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September 23, 2014

Our Weekend of Painting Wine Glasses

For our anniversary in June our daughter Veronica gave us a free wine glass painting class.  We finally decided to cash in our groupon and go before it expired.

It was a lot of fun.  We each painted two but we did collaborate on one of them.

With Halloween approaching we wanted to do something seasonal to help us get into the Halloween spirit.

  (Not that I ever need help in that department).

I painted a Dia de los Muertos wine glass.

  (The Day of the Dead)

Also Gordon and I each painted an Alfred Hitchcock wine glass for our Rear Window Halloween that we have planned.

The Art Studio/Karate Studio

Julie and Gordon Selfie

We had a great time.  We were there about 2 1/2 hours.   Our wine glasses actually turned out pretty good.  The paint dries fairly quickly.  When you have finished painting your wine glasses you need to let them sit for a good 24 hours.  Then you place them into a cool oven, turn the oven to 325* and let them “cook” for 40 minutes.  Immediately turn off the oven and let cool for 1 hour before opening the oven door.

Here are our wine glasses.

When you bake them you want to place them upside down on the oven rack.

We are so proud of them!

Oh and guess what?  They are dishwasher safe!

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September 22, 2014

Emma Watson’s Powerful Speech to the United Nations on Feminism

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/21/emma-watson-gender-equality_n_5858206.html

Way to go Emma!  A recent Brown graduate and an extremely intelligent woman.  Thank you for that.

You know, if we women here in America give away the rights to our own bodies then our futures will be decided by a bunch of old white men in D.C.  Is that what we want?  Once we give our rights away we will NEVER get them back.

I am not worried about myself.  I am in menopause right now.  No future children for me whether I want them or not.  But I do have a daughter, nieces, friends, and even strangers that I do not know that I want to make sure that they have the rights over their own bodies.

Some active groups out there want to even do away with birth control.  Birth control is what gave women power over our bodies to get out in the world and have careers.  Before that women were slaves to pregnancies, having those pregnancies dictate whether they could go on working or not.  Birth control enabled women to plan their families.

I am really tired of being dictated to by people that expect us all to follow and even die for their beliefs. 

I prefer to die for my OWN beliefs.

“The radical of one century is the conservative of the next.  The radical invents the views.  When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.”

Mark Twain

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We should not be continually punished just because we are ahead of everyone else on the issues. 

Julie Lancaster-Whann

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September 20, 2014

Always on the Ladder

This is me pretty much everyday.  Let me explain, we live in a house just under 2000 square feet.  We are the smallest house in our neighborhood.  Better to be the smallest than the largest.  At least that is what we keep telling ourselves.

We have these beautiful tall Florida ceilings so instead of being able to spread out, we decided to go UP.  So everything in our house is all the way up to the ceilings.  If I  happen to need something from the top shelf in my closet, I grab the ladder.  If I need a particular cake plate in the kitchen, grab the ladder because I keep lots of things up high.  If I need a book from a top shelf in the living room, I grab the ladder.

This ladder has become a staple inside our home, not in the garage where everyone else keeps theirs.  It is literally a piece of furniture that we use on a daily basis.  All that is left is for me to personalize it with some paint or some clever design and to even cover the steps with a nice fabric so that I can climb them barefoot and not always have to wear shoes.

Hey, this could be BIG!!  Fancy ladders!

Just remember, you heard it here first.

Happy Saturday,

Julie

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September 19, 2014

Friday Night Funny

This little Northern Ireland girl is the cutest ever and I don’t think I  have laughed so hard in a long time.  She reminds me of my own nieces in “Arlund”.

“Your going to choke yourself now.”

(You’ll see)  🙂

Can’t stop laughing,

Julie

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September 15, 2014

Heads up on Halloween

I do get to live out my fantasy of being Grace Kelly in my favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie ever, Rear Window.

I had originally planned on sewing the skirt myself but didn’t have the time or really the knowledge of sewing to do a good job.  So I took everything up to Georgia with me so that my mother could help me sew the skirt.  Well, we were so busy doing other things that we never got around to it.

I then sought help from the internet trying to locate someone in my area that did some sewing.  Absolutely NO LUCK!  I was just looking for some wonderful little grandmother to sew it for me and probably charge me around $50.00 for the job.  There are no little grandmother’s anymore that do that sort of thing.

So I had to seek out professional dressmakers.  I found a married couple on the other side of Tampa, about an hour away from me by car, that are sewing it for me.  I am so very excited.  They drew a sketch of the skirt just like Edith Head did when she created the design and I am so very excited to receive it when they are finished.

This will be my most expensive Halloween ever.  But hey, how often do we get to live out our fantasies?  Isn’t that what Halloween is all about anyway?  Dressing up for one night to be someone else  that we like or admire?

Have a super-duper day!

Julie

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September 14, 2014

Weekend at the Condo

Friday

Coming over the Drawbridge

See the waterspouts?

Check out that sky!

Who knew that this was a precursor to what was coming my way……..

When I arrived at the condo the renters that were supposed to already be gone were still in the condo and had no intention of leaving.  I had to kick 16 people out of the condo all by myself and I am feeling particularly ‘bad-ass’ right now.

But, not going to let that ruin my weekend.  The sun came out the next day and I hit the beach with a vengeance.

Saturday

Condo Beach

All this just for me.

Condo Sky

Condo Dinner

I know, nothing special.  But yet perfect for me.

Sunday

Condo View

(No wonder people don’t want to leave).

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Julie

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September 13, 2014

What We Have Been Up To

Raising the Landscaping

We have a self imposed deadline of October 15, to get many projects done around our house.  Above is just one of them.  This is the retaining landscaping around our backyard.  It has been there ever since we bought the property, however, whoever did the work did not do it correctly and it has been sinking into the ground ever since.

You can see here where Gordon had to dig the blocks out of the ground.  He then has to place a layer of paving sand, or just plain sand with some sort of pea gravel so that the stones lay on top of something so they won’t sink into the ground in the future.

Here he is working on the border around our herb garden.

This is the BEFORE photo of our poor herb garden….

Our poor overgrown herb garden with the stone border sinking into the ground.  Pathetic, isn’t it?

Garden all weeded, stones raised and cap stones placed where they need to be for Gordon to measure and then they need to be cut.  That is still to come.  But this is a huge start.

It will look really nice once finished.

We have focused so much of our year on this side of our property but once it is totally finished then we can move on to other things.

Beautiful Peppers

Once I weeded my herb garden Gordon and I added wood chips as ground cover.  We originally wanted some nice green or flowering ground cover but then you get all the weeds, we so decided on this.  I think it looks nice.

So what do you think? 

That little pile of rocks on the bottom right of the photo came from my mother’s land.  I love the slate rocks there and wanted to bring something from home to my own backyard.

I am so very excited about all our key limes on our tree this year.  Each year we get more and more.  At first the tree was seasonal but now we get them all year long.  We love this little tree.

So this is what we have been up to.  Sweating, working, getting our hands dirty, (well actually, I do wear gloves), and sweating…..

Did I mention sweating???

This is Florida, ya know.

Julie

P.S.  Same thing going on here with this landscaping.

All that is left if to mark where to cut the stones and then we take them to Outdoor Impressions for them to cut.  They have helped us out on many of our projects.  They are also featured on a lot of the DIY backyard shows, namely Yard Crashers.

Here is where the divide will take place.  A two stone border intercepts a one stone border.  We’re working on the transition here.

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September 12, 2014

Flashback Friday

Frank the Photographer

This is my grandfather, Frank Haskin.  I can remember him always having a camera in his hand.  Or a movie camera.  He was always taking pictures of all of us.

This is me, always with a camera in my hand, or in my purse, or in the car…….. 

Hey, you never know when there is that one moment that you don’t want to pass by without recording it.  My mother is the same way.  I guess I see where we get it from.

In this photograph my grandfather is loading his film in his camera.

In the photo above top is my grandmother on the far right and her sister Opal just left of her.  In the photo at the bottom are the men that I absolutely adored!  My grandfather on the left, my great-grandfather, “Grand”, and my great-uncle Walter, who was married to Opal.

If I were ever to be granted a wish I would not wish for money, I would wish that I could go back in time and really get to know my ancestors in their youth.

You know the movie, Peggy Sue Got Married?  I adore that movie because I would love to go back in time with the knowledge that I have right now and really appreciate those people from my past.  Instead of taking them for granted.  To really get to know them and thank them for being the people that they were.  They were good people.  I just don’t meet that caliber of person anymore.  I miss them to this day.

Last weekend was Grandparents Day.  So here is my homage to them.

I love these men.

They were good men.

My Grandmother Nellie Mae Keith

When I was visiting the old homestead last month in Rome, Georgia I had my mother to get out the old photos and I had a great look at them.  I photographed a lot of them seeing as how my mother does not want to part with them yet.  I love knowing where I come from.  I keep them all close with me everyday in my thoughts.  I never forget them.

Frank and Nell Haskin

I’m sure that when you took this photo so many years ago that you never dreamed your grandchild would be putting it on a world wide web so that millions of people could one day view it.

I miss you all so badly,

Yours,

Ju-baby

(nickname)

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September 10, 2014

One More Thing About Joan Rivers

Joan was a product of our culture but she also helped to shape that culture.  Americans and Canadians have the same humor, we put people down and laugh at them.  Our sitcoms are filled with put downs.  A really good example of that was the sitcom Will and Grace.  (By the way my daughter loved that show.  She still watches it on DVD many a day).

All Will, Grace, Jack and Karen did was put people down and make fun of them.  I couldn’t stand that show.  Was it funny?  Sure!  But it just wasn’t my brand of humor or human beings.  But it is a reflection of our culture.

Whenever Joan would tour overseas she would always have to tone down her act because that loud, mean, obnoxious ‘brassyness’ did not play well over there.  She wasn’t the only one that had to do that, Kathy Griffin has to as well.  Pretty much all of our comedians and entertainers have to tone it down when they tour overseas.

We live in a bully culture and our ‘bullyness’ does spill over into our humor.  I know bullyness is not a word but yet it fits here well.  Hey, words are made up all the time so why can’t I make up one?

Remember Simon Cowell the former host of American Idol?  I am proud to say that I have never watched a single episode but yet it was EVERYWHERE!!  On the news, all over the internet, you couldn’t help knowing all about the show and I wasn’t even trying too.  But back to my point.  Simon was pretty nasty to so many contestants that I considered him to be a horrible person.  But when you look at him on other shows back in the UK, he is very nice to the contestants and very polite and respectful.  Because that mean bullyness does not play well over there.  But Americans love it.

Well, I don’t.

Just because we are surrounded by something does not mean that we have to join in and participate.

Julie

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September 9, 2014

RIP Joan Rivers

What was wrong with this face?

I am a bit torn between my desire to honor Joan for her pioneering so that more and more women in comedy have come to the forefront and went on to be great entertainers, and my disdain for the person that Joan had become over the past few decades.  I do realize that Joan is to be recognized as someone that was a hard worker, a very talented woman who blazed trails and paid her dues in her very humble beginnings as a stand- up comedian.  Think about it, what she did was extremely difficult.  She was one of the first female comedians!  She was the trail blazer.  It takes guts to get up in front of an audience and deliver your comedy routine.  You risk public humiliation, degradation, it is very intimidating.  She really did start out in clubs that were dives, and earned everything that she has accumulated over her lifetime.  Every single female comedian owes her a “thank you”.  When I was a little girl I adored her!  I remember how excited I was every time she was guest hosting for Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show, or appearing on his show as a guest.  I loved her!  I laughed so hard at her jokes.  I looked forward to her every appearance.  But I do have to say that I have not been so impressed with her over the past 20 or so years.

I am the kind of person that does not like it when others make fun of how people look or dress.  My philosophy is that we all should look how we want to look and dress how we want to dress.  I don’t care to be dictated to as to what colors, clothing, or shoes that I should wear in order to be “excepted” by society’s elite.  (Screw society’s elite).  🙂

If you were to gather 10 people to judge a beauty contest, those ten people might agree on one of the 50 girls in the pageant, but if you were to get an additional 10 judges they would pick an altogether different girl as the winner.  Then bring in 10 more judges and they would probably pick a different girl than the other judges chose.  My point is that everything is up to opinion.  Which girl is the prettiest?  Which figure is the more desirable?  It all boils down to  opinion.  My opinion of what is beautiful may be different from what others think is beautiful.  So which one of us is correct?  The answer, all of us are.  So why hold any competitions?  The point is mute.

Everything is up to opinion.  Who says that my opinion is best?  ME!  Who says that your opinion is best?  YOU!  So which one of us is right?  We both are!  Or at least, we both think we are.

Our society is based on what a handful of ‘self anointed’ people dictates to us.  This certain group of people have decided what we need to wear, how we need to look, what technology we need to own, and how we need to behave.  I rebel against those “orders”.  I chose to look how I want, behave how I want and live how I want, and own which lousy cell phone that I want.   I am an individual, not a carbon copy of others.  I am an independent thinker.  I am very proud of that.

Everything that we do was decided by someone else long ago.  Who says that their way is the right way?  They do.  Is it really the right way?  Not necessarily.  But we all go along with it because it is “tradition”.  Yet another word that I don’t particularly care for.  Tradition means that we all have to do what someone long ago says we have to do.  Someone in the past just made all that up at some point and we are left to follow it.  I prefer to make my own traditions.

So how did I get from the death of Joan Rivers to where I am in this blog post?  Because she was one of those ‘self- anointed’ people that dictated to all of us how we should look, what we should wear, and how we should act.  It was not up to her.  It is not up to anyone but ourselves to decide that.

I do thank you Joan for the role that you played in helping women to go on to become the people that they deserved to be.  You did that!  But I do not like you for the role you played in making women feel bad about themselves.  You did that too!

RIP,

Julie

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September 3, 2014

Mulling Things Over

Blog posts have been disappearing lately, content gone, photos gone, so I am going to take a break from my blog and work on other things for awhile.  We have projects to complete, pages to update, videos to edit and publish, I also have other website pages I want to devote my time to……

So, until then I’ll just be soaking in this tub for awhile.

Don’t worry, I’ll be back!

Thank you very much for your interest in us and thank you so much for giving us the biggest month that we have ever had before!

5,000 unique visitors!!!!  Yahoo!!!

Julie

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August 29, 2014

Veronica’s Turn

Veronica at the Well House

A large portion of our trip got deleted from this blog and my web hosting company did manage to restore 3 months worth of blogs posts that went missing but were unable to restore my Maryland blog postings, which is why I have been focusing on our trip back home to Rome, Georgia.  But I am going to add those Maryland trip photos and write-up to a new page that I will be debuting.  I’ll let you know when.

But for now, here are Veronica’s photos of visiting the old homestead and reliving all those old childhood memories that she has of this beautiful place.

Veronica with the Bottle Tree

This time it is Veronica’s turn to plow through her old boxes looking for her childhood treasures that I packed away for her and took to this barn loft for safe keeping.

Looks like Veronica found her Ninja Turtles.

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Catfish, Creamed Corn, Fried Squash and a big fat Dinner Roll

From Stanley’s

(Oh, and don’t forget the tarter sauce).

