This weekend missjunebug got a tip from a dear friend (Thanks, KH!) about another way to use her online time well. It’s Stitch Fix! “Your Partner in Personal Style” Who couldn’t use one of those, right?
Stitch Fix promises that based on your selected preferences, a personal stylist will choose five wardrobe pieces to send to you to try on and select or reject in the comfort of your own home. Of course, shipping and returns are free. The selections are tailored to your taste, budget, and lifestyle. Your very own bespoke purveyor! Choose and keep the ones you like, return the rest.
missjunebug’s friend had a fine time with Stitch Fix at Christmas, shopping for herself on behalf of her husband and then choosing from the five the looks she preferred.
But guess what? missjunebug’s friend and her dh loved all five looks so nada returns needed on that order! And did missjunebug mention that if you keep all five of the looks, you get 25% off. Money saving fun as well as time saving fun!
Over time, the Stitch Fix stylist will get to know better and better what styles you prefer so that their selections will be even more successful for you (and them, too!) The styling fee of 20 dollars can be used toward your final order. You can also arrange that looks be sent on a regular schedule. What. effortless. shopping.
missjunebug has got to think that this beats running around from mall to mall, dressing room to dressing room, dealing with indifferent or surly sales associates (except at Nordie’s where they are helpful and kind!), and driving unnecessarily–even with gas prices down. (Gas is never cheap in Cali!) Better that the well integrated USPS or UPS delivery services seek out missjunebug with glorious packages to peruse at her leisure.
missjunebug has thoroughly enjoyed her absence from the supermarket thanks to Blue Apron‘s creative curating of 3 meals a week for her (and Mr.JB–kitchen helper extraordinaire!) Maybe Stitch Fix can do for her closet and wardrobe, what Blue Apron did for her kitchen and weekly menus!
Will the wonders of the internet never cease? What a great time to be alive and connected!
As soon as missjunebug needs to replace a few wardrobe items or update her look, she hopes to try out the Stitch Fix personal shopper for herself. Maybe you can, too? Happy shopping!
missjunebug would like to let her 10 (high estimate) readers know that she’s missing a few of her recent blog posts due to split control of domain name and host. She’s resolved that, making host and domain owner one (very Zen) (Thanks, BlueHost; Good-bye 1and1) but she’s suffered the loss of a few recent posts which may perhaps one day be fixed.
She must relearn many things she has forgotten about navigating WordPress, phpadmin, sql (not an abbreviation for squirrel) and other scary things. Wish her luck.
Meanwhile check Google for ALL her cache of past posts that are still accessible there if you are looking for a recipe (Lemony Lemon Pound Cake, for example) or a lament (Sweet Spoon: Gone Too Soon), just not here, not right now. Quel strange.
Please check in from time to time to see if she is still living in Glitch City.
missjunebug is not an authority on much. She’s a self-described dilettante and proud of it. Knowing a little about a lot is not a bad thing, but she knows she’ll never be called to testify as anyone’s expert witness, unless, maybe the subject is hospital stays.
Sad to say, missjunebug is becoming something of an expert in this area completely against her will. But there you have it. All that hopeful nonsense in her first post of 2015 about being cancer-free and happy to be was short-lived indeed. That is the very tricky nature of this very tricky condition as no doubt so many of you know.
The other tricky part is not just surviving the recurrence of cancer, but surviving the hospital stay that follows the required surgery. Although her surgeon would probably not agree, the easy part is the surgery. missjunebug has no idea what goes on during her six-hour stint in the operating room (Praise God for anesthesiologists!). It’s the aftermath that she is keenly aware of for what feels like forever and then some.
To continue her slow but sure healing, missjunebug is doing a little therapeutic venting of her most angst-ridden hospital stay highlights.
missjunebug’s Most Hated Things: The Hospital Stay Edition:
1. IVs and NG tubes (the WORST)
2. Foley Catheters
3. Alarmed machines triggered by random movements especially in ICU (Boo ICU!)
4. TPN: Total Parental Nutrition (IV-fed glucose breakfast, lunch and dinner)
5. Blood test for Blood sugar/insulin imbalance every six hours (because of #4)
6. Insulin shots every 6 hours depending on results from #5
7. Vital signs checked every few hours (4? 5? 6? hours–missjunebug can’t remember, but trust her–it was frequent!)
8. Early morning blood draw every day for other blood testing
9. Nightly protonics shot or port injection, the bulwark against indigestion and gastric issues–missjunebug is super thankful for her little power port!
10. The deadening power of too much terrible cable television
11. The endlessness of a single day where there are no normal meal times and no spontaneous moments of social conviviality
12. The inability to shower
13. The complicated nature of sponge baths
14. The itchy over-sized hospital gowns
15. The parade of doctors (all skilled and good and dedicated) checking on their part of the patient they are in charge of
16. The relentlessness of the insufferably upbeat physical therapists to teach missjunebug the log roll and the reverse log roll and the mastery of the walker and eventually the stairs. It makes her tired just thinking about it again.
17. The continuous postponement of departure to the next day, no not today, maybe tomorrow, says her doctor.
18. The gradual re-introduction of clear liquids, full liquids, soft, low residue diet, and finally REAL FOOD.
19. The question asked and answered daily, “Have you passed gas? Had a bowel movement?” Yes and yes. Believe missjunebug when she says BMs are a very big deal after pelvic/abdominal surgery.
20. Until finally the last hurdle: the first round of chemotherapy administered. This may seem impossibly counterintuitive, but as they say “Studies show…” that the quicker the chemo is after surgery, the less likely the cancer will regroup, regrow, and return. Hmmm. missjunebug is not entirely convinced. It might be more accurate to say it will delay the return of this most miserable of maladies.
So there you have it. Haters gotta hate and missjunebug HATES being in the hospital.
That being said, missjunebug’s stay was survivable for two very important reasons:
1. The push-button dilaudid drip.
2. The compassionate care of the cadre of oncology nurses administering missjunebug’s Most-Hated Things list. Thanks, thanks, and thanks again to the nurses at LRH! You rock! You roll! You rule! missjunebug hopes not to see you again soon.
missjunebug has been super busy getting ready for Santa’s Big Day, but she wanted to take out some time to share a few nifty Christmasy ideas she’s come across on the internet or even thought of herself!
HO! HO! HO! Hack No. 1
Make your own nametags for gifts using watercolor paper, watercolors, and Christmas cookie cutters. Trace ’em, cut ’em out, paint ’em, hole punch ’em and ribbon ’em up! So much calorie-free fun!
HO! HO! HO! Hack No. 2
Wrapping a lot of gifties? Take missjunebug’s advice and use the inner cardboard tube of the first wrapping paper you finish off to make lots of little clasps for your other wrapping papers. A super simple, super smart way to keep all your wrapping papers tucked away neatly.
HO! HO! HO! Hack No. 3
missjunebug loves to buy her wired Christmas ribbon at Costco where the prices for it are reasonable and the ribbons are colorful and varied. But the ribbons generally only come in two width sizes: large and even larger. Try cutting the ribbon lengthwise into three strips: two thin ones following the wired edges, leaving the middle strip about one-half inch in width. Now you will be ready to wrap any size gifts with 3 different widths of ribbon.
