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Page 4


“Do your best to only be around those people that truly appreciate you.  Don’t waste your time on those that don’t.”

Julie Lancaster-Whann


Page 4 Starts Right Here


December 28, 2014

Julie’s Cinderella Christmas

Once Upon a Time…..

Actually, my book starts off,

“Near the fair city of Paris there once lived a gentleman whose wife had died, leaving him to care for their little daughter, Ella.”

My childhood book above, The Tasha Tudor Book of Fairy Tales, in this book is just one of many versions of Cinderella ever written.

Actually, no one knows where the original version came from.  Every country seems to have their own.  In some of the stories Cinderella’s father has died, in others he is just absent and in others he is there but does not care about Cinderella, he is neglectful.

In some versions the ‘fairy godmother’ is the ghost of Cinderella’s dead mother who is looking out for her.

In my version Cinderella is French.

My Christmas Fairy Godmother

The back story on my ‘fairy godmother’ is this is our ghost that Gordon and I made for Halloween out of chicken wire.  I had draped material all around her while Gordon rigged up an attachment so that our ‘ghost’ could hold a Halloween mask.  I thought it would be cool to change things a bit and add some lights inside of the ‘ghost’ making her more magical looking and then adding a magic wand to the attachment.

Bibbity Bobitty Boop!

(Incidentally, in my attempt to transform our ‘ghost’ into my ‘fairy godmother’ I had to crawl inside of it, she’s quite tall by the way, I had to crawl into the mass of chicken wire where I scratched myself so many times on my arms and legs.  I BLED for this project!  Once I got out alive and I plugged the lights into the socket only the lights at the bottom of my ‘fairy godmother’ were working.  Half the strand that is located at the top of her won’t light up.  At first I was a bit upset by it thinking that I would have to crawl back inside and remove them all and start over.  But then I noticed at how magical it looked that only the ones at the bottom were lit up.  It looked as if she were conjuring up a spell.  So this turned out to be a happy mistake.)

Always a princess, never a queen.

Nothing like a tiara on the top of the tree.

My Princess Tree

My Vintage Princesses

I made all the pretty snow globes that are under my tree by using various vintage and more modern figurines.

I love finding lovely things to add to my princess tree.

Cinderella and her Carriage


I just want world peace.

(Feeling like Miss America)


My Cinderella Table

Oh no!  It’s Midnight!

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Cinderella

I’m always on the lookout for vintage and antique beauties for my collections.

I grew up with Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and so on and so on.  They are as familiar to me as my children are.  But to me they are survivors of abuse that went on to find happiness in life.

Cinderella at the Ball, Meeting the Prince

Cinderella did not win the lottery, the lottery won Cinderella.

Cinderella’s Castle at Walt Disney World’s

Magic Kingdom

One reason that I wanted to go to the Magic Kingdom this past Thanksgiving was because I knew that I would be doing a Cinderella Christmas and I wanted to get into the spirit of things.  Look for a few special souvenirs that I can only find at Disney.  Take lots of photos.  Also to just experience the fairy tale in the happiest place on Earth.

My niece Vivien, Princess in Training

I also wanted to introduce my niece to Cinderella and Disney, as she lives in Ireland.

Is it really necessary to remove the cardboard from the tiara?


My mother gave me this book when I was a child and then she re-gave it to me earlier this year when she was cleaning out some things in her house.  It’s amazing how the memories come flooding back to you.

My book even has my childhood doodles in it.

Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty

Look at the beautiful illustrations in this book!  Tasha Tudor was one of the world’s foremost illustrators of her day.  This book was published in 1961, the year I was born.

I will treasure it forever and pass it on to my daughter for her children to read and enjoy.  There is nothing like the classics to transform us back to that feeling of magic and wonder and there is nothing like Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty to give us all hope that there is a light at the end of that tunnel for those girls that are in similar situations.

My wish for all of you is that you find your own happiness.

The End

p.s.  Cookie anyone?


Christmas Eve

Holiday Appetizers

(Served before midnight.) 

Kona Coffee Martinis

I originally wanted to make Espresso martinis but I realized that it would take me forever to brew that many espressos so I decided to just brew a big pot of Kona coffee, it was much easier and better tasting.

To me the Kona coffee is the best in the world, grow in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.  These martinis are actually quite delicious.  Just brew a big pot of strong coffee, add some Kahlua and some Vodka in 3 equal parts.

Our Festive Blue Light Table

Turkey sausage balls, Asian chicken cocktail sausages, various nuts, crackers and cheeses…….

I thought the table was looking pretty plain and that is when I got the idea to add lights all over it.  Everyone liked it!

Everyone Helping Themselves

Drunken Devils on Horseback

It’s just not Christmas Eve anymore without Nigella’s Drunken Devils on Horseback.

Gordon and I have since expanded them to include dates and figs as well as pitted prunes.  The recipe calls for you to soak pitted prunes in Brandy overnight and then wrap them in bacon and place in the oven to cook for about 20 minutes until the bacon crisps up a bit.


Gordon came up with the idea to use dates and figs as well as the prunes.  Hey, I only eat bacon about twice a year and this is one of those days so I did treat myself.


We tend to eat more white cheeses as opposed to the yellow ones as the white ones have less cholesterol.

Cinderella’s Castle at Night

Just Magnificent


Wine Party Favors

I always have party favors on Christmas Eve, it’s one of my most fun things to do.  Here each guest gets to pick out a bottle of wine and a wine bottle ornament, and a take home ‘cracker’.

Merry Christmas



Merry Christmas

Placing the crown on top of the tree.

Pomegranate Martini anyone?


Vesele Vanoce!

(Merry Christmas in Czech)

My Niece Vivien From Ireland

She is part American and part Czech, and we ADORE Her!


December 25, 2014

Christmas Day

Hey, welcome!  Come on in!

Can I get you a drink?

Pomegranate martini?

(My favorite.  With extra seeds.)

What about something sweet?

Our Christmas Cake?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas Day!


With much appreciation,



I love a man that is brave enough to wear a tiara!

As a former Girl Scout Leader and aging tiara wearing princess wanna be, I commend you, President Obama for being brave enough and MAN enough to pose with a tiara on top of your head.


December 21, 2014

Just Found These Photos From Sabina

When I last saw my brother and his partner Sabina and daughter Vivien before they left to head home to Ireland, we had exchanged photos via thumb drives and downloaded them onto all of our computers.  I didn’t realize that while I was taking photos of all of them on the beach that they were taking photos of ME.

I love this one.

Me giving a 3 year old direction as I take photos of her.  You know that turned out well.

Sparklers on the Beach at Sunset

Me on the beach with sparklers.

It’s not just children that love sparklers……

(I’ve never been a fireworks person.  I have always played it safe with simple fun sparklers.)


The Last “Indian” Supper

Gordon’s last day of his internship for school was Saturday.  He loved working at Taste of India and met some wonderful people during his experience.  One benefit of his working there was having him bring home all this delicious Indian food.  Indians eat very healthy, their diet is plant based and extremely spicy!  But that is how we like it.  Spicy food boosts your metabolism and helps to keep us slimmer.  Not to mention all the turmeric in their food kills cancer cells.  That is the spice that turns the food yellow.

So Gordon has finished his last quarter for the year and he is looking to catch up on some website updates, we have so many recipes that still need to be written up.

Looking forward to some time off.

Love the holidays!



December 19, 2014

Flashback Friday Christmas Edition

Me, age 2

Great Christmas!  I got a horse!  Sort of.