I haven’t had these fatty foods in 6 years, that was the last time I was in Rome, Georgia.  So, when in Rome……….

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When we were leaving the restaurant my mother pointed to the store across the street and told me that it once belonged to my Great-Grandparents, Emmaline and Lucius Keith.  It was a general store.  From the vantage point of where I was standing to take the photo of the store, my mother told me that Grandhopaw would wheel his cart over to sell sandwiches that Grandmother Keith would make for the workers.  The railroad tracks are right behind where I am standing to take the photograph.

This was their store on North Broad Street.

Above that red sign it used to say “Keith”.

I never would have known it had my mother not told me about  it.  It would have been just some old run down building.  But now it is special.

Everyone needs to go home now and then.  It’s good for you.

Julie

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August 28, 2014

Antique Mall Shopping In Rome

I adore an old antique mall to do my shopping in.  This is one of the best that I have ever seen.

Smart Shop Antique Mall & Flea Market

North Broad Street

Rome, Ga.

Every time I am in Rome I always visit this antique mall and usually end up spending a small fortune.

I LOVE a good pile of junk!!

My daughter Veronica hates it!

I do hope that some day she will pick up an appreciation for all this wonderful history, because that’s what it is!

On our way home however we saw this………

A Truck Full of Chickens

Hot Metal Cages on this Hot Georgia Day

You know, I’m not here to tell you how much better I am than everyone else because I don’t eat chickens.  I do eat chickens.  But I buy the free range chickens because I want them to have some sort of a life before they die.  I do realize there is a fine line between my complaints of these hot metal cages of chickens and the fact that I do eat chicken myself.  But this was disturbing to see these chickens suffering in these hot metal cages on this hot Georgia August day.

Koch Foods???

Of course it is!

What don’t the Koch brothers own?

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So in light of this we decided on this for dinner……

Mary Keith’s Vegetable Soup

My mother making us all her vegetable soup and cornbread for dinner.  It was delicious and we ate it with a clear conscience.

Vegetable Soup

Hit the spot!  Also not bad on the waistline.

I have lost 6 pounds on this trip.

But according to my friend Trish, “Not to worry Julie, what you lost you will find again.”

Thanks a lot Trish.  🙁

Julie

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August 26, 2014

Me and Veronica out at Berry College today.

Vacation blogging coming soon…….

Julie

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August 23, 2014

I was working on my blog today when it suddenly became distorted and half the content of this blog page disappeared, as in 3 months worth of entries. So I contacted my web hosting company and they were able to use their back up to restore it.  So my new entries are gone but the rest of it was saved.

Silver lining,

Julie

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Julie Vacation, all I ever wanted…..

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August 21, 2014

Georgia to Maryland

Leaving Georgia for Maryland

The car is FULL!

What am I taking up to D.C.?

Hello Dollies cookies in a shoebox for Dick, of course.

Inside joke that my regular blog readers will understand.

But not LITERALLY ‘inside’.  🙂  Ha, ha….

I do love the soundtrack from the movie though.  All the songs I used to listen to in the 70’s.

My car is packed full of delicious foods for my trip.

It was a 12 hour drive from Rome, Georgia to Hagerstown, Maryland.

I first stopped off at the outlet stores in Calhoun, Ga. at my favorite store, Vanity Fair.

I actually had a nice trip up.  I did notice tons of trucks on the highways, the economy must be improving.

Lunch

Rotisserie chicken salad with rice crackers and Asian snacks.

Dinner

Salad for Dinner

No one ever thinks of having a salad on a road trip.  But why not?  It’s healthy and delicious.

Checked in to my hotel at 9:30 last night.  Long, fun, trip.  Slept like a baby last night.

Julie

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August 19, 2014

Greetings From Rome, Georgia

Still Visiting The Old Homestead

The tray above I made for my mother many years ago using old vintage Rome, Georgia postcards.  I decoupaged them onto a serving tray.  My mother loves it and keeps it on her bookshelf for all to see.

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Beautiful Broad Street

Downtown Rome, Georgia truly is beautiful!  I had to pull over to the side of the road and take a few photos.

2nd. Avenue

There is so much history here.  I just love the architectural buildings.

Ken Blacktop Gentle

We stopped off at this beautiful art studio on 204 Broad Street where the artist paints on tar board.  The art was beautiful and I wanted to promote it.

http://www.blacktopfolkart.com

Just lovely!  Story telling in art.  The cotton south.

Drop by and take a look!

My step-grandfather, Papa Carlton, was a cotton farmer in Texas and while I was out there on a trip many years ago I picked some of his cotton to bring home with me.  But when we got to the Mississippi State line we were stopped and we were asked if we had any cotton.  I was only a child and I said, “Yes”.  He then confiscated it.  Looking back, I wish that I had said, “No”.

Sometimes I think, ‘Honesty is not the best policy.’

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Antique Mall Shopping

(My Favorite thing to do).

My mother Mary Keith shopping with me at my favorite Rome, Georgia antique mall.

Some of my Antique Mall Treasures

I found some truly great pieces.

I’ve already packed them up for my return trip to Florida.

But right now it is on to D.C.!

Wish me luck!  I have yet to defeat The Beltway.  I hate The Beltway!  I am already loosing sleep over dealing with The Beltway.  Remember when Germany defeated  Brazil 7 – 0?  Well for me, The Beltway is Germany and I am Brazil!  Pity me!

I do hate that beltway,

Julie

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August 17, 2014

SNAKE SKIN!!!

My brother Ben and I decided to go down to the barn and look in the loft for my Great-Grandmother Honnie’s sewing machine for me to take back to Florida.

The Barn Doors

My brother Ben went up the stairs to the loft first with a flashlight looking into corners and under things to see if there were any snakes about.  This is Georgia in the summer, ya know?

First we saw this right when we got up to the top.

First Snake Skin

Then we saw this…….

Second Snake Skin

Then we saw THIS……

THIRD SNAKE SKIN!!

But we FOUND IT!!!

Honnie’s antique sewing machine!

I don’t care how many snake skins were up there, I would have Ben walk through 100 to get this!

Funny thing, the boxes that had the snake skins on them are my daughter Veronica’s that I was supposed to go through for her before she gets here but on second thought, I’ll just let her do it.

Sssssss…..

Julie

p.s. I am taking the snake skin home to my son Brodie.

He’ll LOVE it!

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August 17, 2014

The Old Homestead

Going Home

Visiting The Old Georgia Homestead

Haven’t been back here in about 6 years.  Not much has even changed.  Still looks the same.

Blue missed me.

She has one clear blue eye and one brown eye.

My mother Mary Keith admiring all her pears.  You don’t get more organic than this.  Never overlook those ugly looking fruit at farmer’s markets and fruit stands, they may not be so attractive but they aren’t covered in those pesticides either.

Looks like I will be taking a lot of these back home with me.

The Big Red Barn

My step father built this all by himself.  He painted every piece of wood before he put it together, that way it would already be painted by the time it was finished.  Smart, huh?

Check out all the grape vine in the photo above?  Many a wreath has been made with that grape vine.

You know, I never really cared much for this old barn but it is kind of charming, isn’t it?

The Tractor

Where there is a barn, you will always find a tractor.  You know how many times I used to mow the pasture with this thing?  Funny but I have 3 brothers and yet I’m the only one that would ever get out there and mow.  I did it for the money and the suntan.

I love this tree.  It stands by the barn.  It’s an Empress tree, the holes are made by woodpeckers that live inside it.

The photo top left is of my nephew Joseph’s tree house.  The photo right is a cow skull that they found out in Texas from one of their visits.  My step-father was from Texas.

My mother and I had the best time walking around the property looking at everything.

Mary Keith Surveying Her Gardens

Cora escorting us around the property while Blue takes a dip in the pond below.

This is hot Georgia in August!

My mother’s bottle tree that my step-father made for her.  Above you can see what we call ‘the headless dancing lady’.  It is actually a root that was found.

Funny but there are always so many bones around here!

They find a lot of them in Texas.

Bones and Golf Balls

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The Clothesline

Another barn on the property and a lovely cedar tree.  I just love these spooky old trees.

It just wouldn’t be home without all of this stuff all over my mother’s land.  An old top to a produce truck.

The Old Camper and The Green House

That’s the thing about going home.  All the many memories that come to the surface.  When you leave and live elsewhere you don’t see those reminders everyday, it’s only when you go home that they are all around you and you see them clearly.  It is good to be home.

Nice place to visit but…….

Julie

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August 16, 2014

I Always Take Food With Me Wherever I Go

When I travel I always take food with me.  (Whenever possible).  I don’t like being at the mercy of some fast food restaurant.  I prefer to be prepared.  Seeing as how I am traveling by car alone, there was plenty of room in the car.

Also seeing as how my first destination is to my mother’s house in Georgia, I brought along a little extra for her, myself and my brother Ben to enjoy.  Those are herbs in the beach bucket above for some of my recipes that I want to prepare for them, then my mother gets to keep the plants for her window herb garden.  I also brought along some of our key limes from our backyard for our Mexican food that I brought, (I do make the best chicken tacos in the world)  Ben’s favorite!  🙂  We also needed limes for Ben’s famous Margaritas.

Hat Box Full of Asian Snacks

I find that all these little Asian rice crackers tend to be a little fragile and get crushed when I travel so I like to put them inside something that won’t ruin them.  I find an old hat box works great.  This one I picked up at a thrift store years ago for about $1.00.  Love it!  It has exotic beaches from all over the world on it.

Wine, diet cranberry and blueberry juices, paper plates, cups, napkins, serving ware, snacks, olive oil, cans and jars of some of my favorite foods to eat along the way……

All packed up and ready to go!

Some of the food and wine items are gifts and some are for me to enjoy on my trip.  We buy our food very cheaply at the commissary on base so bringing some of my food with me helps me to save money.  More money to spend at the antique malls.

If I am going to snack while driving it is better to snack on stuff like this and not the fattening, unhealthy things.  Rice crackers, Wasabi peas, seed cookies….

Car Lunch

(Egg salad on pumpernickel bread with some stuffed olives).

Who says we have to eat like cave women?

Grab the cocktail picks ladies!!

Sometimes it’s nice to pull off some rest area and have a nice little picnic lunch, but when I am in a hurry I prefer to just have a nice little lunch or dinner in the car.  The hat box also acts as a nice little table for me.

Car Dinner

The drive was 9 hours from my house to my mother’s so I had two meals along the way.  Cheese, crackers and mustard was my dinner.

I tend to not eat much when I travel.  I really don’t know why that is?  Maybe because I am so busy doing other things like driving and enjoying the scenery?

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When You are Traveling by Car

A good way to save on gas while driving it to align yourself behind a big truck.  Not too close though.  But just a nice distance.  The truck tends to pull you along in it’s wake in the same way that birds fly in formation.  The birds in the front work the hardest and pull the others along so that they aren’t having to work as hard.  Then they rotate and change places so that the birds in the front are now in the back.

Always look to nature.

  Nature tends to always know better than us how to do it.

A Travel Don’t

It’s really not a good idea to have so many things blocking my automobile gauges while I am driving.  Yes, sunglasses are important but do I really need that many pairs?

(O.k.  yes I do, let’s move on now).

Always Wear Sunscreen

I have known many a person to get skin cancer simply to doing this, driving without wearing sunscreen.  Notice my arm and my leg in the photo above?  I do have sunscreen tucked right beside me in that car door pocket.  So carry it with you.  It isn’t just a beach or pool thing, it’s an everyday thing.

Oh, and always wear comfortable clothing.

Let’s all have a very happy, enjoyable and SAFE trip!

Julie

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August 13, 2014

Happy Birthday Hitch!

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August 12, 2014

Lauren Bacall

(Betty Joan Perske)

The epitome of Smokin’ Hot!

1924 – 2014

RIP

Julie

p.s.  Such a very sad week, isn’t it?

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About Robin Williams

If you were like me you were surprised by what happened.  I knew that he had problems and was seeking treatment for those problems, but I just assumed that he would defeat them.  I do hope that his depression does shine a light on others that suffer from similar forms of depression and mental illness so that we can eliminate them.  In the past people will gladly give money to cancer and other similar causes but never to mental illness.  Why not?

They say that 1 in 5 American adults suffer from some form of mental illness from mild to severe.  Think about that, when you walk into a movie theater with 200 people in it, statistically 40 of them suffer from some form of mental illness.  If you go to a PTA meeting where there are 100 adults, statistically 20 of them have some sort of mental illness.

Now add guns to the mix and you have our American society.

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You have to understand that inside of everyone of us is two people.  The person that we present to the world, and the real us.  Hopefully in most of us those two aren’t that far apart, but in some people they are. 

Julie

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August 11, 2014

RIP

Robin Williams

I’m not here to judge you.  I will only miss you.

We always remember the ones that make us laugh.  I understand that you got your humor from your mother?  You said that she was a very funny person.  You were a genius.  People don’t understand how smart you have to be to be funny.  It is not something that just anyone can do.  Who will get us through the coming years with laughter?  I guess we are on our own.  It would have been nice if you were still here.  Gordon and I were just watching The Bird Cage this past weekend and laughing so hard.

I am so very sad,

Julie

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Gifts From The Taylor Family

Thank you so much to Heidi, Neil, Libby, Sydney and Oren from the United Kingdom for our lovely gifts.  The UK items are so nice.  The sultana and ginger cookies, the English breakfast tea, the Seville orange marmalade…..

Also love the coalition beannie bears.

But nothing can compete with the special vintage goodies that Heidi gave me that used to belong to her grandmother.

The antique bone crochet hook!  The beautiful dressmakers steel pin tin, the cute thimble, the buttons and other notions,

ahhh…  Just perfect!

Heidi knows me better than most.

Hope your stay in D.C. is going well, have a safe trip back to the UK!  You are a very nice, genuine family.  There just aren’t that many around.

Love to you all,

Julie

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Rear Window

1954

(This is my most favorite movie ever).

Grace Kelly as Lisa Freemont

in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window

I have been planning an Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window Halloween now for the past two years.  This year it is finally coming to fruition.

Here is the start of the project.

The most important scene for me is when Lisa Freemont, played by Grace Kelly, arrives at her boyfriend L.B. Jeffries (Jeff) home, played by Jimmy Stewart.  Jeff is in a cast because he had an accident taking an award winning picture, he is a professional photographer/journalist who travels the world taking pictures.

Lisa Freemont, played by Grace Kelly, works in the fashion industry in New York City.  She is a very high class with high connections.  The ‘Belle of the Ball’ so to speak.  (I can relate to this in the fact that I too have a fashion merchandising degree).

My Formal Gloves From High School

As in the photo above, Grace is wearing her gloves, just like all ladies did.  Pictured above are my gloves from a formal ball that I attended when I was 15 and living in Sevierville, Tennessee.  My then boyfriend was quarterback for the high school football team and he was being presented.  As his date it was up to me to dress accordingly.

My Inspiration

My Grace Kelly Rear Window doll, tons of fabrics, trim, vintage black clutch purse……

I Found Great Vintage Patterns

The skirt is the main thing that I am working on.  I found some great old vintage patterns at Joanne’s Fabrics that I plan to use.

