

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The Twilight Zone’s Hollywood Tower of Terror

The Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida

Care to check in?

Would you like some tea?

This is my favorite thrill ride in all the world, The Twilight Zone’s Tower of Terror falling elevator ride.  I love everything about this ride, old Hollywood glamor, set in the 1940’s, swanky hotel, bell hops, ghosts, vintage luggage, cobwebs all around, falling elevators, lightening strikes and of course this all takes place in…….

THE TWILIGHT ZONE

Right this way, please.  You’ll be in room 1313.  🙂

So here is my homage to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Twilight Zone’s Tower of Terror on this official Twilight Zone Day.

This is my grandmother’s vintage luggage.  The fur (fake) coat once belonged to my mother in her youth.  The vintage purse I found at a thrift store along with the poodle.  The black gloves were also my grandmothers.

Just ring the bell and someone will help you.  🙂

DO NOT DISTURB

The vintage travel alarm clock above belonged to my mother when she was young.  It ticks very loudly and the ring is so annoyingly loud that you just wonder how she could have gotten any sleep with that thing next to her all night.

Care to wait in the lobby?

Don’t forget to pick up a little souvenir snow globe of the hotel in the lobby gift shop on your way out.  🙂

Now just take the elevator up to your room.

You have entered The Twilight Zone……..

Da, da da da DAH!

Julie

p.s.  Now I can’t wait for Halloween.  🙂

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Happy Mother’s Day

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May 10, 2014

(My brother Frank’s 43rd. birthday)

Mother’s Day Weekend

The Women in my Family Tree

This is to be my most favorite blog post.  I have adored these women my entire life.  I was lucky enough to be born at a time when they were all alive and I was able to know them.  They are not strangers in photographs to me, they are women that I knew and loved and that loved me in return.  I carry the memories of them throughout my life and I always will.  They were good to me, they adored me and they made me feel as if I were the best person on Earth.  After all, don’t we prefer to be around people that make us feel good?

Nellie Mae

My Grandmother

This is the woman that I have been closest to in my life.  She was more of a mother to me than a grandmother.  She died 14 years ago and I miss her most everyday.  She was a character.  She would light up like a Christmas tree whenever she saw me.  She was the one person that I could call night or day and she would answer the phone.  There was no answering machine or voicemail, no screened calls, just her voice on the other end.  Always happy to hear from me.

The woman did love to eat though.  She did make the best Brunswick Stew.  I base my recipe on her’s.  Sometimes when I was with her she would have a craving for Kentucky Fried Chicken so we would have to swing by and get some.  She would then run every stop sign and red light in Rome, Georgia on the way home because of the smell of that chicken in the backseat of the car.  I would usually cling to the dashboard with my hands yelling at her to slow down and chastise her for running those stop signs.  She would then bark at me,

“I’M HUNGRY!”

She hated her name.  She thought that it sounded like a cow so she would tell people that her real name was just Nell Mae.

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The serving tray at left I decoupaged several years ago.  It is of my grandmother and great-grandmothers.  The photo in the center of the tray is of my grandmother’s mother, my great-grandmother Keith.  That is also her to the left of that photo as an old woman.  I loved her so much.  She is the one that made the best cornbread in the south.  She always had a big cast iron skillet of cornbread for me whenever I would come visit.  I now own that cast iron skillet and make my own cornbread in it.  She and I would sit out on her front porch, in the porch swing and fan ourselves on those hot summer Georgia nights.  I also spent many a time climbing her magnificent Magnolia tree in her front yard.  It had the prettiest blossoms and the nicest leaves.  I miss that tree.

Her name was Emmaline

I think she was beautiful.  I was very lucky to know her.

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Lillian, a.k.a.  Honnie

Honnie is my great-grandmother from Vincennes, Indiana.  I had a southern great-grandmother and a northern great-grandmother.  You could say that I had the best of both worlds.  I remember her well.  She would sew me the nicest clothes.  She sewed me the cutest Chinese pajamas with the cute mandarin collars.  She would always make me divinity.  She was the best cook.  Unfortunately all of her recipes were in her head and when she died she took them all with her.  I was the one that coined the name “Honnie”.  Her second husband was Coy Lone, my great-grandfather, everyone called her Miss Lone.  When my mother was a little girl she couldn’t say Lone so she called her “Hone”.  I then came along and called her “Honnie”.  That is when everyone started calling her Honnie.

In the photos above you can see Honnie’s Victorian purses.  I have always had them.  Ever since I was a little girl.  I loved them and still do.  In the photo above Honnie is looking through the surveyor’s scope.  Her first husband Gordon, and the love of her life, helped to build the railroad out west.  Honnie was with him every step of the way.  My mother has wonderful photos of how the railroad was built with my first great-grandfather in charge of it.  Also with Honnie there as well.  We never knew Gordon Haskin, he died of a heart attack in his 50’s in Vincennes and left Honnie a widow.  That is when she married Coy, the great-grandfather that I did know.  All I have are photos of Gordon Haskin.  But in most every photo he and Honnie are hamming it up.  Laughing and being very silly.  You can tell that they loved each other dearly and that they were probably the funniest couple to know.

Honnie in Vencinnes, Indiana

I love the Victorian attire and especially the lovely plumed hat.  Honnie had a very voluptuous figure.  She and Gordon were also very well off financially.  It wasn’t until he died that she and her second husband migrated south looking for work on their way down to Macon, Georgia but finding work in Rome and settling there.

Candles to Remember

This is the tray that I made for my mother many years ago.  Surrounding the tray are her dolls from when she was a child.

Mary Keith and Duddy

In the photo decoupaged on the tray above is of my mother in some school competition where she was crowned queen and her boyfriend Duddy was crowned king.  Duddy was killed when he was about 15 from a hunting accident.  He went out hunting with his uncle and cousins and got shot accidentally and killed.  My mother always resented that Duddy was killed.  He was her first boyfriend.  I can remember hearing of this story and thinking that I almost had a daddy name Duddy?

Here she is above wearing the dress from that little pageant.  I’ve surrounded her here with her dolls.

My favorite of my mother’s dolls.

It’s funny but she never used to be.  It’s strange how our taste’s change and the things that we don’t like become the things that we do.

Mary Keith and her Doll

My mother was a very cute little girl thanks to my grandmother that was always fussing with her hair.  My mother told me that my grandmother would make her sleep with rags in her hair to make it curly.  She hated it!  She was a tomboy that preferred to be outside playing with her dogs.  Animals were her best friends.

A Collage

I put this together a few years ago of my great-grandmother, center, and both her daughters on each side.  My grandmother on the left, and Opal on the right.  Opal died when I was 6 so I don’t remember her.  That always bothered my grandmother, that I did not remember her sister.  She told me that Opal adored me.

Opal Keith

The funny story that I’m told about me and Opal is when poor Opal was dying in the hospital of cancer and my grandparents couldn’t find a baby sitter for me so they took me to Opal’s hospital bedside, left me there,  and she had to look out for me.  Poor Opal.

Baby Mary Keith

My mother’s baby picture.  She was a beautiful baby.  My grandmother made sure that she took the best photos.  She was also an only child so she got lots of attention.

I wanted to share with you these photos because I think it is important for us to know where we come from.  I have never been close to my mother but I was close to the other women in my family and they instilled in me who I am.  I know where I come from and that helps me to know where I am going.  I adored these women and I always will.  You know I’ve always been confused when someone dies and you hear it said, “I loved her.”  Or “I loved him”.  Past tense.  As if just because the person is dead that their feelings for that person have died as well.  I have not seen some of these women in decades but I still love them.  Those feelings of love are still alive in me.  They aren’t dead.  To me Mother’s Day is about honoring those wonderful women that came before me.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!

Yours Truly,

Julie

p.s.  Happy Birthday Frank!

p.s.s.  Special mention to Miss Willie and Aunt Margie.  They were very special as well.

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May 8, 2014

The Spring of Tampa Bay

http://www.thespring.org

The Spring of Tampa Bay

This Mother’s Day………

One of my most favorite charities is The Spring of Tampa Bay.  They are a shelter that helps men, women and children of domestic abuse.  Did you know that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime?  In 2013, The Spring provided 39,941 days of shelter to 1, 215 women and children in crises.

A lot of times bad things happen to good people.  No one deserves to be bullied and beaten and abused.  As a woman I believe in helping other women instead of putting them down, I want to build them up.  It’s women that make the world more beautiful, (and gay men, but that is another story).  So when it comes to giving don’t forget our sisters out there that need our help.  I’ve added the link above.  If you can donate money, or you can also donate clothing or old furniture if you live here in the Tampa Bay area.  Whatever you can give to our sisters in crises.  We women need to stick together and help each other.  No one should be made fun of over the path that they took in life. Sometimes we all just do the best that we can with what we are given.

All mother’s are the same.  We just want the best for our children whether we be rich or poor, black or white, Christian or Muslim, or atheist or Jew.  We’re all the same.  It’s in the details that we vary.

Julie

p.s.  My donation is already in the mailbox.  Mail it along with your Mother’s Day card.

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May 7, 2014

Hump Day Movie and Puu-Puu’s

The Movie, Inside Man.

Love it!  Denzel and Clive!  Great plot, great story!

The Puu-Puu’s

Broccoli Dip

Delicious!!

🙂  Julie

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May 6, 2014

Bring Back Our Girls

https://www.facebook.com/bringbackourgirls

I’ve been following this story since it began.  I can’t imagine being a young school girl and a bunch of thugs kidnapping me and selling me off to be married to some disgusting man.  How terrifying.  I hope they are found soon.

Julie

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May 4, 2014

Sunday

(Breakfast)

Eggy in a Basket

We started the day off at the condo with one of our most favorite breakfasts, ‘eggy in a basket.’  It’s just an egg cooked in a pan in some butter in the center of a slice of bread on the stove.

We first learned of ‘eggy in a basket’ from the movie V for Vendetta.  Natalie Portman is served one by V.  It’s one of our most favorite movies.  So every November 5, Guy Fawkes Day, we have ‘eggy in a basket’.  This week is Brit Week so this is our little homage to the British.  One thing though.  You have to say ‘eggy in a basket’ with a British accent, otherwise it’s just an egg in some bread.  Boring.

Early Mother’s Day for Me

Next weekend is Mother’s Day and we have plans to build a path around our new backyard retaining wall so we decided to celebrate Mother’s Day this past weekend at the condo.

My Mother’s Day Cake

I put this together myself.  The white coconut cake in the center is a Pepperidge Farm cake that I bought frozen at the commissary.  This cake is a vintage memory to me.  My Grandmother loved this cake and I grew up with her always having one in the freezer.  So whenever I eat one I always think of her and how much she loved them.  The yellow, pink and blue balls above are sugar free vanilla ice cream that I formed into balls and then rolled in coconut that I added food coloring to.