Yes, I’m THAT old!

You know what?  I like being THAT old!



December 17, 2014

Sometimes the Best Gifts in Life are Free

This is my brother Johnny, his partner Sabina and their daughter Vivien.  They live in Ireland.  I am 8 years older than my brother.  They have been over here in America on vacation for the past month, spending their time between here in Florida, and our birth home in Georgia.

(Europeans get a paid 4 – 6 weeks off per year. How about you, America?  How many paid weeks do YOU get?)

My Favorite Subject, Vivien

I wanted to give Johnny and Sabina the best gift that I could think of and I decided to give them the give of photography.  I have an excellent camera with the best lense and I am not such a bad photographer myself.  So my gift to them are these photos.  Actually, I took about 350 photos of them on the beach and most of them are wonderful!  Especially of Vivien.

We were on our beach in Indian Shores at sunset.  The lighting was PERFECT!

Throwing a Sand ‘Snowball’

I was very proud of all the photos.  I thought they turned out wonderful.

Sabina and Vivi

Vivien is a hard child to get to sit still.  So running around on the beach and being active is typically her.  Luckily, I have a camera that captured her personality.


Vivien Learns about Sparklers

What great memories that I was able to capture on film.

Beautiful Sabina

Sabina and Johnny

Christmas Bubbly on the Beach

Our Green Star Fish Tree


They flew out today to head back to Ireland.  I hope they make it home safely!

Love you all,


p.s.  I hope you loved all the photos.  I know that I enjoyed taking them.


December 14, 2014

Weekend Christmas Photography Selfies

I always have such fun with my camera.

Happy Weekend!



December 12, 2014

Flashback Friday, Christmas Edition

Mele Kalikimaka

Gordon, Julie and little Veronica, age 2 at our house in Honolulu, Hawaii 1988.  We lived on Valkenburg Street.  Valkenburg was the Captain of the USS Arizona that sank in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the year my mother was born.

We loved Hawaii!  Still do!  We may have been haole but our last name is Whann and the local people accepted us as locals because of it.

Mele Kalikimaka a hauoli makahiki hou!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!




Vesele Vanoce!

(Merry Christmas in Czech)


Merry Christmas from us here in America!

We love you!


Aunt Julie and Uncle Gordon

Vesele Vanoce a Stastny Novy Rok!

(Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year)


December 9, 2014

Christmas Party/Reunion Weekend

My little niece Vivien

(Is it really necessary to remove the tiara from the cardboard?  I don’t think so.)

Johnny and Sabina

My brother Johnny and his partner Sabina have come all the way from Ireland for a visit.

Brodie joined us.

So did Brian and Veronica

and of course…..

Gordon and Vivien

My first opportunity to meet in person, beautiful Sabina from the Czech Republic.

We Ate a Great Dinner


Everyone Helping Themselves

Our first Christmas party/ Get-Together of the season.

What a great night!

Vesele Vanoce!



December 8, 2014

Photos From the Weekend….

Me and my little niece Vivien visiting us all the way from Ireland.

Not sure what to think of Monk but he was quite taken with her.

More to come soon,

Happy Monday!

(If there is such a thing.)


p.s.  Vivien can speak English, Czech and Polish and she is just 3!  I can speak English and un poco Espanol, just enough to find a bathroom and something to eat.


December 7, 2014


You mean, you DON’T have a brussel sprouts tree in your kitchen?  Or as I fondly refer to it as my “BS tree”.



I couldn’t decide which vase to put it in but settled with the one on the right.  The one on the left looked kind of Dr. Seussish.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Guess what we are having for dinner tonight?  Roasted veggies featuring Brussel sprouts!

Happy Sunday!


p.s.  Hey, if this thing weren’t in water I would be stringing lights all over it right now.


December 4, 2014

My Bruno Mars Fix

This is my favorite Bruno Mars song.  Reminds me of ’70’s disco.  Hey, I used to win every Friday night dance contest at Chilkoot Charlie’s in Rockingham, N.C. in 1978 -1979.  Just ask anyone that knew me!

Okay, okay, there were at least two or three that I lost.


p.s.  Bruno’s act includes several African-Americans.  He knows talent when he sees it.  The African-America is the most copied of all the races.  In music, dance, fashion, style, trend, body type…  yet they are also the most discriminated against.  Go, figure??


December 2, 2014

Christmas in my Kitchen

Gordon may be the chef of the family but this kitchen is MINE!  Gordon is the one that makes all those messes that I have to clean up.  I’m also not a bad cook myself and I do plenty of cooking for this family.  It is because I am in this kitchen so much that I wanted to make it as festive as possible.  Anything to make washing dishes more exciting.

Actually happen to like washing dishes.  I find it very therapeutic to put your hands into warm soapy water and hand wash lovely things.


My sea candelabra that I get to stare at while washing dishes.

Same Tree, Different Angles

A little bit of beach.  Dried star fish with shell leis from Hawaii draped as garland.

My feather tree in the background.

I’ve got 4 trees in my kitchen.  Each one different.

Pretty Christmas bowls of Fruit

All of this just says Christmas to me.  Since I spend more time here than anywhere else why shouldn’t I make it as nice as possible?

Christmas in the Kitchen,



November 29, 2014


Always be my baby!

Oh, and we did end up having something of a belated mini-Thanksgiving.

Stuffing, chicken, broccoli, French fried onions all covered in a creamy sauce with instant mashed potatoes, canned cranberry sauce and buttered dinner rolls.

It was delicious!!



November 29, 2014

Brodie’s Birthday

Me and Brodie, The Hale Koa Hotel in Oahu, Hawaii 1993.

After the hardest labor in the history of the world, I gave birth to the cutest boy ever.  I know you all think that your son’s are handsome, but they really aren’t.

I’m kidding so don’t write me hate mail.

But seriously, mine really was the cutest.

My little 6 ‘4 boy is 22 now.  My how quickly time goes by.

I miss that little boy of mine.

Yeah, he may be in the next room but this little boy in the photo is gone forever and only a memory.

Happy Birthday Brodie!

I love you!



November 28, 2014

Welcome to Walt Disney World

Thanksgiving at Disney World

Magic Kingdom, to be Exact

(Parking was $17.00.  I know this by heart because that is all Gordon talked about throughout the day).

So why would be want to spend our Thanksgiving holiday at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, you may ask?  Because this year I want a Disney Christmas.  I’ve been planning this since last year.  Every Christmas I like doing something different.  Oh, I do drag out a lot of the old things but I still like doing some sort of theme every year and this year I wanted to relive my childhood and pull out all the Disney ornaments from years past, and my childhood, and I also wanted to add to the tradition and expand by buying some new things.

Town Hall

This is what I love most about Disney at this time of year.  All the lovely Christmas decorations that are everywhere.  This is the start of Christmas for me.

All the Decorations are Up

Christmas Touches Here and There

I do love Christmas Shopping Here

(Especially when I have some little princess’s to buy for.)

You know it is one thing to buy Disney Christmas items online and it is a totally other experience to buy them in person in the shops surrounded by all this Disney Christmas beauty.

I mean, how perfect is this?

Beautiful Cinderella’s Castle

Statue of Walt Disney in front of Cinderella’s Castle

Mickey and Minnie looking Wonderfully Green

The Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion is one of my most favorite rides at The Magic Kingdom and I do think that it was subconsciously my inspiration for our Halloween decorations this past October.

