Posted by missjunebug on September 30, 2009
John Muir wrote in a journal in 1913: “I went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, I was really going in.”
missjunebug thinks she knows just what Mr. Muir means. She finds herself feeling just so when she walks Spoon her spunky Labradoodle who is always up for a walk. They head out just before sundown, just before the coyotes go on the move through the arroyo below their home.
She takes a hilly route when she’s feeling as spunky as Spoon. It takes some serious aerobic concentration to make it up some pretty steep hills. She always reminds herself of that old runner’s adage, “Uphill train, downhill, maim,” so she’s just as careful heading down.
But the walk is about more than the moving one foot in front of the other. Muir had it right when he said it’s not just a going out, but a going in. missjunebug does some of her most helpful meditations when she’s walking. The rhythmic movement of one foot in front of the other, the cool almost-evening air, and the little jingle of her dog’s collar tags propel her through thought after thought, the day’s chores revisited, the to-do list mentally checked off, the plans for the evening and into the next day, then, thankfully thinking ceases and there is only the rhythm, the breeze, the sweet jangle, and she arrives at a still place, a going-in place that is clean and serene. Maybe she is really praying and doesn’t even realize it. Maybe she hears that still, small voice of the Old Testament. And maybe, just maybe she transcends for a brief moment the cares of this world.
After all, mjb knows what Dog spelled backwards is.
Posted by missjunebug on September 28, 2009
mjb's Best Shot of the Day! Photo by mjb2009
Sunday afternoon missjunebug and her Mr.JBÂ headed into the wild outdoors of Wheeler Gorge. To get there they followed Highway 33, 20 miles past Ojai. What a find! Actually a re-find because five or so years ago she remembers driving TinyJB to a Wheeler Gorge campsite for some serious Boy Scout badge work.
She loved returning to the stark landscape of bristly chaparall, spindley pine trees, exuberant cottonwood trees and checking out the secluded picnic areas and campsites. She and Mr.JB had a philosophical discussion about whether or not they could manage a weekend camping out in such a remote place: no water, crude toilets, and lots of dust and dirt. Had they grown too soft to tough it out in the wild outdoors?
If they decided to do the deal they would have three campgrounds to choose from: Rose Valley, Middle Lion, or Pine Mountain/Reyes Peak. They got a close-up view of Rose Valley and Middle Lion but left Pine Mountain/Reyes Peak for another day. Middle Lion had a nice little creek flowing beside it, but Rose Valley could boast some terrific waterfalls when the time was right.
missjunebug and Mr.JB thought about how cool it would be to sleep beneath a big bowl of stars in the great outdoors, no city lights, no traffic, no noise. They could wake to brew some coffee, grab a granola bar or two and walk the trails and photograph the natural wonders all around them.
missjunebug is hoping that imagining camping compares well to actually camping. She will keep her readers posted on the plan to venture into the wild outdoors.
Beary Campy! Photo by mjb2009
Prime Picnicking! Photo by mjb2009
Creekside at Middle Lion Campground! Photo by mjb2009
Wheeler Gorge Vistor Center Rocks! Photo by mjb2009
Posted by missjunebug on September 26, 2009
missjunebug always has the best of intentions to de-clutter her home on a regular basis, to get the prodigious piles of laundry put away in a timely manner, to keep her refrigerator well-stocked with healthy food, and to get to her gym to work out her rapidly deteriorating body.
If you’ve been reading missjunebug at all (and she hopes you have) you probably know she’s had modest success with a couple of these best of intentions. But she comes up way, way short on the trips to the gym. And believe her when she says it shows.
Thanks to Lance Armstrong’s awesome health website www.livestrong.com and its cool Daily Plate food journal, she’s counting her calories like a miser hoarding gold coins and the results have been pretty good so far. She’s realized that she thinks twice before eating that whole box of Junior Mints or more than one tiny Magic Cookie Bar missjunebug-style because she knows she’s got to own up to it on her Daily Plate.
Unfortunately, she has not been as successful dealing out the daily exercise to her not-so-little bug self. What is it that keeps her from the gym?
Anything she can think of: bill-paying, poop-patrolling, laundry-folding, magazine-grazing, Law & Order rerunning, the list of diversions goes on and on. What’s a missjunebug to do? How to teach an old bug new tricks is the new item on her âˆš list.
Here’s her current revised and newly updated strategy:
1. Go early in the day.
2. Set out the workout clothes the night before as a reminder.
3. Do something as opposed to nothing. A short workout is better than no workout at all.
4. Always bring earbuds to plug into gym machines with awesome personal tv screens.
5. Always bring iPhone to switch to Coldplay or The Killers when tv disappoints.
But missjunebug fears a fly in the ointment: figuring out how to actually get herself into the car to drive there, the biggest obstacle of all to overcome. She knows the old saw “Once begun, half done.” But that brings her back to the beginning: she’s got to begin by getting in the car and driving there.