My Grace Kelly Notions

I am so very excited about this project.  I hope that I will be able to do the dress justice, that is why I am going to have my mother help me do the sewing.   Isn’t that what mother’s are for?

This is something else that Gordon and I will be recreating,

The Lobster Dinner

If we can just figure out exactly what this is???

Alfred Hitchcock with Grace Kelly and Cary Grant on the set of,

To Catch a Thief.

The 13th. of this month is Alfred Hitchcock’s birthday.

As a fellow birthday lover of the number 13,

Happy Birthday Hitch!

Your greatest fan ever,

Julie

p.s.  Who would have ever dreamed that a short, fat, bald man would have such an influence over my life?

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Be sure to check out my:

Julie Vintage Pages

“So happy to have you here.”

(Every now and then my southern belle roots tend to creep out).

Now where are my manors?  Do come in and sit a spell.  Enjoy yourself but please do not touch anything.  These are priceless vintage and antiques passed down to me from my ancestors (and the local thrift and antique malls) but we’ll just keep that to ourselves.

What was that dear?   Oh, you like my dress?

Why this little o’ thing?

This is just a priceless vintage couture gown that I inherited from my grandmother, Nellie Mae, that she wore to her coming out cotillion.  (O.k.  I bought it for $5.00 at my favorite thrift store.  It reminded me of something that Tippi Hedren would have worn in the 60’s.  Happy Now?)

Eclair anyone?

I love, love all the old stuff!

Hand crocheted collars to the left, my grandmother’s typewriter to the right.  I love history and history is written all over the place here.

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The reason I love vintage items is because they represent quality and craftsmanship, when companies took pride in their work, when people took pride in their work.  Long before all this outsourcing of jobs for cheap labor overseas.  You pay for cheap labor then you get cheap items.  Antiques and vintage items also seem to survive the test of time.  Vintage represents an era of quality for me.  It also is very nostalgic as well.  Browsing through an antiques mall for me is like revisiting my childhood.  I come across toys that I used to play with, an old metal lunch box with Bobby Sherman’s face on it (an old crush), jelly jars with pictures of The Archie’s on them that we used as drinking glasses (It’s no coincidence that I named my daughter Veronica.  I was a huge fan of The Archie’s).  I will also come across items that I saw in the homes of my Grandparents and Great Grandparents.  Dinnerware that they used to own that I would eat on of as a child.  Beautiful depression glass that they would get for free if they filled their tank up with gas at a local gas station.  Worth nothing back then, but now is seen as having value.  I just don’t see value and quality now in items that are being made, so I turn to the past.

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Well, now that we have gotten to know each other betta I do hope you will stay awhile and enjoy yourself and by all means do come back and see us sometimes.  It was so nice to meet yew.

Yours truly,

Julie Lancaster-Whann

(But you all can call me Jewlee)

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August 8, 2014

There is nothing that I love more than The Lion King, is the cast of The Lion King.  Especially when they travel and their impromptu performances.

You guys are wonderful!!!

Julie

p.s.  The African-American is copied more than any other race.  They are the leaders in culture, the arts and pop culture.  No other race has the influence as they do.

  Way to go!

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August 7, 2014

Packing for a Wedding

Asian Clutch and Pink Roses

I have started my packing for a wedding that I am going to in Maryland.  My daughter will be the maid-of-honor for her friend Kaitlyn.  I am driving up while Veronica will be flying up and we will both meet in D.C. at our hotel, or I pick her up at BWI, Baltimore/Washington International Airport.  I arrive the day before she does.  I’m very excited as we have not been in the D.C. area since 2003.  I LOVED D.C.!  Such diversity!  We even had season passes to the Senate Hearings at The Capital.  I saw then Senator Hillary Clinton speak on the Senate floor.  The topic was ‘Gays in Boy Scouts’.  There were pros and cons being laid out for debate.  I can just remember thinking, what is the difference between a gay man being a Boy Scout leader and Gordon, my husband, being a Girl Scout leader?  Gordon and I were leaders to our Girl Scout Troop in Ewa Beach, Hawaii.  We were good leaders and our troop families were very pleased with us.  So what is the difference between heterosexual Gordon being a Girl Scout leader and a gay man being a Boy Scout leader?

I can remember sitting up in the balcony listening to debate and legislature on the Senate floor and thinking that this is how it should be.  All voices being heard.  Opinions being respected.  Hillary was speaking and then Senator Zell Miller of Georgia took the floor.

We had a friend that was a Capital Hill Police Officer and he gave us a private tour around the Capital Building.  We went out on then Senate Leader Trent Lott’s balcony.  We saw Abraham Lincoln’s glass coffin that was in the basement of The Capital Building.  Queen Noor of Jordon was there with her entourage and we were pressed up against the wall as she went through the walkway.  I didn’t particularly like that but, oh well.

We saw the Ford Theatre where Lincoln was shot.  It is so small!  In history class we were told that John Wilkes Booth jumped from the balcony seating to the stage.  I just assumed that it was a long drop.  Not so.  It was only about 6 feet down.

All so very exciting!

We had another friend that worked at the F.B.I. Building and we got a behind the scenes tour and a special photo of us taken with real Tommy guns from the 1930’s era.  You know, the whole’ Bonnie and Clyde’ kind of thing?  I know it was a treat but when you put guns into the hands of people that don’t like guns then we just stand there looking stupid while the photo is being taken.  Which is why I will never post it on my blog.

Trish and Bob have a copy though, as they are in it.

Now it is time to relive those memories as I have a few destinations that I want to pursue while I am there.  Namely, the National Cryptologic Museum.  The Enigma Machine is there!  This is also American Indian Heritage Month.  Gordon is Delaware Indian.  Also on August 14th. it is National Navajo Code Talkers Day.  There is an excellent section of the museum dedicated to them.  I plan on taking lots of photos.

But the main reason for our being there is the wedding of Kaitlyn and Matthew.  So I am packing accordingly.

It’s gong to be a beautiful wedding and I am so looking forward to it.

What do you think about the shoes?  These shoes are 18 years old!  I’ve probably only worn them a hand full of times.  I HATE shoes!  I can barely walk in them.  My life is barefoot or flip flops.  Maybe I should go and buy some more before I leave?  The thing is they all have these terrible high heels!  Is there no medium heel anymore?

Not all of us like walking on stilts!

Julie

p.s.  I just noticed something.  You see how I have this pink and gray theme going on above while packing for this wedding?  The colors in my wedding were pink and gray.  Hmmmm……..

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August 6, 2014

Breast Feeding on Aisle Four

Breast Fee-ding on Aisle, Four

I was in the commissary on base yesterday doing my grocery shopping when I entered ‘Aisle Four’, Toiletries.  I do have an upcoming trip and I was stocking up on things that I need to take with me and to replenish what I needed to here at home when all of a sudden I spotted a woman in her late 30’s toting her newborn in one arm while breastfeeding.  She was using her free arm to push her buggy.  Although I didn’t stare I could plainly tell what was going on, she was breast feeding her baby in the commissary.  The woman was quite average looking, average weight, average height, she looked like a woman that had recently given birth and was caring for her baby.  I myself did not breast feed my children.  I had every intention of doing so before my first was born.  Oh, I bragged that I was going to do everything natural.  I was not going to have pain killers in the delivery room.  (HA!  That’s a story for another day).

Me with my first born, Veronica.

I was going to breast feed my baby the old fashioned natural way.  Funny thing, once my daughter was born by C-section and I had recovered, the nurse came in and asked me if I would like to feed my baby?  I told her “Yes”.  She then asked 3 simple words to me, “Breast or bottle”?  Oh, no!  I froze.  I think I sat there staring at her for about a minute.  What am I going to do?  What am I going to say?  What was it again that I was going to do??  Think Julie, think!  Then all of a sudden this strange and unrecognizable voice that I had never heard before came out of my mouth.

  The voice sounded a bit satanic but the word was very clear, it suddenly screamed, “Bottle”!!

Now I am not here to bash breast feeding.  I’m not even going to bash breast feeding in public, but what I am here to bash is the reactions of all the other people around her, namely the men.  The first man that spotted her, immediately put the item he was holding in his hand back on the shelf.  Suddenly he needed more time to really think about which brand of deodorant was best for him.  He stood there pondering that for a while, cutting glances at the breast feeding woman from the corner of his eye.  The second man that spotted her was more overt in his reaction.  He was very short in stature and I thought he was being a bit rude because he just stood there watching her and then looking toward the items in front of him as if he was having a problem.  I scooted by him but I did ask him if he needed any help getting something off the top shelf?  I am 5’8, he was probably 5 feet.  I told him that I would be glad to help him.  That got me a big glare from him.  So while I was dealing with shorty I noticed that two more men had joined in with the gawking.  Followed by 3 more.  Now the poor woman has an entourage of about 6 or 7 men surrounding her as she is walking up ‘aisle four’.  Some were military men in uniform, some wore civilian clothing.  I’ve never seen so many men spending so much time in the toiletry aisle.  Most of the time men just dash in, grab what they need and then head for the register.  But not these men.  These men were much more thoughtful in their shopping.  They seemed to really care about reading those labels.  Who knew military men cared so much about the way they looked?

By this time I had reached the end of aisle 4 and as I was leaving I turned back to take one final look at the reactions by these 30 something year old men behind me.  By now the woman was in the shampoo section, so were all 6 men shadowing her.  They were picking up bottles of shampoo trying to decide which brand was best for them and having the hardest time making a decision.  Funny thing about that though, all 6 of them were BALD!

All this over one average looking booby.  Heaven help Sophia Vergara if she ever breast feeds in public.

Julie

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August 4, 2014

Photos From the Weekend

We’ve started a new landscape project in the backyard.  When I say “We” I mean Gordon.  Hey, it was my idea so I think I am owed half the credit.

When we bought our home we had this one tier stone border all around the back of our house.  The stones had sunk so far into the ground that Gordon literally had to dig them out.

I thought it would be nice to raise the landscape border and add another row.  Our entrance into our backyard slopes so Gordon had to start out with a 3 tier wall that then turned into a two tiered wall.

You can also see a grate in the photo above.  Our pump is in there.  It has not worked since we moved in so that is the next project on Gordon’s list.

Gordon working on the landscape retaining wall.  All that is left are the capstones that go on top, in this section anyway.  This is something that we are going to do all over our backyard.  They will all have to be measured and then cut.  BUT, the project is getting there.  We sort of took a “break” on the path to let new ideas ‘marinate’ in our minds to come up with a solution to getting those remaining blocks to set.  We think it is the weather as to why they aren’t.  We are having extremely high humidity here in Florida.

Our Big Backyard MESS!!

People assume that we have this beautiful perfect backyard when in reality it always looks like a construction site.  Projects!  Projects!  Projects!!  Eventually, I hope that our backyard will be perfect but this is how it looks until you get there.

Behind Gordon in the photo above is the site of our future pond with waterfall.  But until that time comes……..

While Gordon did all that work I was in the kitchen cooking all this food!

A Messy Pot

Lots of fresh green herbs from the garden.  Excellent ciabata bread.  Cabernet Savignon!  Barefoot, of course.  Then you know dinner is going to be spectacular!!

Fresh Parsley, Chives and Oregano

Anytime that you use fresh herbs in your cooking you are actually helping to prevent certain cancers.  When I was growing up my parents taught me to look at food as medicine.  Because that is what food is.  So I grew up eating certain things that I did not like but I knew they were good for me.

In the same way that when we were little and were sick our mother’s gave us our medicine, it tasted horrible but we choked it down anyway, then later on we felt better.  That is what food does for you.  Good, healthy food, that is.  Sometimes it doesn’t taste so good.  So just choke it down because you will feel better later on.

Sometimes when I eat out I will order something that I don’t particularly like, (liver) but I eat it anyway and choke it down and then I feel better later on.  So don’t be so quick to shun that super food just because you don’t like the taste.

I did get some work done on one of my projects.  I spent the weekend spray painting the doll house panels that Gordon and I are putting together for my Ireland nieces.

Here.

And here……

They are getting there.  Can’t wait for the assembly!!

I can’t decide if I like starting a project or finishing a project the most?   I am just as excited for the beginning, as I am for the end.

Although the creative journey is what gets me out of bed every morning. 

ttyl…

Julie

p.s.  I do love that italics key. 🙂

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July 29, 2014

Some Photos From The Weekend

Sugar, Monk and Me

A rare photo of all 3 of us looking at the camera.  Of course Gordon is waving treats in the air.

Now for “The Path” Updates

The path is not exactly going according to plan.  It’s been ‘one step forward, two steps back’, and then 1/2 step forward, 3 steps back’, we think the humidity has something to do with it.  Temps in the 90* with extremely high humidity.  We’re wondering if the “glue” used for this project is just not able to fully dry because of the weather.  We’ve also had tons of rain lately.  Our typical summer storms.

Here is the “good” side of the path.

Here is the “EVIL” side of the path.

The liquid nails just won’t stick so that the blocks can then be better cemented.  Hence our dilemma.  Looks like we may have to wait until the cooler autumn months to complete this project.  But until then this is our………..

Path To Nowhere!

Julie  🙁

p.s.  In the meantime, our backyard looks like a construction site.  Were you expecting my usual ‘silver lining’ quote?  Not happening!!!

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July 27, 2014

I received a lovely email from Leo and Sylvia Dieker of The Netherlands that I wanted to share in regard to the tragic downing of Malaysian Flight 17.  There is also a Youtube link to The Netherlands Foreign Affairs Minister United Nations Security Council’s speech.  See link below.  I was not aware of the looting of the bodies and of their possessions.  How disgraceful.

The Netherlands is a Dutch country that is about twice the size of New York.  A small country of very peaceful people that certainly did not deserve this.

One of the things that I admire most of The Netherlands were all the wonderful Dutch artists that came out of there and influenced the world through painting, Theophile de Bock, Willem Claeszoon Heda from the Baroque Period, (just to name a few) and of course my most favorite, Vincent Van Gogh.

Such a tragic loss to a wonderful country.

Julie

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Hello Julie and Gordon,

Thank you for your message. Indeed it is a terrible disaster, especially because now a lot of people have lost their lives because of a dumb decision. Every day we witness new facts coming up and our government has taken the lead to bring everyone home to be identified and brought back to their families. The last few days several army flights brought back 225 bodies back to Holland every flight accompanied by an official ceremony playing “The Last Post” and every body was carried out the plane with dignity and respect by army men and women. Our minister of foreign affairs mr. Frans Timmermans held a breathtaking speach at the UN Security Council. If you like, you can watch it on Youtube and you will know what I mean:

 

Several colleagues of us are now busy on a 24/7 schedule to work on the identification process which is a hard job as you can imagine. We have lost one colleague and his family on this flight. But no relatives or friends.

We hope the people who are responsible for this disaster will be punished, but this will not bring back all those people.

We hope to see you again! Next september we will do a short trip to New York, but we are already making plans for a trip to Florida next year, maybe we will take friends with us and then book the apartment for two weeks. We will keep in touch!