HO! HO! HO! Hack No. 4
When using packing tape, missjunebug used to fold down the end so that it wouldn’t stick back on to itself. This wasted tape, but she could find the end when she needed it. Recently, she came across this simple idea on the internet that solves the pesky problems of wasted tape and lost edge. Attach a plastic bread tie to the end of the tape, so you will always find the tape’s edge. Just pull the tab, cut the tape you need, and reattach the tab when your finished with the tape. Genius!!
HO! HO! HO! Hack No. 5
Relax, have some Trader Joe’s (Light) Egg Nog, and enjoy the shiny season!
Merry Christmas from missjunebug, Mr.JB, Elder JB, TinyJB, SpoonBug, and LeftyJB!
“Je t’aime, je t’aime toujours, Monsieur B. Louie!” says missjunebug.
All her ladies-who-lunch dreams came true recently at 700 South Grand Avenue where Bottega Louie holds court over downtown Los Angeles. The physical space is large and white; the atmosphere, lively and inviting. For just a brief moment, missjunebug thought she had been transported to Paris, especially when she got a good look at the patisserie. Row after row of exquisitely decorated desserts and pastries, creamy, fruity, flaky, fabulous!
Just take a look:
Of course, Bottega Louie presents more than pastry. The café has salads, soups, pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches. missjunebug delighted in the Caprese salad (tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil, fleur de sel, cracked pepper & extra virgin olive oil) and the Asparagus and Poached Egg small plate. Believe missjunebug when she says the flavors were not small, nor the portions! missjunebug’s lovely companion (who introduced her to Bottega Louie on their recent field trip) enjoyed the savory Club sandwich.
Happily, mjb and her dear friend saved room for dessert from the très jolie patisserie! Imagine whipped cream, flaky pastry, vanilla, caramel, and more! Fruit tarts! Eclairs! Beignets! Macarons! Here’s what they enjoyed:
Note the prayerfully folded hands of mjb’s dear friend! Yes! They were thankful to God in heaven for these heavenly desserts!
Brave the 101 and the 110 and get yourself downtown. missjunebug promises you will be transported to another world in of all places downtown L.A. Things are looking up in the City of Angels!
mjbTip: check out Bottega Louie’s welcoming website for further details: www.bottegalouie.com
missjunebug recently read about a study headed by Jeroen Nawijn, tourism research lecturer at Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands that made a lot of sense to her. Returning from a relaxing vacation is no guarantee of a lasting happiness boost.
According to his research group in the Netherlands that took a look at the vacationing Dutch, after a return to typical life as they knew it, happiness leveled off in a couple of weeks.
While that’s not particularly good news, there was a bright side to this study: Happiness grew in anticipating and planning the trip. For up to eight weeks!
missjunebug and her Trusty Mr.JB agree that there’s nothing quite like having a trip to look forward to! Online research! Fares to compare! What to do, see, eat, wear when you get there! And thanks to the internet–maybe the best invention of the 20th century for knowledge access–trip planning is an art form all its own that can be as minutely nuanced or broad-stroked as you like.
Currently, missjunebug is tracking down books on polar bears, Churchill, Manitoba, and the Aurora Borealis for a fall trip to the Arctic hinterlands of Canada. The most interesting thing she’s found out so far is that troublesome polar bears who are under the mistaken impression that they are townies are put in Polar Bear Jail to break that bad habit! Confined for a time with only water, then moved back out to wilderness in a tranquilized state disabuses them of the notion that a roam through town is a fine idea. All she’s found out so far about the AB is that it’s green. More research needed! Believe missjunebug when she says that reading about these Arctic features may be a lot more fun than freezing while she actually views them.
Which brings missjunebug back to the initial premise: Anticipating and planning travel is a no-fail path to happiness for a good amount of time. How to improve on that? Plan a couple of trips a year for twice the anticipatory fun. Or think about multiple long-weekend trips that you can experience throughout the year! Once-a-month Fun x 12! Did missjunebug hear someone say, “Road Trip!”? Yes, another fun vacay to plan, anticipate, and then hit the road knowing it’s all about the journey, not the destination.
Happiness maybe be elusive and vacations may be tricky , but missjunebug still likes the reward of looking forward to travel while enjoying the present moment planning !
missjunebug and her trusty MrJB took a stroll through the Art Walk sponsored by the Conejo Valley Art Museum. What fun! A wide variety of artists are represented from photographers, watercolorists, oil painters, sculptors, sign makers, jewelry makers, and even tamale makers! There are some tasty eats to accompany the delicious art works.
mjb and Mr.JB bought their first Donald Archer painting here a long day ago (as ElderJB used to say) and have been collecting art work of one kind or another ever since. Art always passes the triple test: Is it beautiful? Is it useful? Is it meaningful? What is its use you might ask? To make missjunebug’s day, everyday!
Here’s the art work they found today they couldn’t live without:
All hail Limoncello! Fun to drink! Fun to look at when so lovingly composed in this original watercolor by the Watercolor Chef Leslee Adams. Ms. Adams hails from Palm Springs where she operates her own catering/pastry business having been trained at The Ritz Escoffier in Paris in 1990. Now she juggles paintbrushes as well as pastry brushes! Leslee gets missjunebug and Trusty Mr.JB’s vote for best artist of the juried show!
Check out her work at the Art Walk 2014 along with a host of other artists.
Saturday & Sunday June 7th & 8th, 2014 10 am to 5 pm Admission and Parking are Free.
Food and Beverages, Live Music Children’s Hands-on Art
Bank of America Building (Formerly Countrywide) 225 W Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, Ca 91360 Exit 101 Ventura Freeway at Lynn or Moorpark Rd.
mjbTip: Buy local original art! The pleasure it provides is priceless!
missjunebug spent a little time in her kitchen this weekend baking up some super delicious, super easy Yes! Yeast Rolls! In fact that’s what she and her trusty Mr.JB had for dinner last night. Bread being the Staff of Life, missjunebug is all for having some homemade SofL every once in a while.
missjunebug has a dear friend who calls such white flour concoctions Frankenbread, being on an anti-gluten crusade in her own life. To her friend missjunebug has two things to say: “De gustibus non est disputandum” and “You only live once!” Seriously, she appreciates her friend’s efforts at living a nutritionally clean life–would that missjunebug could be so disciplined, but if you have been reading this blog for any length of time, dear Reader, you must know missjunebug is erraticinconsistent whimsical in her nutritional leanings so she figures the occasional unbleached King Arthur White Flour yeast roll can only nourish her little bug soul if not her little bug body. C’est la vie!
So without further ado or rationalization missjunebug presents
missjunebug’s Yes! Yeast Rolls!
Adapted from a recipe mjb found somewhere in the never ending, constantly refreshing, infinitely entertaining, always inspiring annals of Pinterest.
Super Simple Ingredients
2 sticks butter
1 cup water
3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 eggs (Organic!–could help counteract the demon white flour)
2 packets of Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast
1 cup warm water
6 cups King Arthur unbleached white bread flour
Super Simple Directions
Warm up your oven for a while at about 225 degrees, then turn it off. This will be the perfect place to let your dough rise.
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add the 2 sticks of butter. Stir until melted.
Add sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Whip up the eggs with a wire wisk in a small bowl until nice and creamy. Add to cooled butter/sugar/salt mixture. missjunebug suggests you now transfer this mixture to your Kitchen Aid mixer!
In a separate bowl, add 2 packages of yeast to 1 cup lukewarm water. Stir and add a teaspoon of sugar if you feel the need to proof the yeast (checking to see it is still active!). If the mixture double in volume and foams nicely, your yeast is alive and well.
