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April 15, 2015

Anything Can Be a Vase

Even My Bamboo Steamer

This just says spring to me.

I rigged this together by placing a bowl with water in the bottom of the steamer and inserting the flowers through the bamboo slats on the middle section.  The bamboo steamer I picked up in China Town in Hawaii for $3.50 many years ago.

Bamboo Steamer Vase

(Now come on, you know you want one too.)

I am so into this lovely bamboo pattern that I think I need to pay a visit to the Asian Supermarket to buy some more pieces.


Asian Ware and Asian Pugs

My Very First China Cabinet

I bought it in Hawaii from J.C. Penny’s catalog.  It came unfinished and I always left it that way.  It’s probably 22 years old.  My grandmother bought it for me as a birthday gift one year.  Well, she paid for it, I ordered it.  It houses my Blue Willow china that I inherited from my grandmother and my Rice Ware that I started collecting in Hawaii and have since found some wonderful pieces in thrift stores around military bases.

Rice Ware

You can see the light shining through the grains of rice in my tea cup here.

It’s so beautiful!


From Top to Bottom

Peace, Peace, Peace

My Grandparents

The Blue Willow clock above was my grandmother’s.  I found it just shoved into a closet under a bunch of blankets and I asked her if I could have it.  The cobalt blue vase above was her’s as well.

The people that I love and miss in photographs, along with some of their personal items from when they were alive.


Blue and White

The Blue Willow once belonged to my Great-Grandmother Keith and passed down to my grandmother who then gave it all to me.


I love collecting.  I have many interests and many collections.  My niece Lola learned about collections from me.  She came to visit us for the first time from Ireland when she was 5 and after she saw my collections she wanted to start one herself.  Her’s is the Lalaloopsie dolls, she has almost every single one.  It makes me feel good to think that I can be an influence on someone.  Granted it is by being a materialistic hoarder but she is half American so……..

Oh well, TIME to go.



April 12, 2015

And So it Has Begun…….

California Delta’s Water Mysteriously Missing Amid Drought

Our wars right now are being fought over fuel, our future wars will be fought over water.  Probably sooner than we expected.  There are towns in Texas that have no water left because of Fracking.  California will have no more water by next year.  No water means California farmers can’t grow their food.  Food prices will go up, so start digging up your pretty yards and planting gardens.  Swimming pools will no longer be for swimming, they’ll be for catching and storing water.

It’s time that all of us starting thinking about these things.  I like to live my life being prepared, not just reacting to all the bad things to come.

We’re all connected.  What happens to one, will affect the other.


And that is why I am so upset about this!



That little snake lived in my garden.  He ate the bugs in my garden and protected my herbs and plants and flowers.  He didn’t bother anyone.  He was not dangerous or poisonous.  He lived here too but now he’s gone.  He curled his tail so cute, like a corkscrew.

He was cute and never hurt anyone.

I’m going to miss that little snake.  Sugar and I would see him occasionally when we were outside.


April 12, 2015

Happy Birthday, Grandma

She would have been 102 today.  Wish she were still here.  She died 15 years ago but I remember her as if she were just here yesterday.

“It’s the ones that love us the most that we remember the best.”



April 11, 2015

I Love My Breakfast Bar

I happen to love my kitchen.  It’s not the nicest or the fanciest or the most modern but I don’t care.  I love my kitchen.

Asian Hat Filled with Breads

I bought this hat at the Aloha Flea Market in Hawaii when we lived there.  It was hand woven, I love it, here I’ve added some breads to it.  These breads are so good.  I buy them at the Asian supermarket.  Some have dried pork in the them, some have strawberry, some have pineapple, (or as the package says, “Pine Apple”), and even my favorite, Taro.  Taro is the root that is pounded to make poi.  Taro is very healthy for you.

They are just so easy to grab and go as we run out the door.

I just wish that they had some whole wheat alternatives.

Like My New Faucet?

This is lovely to me.  Pretty Asian plates, bowls, spoons, and platters drying in a bamboo rack.  My fish bottle with liquid soap and my fish planter that holds my sponges and cleaning utensils.  I happen to like washing dishes when I wash pretty things.

This is why I love my kitchen!

Happy Weekend Everyone!

It’s filing the TAXES for us!!!  🙁



April 10, 2015

Leftover Easter Eggs?

Then why not make egg salad?

Except this time add some turmeric to your favorite recipe.  It will give such a lovely golden color and kill cancer cells at the same time.  I just added about a half a teaspoon to this batch.  We put it in a lot of our food.

I do love eggs at Easter!



April 9, 2015

Who Needs an Easter Basket Anyway?

I picked up all these items at the Asian supermaket’s that we went to last Saturday.

Pretty Bowls with Pretty Candies

That is NOT Easter Grass!

They are dried tapioca sticks used in soups.  I thought they were very colorful and lovely.  Asians are smart people.  You can tell that simply by shopping in their grocery stores and seeing how they eat.  It’s ingenious!  No wonder they are so good in math.

Oh, and FYI:  They don’t lose their hair the way that Americans do.  It’s because of their diet.  Also, Asian women that stay in Asia have the lowest breast cancer rates in the world.

Look how pretty!

Salted Duck Eggs

While we were scouring the supermarkets I spotted these salted duck eggs and Gordon and I decided to try them.  We knew about them from our years of living in Hawaii with the Filipino culture.  They take eggs and bury them in the ground for one month, then dig them up and eat them.  They are considered a delicacy.  I figured that since these were salted (cured) that they would maybe taste better.

WELL, we did try them and all gathered around the kitchen trash can spitting them out.  I also deleted all photographic evidence of that.

But they do look really pretty all shrink wrapped in their

red packaging.

My Noodle Nests

I had some old vegetarian noodles in the pantry that I was going to throw out when I realized that they would make cute little nests for these egg shaped rice crackers.

My Vegetarian Noodles

I love these noodles!  They are great in soups.  Just drop one little clump into the broth and you have this instant noodles soup.

(I also placed them in the red bowl above with the duck eggs on top of them.)

Everything at the Asian store is always so beautiful.

My favorite, the melon seed and sesame seed cookies.

So what do you think?

  It’s different, but I’m not afraid of different.

Sometimes different is a lot of fun!



April 6, 2015


Gordon Carving our Easter Duck

Our Asian Easter

How our Asian Easter came to be.


We have had such a busy year, Gordon and I.  We are very behind on so many spring projects that normally we would already have done by now.  We have been working so hard and we are so tired, that about a week and a half before Easter I asked Gordon, ‘what we were going to do for Easter’?  We were both too tired to deal with Easter.  I also took a good long look at our dining room and realized that I will not have the time to pack up all my Asian things to make room for all the cute traditional Easter items.  That is when it occurred to me, why not do an Asian Themed Easter!?

We could buy a Peking Duck from the Asian Supermarket, add some Asian side dishes, it will be great!

So that is what we did!


“No, Chop, Chop Duck!”

While we were at the Asian Supermarket  we wanted a Peking duck and we gave the woman behind the counter our order.  She was trying to be helpful and she asked us, “You want chop, chop duck”?  She had a large cleaver in her hand and was moving it in a chopping motion.  She once again asked, “You want I chop, chop, duck”?

That’s when we realized that she was asking us if we wanted her to cut it up?  She was holding the cleaver over the duck.  Seeing as how we wanted a nice whole duck on our Easter table and not something chopped up we immediately shouted simultaneously,



Plum Wines

The Japanese plum wines were great before dinner drinks.

Bamboo and my Money Tree

Looks like a lovely Asian spring.

My Karate Kid II Matcha tea whisk.  I found it at one of the Asian stores we visited last Saturday.  It is like the one Kumiko uses in the tea ceremony with Daneilsan.  I was so excited to find one!  When we were paying for it the girl behind the counter looked at it and asked me what it was?  I jokingly told her that it was SHE who should be telling that to ME!

The Tea Ceremony From Karate Kid Part II

(I know I already posted this a few weeks ago but it is my favorite.)

Kumiko Tea Ceremony

By the way, I love the music from this movie.

You can see the whisk in the photos above.   Now I have one.


Happy Asian Easter

Can you spot the only egg on the table?

How about the bunny?

I bought the egg in Hawaii, I think at the Byodo-In Temple from the Valley of the Temples.  It’s hand painted.  I’m surprised it has lasted through all of our moves.

It was a lot of fun getting out all the lovely Asian ware that Gordon had brought me back from places like Singapore and Hong Kong from his 20 year career in the Navy.

Brian, Veronica and Gordon digging in!

They Have Eyes!!

I think the one thing that we aren’t really used to in our American-Caucasian communities are the fact that our food usually doesn’t have it’s head with eyes staring at us while we eat.

With 6 You Get Eggroll

(Wasn’t that a Doris Day movie from way back?  Anyway, it just reminded me of that when we bought the eggrolls.  Execpt that we bought 9. Oh, Nevermind!!)

On the left are our napkins with fans for the ladies, even some candies bouquets of flowers and on the right is my tea set from Singapore.

My Easter Dinner Plate

Our Menu

Peking Duck

Roasted Vegetables with Tofu

Char Siu Pork

Steamed Dumplings


General Tso’s Chicken

(Pronounced Two)

Lo Mein Noodles

Fried Rice

Egg Roll with Dipping Sauce


Hot Green Tea with Dinner



Honey Melon Cake Roll and Green Tea Ice Cream

I think that we all agree on what this ice cream tastes like but sorry Japan, to us it tastes like we were sucking on a wet green tea bag.

  But we LOVED the cake!


Monkee with his Monkey

Happy Easter to all,



April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!


That is me, Easter afternoon 1965 in my grandparents backyard where I just got something very special in my Easter basket.

A Duck!

Cookie and the Duck

They were friends long before it was cool for animal opposites to befriend each other.  What about that?

We even had progressive pets.  🙂

Have a great day!



April 3, 2015

Flashback Good Friday

Easter Edition

Easter 1988, Veronica’s Christening

The photo was taken at my grandmother’s house on Easter morning, 1988.  You know I inherited that yellow chair, the rug, the table, some of the books, (first edition Gone With the Wind), and even her planters that she has African violets in.  I have African violets in my windowsill because of her.

And unfortunately I still have that 80’s hairstyle.

Happy Easter!

I walked outside today to get the mail and look at the beautiful sight to behold!  There were none yesterday!

I bought a new lens a few weeks ago and I have been itching to take her out for a test drive away from home.  I can photograph something a football field away.  Haven’t had the opportunity yet.

Our Snapdragons

Backyard Stray Cat

This is a stray and keeps showing up in our backyard.  I have fed him/her a few times, trying to befriend it.  It has no tags around it’s neck.  That white spot that looks like a necklace is just it’s fur.  Maybe some day soon it will let me get close enough.  Hope it likes pugs.  🙂

Have a very happy Easter!



April 2, 2015

I Adore Mulan

When I think of my favorite Disney “princess” it is automatically, Mulan.  I realize that I have a “Cinderella Christmas” page, and I have a great fondness for Snow White, but I must confess that Mulan is my modern day favorite and has been since the movie first came out.

No one knows for sure if she even existed.  Mulan is nothing more than a poem in Chinese history.  Women were not recorded  back then.  It would be the equivalent of writing down something that a dog did.  They believe the legend got past censors by writing about her in the form of a poem.  According to the poem, she was a favorite of her father’s, even though it was taboo to pay any attention to your daughter.  He taught her his martial arts skills and they even planned that she would take his place when it came to his going off to war.  She disguised herself as a boy in order to enlist.  As the poem states, the war lasted a good 12 years, she made it to the rank of General because there is this one battle that took place on a mountain, the soldier’s were retreating and Mulan called them back by saying, ‘Son’s of China, do not retreat, we stay and fight!’