Again thank you for your concern and all the best,

Leo and Sylvia

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July 24, 2014

I just wanted to give my condolences to Leo and Sylvia Dieker of The Netherlands for the tragic loss of life on Malaysian Flight 17.  Also to Netherlands born Gus Slakek and all our readers and renters from The Netherlands as well.  Gordon and I are very sorry for your tragic loss.

Sincerely,

Julie

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I was blown away when I saw this.  This describes me and my daughter Veronica perfectly.  We are artists that love to express ourselves but we need to hide at the same time.  I have found that perfect outlet in my website.  Veronica has hers in displaying her art for the world to see yet she is absent while it is being displayed.

I guess that is just the way we are.

Julie

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R.I.P.

Maverick

James Garner

1928-2014

I loved you as Maverick and I loved you as Captain Bailey in Sayonara.  I too am a ‘bleeding heart liberal’ just like yourself.

You were one of the good ones and you will be missed.

Thank you for all the entertainment.  You were also quite the cutie!

p.s.  The name Maverick refers to a democrat family in Texas who’s last name is Maverick that refused to brand their cattle.  They considered it cruel and inhumane so they refused to go along with everyone else.  Hence the term, ” Maverick”, is used to describe anyone that is not a sheep.  Oh, there are a few out there in ‘political land’ that call themselves “Maverick” but they aren’t.  A true “Maverick” is a democrat that stands up to the establishment and fights for the little guy.

Here, here to the Mavericks!!

Julie

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July 21, 2014

Weekend at the Condo

Over the weekend Gordon and I had a nice time out at the condo.  Lovely weather, good food, good drink, lots of sea and sand.

Lots of grillin’ too.  Enough pork roasts for the weekend and into the week for all of us.  Me, Gordon, Veronica and Brodie.

So while the pork roasts are cooking time to enjoy the view on the back docks.  I do love it when the boats come by.

Although it can be too bright for me.

Rinsing off my sandy toes back from the beach.

Gordon grillin’ the veggies

Leftover grilled veggies make excellent sandwiches.

Especially when applied to grilled ciabata bread with herbed goat cheese on one side, hummas on the other side, with spinach leaves, basil leaves and alfalfa sprouts.

My sandwich to the left, Gordon’s to the right.

Who needs meat on a sandwich anyway?

This is about as perfect as you get.

Be sure to check out Gordon’s grillin’ pages

for some excellent recipes for the grill.

Oh, don’t forget your favorite barbeque shirt.  It’s just not grillin’ without the perfect attire.

Happy Summer Grillin’

Julie

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July 18, 2014

Flashback Friday’s Memory Edition

(I started Flashback Friday’s to showcase happy memories of old photos that I had dug out of the photo albums and posted to hopefully encourage and inspire others to do the same.  Spend an afternoon sitting on the floor with your old photos all around you and just reminisce.  Laughing or crying.  Remembering the people that are gone and are no longer with you, or even looking back at your own childhood just to remember.

This Flashback Friday Memory Edition is just about a memory from my past that I wanted to share.  I don’t have any photo of it myself, perhaps my mother does.  Next time I am home I will ask her.  But for now, here is my memory.)

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YMCA Summer Camp Rome, Georgia 1968

Seeing as how I don’t have a photo of my own summer camp I thought I would borrow this one from The Parent Trap starring Hayley Mills.   I loved this movie when I was young.

Growing up I attended my fair share of summer camps.  Horseback riding camp, baton twirling camp, various day camps, Camp Fire Girl Summer Camp, Church camps, and of course swimming lessons.  The one camp that stands out the most in my memory is YMCA Summer Camp when I was about 7 years old.  It was the summer before 2nd. Grade.  We would all meet at the YMCA and then get on a bus to be taken out to Berry College for the day.  Berry College is one of the most beautiful campuses in America.  It is the largest, acreage wise.  My mother graduated college at Berry and I attended pre-school there.  Gordon and I were even married in Frost Chapel at Berry. Berry College was founded by Martha Berry who was a friend to Henry Ford, the inventor of the automobile.  Maybe one day I will write more about Berry but for now I wanted to focus on my memory.

Berry College, Rome, Georgia

The activities that stand out in my mind at this particular camp are my happiest experience, and my worst.  All the other activities are something of a blurr.  I can remember my first day of camp as my grandmother was dropping me off and I saw the cutest boy I had ever seen in my life.  He was older, probably 9 or 10.  I was looking at him when he caught my eye.  I was nervous but I noticed he was going to say something to me.  I’ll never forget the words he then spoke, “FAT GIRL!!  FAT GIRL!!!”  He then walked away.  What a great way to start my first day of camp.  I then got on the bus, I was so nervous that I can remember tripping and falling into someone that was seated, who then pushed me away from them while everyone laughed.  I quickly found a seat and just wanted to melt into it so that no one could see me.  I might have been 7 but I was tall for my age, and apparently fat from what I had just learned about myself a few minutes earlier.  On the bus ride over when I got brave enough to look around at everyone I started to size everyone up.  There were the popular kids, they were sitting in the middle of the bus or standing in the aisles flitting here and there, they totally ruled the bus.  There were the athletes, they sat together rough housing with each other.  There were also the nerdy boys and unfortunately there were the mean girls and that is when I spotted my group, the unpopular nice girls.  Yes!  Wonderful!  I’ll survive this camp by getting to know them!

The Dreaded School Bus

I can remember us all being divided up by age and there were schedules of activities that we were to report to at certain times.  I’m sure that there was swimming in the lake or canoeing, perhaps there was archery, to tell you the truth I don’t even remember any of those things.  What I do remember is when I first walked into the ‘Arts and Crafts’ cabin.  It was so beautiful!  Table after table of scissors, paper, paints, ribbons, buttons, sea shells, glue, and GLITTER!!!  (I tend to get excited over glitter).  There were also tons of cigar boxes.  I asked the counselor what those were for and she told me that we will get to glue buttons and sea shells to them before the end of camp.  I just remember thinking, Wow, buttons and seashells!  Wow………  I couldn’t wait!

My (grown up) Sea Shell Cigar Box

I suppose that you have guessed that the arts and crafts were my favorite, but now here comes the worst.  Target practice.  I was told to report to the range for target practice.  Target practice?  I knew what target practice was it’s just that I wanted to spend more time in the arts and crafts cabin.  But off to target practice it is.  I was handed a BB gun (is that even how you spell it?) and I was told to hit the piece of paper that was a good distance away.  So I squeezed the trigger and shot.  And missed.  I was told to try again.  And I missed again.  I don’t think I even hit the paper once, let alone the black circles in the middle.  It’s funny but I didn’t care.  It wasn’t until the end of camp, I think the camp lasted 3 weeks, that I was told that I will not be able to “graduate” because I failed at shooting.  I can remember a group of about 3 or 4 adults standing in a circle talking about me.  They would say a few words to each other and then turn around and look at me. Say a few more words to each other and then turn around and look at me.

Me, age 7

I wanted to say to them, “You know I can hear you.  I’m standing right here.”   I heard one of them say, “What are we gonna do?  The girl c’aint  shoot.”  I remember being alarmed and thinking to myself, “Oh no, I c’aint shoot!  How will I graduate if I c’aint shoot?  Why didn’t someone ever tell me this was important?”

So the adults agreed upon a plan.  The plan was to take me out of arts and crafts and use that 45 minutes to tutor me in shooting.  Apparently arts and crafts are expendable but shooing isn’t.  So the lessons began.  Apparently all I needed was a little one-on-one because by the end of the first lesson I was not only hitting the target but tearing up the middle part.  (I’m not a gun person so you just have to decipher my lingo).  By the end of camp not only could I shoot but I was one of the best at camp.  The adults who loathed me prior for my lack of skill were patting me on the back for being one of the best at camp.

On the last day of camp all the parents and grandparents came for a little show and tell and my target was up there with the best shooters in camp.  One of the other ‘best shooters’ was that boy that I saw on the first day that called me, ”FAT GIRL!!”  As I was taking down my target he approached me.  I could see that he was going to say something.  I got my hopes up.  I imagined him saying.  ‘Wow, you shoot good.  I like you now.  I want to be your friend.’  But instead I heard the words, “You know what?  Your fat AND UGLY!!!”  My heart sank.  (You know, like they write in books.  I’ve always wanted to say that).  Anyway, my grandmother overheard what he said to me and she came over to me with the biggest smile on her face and I will never forget the words she then spoke to me.  “Oooooooo, he LIKES YOU!”  I can remember looking up at her and thinking, WHAT????  WHAT???  Not only have I yet again been insulted by this cute boy but I’m realizing that my grandmother is a crazy woman!

As the day ended and we were all getting into our cars to head home I noticed that everyone had in their hands the cigar box with sea shells and buttons glued to them.  Not to mention the GLITTER!!!  Everyone that is, but me.  I left camp with a trophy that everyone desired, that everyone would have loved to have, everyone that is except me.  What I wanted more than anything at that camp was a beautiful cigar box with buttons and seashells glued all over it.

Old Cigar Boxes in my Garage

Only in the south is shooting at something more important than creating something.  Only in the south is it seen as tragic that a 7 year old c’aint shoot a gun.  The south will never change, but I also never let the south change me.  I love the south, it does have it’s charm, but to me there is nothing more charming that gluing sea shells to cigar boxes and pretty much whatever else I can get my hands on.

I think the inspiration for all of this came from that summer at YMCA Summer Camp.  For that, I am very grateful!  That arts and craft cabin started it all.

I do love the boxes!

If I take a photo of everything that I have glued shells to there would be no room for anything else.  This is just a sample.

Here’s to everyone that prefers creating something beautiful as opposed to destroying something.  Here, here!!

I don’t know if there is still shooting at summer camps in the south but this was Georgia in the 60’s.  Nuff, said.

I did finally get my cigar box with sea shells glued all over it but it took quite a while longer.

Happy Flashback Friday!

Julie

p.s.  This is dedicated to the little girl I saw one day at Big Lots in Rome about 6 years ago that wanted the pretty pink backpack for school so badly but her mother made her get the camouflage one instead because camouflage was in style at the time.

You’ll get your pretty pink backpack someday.  Just hang in there.

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July 17, 2014

Early Morning Gloriosa

Isn’t it beautiful?  Right outside our front door.  What with all of our rain it is thriving.

Love it when the yard is in bloom.

Julie

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July 15, 2014

I am Going to Miss You Archie

The Last Archie Comic Book

(Where else will I ever read the sound, “ACK”?)

If you have been reading my blog over the past 3 years then you know about my childhood love of The Archie Comic Book Series and all of its characters.  I grew up moving around a lot, being the new kid in school almost every year, (not quite, but almost), the one constant that I had in my life were my books and my comic books because they allowed me to escape into other worlds.  When you move around as much as I did whatever friends you make, you end up leaving behind a year later never to hear from them again.  Of course this was all before social media.  Reading Nancy Drew for me was becoming Nancy Drew.  Her adventures were mine, her friends Bess and George were mine, her boyfriend Ned was also mine.  In addition to my love of Nancy Drew there was also my love of The Archie Comics.

The earliest that I can remember buying and reading them was when we were living in Roanoke, Virginia when I was in the 5th/6th. grade?  That was in the early 70’s.  Every Saturday my mother would give me my $1.00 allowance and I would skip down to the 7-11 to buy my sweet treats and my comic books.  Back then an Archie comic was about 15 cents.  With my $1.00 I could buy about 4 of them and lots of candy too.  Then I would go back home and read them while stuffing my face with chocolate and bubble gum in my bedroom watching Saturday t.v.  I loved them!  Archie Andrews was the good guy, I loved his jalopy.  I always wanted my own jalopy.  Still do.

Archie and the Gang in Archie’s Jalopy

  I thought it was the coolest car ever.  I loved all the Archie characters except for Reggie.  Reggie was the trouble maker, the schemer, but isn’t that real life?  There is always that one person in your life that just loves to cause trouble for you and other people?

Veronica Lodge

My favorite of all the characters in The Archie Comic Book series was Veronica Lodge.  I thought she was beautiful, wealthy, popular and everything that I wanted to be in life.  (When I was young).  Of course I would!  The lonely girl that didn’t have many friends?   Who else am I going to envy?  I knew she could be a bit mean but that didn’t matter.  I still loved her.  I knew she wasn’t perfect but yet to me she was.

Betty and Veronica

I did love the friendship that they all had for each other.  Archie and his friends, Jughead Jones, Veronica Lodge, Betty Cooper, and Reggie Mantle.  As well as their other friends like Midge Klump, Moose Mason, and Dilton Doiley.

Veronica, Archie and Betty

The love triangle between Archie, Betty and Veronica.  Meeting at Pop’s after school for a milkshake with a burger and fries.  Life just seemed so simple and happy for all of them.  I understand that the characters were all based on people that the publisher/editor, John L. Goldwater, met during his travels throughout America but specifically the Midwest, while he was looking for a job.  The comics were written by Vic Bloom and drawn by Bob Montana.  The Archie Comics were founded in 1939.  So by the time I discovered them they were almost vintage.

The Archies

There was also a cartoon television series while I was growing up and even a few hit songs by The Archies.  I even have the CD of all their hits tucked away.  My favorite of course was Sugar, Sugar.

Sugar Whann

I even sing it to my dog Sugar every now and then and of course not to neglect Monk, he has his own song as well sung by Randy Newman, It’s a Jungle Out There.  I tend to serenade them a lot. Not that they care in the least.

Archie Comics filled a void inside of me when I was growing up and probably filled a void inside a lot of other children as well.  Otherwise the official website would not be getting over 4 million hits per month.

  I have such happy memories of all of the characters, but especially Veronica.   So much so that I even named my daughter Veronica.

I even gave Veronica a new Veronica Lodge t-shirt for her birthday this past July 6.

I’m going to miss Archie.  The last comic will be coming out this month where Archie is killed by a gunman that is trying to kill his gay best friend, Kevin Keller, who is a politician trying to enact gun regulations in Riverdale.  Archie will heroically throw his body in front of his friend.

  When I hear of the reaction from people of how horrified they are that our favorite hometown boy is going to get shot and killed in this final issue and in such a gruesome way I can’t help but think what is more “American” than being shot and killed by a hater?  Unfortunately, I think his death couldn’t be more befitting of our own culture.

Do you think they could have ended a comic book character’s life like this when I was young?  No way!  It would have been too horrific!  Too unthinkable to dare have a beloved icon die in such a way.  But times have changed and I don’t think for the better either.

Thank you for entertaining me and giving me something to look forward to every Saturday morning after my horrible 6:00 a.m. horseback riding lessons for 2 years where I always had to ride the meanest horse on that ranch who always tried to kill me, AJAX, he would either kick me or bolt me off him or run through the clothesline on the property trying to knock me off.  I hated that horse!    (It’s funny how childhood traumas just sort of creep out occasionally).

Goodbye Archiekins you will be missed.

Julie

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July 11, 2014

Friday Afternoon Espresso

The Perfect Treat

My Cute Little Vintage Espresso Maker

You just fill the bottom part with water, then add the espresso powder grounds to the filter, screw on the top and then place on top of the stove to boil away.  It only takes a few minutes and then you have the best tasting espresso.