Add the yeast mixture to the butter/sugar/salt mixture. Combine and then begin to add the flour one cup at a time until all the flour has been blended into the b/s/s/y mixture. missjunebug uses the regular Kitchen Aid paddle, not the dough hook to combine the flour with the b/s/s/y mixture.
Grease a large glass bowl with butter. Transfer the dough to the glass bowl and then flip it over! That way both sides are buttered up.
Cover with a lightweight kitchen towel and place in over to rise for 1 hour. Remove dough from bowl and place on floured cutting board to knead by hand for 2-3 minutes. Place back in bowl and let rise for a second time for about 30 minutes.
After second rising, place dough on floured board, roll out with a rolling pin, and cut into rounds using a biscuit cutter or pint-size glass. Silpat or parchment paper-up your cookie sheets and place rolls two or so inches apart. Let rise one more time for about 45 minutes.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10-14 minutes. Keep watch for golden brownness! Remove from oven, slather with butter, and enjoy!
These rolls are easily frozen and reheated in a toaster oven for daily deliciousness!
missjunebug would hardly consider herself a fashionista, but ever since seeing the Devil Wears Prada, she’s appreciated the influence of the Anna Wintours and Christian Louboutins of the world. Not to mention Pantone’s color of the year crew who must come up with a cool and influential color that will reign supreme for the appointed calendar year. missjunebug is pretty sure that color will end up in your closet, too! (2014: Radiant Orchid!)
Which brings missjunebug to her latest find that provides the perfect follow-up to her Learning a Second Language post—(French! Naturally!). And that is the beautiful, useful, entertaining, and fashion forward blog of the very lovely and very French Garance Doré. www.garancedore.fr/en
Fashion has never been so fabulous. Seen through the discerning lens of this multi-talented illustrator, interviewer, writer, blogger, and New York transplant, the fashion world almost makes sense. Garance Doré does for fashion what Pioneer Woman does for home arts. And that is to say: A Lot.
Doré’s lively blog focuses on Style (Edits, Street Style, Fashion Week, and Shopping) Beauty (Hair, Make-up, Skin and Wellness) Stories (of particular interest: Pardon My French), and Lifestyle (Travels, Interiors, and Culture). There are months and months of material here that will delight and entertain and enlighten!
mjbTip: Check out Garance Doré’s inspiring insights!
missjunebug has a love of all things French: croissants, Gigondas wine, the arrondissements of Paris (1-9 primarily!), crepes (a squeeze of lemon and sugar, s’il vous plait!), santons, Provence, and so much more. And she’s always had a soft spot in her heart for the mellifluous sounds of the French language, but she’s had a hard time learning it.
First, there was high school French. Blech. Despite advance placing out of three semesters of French for college credit, she had mastered little in terms of direct communication in the language when other human beings were involved instead of multiple choice answers.
Later she picked up a little traveler’s French and much later tried her hand at Rosetta Stone: High Cost & Epic Fail. Unless you want to learn a bunch of sentences in French about blue triangles being larger than red circles.
Not to be a bug who gives up easily, missjunebug is trying again with two programs she’s found online. Coffeebreak French is fun and loaded with free lessons online that provide a nice springboard in listening to the language and trying to get a grip on the tricky pronunciations. Oddly, the student learner who assists in the program has a serious Scottish accent as does the teacher directing the lesson, but it makes the experience that much more entertaining when she takes on French guided by her fellow congenial Scottish teacher. Of course, they offer many other languages, too!
The second program she’s just started is DuoLingo, a free app for missjunebug’s iPhone where a wise little owl encourages goal setting and completion of some pretty challenging French lessons. missjunebug found out about this app in her awesome Wall Street Journal Personal Journal section recently–her fave resource for nifty learning ideas, book recs, fashion finds, and so many other things (The WSJ rocks). But missjunebug digresses. If you want to learn a second language on the go, go to DuoLingo. The phone app is a great combination of fill-in the blank, choose the right word, say the sentence aloud–it will let you know if you approximate the correct pronunciation. You can even test out on the work you’ve mastered. All this and some nifty visuals to keep your interest, too. So much good stuff crammed into this cute little Owl-centric app! It is a wise piece of work for sure.
mjbTip: Don’t rest on your mastery of the English language: Try a second language on for size. It could be the perfect fit…eventually! Bon chance, mon ami!
missjunebug is sporting a chic new bracelet lately: Her Fitbit Force!
She’s having some serious fun with this sleek little gizmo that measures the time of day (Sorry trusty and venerable Swiss Army Victorinox now languishing in missjunebug’s jewelry drawer!), number of steps taken, number of miles walked, number of calories burned, number of floors taken, and number of active minutes suffered exercised! Whew! missjunebug gets tired just listing all these fab features.
Now all of that information is well and good, inspirational and aspirational! But the part missjunebug thinks is too cool for school is the surprise vibe that hugs her wrist when she hits the magic 10,000 steps. Woo to the hoo X 10!
That makes for a very good day for missjunebug who is trying to get her exercise game back on after six months of chemotherapy infusions and other medical insults to her little bug body! Along with the little vibration comes a flashing “10,000!” on her Fitbit Force miniscreen. It feels like a solid albeit silent round of applause for her efforts.
But perhaps missjunebug should mention that in the two months she’s used her fab Fitbit, she’s only seen that flashing number three times. (wah wah) missjunebug must try harder! move more! get up earlier! stay up later!
Or she could do what a couple Mr.JB knows does before they go to bed at night: walk around their bedroom until they hit the magic 10,000! Ha! Clever people. Why didn’t missjunebug think of that?
If you are interested in tracking things and quantifying your little self, take a look at the Fitbit Force and its iphone App that helps you effortlessly track calories, sleep patterns, and water consumption as well. That’s some Big Data from a little black band.
mjbTip: The Quantified Self rocks! Get a fitbit for some number fun!
missjunebug and her trusty Mr.JB checked out a local restaurant recently (Yes, again! They eat out a lot!) that exceeded all expectations: Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Simi Valley.
This little hole-in-the-wall located in the same center Border’s used to be in on Tapo Canyon Blvd. is unassuming, friendly, and fun. Oh yeah, and the food is great, too! Brisket! Hot rolls! Polish sausage! Fried okra! Coleslaw! Coca-cola (not the P-word)! Free soft serve ice-cream for dessert! There are a ton of other tasty items on their menu board and believe missjunebug when she says that they are truly Texas worthy!
This hot little franchise originated in Dallas, home of the best barbecue in the world: Red’s Barbecue. Nothing tops that family fave that missjunebug grew up on (Thanks, JBDad for all that smokey, wood-fired, ReeDiculously Delicious brisket cooked up in the backyard on long, lazy, humid, pecan tree-shaded weekends. May you r.i.p, Red! XOXO). But Dickey’s gives it a good try and pretty much succeeds in pleasing mjb’s palate.
According to Dickey’s website, “Today, every location smokes all of their meats on-site at the restaurant the same way it was done in 1941. Dickey’s serves up beef brisket, pulled pork, ham, polish sausage, turkey breast and chicken, with an extensive array of home-style sides from jalapeño beans to macaroni and cheese. Buttery rolls are served with every meal along with the complimentary ice cream and dill pickles. And just like always, kids eat free on Sunday.”