Gordon on the Grill

We had the best dinner tonight.  Grilled lobster with an herbed butter, grilled crab halves, grilled corn on the cob, grilled veggie kabobs, and grilled Japanese eggplant.  It’s longer and thinner than regular eggplant.

Corn on the Cob and Veggie Kabobs

Grilled crab and grilled lobster.  Can you believe that little portion of lobster above was $50.00?  The commissary was out of lobster so we visited the Asian supermarket.  Normally they are very reasonable but this was pretty expensive.  It is from Canada.  If we don’t know where seafood comes from then we don’t buy it.

FYI:  Did you know that the former Administration made it perfectly legal for a corporation to buy up cheap seafood from somewhere else and then put it in the Chesapeake Bay for about 15 minutes, then remove it and they can legally say that the seafood came from the Chesapeake Bay?  I don’t know if it is still legal, some of the old contracts may not have expired yet but we still ere on the side of caution until I learn differently.  Since the big oil spill of a few years ago we steer clear of seafood.  The carcinogen used on the oil to “dissolve” it, didn’t.  It just made it sink to the bottom creating dead zones in the Gulf.  That carcinogen also is cancerous.  So who is to say that a fish up near Louisiana didn’t come in contact with that carcinogen and then make it’s way down toward us where it was caught and then sold to a supermarket for us to purchase?

Now a days we have to do our homework before we go shopping, until all those regulations are back in place where they belong.

Looking for Driftwood

So while Gordon is grilling up a storm above I am in the back mangroves looking for driftwood.  I found some nice pieces too.

On the Beach at Sunset

Barefoot Champagne of Course

Beautiful Sunset

What a great ending to a great day!  My early Mother’s Day.

Julie

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May 1, 2014

May Day is Lei Day

Happy Lei Day!

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My Perfect Day

Rainy Day at the Condo

Who in the world would think that someone’s ‘perfect day’ is a rainy, windy, stormy day at the beach?  Well, mine is.  I have always loved the rain.   I have always loved storms, not storms of Biblical proportion mind you, but lovely smaller ones.  You know, lots of rain, thunder, and lightening?  The kind of sleepy day storms that cause us to be drowsy and to put on our pajamas at noon and keep them on the rest of the day?  The kind of storms that have us blobbing out on the couch all day long watching our favorite Alfred Hitchcock marathon of movies one after the other (visual comfort food to me) while snuggling up with lots of blankets and pillows on the couch and surrounded by my favorite books and magazines.

So here I present to you ‘my perfect day,’

(Sometimes we get tired of all this sunshine).

The Perfect Set Up

I keep out here at the condo lots of my own personal items and leave them in the ‘owner’s closet’.  Lots of my blankets and pillows and books and magazines.  Little touches that make me feel at home.

Books, Magazines, Pretzels and Ginger Ale

Cuddly Blankets and Pillows

Best Magazines in the World

The Australian Women’s Weekly

New Zealand Edition

My Kiwi friend Trish sends them to me and I adore them.  They put our women’s magazines to shame over here.  I also like that they don’t do all that air brushing and photo shopping, or whatever it’s called.  These are real women that are very attractive with lovely flaws.  Just like the rest of us.  🙂

Blissfully,

Julie

p.s.  Dinner will be a big bowl of tomato soup with little corkscrew macaroni’s in it and a toasted peanut butter sandwich.   My favorite comfort food.

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May is National Photograph Month

I absolutely adore photography and I am my happiest when I am taking pictures.  All my stresses go away and I am free as a bird when I have a camera in my hand.  It is my creative outlet.  My inspiration.  With that thought in mind I wanted to acknowledge something that was said by John Herschel.

John Herschel was one of the founders of a new form of time travel, a means to capture light and memories.
He actually coined a word for it, photography.
When you think about it, photography is a form of time travel.

Julie 4th. Grade

My photo above is of myself many, many years ago.  Photography has captured me as a child. a ghost preserved by light.

Below is exactly what John Herschel said.

John Herschel was one of the founders of a new form of time travel, a means to capture light and memories.
He actually coined a word for it, photography.
When you think about it, photography is a form of time travel.
This man is staring at us from across the centuries a ghost preserved by light.
It’s not hard to imagine that in the near future, we’ll be able to capture the past in all three dimensions.
We’ll be able to step inside a memory.
It may not be possible to travel backward in time, but perhaps, one day, we can bring the past to us.
Here’s a moment from my past.

Julie

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April 27, 2014

Vintage Bath

After a long weekend of yard work I like to reward myself with a nice hot bubble bath.  I refer to this as my ‘vintage bath’.  Most everything here is vintage and was passed down to me by my ancestors.

This is my grandmother’s vintage fountain.  I’ve added some soaps and sea shells to it.  It is nothing more than chalkware and I love it.  I grew up looking at it.  It goes perfectly in our bathroom.

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We did add a real fountain to our bathroom.  I love to hear it when we have it running.  The statue was made by my great-aunt Margie in the 1960’s.  She and my grandmother took ceramics classes together and my mother and I have the nicest things that they made.

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The rubber duckie is sitting on a bench that my grandfather made many years ago.  I love it!  I think of him every time that I use it.  I love an elegant bathroom.  I like to fill it with pretty things that mean something to me.  Usually’ hand me downs’ from my ancestors that I love so much.

The light fixture over the bathtub is inexpensive, but I added my grandmother’s crocheted beads.  To me it is more beautiful than any crystal chandelier.

I have these wonderful nooks in our bathroom that I can place so many lovely things up high.  We really do have the nicest bathroom and I enjoy it every time I’m in there.  Here I placed some nice baskets that go very well with the color scheme, mustard and red.

You know you too can create a beautiful bathroom atmosphere that will not cost very much money, that you can enjoy.  I am not the kind of person that goes to get manicures or pedicures.  My lifestyle is the beach, the garden and craft work.  Not to mention, housework. I just prefer to do those things myself.  I don’t go to spa’s or get massages, that’s what Gordon is for.  🙂  I’m happy taking care of myself and using my own resources to do so.  Besides, my bath is a heck of a lot cheaper and just as nice.

Treat Yourself!  Everyone of us is worth it!  If you are female, then you are special and deserve it!

Julie

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Saturday Night Supper

Veggie Burgers and Baked Beans

We have not eaten red meat in 24 years and we have been healthier than most people that we know because of it.  So instead of hamburger why not try a good veggie burger or turkey burger?  You know our bodies are rotting as we age.  Do you want to rot fast?  Or slow?  It’s up to you.

I’m told that I look pretty good for age 53.  No red meat!

Julie

Oh, and the chips are baked, not fried.

p.s.  Which reminds me of the old silly poem.  Beans, beans, good for your heart.  The more you eat, the more you ____.  🙂

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April 26, 2014

Hidden Beauty

We were doing some backyard work today when I came upon this hidden beauty.  We have a lovely white bird-of-paradise tree blooming in our backyard.  So lovely yet hidden behind the tree by the fence.  I just had to share.  I love that we live in a climate that is conducive to these tropical plants and flowers.  I miss them so much since we left Hawaii.

You can take the girl out of Hawaii but you can’t take Hawaii out of the girl.  🙂  That pretty much sums it up!

And just because……………………………

Julie

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April 25, 2014

Thank you to everyone!  Our website has grown so much over these past 2 1/2 years.  We used to average about 19 visitors a day and now we are averaging between 4 and 5 thousand visitors a month.  We are so happy to welcome you!

A very special welcome to Germany and Japan.  We are so happy that you are posting us on websites in your countries where we are getting quite a bit of attention.

This weekend will be our front and backyard work.  We will also be painting the fascia around our house.  Sounds like a lot of work but I LOVE IT!

A preview of what is to come.  🙂

Julie

Sprucing up the Backyard

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April 24, 2014

Politics is Everywhere

When I started this website I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t get too political.  I want our website to be positive, informative and fun.   The people that have influenced me the most throughout my life did so by example, not by lecture. 

 You will occasionally see my political views interspersed into whatever it is that I may be featuring but sometimes I just need to speak my mind and that is what I do where guns and bullying are concerned.   Shortly after I started the website I noticed that we were getting a lot of traffic from the __________, ___ educational department.  We even rented the condo to some people associated with the school board who told us what fans that they were of the website and went on to tell Gordon and Myself that there were many more people in education that loved and read our website.  But then the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting happened and I wrote my very first anti-gun rant, to put it mildly.  The __________, ___ school teachers thusly dropped me like a hot potato and I haven’t seen ‘hide nor hair’ of them in my website stats since.  🙂   But that is o.k.  Obviously, they are gun lovers and are not interested in any sort of gun regulation.  That is very surprising to me coming from educators though.  However, it is not my goal to appeal to everyone out there.  I’ve never been popular in my life and I don’t expect to be now.   All Gordon and I have ever been interested in is appealing to other ‘like-minded’ people, and we have.  We have met or heard from some wonderful people all around the world and here at home.  Luckily we have access to the World Wide Web and if we aren’t happy with a particular website then we can always move on until we find a website or two that does appeal to us.  Kind of like how we like certain people better than others.  I’m no different myself.  But I have never been the kind of person to ignore something serious.  I was speaking out about the 2008 financial crises that was looming as early as 2003/4.  It didn’t hurt that I do have a brother that is an economist who lives in Ireland and graduated from the London School of Economics in London, United Kingdom.  He was actually one of the first people to sound the alarm of what was to come.  I grew up in a very politically aware family with at least 2 brothers with Political Science Degrees.   Politics was always spoken and discussed because Politics is Everywhere.  Every morning while I am having my coffee I read my favorite newspapers from all around the world.  The Guardian, the Independent, the BBC, the CBC, the Toronto Star, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, The Moscow Times, The Japan Times, La Republica, Australian Broadcasting Corporation,  New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, http://www.stuff.co.nz/ (my favorite) and a few others.  Those are just the foreign papers.  I do read several here in America but my favorite paper is the St. Petersburg Times here in Florida.  Politics determines whether or not our food and water is safe.  Politics determines whether the air we breathe is clean, whether or not we have affordable access to healthcare, whether or not we have an affordable living wage.  Whether or not the Gulf of Mexico is safe to swim in.  Because Politics is Everywhere.  When Bill Clinton was President he gave the Food and Drug Administration so much power that when a food/drug was deemed not safe for human consumption they had the power to go into a store and shut it down if they did not remove the unsafe item from the shelves.  When Bush was President he weakened the FDA so much that all they could do was to politely ask the business that the unsafe product be removed and the store had the option not to.  I can remember several years ago one morning reading online of a well known bread company (who outsourced to China) who’s bread loaves were being recalled due to metal found inside.  That afternoon I did my grocery shopping and I was shocked to see the said loaves of bread all lined up at the front of the store with a sale price of $1.00 each, with a $1.00 savings coupon attached.  In other words it was free.  I was shocked,  this is where I do my grocery shopping.  They know there is metal in this bread and yet they are giving it away to us.  I saw a woman with two small children loading her cart with the bread so I walked over to her and told her that I had just read online about this bread and that it has been recalled because of metal found in it.  She just looked at me as if I were crazy and then said, “Then why is it still here?  Why would they do that?”  I honestly didn’t know what to tell her.  Should I have said something like, ‘Because they don’t care about us?  Because they don’t care about your children?  Because profit is more important than our health?   Because they are a cold, heartless corporation?’  I didn’t answer her because I knew it wouldn’t do any good.  All she cared about was that great deal that she was getting and to her it was more important than listening to some unknown woman she just met.  But I at least felt good about myself that I did try to help.  I failed, but I did try.  Do I always speak out?  No, not always.  It depends on the situation.  But sometimes you have to.  The people that spoke out about the coming financial crises that came to fruition in 2008 were mocked and made fun of by a certain political party that are experts at causing childish trouble and bullying.  They have no problem rounding up their followers to do their bidding and send them this way, or that way.  Wherever they need them to go.  With them not having the time to think for themselves.