After the war Mulan was escorted home by 5 military officers.  When she arrived home she discovered that her parents had given birth to a baby boy.  She went inside, bathed, put on her kimono, powdered her face and then went outside to her escorts.  That is when they realized that she was a girl.  Her closest male escort asked her to marry him, seeing as how they were already good friends.

This year we will have an Asian Easter.  A new concept, I know.

But so what?


p.s.  The reason I have a foo dog in the front yard.




                                                                                                                                            April 2, 2015

Photos From Last Weekend

Gordon Adding the Grout to the Backsplash

Finally finished the backsplash in the kitchen.  So pleased with the way it looks.  A nice accent to the back of our custom kitchen cabinets.

This is a lovely seashell backsplash.

Just in time for Easter

Pots and Pan in the Kitchen

Although this year I don’t think we will be doing much cooking for Easter.  We’ve got something special planned.

Well, at least the kitchen is all ready and looks great!




April 1, 2015

Spring Cleaning

This photo pretty much depicts what I have been up to lately.

I happen to enjoy spring cleaning.  I feel that it is quite therapeutic.  So while Gordon and Brodie have been tacking the outside, what with all of our leaves and yard debris everywhere, I have been working on the inside, getting everything ready for a very nice Easter.

This will be a very DIFFERENT Easter.

Stay tuned!

I don’t believe anyone has ever had our kind of Easter before.



March 31, 2015

Happy 46 to my oldest little brother, Johnny!

Happy Birthday,



March 30, 2015

X-Files Chicken Tacos

Scully and Mulder

(Or as my kids used to say when they were little,

Mully and Sculder.)

I used to be a huge X-Files fan!  So much so that even my kids loved the series.  Veronica even dressed up as Scully one year for Halloween.  Red wig, lab coat and all.  So you are probably wondering about the title of this blog post, “X-Files Chicken Tacos?”  I’ll get to that in a minute.

Julie’s X-Files Chicken Tacos

I am known by people that know me well for my delicious tasting chicken tacos.  This is something that I have perfected in my 20 years of making them.  I really don’t mean to brag, but someone really should give me an Oscar or at the least a Golden Globe for creating these.  Actually that would be too modest, my tacos are more Nobel Prize worthy.

ANYWAY, I guess you get the message, they are good!  So why are they called my “X-Files Chicken Tacos” you may ask?  Because I was so into the X-Files series that whenever any new episodes made it out on VHS, (this was back in the 90’s) I would run out and buy them at Costco in Honolulu, along with several pounds of chicken, (seeing as how I was going to Costco anyway) and cook chicken tacos for dinner that night while I was so engrossed in every single episode while watching them on my small t.v. in the kitchen.

 I was so into this series, I spent more time in the kitchen watching my little t.v. because the kids were always dominating the other t.v. with the cartoon channels, that whatever I was cooking, in this case chicken tacos, I spent so much time on them that I believe I have created a wonderfully tasting taco.

I would not have spent so much time on them if it weren’t for The X-Files.  Hence, the name.

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovney

(X-Files ran from 1993 – 2002)

From what I understand the X-Files is coming back, thank you Chris Carter!!  It was a brilliant show.  Thank you for not ‘dumbing it down’ to appeal to an average audience.  Thank you for having the characters on the show use ‘big words’ with ‘full sentences’ and have character names longer than ‘Smith or Jones’, such as Krycek, Kritschgau, and Vitagliano.

I am so very excited for this.  Thank you Chris Carter of Ten Thirteen Productions.  I am a Two Thirteen myself.

Only a fan will know what that means.)

As you can see, we just can’t watch the X-Files without eating chicken tacos.

I’ve already pulled out the DVD’s and I’ve got my favorite X-Files episode of all time ready to play.

Bad Blood


After Mulder drives a stake through the heart of a would be vampire, he and Scully review what happened before they meet Assistant Director Skinner. Their recollection of the case is significantly divergent. They had gone to Texas to investigate a death by exsanguination and Scully thinks that someone is playing at being a vampire. Her autopsy finds a high level of chlorohydrate in the dead man’s system. There’s soon a second victim and she finds that both victims had eaten pizza. As she recalls it, she saved an incapacitated Mulder and tried to capture the culprit. Mulder’s recollection is somewhat different. It was he, not Scully who developed the key clues in the case including the fact that the victim’s shoes were untied and then discovering a second victim in a runaway RV. Before they can speak to Skinner, they have to return to Texas when the vampire Mulder killed seems to have disappeared.

Written by garykmcd

As taken from the IMDB plot synopsis.

IMDB Bad Blood

Agent Scully Performing an Autopsy

I was planning on publishing my chicken taco recipe for Cinco de Mayo this year but my daughter is begging me to keep it secret and in the family.  Oh well, maybe she’s right, some things should still stay secret.

I Want to Believe,



March 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday

The Beauty of a Box

L-R, Snott, Cissy, Tammy, Billy Whitmyer, ME, and Phyllis.

(The only reason that I can remember Billy Whitmyers full name is because he wrote me this love note and put it into a bag of candy that he gave me and I got sick to my stomach when I read it.  Not to mention that we believe that his father carried off our dog and dumped him somewhere because he was barking at the mother one day.)

This was our front yard in Dahlonega, Georgia.  I am probably in the 4th. grade here, the year was 1970.

I have always loved boxes!

When I was little my mother tells the story of me and a box in the television room where I would have it set up in front of the t.v. with my blanket and pillow, watching the test pattern on t.v. at 5:00 a.m. waiting for cartoons to come on Saturday mornings.  Simba was usually the first one to come on t.v. and I would cry like a baby because Simba lost his/her mother.  Tragic,  I know.

But what I was really waiting on was Scooby Doo!  My favorite!  I love mystery thanks to that show.  I wanted to be a detective thanks to that show.

Oh, well, the beauty of a box………

Childhood memories and a big imagination.


p.s.  But I still cringe when I think of Billy Whitmyer.


March 22, 2015

I was asked to repost an Asian birthday that I did for my niece Kate when she was here visiting a few years ago.  I based it on both myself and Kate’s love of the Asian cultures and I also wanted to introduce her to the movie Sayonara, starring one of the greatest actors of our day, Marlon Brando.


August 17, 2013


Starring Marlon Brando, Red Buttons, Miiko Taka, Miyoshi Umeki, Ricardo Mantalban and James Garner.

I love old movies and I also love to create entertaining themes from old movies.  Even though Sayonara was made before I was born I remember watching it as a child and loving it.  I love the Asian cultures.  I became even more drawn to them from our many years of living in Hawaii.  Hawaii is not just about the Polynesian’s, it’s also about the Asian’s as well.  Hawaii is literally it’s own melting pot of cultures all blended together and it works perfectly.

So here is my homage to this wonderful ground breaking movie of it’s day.

“And then in a voice centuries soft, the beautiful, haunting, forbidden girl said:  “I come from the North of Japan.  We were very poor.  I join Matsubayashi Theatre.  I work very hard and now I am first dancer of all.  But Matubayashi girls must take vow……

We are not allowed to love.  But I will love you, if that is your desire……”

Written on a vintage promotional brochure of the movie in 1957.  See photo above right.

The photo above left are some of my vintage books from the movie’s Sayonara and The Flower Drum Song.

Pictured above is one of my Sake sets.  It’s my favorite one, it has lovely Japanese maidens on it. 
The photo above right is from the movie where Ona-Ogi is pouring Ace his first taste of Sake.  I love that scene because they share the cup.  It’s traditional to offer the cup to your guest, he drinks it and then swishes it around in a bowl of water and offers it back to you with some Sake in it.  I love learning about other cultures and their traditions.  I have also adapted other cultures traditions into our own way of life.
Tea and Rice Crackers
Ace and Ona-Ogi in a scene at the home of Joe and Katsumi Kelly.

Here I did the Sayonara theme for my niece Kate’s birthday.

Vintage cocktail glasses filled with flowers.  I added some umbrellas to the cupcakes for that Asian look.  

 Ace and Ona-Ogi

I love the flowers in her hair.  When I was in high school in the South, I would wear flowers in my hair and the other kids would make fun of me.  But when we lived in Hawaii everyone had flowers in their hair.  See, I knew there was nothing wrong with me, I was just living in the wrong area of the world.

Another of my vintage beauties.

           I placed all of this on my shell mirror because I wanted it to look like a lake.

The Beautiful Kimono
(Now one of my favorite dolls).

I bought this doll on Ebay and when she arrived I hated her!  I thought she was just a bit too gaudy for me.  She also has this huge gold plastic “spike” through her hair.  I tried to remove it but I can’t without ruining her hair.  I hated her so much that I was thinking about getting rid of her and then one day while I was decorating gift bags with some silk flowers I got the idea to glue one onto her “spike” in her hair.  Then I decided to add some flowers to her hands. 

Now I think she looks lovely and she has become one of my favorites!  Funny how just adding a few touches changed my mind about her.  Now my eyes focus on the lovely drapes and folds of her kimono.  The flowers have softened her look a bit and I no longer focus my eyes on that “spike” in her hair.

A beautiful movie, a beautiful culture and a beautiful memory that I recreated myself.


August 2013

Happy Birthday Kate

My nieces are over from Ireland visiting and while they are here I decided to throw Kate a little early birthday party.  Her birthday isn’t until August 28th. but I have never been with her for her birthday so I wanted to celebrate a little early for my sake.

Yummy Cupcakes

I made Kate and Lola cupcakes.  I placed some pretty umbrellas into the cupcakes.  I also used a plain vanilla frosting but added coloring to a few of them to make them different colors.  Blue, peach and pink.  I placed everything on one of my mirrors that I made with seashells. That way it looks kind of like everything is floating on a lake. 

Here I added some lovely flowers to some of my vintage cocktail glasses to make them a bit festive and pretty.

Kate and Lola eating some cupcakes.

In addition to the lovely Japanese maiden I also gave Kate a book and a DVD to go along with the theme.

Kate shares my love of the Asian cultures so I based this gift on an old 1957 movie, Sayonara, starring Marlon Brando, Red Buttons, James Garner and the beautiful Miiko Taka and Miyoshi Umeki.

I added the flower accent to the gift bag and the lovely Japanese girl necklace.

Here Marlon Brando’s character falls in love with a beautiful Japanese performer right after WWII when it was taboo to marry a Japanese girl.

The beautiful Hana-Ogi.

I gave Kate a choice as to which Japanese beauty that she wanted and she chose this one.

I also gave Kate two lovely bowls and spoons.

Also a

Beautiful Keepsake.


Birthday Craft Project

I also gave Kate this poster but I didn’t want to give it to her in the plain poster tube so I hot glued some origami paper all around it.  I think it looks great.



Gifts for Lola, my niece.

With Love,

Aunt Julie


March 21, 2015

Plums and a Movie

Memoirs of a Geisha

Plums, Blossoms, Bamboo, Origami and Rice Crackers

I adore fresh, ripe plums.  Healthy, sweet and delicious.  So instead of popcorn I like to eat fruit when I watch a movie.