What? Kids eat free on Sunday! Way to go, Dickey’s! That’s a family-friendly deal fo sho!
missjunebug hopes you’ll give Dickey’s a try with or without kidlets, just so you can experience the mouth-watering wonder of a smoke-soaked, juicy barbecue brisket like her dear JBDad used to make. It is a thing of savory wonder!
If you are in SoCali or just about anywhere across the nation, (many Dickey’s franchises have sprung up since 1941!) check out Dickey’s and try the brisket and fried okra–the f.o. tastes much better than you are thinking right about now!
missjunebug visited the Dickey’s at 2902 Tapo Canyon Road Simi Valley, CA 93063
(805) 577-7675, but you can find them in Ventura, Northridge, Pasadena, and a few other SoCali locales. And you better believe they are all over Dallas! Take a quick trip to their colorful website and find out all Dickey’s has to offer. missjunebug is happy to recommend the flavors of her childhood summed up in a smokey brisket! Enjoy!
If you happen to be vegetarian, well, Dickey’s may not be for you, unless you don’t mind just eating awesome side dishes! In which case, skip looking at the cool cow chart below and check out the menu board for sumptuous sides!
Trusty Mr.JB is happy as a clam since trying out the Chicago-style Italian Beef sandwich at DAYNES in Thousand Oaks. It is the real deal. missjunebug spotted this colorful eatery after a quick cuppa at Chocolatine (located right next door) on Thousand Oaks Boulevard and she convinced Mr.JB to give it a go. Believe missjunebug when she says he is glad he did!
It’s a bit jarring to leave the languor and sophistication of the French-inspired Chocolatine cafe and coffee enclave and enter the graffiti-bright graphics of DAYNES, but that’s the beauty of the strip mall, n’est-ce pas?
For their first visit, missjunebug ordered the Beef and Sweet Peppers; Mr.JB, the Combo. With the order comes plenty of napkins because these sandwiches are ridiculously juicy. Eat ’em up fast so your plump sandwich roll doesn’t get soggy! Yep, they are that juicy!
For their next visit: the Chicago Dawg. Can’t wait to taste its authenticity! Celery Salt included!
If you are a Midwestern transplant missing that savory flavor of the Chicagoland Italian Beef-style sandwich, or you are just a hungry, hungry local, Daynes Chicago Beef and Dawgs can hook you up!!! Check out their website www.dayneschicagobeef.com for more information or swing by their little restaurant of really good eats at 2951 East Thousand Oaks Boulevard in T.O. missjunebug is sure you will savor the flavor!
mjb’s Next Culinary Pursuit? Locating Authentic Texas-style Barbeque in SoCali. And she thinks she’s got a lead on where to find it. Stay tuned.
so missjunebug thought it would be fun and inspiring to begin a new page on her little blog:
Click on the tab above, right next to “About missjunebug.”
This page will (periodically) highlight some smarty-pants wisdom she’s come across and stickied to her Macbook Pro Dashboard. She has so many Wisdom Words stickies stacked up on top of each other than she can barely read all the daily weather reports she tracks for her hometown, Elder JB’s (Kigali, Rwanda), Tiny JB’s (Lafayette, IN), JBbro&JBsis-in-law’s (Dallas, TX), Mr.JB’s erstwhile hometown (Chicago, IL), and a few of missjunebug’s aspire-to-visit-again cities including Paris, New York, Palm Springs, and Las Vegas (to see a friend, not to gamble!)
missjunebug thought her readers would appreciate the Wisdom Words much more than the daily temperatures and weather conditions around the country. And it will go a long way toward cleaning up her cluttered dashboard.
ElderJB and TinyJB and sometimes even trusty Mr.JB have been the past recipients of mjb’s Wisdom Words in a slew of emails. She thinks they could probably use a break from the onslaught of edification: she’s decided to edify elsewhere. That’s where missjunebug’s readers come in.
Just click on Wisdom Words for the first one and the (periodically) succeeding entries!
And maybe, just maybe, she and her beloved readers will grow a little bit wiser (periodically)!
“When the Day of Judgment dawns and people, great and small, come marching in to receive their heavenly rewards, the Almighty will gaze upon the mere bookworms and say to Peter, “Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them. They have loved reading.” Virginia Woolf
missjunebug is way behind her time in writing a new blog post! She has been very, very busy reading and rereading some wonderful books. Here’s her current shortlist for fab reads:
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is a stunning narrative that follows a young Theo Decker through loss, grief, and ultimately redemption. What. a. book.
The Dinner by Herman Koch is a darker, more satiric view of a couple of young, overprivileged youths run amuck and their sociopathic parental units. Disturbing x 10 but worth your time.
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach has everything a good book should have: great, relatable characters, strong dialogue, literary leitmotifs à la Herman Melville, and some great moral take-aways. Even if you can’t stand baseball, you will enjoy this novel. Chad’s hit a first-time-up-to-the-plate home run!
The Tenth of December by George Saunders is a short story collection that is long on substance and searing satire. G.S. is the king of voice creation with each story having a compelling and distinctive style. missjunebug’s fave? Has to be “Semplica-Girl Diaries.”
Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith is a crime story with a difference: It’s really written by J.K. Rowling. And it’s really good. missjunebug is a big fan of Detective Cormoran Strike. With a name like that, how can he not be awesome! Note to J.K.R.: Sequel, please!
mjbTip: If you find yourself not finding time to read, join a book club. It’s the best way missjunebug can think of to keep motivated to keep reading and sharing. And believe her when she says, “Sharing is the best part!”
missjunebug has been doing some interesting reading lately. She came across a quotation in Roger Rosenblatt‘s book of personal meditation entitled Kayak Morning reflections on love, grief, and smallboats that is not only worth sharing, it is worth living by. Read it and believe. Then act on it!
Be kind, for everyone you meet is carrying a great burden.
missjunebug loves fall in SoCali! The fall of blazing orange pumpkins, cool, crisp weather (almost here!), clear dark-sky nights (rain by Thanksgiving), sweater warmth (cashmere, please!), and plenty of practice baking going on so that missjunebug can be ready for pie duty on Thanksgiving day. So how has missjunebug been preparing herself for all that’s fall?
First, she headed to her fave pumpkin patch at Underwood Farms 3370 Sunset Valley Road in Moorpark and picked some perfect pumpkins for her porch! (Whew! So alliterative!) Take a look:
missjunebug worked up a serious appetite and decided it was time to make one of her fave cookie recipes: Monster Cookies! So appropriate for the Halloween month of October. Are they scary? Not really. Just big and fun and delicious. The secret: No flour! Just some healthy oats, some (maybe not so healthy) sugars, peanut butter and voilà! Monster Cookies! Easy to make. Easy to eat. Easy to freeze for later!
Here’s are the recipes for a ton o’ cookies (the first one) and a half ton o’ cookies (the second one):
Beat the room temperature butter until nice and creamy. Add the sugars, vanilla, syrup, and baking soda. Add the eggs and beat in a few at a time. Next, blend in the peanut butter until the mixture is thick and semi-gooey! Throw in the oats, M&Ms, and chocolate chips and you are good to go. Scoop a large size cookie onto Silpat-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 13 to 18 minutes, depending upon how crispy you want the cookie to be. missjunebug likes hers super crispy, but it’s up to your taste!
Remember what missjunebug says: “De gustibus non est disputandum!” There’s no accounting for taste (so each to his/her own!)
Too many cookies? Yeah, this Full Recipe makes about 12-14 dozen depending upon the individual size of the cookie. That’s a lot o’ cookies!!!