Bring to a Boil

(The handle is broken, it is so old.  This cute little pot was made in Portugal).

The espresso bubbles up through the top and then you pour into an espresso cup.

Add some biscotti and you have the nicest afternoon treat!

Delizioso!!

Giulia

(Julie in Italian)

BareFootInFloridaWithGiulia?

Hey, you never know.

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July 10, 2014

Projects!  Projects!  Projects!

The Doll House Projects

We are big on projects around here.  To me a messy, cluttered, room filled with junk is perfection!  Here are the remnants of our latest projects.

I cannot tell you how fulfilled I am in a room full of junk with potential.

I wish I had an entire studio for this and not just my dining room.

In this photo Gordon is taking measurements for our doll houses that we are making.

Taking the measurements and using the jig saw to cut the wood for the dollhouse sides, roof and flooring.

We are making doll houses for me and my nieces.

 

Do the math prior to.

Here Gordon is cutting the wood into pieces that we will then put together.

We decided to make our own using our own design.  We originally had a template but we have expanded on that and we will show you how we did it once we have made them.

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Everything is cut out and ready for assembly.  We’ll bring that to you soon.  But until then, we constantly have projects going at once.  That is how creative people live and think.  I have about 6 going on at the same time.  Gordon too.  I have no clue how to do one thing at a time.  That is foreign to me.  To be fulfilled creatively is something that I cannot even explain.

A huge mess is heaven to us.

Happy Creativity,

Julie

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p.s.  Favorite video.  Forgot to save it last time.

Hope you will check it out.

The Sweetest Girl

Love Wyclef Jean, Niia, Akon and Little Wayne.

  Perfect!

Julie

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July 9, 2014

Snow White Memories on my Desk

I have the best view of our backyard from my desk inside our house.  Whether it be beautiful rain or beautiful sunshine.  But what makes my desk even more special is Snow White and the happy childhood memories that she gave me.

How do you personalize your desk?  Everyone seems to have some special things that they set around their work area to make them happy, and this is mine.

Happy Hump Day!

Julie

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July 7, 2014

Happy Birthday Veronica

(You never outgrow the Disney Princesses)

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Cake

This is the cake that Gordon and I did for Veronica but I thought about making this cake for me for my last birthday in February but we didn’t have time.  I thought it was such a cute idea that I came up with and I didn’t want it to go to waste so we made this cake for Veronica for her birthday.

The Seven Dwarfs Mine

There is a new ride at Disney’s Magic Kingdom here in Orlando that features the dwarfs in the mine.  So this cake is for them.  The funny thing is that when I came up with this idea I didn’t even know that Disney had a new ride with this theme.

Vintage Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Cake

The cake toppers are some of my vintage Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs birthday cake figures.  I have several of them.  Also my vintage milk glass knobby cake stand that I bought for $8.00 at my favorite thrift store.  Also some of my snow globes that I made for my birthday using the vintage birthday cake toppers.

 

 

Some of my vintage things that I think look lovely with my Snow White items.

Roses for Ronnie and my vintage dwarfs.

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Two of the guests have arrived.

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How We Did It

Start with 4 cake layers.  I used 2 boxes of Devil’s Food Cake Mix.

I used a vanilla sugar free icing between each layer.  You know, for our Snow White part of the cake.

In order for the cake to stack on top of each other nicely you have to use a sharp knife to slice off the top of the cakes in order to make them totally flat.  You can see our pile on the plate to the right.  Save them.  You’ll see why.

Top left are our adornments for the cake.  Photo right, Gordon is continuing the icing of the cake so that the entire cake is covered with the white frosting.  I can tell you that we used 4 cans of frosting for this.

To the left Gordon is cutting out a cave in the cake.  To the right we are using sugar free chocolate frosting to put all around the inside of the “mine” to look like soil.

The photo left Gordon is spreading the chocolate frosting all inside the “mine”.  Even spilling out onto the cake platter.  The photo at right Gordon is placing one of the cake layers that we cut off one of the layers to place outside the mine.

So, what do you think?  Looks good so far.

Me, decorating the cake.

I’m placing all around and inside of the mine sugared “gems”.  I ordered them from this great company called Fancy Flours.  They have beautiful things. You should check them out, I’ve included their website link below.

http://www.fancyflours.com

The sugared gems.  Aren’t they beautiful?

There wasn’t enough room to write Happy Birthday Veronica so I just wrote her name on top of the cake with one of those Cake Mate writing gels.

Happy Birthday Veronica!

The cake is beautiful (for us amateur bakers) but no one will cut into it.

No one wants to ruin it.  So we decided to chow down on the cheesecake from yesterday’s birthday party.

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Poor Monk looks miserable.  But he always looks miserable.

Happy Birthday Veronica!

Love,

Mom

You know, the one that was in labor with you for 30 hours before they cut me open and pulled you out and left the biggest scar!  Not that it was your fault or anything.  I’m just sayin.

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July 6, 2014

Happy Birthday

BareFootInFloridaWithJulie.com

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

I went to work immediately choosing a site format and colors.  Learning how to rename and resize photos, upload, download, attach, and publish.  I learned how to tell a story with photos.  I must have called tech support at my web hosting company so many times that I know they were sick of me.  I think they quit answering the phone when they would recognize my phone number (It always seemed to go to voicemail), they probably drew straws to see who would have to call me back.  I could just imagine them saying, ‘Oh no, it’s that woman from Florida again.  YOU answer it!  No, YOU answer it.  No YOU answer it!  Hey I know, get Marcus, he hasn’t dealt with her in days.’

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

(Her party is tomorrow).

Chocolate Footprints

Once the site was launched I learned about website stats.  My website tells me how many people visit my site every day and what country they are from.  I can remember our first month with us averaging 19 visits per day.  Wow, 19!!!  (Seriously, we were excited).  After the first year we were averaging 45 visitors per day.  Wow, we’ve more than doubled!  (Again, great excitement).  At our 2 year birthday we were averaging 65 visits per day.  (Yet more excitement)! By our 30 month mark we were averaging 100 visitors per day!  Wow, that’s about 3000 visits per month.  Yahoo!!!  So here we are on our 3 year anniversary and we are averaging between 4000 and 5000 per month.  Wow!  Just Wow!!  It’s funny but when we have a day that dips below 100 people we mourn the fact that we’re such losers now, no one loves us anymore.  Poor, poor us, how tragic…… 🙁

And to think how excited we were to get that first 19 a day.

Birthday Cheesecake

We want to thank every person from every country that takes the time out of their busy day every day to visit our website.  When I think of the infinite internet and the countless websites on it, it does amaze me every time someone happens upon ours.  Or bookmarks our site in the ‘Favorites’ on their laptops and tablets, and stops by now and again.  Also to those regular readers that tune in every day, we appreciate you.  We thank you for the interest you have in us, although we have no Earthly idea why?

I was going to list every county that has visited our website but then I would be listing every country in the world.

Thank you so much for your time and your consideration.  As long as you are interested in us, and we are capable of keeping the site going then we will be here for you.

Very Sincerely,

Julie Barefoot

p.s.  It actually almost came to BareFootInGermanyWithJulie.

But wouldn’t my feet get cold?

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Photos From Our 4th.

Appletini’s with Sparklers

(The flag is an art piece that Brodie did when he was in pre-school, I’m using it as a place mat).

The Best Dinner EVER!

TEXAS BARBEQUE

In the crockpot.

AND

In the oven.

Gordon bought 10 pounds of pork butt.

The one thing that Texas does better than anywhere else is barbeque.

This is the same recipe.  Except one cooked in our crock pot and another cooked in the oven in our cast iron pot.  Both were perfect!

Don’t forget the beans!

(You know that when the pots look this messy and gooey that the food is going to be wonderful)!

My Dinner Plate!

And my other dinner plate.

A Very Happy 4th.!

FYI:  I don’t advise trying this inside.  WE should not have tried this inside.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.

I’m almost embarrassed to say that I made this.  Hey, it tastes delicious, it’s just not the prettiest thing.  I used two no bake cheesecake mixes, let them set, and then I added the fresh berries and the redi-whip cream topping from the can.

Recipes will follow soon on our food pages of the website.

Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th.!

Have a good weekend!

Julie

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Happy Independence Day!

Julie

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July 3, 2014

The Day Before Independence Day

Patriotic Muffins

I have been busy today getting ready for our July 4th. holiday tomorrow and I thought I would start by making some blueberry muffins.  This is National Blueberry Month.  We eat a lot of blueberries.  Love those antioxidants.  Whether it be in juice or pancakes, muffins or any dessert.  Delicious!

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Whenever I think of our Independence Day I always think of our founding fathers and I always wonder how outraged they would be to see how America has turned out.  So this year I want to post some past quotes of the masters.  The visionaries that knew better than most.  This is a repost from my Julie Blog Archives.

Shhhhhhhhhhh………….

The Archives are to be respected you know.

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Here they are.

Abraham Lincoln

(Our 16th. President of the United States)

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

(Americans very willingly gave up all of our freedoms for protection after 9-11, The USA Patriot Act)

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James Garfield

The twentieth president of the United States, 1877

“Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress.  If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption.  If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature….

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John Adams

(He was George Washington’s Vice President)
Also one of my personal favorites.

“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the

republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measure in opposition to each other.  This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”

JOHN ADAMS, letter to Jonathan Jackson, Oct. 2, 1789

(Does that sound familiar)?

“Laws for the liberal education of youth, especially of the lower class of people, are so extremely wise and useful, that, to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant.”

“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.”

John Adams

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James Madison

“America was indebted to immigration for her settlement and prosperity.

That part of America which had encouraged them most had advanced most rapidly in population, agriculture and the arts.”

“And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”

“Each generation should be made to bear the burden of its own wars, instead of carrying them on, at the expense of other generations.”

James Madison

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Thomas Paine

“Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

“My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.”

“My mind is my own church.”

Thomas Paine

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Benjamin Franklin
(My most favorite founding father).

One of the Founding Fathers of the United States.  A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.

“They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.”

(We did that after 9-11)

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

” It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.”

“There was never a bad peace or a good war.”

“If everyone is thinking alike, then no

one is thinking.”

Benjamin Franklin

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Mark Twain

Although not a founding father I have admired him for many years.

“IN THE BEGINNING OF A CHANGE, THE PATRIOT IS A SCARCE MAN, BRAVE, HATED, AND SCORNED.

WHEN HIS CAUSE SUCCEEDS HOWEVER,

THE TIMID JOIN HIM,

FOR THEN IT COST NOTHING TO BE A PATRIOT.”

MARK TWAIN

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And now to me.  Although I do not dare put myself on their same stage, I do have an opinion.  When they were carving out this country they stood for the powerless and gave us all the right to that opinion, so in that spirit I would like to express myself.

The challenges that we are facing now in this year of 2014 were first started back during the Nixon years and the Reagan years.  The reason our healthcare came to be such a disaster can be traced back to the Nixon White House deal made with Kaiser-Permanente.  Our deregulation of Wall Street under Ronald Reagan led to the financial collapse of our country in 2008.  Wonder what we can expect to come to fruition in the coming years from the Bush Administration?  Unfortunately, we will see.

You know, I’m not mad at Nixon, or Reagan, or Bush for that matter.  They are politicians.  By definition, politicians lie.  Granted there are some politicians that are better than others.  Politicians work for their donors that place them in office. Who I am mad at is the American people that let this happen.  Those that chose ignorance over knowledge.  (I can’t tell you how many times I would hear someone say, ‘I think it best that I don’t know).

‘Those that had better things to do than to participate in the running of their own country.  Those who thought politics just wasn’t worth their time.  To those of you that fit that definition you are getting what you deserve.  But unfortunately for the rest of us that knew better, and voted better, and actually read the newspapers and kept ourselves abreast of the facts, unfortunately for us, we too are getting exactly what you deserve.

                                         Julie Lancaster-Whann

Happy 4th. Anyway

Julie

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July 2, 2014

I grew up in a very cluttered home.  Lots of books, animals, hobbies and interests.  My mother had better things to do instead of cleaning and organizing.  Clutter inspires creativity.  Clutter inspires inventiveness.  People who grow up in clutter are our inventors, our decorators, our visionaries, our architects….  So don’t be so quick to pick up that mess.  You may be stiflings someone’s creativity. 
                                            
Like I said, I grew up in clutter and I live in clutter.  We have several projects always going on at once.  The black thing to the left in the photo is a car top carrier that I haven’t yet put into the garage that I just ordered through the mail.  To the right I’ve got some wooden board that we are going to cut up to make little beach bungalow doll houses for my nieces and I want one as well. 
Am I embarrassed that my house is always a cluttered mess?   No, if I was then I would not take photos of the mess and put them online.  🙂  There is nothing wrong with living in a mess.  I feel sorry for those that live in such sterile environments with everything in it’s place.  How on Earth can that kind of place inspire creativity? 
                                                   Julie Lancaster-Whann
Oh, well.  Am I a hoarder?  Probably.  But my theory is that there is no such thing as hoarders, we just need larger homes to house all our stuff. 
                               Julie Lancaster-Whann
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Vintage Hawaiian birthday cake topper sand globes.
Featured on my craft blog.
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“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” – Thomas A. Edison
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My friend Sherry just sent me this.

Very Canadian

The Beer Fridge

Happy Canada Day!

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July 1, 2014

I want to wish my Canadian friends and renters of the condo a Happy Canada Day!

Canada Had A Plan To Invade The U.S. (And 5 Other Facts You Didn’t Know About The Great White North)

(Came across this today and thought it very interesting).

The first of July is a special time of year for Canadians, as it marks the politely joyous occasion of Canada Day. The holiday is essentially a less nationalistic version of American Independence Day (with a slightly higher alcohol percentage), and it brings Canucks from across the country together in celebration of the glorious and free land they call home.

But if you’re only picturing a series of Canadian stereotypes, perhaps playing shinny while shotgunning two-fours, you are only actually half-right. Canada is vast and contains multitudes, and in order to highlight its lesser known history The WorldPost presents a round up of some facts that may change the way you look at the Great White North.

1. Canada Had A Plan To Invade America

Defence Scheme No. 1 was cooked up in 1921 as the brainchild of Canada’s Director of Military Operations and Intelligence James Sutherland “Buster” Brown. The plan was less one of conquest and more an action plan for what to do if it ever looked like America was about to make a move on Canadian soil.

It called for a quick surge across the border to take crossing points, before a retreat back into the north while destroying bridges along the way. As the Washington Post reports Brown’s budget was only about $1,200, so he would drive to places he thought worth invading and pick up free maps of them from gas stations. This is an actual thing that happened.

2. Canada Has The Richest Middle Class In The World

(It used to be us America until you allowed the heist and looting of our treasury right underneath your noses, you didn’t want to get involved with politics because you had better things to do.

So how is that goin’ for ya)?

As the New York Times reports, 2014 saw Canada eclipse the United States as having the wealthiest middle class in the world. Median income has risen substantially in Canada since 2000, and while wealth inequality is a concern, the after-tax earnings of Canada’s middle-income workers are now the ones to beat.

(Why does Canada have so much money?  They didn’t get involved in the Iraq War).