My Vintage Sake Jars

I found both of these at thrift stores.  One in Hawaii and one in Florida.

I can’t seem to get enough of Asia at this time.

I love my vintage geisha’s.  The intricate costumes and ornaments and the lovely fabrics by such devoted artisans, how I wish those people were still around.

I have always loved the Asian cultures.  The work that went into such lovely clothing.

My Asian Wine Rack

It holds my sake and plum wines.  I bought it at the best antique mall that ever existed, in Rome, GA.  Sadly, the mall was sold to the church next door so that they could expand their parking lot, razing the property before all the vendors could get their precious antiques out.

Can you imagine?  Bulldozing over those lovely antiques?  Sadly, it does not surprise me one bit.

Asian Fan Craft

When I was a Girl Scout leader in Hawaii I had my Girl Scout’s to make these fans for Japanese Girl’s Day.  They were quite simple actually.  I cut out two round disk’s from cardboard.  Hot glued some lovely Asian fabric around them and hot glued a pair of chopsticks as a handle.  The girl’s loved the project.  Veronica and I still have ours.

Hope you have a very productive weekend!

We are doing our best.

Weekend Lunch?

Rotisserie Chicken Salad


Weekend Dinner?

My Latino Chicken, Yellow Rice and Plantains

(I can get 3 meals out of this.)

Gordon’s Pork

Black beans, Pork, Yellow Rice and a piece of my Chicken

This is the best take out in the area.  The Latino Supermarket

Happy Weekend!



March 19, 2015

Early Dinner

Fu-Ki and Spring Rolls

Just so you understand, it is Fu-Ki plum wine and imitation crab spring rolls.  The Fu-Ki plum wine is imported from Japan and it is one of my favorites.  It is a bit pricy but nothing can compare to the taste and aroma of this wine.  If you ever see it, buy it!  You will thank me later.

The imitation crab spring rolls are actually Alaskan white fish.  It is an excellent substitute for crab and we eat it a lot.  Since the Gulf oil spill we are very picky about where we buy our seafood.  I literally do an investigative search and trace where it comes from.  Allow me to explain, during the last Presidential tenure, the former President and Vice-President allowed certain loopholes where our food was concerned.  It was made perfectly legal for a corporation to buy up unregulated seafood, place it in the Chesapeake Bay for 15 minutes, remove it, and then claim it was brought up from the Chesapeake Bay.

Hardly moral but definitely legal.

Some of those old laws are still in place because former ‘appointees’ are still in those jobs because “new” people have never been confirmed by Congress.

The carcinogens used to “dissolve” the oil in the Gulf did not dissolve it.  It just made it sink to the bottom creating dead zones.  That carcinogen also creates cancer.  So who is to say that a fish caught down here in Indian Shores did not originate up stream from Louisiana? So we are very careful with what seafood we eat and investigate where it comes from before we eat it.

Imitation crab is fine.


March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Bailey’s Irish Cream and my Claddagh Ring

A renter of our condo from that U.K. brought these lovely vintage sherry glasses to me a few years ago.  (Thank you again, Heidi.)

The claddagh ring I found at a thrift store in Maryland for $6.00 several years ago.  It’s handcrafted and it does have writing in it but it is too small for me to read even with a magnifying glass.

To my Irish Ancestors on this day!

Here’s a toast to your enemies’ enemies!

May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven
half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.




March 16, 2015

Happy Monday!

(If there is such a thing.)

Weekend Project

Accent Tile

(Before and After)

Photos From Our Weekend

Cue the Angels Singing!

Seriously there really should be some rejoicing going on right about now.

We worked so hard on this over the weekend.  When I say “we” I mean Gordon.  “We” haven’t even applied the grout yet and it looks so lovely!  All that’s left is the cabinet underside.

Finally found a tile that I like, after shopping at every tile warehouse in the state of Florida I spotted this at Home Depot when were were there to just pick up a few things.  It’s a seashell back splash and very light and thin.  Of course these photos do not do it justice.

$16.00 a square foot.  Who can forget the price with Gordon repeating it over and over and over….

We’re also going to put this in the bathroom and cover the breakfast bar with it as well.  More as accents, although this is turning into a much more pricey project than we originally anticipated.  Just trying to add beauty and value to our home.  It has the best opalescence quality to it.

Seashell Tile

What could be more appropriate for Florida?

Gordon’s Makeshift Work Station

The trash can.

Gordon can rig anything up and make it work for him.


In order to cut this very thin, fine tile Gordon placed the sheets of tile between two wooden boards.

To quote Gordon, “Look at that!  It’s perfect!”


So while Gordon applied the tile it was my job to take pictures.

Ooooo!!!  Kitchen Crashers!!

“I can take pictures from here”!

Uh, oh.

“Hey, don’t you give me that look”!

“I’ll tell you what, I’ll make dinner.  After this episode, I promise”.

Artichoke Perfection!

This is one of our favorite recipes.  You can tell by the condition of the recipe card in the photo below.

I didn’t use this much garlic but we do add a lot of it.

Sauteing the onions in the artichoke marinade.

Whenever we make this we always double and sometimes triple the recipe and then freeze the extra to thaw out at a future date.  This is more like a cheese, egg and artichoke savory dish.  We serve it on wheat crackers.

Gordon had to make a grilled cheese sandwich to go along with this but I don’t see why?  This is plenty for me.  I eat it as a meal.

Great for lunch the next day.  I don’t tend to eat much for lunch but when this is in the refrigerator I can’t resist!


I thought I would repost the recipe from:

  September 2012.

The recipe was originally given to us by someone we used to know in Hawaii.



                                                                                              Artichoke Appetizer


2- 8 oz. jars of marinated artichoke hearts (chopped)

We use 4.

1 medium onion (diced)

We use 1 1/2

1 garlic clove (finely chopped)

We use 3 – 4

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

We use 4

1 sleeve Saltine crackers (crushed) or you can use 2 cups bread crumbs in place of the Saltine crackers.

1 tsp. oregano (dried)

1 tsp. basil (dried)

(Can also use dried parsley here as well)

2 eggs (whisked)

We use 4

Drain jars of marinade into a medium sauté pan and use the liquid to sauté the onion until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook another 3 minutes.  In a large bowl place the sharp cheddar cheese, crushed Saltine crackers, the dried herbs, the chopped artichoke hearts and the eggs, stir to combine.  When the marinade, onion and garlic mixture has cooled then add to the other ingredients and mix together.  Place the mixture into a greased casserole dish.  We just spray ours with Pam cooking oil spray.  Bake at 350* for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.

We don’t follow the recipe to the letter.  We tend to add more of the things that we like.  We always alter recipes to suit our personal tastes and dietary needs.


With dinner out of the way it was on to more projects.  The towel bar in the guest room shower was broken and Gordon fixed it.  Both of the ceramic what you call thems, had broken.

I woke up to see this!

I am married to McGyver.

Yep, you never know what you might see in this house.

The man is a genius though!


But what the heck is this?

Looks like my son Brodie rigged this up from a Canada Dry (diet, of course) tin can.  According to Brodie it will boost our internet signal.

I guess it runs in the family.

Happy Monday everyone!



March 14, 2015

Saturday Night Type

My Grandmother’s Typewriter

Made with Care, Packed with Pride??

Made in the USA?


5 Year Warranty?

What country does that come from?  Vintage USA, that’s where.  You remember, before all those corporations sold us all to China with it’s outsourcing of jobs?  When American’s were paid a decent salary for a hard days work?

No?  Oh well, never mind.

This is my grandmother’s typewriter.  It is one of her possession that I wanted when she died.  She typed many a letter to me on this beautiful typewriter.  I love it and of course I have it out and displayed.

And there is it.  Grandma Nell’s typewriter.  Looks lovely with some of my vintage Hawaiian things.

I miss my grandmother so much.  I think about her a lot and I do dream about her often.  She was a big influence on me.  She was more of a mother to me than a grandmother.

Letter to Me from my Grandmother

I inserted it into the typewriter just because I wanted to feel as if she were typing it to me all over again.

She typed it on a Tuesday afternoon, February 1,  1978.  I was living in Sevierville, Tennessee at that time and she was getting on to me about my history grade.  Turns out that I had learning disabilities that we were not aware of at the time.  I don’t retain information that I read silently.  I have to hear it to remember it.  Which explains why I did really well in classes where the teacher went over every single thing during class, but the teachers that told me to read certain chapters at home and we will test on it the following day, I did not do so well in.  I need to hear it aloud to retain it.  Which is why I spend my life reading everything out loud so that I will retain that knowledge.  Yes, I talk to myself out loud all the time.

I read shopping lists out loud before I leave the house so that I can remember them.  That way, I don’t need to take a list with me.

This letter that I have from her is so funny.  She loved her soap operas and she even acknowledges them in this letter.

“I am watching Another World.  What will happen to Rachel now that Mac has found her?”

“What will happen to John and Pat?  Do you think they will get back together?  I hope so!”

My grandmother.  I miss her so much!  She was the funniest woman that I have ever known.  It is the ones that love us the most that we miss and remember.

She was the one person in the entire world that would answer the phone when I called.  No answering machine.  Just her voice.  She would light up like a Christmas tree when she heard from me or saw me in person.  No one else does that.  Only her.  That is why she will always be special to me.


p.s.  You know, for people like me, that don’t register on some average standardized testing, we fall off the charts.  Our intelligence is not recognizable because we don’t fit into some tidy little box.  There are many people like me out there.  It’s about time that testing expanded to people like us where our different way of learning can be recorded.

p.s.s. Dinner was take out Panera Bread.  So many projects and no time to cook!  I will bring those to you soon.  But for now, a delicious bacon, turkey bravo!  My favorite!

Looks like I’ve used up my bacon ration for the year.  I only eat bacon about 2 – 4 times a year.  This is my 3rd. and it’s only March!


Flashback Friday the 13th.

March 13, 2015


Gordon and I atop Diamond Head, Oahu Hawaii, shortly after we moved there.

I would kill to be that thin again.  Not to mention still live there



(Aloha means hello, goodbye and I love you.)


Some Good Advice

“You have to cut off from people who don’t nurture you.  It took me a long time to realize that.”

Barbra Streisand

It took me even longer to realize that Barbra.  But when I finally purged all the nasty rotten bullies out of my life I actually like living.  Life can be good when you surround yourself with the right people.

Julie Lancaster-Whann


March 12, 2015

I Found It!!

My Elephant Charm!!

If you are a regular reader of my blog then you know that I have been mourning the loss of my ivory elephant that I bought many years ago when I was 19.  I thought that it had been stolen by someone that had access to our possessions from our many moves throughout our marriage to various states.  BUT, I was wrong.  Here it is!  I was so excited to find it!  I was rummaging through an old Asian jewelry box that I had decoupaged when I found it.  I am so happy!

I don’t want to wear it because it is ivory and I do not want to promote that it is o.k. to wear ivory.  I originally bought it when I was young and I was so proud of it because I loved elephants.  I wasn’t aware of poaching and the murder of these beautiful creatures.  I just loved elephants, that’s all.  I would not buy anything like this now with the knowledge that I have.  But I am glad to see that I still have it.

I also have no intention of wearing it because people will think that I am a republican.  I am not.

In addition to my elephant, I also found a pair of badass green Barbie shoes and my baby bracelet that does not say, Lancaster.

Hey, I have to be a little mysterious, otherwise you would not read my blog.