Our floating Ghost and our Pumpkin

Top Hat Pumpkin

I did move it to the front of our house for the trick-or-treaters for Halloween night.

Fog Machine Underneath

I look at this and really do think that I had The Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion in the back of my mind when I designed this.

Oddly enough I cannot tell you how many junior high and high school trick-or-treaters told us that we had the best house for Halloween.

To tell you the truth I don’t think that we did have the best house for Halloween, but I think what I did touch on was a memory of their’s of Disney’s Haunted Mansion.  All Floridians have been to Disney more times that we can count so I’m pretty sure these kids were recognizing in the back of their minds a memory of The Haunted Mansion.

Disney Memories

Which brings me to my earlier point.  To a lot of us Disney inspires all sorts of happy childhood memories in us whether you visit the parks or not you have watched the lovely Disney movies or played with video games or played with the toys, Disney is everywhere whether we want it to be, or not.

So for me it was important this season to relive those happy memories.

Although a bit hard to see, Gordon and I have a hitchhiking ghost on top of us while on the ride.

Hitchhiking Ghosts

Which is why when I saw this lovely Christmas ornament I had to have it.

  The Hitchhiking Ghosts. 

Just Perfect!!!

The Castle From Beauty and the Beast

Gaston’s Tavern

This is where we decided to have our Thanksgiving Dinner.

Gordon enjoying a delicious pork shank.

Me, enjoying my delicious pork shank and my “ale”.

(Some apple juice thing with foam).

Warning: There are NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES at The Magic Kingdom!!  Just my public service announcement.  Your very welcome on the head’s up!

Belle’s Castle at Night

We ended the night perfectly with a funnel cake at Sleepy Hollow.

(FYI:  The story and legend of Sleepy Hollow is American’s only fairy tale, but I will talk about that another time.)

The Nightly Disney Parade

Me, eating a delicious funnel cake.  Gordon and I did share it.  I just had a few bites but boy!  Is it great!

Be sure to stop by Sleepy Hollow for a Funnel Cake.

You will thank us for it!


I did want to end with a bit of advice about touring any of the Disney parks.

Carry The Light Stuff With You

When we do the Disney parks we rent a locker.  In that locker we keep  our jackets, hats, gloves, scarves, etc. (When it is cold).  Also some of our edible things and some water.  Whatever purchases that you make during the park you can pick up at the package pick up area near the front entrance before you leave.  Just tell the cashier that you would like to pick up your package later on and they will give you a form to fill out with your name, address, and phone number.  That way you don’t have to carry them around with you all day.

It couldn’t be any easier.  That way your hands are more free to enjoy the day without carrying around all that stuff with you.

Now I am all ready for my Disney Christmas.  I could not be more in the mood than I am right now.

You know this is our second Thanksgiving to have at the Disney Parks.  This is our first Thanksgiving that Gordon and I have not had any turkey.  We had pork shanks this year.  Thanksgiving is about giving thanks.  I can do that in the bathroom.  I don’t need some special meal for that.  I give thanks every single day to the universe for helping me survive.

Traditions are made every single day.  So why can’t I make one myself?

A traditional Disney Thanksgiving?

Who knows?  Maybe next year we may have a Harry Potter Thanksgiving?

I hope everyone had a good one!



November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

I finally got my homemade Chex mix.  So all is well in the world again.  Feel free to relax.

How will you be spending your Thanksgiving?

This is how we will be spending ours.

Hint, hint……

Have a wonderful day!



November 25, 2014

Christmas in The Nook

I have been happily decorating now for the past month.  Ever since Halloween was over with.  Believe it or not but I am still at it.  But I did want to share some of my “nook” photos.

Oh, the weather outside is frightful……..

(We are having thunderstorms), ahem.

I do have a thing for vintage ornaments and vintage birdcages.

Christmas in My Nook

So looking forward to the holidays.

But first, we still have Thanksgiving to enjoy!



November 21, 2014


Checked a couple into the condo from The Netherlands for the week.

Got gas, ran by CVS for Florastor :), Oh, and two lipsticks and a nail polish, shopping at the Exchange on base for a few items and some Christmas gifts, then the commissary for tons of party food.  Oh, can you believe that there were NO CHEX CEREALS!???  Hello???  In need of homemade Chex party mix!

Got hungry in the car.  Asian spicy chicken rolls to snack on and Alfred Hitchcock’s movie music to listen to so that I can feel as if I am in an Alfred Hitchcock movie ALL THE TIME!! 


Alfred Hitchcock and Asian Spring Rolls

Who knew the two went together??

Happy Weekend!



November 21, 2014

Flash Back Friday

Baby Julie, not quite 1 year old, in my stroller.

I was a happy baby and child.  Rome, Ga. 1961.

I think that at this time my mother had divorced my father and she and I were living with my grandparents.  I was so happy with them.  To me I never cared that I did not have a father at home.  I never even  missed him to tell you the truth.  Because I never knew him.  You can’t mourn what you never had.  But what I did have is more love than I can even begin to describe from my grandparents and great-grandparents.  Although you cannot see him in this photo my great-grandfather, Coy Lone, is the one pushing me.  They are the ones that I miss, they are the ones that I love and think about every single day.

Just because someone is young and small does not mean that they aren’t taking all this in.  I can remember understanding what was going on around me but not being able to communicate back.  I could not make my mouth say what my mind wanted to.

Well??  You did want some photos!!  I have been hearing from some of my readers to post something.  Anything!!  Well, I did!  Gordon and I have just been so busy lately.  What with the holidays coming up, Gordon’s work, school and internship at Taste Of India, not to mention my condo work, we have both been very busy.  I am also TRYING to update our Christmas pages for the busy traffic of the season.

I don’t have the money to hire some “Team Julie” to help me out.  I am the only one to do it!!  So just bear with us.

We do appreciate all of you and we are so glad that you care so much for us!!


p.s.  Thank you so much China!  It seems that you have discovered us.  You are now our top country and have been now for the past few months.

WELCOME!!  So happy to have you here!  I adore your culture!!


November 18, 2014

The Irish In America

I  love thrift store shopping and one thing that I am always on the lookout for are books!.  I found these two, on the origins of Ireland and the Irish in America.  My heritage is Scotch/Irish.  My ancestors left Scotland and stopped off in Ireland to get a bride and then settled in the Georgia/Alabama area of America.

I am descended from Clan Keith of Scotland on my Grandmother’s side.  If any of you have ever seen the movie Braveheart with Mel Gibson, my ancestry was at the battle at Bannockburn where the Scots won their freedom.  Clan Keith took out the King’s archers that enabled the others to rush in and win the battle.  I am very proud of that!  Also Robert The Bruce was married to a Keith.  He is the one that betrayed William Wallace but ended up leading the charge at Bannockburn for the Scots.  He redeemed himself in the end.

The Blackwatch Plaid

(The plaid of my Scottish Ancestry)

I find it interesting that my brother Johnny went to college in Lancaster, England, graduating from The University of Lancaster, (our last name is Lancaster), then moving to Germany and meeting his then wife Cathy in a pub in Germany where she was an Au Pair to a wealthy family, while he was bartending.  They both speak fluent German.

Then they get married and settle in Ireland and started a family by having my two nieces, Kate and Lola.  He literally came full circle.  He went back home to where our ancestors left.

He does still live in Ireland.  He has started a new life with Sabina from the Czech Republic and they have a daughter Vivien who is 3.

I do love family history and researching our own roots.  I think it helps us to understand who we are by knowing where we come from.