Do you remember when I said the following at the beginning of this blog post?

When I started this website I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t get too political.  I want our website to be positive, informative and fun.   The people that have influenced me the most throughout my life did so by example, not by lecture. 

The people I talk about above ‘that  have influenced me by example and not by lecture’ were living in a different day and age than we are now.  Our country has serious problems that are not being addressed.  Little by little all those freedoms that we used to brag about and cherish are being taken away day by day.  All willingly given up by us, the American people ourselves.   In some states murder is being legalized by giving its citizens the rights of police.  Another financial crises is on its way because nothing was done to change any of the laws regulating Wall Street.  The can was just kicked down the road.  Do we really expect Wall Street to start to regulate itself now?  How did that turn out anyway?

When our Supreme Court Justices gave corporations the rights of people, (the Citizens United ruling) meaning that they can flood as much money into our elections that they want to, the American people lost and corporate America won that day.  Here is the danger that no one is talking about.  We have corporations from all over the world here in America.  Corporations from China, Israel, Saudi Arabia, The U.K., Japan, etc.  Our future President could be decided by China.  Or Israel, or Saudi Arabia because they are corporations here in America that now have the power to flood money into their Super Pacs that could decide our future elections.   That’s what we have to look forward to.  Let’s say Israel wants us to go to war with Iran with them but America is hesitant?  All they have to do is to flood money into our political system, put their people in place and then viola!  We send our children off to die for Israel.  Oh most people will never know the exact reasons for it.  The real reason is always hidden and people are just too busy to try and find out the facts themselves. Besides, we all have more important things to distract us.  Our good quality television shows like Keeping up With the Kardashians and any of the Housewives of this and that county.   Better yet, let’s just lull ourselves into a Faux News state of mind and let them tell us what to think.  Or rather scare us into thinking what they want us to.

So how did I get here when I first started this blog post talking about guns?  Because Politics is Everywhere.  It’s all connected.  Ignore it at your peril.  Or rather your children’s.  After all, what harm can a little metal do in a loaf of bread?

Julie

p.s.  It’s easier to buy a gun in Florida than it is to vote.  There is something very wrong with that.

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April 23, 2014

A Sad Day in the State of Georgia

Georgia Governor Signs ‘Unprecedented’ Gun Rights Bill

Looks like Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia has given permission for every trigger happy hot head with a gun to kill people.  People can now carry guns in schools, churches and of course, drinking and eating establishments.  After all, nothing goes better with liquor than a firearm.  Does this mean that students can carry guns to school now?  After all, we know how responsible they are.

Wow.  Just unbelievable.  What a sad say for Georgia.  Georgia you  may not realize it now, but you will eventually.  Usually when it’s too late.

I’m in mourning for my home state.  Why did you ever let those people take over the state anyway?

I know, I guess I don’t have much room to talk living down here in ‘stand your ground’ Florida.  What a sad day for all of us.

Julie

p.s.  What’s so great about a gun anyway?  I think they are ugly.

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April 22, 2014

Earth Day

Our Backyard Elkhorn

(I added the little fairy doors.)

Today is Earth Day and I thought that I would commemorate the day by posting some recent and past photos from our backyard.  To us everyday is Earth Day around here.  We don’t need a special day to think of our planet.  To me I’m not just a Floridian, or an American, I am a citizen of Earth.  I love my planet and I want to help take care of it.  How I do take care of it is to care about our own little eco-system, our front and backyard.  Here we have so many creatures that live here with us.  Without realizing it we all work together to achieve a goal.  We’re all connected.  What happens to one, effects the other.  Here is how our own little environment works.

I Think Our Elkhorn Looks Magical

(Producing oxygen you know.)

Can You Find the Spider?

Can you at least see the spider web?  This spider has been building it’s web in this very area for years.  Usually with me walking through it every morning when I take the dogs out, my arms flaying in panic because I just walked through a spider web.  But for the first time this year the spider is building it’s web higher.  Now Gordon and I can walk underneath the web without disturbing our backyard neighbor.  Did the spider learn to build it’s web up higher to avoid it being destroyed every morning?  Or is this a different spider who has taken up residence here?  This spider helps to keep our backyard bug problem down.  Bear in mind that we do live in Florida and Florida was formally a swamp.

The little lizards in the photos above we have in our yard by the hundreds.

Backyard_lizard_small

They also keep the bug population down so that we don’t have to worry about getting bitten with disease carrying mosquitoes when we go outside or roaches and other bugs that can infest our home and our property.  We don’t use pesticides thanks to our backyard friends.

See this harmless black snake?  One morning I took the dogs out and we were standing quite close to it without realizing it.  When I did spot it I grabbed the dogs and went into the house.  But you know, it is a non-poisonous snake.  It wasn’t bothering us.  The snake was just existing.  Snakes do play a role in our functioning backyard.  They keep the rodent population down.  I have come to appreciate them and I think they get their bad reputation because of The Bible.  We are all taught to see them as some evil dangerous thing yet they help all of us without our even realizing it.  So I have learned to live with the snakes.

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I also thank Steve Irvin for enlightening me about reptiles.  You remember him, The Crocodile Hunter?  He died several years ago and left behind a nice legacy of goodwill towards our less popular species on our planet.  We were one of the first families in our neighborhood in Ewa Beach, Hawaii to watch his show.  Brodie even went as Steve Irwin for Halloween before anyone knew who he was.  We had to keep explaining to people who he was dressed up as.

Steve Irwin

1962 – 2006

I appreciate that you taught me something.  For that I am very grateful.  You made me a better person where our reptile community is concerned.  I am a better friend to snakes than I was before.  Our planet is worse off now that you are gone.

Osprey, or their common name of Sea Hawks

Although they may be kind of hard to see in the photo above, there are two osprey sitting in our trees.   Gordon and I were working in the backyard about a week ago when there was about 3 of them that were stirring up quite a commotion.  The squirrels (whom I tolerate) were sounding their alarms warning the other squirrels that danger was nearby.  Then with one fell swoop one of the sea hawks grabbed a squirrel into it’s great talons and flew off.  If it weren’t for these sea hawks our yard would be overrun with squirrels.  Without realizing it these osprey are helping us.

Tadpoles

Usually every year for a few months at a time I sacrifice my beautiful fountain outside my nook window because the frogs will lay their eggs in the water and I cannot bring myself to get rid of them.  So we nurture them until they are fully grown and leave the fountain.  We give them lettuce so that they will not cannibalize each other.  They gobble it up too!  It’s interesting to see them grow larger and then suddenly legs appear and they start breathing the air and then hop off to become frogs.  Frogs are extremely important to our eco-system.  A low frog population is a bad sign of what is to come.  So I do my part to help bring them into the world.  They help me so I help them.  That’s what neighbors are for.

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So what do you do to help the environment?

Come on pro-lifers, here is your chance to bring more life into the world.  You talk about it enough.  You want all these babies to be born but yet you don’t have a problem with the many lives that wars, death penalty’s and gun laws take.  So why not turn your attention toward the planet and it’s other life forms for a change?

Uh, huh,  🙂

Happy Earth Day

Julie

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April 20, 2014

Happy Easter To All

This year we spent Easter at the beach.  It is becoming a tradition with us now.  Although we pride ourselves as being non-traditional.  Oh well, a conundrum I suppose.  Sounds like something out of Alice In Wonderland.  🙂

Below is my account of our great day.  Hope you enjoy.

(In the photo above I filled some clear Easter eggs with sand and shells.  I also place two of our more decorative shells into a larger one with some sand.  The colorful shells almost look like Easter eggs themselves).

Easter at the Beach

Ahh…..  Life just doesn’t get any better than this, especially when springtime and Easter are in the sea air.

In the photos above, Gordon relaxing on the beach.  Looks like he found a sponge.  These sponges are quite expensive when you buy them in the stores, as in up to $100.00 for the size that we found.  But it will require some kind of treatment.  I’m researching what to do to preserve it.  Tarpon Springs is where they harvest the sponges.  It’s a beautiful Greek fishing village.  We’ll have to bring you that someday.  A wonderful place to visit.

Kites flying outside our balcony.  Always something going on at the beach to look at and admire.  Whether it be the many sea birds flying by in formation, airplanes pulling their banners, or just a pretty kite.  Beach life is very special and unique and we never tire of it.  🙂

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Ready for beach puu-puu’s.  What with a big Easter dinner coming later there is no reason to fill up at noon.  So these little treats were very satisfying to get us through till evening.

Cheese, crackers, turkey sausage with mustard, roasted red pepper dip, baked herbed goat cheese, delicious!!!

Gordon can always find sharks teeth.  Remember that the black ones are the oldest, as in millions of years old.  Try and spot the black triangles in the sand when you are strolling on the beach.  If you look hard enough then you can find them too.

My Canadian friend Sherry gave me the best little wine glass ever.  I thought I would try it out.  Hey, this is a holiday after all.  No judging!!

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You know Indian Shores, Florida (and our surrounding area) really is the ‘best kept secret’.  Our little hole in the wall attracts people from all over the world, Canada, The Netherlands, The U.K., Scotland, Germany, India, China, Australia, New Zealand, with many of you becoming our friends.  It’s true, most of our friends have rented the condo at one time or another.  We’ve met the best people through the condo.

Indian Shores is a quiet, peaceful area.  The beaches are NEVER crowded, except for the week of July 4th. and we get the best sunsets in the world.  Oh, and we also have Winter the Dolphin down the road in Clearwater.  Who can top that?

BTW:  There is a Dolphin Tale sequel coming soon.

Can’t wait!

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Easter Dinner

Gordon in the condo kitchen cooking our dinner.

There is just something relaxed about celebrating a holiday at the beach.  All formalities are gone.  Flip flops, sandy toes, swimsuits, beach towels, coolers, foam noodles, beach bags, hats, sunglasses, fishing poles, tackle boxes, and lots of sand and seashells all around.