March 11, 2015

Quick, Easy Lunch

Manapua or Saipao

(Depending on where you’re from.)

My children lived off these when we were living in Hawaii.  They are actually quite delicious as well.  They are a steamed bun with a chicken, sweet pork or bean filling.  The brand also matters.  We have found a good brand that we like but we have never found any here in Florida as good as we had in Hawaii.

All you have to do is place them in the microwave for one minute, wrapped in a paper towel.  Delicious!

My children loved making these when they were little because it was something that they could easily make for themselves or for their friends.  It made them feel a bit independent that they could ‘cook’ for themselves.

Still eating the sesame candy.

More photos to come.  I just can’t get enough Asian right now.

Sayonara for now,



March 9, 2015

Congratulations Kate for just being Nominated

L-R, my brother Johnny with his daughters Kate and Lola.  Cathy on the right, is their mother.

I am very happy that my niece Kate competed in Dublin, Ireland last week for a student literary award.  She was one of three finalists in the entire country up for this award.  It was for a scene that she wrote for a play.  She’s 16 now.

The grand prize was 10,000 Euros.

Kate has won many writing awards so I’m sure she’ll be back next year as well.  She represented her school in Dromore West, Sligo, Ireland.

Bord Ga’is Energy Student Theatre Awards 2015

The host of the awards is Irish actor Simon Delaney best known for his role in The Good Wife.  He also starred with Vince Vaughn in Delivery Man and This Must be the Place with Sean Penn.

Kate, Lola and Cathy

The Irish Ryan’s in Dublin were out in full force in the audience.

An Annual Event

Colaste Iascaigh

(It’s Celtic)

by Kate Ryan (her pen name)

Up for:

Best Short Scene Script


So proud of Kate!

I know she was disappointed that she didn’t win but my philosophy is that if we keep going down that same road that we will eventually arrive at our destination.  Whether we crawl, walk or run, we will eventually get there.  Granted, some arrive sooner than others, but so what?  We all go at our own pace.

You’ll get there Kate.  You already have a head start on most people.


Aunt Julie

Besides, who wants to peak early?  There will be no where to go but down when that happens.

I would like to think that I haven’t peaked yet.


March 6, 2015

Happy Girl’s Day

Hawaii, Japanese Girl’s Day, Mr. Miyagi,

and ME!

Me, with my Asian Collection

March 3rd. was a little known holiday called, Girl’s Day.  The holiday originated in Japan and migrated over to Hawaii with the increase in Japanese populations.  We first learned of Girl’s Day while we were living in Hawaii.  There is also a Boys’ Day, but I will get to that later on.

Girl’s Day is about honoring the girl in your family.  Appreciating your daughter.  In Japan, the girl would dress up in her finest kimono for school, place cherry blossoms in her hair, surround herself with her pretty dolls and have a tea party.

Beautiful Hair Adornments

Japan did do away with Girl’s Day and Boy’s Day in favor of something now called Children’s Day but Hawaii still keeps them separate.  I agree, I think they should be separate.  Each one should have their own special day.

I’m fiddling with my favorite geisha’s to the left, and my green tea cookies to the right.  I always pick them up whenever I am at the Asian Supermarket.  See below.

At the Asian Supermarket Last Saturday

I’m buying my green tea cookies above and contemplating buying that large jar of Kimche, at right.

It seems that every weekend we make the rounds at our favorite ethnic food supermarkets.  The Asian, Latin and Indian supermarkets.  The prices are so cheap!  I don’t understand why more people don’t shop there?  Even if you aren’t into any of the ‘exotic’ foods, they also have fruits and veggies that are cheaper than you are paying at the major supermarkets.

You may not be interested in Freshwater Eel…….

Or Roasted Duck, for that matter,

BUT, they do have a variety of other things that I’ll bet you do eat at much cheaper prices that you are paying right now.

Oh, and speaking of freshwater eel……

When we were living in Rockingham, North Carolina we had a 5 acre pond in front of our house.  That is me above, rowing the boat.  Our lake was full of those freshwater eels that would wrap themselves around your arm or your leg while you swam.  They didn’t bite you though, so we tolerated them.

My little brothers, Frank and Ben fishing.

I think the year was 1980.

Sorry, just had a flashback memory of the eels.  🙂


But back to my daughter’s favorite Hawaiian holiday.

I’m holding in my hand one of the many origami crane’s that Veronica made during our 13 years in Hawaii.  She loved origami and was actually quite good at it.

It is a Japanese tradition that when you get married you must have 1000 origami cranes at your wedding to symbolize good luck.  My Japanese friend Cathy would make them every night at work in preparation for her wedding to Mark.

I Adore My Beautiful Geisha’s

Oh, funny story.  My niece Kate in Ireland loves the Asian cultures as much as I do.  One year I ordered online a book about how to be a geisha.  When it arrived I looked at it and was horrified to realize that it was a book about how to be a geisha prostitute!!  Well, I shoved it in my closet with absolute horror and that is where it has been since.  I guess that I should tell my children about it so that they don’t discover it when I die and wonder ‘what in the hell was mom up to’???

The dress that I am wearing is one that I picked up at my favorite thrift store.  It’s a Talbot’s size 10!!  I am just amazed that I squeezed into it.  Most of the time I am a 12.  I bought it for $5.00!  It’s lined and I thought it had an Asian look to it.


Now, about Mr. Miyagi……

We moved to Hawaii in 1986, the year they made Karate Kid II.  It was filmed in Hawaii.  It was a big deal.  Hawaii is the home of several of the Asian cultures and Karate and Tae Kwon Do are all but a few of the many, many forms of martial arts around the world.  My mother took tai chi.  Or as she said, “I can beat you up in slow motion if I want to.”  🙂

It was so beautiful to see the seniors on the beach performing tai che every day in Hawaii when we lived there.  It keeps you young!  I also love how the Asian cultures value their aged.  They see them as beautiful, and knowledgeable, not just old has been’s.

The Ultimate Dynamic Duo

Mr. Miyagi and Daniel-san to me are the ultimate dynamic duo.  I have never cared for the Batman’s or Superman’s of this world.  I prefer real people.  The  peacekeepers, the environmentalists, the ones that you think are so weak, but actually they are so much stronger than you can even imagine.

The ones that have the strength to walk away from conflict and only engage as a last resort.  The ones that use their strength and their knowledge to help people, not hurt them.

People that have honor.  You don’t find many of those anymore.

Karate Kid II Takes Place in Okinawa

Here Pat Morita and Nobu McCarthy reenact their love from their youth as Yukie and Noriyuki.

Nobu McCarthy in her youth.  A former Miss Tokyo.

I love the lantern ceremony.  When someone dies you honor them by placing a lantern on the water.  How beautiful is that?

The House

The Inner Garden

I could live here very easily and enjoy every moment.

Miyagi and Yukie Tea Ceremony

Kumiko and Daniel Watching


The Miyagi Family rules of Karate:

Aha… here are the two rules of Miyagi-Ryu Karate. Rule number one: “Karate for defense only.” Rule number two: “First learn rule number one.”

Daniel-san on seeing Miyagi’s old friend breaking a log:

Daniel LaRusso: You think you could break a log like that?
Mr. Miyagi: Don’t know. Never been attacked by a tree.


They were the best.  The were good, they were honest.  They are no longer made.  This was the best duo!  I don’t care how many remakes there are, there will never be a duo like this.  Remaking The Karate Kid is like someone saying, ‘Hey, let’s remake Star Wars’!

  It just will never be the same.


The Tea Ceremony

Kumiko Tea Ceremony

Kumiko Waiting for Daniel

She Knew Daniel Would Come


I especially love the music by Bill Conti in this film.  I took a tea class on the Big Island of Hawaii in the Volcano area, (Volcano is a town) and I remember some of this as well.  Of course there is more to this than is shown it was just edited out for the short attention spans of today’s people.

I love ancient cultures and their traditions and ceremonies.

Daniel-san is drinking the tea.  Oh, no, here it comes.

Wait for it……

Almost there……

And there it is!

Love’s first kiss.

My most favorite couple of all time.

Now for one of my most favorite songs of all time, made for this movie and sung by Peter Cetera,

The Glory of Love

I love what she’s doing with the rice here.  An old tradition of when the men go out to sea the women pour rice into the ocean so that they will come back safely.


I may not have had rice on Girl’s Day but I did have some delicious spring rolls, frozen, that I bought at the Asian Supermarket.

Spring Rolls, Green Tea and my Kokeshi Doll

Although my Kokeshi doll seems to be having rice.

I made that rice bowl out of that Sculpy clay years ago when we were living in Hawaii.  The chopsticks are toothpicks.

Sesame Candy for Dessert


So Happy Girl’s Day!

Appreciate our daughters AND our sons!  Did you know that Asian women that stay in Asian have the lowest breast cancer rates in the world?  It’s their diet.

So let’s try eating more like they do.




P.S.  I decided to re-post Brodie’s Boy’s Day from a few years ago.  He loved Boy’s Day growing up in Hawaii.  One of the traditions is to draw your son a bath and place Iris leaves in it.  They are long leaves and resemble swords.  They are to give them strength.


May 4, 2012

Happy Boy’s Day

Tangu No Sekku

Brodie, enjoying his Boy’s Day sushi dinner.

The wooden Japanese boy was a Boys Day gift from me to Brodie a few years ago.

Japanese Boys’ Day Hawaiian Style

We lived in Hawaii from 1986 until 1999. Both of our children were born in Hawaii and grew up with the customs and traditions. One of the holiday’s that both Veronica and Brodie loved the best was the Japanese holiday of Boy’s Day and Girl’s Day. Because Hawaii has such a large Japanese population it has become a very popular holiday. Girl’s Day being March 3, and Boy’s Day is May 5. This May 5, for my son Brodie I bought he and his girlfriend Lauren, a great Sushi dinner. It consisted of chicken rolls, tuna rolls, ahi rolls, vegetable rolls, calamari, and little baby squids marinated in a lovely soy sauce. All of this topped with some excellent Wasabi paste. At our commissary we have some excellent sushi chefs that prepare the food for you. I also gave Brodie an Asian money tree, a.k.a. bamboo plant. Also a handmade origami card. They both seemed to enjoy their dinner.



The preparation of this food is such an art form.



Don’t knock the little squids until you’ve tried them.


Brodie and Lauren enjoying their authentic Japanese sushi dinner.

My Bento Box luncheon. I’m more into the California rolls than the squid.

We fly a red carp inside the house in honor of Brodie.

We also fly carp outside the house to honor Brodie.

It is a tradition to fly a carp fish windsock outside your home to represent all the boys in your family. The largest carp being the oldest boy and the smallest carp being the youngest boy. I tend to fly a variety of carp windsocks to commemorate my son. I don’t necessarily stick to the tradition.

It is also a tradition to draw a bath for your sons and have them bathe in water filled with leaves in the shape of swords. It is symbolic to make them stronger. Brodie used to love this. He really enjoyed his bath that we would make for him when he was young. Although we have eliminated the bath, we have substituted the big sushi dinner. Because Hawaii has played such a major role in our lives for the past 25 years we still embrace these holidays. The state of Hawaii is such a unique state because they have literally combined the Hawaiian, Polynesian, Japanese, Chinese, Mainland America, and Portuguese cultures into one great state. Hawaii will be in our blood until the day we die. You can take the girl/boy out of Hawaii but you can’t take the Hawaii out of the girl/boy. Nor do I even want to.