What I found Inside One of the Books

The obituary of John F. Kennedy Jr.  Someone had taken the time to cut it out of the paper and place it in the book.  Obviously an Irish family that cared enough to do that.  The book was also given to someone as there is an inscription inside.  I LOVE these things.  It’s like finding an historic  treasure!  Because it is someone’s history.

I suppose I am reminiscing of history because my brother is here in America with his partner and daughter showing her where her roots are and who her family here is.  Pretty cool, huh?

This weekend Gordon and I are hitting our favorite thrift stores.  So excited!!!  I always look forward to a treasure hunt.  Who knows what I may find?

Happy History Hunting!



November 15, 2014

Who Can Live This Way??

I had to borrow Veronica’s car as mine had a flat tire.  I did do some shopping.  As I got into her car I see that the ‘check engine’ light is on.  There is also NO AIR CONDITIONING!!!

Stick shift that won’t work very well!

Hello?  In trouble here!

Ahh to be a poor youngster starting out in the world,

Now I know what to get her for Christmas.

Car repairs.



November 14, 2014

Flashback Friday

Song of Norway


That is me and my grandmother to the right of the photo.  She gave me a cruise for my graduation from high school.  I am 18 in the photo.  We are aboard the Norwegian ship, The Song of Norway.  Wonderful cruise!  Dominican Republic, San Juan, Puerto Rico, The Virgin Islands!  Had a blast with the most important person in my life, my grandmother.

Happy Friday,



November 13, 2014

Just in time for Thanksgiving!

I have finally finished the write up for our

Julie Halloween

I LOVE our ghostly photo above!

Oh, and let’s not forget the BRAINS!!!!

A head of roasted cauliflower with Middle Eastern spices, topped off with some red pepper puree.  Oh, and don’t forget the butcher knife!

Veronica and Brian enjoying their ghoulish Halloween appetizers and dinner.

My Veronica, she is a cutie!

Take a look if you DARE……..


November 12, 2014

Mopey Monk and Sugar’s Weekend

Monk looking worried, as usual.

Sugar looking sad.

So why are my two pugs looking so down and blue?

Because we put away the Halloween decorations and brought out the Christmas.  They don’t like all the boxes everywhere because they think we are packing up to move and get rid of them.   Every time we do anything where lots of boxes and much activity is going on around them they do NOT like it!  That’s when they curl up in their bed and mope.

When will they learn that they are with us until the bitter end whether they like it or not?!

Love ya Monkee.

Love ya Suge.


And yes, we are dragging out Christmas early.  This is our earliest yet but we have lots of things planned and this was kind of necessary.

Monk and Sugar will brighten up when they realize we aren’t getting rid of them.  But until then they will mope away.


November 12, 2014

Wednesday Selfie

 Jackie and the Ultimate Selfie

Julie and the not so Ultimate Selfie

Happy Selfie Wednesday,

Did I ever mention that I hate shoes??



November 10, 2014

Black and White Tuesday

(I just made that up.)

1969?  1970?

Me, aged 8 or 9 asleep in my bed in Dahlonega, Georgia,surrounded by my stuffed animals.  I used to use the tiger as a pillow.  My mother took the photo.

Barbra Streisand’s ‘Memories’ is going off inside my head right now,



November 7, 2014

Flashback, WAY BACK Friday

Honnie, Day Dreams……

This is a photograph of my Great-Grandmother Honnie.  Honnie was a nickname that I gave her when I was a small child.  Her real name is Lillian Alice Miller Haskin Lone.  In the photograph above, entitled, Day Dreams, (she must have written that in herself) she was married to her first husband, and the love of her life, Gordon Haskin.  When he died of a heart attack she married her second husband, Coy Lone.  They then migrated down to Georgia from Vincennes, Indiana to find work during the Great Depression and they settled in Rome, Georgia.  My yankee Great-Grandmother settling in the deep south.  That must have been very hard for her.  When my mother was born she called my Great-Grandmother, Hone, because everyone was calling her Ms. Lone.  I then came along and started calling her Honnie and then everyone started calling her that.

I miss this woman so much!!  I adored my Honnie.  She was perfect!

The photos above are my Great-Grandmother Honnie out west when she was married to Gordon Haskin and they were surveying for the railroad.  I love the photo of her on the rock.  Gordon must have carried her out there and placed her on it.

They traveled by horse and buggy.

My adventurous Great-Grandparents.  I would do anything to have known them at this time.  I’ll bet Honnie was a spitfire then!  She died when I was 8.

I have that railroad spike, by the way!

Surveying the railroad out west.  The photo album is of my Great-Grandparents account of their trip.  The big tent that says, ‘The Bar’.

My Great-Grandmother is the second from the left.

The flattened coins above, are the ones that my little brothers placed on the rails of the railroad tracks so that a train going by would flatten them.

Honnie is in the photo top right standing beside her friend with the coolest old camera!  Gordon is in the photo bottom left acting silly.  When I look at all their photos from when they were married and living in Vincennes they obviously had money.  Their lives were comfortable.    Because their lives were comfortable they were happier than those who’s were not.  A lot of their photos are of them with their friends laughing and goofing around.

The north had money.  When you look at census records at the time they had jobs that were like secretary’s, surveyors, shop keepers, seamstresses, bankers, etc.

The south was poor, most of their jobs were farmers and housewives.

Ahh, family history.  There is nothing like it!

Day Dreams……



November 5, 2014

Photos From The Weekend

We decided to start a mini backyard project and make a path to our water hose.  As Gordon lifted one of the slate stones this was underneath…..

Can you see it?

The CUTEST little snake in the world!

It curls it’s tail just like Monk and Sugar.  Needless to say we put it back.  It lives here too.

It has the cutest little orange ring around it’s neck, like a necklace.

You know the only reason that people hate snakes so much is because of an ancient book called the Bible.



November 5, 2014

Depressed In Florida

With election day over and the take over of the senate, corporate America won yesterday.  The wealthy won and the rest of us lost.

I blame myself because for the first time in over 20 years I did not vote.  I know it’s not ALL my fault, however…..  🙁

So why didn’t I vote?  Because there was no one to vote for.  I usually vote early and do my research on the candidates and the issues and the amendments and as I was doing my research there was NO ONE that I liked!  No one!  No one that would make a difference anyway.

I didn’t watch the news at all yesterday and I am not watching today either.  I may not even watch the rest of the week.  I am just going to console myself with a Nigella marathon of her Christmas specials while I work on my website.  I am in need of a creative outlet right now and Nigella does inspire me.

Nigella Will Cheer Me Up!

You know, when you vote for the party that does for the most needy in our society then you know that you will be o.k.  Your loved ones will be o.k.  Your neighbors will be o.k.  But when you vote for the party that only does for the wealthy then none of us will be o.k.

Sad for my family, my friends, my neighbors and my country,


p.s.  Remember, Remember the 5th. of November…….

Penny for the Guy?


November 4, 2014

Beautiful Grace

I’m having such a hard time getting up the enthusiasm to pack away my lovely vintage Alfred Hithcock’s Rear Window, Grace Kelly, props and accessories.  Not to mention the little Halloween pumpkins and crows that I’ve thrown into the mix.  To me when Halloween is over it is to others what the day after Christmas feels like.

It’s over, until next year.

Hmmmm.  I’m already contemplating next years Halloween.

What about Dial M for Murder?  Or Vertigo?  Or The Man that Knew Too Little?  Oh wait, that’s a Bill Murray movie.  Oh!  What about The Man that Knew Too Much?