Casual, Relaxing and Fun

We brought with us buckets of herbs from our garden to eat with our Easter dinner.  I even added some tulips and calla lilies to some beach buckets.  One of the pots had split so I had to put the tulips into another container so I improvised.

Delicious Cocktails with Strawberry and Mint

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Pretty Place Setting

Most of the pretty tableware that I have here I picked up at thrift stores, antique malls, or I inherited from my grandmother.  The pretty tablecloth I bought at my most favorite thrift store for just $6.00.  It  would have gone for a lot more on Ebay or at an antique mall.

The vintage Florida dish, I have two of them, I bought at Goodwill last year for just a dollar each.  So petty!  It was probably sold at a gas station many, many years ago to tourists on their way down to Florida for their vacation.

Zucchini Fritters with Feta Cheese

Topped with citrus and mint

The Menu

Grilled Pork Chops

Grilled Cabbage Wedges

Zucchini Fritters with Feta Cheese

(My favorite)

Glazed carrots and Pearl Onions

Broccoli Slaw

New Potatoes cooked with fresh Mink and topped with Thyme

Julie’s Deviled Eggs

(Topped with our fresh chives).

Fresh Marinated Mozzarella Balls

With our fresh green basil from our garden.

(We’ll be bringing this recipe soon).

and

Hawaiian Honey Wheat Dinner Rolls

(Thank you President Obama for the import of the King’s Hawaiian sweet roll products.  They didn’t come here to the mainland until you became President so I attribute that to you.  I had missed them for many years since leaving Oahu.  So happy to have a Hawaiian President!  I know Hawaii is so proud of you.)

p.s.  Thank you President Obama for giving my daughter healthcare.  Veronica has now signed up with the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a.  Obamacare.  She is now covered whereas before she wasn’t.

Thank you for that Easter gift!  You are whom I am thankful for.

Our dinner was truly delicious!

( I wanted us sitting at opposite ends of the table like they do in the movies).  🙂

Now comes the best part, the leftovers!!

Hope everyone had a wonderful relaxed Easter holiday.  We had a great 6 days.  All holidays should be relaxed, that’s why they are called “holidays”.  🙂

Julie

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See you at the Beach!!

Julie

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April 15, 2014

Just Some Photos I wanted to Post

Reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and

Through the Looking Glass

by Lewis Carroll

You know I’ve never read it before.  I’ve probably seen every version of Alice in Wonderland on television throughout my life.   I’m sure that it has been on some “required reading list” program when I was growing up but I never actually read it.  So I decided that this book is going to be my Easter reading.  As I see it I am over 50 I had better get to those things that I want to do before my time is up.

Fact:  Lewis Carroll is the pseudonym of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.  He was born January 27, 1832 and died January 14, 1898 of pneumonia.  His family was predominantly northern English, with Irish connections.

Lewis Carroll

It is said that Queen Victoria loved the book so much that she asked that his next one be dedicated to her.  According to Lewis Carroll that never happened.  It’s amazing how gossip ends up in history notations as “facts”.  Similarly to Marie Antoinette’s famous quote where she says to the starving peasants (Why do we have to call them peasants anyway?)  of France when there was no more bread, ‘Let them eat cake’.  There has never been any evidence that she said such a thing.  That quote was alleged by the wife of her husband’s rival.  History is filled with so many unsubstantiated quotes by rivals.  Remember that.

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Pretty Easter Baskets

(Note the Gerber daisies above.  I’ve featured them in so many of my spring and Easter photos.  I’d say that I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of them.  Now it’s time to plant them in the garden).

Pretty Bunnies all in a Row

And me, sitting on the other side of the window, or through the looking glass.  Sort of.  🙂

Julie

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April 14, 2014

Easter in the Backyard

I’ve always had a thing for statuary, spring flowers in pots and pretty Easter baskets.

It was my idea to make this table out of a part from a fountain and a round stone top glued on.  I couldn’t find what I wanted in a round top so I bought a square one and had Outdoor Impressions to round it off for me.

Outdoor Impressions is a business here in the Tampa Bay area that is featured on the DIY Network quite a bit.

Key Limes and Clementines

I could care less about candy but I do love fruit so clementines and key limes are what I prefer in my backyard Easter basket.  Incidentally, this is the first year that our key lime tree has been ever producing.  Usually it just has a season or two but our little tree has been going strong now for the past year giving us wonderful key limes.

Every morning the sunlight comes streaming into our yard now that our neighbors have removed those two trees that bordered our yard.  We are so loving all this bright white light.  Also this side of our yard is starting to thrive now.

Happy Easter to everyone!  Whether you spend the day in church or at the beach (hint, hint) I wish all of you a wonderful day!  Happy Easter egg hunting and may the Easter Bunny be good to you!

Julie

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April 13, 2014

Pre-Easter Brunch

Menu

Little Orzo Pasta Baskets filled with Stir Fry

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

Colorful Hard Boiled Eggs

and

Potted plants and lots and lots of chocolate bugs.

Our Spring Table

Although hard to spot in this sea of parsley, the orzo pasta bowls are filled with the stir fry.  I ended up eating most of the parsley on this platter myself.  It’s very good for you and aids in digestion.  Why do you think restaurants would put it on your plate?

Remember the boiled eggs that Veronica and I colored?  They look very pretty on the table.  I’m saving them for deviled eggs for Easter.

Like the chocolate bugs crawling all over the table?

How Gordon Made the Orzo Pasta Baskets

You first want to cook the orzo pasta until a little longer than you would otherwise.  Normally you would cook the pasta until al dente but we wanted the orzo to be a bit sticky so Gordon cooked it just a minute or two longer than it called for.

Orzo pasta is about the size of rice grains before cooking.  This kind of pasta is usually in soups.

Once you have spooned the cooked pasta into the greased muffin tins you want to form a little cup so there will be room for the filling.  Bake on a 350* oven for about 12 minutes or so.  Just eyeball it.  You just want it to turn a little darker in color.  (See the photos above).

Do NOT remove from the muffin tin until fully cooled.

Now you want to start your stir-fry.

Baby corn, snow peas, shredded carrots, topped with roasted sesame seeds and some of our fresh chives.

I’ll be bringing the recipe to our Gordon and Julie Food page soon.

Bon Appetit!

Julie

p.s.  The Brussel sprouts are my favorite!

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April 11, 2014

Easter Bunnies in the Backyard

Welcome to the bunny photo shoot.  Above are just a portion of mine and my daughter’s bunnies.  I decided to get them out and enjoy them for Easter.  Many years ago when we were living in Hawaii and Veronica was in pre-school I sewed her a bunny as an Easter gift.  Actually, I sewed the clothing on the bunnies.  The bunny itself was a rag doll that I bought at a craft store.  It was one of the first things that I sewed as an adult and I was very proud of myself.  Seeing as how the only other time I had ever sewn anything was in Home Ec in high school and I got a ‘D’ on my vest.  It was that damn piping that blew it for me.  🙁

Rag Doll Bunnies

So pretty.  Makes me want to go on a picnic.

It’s the accessories that make this so very cute.  The little floral and silk choker around my bunny’s neck.  The little flowers glued to the straw hat.  I actually painted that purple ring around the hat.

The bunny above, I made for my grandmother many years ago.  When she died I brought it home with me.  Tomorrow is her birthday.  She would have been 101.  Hey, it’s been known to happen.  🙂

I wish she were still here.

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The bunny at photo right, the “Easter Bunny” gave to Veronica when she was about 10 or so.  She never liked it.  I adore it and I’ve always gotten her out to enjoy every year.  She even has her own watering can.

The little bench in the photo at left above, I stenciled a long time ago during my crafting years.  You know I really enjoy making things with my hands.  That is when I am most at ease and at my happiest.  In my opinion, working with your hands is far more rewarding.

 

Happy Easter!

Julie

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Easter Eggs in the Herb Garden

Getting Ready for Easter

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I so love spring, gardens, bunnies and lots of pretty eggs to hide.  Too bad my children are all grown.  I was the fun mom that went that extra mile for my children and their friends when it came to most every occasion.  They loved it then and I think they still love it now although they pretend that they don’t.

I think I need grandchildren.  🙂

Eggs and Chives

Nothing goes better with eggs than chives.

Remember the herb garden?  Well now it has bunnies and eggs.  We’ll be incorporating the eggs and the herbs into our pre-Easter brunch.  Can’t wait!  It’ll be delicious!

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Coloring Easter Eggs

Photo top left, my daughter Veronica preparing the egg dyes for our hard boiled eggs.  Photo top right, how to boil perfect eggs.

(The secret is to place the eggs into a large pot with plenty of water on the cool stove top.  Once you’ve done this, turn the stove top up to high and bring to a boil.  Let the eggs boil for anywhere between 10 and 18 minutes.  Depending on how many you are boiling and how you prefer them to be.  Never add the eggs to a boiling hot pot as the hot temp does shock them and they tend to crack).

This is something that my daughter and I would do every Easter, with Brodie joining in as well.  Veronica the artist, would make the prettiest eggs by experimenting with the different colors.  One year she even made plaid eggs.  How cool is that?  But now she’s so busy that I am lucky she had time to do this with me now.  We just used the tride and true Paas kits that have been around forever.

Our finished eggs, aren’t the pretty?  Not bad for a quick 20 minutes.

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April 7, 2014

Sunday Night Garden Mojitos

I love spring here in Florida as it is always the perfect temperature to be outside.  Not too hot, not too cool, just right.  So we do tend to spend a lot of time outside, last night was no different.  Mojitos in the garden with our own mint and some farmer’s market blackberries that I picked up on Saturday.  Notice the pretty floral headband that I have around my glass?  It is a child’s headband that I picked up at the Dollar Tree, I thought it was cute but I would never use it if we had children here.  It was just me and Gordon so I placed it on the glass to distinguish which one was mine.  I do think that if a child were here and saw that it might temp the child to drink it.  So I don’t recommend making alcoholic drinks look “fun” when children are around.

In both photos top, you can see our mint.  In the photo top left in back of our little table you can see our spearmint, that mint was used in our mojitos.  In the photo top right, we have a big pot full of chocolate mint, great in drinks and desserts.  The old black metal chair belonged to my great-grandfather.  I think at one point it was red because red paint is showing through.  It’s old and rusty but I love it.

Mojitos aren’t that hard to make.  Just buy a ready made mix and add a good rum, some herbs and some berries.  We’re using a Shellback brand rum here.

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Photos I took in the backyard over the weekend.

A Perfect Hibiscus

Those darned squirrels chewed most every rosa-senesis bud off one of my hibiscus plants so this called for desperate action on my part, I bought a fake falcon.   Now let’s see you go near this one!  I dare ya!

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Sunday Night Supper

Grilled bratz with sauteed onions and bell peppers on a bun with corn on the cob topped with Parmesan cheese.