There’s a lurking inertia that’s the source of missjunebug’s undoing. Yeah, exactly right. Her UN DOING. As in doing nothing. Can she overcome it? She’ll provide an update shortly. In the meantime, she’s got a Law & Order rerun to catch on TNT. Dun! Dun!
Posted by missjunebug on September 24, 2009
The Square Perfected! Photo by mjb2009
There’s nothing to eat in missjunebug’s home right now. She has no eggs, no milk, one or two sad pieces of fruit, a few brussel sprouts, some ho-hum cereals, and a few cartons of yogurt. But she found a goldmine in her pantry and decided to skip making dinner and go straight to dessert. She grabbed some graham crackers, a stick of butter, some Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, some chocolate chips, some butterscotch chips, sweetened shredded coconut, and she was in business. This is the world’s easiest recipe and affords the most delicious result.
Here’s the general procedure: Smash up a package of graham crackers in a Ziploc bag using a rolling pin. Pour them in a 9×13 glass baking dish and mix with the melted stick of butter. Pat down, throw on a layer of chocolate chips a cup or so, some butterscotch chips a cup or so, a good scattering of coconut, a cup or so, and yes, a cup or so of pecans. Pour on the sweetened condensed milk and pat down with an off-set spatula. Bake at 325Â° for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a rack, cut into tiny squares, because these are rich, and enjoy! Calorie count? missjunebug’s guess is around 100 per tiny square, but so worth it!
Posted by missjunebug on September 22, 2009
Where there's smoke... Photo by mjb2009
Now it’s the Fillmore Brush Fire that has missjunebug worried on this first day of fall. Some fall. It’s 95Â° in the shade in Santa Rosa Valley and it’s a literal inferno in parts of Ventura County today. Not good. And did missjunebug mention the unpredictable Santa Ana winds whipping around? Double not good.
missjunebug hopes the brave fire fighters on the ground and in the air do all they can to keep this fire away from people, animals, houses, and, yes, junebugs. What the SoCal area really needs is some of that sweet Georgia rain. They’ve had way too much! Send some this way!
Smokey x 10! Photo by mjb2009
Posted by missjunebug on September 19, 2009
Pefection Plated! Photo by mjb2009
Pefect Solid to Liquid Ratio, N'est-ce pas? Photo by mjb2009
missjunebug finds herself with no eggs in the frig this Saturday morning. Not one. So she decided to write about eggs instead of going all the way out to the market to buy some.
Lately, missjunebug has had a wonderful time savoring many pages of that classic cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child et al. She ordered the new edition on Amazon the day after she saw the movie Julie and Julia (reviewed in August on another post). Someone told mjb that the cookbook was #1 with a bullet on Amazon.com after the movie opened. She doesn’t doubt that one little bit. It reminded her of the Oprah effect, but mjb digresses.
Thanks to the fabulous instructions there in, missjunebug was able to master the art of making the perfect poached egg, a skill that had thus far eluded her. The tricks are a wooden spoon, simmering water, and a little white vinegar. Gossamer threads of scattering white can be coaxed back onto the poaching egg with the wooden spoon so that when the 3 or 4 minutes have elapsed, VoilÃ ! the cook can turn out the perfect poached egg on the plate. missjunebug assures you, it will be delicious.
In the meantime, hey, Mr.JB, pass the Cheerios.
Posted by missjunebug on September 17, 2009
So yesterday missjunebug spent part of her day emptying out boxes that she sent to herself from her JBDad’s home. A home that is like an empty skin, shed of the lives once lived there. The JBDad is still trying to figure out what he’s doing in his new “home,” an Alzheimer’s care facility she and her JBBro selected with care for their dear old dad.
He called it a “padded place.” Yeah, that’s about right, JBDad, because it does look a little like a loony bin. There’s the singing man who Gregorian chants his way through the day, the watering man who waters all the courtyard plants about 100 times a day, the “what are you looking at man” who doesn’t appreciate a cheery smile on the face of just about any onlooker, the taking care of the babydoll man who repeatedly checks to see if the front door is unlocked so he can go home with this “baby,” and let’s not forget the little bejeweled Asian woman who checks into JBDad’s room repeatedly looking for who knows what. She’s taken full advantage of the life station with all the beads and baubles to play with.
The transition has not been easy. The best assessment missjunebug and her JBBro could come up with was, “It wasn’t horrible” after the big Drop Off. Scale of 1-10? 6.5 which missjunebug thinks of as hovering around a D+.Â Not so good, but not an abject failure either. JBDad continues to struggle, cuss, marginally participate in the activities, check the doors for egress, and trash talk a couple of the “guys” he now hangs with. Will he ever like it there? Last report from the staff, “He’s really polite some of the time.” Okay, missjunebug will take that as a positive sign but that doesn’t answer her question: Will he ever like it there? Probably not. Will he forget the cozy little home from whence he came? Probably. And therein lies the hope.
The problem is, as an Alzheimer’s website so cogently pointed out to mjb and her JBBro, they will never forget that they took their Dad out of his home.