I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.

Good Even -ing,


Oooo, what about The Lady Vanishes?  Uh, North by Northwest?

Oh, I know!  Psycho!

Nah, Gordon would like that one too much.


November 2, 2014

Indian Food Take out Weekend

a.k.a.  Gordon’s Internship

Gordon has started his internship at a Taste of India in Brandon, Florida.  Gordon has been working on his BA of Culinary Management now for the past few years.  He is nearing his completion and is currently doing his internship learning how to make the most delicious Indian food.

(This kind of food and Arabic food is the future.)

This is the “Indian pasta” dish that George, the owner, asked Gordon to create.  It made it to the buffet.  An Indian pasta.  Cool, huh?

Indian Sushi

Gordon also made something entirely new, Indian Sushi!

This is using the tandori chicken.  The ironic thing about making this sushi, and what they were all laughing about in the kitchen is that the Indian restaurant was making Japanese sushi by a white man.

I LIKE that!!!

The wonderful part of Gordon doing his internship at this restaurant is all the FOOD HE IS BRINGING HOME!!!!!

Tandori Chicken, Homemade Naan Bread, Yuca and Potatoes….

OMG!!!  Tandori and Butter Chicken with Rice

Yuca and Potatoes

Yuca tastes a lot like potatoes so seeing as how I am a borerline diabetic and cannot eat too many potatoes, I can eat yuca!  🙂  So I buy the yuca whenever I am at the Spanish and ethnic food supermarkets that we visit.

Gulab Jabun

Indian Donuts

These are perfection!!!

Gordon has contemplated opening a booth at a “fair”with these donuts but who would come over to buy a ‘Gulab Jabun’?  They are to DIE for!!  Delicious!!  But, no one will know what they are, or what they are missing out on.  Too bad, because they are delicious!

George asked Gordon to create a hearty soup for the nice little cold spell that we just got this weekend.  So Gordon created an Indian spiced vegetable soup.  George asked his regular Indian customers what they thought about the soup and they LOVED IT!!

Gordon is enjoying his internship with this restaurant and will be catering an event next weekend with them.

Food brings people together, food brings cultures together.

I like that!


A BIG P.S.  The spice Tumeric that is used in many Indian food dishes is a very bland spice but it is known for killing cancer cells.  Yes, that is right, it kills cancer cells.  So eat it up!  It is the reason that curry is yellow.  It turns all foods yellow.  But so what?  Sprinkle it on whatever it is that you are eating.  It is bland and will not change the flavor, but will kill cancer cells.  So do it!

FYI!!  All of us have cancer cells inside our bodies that lie dormant.  The chemicals that we are ingesting in our food and water are activating those cancer cells which is why cancer is becoming so common.


November 1, 2014

Dia de los Muertos

The cute little donkey planter that I bought over the summer at an antique mall in Georgia.  He holds the Mexican Heather that border our landscaping in the front of our house that I planted myself.

(The Day of the Dead)

November 1, is Mexico’s Day of the Dead, a holiday about honoring the deceased.  Other than my immediate family and some close friends pretty much everyone that I have ever loved is dead so these kind of holidays and traditions have always appealed to me.  I love how the Asian cultures honor their dead, they don’t forget about them, they keep them close.

Here is my little Dia de los Muertos

I painted the wine glass above at an art class.

I think this is the fastest growing holiday in America now because of all of our Hispanic population.  But hey, I’m game!

I especially love saying it, Dia de los Muertos!!

My kids hate how I say it, like it’s my dying breath.  The best way I know to explain how I say it is for you to picture this:

I am alone in a rental car driving through the outskirts of Mexico on dirt roads with no GPS and no cell phone reception.   I get lost, as I am trying to find the nearest town or farmhouse, my car suddenly stalls.  I decide that I need to start walking to try and find some help.  I come across this deserted ghost town, tumbleweeds blowing by.  I hear an eery noise in the distance that I just can’t place.  Suddenly I have a feeling that I am being watched so I turn around and standing there is man.  He looks ill as he wanders over to me.  I’m frightened but I don’t move.  Then he starts to speak, very slowly and softly,

“Dia de los Muer tooooooosss……..”

Then he falls toward me.  As I jump out of his way his body falls to the ground and that is when I see the knife sticking out of his back!

I scream a blood curdling scream as the camera pans away from me to illuminate the entire ghost town with me standing over his body.

The following day the local police find my deserted car on the side of the road, but I am never to be seen again.



So now you know how I love to say it and why my kids hate it.

Did I mention that I had a flair for the dramatics??

I seriously doubt that Dia de los Muertos is about having frozen margaritas and salsa and chips but we all have our own special ways of doing things.




November 1, 2014

The All Blacks verses the USA Eagles



Soldier’s Field


New Zealand 76

This was a match that our Kiwi friends in New Zealand were particularly excited about watching, so were we!  It was a good one.  A bit embarrassing for us Americans, but when you play the best in the world, what do you expect?

World Rugby Ranking:

New Zealand All Blacks

South Africa




You know, when I was a child I watched rugby quite frequently on television.  I was about 4, 5 and 6, but I liked it.  I can remember my grandfather and I watching together.  I always thought it was funny when they got into those “huddles”.

Congrats to the All Blacks!

New Zealand Rugby Kitchen

We adore this cookbook.  The Kiwi’s certainly know how to cook!

I liked the way our American team congratulated them.  No resentment.  No anger.  Just admiration for their talent.  That is how all teams should be.

Kia Ora,


p.s.  Trish and Bob, I know you having a good day now.


The Evening of the 31st.

Toad in the Hole

w/ Onion Gravy

This is a British dinner that I have wanted to try for a very long time now.  Nigella Lawson has a recipe, also Pippa Middleton and Tom Parker-Bowles, Camilla Parker-Bowles son, she is married to Prince Charles.  I’m also sure that most British have their favorite recipe.  This one however, is Pippa Middleton’s.  We actually enjoyed it very much.  It was a perfect little dinner to eat on the coffee table as we answered the door last night of the many trick-or-treaters that we received.

(I added the toad for accent, above.)

I used two different sausages.  The sausages on the left are Italian and the ones on the right are a healthy chicken sausage alternative.  The healthy version is for me and Gordon and the rich Italian are for Brodie and Veronica.

The Onion Gravy

Pouring the batter over the sausages.

Italian Sausage Toad in the Hole

Chicken Sausage Toad in the Hole

I love that it comes out clean.  Oh, and thank you to my cousin Susan for the Halloween card.  She is the most thoughtful person that I know.  She never forgets a birthday or an anniversary or any holiday that is special to an  individual.  To me, it is Halloween.  I sent her a card of our Alfred Hitchcock Halloween and she loved it!  She says that she has it sitting on their secretary in the hallway.  Now THAT, makes me feel good!

I love you Susan,


October 31, 2014

All Hallows Eve

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Trick or Treat.

Julie and Gordon

(Or as people that know us well call us, ‘Phil and Claire’.)

Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell, Phil and Claire of Modern Family

The funniest show I have ever seen.  Claire and I share the same love of Halloween and I have heard countless times from people that they always think of me when they watch the Modern Family Halloween episodes.  I take that as a HUGE compliment.


October 30, 2014

It’s All Hallows Eve, Eve……..

If I could I would put dry ice in our fountains every day!