Gordon is an excellent cook and he did not disappoint here.  Great Sunday night dinner.  Corn was a bargain at the Farmer’s Market yesterday.
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April 6, 2014

I Have Skin Cancer

Now, before I continue any further I want to get out of the way that I have the basal cell skin cancer, a non-life threatening skin cancer.  A surface skin cancer.  My life is not in danger, this cancer will not spread to my organs, but I wanted to share my news with you so that maybe I can inspire some of you to get checked out by your dermatologist, especially if you are around my age and have lived in these very tropical or warm climates like I have.

The photo above is of me with my brothers Johnny and Frank vacationing at a beach resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  My step-father had a medical convention.  This was in 1978 and I can remember this was the first summer that we used sunscreen.  I am 17 here.  I am also wearing make-up in the photo above, something that I always did no matter where I was, even the beach.

Back in November 2013 I saw my dermatologist just as a routine screening.  Even though there was no history of skin cancer in my family and I had no suspicious areas that I could detect myself,  I still wanted to get checked out.   I had experienced a long life in the sun thanks to my childhood upbringing in Georgia where I got blistered at least twice during every summer.  Once I can remember having to go to the emergency room in Dahlonega when I was around 8 because I had second degree sunburn. This was before sunscreen.  I also lived in Hawaii for 13 years which meant that I was outside most every day of the year.  Not to mention our lives spent here in Florida, whether vacationing or residing,  so I knew that it was necessary for me to get myself checked out.   I of course had to get a referral from my primary physician.  He was hesitant to give me that referral as he didn’t deem a visit as important seeing as how I had no family history of it, but I was insistent.  I’m glad that I was seeing as how skin cancer/pre-skin cancer was detected.

(If you think you need care and your physician doesn’t then sometimes you need to fight for it).

When we moved to Maryland from Hawaii back in 1999, when I was almost 40 I did get an appointment at that time for a screening and I was given the all clear.   But when I turned 50 I knew that I needed to get checked out again.

The cream Zyclara boosts my immume system and that enables my own body to fight the cancer, or pre-cancer.

At my very first appointment this past November I was given one of those paper gowns and I could strip down to whatever I was comfortable with.  Meaning that I could either wear my underwear, or not.   My doctor then went over all of me with a small light.  He found 6 places that he considered to be “suspicious”.  So he immediately took biopsies of those areas which were then sent off to a lab for analysis.  In the meantime he saw a suspicious red dot on my neck below my collar bone that he was concerned about and prescribed a cream for me to use twice a day for a two week period and then I would come back in for a follow up.   The cream my dermatologist prescribed was Zyclara.  It is used for 3 reasons, it kills skin cancer, pre-skin cancer, and genital warts.  🙂  I’m using it for the skin cancer, thank you.  Within a few days my skin started to react to the cream.  It became very red and blotchy, a sign that my neck was either cancerous or pre-cancerous.  It is hard to know exactly because they both react the same way.

In the meantime all my biopsies came back negative for cancer but I did have two abnormal moles that they removed.  We get all our moles from our mothers.  Our fathers do not pass down moles to us.  Abnormal moles are also hereditary.  Although they aren’t cancer, they aren’t normal either and even though they were removed they can always grow back, that is why monitoring them is so important.

The cancer or pre-cancer that I have on my chest right now has drifted all around my chest for the past 4 months now with the Zyclara killing it.  Actually what Zyclara does is that it boosts my own immune system so that my body is killing the cancer.  Kewl, huh?  I feel like a super enhanced Julie.  (Something that I know for a fact scares the hell out of a few people).  Shh…..  🙂

I just saw my dermatologist last week and he has told me to allow my chest to heal up for the next 3 months and then come back in to check the status of it.  So for now it looks like things are going to be o.k.  I’ll let you know what happens next as I hear about it.  Ironically the people most affected by the basal cell skin cancer have either blue, green or grey eyes.  I have grey eyes.

Yet another example of the skin cancer on my chest.  All these photos were taken within a few weeks of each other.

I can still do what I want I just make sure that I have a bandage covering the area when I am outside.

The Highest Skin Cancer Countries

Did you know that New Zealand and Australia have the highest cases of skin cancer in the world?  Something to do with the hole in the ozone layer directly above them.  Not to mention that I just don’t think us fair skinned people were meant to live in such hot tropical climates.  There is a reason that indigenous people have dark skin with more melanin than the rest of us.

You know one year ago last April my step-father died of melanoma cancer.  It started out as a black dot on his nose.  He went to get it checked out and it was diagnosed as Melanoma.  It was removed with surgery.  They dug out the area as best they could, this was about 5 years ago.  They then did a skin graph where they removed a strip of skin from his forehead and placed it on the nose area.  For a while he looked very patched up on his face until the skin smoothed itself out.  He had a life of growing up in Texas in a family of cotton farmers.  He was outside all the time.  He was one of the “Rednecks”.  The term redneck originated to distinguish those that worked inside and those that worked outside.  The ones with the sunburnt necks were the “rednecks”.   But with melanoma skin cancer it does seem to come back and it did with a vengeance.  He developed a tumor in his brain the size of an orange and underwent radiation treatments.  But it then spread to his other organs and he died.

There are 3 types of skin cancer.  Mine is the basal cell that is non-life threatening.  The second form is Squamous Cell Carcinoma that often arise from a small sandpaper like growth called actinic keratosis.  They appear as red nodules or scaly patches of skin.  This type of skin cancer can spread to your organs.

Then the last is of course malignant melanoma, what killed my step-father.  If you are like me and have had a life in the sun, are middle aged or senior in years, then see your dermatologist and get checked out.  The sooner it is detected the better your chances are.

I’ll keep you updated with my condition but for now I am being treated and will be o.k.  I do spend a great deal outside but I have always worn sunscreen, at least once I became an adult.  But prior to that my sunning days were using a fake tanner as a teenager and young adult.  I used to get teased for it by the other girls for having that “fake tan”.  Well, all that fake stuff kept me out of the real sun so that wasn’t such a bad thing.  When my college roommates were sunning themselves at Myrtle Beach or outside our dorm on campus in Charlotte, North Carolina I at least was wearing make-up.  Something that they would laugh at me for doing but I at least had something on my face whereas they had nothing on theirs.   Anything that you have on your skin to protect you from the elements is always a good thing.  Whether it be a sunscreen, cosmetics, a bronzer, or even at hat because it does offer some protection.  I have always been one to lather myself everyday with a body lotion from top to bottom.  Even though there is no SPF in it, it is still something on my skin.

Sunscreen

The main ingredient in sunscreen is zinc oxide.  It causes the sun to reflect off of us.  It is also the main ingredient in paint on the roads and in safety equipment.   It is a mineral that we were running low of here in America not too long ago, at least until we discovered that Afghanistan is loaded with it and other minerals that we need.  Hmm….

Neutrogena with Helioplex and Oil of Olay with Sunscreen

Neutrogena has a sunscreen with an SPF of 85 that can actually prevent skin cancer.  Look for the word helioplex.  Helio meaning blood.

I also make sure that my husband wears a hat outside when he is working in the yard or when we are at the beach.  I don’t always use suntan lotion with sunscreen in it when I am outside but I do wear a body lotion with sunscreen in it.  Oil of Olay makes one.  Oil of Olay is also an Irish company.

Any little thing that we can all do to help keep us safer in the sun the better.  You know every little spot that we have on our bodies is from the sun.  They are not ‘age spots’ they are ‘sun spots’.  There is no such thing as an age spot.  Spots do appear on us as we age, but they are not due to our aging.  If so then we would have them where the sun doesn’t shine on our behinds. 

To Quote Baz Luhrmann, “Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen.”

Julie

Baz Luhrmann’s Sunscreen Video Advice to the Class of 1999.

Brilliant!!

The best advice anyone will ever give you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTJ7AzBIJoI

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4/4/14 Kewl, huh??

I have finished my herb garden write-up for our

Outdoor Garden

Why don’t you check it out?

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April is National Garden Month

I just finished mine.

A little bit of work and a lot of reward.

I incorporated my old wine barrel into my garden as well.

I’ve potted my rosa-senesis and I’m so excited to see the blooms come in.  Everyone has a favorite flower, this one is mine.

Ah…..  Spring is here.   Enjoy it!

 

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April 1, 2014

April Fool’s Day

“This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three-hundred and sixty-four.”

Mark Twain

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Brunswick Stew Weekend

Every two years I make my Brunswick Stew.  I usually double or triple the batch, give some away to friends and neighbors, freeze a ton of it, and pig out on at least one big pot of it ourselves.  This year was no different.  I base my recipe on my grandmother’s recipe.  I use her’s as a guide every time that I make it.  But this year I realized that I really do need to write the recipe down exactly as I make it for my children.  They love it and I know that when I am gone they will want to make it themselves, so this time that is exactly what I did.

I base my recipe on my grandmother’s recipe that she published in the Recipes to Remember From The First Christian Church.  I’ve altered mine.  It is not like hers.  I am hesitant to give out my recipe because I may enter a Brunswick Stew competition someday.  Hey, you never know, so until then I am going to hoard my recipe and just keep it in the family.  But I knew that it was important for me to write it down.  I deeply regret that I never got my grandmother’s green bean recipe that she made in a pressure cooker.  Or my Great-Grandmother Keith’s cornbread recipe that she always made for me when I would go see her.  There was always a big cast iron skillet of her corn bread sitting on the kitchen table waiting for me.  I do know that she made the corn bread with cake flour.  But it was the best corn bread that I had ever eaten in my life and I would love to have it again.  I do have her cast iron skillet that she would prepare it in.  I had a wonderful childhood surrounded by these wonderful seniors that were so good to me.  Even though they have been gone so many decades I still remember them as if it were yesterday and my traditions that I do reflect these wonderful people.

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MUM, Multi-Task Unpaid Miracle Worker

My Kiwi friend Trish gave me this apron a few years ago and I always use it when I am making my Brunswick Stew as it can be a bit messy.

To the left top, my many Brunswick Stew ingredients.  To the right, top, a whole chicken.  I cooked three for this recipe.

Potatoes and Onions

This recipe literally takes me from sun up to sun down to make.  It can be a complete mess but so well worth it.  Now we have a freezer full of stew to last us for the next couple of years.

This is what all the fuss is about.  I assure you that it is worth it.  🙂

Brunswick Stew and Sherlock.  Life just doesn’t get any better than this!

Sherlock and Watson

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.  Excellent series.  Benedict Cumberbatch is pretty much the best actor around now.  He is remarkable in everything that he is in.  I am so enjoying the Sherlock series.