3. The Best Pig-Related War Of All Time Was Fought In Canada

While it’s an old adage that there are no good wars, there are certainly some wars that are better than others, and the Pig War definitely falls into the latter category. Fought on a tiny island off the coast of what is now Vancouver, Canada, the Pig War erupted in 1859 after a dispute between American and British settlers over an errant pig. As Modern Farmer tells it, a British swine had been rooting around in American Lymon Cutler’s potato patch.  Cutler shot the beast, sparking an international incident.

Things escalated quickly, with navy ships and hundreds of armed men flocking to the island in a tense standoff that threatened outright war between Britain and America. In the end, cooler heads prevailed and no one was killed (except the pig). The once-Canadian island was eventually negotiated to be a U.S. national park.

4. Santa Claus Is Canadian

(This is still in dispute but Canada is ahead of the issue).  🙂

In Dec. 2013, the Canadian government held an official ceremony to issue passports for Santa and Mrs. Claus. While the move to make a fictional character a citizen of Canada was little more than a publicity stunt, it actually had slightly more sinister designs. Canada, along with a number of other northern nations, is currently in dispute over who controls lucrative areas of the Arctic. Establishing the North Pole’s most prominent figure as one of its own was seen as Canada’s bizarre way of sending a message about territory.

On a more uplifting note, Canada also has a program where the post office receives children’s letters to Santa and responds to them all. They claim to have responded to more than 21.8 million letters in 30 languages.

5. Canada Discovered Insulin

(Thank you Canada)

Diabetics have Frederick Banting and Charles Best to thank for their discovery of insulin. The two Canadian scientists pioneered their life-saving work at the University of Toronto in the 1920s, with Banting receiving a Nobel Prize in 1923 for his discovery. The award’s exclusion of Best made Banting furious, and in true Canadian fashion he decided to share half his cash prize with his colleague to compensate.

6. Also Basketball And A Ton Of Other Stuff

Ontario native James Naismith invented the game of basketball while working as a YMCA teacher in Kansas.

The video above,

(I did not include the video)

dramatizing his invention is from a series  called “Heritage Minutes,” which airs during commercial breaks on Canadian broadcast television. The series often highlights Canada’s achievements or inventions, which include Winnie The Pooh and Superman. They are all amazing.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/01/canada-historical-facts_n_5544171.html

Article link above.

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Fun Fact:  The voice of Winnie The Pooh was a man named Sterling Holloway from Cedartown, Georgia, right outside of my hometown of Rome.

 RIP 1905-1992

He was also the voice of Kaa the snake from Jungle Book, the Cheshire Cat from the original Alice in Wonderland, and many other Disney characters during his career.

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Early

Happy Birthday Wishes

to my Canadian friend Sherry!

Tomorrow is your big milestone day.

Truly,

Julie

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Photos From The Weekend

Progress on the Path

I am very happy to report that we are on the home stretch of completing the path around our retaining wall in the backyard.  The paver cement is still curing.  It takes a good 72 hours, we are at 48.  Still hoping for no rain today.  This is our rainy season.  When the path is cured then we want to add a sealant to it so that the colors will stand out more, just like the wall itself, notice how much nicer those colors look in the photo above?  It’s because of the sealant.

We added some lights inside the retaining wall.

We added some lights to the underside of the capstones on the retaining wall.

Let there be LIGHT!!!

Look at how much that alone illuminates the path?  Well, we are not finished, there is more to come.  This is probably 85% completed.

When it’s all over with there will be a big write up, eventually.   As well as the Youtube video, eventually.  Hey, Gordon is taking a break from classes for the next 6 months, he desperately needs a rest he’s been going at a ‘full time work/full or part time class’ schedule now since 2010.  He just has 10 classes left, he’ll start back in January 2015.  So maybe now he will be able to help me with all these website updates between projects.

Hope everyone has a happy week!

Julie

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June 27, 2014

Congratulations to my Honorary Canadian Nephews

The Grade 8 Graduates

(They say ‘Grade 8′ instead of’ ‘8th. Grade’ as we would here in America).

My friend Sherry with her handsome boys.

Gordon and I are very proud to be their honorary Aunt and Uncle.

Congratulations from us down here in Florida!!

Love,

Aunt Julie and Uncle Gordon

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June 27, 2014

Flashback Friday

(Flashback Friday is about encouraging you to get out the old photo albums and travel back in time to reminisce and remember).

1986

Crabbing in the Inlet

Florida

That is me, crabbing with my little brothers.

Frank and Ben

Frank tying chicken onto our crab trap.  It’s actually pretty fun to do.  You lower the trap into the water, it opens up flat, just like it is here.  The crabs then walk into the trap to eat the chicken and we pull it up, which closes the trap, and then we have fresh crabs for dinner.

I can’t remember if we caught any so we probably didn’t, but I had fun with my little bros.

Happy Memories,

Julie

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Thursday Night Watergate Salad

Still eating that Watergate salad!!

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June 26, 2014

Week out at the Condo

I brought the flowers with me from my anniversary celebration.  I just knew that when I got back home they would be dead so I brought them with me to enjoy.

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Roses and Decadence

Favorite Things

White roses, chocolate goodies and champagne.

I love this picture that I took of a cupcake and a chocolate covered strawberry with my roses in the back.  I just wish that I had discovered photography years ago.

I like photographing food.

Believe it or not but I don’t eat any of this, except for one chocolate covered strawberry.

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I also brought with me my anniversary gift from Gordon.  I know, shower stuff, right?  But it goes with this……………

New Shower Head at Home

I am one lucky girl!!

Actually I got him bricks so I can’t complain!

We’re very practical people.  You would never know it to look at us but I would rather someone wash my car or clean my bathroom as a gift than give me something.  I pretty much have everything that I want anyway.

Which by the way, is the secret to being happy.

Appreciate what you have and be content with it.

Julie

p.s.  As my grandmother’s friend Annelle Barnes once said, “If I can’t eat it or wipe my butt with it, then I don’t need it.”

Words to live by.  🙂

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June 23, 2014

New Project

Earlier this year I paid $300.00 for these two mini doll house kits that you assemble.  I found them on Ebay from China.  I got them for me and my niece Lola who lives in Ireland.  They were so cute, (in the photos), and when they arrived I was so excited to put them together.  I set them aside because I had to work on other things and this week when I pulled every thing out, set up my craft table to do the work, I noticed something very strange……..

The instructions looked a bit funny.

I don’t understand?  What are these strange symbols?

Oh My God!  The instructions are in……….

CHINESE!!!!!

Bright side, I’ll figure it out.

When life gives you Chinese, grab some

chopsticks.  🙂

Julie Whann

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June 22, 2014

Gordon and Julie’s 29th. Wedding Anniversary

29 years ago today.

Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Whann

June 22, 1985

To commemorate our 29 years of bliss…. (HA)!

We decided to have a formal romantic dinner for two in the backyard.

The table setting in the backyard.

Gordon lighting the candles, white roses for me in a pitcher that was a wedding gift.

Gordon opening the champagne wearing flip flops no less.  We’re casual here in The Sunshine State.

Pouring the Champagne

Those are our wedding glasses from the day of our wedding.  They even have our names on them.  In all of our moves I’m surprised they didn’t break.

So what are we having for this very formal romantic dinner?

Indian Take Out, of course!

Yummy!

A Taste of India

Brandon, Florida

Love the samosas and the butter chicken!!

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Happy Anniversary Gordon!

Driving off into the sunset in a jeep.

Love,

Julie

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June 21, 2014

First Day of Summer

Summer of 1962

Mary Keith and Julie Ann

My mother playing with me in the water.  I am age 1 1/2.

Happy Summer everyone!

Julie Ann

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Watergate Salad

In keeping with my “Dick” memorabilia, (see below) Gordon and I made Watergate Salad today.  I can remember my mother making this salad many a time in the 70’s.  This was our dessert many a night after dinner.  This salad was originally called Pistachio Delight, but a food writer that wrote for a Chicago paper coined the name “Watergate Salad” in order to get attention.  Later on a sous chef at the Watergate Hotel served the salad at brunch and at weekends at the hotel thus drawing attention to it.  It quickly took off what with the Watergate scandal and all and became very popular.

Gordon and I made two versions.  The regular one and a light one for me.  The recipe is as follows:

1-can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple, in juice, undrained

1 pkg. (3.4 oz) Jell-O Pistachio Flavor Pudding (I used sugar free-fat free for mine).

1 1/2 cups thawed Cool Whip whipped topping ( I used the sugar free version).

1 cup Jet-Puffed miniature marshmallows (I used vanilla yogurt).

1/2 cup chopped pecans (we roasted them in the oven on 350* for about 8 minutes).

Combine ingredients.  Refrigerate 1 hour.

Note:  First we made the pistachio pudding using a low fat milk and put it in the refrigerator for an hour.  We then added all the other ingredients to it and then set it back in the refrigerator for an additional hour.  Then we ate it.  It was delicious!

Oh, something to do while you eat your Watergate Salad, watch Dick!  (the movie)

Peace,

Julie

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Me, getting into character to blog about Dick (the movie).

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June 20, 2014

42 Years Ago This Week…..

42 years ago this week I was living in Roanoke, Virginia with my mother, step-father and 3 little brothers.  The big news at the time was the break in at The Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C.

The date was June 17, 1972.

At around 2:30 a.m. five men, James W. McCord Jr., Bernard Barker, Eugenio Martinez, Frank Sturgis and Virgilio Gonzalez were arrested on the 6th. floor of the Watergate by police called to the scene by a security guard by the name of Frank Wills.

President Nixon’s attempt to prevent the investigation into the break in and the subsequent cover up leads to the end of his Presidency.

The scandal unraveled the Nixon Administrations multiple abuses of power which led to his impeachment and his resignation on August 9, 1974.  The scandal also resulted in the indictment, conviction and incarceration of dozens of Nixon’s top administration officials.

There have been many movies made on the Watergate scandal but my favorite one is………..

The movie was made in 1999 and stars Kirsten Dunst, Michelle Williams, Will Ferrel, Dan Hedaya, Teri Garr, Dave Foley, Harry Shearer, Ryan Reynolds, Ana Gasteyer, and an excellent cast of actors and characters.

Arlene and Betsy

(Michelle Williams and Kirsten Dunst)

  It is a parody and it is hilarious!  The movie starts out with Arlene and Betsy typing a letter to the ‘Win a date with Bobby Sherman’ contest.

(I believe that I also entered that same contest at the time).

In their attempt to sneak out of the apartment and mail the letter by the midnight deadline and without Arlene’s mother seeing them, Arlene lives in the Watergate, the girls encounter the break in.

G. Gordon Liddy

Of course hilarity ensues.  The girls end up going on a field trip to The White House with their class the next day and they end up meeting the President and becoming and ‘Secret Youth Advisers’ to the President and the ‘Official Dog Walker’ to Checkers the dog.

Field Trip to The White House

They also encounter one G. Gordon Liddy whom they saw the night before in the stairwell of the Watergate Hotel but do not recognize him when they see him at The White House.

“Are you the guy that sells corn dogs at the mall?”

                                                                         Betsy Jobs

Field Trip to The White House

Walking Checkers

Hello Dollies Recipe

embroidered by Kay Jobs

As a thank you gift for the President Betsy and Arlene decide to make him Hello Dollies cookies.  Of course he loves them seeing as how unbeknownst to Betsy and Arlene, there is a secret ingredient in the walnuts jar and it is not walnut tree leaves, but Betsy’s brothers secret stash.  Could that be why Nixon was so paranoid??

Everyone enjoying the cookies.

Peace ensues.

Arlene quickly falls out of love with Bobby and falls in love with Dick.

Arlene’s Scrapbook of Dick

Goodbye Bobby, Hello Dick

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Arlene dreaming of her and Dick.

Me, dreaming of anyone but Dick.  🙂

(My tribute to Arlene).

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The girls find the tape recorder in Rose Mary’s desk and decide to leave Dick a message.

Arlene proclaiming her love for Dick for 18 1/2 minutes on the tape, only to find out when replaying the tape that Dick is “not a nice man”.

The Tape Recorder

(My grandparents had one just like this).

Arlene Destroying her Dick memorabilia

Which leads Arlene and Betsy to make a prank phone call to The Washington Post to talk to the “radical muckraking bastards trying to discredit the President”.

Call To The Washington Post

Woodward and Bernstein

(Hey, great reporting in the 70’s!  Too bad you took the rest of the century off).

Woodward, portrayed by Will Ferrel, convinces his ‘source’ to meet him in the parking garage across from Garfinkles.

BTW:  It is being torn down now.  How sad!  Such a landmark.

Meet Deep Throat

I love this movie!  It is a time capsule of my youth living in Virginia in the 70’s.  I can remember watching the Watergate hearings on television in school.  Watching the news with my family every night and hearing all the details and revelations into the Watergate scandal.  Even eating green jello.

Eating green jello while watching the news.

My family and I went to D.C. a few times while we lived in Virginia.  Saw The White House, The Watergate Hotel, The Smithsonian, The Air and Space Museum, The Washington Monument, Embassy Row, The Mall, and of course, The Capital.

I can remember many a Saturday roller skating, I was actually pretty good too.  Listening to this music, wearing these kinds of clothes, peace symbols all over everything I owned.

I can also remember sleeping in these pink foam rollers many a night.  (I still have them too).

This movie is my childhood.  Whenever I watch it it’s like going back in time.  Sometimes I would love to be that silly giggling girl again.  I miss having a best friend to tell my deepest darkest secrets to.  I miss crushing on Bobby Sherman.  I miss roller skating.  I miss the Jackson 5, Labelle, Blue Swede, Grand Funk Railroad, Stories and Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain.

Betsy’s Bedroom Window

I had a window in my bedroom in Roanoke that is similar to this one.  I loved it.  I could look out over the entire neighborhood from my window.

Betsy and Arlene and Bernstein and Woodward at the library.

The President watching Love American Style

I LOVED that show too!

The Nixon’s leaving The White House in the helicopter.

Except Deep Throat has one last message for Tricky Dick.

Love, Deep Throat

Some of my own little 70’s meme memorabilia.  The red, white and blue crocheted bag my Great-Aunt Margie handmade for me.  Still have it.   My Dick DVD and CD soundtrack.  According to my daughter I am the only person left that still has CD’s.  Oh, well.  Also pictured is the American Girl Doll named Julie from the 1970’s.  My mother got it for me a few years ago.  How appropriate.  I never thought I would ever say this but I miss the 70’s!!  I miss being that silly giggling immature awkward girl.

Love,

        Julie

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June 17, 2014

What a Morning!!!

The calendar says today is Tuesday but I think it’s really Monday.  I opened the refrigerator door to get out some cranberry juice when all of a sudden the refrigerator started making this loud noise and it wouldn’t stop.  Gordon was getting ready for work and luckily hadn’t left yet.

Apparently some fan in the back of the ice maker was stuck.

Everything had to be removed from the freezer and the top shelf of the refrigerator.  But Gordon found the culprit after about 20 minutes.  A long piece of ice had fallen into the fan and was preventing the fan from working, thus making that loud terrible noise.