So Happy Boy’s Day to all our son’s out there. Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, I hope your day is special. Why not consider having your own Boy’s Day celebrations?

Byodo In Temple, Hawaii

The Valley of the Temples

This was a popular place that I would take my children when they were little. It was so beautiful and peaceful here. The monks would whistle and the birds would land on their hands. I cannot even begin to relay to you how much we miss Hawaii and it’s cultures and traditions.


Some of my favorite scenes from Karate Kid II

The Obon Dance Scene

Karate Kid II Ending

Fighting for her honor.


February 27, 2015

Flashback Friday

New York City

This is me, in the middle, with the red scarf and dyed black hair, on an airplane on my way back home to Charlotte, N.C. from a trip to New York City in 1981 with my class at this private fashion college that I was attending at the time that was run by those Hummel people.  You know, those Hummel figurines?  Well, that family ran the college.  Those figurines are worth quite a bit of money although I cannot imagine why?

Someone apparently had taken my photo, I don’t remember who, but I must have been the only one that wasn’t exhausted judging by my classmates sitting around me.

The reason that I am posting this old photo for ‘Flashback Friday’ is because I was recently looking at Christie Brinkley’s video of her activism in saving the elephants and the rhino’s of Africa.

Christie Brinkley and Bai Ling plead “Stop Killing our Rhino”.


Elephants Killed

(An elephant is murdered every 15 minutes.)

I grew up looking at the beautiful Christie Brinkley throughout my youth, she was all over the magazines.  On the New York City trip above that I am on I went to Glamour Magazine for a tour with my classmates and of course there were magazine covers on the hallway walls with Christie’s face.

Christie Brinkley

On that same trip I was also interviewing at modeling agency’s such as The Ford Agency and Legends.  Legends was a new agency started by then Christopher Reeves life partner Gae Exton.  She had two children with him.  At the time Brooke Shields look was all the rage and that wasn’t me.  But I did have a blast in New York.  Even managed to get to Xenon, a big nightclub at the time visited by all the high society of the day, even Princess Grace’s daughter Caroline, who I idolized at the time, was a regular when she was in town.  ( I did arrive there by limo, my friend Jill befriended some Caseblancas person that picked us up and delivered us and we were ushered in as if we were royalty).  🙂

I had dinner at Tavern on the Green, stayed at The Biltmore Hotel, saw a Broadway play that I cannot remember the name of, and had a blast eating a hot dog from one of those street vendors.  They really do have the best tasting hot dogs in the world.

You know how you always remember where you were when big, significant events happen?  Well, I was just getting off the Staten Island Ferry when a worker told us that then President Ronald Reagan was shot.  We had just toured the Statue of Liberty.  That day was March 30, 1981.

But getting back to the photo above.  In that photo I am wearing an Ivory hand carved elephant that I bought at a shop in Charlotte, N.C. when I was about 19.  I loved that elephant.  Not because it was of some valuable ivory, but because I loved elephants and I thought it was beautiful.  Oh, it’s gone now.  I think some mover stole it on one of our many moves in my married life with Gordon.  But I am happy that I have a photo of it above.  It is around my neck, you can see it.   I did own it.  It did exist.  I would never buy anything like that now, with the knowledge that I have about poaching and elephants.  But I still feel a connection to that necklace.  The photo below is around the same time period.

Me, in the middle, wearing the peach dress.

This fashion show got me a big gig in Charlotte, N.C. at a hotel lingerie fashion show that was televised, I was spotted at this show by scouts and that is where my future husband first laid eyes on me.   He was 15 and I was 19.  He saw me on television.  I did not know him at the time!!   It would have been a Padme/Anakin kind of thing.

Oh, well, I think I am getting off track.  I just wanted to showcase Christie Brinkley’s cause and that I have always been an admirer of her’s.  She is beautiful, smart, a humanitarian, an environmentalist, not to mention, a caring individual.  I love you Christie!!  Keep on doing what you are doing!!  You can be smart and beautiful at the same time, you know!


p.s.  Aquarians make the best activists!!


February 25, 2015

Congratulations Kate!

My niece Kate Lancaster-Ryan of Dromore West, Sligo, Ireland, and her then teacher with an award she won in 2014.

I am very happy to announce that my niece Kate will be competing in Dublin, Ireland next weekend for a student literary award.  She is one of three finalists in the entire country.  It’s for a scene that she wrote for a play.  She’s 16 now.  I remember when she was here visiting us at age 9 and I asked her what she wanted to be in life?  She said a writer.  Guess this is a pretty good start.

So whether she will go by Kate Lancaster-Ryan or Kate Ryan, her pen name, be sure to look out for her at future Academy Awards.

So proud of Kate!

We love you to pieces!!

Aunt Julie


February 23, 2015

Photos From the Weekend

We have been very busy with a lot of winter projects that we have been working on.  Not to mention the mess that is all outside of our homes at this time of year here in Florida.  LEAVES!!!  We don’t lose our leaves from our trees in the autumn like the rest of the country.  Ours fall off the trees in the winter months when the new growth pushes them off.

  It’s raining leaves!!  So in addition to our inside house projects, poor Gordon and Brodie are working so hard outside racking up all those DAMN leaves.  (Their word, not mine.)  🙂  Also climbing up on the roof and blowing them off with the leaf blower.

But between all of Gordon’s homework assignments and the outside work, Gordon did manage to whip us up the nicest soup on Saturday.

This magazine is The Australian Women’s Weekly, New Zealand Edition.  My friend Trish who lives in New Zealand sends them to me.  They are some of the best magazines I have ever read.

Above is the latest batch that she has sent me that just arrived today, along with my Canadian friend Sherry who just gave me the one on the right, also along with some lovely things from Canada that were delivered by her parents, Gus and Marlene, that I visited the other day out in Seminole.

These magazines are superior to ours here in America.

Regardless, getting to my point, I saw that delicious soup, photo above top, and I just knew that I wanted something comparable.  Especially with our cold spell.  So I showed Gordon the photo, he didn’t even need to read the recipe ingredients, and he set about making it for me.  I knew that I wanted a rotisserie chicken and some other veggies besides just corn and spinach leaves.

Gordon’s Chicken Soup with Spinach Leaves

The Chicken Soup Base

So Gordon set about making my soup.  I do love it that all I need to say is, ‘make something like this’, and he DOES IT!!

We may see a recipe that we are interested in making and then we cater it to our tastes and health needs.  For example here we added some red potatoes, onion, diced carrots, lots of our herbs, turmeric, and white wine.

This was a rotisserie chicken that Gordon bought at the commissary.  Wonder who snacked on it??  That would be ME!!

An already cooked rotisserie chicken does add a different flavor than one that you are cooking yourself.

Here Gordon Removed the Chicken from the Bone

It’s funny but when we have chicken in our kitchen our pugs sit on each side of the kitchen floor like those tennis ball boys that run for the tennis balls at matches.  The closer pug will snatch up the fallen treat on the floor and then retrieve back to their station, while sitting and waiting on the next fallen treat.

Adding the Herbs to our Soup

Eating at the Computer

(You know you do it too!!)

Cooking tip:  Add the raw spinach to your bowl, then pour the soup over it.  Never add that raw spinach to the soup it will just get all mushy and yucky.

Saturday Night Bathtime

Sugar Booger

Chunky Monkee

Sugar to the left and Monk to the right.

(p.s.  the black dot that is in so many of my photos recently is some sort of dot on the lens.  Looks like I will be buying an new lens for around $600.00 soon.  Not too happy about that.)

What would we do without Veronica to bath them?

After Bath

Sugar is all snuggly in her bed while Monk has sought refuge elsewhere.  On Veronica’s lap.

It’s a dog life.  Not too bad.

Have a super duper week!



February 20, 2015

Freezing in Florida

27* Overnight!!

Fahrenheit people!  Not Celsius.

On my way out the door to have a nice visit with some Canadians down for the winter out in Seminole.  Had to cover up the plants last night so that we didn’t lose any of them.

Bundled all the plants together on the lanai and covered them with old sheets and blankets.  Hey, never get rid of things like that, they come in handy on these cold nights to protect your plants from dying.

Our Backyard

I just hope the elkhorn survives.

I realize we’re not Boston, or the freezing east coast, or Canada, and I probably have no right to complain.  But our homes and wardrobe are  not made for a freezing climate.  What I have on  pretty much represents my entire winter wardrobe.


Someone needs to arrest that Elsa.

Happy Weekend!



February 17, 2015

RIP Lesley Gore

1946 – 2015

You were way ahead of your time.

I’m sure that made you lonely as well.  I know the feeling.  I grew up in the deep south, born in 1961 to a semi liberal family with some conservative ideals. I can remember one time when I was 5 years old, it was Thanksgiving, and after seeing the women of my family slaving away in the kitchen on that grand meal for the past two days I got upset with my grandfather when he told my grandmother to get up and make him a sandwich hours after he had devoured that wonderful meal.  I just looked at him, put my hands on my hips and told him to get up and make his own sandwich.

Funny, the men just laughed and thought I was funny, but the women grabbed me and jerked me in the kitchen for daring to speak to my grandfather like that.  When I refused to apologize, my grandmother sent me to the ‘coat room’ as punishment.  The coat room was simply the guest bedroom where everyone had laid their coats on the bed.  I remember rolling around on those coats and getting pricked by the Christmas pins on the ladies coat collars.

I was always confused as to why the women punished me?  After all, I was sticking up for them.

Anyway, without further adieu, here is Lesley Gore’s You Don’t Own Me.

You Don’t Own Me

I can remember reading many years ago that most feminists are Aquarians and that we are not made, we are just born that way.  Well, if the example above is any indication then I would say that is true.  I grew up watching the women of my family and the women of the south wait on, and dote on, men but yet I looked at that and said,” Nah! “


p.s.  It’s funny but I was just thinking about your song, ‘It’s My Party’ on my recent birthday.  It kept going off in my head.


You know, I love and adore Gordon to death but here is my personal ballad that I live by.

No Man’s Woman

by the beautiful Sinead O’Conner.

You look lovely with or without hair.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Good Morning Everyone!

Today is one of my favorite days.  Probably because it follows my birthday and I always seemed to grow up with Valentine themed birthday parties.  Usually the two days just blur together but I don’t mind because I get two special days in a row.

What will I be doing today?  Simple, wearing my Valentine pajamas, eating Chinese take out with Gordon while watching the new Dracula out on Blu-ray.  I can’t think of a more fun thing to do.

Happy Valentine’s Day!



Friday the 13th.

February 13, 2015

My 54th. Birthday

My Alfred Hitchcock Birthday Cake and Chocolates

Gordon painted the Alfred Hitchcock face on the top of the cake with some chocolate frosting.  He is an excellent artist, though untrained.

I am a huge Alfred Hitchcock fan and a huge Friday the 13th. fan so this day is very special to me.  Us 13-ers are not superstitious, we embrace what everyone else is afraid of and know that it is harmless and fun.

This birthday is inspired by my niece’s play that we recently saw in Orlando,  Alfred Hitchcock’s, The 39 Steps.

The 39 Steps

Check out my Alfred Hitchcock website page.


So, Happy 54 to me!

(I do realize this is my second birthday party this month, 3 cakes later, but who’s counting?)

Let’s Eat, Drink and Be Scary!

Celebrate the day, don’t be afraid of it!

Smile when that black cat crosses your path.  She just might bring you good luck.  It’s all in our minds anyway.