Oh, a piece of advice from me:

Write down all of your recipes.  When I was young my great-grandmothers did all the cooking.  Because of that my grandmother and my mother never really learned to cook.  My grandmother didn’t start cooking until she was in her 50’s.  It was when her mother-in-law died that she had to start cooking.  I can remember my great-grandmother Honnie’s food as being spectacular!  But no one ever wrote down her recipes so they were lost when she died because they were all in her head.  My great-grandmother Keith’s fantastic cornbread recipe, lost, because no one wrote it down.  One day I walkied into the kitchen of my grandmother’s house, she was making her famous green beans in the pressure cooker, she was with my great-aunt Margie.  I asked my grandmother to give me her green bean recipe.  Both she and my great-aunt burst out laughing and said, “Recipe!  There is no RECIPE!”  Well, she died 14 years ago and with it her green bean “recipe”.  Those were the best green beans that Gordon and I had ever eaten in our lives.  But because there is no “recipe” we can’t cook them.  I wish that I could be a fly on the wall now and watch her cook them way back when.  They were perfection!  So write everything down for your future generations.  They will thank ME someday.  🙂

Julie

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March 30, 2014

Almost Finished

What a very productive weekend.  I’ve almost finished with my herb and flower garden.  I have just one more thing to do.  It requires some spray paint and a garden stake for a hanging pot with herbs.  I’ll get to that tomorrow.  But until then, what a very rewarding day.  The kind of day where your head hits the pillow and you are out for the night.

I cannot tell you how lovely the herb garden smells.  I’m planting the fragrant lavender here.  I’ll be bringing all the photos and write-up to the Outdoor Garden page soon.  But what a great day!

ttyl…..

Julie ——————————————————–

A Sneak Peak at my Herb Garden

I’m so proud of it!  It took me about 4 days to put together.  I’m still working on it but here is a sneak peak.  I hope it inspires you to create your own herb garden.

I love green and orange.  Such lovely colors for a garden.

Basil to die for!  🙂

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March 29, 2014

If you aren’t watching Cosmos, you are missing out.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Host of Cosmos:

A Spacetime Odyssey

http://www.cosmosontv.com/

Excellent Series

Best Selfie Ever!!

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A Preview of This Weekend, March 29 – 30, 2014

While Gordon pressure washes the entire house, driveway, landscaping, fence, rugs, sidewalk, etc.  this weekend, I am going to finish up my herb garden and make my Brunswick Stew.  I always double and sometimes triple the batch.  It usually takes me from sun up to sun down to make it.  We freeze a lot of it and give it away to neighbors too.  This is my pride and joy.  I base my stew on my grandmother’s recipe and it is as if she is in the kitchen with me every step of the way.

Brunswick Stew Ingredients

(Along with my ancient food processor that I bought over 20 years ago that has a big crack in it.  Funny how those old products still work while the newer models only last a few years at a time).

Spring has come to the Nook

My vintage birdcage that I bought a few years ago.  Perfect for spring.  I’m on the lookout for some pretty birds for it.  No real ones, just something pretty from a craft store or something vintage from a thrift store or antique mall.  Anyway, I’m still looking.  But I wanted to share it with you.  I’ve rigged some little lights inside of it and I love how it looks at night.

I am on the lookout for a new table and chairs in the nook.  These have long outgrown their usefulness, but until then they will have to do.

Have a good weekend!

Julie

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March 28, 2014

Working in the Herb Garden

This is my labor of love.  Working in the herb garden.  This is my project that I enjoy starting every spring, and replenishing as needed throughout the year.  When we started this about 5 years ago we just had a few pots with a big assortment of about 2 kinds of herbs.  🙂  But now we have grown and even expanded our little garden to include 3 different kinds of oregano, 3 different kinds of parsley, ginger, chives, tons of basil, dill, thyme, rosemary, 2 different kinds of mint, aloe, lavender, vervain (One never knows when one may encounter a vampire.), 5 different kinds of hibiscus, and last but not least sage.  We hope to add even more herbs by having some hanging pots in the garden as well.  Even expanding the herb garden further along the back of our house now that we have more sun in our backyard thanks to our neighbors removing two of their trees that bordered our property.  That has really opened our backyard up to more sun so we have been given a nice gift in that.  A fresh palette to work with.

Now that Gordon and I are pre-seniors we are incorporating more and more fresh herbs into our daily diet.  Did you know that eating fresh herbs as opposed to dry ones actually help prevent certain cancers?

I can’t tell you how nice it is to walk outside our backdoor everyday and cut whatever fresh herbs we may want with our dinner.  Here is last night’s dinner.

Julie’s Famous Red Sauce

Although I do not have a drop of Italian blood in me, that I’m aware of, I do a pretty good job with whatever Italian meal that I may try.  I think a big reason behind that is that I have come to perfect my “red” sauce.  Seeing as how it goes into most of my Italian cooking.  Here in America it is known as spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce, but in Italy, or certain regions, it is known as Red Sauce.

Every family in Italy has their own red sauce and every family believes that their red sauce is the best.  I am no different.  So am I bragging that mine is the best?  Or am I just telling the truth?  hmm..

Regardless, this wonderful Italian meal is a good example of how I incorporate fresh herbs from our garden into the meal.

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Last Night’s Appetizers

(Toasted seasoned wholewheat baguette with herbed goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes marinated in olive oil, topped with roasted garlic).

Although I’m using basil as the garnish above left, I often place a basil leaf on a slice of rustic Italian bread that has been topped with goat cheese or any other bruschetta that I may want.  A great way to eat it and a nice presentation at any get-together.  It usually goes over quite well with guests.

Whenever I make my red sauce it is the messiest and most fun thing to cook.  I actually make more of a ceremony out of it and have a nice red wine with a lit candle.  Atmosphere is a big part of eating, so why not cooking as well?  I have added a ton of fresh Italian oregano and chives from our garden to my sauce.  Along with two jars of marinated artichoke hearts and a chopped tomato that was going bad.  But not yet.  I find it a great way to use up ingredients in the bottom of the frig crispers that will soon spoil if not used quickly.

(Gordon may be the one in culinary school but I’m not such a bad cook myself).

Gordon and I prefer a wholewheat spaghetti pasta but my kids like the regular kind so we compromise and I combine both.  Also don’t forget about topping any bread that you may serve with fresh herbs as well.  Just add them about a minute or so before the bread has finished cooking.

This was a perfect dinner from the appetizers to the entree.

FYI:

Did you know that tomatoes originated in Peru?  We can thank the Peruvian nation for introducing us to them.  Because of immigration we know tomatoes.  Better yet, thanks to immigration Italy knows tomatoes and was able to create so many delicious meals that the world has come to know and enjoy.  All thanks to immigration.

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Although we didn’t have this with last nights dinner, we have served it before for our friends so I wanted to recommend this as well.  A great before dinner drink with appetizers.

Perfect Limoncello Cocktail

This is made with an Italian lemon liquor.  It is a bit costly but I love this for special occasions.  I have a version of this recipe posted below in the blog but we have managed to perfect it so I wanted to share with you what we have done.

Very pretty so serve, especially for spring, and especially with one of my daughters paintings in the background.

The Ingredients:

750 mil. chilled Limoncello liquor

Lemon Lime Sparkling Water (As much as you want.  We probably use about 3/4 of the 2 liter bottle).

Volcanic Lemon Juice (About a cup or so).

Fresh blueberries, optional.  Don’t use frozen as they will cloud your cocktail.

Fresh mint, although I don’t have any pictured above.  Again, another way to have fresh herbs.

Honorable Mention

Limoncello With Dessert

Although this may look rich it isn’t.  It is just a slice of angel food cake, some sugar-free cool whip, sugar-free blueberry syrup and some fresh blueberries.  We tend to eat our desserts very plain and sugar free but very tasty.  You don’t need all that sugar to enjoy something sweet.

A good rule when shopping for food is if it is over 5 grams of sugar put it back on the shelf.  That is the rule for a “normal” person.  I however, am a borderline diabetic so I can only go up to 3 grams of sugar.  Anything over that I place back on the shelf.  Sugar is everywhere so all of us need to go out of our way to avoid it as much as possible.  No wonder we are a nation of diabetics and future diabetics.

For my birthday I wanted a big beautiful rich decadent cake and I got one.  I had 3 bites of the whole thing.  That was a treat for me.  My husband, children and in-laws got to eat the rest of it.  I don’t mind, I savored those 3 bites.  🙂

Julie

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March 25, 2014

Tonight’s Dinner

Baked Goat Cheese with Red Peppercorns and Basil Olive Oil

with Thyme (red wine optional)  🙂

I don’t always like to eat something big and heavy for dinner.  Mostly I prefer something nice and light.  It’s hot here in Florida and eating some big heavy meal is just not that desirable.  So I eat a lot of salads whether they be garden, pasta, chicken, egg, or ham.  But sometimes all I want is just some cheese and crackers.  This is so nice!  That is why I wanted to pass it on to you.  All you need is some goat cheese, any kind.  Some olive oil, any flavor.  Some peppercorns, any color.  And an herb, any kind.  Here I’m using thyme from our garden.

Turn your oven on about 250*.  Use some sort of ramekin or baking dish.  Cut up your goat cheese into chunks and place into the baking dish.  Next sprinkle your peppercorns.  I prefer the red peppercorns.  They have a different taste and look gorgeous with the cheese.  Then just drizzle some sort of olive oil over the cheese, I used a basil infused olive oil.  Then just place in the oven for about 20 minutes.  Remove, and add some fresh thyme or any other herb that you prefer.  Then spread on crackers or some sort of bread.  So delicious and very satisfying.

For our Christmas cocktail table we made the same thing only this time we used two different kinds of goat cheese.  An herbed, and a honeyed.

This makes an excellent appetizer for any occasion or time of year.

Not to mention the health benefits.  Olive oil, fresh herbs, goat cheese.  The whiter the cheese the lower the cholesterol.  We tend to stay away from the yellow cheeses as they have far more cholesterol than we need.

This looks wonderful for Christmas.  The beautiful red, white and green.

Try it, you won’t regret it!

Julie

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March 24, 2014

My Pride and Total Joy

My Rosa-Senesis

I have been looking for this particular hibiscus now for the past 3 years but have been unsuccessful.  At every garden stop that Gordon and I would make I would always scour the sea of flora and fauna in the hopes of my finding my one true hibiscus love.  (Yes, there is such a thing).  But yesterday, as I am casually trolling up and down every isle in the garden section at Home Depot all of a sudden I saw it, my rosa-senesis!   I recognized the leaves instantly!  There were only 3 left and I threw my body over all of them just in case the woman looking at the rose bushes next to me was trying to ‘fake me out’.  I was ready to go one-on-one if I had to.  But luckily I was able to snag all of them without so much as a stink eye hurled in her direction.

This morning when I went outside I was rewarded by the hibiscus god with these blooms!

Now the owner of the rosa-senesis at the end of our beach access path at Quiet Waters in Indian Shores, can sleep at night now that the (unknown)  person that would steal their blooms has her own now.