Try this instead:
1 lb. brown sugar (= 2 cups)
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 T. vanilla
1 T. Karo syrup
4 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb. butter
1 1/2 lbs. peanut butter
9 cups Quaker Old-Fashioned Oatmeal
1/2 lb. M&Ms
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Throw in a bowl and beat the heck out of the ingredients. (Not really. Just read above Full Recipe for how to combine the ingredients!)
These cookies should be stored in an airtight tin or container. You can also Ziploc them into freezer bags and save some for later!
mjbTip: Go out and have some fall fun! Welcome October indeed!
missjunebug has been doing some fun traveling lately, yall! She headed to Big D little a double l a s and that spells D-A-L-L-A-S, her darlin’ darlin’ Dallas! What a fine city! What a gorgeous downtown! And what a cool new museum now resides there, conveniently located right next to missjunebug’s fave traditional Tex-Mex restaurant El Fenix! What more could a little bug ask for?
A big Texas-sized thanks goes to her awesome JBBro for thinking up this fab field trip! missjunebug’s little bug brain almost exploded from all the knowledge contained in the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and its 11 permanent Exhibit Halls, five of which missjunebug fell in love with. She took a tour through the Expanding Universe Hall which was big enough to hold a 3D animated journey all the way through the solar system. So cool. Lots of deep space Hubble Telescope pics to scope out and plenty of info about the major players in the space biz: Galileo, Newton, Hershel, and Hubble to name a few.
Back here on Earth in the Rees-Jones Foundation Dynamic Earth Hall, missjunebug was terrified by tornado and hurricane videos and stood in awe of the Touch Tornado exhibit that simulates the airflows that create tornados. But perhaps the one exhibit that hit a little too close to home was the Earthquake Shake “immersive experience.” Can you say Magnitude 6.8?? Press the off button, please!
A kinder, gentler, sparklier Exhibit Hall was the Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall. The colors, size, sparkle, and crystal formations of these earthly jewels was simply staggering. missjunebug fantasized briefly about the beaucoup bling that could be made out of each these gems and minerals! She did get to open up a five- foot geode with a turn wheel that revealed more amethyst within than she’d ever seen in her little bug life. Purple, sparkly awesomeness! If you enjoy jewelry or shiny things, spend some time in the Gems and Minerals Hall.
missjunebug’s final faves were The Rose Hall of Birds and the T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall. You can’t go wrong with cool birds and some amazing fossils. missjunebug got to stretch her little bug wings and fly in the full-body fly-like-a-bird simulator. Life Then and Now is larger than life with dinosaur skeletons and replicas that rule! Be sure to check out such fossil finds as the fierce predator Tyrannosaurus rex or the peaceful, plant-eating Alamosaurus. There’s even a mini-exhibit of the kind of colorful little plastic dinosaurs missjunebug used to play with when she was a baby bug!
Many more hands-on Exhibit Halls will captivate and educate. missjunebug recommends you see all the halls!!! Bring the grandkids and the kid in you! You’ll have a ball! Find the museum at 2201 N. Field Street Dallas, TX 75201-1704
missjunebug has spent more than a few blog posts praising the wonderful taste of Coca Cola, her final remaining vice. But rest assured she only occasionally indulges her love of the burn-at-the-back-of-the-throat sensation! No really.
That said (read: confessed), today’s post is in praise of the global experimentation Coca Cola is up to in improving their products.
Coke is going green with Coca Cola Life, a product currently being marketed in Argentina. Love that Classic Cursive white on red or red on white script? Now think green! A stevia + sugar-sweetened drink with half the calories of Coca Cola Classic has been rolled out for lucky Argentinians to enjoy with a stevia-inspired green design. Will it go worldwide? Time will tell! But missjunebug likes the idea of using the plant-based sweetener plus a little sugar to keep the taste close to the Real Thing.
What’s next for the world according to Coke? How about a Coca Cola in an ice bottle with that familiar cursive etched into the bottle? You read that right! The bottle is made from 100% frozen water with just a slim rubber red band stamped with the Coke logo that provides a comfortable hold while you drink down the super cold pause that refreshes. After you have satisfied your thirst, the bottle goes the way of the typical ice cube and melts away!
Lucky Columbia is the only country currently selling the ice bottle, mostly at beaches (at the rate of approximately 265 bottles per hour by beachside vendors!!), but if the early results are any indication, Coke might just roll out this environmentally friendly no-recycling-required icy container to the rest of the world. Brilliant! Green! Flavorful!
missjunebug salutes Coca Cola for its innovation, environmental awareness and design fun–that red bracelet is wearable and super cool!
So as missjunebug’s doctor once said a few years ago after viewing a pathology report that didn’t bode too well, “You have a little more work to do.”
Turns out missjunebug had a lot more work to do over the next few years, and honestly, she’s just happy to still be here, but she’s not so happy to have to go back in the hospital, that most confounding of locations to try to rest, to heal, and to get well!
So many pokes, prods, sticks, interruptions in sleep and machinery beeps! Food? Forget it. Ice chips only on the menu. Sleep? Not a chance. Vitals are checked around the clock. Blood work clocks in nice and early, too! Too bad for you, missjunebug!
But missjunebug has a plan! Thanks to wise words of Dr.O’, she knows exactly what to do: Welcome Distractions!
missjunebug will forego all those challenging book club reads (Wolf Hall–no way Thomas x 3–so confusing! The sequel?? Bringing Up the Bodies ack! No more Mantel! , Anna Karenina–catch that train later!–so depressing) and stick to the escapist fiction she craves–Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, here missjunebug comes!! Then she’ll segue straight to Netflix for a binge watch worthy of a week-long hospital sequester. Rom coms! Noir thrillers! Historical sagas! PBS Masterpiece Classics!
Eyes like buttons? Then how about a little Art Studio work on her iPad. The thrill of painting sans mess! Yeah, that’s the way to while away time transfixed. Then onto the pile of WSJ “Personal Journal” sections she’s been saving for weeks. So much fun to read to keep a finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist. Crosswords? Yes! Sudoku? Absolut! Facebook updates? What’s the latest? Stumble Upon? Certainly!
What do all these things have in common? They allow missjunebug to indulge in some pretty pointless distractions that keep her mind off the tubes (a pox upon the NG!), IVs, compression stockings, blood pressure cuffs, and thermometer readings temporarily imprisoning her like a bug in a bell jar. Oh, and the pain, too. They keep her mind off the pain. Of course, the meds help do that, too!
Indulgent distractions. No guilt.
missjunebug can be productive another time. With enough mindless distractions, she just might make it through ovarian cancer recurrence part deux.
missjunebug and her trusty Mr.JB had some fun Memorial Day weekend checking out the film Mud at their local indie film house. It was a serendipitous find as they were on their way to dinner at their fave pizzeria D’Amore’s (Best slice NYC/NJ style crust in SoCali!) when they saw that the marquee showtime for Mud aligned perfectly for a postprandial visual treat!
And what a treat it was! Mud is a Southern-rooted coming-of-age adventure story, but missjunebug thinks it’s one of the best love stories she’s ever seen. Romantic love, unrequited love, the love of a father and a mother for a son, the love of a son for his sad and maritally troubled parents, the love of a sharp shooter surrogate parent for his wayward “son,” the love of a young man for a captivating fugitive, the love of that same young man for a fickle high school heartbreaker, this film has more forms of love than the island’s creeks have cottonmouths. And, yes, there are plenty of snakes in this story, and not just the river dwelling kind.