Happy Birthday to me!


p.s.  My mother almost named me Carolyn but she figured her very southern country in-laws would butcher the name and call me Ker-lyn so she settled on Julie Ann after a girl she knew at summer camp.

BarefootInFloridaWithCarolyn?  Not bad.  🙂

Although I’m not so sure their pronunciation of the name Julie was any better..


February 10, 2015

(Pretty jewel and tiaras.)

Photos From the Weekend

Early Birthday Blogging

My Cinderella Birthday

On February 13, I will be 54 and I am looking forward to it!  I think that we should get excited about every birthday and appreciate them while we still can because they are only going to get worse.  🙂

This year we celebrated my birthday early, this past Sunday, so that we all could be together.

Julie’s Cinderella Birthday Cakes

(The fluffy white and sparkly tulle at the bottom of the cake stand is a little girls tutu that I found on sale at Target after Christmas for just a few dollars.  I didn’t know what I would do with it at the time but I knew I could do something pretty with it.  I have a fake white mink stole on top of the tutu wrapped around the base of the bottom cake stand.  The Cinderella and Prince Charming are Christmas ornaments.  I also threw in some pretty tiaras, just because.  I think it looks beautiful and elegant.)

I think the Birthday Person Should Have their own Cake

(Mine is sugar-free).

If you have been following us then you know that we had a Cinderella Christmas this past year.  I was so intrigued with the whole Cinderella theme, not to mention how much fun that it was, that I decided that I wanted a Cinderella birthday as well.

It’s My Party


Getting my picture made with the royal crown from our Christmas decorations.

What’s that?  You dare me to do what?  Dig into the cake?

Really??  You do realize who you are talking to, right?

I’m gonna do it.  Right now.  You do know that, right?


Alright!  Here goes!

I TOLD you not to dare me!

mmmm…  Frosting……..


Told you I’d do it!

Happy Birthday to Me!

You know, I am so much happier in my 50’s than I was in my 40’s, or my 30’s or my 20’s.  Sure it would be nice to be a teenage vampire forever but I like getting older.  With age comes wisdom.  If I only knew then what I know now I would have been a much happier person.

I’m no genius but I do know the secret to finding happiness.  I have discovered it.   It’s when you quit caring what other people think of you.  Only then can you find inner peace and inner peace leads to happiness.

Grace Kelly once said, ” I don’t think happinessbeing happy is a perpetual state that anyone can be in.

I agree.  Most days I am just content.  But contentment makes me happy.  It’s when you no longer care what your friends think, or your family thinks, or your neighbors think, or your co-workers think, that you can finally just be yourself.  THAT is happiness!

Happy Birthday,

Love you,


p.s.  My real birthday is going to be on Friday the 13th.  So if you think that I am going to let that super fantastic day slip by then you are CRAZY!  I am dragging out the fog machine for that one!  Oh, you know it!!

So stay tuned!!


FYI : Sugar made it through her dental surgery yesterday.

Sugar Booger

  February is Dental Health Month for pets by they way, so take advantage of the cheap rates right now.


February 6, 2015

Colonoscopy Day for Gordon

Most husbands might object to their wives blogging about their colonoscopy that they just had, but not mine.  He understands how important it is to talk about it and encourage others to have theirs done as well.

Gordon just turned 50 in January so this was his colonoscopy check up.  I was a bit surprised to learn from some of the nurses that most men don’t show up at age 50 to get theirs done.  It’s usually much later, sometimes when it’s too late.  So they were bragging on him that he was there when he is supposed to be.  Actually to be precise, he and just one other man today were there for the check up at age 50.

Before the Procedure

Prior to today Gordon was given instructions on what to do to prep for this surgery.  Instead of going into all the gory details I though that I would re-post my colonoscopy blog that I wrote about 2 years ago when I first had mine.  I was 52 at the time, two years later than I was supposed to be but in my defense there were so many foul ups and red tape during those two years with my getting the referral I needed to receive one that it took awhile to straighten all that out.  Not to go into any great detail but I had to end up leaving my old doctor and finding a new one.  (SEE JULIE’S COLONOSCOPY BLOG BELOW.)

Once you get to the hospital for this procedure the hard part is already over with.  Now comes the easy part, the colonoscopy itself.

Me, in the Prep Room with Gordon

You do need someone to drive you tot he hospital and be with you prior to, and after your surgery.  We had to be at the hospital by 7:00 a.m. which was later than I had to be there for mine so I appreciated the extra hour of sleep that gave us.

(It may be a no make up day but I did manage to get my hair fixed this time.)

When Gordon was all set and ready and just waiting for them to come and get him, I then flew to McDonald’s to get us some breakfast to eat for when Gordon was out of surgery.

McDonald’s breakfast is starting to become our colonoscopy/endoscopy tradition and it’s the ONLY TIME WE EAT THERE!!  I swear to you!!

O.K., so I cheated and ate my hash browns on my way back to the hospital.

Gordon in Recovery

When I got back to the hospital I only had to wait about 10 minutes before they called me to meet him in recovery.  The actual procedure itself only lasts about 20 minutes.  Gordon was given a clean bill of health and he doesn’t have to report back for another one until he turns 60.

As for me, I’ll be getting another one next summer because I am someone that is prone to polyps.  Believe me when I say that if I can do this, anyone can!  I’m like the biggest baby ever.  So, looks like we’ll be back at McDonald’s next summer for my delicious sausage biscuit and hash browns after MY colonoscopy.  Yummy!

Take care of yourselves.  Really!

I don’t live for some afterlife, I live for this one.



p.s.  And now, back by popular demand, an oldie but a goodie, let’s give a big round of applause for Julie’s Colonoscopy Blogging!!!!


As was written on

June 18, 2013

My Colonoscopy

(I just wanted to add my experience to the “Voice” that is already out there). 


I’ll probably be getting a phone call from my mother chastising me for writing about this.  (She monitors my blog and ‘gets onto me’ if I write something that she deems “inappropriate”.  Or my daughter Veronica will just roll her eyes and mumble something to the tune of ‘what an embarrassing thing to do and how we have to live here in this town and that I need to think of someone other than myself… blah, blah, blah……   Most of the women in my family are very critical).  But still, I couldn’t resist the opportunity that presented itself when I got my own colonoscopy.

  After all if Meryl Streep can do a public service announcement commercial urging people over 50 to get one, and Katie Couric can go on LIVE television with her colonoscopy in March 2000 which resulted in a 20% increase in the number of Americans receiving the test, then why can’t I?   I’m not thinking about myself, I just want to add to the voice that is already out there.  If I was thinking about myself then I would not be posting the ‘lovely’ photos of me with no make-up on and wearing that ugly green gown. 

 What I am learning is that many people will put off this very important test, especially men.  So I thought that I would document my own colonoscopy to let you know that it really wasn’t that bad.  I am just your average “healthy” Caucasian 52 year old female.  Overall my health is very good.  I don’t take many medications, there is not a history of cancer in my family.  My step-father just died of melanoma this year but he is not a blood relative.  So there was no reason to fear that there would be a problem.  This was just a screening.  Colon cancer is a disease that is 90% curable if caught early.  When Katie Couric had her televised colonoscopy she had just lost her husband, Jay Monahan, to the disease in 1998 at the young age of 42.

 I received a referral from my family care physician for the colonoscopy and made an appointment with the gastroenterologist. At that appointment the doctor went over what all I needed to do to prepare for the big day, which I’ll document throughout the blog.  I then made the appointment for my colonoscopy that took place at the hospital. 

The Last Supper

(The night before my colonoscopy prep).


Artichoke and Tuscany garlic bruschetta’s for appetizers and my famous Baked Ziti for dinner.   Lots of herby greens to make things exit smoothly.

This was going to be an important meal for me seeing as how I wouldn’t be able to eat for the next day and a half.

No food after midnight.


Colonoscopy Prep Day


I was able to have coffee in the morning, but no more dark liquids the rest of the day.

I was excited that I can have my Cranberry Juice, even though it is white and loaded with sugar.  Normally I have my diet Red Cranberry juice for breakfast.

4 tablets of Dulcolax at 11:00 a.m.


Magnesium Citrate

Drink one bottle at 2:00 p.m.

Drink second bottle at 6:00 p.m.

(Broth, Broth and Broth)

Plenty of Clear Fluids

Drink all day long so as not to dehydrate yourself.

Note:  It “HIT” me around 3:00 p.m.  Just in case you were wondering.

Guess what’s for dinner?


“As God is my witness, as God is my witness they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.

Scarlett O’Hara

What she said.

   Julie Lancaster-Whann

Colonoscopy Day


I had to be at the hospital by 6:00 a.m.!!! 

Not my prettiest hour.
No make-up.

The procedure started at 8:30 a.m.  It only lasted about 20 minutes and they put me to sleep.  Thank GOD!


Recovery was about an hour.  You are very groggy afterwards.  They brought me two blueberry muffins and cranberry juice.  Always have someone drive you home afterwards.  I know it took me a few hours before I started to feel like myself again.

Leaving the Hospital


The doctor did find some polyps and removed them and they have been sent off for analysis.  35% of all colonoscopy patients have polyps.  The doctor informed me that I am prone to polyps and will need another colonoscopy in 3 years.

But for now I am awaiting the results of my polyps.  I should find out by next Wednesday.


Sausage Biscuits and hash browns

Junk Food!!!

My reward to me.

Hey, I NEVER eat this stuff but I was so craving it!!


P.S.  I’m healthy and my polyps are not cancerous!!!


February 5, 2015

(I saw this and it blew me away.  I think that statement applies directly to me.   But I think the only people that will understand that statement is another Aquarius.)

Happy Birthday to my Favorite Aquarius’s

Sugar 2/7

(Sugar is having her mouth surgery today and Monk can’t stop howling for her.  It just breaks your heart!)


2/ 13  ME  🙂

Me, age 8.  Got a hamster for my birthday.  He didn’t live long.  Wonder why???  🙁  Our cat Snowball is the clue.

  p.s.  I loved that faux leather dress!

2/13 Kim Novak

2/13 Kelly Hu

2/13 Carol Lynley

2/13 Stockard Channing

Christie Brinkley 2/2

Gabrielle Anwar 2/4

Rosa Parks 2/4

Elizabeth Banks 2/10

(Loved you in Seabiscuit.  I named one of our dog’s Fleabiscuit after Seabiscuit.)

Jane Seymour 2/15

Princess Caroline Grimaldi of Monaco

(Grace Kelly’s Daughter.  Grace’s children were the Kardashian’s of their day.)


Ellen Degeneres 1/26

Oprah Winfrey 1/29

Tallulah Bankhead 1/30

I love all of these women!


Now for the only man worth mentioning:

Oliver Reed 2/13/38

Died 4/2/99

You inspired a lot of people to get into acting.

Miss you!


p.s.  It’s funny but I fit my astrological Aquarius sign to perfection!  But I don’t fit in my Chinese horoscope sign at all.  I am the Ox.  So is President Obama.  It says that we are hard working.  Hard working???  Perhaps HE is.  But not me!  I don’t think so! Ask anyone that knows me.  I am the least ambitious person around.  All I have ever wanted to do in life is to get out of bed in the morning and do exactly what I want to, not what someone tells me to, or expects me to.

Ultimately, I have only cared to please myself.  That is all that really matters anyway because I am the one that has to live with me.

Happy Birthday!