Gordon fixed it and in a shirt and tie no less.

He told me not to post this picture.

So look what all I had to put away before my first cup of coffee!  Simply unheard of.

Hope your day will be better than ours!

You know actually things worked out quite well.  We had a problem, Gordon was able to fix it before he left, and I was able to clean out the refrigerator and the freezer that desperately needed it.  All this before 9:00 a.m.

I have decided to start looking at obstacles that sometimes appear in  my day as challenges to overcome and conquer.  This obstacle was defeated and put behind us.

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Now I just have one more obstacle, I mean challenge, to overcome today and that is this……………

Macy’s left the alarm trigger thingy on my purse that I ordered through the mail for a wedding that I will be attending this August in Maryland.

So thanks a lot Macy’s!!  I was looking for something complicated to do today and you provided it.  🙁

I just hope there is no ink in it.

Have a super duper day!

Julie

p.s.  Hey, I’ll take these problems over worse ones any day of the week.

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June 15, 2014

Father’s Day

Father’s Day Dinner with a Middle Eastern Flair

Gordon has traveled throughout the world during his 20 year Naval career and through his subsequent profession.  (Cooking is just his hobby).  During his travels he would always bring back so many goodies for myself and our children.  It is with that in mind that I chose the atmosphere to be a bit Middle Eastern.

Remember the salmon that I bought the other day?  Perfect!  Look how beautiful??  In the photo at right Gordon is adding some olive oil and spices to our colorful carrots.

Middle Eastern food tends to be very spicy so it was just a matter of adding the exotic spices to the dishes.  Gordon has brought home some wonderful spices from over there that we use to cook with even now.  We found a great ethnic food Indian grocery store out in Seminole that we visit that carry what we like.

Doesn’t that look beautiful?  The salmon barely fit in the pan.

Salmon with roasted cherry tomatoes, roasted colorful carrots, baked sweet potatoes, and squash casserole made with panko instead of breadcrumbs.

Beautiful table setting, the fabric Gordon brought me back from one of his trips.   Delicious food.  Nice atmosphere.  That’s what you want.  Also, there is no way to gain weight off this food as it is low in calories and good for you too!

Salmon is pretty much the healthiest fish that is left that we can eat without too much worry.  The worst is tuna.  It is only safe to consume about one ounce per month because of the high levels of mercury any more than that is too dangerous.

My Plate

Not the most attractive presentation of the food on my plate but it was superb!  That’s all that matters.

Gordon and Veronica

So guess what OOWhann wanted for Father’s Day?

Happy Father’s Day Gordon!

Love,

Julie

  BTW, Sean Connery was the best Bond out of all of them!!!!!

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June 14, 2014

Flag Day

P7040042_small

Also my former sister-in-law Cathy’s birthday.  Happy Birthday to Cathy in Ireland.

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Father’s Day Weekend

Remembering My Great-Grandfathers This Father’s Day

Grand and Grandhopaw’s Chairs

The chairs above once belonged to my Great-Grandfathers.  I can remember them sitting in those chairs when I was a young girl.  I have them at the end of our lanai.  They are probably anywhere between 55 – 70 years old and still going strong.  My little homage to these two special men that loved me and were so good to me.

Happy Father’s Day!

Julie

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June 13, 2014

Friday the 13th.

I LOVE Friday the 13th.!  I greet the day with enthusiasm and great relish.  I ran my errands and did my shopping yesterday on my way back home from the condo with great gusto.  I’m not a susperstitious person at all.  I walk under ladders, open umbrellas in the house, and I love it when a black cat crosses my path!

The icing on the cake to my day was the best thunderstorm ever.  Loudest thunder and that beautiful forked lightening.  LOVE IT!!

Did you know that Tampa is the ‘lightening capital of the world’?  The word Tampa means ‘Sticks of Fire’, named by the Seminole Indians who settled here.

So seeing as how I was in such a good mood while I was shopping I saw this and just had to buy it for Gordon’s Father’s Day dinner.

Over 4 Pounds of Salmon

 I picked out the large one on top!  I know he will love it but it will hardly be a surprise seeing as how he has to cook it.

So Happy Father’s Day Gordon………..

Now go cook this.

Julie

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June 12, 2014

Dinner at the Beach

My Beautiful View!

I was headed to the pool but then I detoured to the beautiful beach for dinner.  Perfect!

Julie

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June 11, 2014

Remembering the Important Men in my Life

This Father’s Day

Me with My Grandfather

He was the greatest man I ever knew.

Franklin Elwood Haskin

as a young man.

I was lucky enough to have had him for 14 years, that is how old I was when he died.  He was almost 57.  He was the father figure that I grew up with.  My mother and biological father divorced when I was a baby and my mother and I lived with my grandparents until I was around 6.  He was the greatest man that I have ever known.  Believe me, I don’t just say that about anyone.  He truly was.  My husband Gordon is the second greatest man.  🙂

So every Father’s Day I always think of him.  He is the one that I miss.  He gave me love, guidance, exposure through travel all across America, and many, many happy memories.

Me, With My Grandparents

  He always treated me as if I was the most wonderful person in the world.  He never raised his voice to me, well, actually he did once, when we had a flat tire in the desert in Arizona and I was hopping in and out of the car while he was trying to change the tire.  But only that one time.  We traveled to most every state in America before I was 14.  There are only a hand full of states that I have left to visit and I hope to someday.

Me at the beach, 1966.

He took me to Florida many a summer.

He taught me how to swim.

He not just took me to the beach but to watch the space shuttle blast off from Cape Canaveral.  Every vacation was not just fun, but educational too.  He gave me more life experiences before he died than most people get in their lifetimes.

Here is my homage to him.

Frank Haskin, above left, as a boy at the beach.  His parents, my Great-Grandparents, Lillian (Honnie) and Gordon Haskin.  They were from Vincennes, Indiana.

Honnie and Gordon adopted my grandfather when he was 4.  He was born in 1916.  He was an abandoned child from his real parents.  Honnie nad Gordon loved him so very much.  They put him in the best private schools to get a good education.  He even graduated from Darlington School in Rome, Georgia.  We have no records of where he came from before his adoption.  We know nothing past him.  There is no family tree on his side.  Everyone that knew anything is dead and cannot tell us.  There were no records kept at the time of his adoption.  My grandmother didn’t even know he was adopted until after he died and my mother found the papers.  All of us were very surprised.  But what saddened me the most was to discover that I am not related by blood to my great-grandparents in the photo above.  I would like to think that I have a little bit on Honnie and Gordon inside of me though.  If not through blood then through environment.

Vintage Busch Gardens 1966

Bottom photo, me at Busch Gardens with my Grandparents

They took me everywhere.  I had the best childhood.

My grandmother died in 2000, since then I have experienced such a great loss at not having her with me anymore.  She was the last of such a wonderful generation.

The Postmaster

My grandfather was Postmaster of Rome, Georgia up until his death.  I have some of his postal things with me.  His Postmaster rubber stamp and his little tin mail box.  His rubber stamp still has the rubber band that he put on it.  I won’t ever take it off.

The Men in My History

The important men in my life growing up.  My grandfather, great grandfathers and my great-uncle Ray.  They were the positive male influences throughout my life and they were very good to me.

Me with my Great-Uncle Ray, my Grandmother’s Brother

Easter 1964

I miss all these wonderful men that I grew up knowing that were so good to me.

Me with my Grandfather at Busch Gardens

1966

Thank you granddaddy for making me feel like the most special person in the world.

I miss you,

Julie

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June 9, 2014

Photos From This Past Weekend

Progress on the Path

I am going to quit talking about when this path is going to be finished because it keeps evolving into something bigger and grander so I will just bring to you the progress so far.

I did do my part and I have planted some lovely foxtail ferns and summer hostas inside the retaining wall.  I wanted lots and lots of green.

Here is one of three lizard eggs that I found while digging into the soil to plant my ferns and hostas.  I took extra care to make sure they were o.k. and then put them back where I found them.  I happen to love the lizards.  Some of them I recognize when I go outside.  Either by their colors or their missing tails or marks on them.  They are a part of our backyard and they are welcome to live here.

All the plantings inside the retaining wall are done.

They look so nice especially with the bark as ground cover.

Above left Gordon is building a new trench to run the lights for the retaining wall and the path.  To the right above he is gluing the outside blocks to the bricks underneath that line the outside of our path.

Remember the sponge that Gordon found on the beach last Easter?  Photo left?  Well it looks great on our vintage wrought iron table at right.  My grandmother’s lanai furniture to be exact.  Love it!

Happy Monday,

Julie

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

With Father’s Day Approaching…….

I always think of my grandfather, Franklin Elwood Haskin.  He was more of a father to me then a grandfather.  I lived with my grandparents until I was about 6.  I can remember how happy I was with them.  When they were alive I was the luckiest little girl in the world.  He unfortunately died when I was 14.  I have so many happy memories of him.

In the photo above I am in St. Petersburg, Florida at the beach, probably age 6.  My grandparents would bring me to Florida most every summer.  The pretty locket above that I draped onto the butterfly frame, my grandfather bought for me at the Weeki Wachee Mermaids show.  I can remember how enthralled I was watching these beautiful women wearing swimsuit tops with a mermaid tail swimming around in tanks.  Holding their breathe so long.  I remember it quite well.

The funny thing is that the locket above on my picture frame, my grandfather didn’t want to buy for me.  I saw it by the cash register and I wanted it!  My grandfather thought that a locket that cost about a dollar was not worth it and he said “no”.  I then pitched the biggest fit of my life until he bought it for me.  I still wear it.

I’m wearing it in the above photo.  So granddaddy, I think you did get your money’s worth.   You gave me a great memory and a souvenir that I will treasure forever.

I miss you,

Julie

p.s.  These necklaces are no longer made because they have a butterfly’s wing inside the locket.  I know, how terrible right?  I would not buy anything like this now that I am a more aware and caring person to the environment around me But it is something that ties me to my grandfather that I cherish.

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June 6, 2014

The 70th. Anniversary of D Day

Also the second night of our Wounded Warrior Project Fundraiser Dinner.

Most people believe that the “D” in “D Day” stands for ‘Decision Day’.  It does not though.  The Army started using codes during World War 1 such as “H = Hour” and “D = Day” to indicate a time and date for an invasion to start.  D Day simply means invasion day.

(With “codes” like that no wonder we needed the Indian Code Talkers for WWII.)

This time Gordon got to enjoy the dinner instead of being on the other side cooking.

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Amuse Bouche

If you look at the photo of Gordon above he has this little appetizer treat in front of him.  It is called Amuse Bouche.   That is not the name of the treat but a description of what it is.  An amuse bouche is a single bite sized hors d’oeuvre that is not ordered on the menu, it is a gift from the chef to his/her pratrons.

This was a great night.  We met so many nice interesting people.  A ‘Welcome Coordinator’ representative from the Wounded Warrior Project, Brittany Hutcheson, brought several thank you souvenirs for all of us.

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A Special Treat Courtesy of the Chocolate Class at A.I.

A big thank you to them!

Presenting the check to Ms. Hutcheson to be given to The Wounded Warrior Project

$1,900.00 collected in tickets sales.  There were also donations collected at the school and the event nights that are not included in that total.  Not bad really.

Julie

p.s.  To know more about our 2 day event keep reading below.

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Headed out the door to the dinner.  Someone will get a big surprise later on.

Shhh………

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June 5, and 6, 2014

The Wounded Warrior Project Fundraiser Dinner

Sponsored by The International Culinary School

Hosted by The Art Institute of Tampa

http://www.artinstitutes.edu/tampa/culinary-802.aspx

Me with Chef Whann in The Tutored Chef Restaurant at The Art Institute.  Gordon was the Assistant Executive Chef for the event.

This is a 2 day ‘Sampler 5-Course French Inspired ‘ meal.

Served from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday

Tickets are $35.00 and 100% of the cost goes to The Wounded Warrior Project

Sarah, Me, and Veronica

We arrived at the dinner a little early in order to take some photos of the action going on behind us in the restaurant.  I like that we can view everything that goes on in the kitchen.

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The Menu, photo top left.  The Place Setting, photo top right.

In the busy restaurant kitchen.  Gordon wore his Navy Chief’s hat instead of his chefs hat.  All the prior military chefs did.

The Amuse Bouche

Polenta with Bacon

The First Course is a tomato, cucumber salad with a balsamic vinaigrette.  The Second Course, above right, is the classic French onion soup.

Veronica enjoying herself.

The Third Course (my favorite) was poached cod with sage butter on grilled polenta.  I love fish and polenta so this was a big hit with me.  The Fourth Course was grilled lamp chops with mint yogurt, French potato puree and grilled summer vegetables.

The Fifth Course

Mixed Berry Tartelette Raspberry Coulis

Sarah’s came with a special candle and a happy birthday surprise sung by all.  It was her 26th. birthday and we enjoyed having her spend it with us.  Gordon brought it out for her.

Now you know what the gift bag surprise was above.

Thank you for caring,

Julie

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June 5th. and 6th.

Gordon S. Whann

Assistant Executive Chef

Wounded Warriors Project Fundraiser

Hosted by The Art Institute of Tampa

French Inspired 5-Course Sampler Meal

To be served in the school’s Tutored Chef Restaurant

7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Tickets are $35.00 each.  You can buy your ticket at the door.

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Stars and Stripes

Helping wounded vets move from ‘surviving’ to ‘thriving’

http://www.stripes.com/helping-wounded-vets-move-from-surviving-to-thriving-1.265084

Matt Kiel, a former Army staff sergeant who has been a quadriplegic since a sniper shot him in the neck in Iraq, plays at at park near his Colorado home with his 3 year old twins Faith and Matthew, and his wife Tracy.  The family will receive financial insurance through the Wounded Warrior Project’s new long term trust program.

Photo courtesy of the Kiel family.

https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

Donations are excepted at the dinner.  Also be sure to visit the website for further information.

My husband Gordon Whann is a retired Navy Chief giving 20 years of military service and a veteran of 2 Gulf Wars.  He will be in the kitchen cooking for this event.

Julie

p.s.  There always seems to be money for wars so if we have the money to kill people then we have the money to heal people.

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Out the Door Early

But I have my chicken spring rolls for lunch to make me happy.

Konnichiwa,

Julie

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June 2, 2014

Inside Orchids

I love orchids.  They are my birth flower in Australasia.  They are so beautiful when I buy them and bring them home.  I buy them very cheaply at the commissary on base.  They look very elegant and graceful as the sit in my nook for weeks at a time.  When you cut the flowers they can last for days without water and still look lovely, which is why you will find many an orchid in a wahine’s hair on the Hawaiian islands.

Nook Orchids, as in orchids in my kitchen nook.

I always place them into some pretty pots that I have on hand and put them all over my house.  The leaves are beautiful as well.

But once the blossoms have all bloomed, all you have left is a stick.

Not very attractive, I know.

So when the above happens, just place them outside until next year, continue feeding them a weekly diet of one ice cube, and then the following spring, viola!  It’s ALIVE!!!