The cast is, well, perfectly cast! Matthew McConaughey lives up to his name Mud in the most obvious way: he’s sorely in need of a bath, but hiding out on an island in a boat up a tree will do that to you. As he says himself, looking at said boat: “It’s a helluva thing.” The tree-shelved boat proves invaluable to him in the course of the film as he makes a plan to reunite with the love of his life Juniper played spot on by Reese Witherspoon, the quintessential Southern Siren.
Ellis proves invaluable as well. In a plot worthy of Mark Twain, Ellis and his friend Neckbone (coolest handle of the film) make sure Mud has the food and supplies he needs during his forced island staycation. Mud has done a bad, bad thing and Triple 6 bounty hunters abound, but the boys remain undaunted. The fourteen-year old Ellis played without one false note by Tye Sheridan captivates from beginning to end. He is the heart and soul of the film and possesses a moral compass that puts the adults to shame. Heroics and heartbreak help define this bittersweet tale, but it never lapses into sentimentality. Ellis definitely comes of age, but he also recognizes the power of love in all its forms.
missjunebug re-read her previous Mother’s Day posts and came away thinking she’d covered her feelings about this holiday pretty well. The take-away?
She loves being a mom! It’s that simple! She loves her two rad kids ElderJB and TinyJB! It has been an honor and a privilege to help raise these boys along with Mr.JB’s invaluable love and guidance.
The only thing she regrets is that just when they become their most interesting (and entertaining) as young adults, ElderJB and TinyJB fly the proverbial coop and nest elsewhere! But then that is the beauty part of the plan as her dear, departed JBDad would say. The JBParentals have done their job and the said kids answer to themselves, making their way in the wider world pretty much on their own.
missjunebug is thankful for a connected world of emails, texts, e-cards, phone calls (by land, by cell, by FaceTime, by Skype) that are available for moms to communicate with their hatchlings on a regular basis! And for those of you who live close to your children (luck by design!) good on you; missjunebug is a little jealous, but she knows that is not in the cards for her at least right now. Who knows what the future holds?
So Happy Mother’s Day to all you devoted moms! Stay connected, but maybe stay out of the way, too! Birds gotta fly! Children gotta grow and go!
missjunebug has been busy lately traveling, returning home, regrouping, doing laundry, catching up with bill paying, etc., etc., the usual maintenance post travel, but she’s also been thinking about some recommendations she’d like to share with you.
So here goes:
Download (and pay for!) Justin Timberlake‘s new album 20/20. It is the best music to walk to missjunebug has come across in a long time (and dance to, too!). The songs are stellar and many great ones await you beyond “Suit and Tie.” which you’ve probably already heard about 100 times by now. (missjunebug still loves “S&T” no matter how many times she’s heard it.) And truth be told she has a big crush on J.T. She hearts him BIGTIME. Lucky Jessica Biel. Seriously.
Check out anything written by Tim Ferriss. This guy has got it going on with his Four Hour protocols. Currently missjunebug and members of her dear fam are reading The Four-Hour Chef, The Four-Hour Body, and plan to read The Four-Hour Work Week. missjunebug really doesn’t need The Four-Hour Work Week, since her work week is even less than that! Ha! Seriously, these books are so smart, so entertaining, and so helpful you will not be disappointed!. T.F. is a phenom.
Read anything written by Julian Barnes. Right now. Really. Go get one of his books. He is one smart Brit. missjunebug recommends The Sense of an Ending and Levels of Life. Okay, missjunebug has actually only read The Sense of an Ending and Levels of Life, but she plans to read all of his books a.s.a.p. because she’s sure the others are equally great!
Eat some croissants. They are so yummy: crunchy, buttery, layers of delicious bready air! How did the French ever come up with these? Beyond brilliant. missjunebug recommends that you eat these in Paris for the best croissant experience ever! And after you eat some croissants, make yourself some crepes. They are super easy to make using Krusteaz pancake mix and a great crepe pan. missjunebug recommends a made-in-France de Buyer which makes crepe making super fun. Of course, you can make crepe batter from scratch, but the Krusteaz is easy peasy and delicious. Just make sure if you are following the The Four-Hour Body eating plan (which you will be after reading Tim Ferriss’s book) that you save these for your 7th day where you can eat whatever you want! Vive la France and vive Tim Ferriss!
Speaking of Paris, missjunebug recommends checking out travelingprofessor.com for excellent travel trips and guided tours in France, Italy, and South America. They are reasonably priced, informative, not too touristy, and fun, fun, fun. missjunebug and her Mr.JB just returned from a week in Paris and a few days in Normandy. It really pays to get to know a city by spending time in it as opposed to a quick cruise-port-of-call fly by in a tourist bus. missjunebug has done both and she’s likes the get-to-know-where-you-are-for-awhile walkabout much better!
missjunebug has been thinking about creativity lately thanks to a Wall Street Journal article she read recently. She learned a few things and she had a few of her own ideas about creativity confirmed. The insight that missjunebug applauded is also the one she finds most personally relatable: creativity thrives in transitional times.
What are some of those transitional times?
Walks from here to there
Showers to prepare you for the rest of your day
A quick run or a leisurely jog
missjunebug has a vivid memory from high school where she spent the evening grinding out trigonometry problems. She got stuck on one, gave up, went to sleep, and the next morning Voilà! She had the answer! This was close to missjunebug’s last taste of success in math altogether, but that was one heady moment for her! (She still thanks Mr. Clay for his infinite patience!). More recently, in fact a day or two ago, while she was finishing up a shower, she got the first six lines of her “In Not Of” poem that she grew into a finished piece in no time! Creativity can be elusive, but if you take the time to tap into these transitional times, missjunebug guarantees you some very creative flow!
Other creativity creators?
Try walking away from the problem to arrive at a quick solution: too much focused concentration can block creativity.
Have a relaxing glass of wine or two. Down a cold Stella and let the creative times roll!
Let your mind wander where it wants. It will often arrive at a much more creative place where you will find new inspiration for your project or problem.
Finally, in coincidental keeping with the Pantone Color of the Year 2013: Emerald, gaze at some green, that promising color of renewal and growth, to get your creative juices flowing! According the WSJ “Students with green test-cover pages gave more creative answers than those whose pages were white, blue, red, or gray.” Maybe colleges need to ditch the Blue Books for green ones!
missjunebug doesn’t often quote from other blog postings but in keeping with her spiritually themed entries during Easter week (three in a series, this being the final final), she has found a reflection on the University of Notre Dame’s FaithND website that bears repeating. Out of the mouths of babes they say comes wisdom and Ms. Veselik (’14) proves the proverb with this inspiring insight:
In this blur, I often lose sight of Jesus walking beside me, just as the men on the road to Emmaus did. In the middle of the pile of papers, emails, and deadlines, I often forget to look for the ways God might be walking right beside me. In the midst of all of the chaos, my roommates and I have established a nighttime tradition, a way for each of us to reflect back and recognize where Jesus has been walking with us that day. Every night before bed, Molly, Allie, Maddie, and I each list three things that we are thankful for that day. Some days the lists go on and on, other days we have to search deeper. Over time, I have realized that during my day, things happen that make me think, “Oh, I will have to include this in ‘thankfuls’ tonight.” I have begun to be more attentive to the ways—big and small—that God is present in my life every day.