Some people, right?  🙂

Julie

p.s.  Someone needs to alert the scientific community about the new breakthrough in pollination.  You see, every 3rd. bite of food that we eat was pollinated by a bee.  Our scientists have been trying to figure out how the bee does it for over 20 years now.  What with the Colony Collapse Disorder, with so many of our bees gone missing, our food supply is at a serious risk.  However, as Gordon and I were leaving the Home Depot yesterday Gordon explained to me that he had spoken with a Home Depot garden associate that explained to him how to pollinate a plant.  “Really”?  I said.  “Do you mean to tell me that the garden associate at Home Depot has figured out pollination whereas the worlds greatest minds haven’t?”

Someone needs to call Bill Nye!  🙂

Whenever you see a bee leave it alone and worship the ground it fly’s above because that bee is the reason we have food to eat.  As Einstein once said:

America needs to stop it’s ridicule of smart people.  It’s those smart people that are going to save us from ourselves.  It’s those smart people that are going to cure diseases, invent things to make our lives easier and better.  So be kind to those nerds in school.  They are far more important that any sports jock hometown hero. 

Look at all the money that is thrown into sports yet science always seems to gets the shaft.  It’s our knowledge of science that will save us, not our knowledge of football.

                                                                    Julie Lancaster-Whann

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March 23, 2014

Starting the Outdoor HERB Garden for Spring

Gordon and I shopping for a variety of things, but mainly herbs for our herb garden.

Judging by Gordon’s demeanor, herbs are serious business.  🙂

Here we bought everything but herbs.  They came in the second car load.

Gordon loading my car above.

Every spring we clean up our herb garden with yearly maintenance but also we like to add a little color and something new to the herb garden as well.  Some new exotic herb or flower.  So we went shopping and bought a wonderful variety.

Ready to Start The Herb Garden

I will be bringing the finished results to our Outdoor Garden page.

I’ll let you know when I have completed the herb garden.

Yesterday I spend the entire day cleaning out this area.  I have the sore muscles to prove it!!  Gordon had blown leaves off the roof that landed all around me that had to be raked up.  We lose our leaves here in Florida in the spring when the new growth pushes the old leaves off the trees.  The rest of America looses their leaves in the autumn months, but not us, we are cursed with tons of tree debris dumped all around us every spring.  I then placed my pots all around the area on my blank pallet that I want to plant my herbs and other flowering plants in.  Then Gordon and I went shopping for all that we needed.  I’ll be putting the garden together in the next day or two.  I’m so looking forward to it.  Getting my hands dirty is actually a lot of fun.  Having all these wonderful fresh herbs is only going to make us healthier.

Why not start your own herb garden?  Fresh herbs are delicious and good for you.  All you need are some pots, soil, and the herbs.  Give them sun and water and they will continue to thrive and make you healthy.

Julie

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March 17, 2014

Camp Fire Girl’s Day

On March 12, I commemorated Girl Scout Day by posting some photos of my daughter Veronica and our Girl Scout Troop in Hawaii.  See blog post below.  However today, March 17th. is Camp Fire Girl Day.  I was a Camp Fire Girl for a few years when we lived in Dahlonega, Georgia, my mother was our troop leader.  The photo above is of me, age 8, taken in November 1969.  I loved Camp Fire Girls.  I was happy in Dahlonega and I had many friends there.  We were also close enough to my hometown of Rome that my Grandparents were able to come and visit us often.

What I enjoyed most about Camp Fire Girls was the big Native American influence, especially in our ceremonies.  I love the Native American culture and customs.

When I look at myself in the photo above I see this little girl with her head held high.  I look like I have all the confidence in the world.  It’s interesting to look back at old photos and really take a good hard look at ourselves.  What was I thinking in that photo to have such confidence?  Or did my mother just yell at me to stand up straight while she took the picture?  Guess I’ll never know.  🙂

Letters From Camp

I attended a Camp Fire Girl summer camp one year for two weeks, Camp Echoe in Clarksville, Georgia.  My mother gave me these pre-paid postcards to write home.  I saved these 3 over the years and they sit right here beside me on my desk.

5 cents to send a postcard back in 1970.

My handwriting is TERRIBLE!!  (Actually, it still is).  🙂

Since you probably can’t read what I wrote I thought that I might translate for you.  Here goes:

Dear Mother,

Send me 16 pieces of gum and a pack of M and M’s and 16 fire balls, send me a pair of loafers I need it for hourse -back riding. (It’s suppose to say ‘horse-back’) Oh and send some pepermint candy.  Lost a tooth and got a qurter.

Love,

Julie

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And, my favorite:

Dear Mother,

Seend me lots of letter every day tell Grandmother, Granddadd to seend letter every day to.  My best friend in the cabin is larua franks and beth chambers. (BTW:  both those girls hated me).

I hare nothing else to say.  Good-By

Love,

Julie

p.s.  I lose the tooth and, got a qurdor.

My spelling above is atrocious, I know.  Hard to believe that 3 years after I wrote those letters above that I will go on to win a spelling bee at school in Virginia.

You know it’s fun to look back and reflect on the kind of people that we used to be.  To see how far we’ve come.  If anything I hope that I inspire some of you to drag out the old photo albums and take a look at yourselves.  Be proud of who you are and where you come from.

Julie

The flag of Ireland that my brother Johnny gave me.  He lives in Ireland.  I have it proudly flying outside.

Oh, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day to ya!  My ancestry left Scotland and then stopped off in Ireland to get a bride and then came over to settle in to the Georgia/Alabama area in the 1600’s.  That’s where I come from.  How about you?

My shamrocks I’ve got growing in a pot out front.  Lovely, aren’t they?

p.s.  When you are descended from immigrants you really don’t have any right to tell the people on the boat behind you that they can’t come here.  My ancestors back in the 1600’s were illegal.  They didn’t check in with any immigration office.  They bought land, tilled the soil and raised their families to be good American citizens.

If anyone has any right to tell us to leave it is the Native Americans.  They are the only legal citizens of this country.

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March 16, 2014

Sunday Supper

Julie’s Baked Rigatoni with Garlic and Herb Bread

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This is a perfect Sunday evening dinner.  Also makes great leftovers for the coming week.

Also check out our Bar-B-Que Cups as well.  Photo above.  Perfect for the kids and grand kids.  Delicious!  We used ground turkey.  You don’t need beef anymore.  We haven’t eaten beef in over 20 years.   This recipe is also on Gordon and Julie Food page.  I hope you will try it!

Hope you have a very nice week!

Julie

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March 12, 2014

Girl Scouts Birthday

March 12, 1912 is the day that Juliette Gordon Lowe started Girl Scouts in Savannah, Georgia.  I cannot let this day pass by without commemorating my own Girl Scout memories so here are just a few of them.

I love to reflect on very happy memories and my being a Girl Scout Leader in Hawaii is one of those very happy memories.

I miss these girls!  I had the best girls in my troop in Ewa Beach, Hawaii.  I was the troop leader.  I could not have hand picked better girls.  My daughter Veronica is at the far right with the blue head scarf in the photo above.  We are camping here with the ocean just a few hundred yards away.  Life just doesn’t get much better than that!

That is me, far right, beside Veronica and little Brodie, our mascot in the middle.  Get involved in Girl Scouts.  You will never regret it.  Give those girls the best memories that you can because that is what they all gave to me.  I miss you Troop 637!!!

Love you,

Miss Julie

(The Laminator)

Inside joke.  I laminated everything.  🙂

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March 7, 2014

A Snow White Continuation

I am having such a hard time packing away my beautiful Snow White vintage birthday things.  My ‘Snow White birthday’ was on February 13th.  Yet here I am not being able to put the items away.  So I guess I will enjoy them for a little bit longer.  Why not?  Time is short so make it last as long as possible.  🙂

There is nothing that I like better than beautiful flowers in lovely vintage glasses.

Julie

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March 3, 2014

Russia and the Ukraine

My Message to you Both

Russia and the Ukraine, you are my top 2 countries that view my website every month.  I appreciate your interest, although I don’t know why you care about little me in Florida, but yet you do.  Every month I can always count on my Russia and Ukraine readers to put me over the top in my website stats.  This is a small world in which we live, I feel like I know you.  I hope that you can get through this conflict.  It’s governments that start these things, not the people.  I have noticed that my Ukrainian stats have fallen in the last week.   I admired the skier, Bogdana Matsotska, for quitting the Olympics and heading home because of the conflict in the Ukraine.  She has guts and morals that I admire.  Her, and her coach father.

Bogdana Matsotska

I hope that this can all be worked out, Russia and the Ukraine.  I miss both of you and I have always appreciated your interest in us.

Julie

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March 2, 2014

My Vintage Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow Globes

March is Crafter’s Month so let’s get busy!

  Great project and a lot of fun!

Julie

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February 26, 2014

My Pedestal Plates

I have been working on creating some lovely pedestal plates. 

Here are some nice ones that I have been working on.

 

My Pretty Plate Pedestals

Just add a lovely candle holder to any old plate and it becomes elegant.  I have had the best time creating these.

This is one of my favorite pedestal plates that I made.  I recognized the plate as being one of a set that once belonged to my grandmother when I originally saw it in a thrift store.  I knew that I had to have it.  It now holds my bananas.

The photo below are the plates that I created for my birthday.  How elegant cupcakes look on them.

This was such a good fun project that I enjoyed doing.  I hope you will think so too.  🙂

Julie

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February 16, 2014

Family was here for a visit.  Had a blast.

I have some gorgeous nieces!!

Left to right, my daughter Veronica, my niece Erin, then Kelcy with adorable Deanna in front.  It was a joy to see them and visit with them.

Julie

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February 14, 2014

Valentine’s Day!

I LOVE Valentine’s Day!  I hope everyone is having a nice day today.  Whether you have someone special in your life or not, it doesn’t matter.  Go buy yourself something special!  Don’t get all down, perk yourself up with some flowers, candy and even a gift.  Or just a single rose to sit on your desk.  Why not?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Julie

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My Birthday Preview

The Apple

hint, hint……..

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February 13, 2014

Today is My 53rd. Birthday

It’s hard to believe that I am over half a century old!  I like to look at it as fine wine gets better with age.  🙂   You know I don’t mind getting older as long as I feel good.  And I do still feel good.  I like to appreciate every birthday that I have because I know they are only going to get worse.  🙂  So here’s to me on  my 53rd. birthday!  I hope I get 53 more!

My Snow White Birthday Then and Now

1966 and 2014

Julie age 5

Having cake and ice cream at my party.

The original Walt Disney Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs movie was made in 1937.  Top left is the movie poster.

Lynn, Julie, Cathy and Jackie

That is me in the red coat with my friend Lynn, in the white coat, and my cousins Cathy and Jackie.  It’s my 5th. birthday and we are on our way to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the movie theater in downtown Rome, Georgia.  This is the best birthday that I have ever had in my life.  It is the one that I remember fondly.  Why this birthday?  I think because all of my grandparents and great-grandparents were alive.  I was lucky enough to get to know them.  They were all around when I was young.  They were the best family that I could have had.  Unfortunately I didn’t have them all for very long, but I remember them as if it were yesterday.  So this year I wanted to recreate that nostalgic birthday feeling.