All of the above orchids were nothing but an ugly looking stick just one season prior.  Now they have bloomed and are so pretty.  I am lucky that they love the humidity here in Florida so they tend to do quite well.  They are about the only thing in Florida that loves the humidity.

I keep them outside on our lanai when I want them to thrive and then bring them in whenever I just want to look at them.

All I have to do is place them into a pretty pot, without removing them from their own little clear plastic pots.  It’s easier to move them and bring them outside without going to all the trouble to actually plant them into another pot.

One ice cube every week per orchid plant.  How easy is that?

They do come back.  Behold, the truth!

Hey, I did that!

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The photo above left is of our ginger plant that we acquired last September from a woman that grows ginger and donated them to our last fundraising dinner for Habitat for Humanity.  She gave Gordon one and he planted it into our garden in it’s own pot.  That is important, that it have it’s own pot.  Now just going on 9 months later it is sprouting new shoots and it produces the prettiest flower.  Almost looks like an orchid.  Can’t wait to see the ginger when it starts to appear.

We cook with ginger quite a bit.  Very healthy for you.  Tough antioxidant that can even prevent the flu and  the common cold.  So eat up!

My new money tree in my grandmother’s old vintage ‘made in Japan’ pot.  I forget the name of this pottery.  Roseville, that’s it!  It is quite desirable though, and some of these pots go for quite a bit. The bark is braided.  The Asians are so articulate in everything they do.  Their food, their plants, their gardens, their fabrics, their homes, their very way of life.  Everything always looks so lovely.  They seem to take time with everything.

If you are a regular reader of my blog and my website you know that I am very fond of the Asian cultures.  I think it started in Hawaii.  They have a very large Asian community and their inspiration is everywhere.  I also had a very good friend that was part Japanese and she introduced me to that beautiful way of life.  Cathy was born to a Japanese mother and a Caucasian father on The Big Island of Hawaii.  They met when her father was stationed at Pearl Harbor.  Now she has a wonderful story to tell of her parents life together living on The Big Island.

My daughter Veronica was very good friends with Cathy’s daughter Jade.  Cathy and I also started out as Co-Leaders for our Girl Scout Troop in Ewa Beach, Hawaii.

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I have also discovered another woman from an Asian culture that I am very excited about.  Judy Joo.  She has a television show on the Cooking Channel called Korean Food Made Simple.  She is a brilliant chef, an Iron Chef in the UK and a former Wall Street trader.  She’s smart, she’s talented, she’s gorgeous and I am a big fan now.

Host of Korean Food Made Simple

Chef Judy Joo

Be sure to check out her television show.

http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/shows/korean-food-made-simple.html

Judy Joo on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/JudyJooChef

From Wall Street To Iron Chef

http://www.hancinema.net/from-wall-street-to-iron-chef–judy-joo-finds-passion-in-food-35188.html

A few years ago I read online that Sarah Palin had moved to Hawaii for 6 months from Alaska when she was younger to go to The University of Hawaii but left soon after she got there because, according to her father she said, ‘there were too many Asians’.

Too many Asians?  There is no such thing as ‘too many Asians’.  I love the Asian community and their contributions that they make.

Ahn Nyeong Hee Ga Se Yo,

Julie

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Sunday Night Supper

OMG!!!

Turkey sausages and biscuits, Gordon’s Hawaiian potatoes, which are better than #ex by the way, along with homemade southern gravy made healthier with olive oil.

We need to call this meal OMG, because that is what you say when you eat it.

Oh and by the way, we are taking this recipe with us to the grave because no one deserves this much happiness.

Julie

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June 1, 2014

Building the Path Around Our Backyard Retaining Wall

Progress

Gordon Adjusting the Stones

We will be finished up with this project in June and we will be bringing the ‘How-To’ write-up and the Youtube video to the

Back Yard 

The colors of the different stones are beautiful.  This is going to be such a nice addition to our backyard.

We are thinking that next weekend we will finish.  I know, I know, I know.  However, all that is left is to put the pea gravel between all the stones and then cover with this clear cement sealant and then add the lights.

Cake!!

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June 1, 2014

Believe it or not but between drinking tea and going to the beach and working on do-it-yourself projects I do keep up with what is going on in our country and the world.  So I just wanted to pass this on.

Wall Street Mega-Banks Are Buying Up The World’s Water

http://www.popularresistance.org/wall-street-mega-banks-are-buying-up-the-worlds-water/

As I’ve said before, our wars right now are being fought over fuel, our future wars will be fought over water. 

I just didn’t realize that it would be this soon.  Wall Street owning all the water?  Now that’s comforting.

Julie

p.s.  I pity our children and grandchildren.  Sounds like a Hunger Games scenario.

To put it bluntly:

If you are around my age, 53, then our generation will probably survive global warming/climate change.  Our children MIGHT survive it.  Our grandchildren WON’T survive it.

Ignore this at your peril.

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Tea and Almond Cookies at the Condo

I love steeped tea.  Be sure to let it sit for 5 minutes before you drink it.  That is when all the anti-oxidants are most potent.

Sake at the Condo

Sake is a Japanese rice wine.

I love Chinese food.  Potstickers, dumplings, brown Jasmine rice, perfect!

Good Fortune to You!

Julie

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Tuesday 27th.

On My Way Out The Door

I always carry food and drink with me even when I am just going to run some errands.  This is hot humid Florida and many a person has gotten heat stroke and dehydration from living here in this heat so I always have nourishment with me so that I am not reliant upon whatever I may come upon.

In this case I am on my way out the door to the condo.

Hence, my lunch.

I do have a nice sack lunch, don’t I?

Spam Musubi, crab salad on some wheat crackers, a mango for dessert and my favorite Cranberry Ginger Ale.

I always have my Made in Japan vintage binoculars with me.  Aren’t they pretty?  I bought them at a thrift store for about $6.00.  They retail on Ebay for around $50.00.  I always have them with me.  You never know when you might see a dolphin and want a closer look.

Wednesday 28th.

Condo Crab Salad

Gordon makes the best crab salad ever.  The secret is using rice wine.  Also we don’t use real crab, this is imitation crab, white fish from Alaska.  I love real crab but unless we know where it comes from then we don’t eat it.  Next time we are in Virginia and Maryland we will definitely chow down on some crab.

The pretty bowls I bought at the Asian Supermarket.  Here I glued two bowls together, one upside down.  I have a friend who’s birthday sign is Cancer, the crab, I’m planning on giving her a nice set as a gift.  I do love mine though!

Thursday 29th.

Storms a Brewin’ Argh!

(Why is it that I am the only one left in my family that loves ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’) ??  Boggles the mind…….

Regardless, I have everything under control.

Not a care in the world……

la dee dah dee dah……

Oh yeah,

Julie

Oh, p.s.  Did you know that if you have a stranger take a photo of you, at say Disney, then that person owns the copyright to the photo that they just took on your camera??  Think twice before you have someone take your next group photo.

Just sayin’……..

Hey, I am just here to help.

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Skin Cancer Clearing Up

If you have been following me then you know about my basal cell skin cancer that I have been battling.  My chest is clearing up now.

And hey, here is my tacky celebrity Kardashian’s ‘No Make-up’ bathroom selfie.

I know that I have bashed the Kardashian’s in the past but they do give a lot of money to charity so I am going to eat some crow now.  I admire anyone who gives to charity and they do give a lot.

So here is my tacky bathroom selfie in honor of the Kardashians.

Oh, just shut up,

Julie

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Photos From Memorial Day Monday

Ah, the path is coming along.  Gordon cemented a block border in the trench all around the path.  What I like most about this is all the pretty colors.  They all tie in with each other.

The different stones are very pretty.  It is getting there.  Maybe NEXT weekend we will finally finish up this path.But Gordon did work in 90* temps, sweating like a pig.  This was a very productive weekend.

Gordon put together this little bridge for Monk and Sugar to cross when we took them outside so they would not step into the trench.  It is the top of my old wine barrel.

Monday Night Cubans with Mojitos

Eating Cuban

Book by Beverly Cox and Martin Jacobs

I love buying up ethnic cookbooks because ethnic food is so delicious.  I came across this book.  It’s just so festive with beautiful photos and tasty looking food.  Of course my favorite Cuban food is the Cuban sandwich.  Unfortunately for Cuba it was created here in Tampa.  It is one of my top two sandwiches that I love.  The first being a Muffaletta.  I ordered one at a restaurant in New Orleans when I was pregnant with Brodie and gosh did I love it!

The best way to make a Cuban sandwich is with Cuban bread.  But you can use a French baguette as a substitute.

Into the Panini press.  I bought this wonderful press at a thrift store for $8.00, brand new.  Works great!

Sandwich Cubano La Ideal

While the rest of the country is barbecuing on the grill, we were pressing.

Delicious!

Our Canadian friends Sherry and John just visited Cuba last month for their 25th. wedding anniversary.  I live here in Florida and I am only 90 miles from Cuba but I am not allowed to visit that country because of our embargo of it.  The rest of the world can go to Cuba and they talk about how wonderful the Cuban people are.  How beautiful the country is.  But because it is a Communist country most of us Americans are not allowed to go.  How sad.  Everyone I know overseas has been to Cuba but me.  I’m closer to it than all of them.  There is just something very wrong with that.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day!

Julie

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May 25, 2014

Sunday Night Spamin’

Spam Musubi, that is.

Delicious and so Pretty

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I have been craving local Hawaiian foods.  Well, it does not get any more local than this, Spam Musubi.  First of all, I love Spam.  Always have.  I haven’t eaten it in years because it is processed meat and we don’t eat much processed meat anymore.  The occasional brauts but no more hot dogs or any kind of potted meat.  But this was a special occasion and seeing how it is a holiday weekend there was no excuse not to indulge ourselves.

The Aloha Flea Market

The Aloha Flea Market is a Saturday staple in Honolulu at the Aloha Stadium.  There are rows and rows of vendors selling their wares, Polynesian and island music playing in the background, nice festive atmosphere.  Tourists as well as locals visit the Aloha Flea Market.   Here is where we spent many a Saturday morning shopping, strolling the isles looking for our Hawaiian and Asian treasures, buying our fruit from the venders and visiting my favorite seller to buy his banana bread.  For lunch we always stopped off at any vender to buy Spam Musubi.  My kids love it.  They grew up eating it.  Brodie is especially fond of it.  So what a nice surprise this will be when they come home from their weekends away to find this.

 

The ingredients are simple.  A can or two of Spam, Nori (seaweed), rice, sweet soy sauce, and a mold.  You can cut out the bottom of the can of Spam to use as a mold if you don’t have one.

By adding the sweet soy sauce to the already cooked Spam it becomes a caramel like sauce.

You layer sticky rice into a mold, add your cooked Spam, then another layer of rice before you wrap your Nori (seaweed) around it.

Very pretty.  No fork or chopsticks required.  Just pick it up and start eating it.

Hawaii Food Truck

You can find Spam musubi all over Hawaii.  Pretty much a staple on every food truck and at every gas station.

A Bowl Full of Musubi

I wrapped them individually and place them into the frig.  The kids will grab one or two to take to work for lunch, same with Gordon.  Nice light dinner too.

Ying and Yang Fortune Game

The sticks tell your fortune.

(It’s telling me that there is no way in hell this path will be finished anytime soon).

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So as for that Path……….

It is Evolving

More blocks for the project.

A trench?  Or is it a moat?  I’m starting to wonder.  Either way, there is no way this is getting finished before Tuesday.

Gordon and Brian

Veronica and Brian stopped by on their way to Ybor City.  Brain had to go and suggest we add lights to the path.

Thanks a lot Brian.  Like I said, it’s evolving………

Julie

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May 25, 2014

Sad Sunday

I woke up this morning to the news of the UC Santa Barbara, California shooting spree that happened yesterday.  We were enjoying a great day of working outside in the yard finishing up our path,

and then enjoying a nice evening of a great dinner and a movie at home, The Monuments Men.  What a great movie.  The bravery of these men to go into Germany during WWII just to search for and to recover the worlds art that was stolen.  Such heroes to see the importance of recovering something that most people don’t care about.  I loved learning about their story.  But now that our nice yesterday is over with and we are learning about yet another tragic shooting spree in America it just makes me sad.

I decided there really isn’t anything else to say about it as I have said plenty in the past about all these guns and dangerous gun laws in our country.  But what happened to us?  How did we get here?  Guns, guns, guns, ‘stand your ground’ laws, torture, wars?  When did we become such a dangerous country?  No wonder I miss the past.  No wonder I miss my grandparents and great-grandparents so much.  They were after all,  ‘The Greatest Generation.”  Just like The Monuments Men were.  Good people that cared about each other, that helped each other.  Did you know that in some states here in America that you can go to jail for feeding the homeless?  The people that are making these laws claim to be such good Christians yet with these laws they would be criminalizing Jesus himself.  When did Jesus go from being The Prince of Peace to the ‘god of war’ with guns strapped to him?

Sadly, it really is just another day in America.

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Below is what Michael Moore posted about the shooting.  I agree wholeheartedly and wanted to share it with you.

With due respect to those who are asking me to comment on last night’s tragic mass shooting at UCSB in Isla Vista, CA — I no longer have anything to say about what is now part of normal American life. Everything I have to say about this, I said it 12 years ago: We are a people easily manipulated by fear which causes us to arm ourselves with a quarter BILLION guns in our homes that are often easily accessible to young people, burglars, the mentally ill and anyone who momentarily snaps. We are a nation founded in violence, grew our borders through violence, and allow men in power to use violence around the world to further our so-called American (corporate) “interests.” The gun, not the eagle, is our true national symbol. While other countries have more violent pasts (Germany, Japan), more guns per capita in their homes (Canada ), and the kids in most other countries watch the same violent movies and play the same violent video games that our kids play, no one even comes close to killing as many of its own citizens on a daily basis as we do — and yet we don’t seem to want to ask ourselves this simple question: “Why us? What is it about US?” Nearly all of our mass shootings are by angry or disturbed white males. None of them are committed by the majority gender, women. Hmmm, why is that? Even when 90% of the American public calls for stronger gun laws, Congress refuses — and then we the people refuse to remove them from office. So the onus is on us, all of us. We won’t pass the necessary laws, but more importantly we won’t consider why this happens here all the time. When the NRA says, “Guns don’t kill people — people kill people,” they’ve got it half-right. Except I would amend it to this: “Guns don’t kill people — Americans kill people.” Enjoy the rest of your day, and rest assured this will all happen again very soon.

                                       Michael Moore

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You know when 9/11 happened we were living in Fort Meade, Maryland, just 20 miles away from the Pentagon on that tragic day.  One thing that I kept hearing over and over were people saying,  ‘They killed AMERICANS!  3,000 AMERICANS!  We have to do something because they killed AMERICANS!’  Americans were so outraged and saddened that Americans were killed.

As saddened as I was, all I could think of every time I heard someone say that was that Americans kill Americans every single day.  We’ve killed more of our own people than terrorists have done to us.  So if killing Americans is so tragic then why don’t we do something about our dangerous society and stop killing each other?  Then maybe we can safely go see a movie, go to the grocery store, or walk out of a restaurant without living in this ‘war zone’ that is our country?

Julie

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