Have a spooktackular day,


p.s.  Don’t forget the candy!  Do you have enough candy?  I’ll bet you don’t.  I’ll bet your one of those that just gives each kid one piece of candy, aren’t you?  Well DON’T!  So run out and get some more!

And don’t be one of those “people” that are rude to the taller trick-or-treaters.  They are still kids no matter how old they look.

So be NICE!!!!


October 27, 2014

Halloween Fun!

I love All Hallows Eve!

To me, Halloween starts October 1, and ends November 1st.  I do something Halloweeny every single day of the month whether it be decorating, planning, shopping, cooking, watching scary movies…….whatever it may be, I am LOVIN’ IT!!

You know, it was the baby boomers, like me, that kept Halloween going.  I am at the tail end of the baby boomers, but I am still a boomer.  Halloween used to be for small children, but it was my generation that loved the holiday so much that we kept it going even as we aged.  Because of us Halloween is a big deal.  Costumes and parties and movies and decorations.  We are to thank for that.



Our glowing ghost and our pumpkin in the wonky planter.

I seriously believe that I did this out of my love of the Disney’s Magic Kingdom ride, The Haunted Mansion.  It is my second favorite ride at the Disney theme parks, The Tower of Terror being the first.  But The Haunted Mansion was my favorite as a child long before there was ever a Disney Hollywood Studios theme park.

It may be a bit hard to see but we’ve added dry ice to our fountain.  Interesting enough, the wonky planter ended up breaking at the stem of it and the only thing holding it together is the steel rod inside of it.  But instead of getting rid of it, that is a big NO NO!!  I saw potential immediately and told Gordon to save it for Halloween.  It will be perfect for a pumpkin!

To the left, Gordon uncovering bones from a grave.  To the right, our lovely lighting in these Moroccan lanterns that I picked up at a thrift store for a few dollars each.  I found 3 of them!

This was a lot of fun to put together.  Who says you have to live in a cold climate to put on a great Halloween?

Halloween Dinner for Two

What’s on the menu?

Bleeding Hearts, of course.

Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Happy Halloween From Gordon and Ghoulie


A Tip From Julie

I am about to tell you the biggest secret in buying lovely things for mere dollars.  Visit your local thrift stores in retirement communities, preferably isolated retirement communities.  Let me explain.  The retirement community that Gordon and I visit is quite isolated and far out in the boonies.  They drive around in golf carts more than automobiles.  When a resident dies the family members comes down to collect what they want and they then donate the rest to these specific thrift stores.  Most family members aren’t interested in evening gowns, furs, evening bags, tuxedos, top hats, vintage or antiques, they want the more modern items.  And, because the majority of the volunteers that work at these particular thrift stores are aged themselves, they are not interested in snatching up any of these lovely treasures.  They are downsizing their own lives.  So therefor most all items that are donated make it to the floor.  Because they are an isolated community, they know that they cannot price the items high.  So they price them low.  That is when Gordon and I do our shopping and we come away with a huge haul for mere dollars.

My dress above I paid $5.00 for, it is lined and ‘dry clean only’ and in perfect shape.  The vintage pearl bracelet was $4.00.  The shoes were probably my most expensive item that I bought at Steinmart for about $38.00.  The lovely black necklace I inherited from my Great-Aunt Margie when she died.  She had the largest and nicest collection of vintage and antique costume jewelery.  The gloves I am wearing above did belong to my grandmother but I have bought a few pairs at these thrift stores in the past.

Here is a lovely evening jacket that I recently bought for just $6.00.  It was originally bought at Dillards for $69.00.  It is a Lawrence Kazar, it’s made of silk and is beaded.  How can anyone beat that quality and that price?

Gordon bought his tuxedo for under $20.00.  The decanter at the top of the blog post with the fog coming out of it, we paid $2.00 for it.

The Decanter with our Vampire Potion

So next time you go out shopping don’t overlook those little run down stores in out of the way places.  You just might find that treasure that you are looking for.  Don’t go shopping where “everybody” goes.  Find your own little hide-a-ways.  They are out there waiting for you!  But stay away from mine.

Sometimes I regret telling all my little secrets.

Happy Haunting!



October 24, 2014

At the Beach in October

A beautiful Day!

I’m cringing because this big flock of sea gulls just flew over my head and I’m always afraid they are going to poop on me.

You know I never understand why people flock to Florida in the summer, other than because that is the only time they have to come down.  It’s hot, humid and miserable!  We’re on the same school schedule as Canada and the U.K. so the amusement parks are packed.  Next time try visiting us in the autumn.  The weather is still hot but we’re not as miserable.  There are also less people so we’re not as crowded.  Also prices are not as high.

I love Florida and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the world….. except maybe Hawaii.  🙂

Everyone have a good weekend!



October 20, 2014

Beachy Halloween

Over the weekend we spent some time out at the condo.  The pumpkin above is what Gordon and I carved, o.k., it was “mainly” Gordon.  🙂  Hey, I come up with the ideas and he implements them.  Isn’t that how most marriages work?

We spent Saturday carving the pumpkin.

I like it when all the goo and mush has been removed and the artistic inspiration starts.

It just isn’t pumpkin carving season without something hearty simmering on the stove.  So I thawed out some of my Brunswick Stew that I had made earlier this year and made some corn muffins to go with it and that was what we had for dinner.

Brunswick Stew Simmering on the Stove

Ahhh, life just doesn’t taste any better than this.

Sunday Evening Sunset

Our Beachy Pumpkin

It was a beautiful sunset.

Of course it was ORANGE!!

It isn’t a perfect sunset without some Beach House wine.

The real brains behind the operation, Gordon.

Once the sun had set and we were getting ready to leave I noticed the cutest little footprint ever.

Happy Beachy Halloween!



October 18, 2014

Our Rear Window Halloween

This year Gordon and I decided to reenact my favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie, Rear Window.  Gordon as Jimmy Stewart’s character,  L.B. Jeffries and me, as Grace Kelly’s character, Lisa Freemont.

To me the most important part is Grace’s entrance into the apartment in her haute couture gown.  She is beautiful, classy, refined, smart, extravagant, and everything that I wanted to be like when I first saw this movie when I was in my early 20’s.  I knew that in order to reenact this I needed to first have “the” skirt.  I originally intended to sew it myself but never had the time.  Not that I am a great seamstress but I figured I could throw something together.  Turns out I did not have the time and had to hunt down a dressmaker to do it for me.  I found Mona, my own Edith Head, and she did a wonderful job.

I adore the skirt!  I bought the material at Joanne’s Fabrics, I even found the emblems there as well.  It was the closest thing I could get to Grace’s skirt that was originally made for her by Edith Head, the award winning designer and seamstress.

I bought the black top at Steinmart, I ordered the black patent leather belt online and I already had the gloves, purse and pearls.  The pearls were my Great-Grandmother Honnie’s.

Grand Entrance

Me, serving our lobster dinner.

Setting the stage.  Although I don’t think pugs were in the original Rear Window.

Happy Rear Window Halloween!

If you would like to see more of our Rear Window Halloween then you can check our our:

Alfred Hitchcock Appreciation


Happy Weekend,



Welcome to the debut of

Julie Vacation

The page is dedicated to all those family vacations past, present and future.  With dad driving and mom riding shot gun.  With the cooler tied to the roof of the car, and grandma in the backseat.  Those were the days.  This is my homage to family vacations.


There’s nothing better than a full tank of gas and an empty bladder.