A lot of the time I am like the men on the road to Emmaus, completely oblivious to the fact that Jesus is walking right next to me, failing to see the good in the everyday. Yet, in those few minutes of reflection every day, I have become more attentive to Jesus walking alongside me and more thankful for the ways that God presents himself to me on a daily basis.
Mary Kate Veselik ‘14
Now whether or not Jesus is your Homeboy, missjunebug is sure you can appreciate the value of Mary Kate’s roommate ritual of “Thankfuls.” No better way to end the day. No clearer path to appreciating the blessings of this day and every day. missjunebug plans to try out her own “Thankfuls” and is pretty sure she can come up with three a day.
Why not join her? She’d be thankful for the company!
missjunebug and a dear friend made their way from SoCali suburbia to a hipper, cooler, vibe-ier locali: Aroma Coffee and Tea Company. What fun! And what fine food.
missjunebug is on a mission to try every tuna melt she meets up with on the menus of her restaurants of choice. Aroma’s Tuna Melt with swirly black and white rye bread, yummy tomatoes, and delicious tuna fishes did not disappoint. missjunebug’s friend had an Asian noodle-y salad that looked exotic and colorful.
The Aroma menu is complex, interesting, and it offers breakfast fare and a fair amount of lunch and dinner items that you just can’t go wrong in choosing. missjunebug found the Buenos Dias, Los Angeles! section particularly intriguing but she passed on the enticing South of the Border flavor in her on-going pursuit of the Perfect Tuna Melt!
After the meal, missjunebug and her dear friend made their way back to the pastry case that graces the entrance to the charming restaurant, an erstwhile home with vintage touches and many tucked away, comfy tables in which to enjoy a fresh repast. Her friend ordered the Princess cake, a many-layered, custardy delight; missjunebug made a beeline to the Bee Cake. Believe missjunebug when she says It be good!
The next time you want to escape the fast food joints, the burger stops, and the other links in the restaurant chain, hop in your car and head down to Aroma Coffee and Tea Company for delicious food and fun. You’ll find them at 4360 Tujunga Ave. Studio City, California 91604 • Ph: 818.508.0677. Hours: Mon – Sat 6am to 11pm / Sun 7am to 11pm.
When you’ve eaten your fill of fab food, take a stroll down Tujunga and pop into the local boutiques for a little shopping, window or otherwise. missjunebug found a nice pair of earrings for a nice price while her friend found a lovely handcrafted skirt.
missjunebug woke up this morning and got a cheery, cherry idea. She had one, lone roll-up Pillsbury pie crust in her frig, and thought she better use it or lose it to the rapidly approaching expiry date. After a quick pantry forage, she found a can of that blissfully sweet Cherry Pie Filling to help her seal the deal on this Semi Delicious, Mega-Not Healthy breakfast idea.
She grabbed a pint glass–perfect round mini pie crust cutter–and managed to form eight tiny crusts, the perfect size for muffin tins. She carefully placed them in the tins and spooned in a generous dollop of cherry filling into each Mini Cheery Cherry pie-to-be. With the leftovers she cut a few lattice top strips (as easy as pie to do!) and placed them over the cherry filling in a not quite perfect woven top crust. missjunebug might even call the top crust “rustic”–that word covers over many imperfections without losing any flavor!
missjunebug popped those precious mini pies in a hot 425° oven and baked them until they were golden brown and bubbly, about 2o or so minutes. After a quick sprinkle of granulated sugar over the top–(also helpful in covering over any rustic crust imperfections!), she popped them out of muffin tins and placed them on plates for breakfast for her and her dear MrJB who was happy to help taste test her Mini Cheery Cherry Pie experiment.
What a fun way to start the day: A cold glass of 1% milk (missjunebug is, of course, always watching her calories!) and a Mini Cheery Cherry Pie…or two. Double delicious! The next time you find yourself with a lone roll-out pie crust, turn it into the mini pies of your choice! Super easy to make. Super delicious to eat.
missjunebug will think about eating Mega-Healthy tomorrow.
Every once in a while missjunebug comes across a product that is absolut! blog worthy. Like Consumer Reports, she receives no special consideration or payment for her endorsement. missjunebug is an ad-free zone! She shares this information for the sheer joy of hoping others will enjoy the product as joyfully as she has enjoyed it! Too many joys?? Not in this case! Speculoos is a taste bud-altering experience, unlike any missjunebug has ever had. Imagine delicious cookies, mildly spicey shortbread cookies. Imagine those cookies smashed to bits. Imagine those smashed bits being spun into a creamy, silky, buttery, sweet, caramel-ly spread. Imagine dipping a spoon into said spread and slathering it on, what else? another cookie! Ahhhh. Spectacular Speculoos! If no other cookies are available just enjoy straight off the spoon.
Your taste buds will be forever grateful as missjunebug is to ElderJB for introducing the junebug family to Speculoos during the Christmas holidays. He wends his way through Brussels, Belgium on his trip from Rwanda to the Hacienda in SoCali and always does a little airport shopping. While missjunebug appreciates the awesome Belgium chocolates ElderJB lavishes upon the junebug fam, she’s just wild about the new find: Speculoos! Thanks, ElderJB for this smashed-up cookie spread madness!
If you are not traveling to Brussels in the near future you can track down Trader Joe’s version of Speculoos descriptively named SpeculoosCookie Butter. missjunebug doubts it is as good as Lotus Original Speculoos but it might run a close second, and it is available a lot closer to home! Sadly, missjunebug will probably have to settle for TJ’s version because her jar of LOS is profoundly empty.
missjunebug having learned her lessons from The Devil Wears Prada, Project Runway, and Project Runway All Stars (and the soon-to-be Project Runway Teams!!!) that fashion matters, wants to keep you in the looking-your-best loop! To that very important end, she salutes this year’s unabashed Pantone Color of the Year 2013: EMERALD!!
This vibrant/retro/vivid/lush/verdant selection is unsubtle to say the least! But, hey, if Angelina Jolie can rock it radiantly at the 2011 Golden Globes in her full-length flowey emerald gown and before that at the Oscars with those dazzlingly gigantic emerald earrings, so can you and missjunebug. Or maybe mjb will just update her wardrobe with a nice green scarf.
missjunebug hopes this is a color-of-money sign that the Great Recession is truly over and things will begin to look up for country economically. She’s certain anything is possible now that Jerry Brown has declared the state of California debt free and proud to be! What did missjunebug hear you say? A “Yeah, right” of skepticism?? Okay, missjunebug is a little skeptical, too, that despite the rise in taxes, the Golden State will be able to live within its green means. But if the pols do manage to pull this off, missjunebug bets the other states will be California dreamin’ and emerald with envy!
Now go get vibrant! radiant! and chic! with an Emerald infusion to your wardrobe! If that doesn’t work out for you, do what Mr.JB does and drink some Absinthe! The (Emerald) Green Fairy won’t be far behind!
Cheers to the New Year and the Color of the Year: Emerald!
missjunebug is beginning to recover from her Christmacoma. She’s eaten her way through the Christmas ham, the New Year’s flank steak, the sweets and treats downed by the occasional Old Fashioned (Let’s here it for Maker’s Mark Bourbon! Cheers!) Mr.JB is back at work (reluctantly), ElderJB is back in Rwanda (happily) with his latest transfer of as many American products as he can fit into multiple (read 6) oversized duffle bags, TinyJB is recovering (slowly) in Miami from the devastating loss of the Irish to the Crimson Tide and may be recovering from other things as well, like too much food and drink in their awesome Club level seats at the Discovery Stadium he and his girl enjoyed until the Tide rolled. Touchdown Jesus clearly had better things to do last night than ensure an Irish win. To loosely quote the Scot: The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men and football teams gang aft a-gley.”