So here is my vintage Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Birthday.

That is me, below, in the red sailor dress at my grandparents house.  Although you can’t see it, I am holding my slinky in the photo at left.

And here is my slinky in the photo below.

  I love the vintage Snow White tin, made in England.

Coincidentally, the sugared rose was on a past birthday from Disney World that I made sure I kept.

Photo at right is my Snow White birthday card and watch.  Cute, huh?

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Old Lady Legs

I think that the game that we are playing in the photo is Hi Ho Cherry O.  What I love most about this photo is the ‘old lady legs’ in the background.  I grew up looking at those ‘old lady legs’.  I was always playing on the floor and they were at eye level.  Notice how they are crossed at the ankles?  Old lady shoes, support hose and their dresses.  I wonder if that is why I love dresses?  I will wear them over pants or shorts every chance that I get.  I miss those ‘old lady legs’.

This is my Snow White record that I got as a child.  I still have it and I still listen to it.  I love all those old silly songs that just made you happy.

Adriana Caselotti was the voice of Snow White.  She was from an operatic singing family of immigrants from Italy.  She was born in May 16, 1916 in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  Died:  January 19, 1997 at age 80 in Los Angeles, California.

Adriana Caselotti, the voice of Snow White.  She was quite a beauty herself.

Shy Snow White peeking from behind the curtains on her balcony and my own Snow White doll at right that I have had for many, many years.

I made sure that I included an Apple on my birthday table setting.

 

The Apple (at left)

My Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Tree

I decided to use my vintage Snow White planter as the tree stand and I created this for my birthday.  Who says trees are just for Christmas?  I did receive the vintage Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ornaments as a Christmas gift this past year so I couldn’t wait to put this together.

There is just something so special and unique about vintage Disney.

The snow globes above, I made a few years ago.  The vintage deer and trees I found online.  I love vintage.

I wanted lots of roses for my birthday and here I have white as well as red.  I used my old red velvet jewelry boxes to act as steps for my Snow White and Prince Charming.  Vintage wine and dessert glasses hold roses.

My little box of Valentine’s Day chocolates.  Because my birthday is the day before Valentine’s Day I always blur the two together.  I get TWO special days in a row, not just one.

I also wanted plenty of simple cupcakes and delicious heart shaped cookies everywhere.  To me food is not just to be eaten, it is also a decoration, just like flowers.

A placed my Snow White necklace around my silver pitcher that I used to house my white roses.  I also placed little plastic Snow White characters all around, even as cupcake toppers.

Sweet treats of cookies and sweet Disney Princess jelly beans.

These are some of my pedestal plates that I made by gluing candle stick holders to various plates and platters.  I love the effect.  The one at left looks as if it goes together.  The pink cut glass nut dish belonged to my grandmother and I found the cut glass candle stick holder at Goodwill for a dollar or so.  Together the two pieces look like they belong.  It also adds height to the dish to make it look grand.

Although hard to see this is such a lovely plate with pretty pink roses all around.  The candle holder is also pink with some pretty glass edging on the base.  I found both pieces at Goodwill for just a few dollars.  I also made the pedestal plate that the apple is on in the photo way up above.

My wine glass cupcakes. As I said above I made the pedestal plates.  I added some cranberry glass wine glasses to the plates and placed some cupcakes inside just to add some height.  I love the look.  I’ll take anything in a wine glass as it is.  🙂

  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Copywright 1978 by Walt Disney Productions

(I found this wonderful book at a thrift store for a few dollars.  It is such a treasure trove of information on all the classic Disney movies).

  The Story of the Production

Walt Disney’s first attempt at making a feature-length cartoon was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a milestone in motion picture history.  Based on a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, Disney’s eighty-three-minute entertainment is one of the most popular and beloved movies ever made.  Once known as Disney’s Folly, it is now called Disney’s Masterpiece. 

“You should have heard the howls of warning when we started making a full-length cartoon,” Walt Disney recalled years later.  “But there was only one way we could do it successfully and that was to plunge ahead and go for broke—shoot the works.  There could be no compromising on money, talent, or time.  Well, as everyone knows, the picture did make money, and if it hadn’t, there wouldn’t be any Disney Studio today,” 

Snow White with the Apple

Production began in 1934 and was completed in 1937.  More than 750 artists worked on the picture, creating at least one million drawings, of which over 250,000 were used.  Studio chemists in the Disney paint laboratories ground their own pigments from special formulas and mixed 1,500 colors and shades for the characters, and backgrounds.  The multiplane camera, invented and developed by Walt Disney Studio technicians, first reached a high degree of perfection in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  With it, animated scenes achieved a three-dimensional quality because characters and backgrounds could be photographed on several levels or planes. 

Walt Disney with Shirley Temple in 1939 at The Academy Awards

(RIP Shirley.  You were a cutie.  Thank you for all the entertainment that you gave me when I was a child watching you on television).

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and sciences gave Snow White a special award in 1939, with nine-year old Shirley Temple making the presentation to Walt Disney of a large golden Oscar and seven miniature replicas.  There are eight songs in the picture, several of which are now considered “standards” in the trade: “I’m Wishing,” “One Song,” “With a Smile and a Song,” Whistle While You Work,” “Heigh-Ho,” “Bluddle-Uddle-Um-Dum,” “The Dwarfs’ Yodel Song,” and “Some Day My Prince Will Come.”  The songs have been translated into thirteen languages and are well known throughout the world, wherever this record-breaking picture has played.

(As taken from Walt Disney’s Treasury of Children’s Classics).

I blogged a few years ago about how disappointed that I was in my generations “Disney Princesses” as being so helpless that they had to have men come and rescue them.  I admired the bravery of Mulan and the skill and determination of Merida and I literally viewed iconic roll models of Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora, Sleeping Beauty as weak and helpless.  But I have come to realize that Snow White, for example, wasn’t as helpless as I originally thought.  She couldn’t fight anyone if she had to but she was good and kind and pure and innocent that she did charm her way into getting the help and shelter and food when she needed it.  She had attributes that although are wonderful to have, they are not always appreciated by the masses.  Luckily for her the dwarfs did appreciate her and they helped her when she needed it.  They gave her a “job” when she was homeless.  Maybe Snow White wasn’t so helpless after all.  Maybe I should view her as a positive roll model that did the best with what she was given.  She bloomed where she was planted.  She was not such a helpless one after all.  If only more people were as good and kind as she was then the world would be a better place.  So Snow, you are now on my top 10 list.  I will always love you.  Thank you for the happy birthdays that you gave me.

We ended the day with the best possible outcome.  My  daughter Veronica and I watched Snow White and the Seven  Dwarfs on television.  Just the two of us.

Watching Snow White on Blu-Ray

I felt like a silly girl again.  That’s what I wanted.  That feeling.

Happy Birthday to me!

Julie

Check out what my daughter gave me for my birthday!  A Snow White robe.  Loving it so much!!!

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February 10, 2014

I am so loving these Olympic Games.  The opening ceremony was beautiful.  Russia is beautiful.  (BTW:  Russia, you are one of my top countries that view my website.  Thank you!)  My favorite part of the Olympics are when the countries file in during the opening ceremony.  Some countries with hundreds of participating Olympians and others with only 1 or 2, I  am just as excited for my own country as I am for all the others.  I really enjoyed the graceful dancing in the opening ceremony.  It reminded me so much of my beloved Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky.

A ballet that I go to many a Christmas season.  Tchaikovsky is also from Russia and was mentioned during the opening ceremony.

Yulia Lipnitskaya of Russia

Yulia Lipnitskaya of Russia, the 15 year old phenom that just won the gold in her skating division is so amazing!  When other countries in the arena are giving her a standing ovation then you know she is remarkable.  This is what the Olympics are about.  Introducing us to these wonderful athletes.

I do love all the Winter Olympic events but I do have to admit that my favorite is the curling.  It reminds me of my days of playing Shuffleboard with my grandparents when we would vacation in Florida when I was young.   I am rooting for America but I do have to admit a weakness for Norway. 

Gotta love the pants!

The Norwegian Curling Team Pants

Love the Pants!!

Good luck America, (and Norway)  🙂

I’ve got to get a pair of those pants!

Julie

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February 6, 2014

With the start of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi this year let’s not forget our Special Olympics happening right here in America.  I had the pleasure of meeting two of our Florida Special Olympians a few weeks ago, Allie and Christopher.  Allie is a runner and Chris plays volley ball.  Come out and support Allie and Christopher and all of our 2014 Olympic participants.

Allie and Christopher

Contact information for our Florida Special Olympics

http://www.specialolympicshillsborough.org

Special Olympics Florida – Hillsborough County Director
Glenn D. Fite, Jr.

Email:  glennfite@specialolympicshillsborough.org

Cell:    (you can call this number day and/or night)
Fax:  813.712.8780

Special Olympics Florida – Hillsborough County Competition/Games Director

Michael Corsi

Email games@specialolympicshillsborough.org

Special Olympics Florida – Hillsborough County Volunteer Coordinator

Penny Young

Email: rpmyoung@tampabay.rr.com

Good luck Allie and Christopher!!!  I will be rooting for you!!

Julie

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   January 29, 2014

Kung Hee Fat Chow

Happy Chinese New Year

Every Chinese New Year I always go to our favorite Chinese food take out restaurant to get our dinner, New China in Tampa.  General Tso’s chicken, Bourbon chicken, boneless spare ribs, vegetable Lo Mein, crab Rangoon, and egg rolls.  Oh, and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Flower Drum Song DVD.  Nancy Kwan totally rocked the 60’s.

2014 The Year of the Horse

Happy New Year,

Julie

I have always admired Nancy Kwan!  A great beauty and talent!

 

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January 24, 2014

    Blogging With Chinese

Hoping that everyone has good fortune in the new Chinese year.

Nothing better than blogging with Chinese at the condo.  Still doing the Christmas write-ups for next year.  I’ll catch up, eventually.  🙂
Julie

Another favorite meal is Kimchi, brown Jasime rice and shoyu with potstickers.

Sometimes I think that I was born Chinese in a past life.  Can’t get enough of the food.

I also love the chopsticks!

Pot stickers are my favorite!!

January 31, 2014 is the Chinese New Year and this year it is the Year of the Horse.

Kung Hee Fat Chow!!!  (Happy New Year)

Julie

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New Year’s 2014

O.K., Actually I do have one, New Year’s Resolution that is, and this is it!

Do the filing Julie!

I never said that I was perfect.  I do tend to neglect the day to day filing.  Now it has turned into the year to year filing.  So THIS is my new year’s resolution.  To finally get to the filing.

God I hate this!!   Kicking and screaming I will get it done.

How have I even managed to keep these papers in this very small basket from falling out anyway?  Yes, ALL that is crammed into that small basket!

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To Continue With Blog Posts…….
 
Julie Blog Archives Page 7

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