Julie Lancaster-Whann


A Story on Getting Lost and Finding Your Way Home

From Astronaut Jim Lovell

Photos of Jim Lovell

Lovell was backup commander of Apollo 11 and was scheduled to command Apollo 14, but he and his crew swapped missions with the crew of Apollo 13.  You probably know him from the Ron Howard movie, Apollo 13, starring Tom Hanks.  One of my favorite movies, by the way.  It just blows my mind watching so many smart people in one room working together to get them home.

Jim Lovell is also known for his famous quote:

“Houston, we’ve had a problem.”

When asked by a television reporter….

Television Reporter: Is there a specific instance in an airplane emergency when you can recall fear?

Jim Lovell:

Uh well, I’ll tell ya, I remember this one time – I’m in a Banshee at night in combat conditions, so there’s no running lights on the carrier. It was the Shrangri-La, and we were in the Sea of Japan and my radar had jammed, and my homing signal was gone… because somebody in Japan was actually using the same frequency. And so it was – it was leading me away from where I was supposed to be. And I’m lookin’ down at a big, black ocean, so I flip on my map light, and then suddenly: zap. Everything shorts out right there in my cockpit. All my instruments are gone. My lights are gone. And I can’t even tell now what my altitude is. I know I’m running out of fuel, so I’m thinking about ditching in the ocean. And I, I look down there, and then in the darkness there’s this uh, there’s this green trail. It’s like a long carpet that’s just laid out right beneath me. And it was the algae, right? It was that phosphorescent stuff that gets churned up in the wake of a big ship. And it was – it was – it was leading me home. You know? If my cockpit lights hadn’t shorted out, there’s no way I’d ever been able to see that. So uh, you, uh, never know… what… what events are to transpire to get you home.


This is a smart man. They don’t make them like this anymore.  Although my story is not as nearly exciting as his, I still wanted to share it with you because this is my story of getting lost.

Julie’s Story

When we were living up in Maryland I was always getting lost.  (This was all before GPS was everywhere.)  The whole Maryland/D.C./Virginia area to me was very confusing.  The most confusing for me was the Beltway.  (It is also known as the Capital Beltway, The D.C. Beltway, or just the Beltway.  But to me it was sheer HELL!!)  The Beltway is Interstate 495, it is shaped like a belt and it is the highway that you take to get in to, and out of the D.C. area.  In the 4 years we lived in Maryland I don’t think that I ever actually was able to exit where I needed to.  Either some car or truck would not let me over, or some big giant truck in front of me was obscuring the view so that I ended up missing my exit because I couldn’t see it, or I just simply got lost.  I hated that Beltway!  I still do.  One day I was returning to Maryland from Chesapeake, Virginia and I just knew that this will be the day.  This will be the day that I actually make my exit!  I am determined!  I am ready!  I will be triumphant!!!  I am going to do it!!!!  ………………………

DAMN!!!!  That car won’t let me over!  I’m honking my horn in anger!  I try to butt in front of him but I’m scared I might cause a wreck so I give up and keep on driving straight.  I then take the next exit.  I have no idea where I am going.  I’m angry at myself, I’m angry at all the traffic.  I’m cussing and hitting the steering wheel with my fist.  Yes, Julie is having a meltdown and it is not pretty!!


(Note:  Just so you understand the area.  There is NO place to pull over and read a road map.  No parking lots.  You have no choice but to just keep driving.)

Luckily when I get to the top of the ramp the light is red.  Pretty much the only time I ever welcome a red light.  So I wipe away the tears, tell myself to calm down and THINK, and I start to look around to try and decide where I need to go.  I can remember being in this part of town before.  I also remember that I had gone straight that time before and ended up in a very shady neighborhood at night in my Issuzu Amigo with the partial top.  In some neighborhoods in D.C. they will shoot you as you drive by.  So I knew not to go straight.  I knew that I had to go either left or right.  So as I am trying to figure out which way to go, and I am surveying the area looking for any sort of sign to guide me, I suddenly spot this truck driving by directly in front of me.  The sign on the truck said, Lancaster Foods.  Lancaster Foods?  I know where that is!  My maiden name is Lancaster.  I looked again and I saw a sign also on the truck that said, Brodie Freight Company.  My son’s name is Brodie.  It was even spelled the same way that his name is, with the” ie” and not the “y”.  It then dawned on me that I know where Lancaster Foods is located, Jessup, Maryland.  It is right down the street from the military base where we were living.  I then looked at my watch and it was 4:30 p.m.  I guessed that the truck was probably finished with all its delivery’s for the day and is on its way back to Jessup, Maryland.  If I just follow that truck, it will lead me home!

 It did!  I made it home.  I made it home because I surveyed all the information around me and I spotted my way out.  What happened to me reminded me of the Jim Lovell story that I write about above.  Just when you think you are lost and you’ve lost all hope, just look around you, there will be something there that will guide you home.  Just look for it.  But in order to see it you first have to wipe that fear out of your mind because it is impossible to think when we are afraid.  It is scientifically proven that when we are afraid our brains do not work.  So remember that next time.

So why am I posting this ‘getting lost’ story on my

Julie Vacation

page?  Because pretty much every vacation that I have ever been on I always seem to get lost.   Except now that I have GPS.  Look out world!  Now that I can find my way there will be no stopping me!  Not even the Beltway!

You can have the airplanes, I’ll just take my car…….


My favorite Jim Lovell and Marilyn Lovell quotes:

Marilyn Lovell:  Naturally, it’s 13. Why 13?

Jim Lovell:  It comes after 12, hon.


October 15, 2014

Over The Weekend

Gordon with the finished retaining wall.

Finally, he was able to get it all together.

He did the measuring,

He bought a new toy……

Which enabled him to cut the capstones in our backyard in one afternoon.

He then attached the new lights.

The lights had to be removed and returned because a 4 foot section no longer worked so Gordon was able to replace the bad section.

So that means……..










So here are the photos of our beautiful backyard retaining walls and our path to nowhere….


Tito, I need a tissue.


As you can also see Gordon finished the retaining wall around our fountain.

Grand Entrance Into Our Backyard

Finished Retaining Wall Around Fountain

Overlooking the Finished Backyard Section

And now, let there be…


Ahhh, now it’s time to just sit back and enjoy the fruits of OUR labors.

Hey, I did hold the video camera for HOURS outside in that sweltering Florida heat, you know??


p.s.  We do have this one little project left to squeeze in before the month is up.

A Pathway to the Hose

(That’s water hose, by the way.  Just don’t want any misunderstandings.)


October 12, 2014

Saturday Night Spooketti and a Movie

Our Alfred Hitchcock wine glasses that Gordon and I painted at an art class a few weeks back.  They look really good!

Perfect to go with our dinner and movie.

Saturday Night Spooketti Dinner

Green food coloring in the pasta water is all that it takes.

Now what else would I be watching????

Rear Window, of course!

I’ll be bringing all of our big Rear Window party pictures to my

 Alfred Hitchcock Appreciation


Until then…….

Good Evening,



October 10, 2014

Flashback Friday

Veronica and I in Ewa Beach, Hawaii in the 90’s in our front yard. Probably 1993.  Obviously getting ready for a Girl Scout Halloween outing.

I miss those wonderful Girl Scout get- togethers.  I knew the best people then.  I miss them terribly,.  Hey, that means you Kathy Weirenga!!  My best Hapa-Haole friend.  For those that aren’t Hawaiian islanders, that means Japanese-caucasian.

Veronica does pass me your Facebook messages.

Hey, you ought to email me!