Which brings missjunebug back to those boxes. She’s emptied them out and stacked up the remnants of her parents’ life on her kitchen counter, a few dishes, some crystal, a few place settings of silver, a book or two, and a few tchotskies. Not much comfort there. Just some things that ended up causing more grief than joy in their dividing. They are the detritus of past lives, now haunting present lives. Meanwhile the heinous disease makes its inexorable progress to its inevitable end.
Posted by missjunebug on September 14, 2009
missjunebug wonders sometimes what is going on.
Kanye! What were you thinking? Taking the mic away from that sweet country singer and VMA award winner Taylor Swift.
Serena! Take a chill pill! And leave that poor line judge alone.
And let’s not forget your Caucasian counterpart in rudeness: Rep. Joe “You lie” Wilson taking on President Obama as if he were just some guy on the street.
Please, people, get a grip!!!
missjunebug wants to know why such rudeness is so rampant. Who raised these people? Wolves? Unbelievable.
Posted by missjunebug on September 12, 2009
Spoon Can Barely Contain Herself!!! Photo by mjb2009
missjunebug and her Mr.JB spent a delightful Saturday afternoon with their dear dog Spoon, an Australian Labradoodle with the sweetest disposition, and about 175 other Labradoodles from all over SoCal and points as far north as Santa Cruz and Seattle and as far east as Lake Havasu. How can that be you ask missjunebug?
The answer: The 8th Annual Malibu Labradoodle Romp!
These chocolate, butterscotch, and vanilla-colored dogs are as sweet as can be! They combine the absolute best ofÂ their poodle and Labrador Retreiver counterparts. They have the intelligence of the poodle and the mellow friendliness of the lab. The best part for Mr.JB who suffers from some pretty serious dog allergies is that the Australian Labradoodles are hypoallergenic, too!
The Romp was attended by about 300 Labradoodle enthusiasts and their lovable dogs. The playful pups and grown-ups romped under a canopy of old oaks in a beautiful setting complete with couches, rugs, a show arena, a fabulous buffet and ice-cold libations. The dogs, all off leash, met and greeted each other like they were attending a big family reunion and in a way they were since many of the dogs were making return visits to the Romp.
Peter Marshall (formerly of Hollywood Squares fame) did a great job emceeing his first Doodle Romp. And Barbara Eden was there to show how great her dear doodle could bark on command. But the true stars of this show under the oaks were the doodles themselves romping, playing, running, sniffing, yapping, and playing some more. missjunebug is sure these dogs are the happiest dogs on earth.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Labradoodle breed take a look at www.rutlandmanor.com website for lots of doodle information. That’s where her Spoon comes from and where happy doodles are wed and bred!
A Lovely Tree Canopy! Photo by mjb2009
Barbara Eden & Doodle Master Their Bark! Photo by mjb2009
Wow! A Doodle Jam! Photo by mjb2009
Doodles Taking In the Scene Photo by mjb2009
Cute x 2!!!! Photo by mjb2009
This Doodle is Ready for Her Close-up!! Photo by mjb2009
What a Lovely Living Room! Photo by mjb2009
Posted by missjunebug on September 11, 2009
So missjunebug is working p.t. as her entrepreneurial ElderJB son’s stateside assistant while he brings enlightened farming methods to the deserving village farmers of Rwanda through oneacrefund.org.
All good!!! But yesterday she hit a customer service brickwall at the esteemed international publication Harvard Business Review. missjunebug took out a Harvard Business Review subscription (both online and print formats) for her ElderJB.Â Now presumably these people know a thing or two about business to whit:Â (A) They are affiliated with one of the greatest universities on the planet and ( B) They write about all things related to business domestic and international.
But believe missjunebug when she says their business model needs some tweaking. missjunebug used an Amex card to pay for the subscription in the USA through their website. ElderJB has access online, no problem, but only one magazine (June issue) was delivered to his humble post office box in Kigali, Rwanda. No other issues have been delivered. missjunebug knows what you are thinking Ã la Blood Diamond: T.I.A, Danny, T.I.A. but this is not a T.I.A. situation. HBR managed to get one issue delivered. They know ElderJB has a subscription. They got the right postal box so what is up with the other ones??
The real problem comes when missjunebug tries to talk to customer service about their failure to deliver the subsequent issues of their esteemed business magazine (irony, anyone?). Customer Service online rep Joshua tells missjunebug she needs to call freakin’ Amsterdam!!!! to talk to international customer service. missjunebug says even though she paid for the subscription with an American credit card in the USA there’s not one person to talk to regarding her son’s subscription within the confines of US borders??? Sorry, no. So let missjunebug get this straight because HBR screwed up and failed to deliver her son’s paid for subscription she’s got to pay for an international long distance call to clear up the failure to deliver subsequent issues problem?? Again, sorry for the inconvenience, Joshua says. Gee, thanks, Joshua. Have a nice day and missjunebug recommends Josh read the DMV critique in Netherland because this 8th circle of hell situation is beginning to remind her of that.
So get a clue, HBR. Set up a customer service rep in this country for Americans who take out an international subscription. You are, after all, the Harvard BUSINESS Review.