February 4, 2015


Gordon and I were out at our favorite thrift stores over the weekend and doing a little bit of estate sale shopping when we came across this BEAUTIFUL pond at one of the estate sales.  OMG!!

I instantly fell in love with it and now we are rethinking our (future) backyard pond that we had in mind and are contemplating an indoor fountain inside of our existing lanai.  This is our inspiration.  So lovely and tranquil.

Beautiful Little Insert

The lanai we saw also featured these little inserts.  Loved them!

Some great ideas that we may want to use.

So many projects, so little time.

Happy Hump Day!



February 2, 2015

The 39 Steps

Take 1.



Kelcy Choplin

(our niece)

Starring in Alfred Hitchcock’s

The 39 Steps



The 39 Steps

Over the weekend we attended our niece Kelcy’s play in Kissimmee at the Oceola Arts building, of John Buchan’s The 39 Steps.  It was a 4 person play with all but one character playing multiple roles.


The photo above right is the original Alfred Hitchcock movie poster from 1935, starring Robert Donat and Madeline Carroll.  It is just a copy.  I also gave Kelcy one as a souvenir of her performance.

Above is my photo of Madeleine Carroll taken as she was getting off a train.  My little piece of memorabilia.  Her autograph.  It is dated February 14, 1939.


As a huge Alfred Hitchcock fan, as well as a huge Kelcy fan, we thoroughly enjoyed the play.  Everyone did an exceptional job.  The cast was very impressive.


The 39 Steps Cast Billboard

Gordon with his Niece Kelcy

Veronica and Brian met us there.

Oceola Arts is located in Kissimee, Florida


Kelcy played 3 roles in the production.

Kelcy as Annabella Schmidt

Kelcy as Pamela

Kelcy as Margaret



Between acts we enjoyed some wine and looked at some nice art.

There is never a shortage of ‘art’ at ‘art centers’.

And yes, Gordon and I always do seem to color coordinate, but we do it subconsciously.


Now Back to the Show

With the play resuming we find the characters getting into quite the mess.

Being handcuffed together, having checked into the lodge.

Pamela hearing Hannay’s story.


So happy to see Kelcy!


Now for a nice FUN Dinner


Downtown Disney

Is that a T-Rex?

T-Rex Restaurant and Menu

Hey, there aren’t just dinosaurs here.

I also love the undersea theme.

Don’t worry that this restaurant is only for parents with small children.  Adults love this stuff too.

Dinner with the Dinosaurs

Brian, Gordon, Julie, Kelcy and Veronica

Some nice Appetizers

Cousins, Kelcy and Veronica

What a great day!

Who would have thought that Hitchcock and Dinosaurs went so well together?  We did!

Have a super duper two weeks all you Aquarians!!!

We’ve got birthday’s to attend to!  🙂


p.s.  This was much more fun than Super Bowl Sunday.  Although I would have loved to see Katy Perry.  Did you know that 1 in 4 Americans think the Super Bowl is decided by God?  Looks like God loves the cheating Patriots, huh?


January 30, 2015

Flashback Friday Birthday Edition

Julie age 5, First Grade School Picture

I hated this photo my entire life as one of my worst school pictures that I have ever taken.  I have a birthday coming up in February that I am actually looking forward to so I always seem to reminisce about the past.  I never liked that my grandmother always had this photo displayed in her living room up until the day she died when I was almost 40.  I was always embarrassed by it, but she was so proud of it.  I had a dream about her last night.  It was a wonderful dream!  It was in her old house that I grew up in.  It was as if I got to see her again and we had a nice visit, that is when I spotted this picture.  Sitting right there in her living room.  I assume that I am wearing a grey dress in the photo to match my grey eyes although no one ever told me that.  Apparently no one has ever heard of a comb judging by the look of my hair.

So if she can be proud of that yucky picture of me then so can I.

Happy Friday!


p.s.  According to some scientists when we dream we actually enter into an alternate universe because our emotions that we are experiencing are very real.  If so then I hope I get to visit her more often in that place.


January 28, 2015

Easy Peasy Weeknight Supper

Korean Pancakes

I was shopping in my favorite Asian supermarket in Brandon when I spotted this, Korean Pancake Mix.

It looked like something that we would like as a family so I bought the bag and brought it home.

The package suggests items like shrimp, leeks, mushrooms and kimchi.  When I saw the ‘kimchi’, I knew I would love it!

Kimchi, Leeks, Spring Onions and Snow Peas

Kimchi is a Korean spiced cabbage that is eaten all over the Hawaiian Islands.  That is where we first became acquainted with it, from our many years of living in Hawaii.  It is now something that we still eat on a fairly regular basis.  The brand above happens to be my favorite.

Enoki Mushrooms and Guan’s, prounced like our last name, Whann, (Juan).

(Our last name got us the best table when we would make reservations at Chinese and Asian restaurants.)

Leeks with Flowers

We used Parsley as Well

(Fresh herbs are cancer killers so try and incorporate them into as many of your meals as possible.)

Gordon’s Trick

Prevent cutting board from sliding all around by using one of those rubbery jar openers.  In this case I had cut up old shelf paper made out of that rubber to use for this purpose.

(p.s.  I also used this on Veronica and Brodie’s high chair seat to prevent them from sliding around.)

Mushrooms, Leeks with Flowers and Spring Onions, Chopped

The rest of the chopped veggies.

Saute Veggies in Olive Oil First

Although the package did not call to do this.  Gordon sauteed all the chopped veggies in olive oil first.  Simply adding the chopped veggies into the batter would have given it a raw veggie taste.  The olive oil added lots of flavor and WE think improved the taste.

So Delicious!

We have some vegetarian friends that are dying to try this now that we have told them about it.

One thing that we did discover while we were making these is that it is best to add the veggies to the batter as opposed to placing them onto the batter in the pan.  See photo below.

This was the first way we tried it.  It didn’t really work that well.

The Runny Batter

The recipe does call for the batter to be a bit runny, but we just didn’t like it so Gordon added some more of the mix to thicken it up and that is when we really liked it!

Now THAT is a savory pancake!

Gordon did use vegetable oil in the pan to cook them.

You flip them like regular pancakes.

We added EXTRA Kimchi to this one!

Excellent Weeknight Veggie Dinner

Couldn’t be any easier.

Happy Eating!


p.s.  Any day that you eat less meat is a day you will live longer.


January 25, 2015

In my Own Little Corner, in my Own Little Chair

(If you remember the Rodgers and Hammerstein song from their Cinderella in 1957 originally staring Julie Andrews, and then a 16 year old Lesley Ann Warren who played the role in 1965, both movies were for television. ‘ In my own little corner, in my own little chair’ were words to one of my favorite songs from the Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella movies.  I was 4 when I saw the 1965 version.

With that in mind I decided to show you my own little corner in my own little chair.  (Except I am on the lookout for a different chair and my “little corner” is a pretty big space.  Also my little corner features Snow White more so than Cinderella.)

Apparently my Cinderella Christmas is going to turn into a Cinderella birthday and I can’t help but have Cindy on my mind especially with the new Cinderella movie coming out this March.

My Own Little Corner

I have the nicest view of the backyard.  Those are my sliding glass doors that I can open all the way up and make the outside lanai part of our living space inside.

My View of the Backyard

I love that I get to sit here and look out beyond the lanai out to the backyard.  I know it’s not some big grand view but this isn’t about some ocean view, or some mountain view, it’s about ‘my own little corner in my own little chair’.

I Surround Myself with Memories

Xylophone Desk

Come on, you know you want one.

The xylophone above used to belong to my Great-Aunt Margie.  I have banged on that thing my entire life and when she died I asked her son and daughter-in-law if I could have it.  I can play it, it’s like playing the piano and I did have 5 long years of piano lessons growing up.

The old antique typewriter used to belong to my Great-Grandparents.  I brought that home with me from my trip to Georgia last summer.  I cleaned it up and it sits right here beside me.

I love that my Aunt Margie used an old rusty ‘s’ hook and a safety pin to repair it many years ago.  I love the details that each key has the note carved into it and the original flat head screws.  (Phillips head screws were not around at the time.)


Grandma’s Green Phone

I love this phone.  It still has her old phone number on it.


My Great-Grandmother keith’s Desk

I love this desk.  Not just because it is quite lovely but because it was her’s.  It is rather small though, hence me making the xylophone an extension of my desk.

The original hardware, the flat head screws.

I love all the details!

Julie’s Antique Desk

I love all the little slots for envelopes and staplers.  It pops up and it pulls out for writing.

I cleaned it up really well with some lemon oil that you can buy at the grocery store.  Wood tends to get very dry and it just needs some moisture to wake it and make it beautiful once more.


Coming up next, what the area USED to look like!

Warning!  Warning!  Warning!

O.K.  Brace Yourself

These are all the before pictures of ‘my corner’.

We used to have these yucky vinyl blinds that covered the sliding glass doors.  That was before we put up our backyard fence, once we did that I wanted them removed because we finally got a bit of privacy in our ‘Stepford’ neighborhood.  We used to have a neighbor that would come to our backdoor all the time, uninvited.  We desperately needed our privacy from her.  She has since moved and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read my blog so I’m safe.

I know, I know, I know…..

I did WARN you.

What an Embarrassing Mess

Well actually, if I was that embarrassed about it then you would not be viewing the photos now.

We used to keep our printer underneath the xylophone but now I have my Great-Grandparents antique typewriter in that spot and we moved the printer to the armoire, just a few feet away.

Hey, in my defense, I was really busy at this time and never home.

And you all know perfectly well that you eat at your computer just like the rest of us.  This is my breakfast every single morning of my life.  My half of a whole wheat bagel spread with ‘I
Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’ and an egg white omelet that I always end up sharing with the dogs.  They LOVE eggs!  Or rather ‘second breakfast’ as Pippin from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ would say.  It’s always Monk and Sugar’s ‘second breakfast’.

The salt shaker above is probably not that common on a desk.

Bolts of Fabric

I literally bought about $275.00 worth of fabric for this project.  That is about all that I did pay for.  I wanted something light and airy and pretty and feminine.  That is the look that I got and it may not be the most beautiful of spaces but to me it is and that is all that counts.

Once I removed all the vinyl blinds and we added the fence it really opened up the backyard for an excellent view.

This is why I love ‘my little corner’.  I get the nicest visitors to our backyard.  Uh oh, he sees me!

I always keep the old bird bath full of water so that any traveler’s we may encounter will be taken care of.

White Bird of Paradise

Yet another reason I love looking out into my backyard.

New Sea Hawk (Osprey) Friend

So gone is the old boring desk and all the mess.  Now it’s ‘my own little corner in my own little chair’. 

Although I am still on the lookout for a new chair.

Happy Weekend!


p.s.  There is always a messy table somewhere in our home.  We LIVE in our home, it is not some showplace.

Living Room Table

I still have some Christmas books out and about.

Actually, I pretty much still have my Christmas everywhere.


I never said I was perfect!  But I DID clean up ‘my corner.’ 



January 23, 2015

Flashback Friday


Gordon, a.k.a. David Copperfield,   Me, and Gordon’s brother Jeff in their backyard in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Gordon and I had just returned from our honeymoon in Cape Hatteras.

Look how thin we all are!

It’s just not a family photo without some trash can in the background.




January 23, 2015

“Make yourself sheep, the wolves will eat you.”

Benjamin Franklin

I live by that saying.  Because it is true.  If we make ourselves sheep then we will be taken advantage of.  That is just a fact.