On to another matter…..

I have been asked for weeks to comment on a certain football player and his elevator response to his then fiance’s hitting him and his hitting her back.  First of all, I always have an opinion on these things whether I share it with you or not.

When I saw the video I looked at it from a different perspective, as a mother.  If that had been my son and I saw a woman hit him and spit on him I would suggest that my son not see her anymore.  That is not a very good relationship.

But if I were to see his response to her, as in hitting her and knocking her out and then dragging her unconscious body off the elevator.  I would be ashamed that he was my son.  I would be very upset that he would treat any man, woman or child in that manner.  I did not raise my children to act like that.  He hit her out of anger, not self-defense. He is twice as strong as her, not exactly a fair fight..   That is extremely dysfunctional.

Now having said that, the aggression that makes these football players good players also makes them not so good boyfriends and husbands.  There is a balance, but not many people are able to achieve it.  The football player Tom Brady comes to mind.  Although I do not know the inner workings of his marriage to Giselle Bundchen, he does seem to be able to balance it all.  Aggressive on the playing field and gentle in his home life.  Which is how it should be.

I think there are many military that have that same problem.


The other thing that I was asked to comment on,  well,

let’s just say that if I were you I would do those things that you want to do before you die.  Start doing them.



October 6, 2014


Rear Window


Julie Lancaster-Whann

and introducing

Gordon S. Whann


p.s.  I’ll be bringing all the photos, food, and write up to my

 Alfred Hitchcock Appreciation

page soon.


October 3, 2014

Flashback Friday

Julie and Gordon, 1982, Charlotte, North Carolina

Oh to be young and stupid again…….



p.s.  Or was it 1981??

Oh to be old and stupid…..


October 2, 2014

Dress Rehearsal

Me, as Grace Kelly in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window

Grace Kelly as Lisa Freemont

“A preview of upcoming attractions”.

Grace Kelly quote as Lisa Freemont in Rear Window




October 1, 2014

October is FINALLY here!!

To me this is the start of the holiday season.

Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, Thanksgiving, Brodie’s Birthday, Christmas and New Year’s!

Finishing up our many projects, Gordon starting back to school this autumn quarter, only 8 classes left until he graduates.  Veronica starting her new job making mannequins for television shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, etc. and movies as well.  Lots going on,  hence our self-imposed deadline to complete projects before mid-October.


What we have completed so far:

Little Corner by the Fence Gate


The white rocks and the border look nice together with a Chinese Evergreen and two rose bushes.  We cleaned this area up quite a bit.  We also really cut back on our shell vine as it had totally taken over the area.


Garden Border Before and After

Before Gordon Raised the Border


Gordon did manage to dig the original stone border out of the ground and place a foundation so that the stones won’t sink into the ground in the future.  He then placed the cap stones on top of the border and measured them to be cut, then when cut he cemented them into place.  The whole area looks great now!

Especially since we added the wood chips.

The raised border makes our herb garden area look that much nicer.


Next Bordor to Measure

For the most part this retaining wall is finished except for the cap stones that need to be measured, cut, and then cemented on top of the wall.  This retaining wall is two stones high while the herb garden border is only one, but we are making the transition look as if it belongs, which isn’t easy.  We had to do a redesign.


Yet Another Border to be Measured

Although this photo does not reflect it, the retaining wall around the fountain is finished for the most part, Gordon just needs to measure the cap stones for the top, same as the other two walls.

See, we are getting there!


Gotta Finish the Path

The initial problem with the path was that the “glue” used to hold the stones around the border started falling apart.  Gordon tried a couple of different brands but each one just didn’t work.  So both he and I walked away from the project for about a month or so while we looked into other forms of cement glue.  Finally, when Gordon went to get the stones cut from the other project, he talked to the DIY guys at Outdoor Impressions (they are featured on Yard Crashers) and they told him that they had the same problems with those brands but now they found something that works great.  They even had to redo jobs because of that glue.

So, now that we have the correct glue to complete the project, it should be finished soon.


New Pump, Nearing the Home Stretch

When we bought our home 8 years ago this pump, that sits right outside our back lanai door, didn’t work.  This is a low lying flood area in our backyard.  Well, finally Gordon decided to get the pump working again.  There was so much dirt down this grate that Gordon had to use his hands to dig it out.  Then he removed the old pump, installed a new one, now all that is left is for him to attach a screen so that leaves won’t fall through.

He also had to locate the pipe that had been buried in our backyard and cleared of all debris so that the water could be pumped successfully through it.

Home stretch on this project!


A better photo of the path and the portion that still needs to be fixed.

So you are probably wondering then if all of this is almost done then why hasn’t it been completed???

Because of THIS!!!!!

Rain, Rain, Go Away…….

On a really good note, the retaining walls that Gordon has built has kept all of this flooding off of our lanai.  Also the pump has prevented water from coming right through the lanai screen door.

We have never had anything like this in the 8 years we have lived here.  Where we live all of this used to be orange groves.  We specifically moved to this side of the Tampa Bay area to escape the flood and evacuation zones that we constantly experienced when we were living on MacDill AFB.

I am one who does not deny global warming/climate change, but I was just hoping that it wouldn’t get here yet.


On the bright side, the rains did stop and the sun is out today.  I do love rain but I think I like the sun just a little bit better now.

It is a crock pot day!

Pork tacos tonight.  The smell is pure heaven!!!

Thank you Irving Naxon, the inventor of the crock pot, you’ve made my day a little bit easier.



September 26, 2014

THE Skirt

If you have been keeping up with me then you know of my upcoming Halloween Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window re-enactment of the movie scene.  Well, I hired a dressmaker to make this skirt for me.  Here is her sketch that she drew.  Mona is quite talented.  I picked my skirt up today and I am extremely pleased.  I feel as if I have found my own Edith Head.

Mona of Signature Tailor of Tampa

11901 Sheldon Road

Tampa, Florida  33626

This is the cutest dress shop/alterations store around and in the cutest little strip mall.  I will definitely be back.

MY Grace Kelly Skirt From Rear Window

Not exact but that is o.k.  Nothing is ever exact when you do a re-enactment or an homage.  But I am very excited!

Oh, and do not mess with the cutest store security in the world.

Can’t wait for Halloween!!!



September 25, 2014

National Comic Book Day

If anyone of you have been reading my blog over these few years  then you know how much I have loved the Archie comics.

When my daughter was born I even named her after Veronica from the comic book series.  The comics above I bought for MY Veronica, when she was little and Veronica the character, got her own comic book series.  The first one was Veronica in Paris.  I have that debut issue framed.  Unfortunately it is packed away in the attic.

However, when my Veronica and I were in Rome this past summer I dug out my old comic books from my mother’s storage barns and brought them home with me.  So viola!  My Veronica’s, Veronica comics that I bought for her to treasure.

Veronica In Hawaii

My daughter Veronica was born in Hawaii so I wanted to frame this one in particular.  When my daughter was born I had her room filled with Veronica and Betty posters and these sorts of comics all around her room that are now packed away.  Well I decided to dig them out and display them.

Julie’s Vintage Archie Comics

These are my particular comics that are from my youth.  Notice the Veronica doll in the midst of them?  The Life With Archie paperback book?  This is my childhood right here.  I adore this nostalgia.  I just hope that my daughter Veronica will cherish it as well as she grows older.  All of this has meant a lot to me, I just hope it means a lot to her someday.


p.s.  Me, doing the photographing.

You can see the comics on the table.