In life we are taught to be sheep, (if you are from the south especially), from our families and from our churches.  But are they really looking out for us?  Or are they just teaching us to be obedient?  What is obedience anyway?  Doing what we are told?  And by whom?  Our parents?  Our mentors?  Our teachers?  Our preachers?  Does that extend to our employers?  People that sell us our homes?  Our cars?  Should we just let these people push us around in life?  You know, as sheep?  Without us ever learning to think for ourselves?  Critical thinking is no longer being taught.  But that is a big topic for another day.

There is this television show on HGTV that I have started watching.  I won’t say the name of it because I don’t want to be sued but it is a married couple that buy homes in foreclosure and then flip them for a profit.  Sometimes they are upset that there are not many foreclosures for them to buy on the market.  Poor little things.  They are also real estate agents that went from living in a $6,000.00 a month mortgage during the housing boom, to living in a $900.00 apartment with a roommate in order to save money during the housing bust.  Now they flip homes for a living.

This couple apparently had no problem taking money from families that the bank sold those predatory mortgages to.  This couple made quite a bit of money off of those families.  Hence, their $6,000.00 a month mortgage.  They are a smart couple so I’m pretty sure they knew what was going on at the time.  Most in their profession did.  Now they flip houses for a living and have their own t.v. show.  I do know that they use their own money in their flips but their production company does give them around $10,000.00 an episode.  I admit they are a talented couple.  Smart, creative, successful.  But I do not like them as people.  So why do I watch their show?  Because I learn things from them.  Just because you don’t like someone doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them.  They do have very good taste in their housing designs.  The finished results are always impressive.  I just have a problem with someone making money off of others misfortunes.

He is a salesman.  By definition a salesman in a con artist.  The better the salesman the better the con artist.  I once heard him say to his mother on the show that “I can sell anything”.  Really?  What makes you so confident in that?  I don’t know that I can sell anything?  Unless of course I know to tell the buyer exactly what they want to hear.  Hence, the con artist in me.

My mother gave me the greatest piece of advice of my life many years ago when she said, “Stay away from charismatic people.  They can get you to do anything.”

Good salesmen can get you do do anything.  So tread carefully when you are around them.  (This would explain why I tend to keep a car forever until it literally falls apart on me.  I hate walking into that lion’s den of a car dealership knowing full well the con is coming.)

I’m not a good salesman.  I’m actually proud of that.

When I was selling cosmetics at a major department store here in Florida decades ago our highest seller in the department was a woman that would lie to her customers.  She would hide the small and medium sizes of various products in the drawers  and tell the customers that would approach the bay, that if they wanted their product they would have to buy the large sizes.  She was always the highest seller in the department.  Praised every month for her sales.  The store didn’t care that she lied and cheated.  All they cared about was money.    I was well liked and well respected by my customers because I was very good to them, but I was not  by my employers.

My advice to you.  Listen to Ben Franklin.  There is this reason that everyone in the world has heard of him or read about him.  He was one of the greatest most influential people in our modern history and he had some very good advice.


p.s.  We live in the ’40 acres and a mule’ era.  I encounter far more dishonest people in life than I do honest ones. The black slaves were promised ’40 acres and a mule’ when they were freed.  They have yet to get their 40 acres and a mule.  So why should we?

Capitalism means that I can legally sell this cup of coffee that I am drinking for $200.00 if I wanted to.  That is our form of government and because of that, salesmen can lie to customers all they want and hide the small beauty products in drawers away from customers that want them and there is nothing that we can do about it.

p.s.s.  This February 19, is Chinese New Year.  Now generally I adore Chinese New Year.


But this will be The Year of the Sheep!  Yuck!  Sorry, but I’m just not that enthusiastic about honoring sheep.  Guess it will just be another day to me now.

O.k., sheep are kind of cute and I know they serve a purpose in life but I still have a problem with people making themselves sheep.


January 21, 2015

Happy Wednesday Update

I have been busy doing some updates and moving some things around the website trying to get a bit more organized.  I am feeling a little overwhelmed with the responsibility of trying to figure out and transfer everything over to wordpress by myself, (Holidays are over and Gordon is back at school.) so I am just going to take my time and eventually it will happen.  (Hopefully by this spring or summer when Gordon is finished with school and can help me.  We also have several videos still left to edit and post.)  I know we are way behind.

I put too much pressure on myself to make all of this perfect and I know this will come as a complete SHOCK to all of you but I’m not perfect.  FAR from it!

So for now life will continue on in ancient HTML.  We will eventually get around to changing the format and the look of our website but for now, green it is!!  green, green, green…..and more green.

(Just gettin’ a little tired of green.)

Happy Hump Day!



January 18, 2015

Fox Wants To Bring Back

‘The X-Files’

Please, please, please, please, please, please….




January 13, 2015

Oysters on the Half Shell with Pearls

(Real pearls, I might add.)

Yeah, that’s right.  Shrimp!

We did our early shoot for next year’s Hawaiian Kalikimaka.

Lychee Martini’s on the Beach

Gordon at Sunset

Gordon rinsing our oysters.

Gordon on the Grill

Oysters and Corn

Not to mention the best sushi ever!

Oysters on the Half Shell

The best yet.

My Favorite Shrimp

Shaken, not stirred.

Happy 50th. Gordon




January 11, 2015

The Black Eyed Peas


Where is the Love YouTube play

(I love black eyed peas, by the way.  You know, the food?)

Regardless, this is my all time anti-war favorite song.

They nail it!  Life reflects art.  Look to the artists every time.  They see it way before you do!



January 10, 2014

Viva la France!

Je suis amour,



January 6, 2014

Taking a Little Hiatus

I just wanted you to know that I will be taking a little break from my blog.  I have so many things to do.  I will be working on other website pages and we are looking into getting a new format for our website and transferring everything over to WordPress.  Maybe even transferring to a new web hosting site.  (Hear that, Gr@@ng@@ks?)  I’m not happy with you!  And yes, the Australian that answers the phone does sound good but I know better.

So until then I will be sipping this blue liquid and waving to people that aren’t really there.

I want to thank all of you that care enough about us to tune in everyday, every week, or every month.  We do appreciate that you think we are worth it.

We aren’t going anywhere so don’t think you will be getting rid of any of us anytime soon.

Thank you so very much!  We will see you soon!


p.s.  Gordon turns 50 on the 8th.!!  It is also Elivis’s birthday.


January 2, 2015

(Still not ready to take down my Christmas.)

Look to the Few, Avoid the Many

When my children were young I wanted to teach them about people and how it is more important to look to the ‘few’, and not to the’ many’.   When you look at a population of people you have a small group that are ‘below’ average, a small group that are’ above’ average,  and then the majority of people that are just ‘average’.   Most people fall into the ‘average’ category.  ‘Average’ always seem to dominate because most people are ‘average’.  The thing about ‘average’ is that ‘average’ is neither smart, nor dumb, that is why they are called ‘average’.  Now before I offend anyone reading my blog you must first let me explain, then you can criticize all you want.

When it comes to a person with a good character or someone that is very genuine, those kinds of people are not common and therefore are not ‘average’.    I wanted to demonstrate this to my children and an opportunity arose that allowed me to.  It was when we were living in Maryland on a military base somewhere around 2002 and we were headed home one night that we stopped off into the mini-mart on base to pick up a few things.  It was a particularly crowded evening at the mini-mart with people filling their cars up with gas and hurrying into the store to buy what they needed.  I think it was a Friday night.  Gordon ran in to purchase the items that we wanted while Veronica, Brodie and I stayed in the car.  When you live on a military base you know that if you drive over the speed limit, even by just a mile or two, that you can get pulled over and ticketed.  We also know that if we do not come to a complete stop at the stop signs that we also run the risk of getting ticketed.  Now I do realize that these rules also apply in the civilian community but when you are on a small military base it is much easier to get caught breaking those rules than in the civilian world.

While we were sitting in the car waiting for Gordon to come back I noticed that most of the cars exiting this mini-mart at this particular exit in the back of the building, were not stopping at the stop sign.  They were treating it as if it were a ‘yield’ sign.  That is when it dawned on me that here is a good example to show my children the lesson that I had been trying to teach them all along.  Let’s count the cars to see how many people actually stop at the stop sign, and how many people don’t.  (At this particular exit residents of the base knew it was not watched by base police and therefore felt comfortable about running it.)  That is when we started our count.  It wasn’t until the 18th. car that someone actually stopped, looked both ways and then proceeded.   After that an additional 15 cars flew through the stop sign until one car did stop.  Then another 6 cars exited the parking lot without stopping and that is as far as we got because Gordon had come back to the car by then and we left.  (Stopping at the stop sign, I might add).

That was 40 cars that we counted exiting that stop sign.  Out of those 40 only 2 stopped at the stop sign.  ONLY 2!!!  Seeing that told me everything that I needed to know about all of those people in those cars.  It’s what you do when you think no one is watching that says the world about a person.  Most of the people cheated, broke the rules, didn’t care.  But those 2 that stopped, they cared, even when they didn’t have to, even when they were not aware anyone was watching them.  They followed the rules, they did the right thing.   Those two people in those 2 cars I could probably trust with my house keys, or my car keys, or even my children.   But not the other 38.  The other 38 broke the rules, they cheated when they thought no one is looking.  Those 38 I would stay away from.  I only care to know those 2 people in those 2 cars because what they have is rare, what they have is special, what they have is true character.  They are not ‘average’.  ‘Average’ broke the rules when they didn’t think anyone was watching.  ‘Average’ always break the rules when they think no one is watching.

You can have all the ‘many’ people that you want in life.  I only care about the ‘few’.

I’m one of these people that believes in cleaning out closets, whether it be actual closets themselves, or relationship closets.  Most of us have some sort of relationships that just don’t work anymore.  People that are in our lives that aren’t good to us, or good for us.  I want people in my life that care about me and appreciate me.  Those people are always the ‘few’, never the ‘many’.

So look to the ‘few’, avoid the ‘many, and you can find true happiness in your life.

Good Luck.  Sometimes those ‘few’ are hard to find.


Whenever I see everyone running in one direction, I usually run the other way.   So far that philosophy hasn’t failed me yet. 


As I said, I am still  not ready to take down my Christmas.

 Are the holiday’s over with yet?

(And yes, I DO look this good in the morning.)


December 31, 2014

Cinderella New Year’s Eve

I call this my Cinderella New Year’s Eve because I wanted to continue my Cinderella Christmas theme into my New Year’s celebration.

I had the best time creating this Christmas theme.  I think that I did do a good job creating the ‘magical’ look that I wanted with my ‘fairy godmother’ spirit in the photo above.

This was my inspiration.

My Cinderella Christmas Gifts

Cinderella with her fairy godmother.


Pretty Wine Bottle Craft

As I said I wanted to carry over my Cinderella theme into my New Year’s so I came up with this idea.

I wanted something pretty and blingy for this.  I had this rhinestone looking craft ribbon and decided to just hot glue it all around an old empty wine bottle that I had in the garage.  I left the pink foil around the top of one of my bottles.

Add some pretty bottle stoppers and you have a lovely bottle to fill with whatever you would like, or to give as a nice gift.

Happy New Year


Here’s wishing all of us a fairy tale year of hope and happiness. 

You know, we can create our own happiness and luck without waiting around for some magical being to do it for us. 

Happy New Year,