Well today missjunebug has better things to do than cry over what might have been. She’s ready for a makeover! She’s re-established contact with her gym and had the head trainer take her through the machines one by one that might help her salvage her muscle mass most of which withered away in her way-too-long stay in the hospital last year. She’s also enlisted the help of a walking buddy: Spoonbug, her dear Labradoodle who loves to walk when given the opportunity! To keep her on track her dear neighbor and friend Maria waits for missjunebug and Spoonbug at the top of a tough hill for a Monday through Friday uphill walking workout! Whew! It’s tough but good and the best part is the talking therapy that goes on where Maria and missjunebug solve all the problems of the world, including a few of their own.
The best thing about exercising a little more is that missjunebug finds she wants to make better food choices, too. What a concept! With a little help from Weight Watchers online, missjunebug can track her intake and help herself to a stronger, better, healthier her! The fact that missjunebug already ate every speck of the Christmas cookies, New Year’s cake, and gifts of candy she received helps keep her on track!
Seriously, missjunebug is planning her makeover one step at a time and hoping to be her best new self by mid April when she and Mr.JB head to Paris! They are hoping the TravelingProfessor.com website will attract a few more Francophiles for the spring trip the Professor has planned! The Prof needs 8 to make the trip a go! Check out his fab site and consider coming along (that means you, JBBro and JBSis-in-Law!!!) Of course, ElderJB and TinyJB are always welcome but missjunebug hears they have other plans!
missjunebug wishes you a Happy New Year and a New New You if you need one!
No, this is not a post about the best place to imbibe alcohol during the holidays! missjunebug wants to share with you her recipe for fruity and nutty Holiday Bars. If you never got into fruitcake but enjoy dates, raisins, and walnuts, this holiday cookie is for you. Mega Delicious and Semi Healthy describes this bar perfectly. Easy to make, easy to freeze, easy to take to any party or cookie exchange, and very, very easy to eat!
missjunebug’s Holiday Bars
(adapted from an ancient but beloved cookbook entitled Cookery for Entertaining)
1 (8-oz.) package Sun Date California Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup raisins, Trader Joe’s golden or SunMaid regular or a mix of both kinds
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup sugar, divided
1 stick butter (1/4 lb.), room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, organic
2 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons orange juice
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 375°. Grease 2 baking sheets (or use Silpat liners or parchment paper); set aside. Stir together in a large bowl dates, raisins, walnuts, orange peel, cinnamon, and 1/2 cup sugar until the fruit is well coated; set aside. In a separate bowl or Kitchen Aid mixer (best choice!) cream butter and the remaining sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Whisk together in a small separate bowl the flour, baking powder, salt, and orange juice. Then add this flour mixture to the sugar and egg mixture. Add the dates, raisins, and walnuts mixture and stir until blended. The dough will be stiff.
Divide dough into four equal portions and shape two logs (12″ x 2″ x 1/2″) on each prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes until slightly brown. The logs will feel soft but they will firm as they cool. Cool for 15 minutes. Cut diagonally into 3/4″ bars. Dust with powdered sugar. These freeze well in Zip-loc freezer bags or cookie tins. Makes approximately 64 delicious bars!
After you make these, you can head to your fav holiday bar and celebrate! Cheers!
missjunebug got back into the country from the Land Down Under just in time to start baking pies for Thanksgiving! She’s sticking with the traditional tried and true Libby’s Pumpkin Pie and Karo Syrup Pecan Pie. You can’t go wrong with the classics! She throws in a Harvest Pie for good measure that provides a mouthwatering mouthful of Granny Smith apples and Ocean Spray cranberries. She’ll share that recipe as soon as she makes her trip to the market to gather the necessary ingredients…absolutely the hardest part of the whole process!
Speaking of desserts, please God don’t let Hostess go out of business! That’s just wrong! Life without the occasional Twinkie or handful of Donettes–powdered sugared or chocolate iced–is not worth living!
missjunebug wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving! It is far and away the best holiday of the year. The focus of Thanksgiving remains where it should: on friends, family, feasting, and fun. What more could a holiday merrymaker ask for except maybe another slice of pie, please! My oh my missjunebug loves pie!
missjunebug wants to assure you that her love of Brach’s Candy Corn–yes it has to be Brach’s–is unleashed only once a year on the First Day of Fall, give or take a day or two for just a few weeks. This seasonal favorite recalls all the best of autumn days giving way to the spooky nights of October and culminating in carved pumpkins and costumed revelry. missjunebug encourages you to think about your seasonal favs and to join her in her seasonal cheer: “All for Fall!”
So missjunebug’s Mr.JB has been busy planning more eclipse adventures! This time he traced the route from LAX through Phoenix by way of Flagstaff, then onto Page, Arizona and the Lake Powell Resort in a four-wheel drive Jeep! The four-wheel drive came in really handy when Mr.JB staked out centerline viewing real estate atop a semi-remote bluff! By the time the eclipse rolled around, lots of eclipse chasers had joined the junebugs at their prime viewing location. The conditions could not have been better! And the Ring of Fire eclipse was deLIGHTful!!!
missjunebug won’t go into details about getting off that semi-remote bluff. Suffice it to say there were many unmarked paths and the junebugs did their share of choosing the wrong ones to get the heck out of there before darkness descended! Whew! Believe missjunebug when she says she felt some serious relief when they finally found the main road!!
missjunebug also won’t go into the accommodations at the Lake Powell Resort where she requested and paid for in advance a Room with a (Lake)View. Suffice it to say what the junebugs got was a gorgeous asphalt-filled parking lot view! Lucky them! When Mr.JB went back to the front desk to show the receptionist their ressie, he was assured the entire resort was booked with a capital B and they were S.O.L. To their credit the management of the L.P.R. provided vouchers for two dinners and two breakfast buffets which did a lot to assuage a painful situation. And guess what? The food was great!!! And it went a long way toward make that parking lot view look a whole lot better!!
Here are some pics that tell the tale of missjunebug’s Paging Arizona Adventure:
missjunebug’s Tip#1: Get out there and Cruise America! Just don’t do it in a Cruise America RV!!! Try a Jeep instead!!
missjunebug’s Tip#2: Get a Senior Pass at the National Park of your choice for 10 tiny bucks and you can get into any National Park for free forever! How to qualify? Be Mr.JB’s hair color and age: silver and 62!!! The junebugs used his card on the way back to Flagstaff, stopping in at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon using that pretty little card for no dollars!!! Now that’s a fine bene for being a senior.
missjunebug cooked last night! A complete chickeny meal with two side veggies, a creamy risotto, and a rockin’ dessert! Who does she have to thank for this not-so-everyday occurrence? That unrivaled blogger The Pioneer Woman and missjunebug’s inspiration, ElderJB!
As an occasional blogger herself, missjunebug is truly inspired by the blogs of others and Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman blog tops the list of blogs worth checking out. This blog has everything and missjunebug’s blog looks really Mickey Mouse in comparison (no offense, MM!). The only things missjunebug can hold against PW is that she’s from Oklahoma and she graduated from USC. What an unfortunate combination! missjunebug says this with the authority of being a Texan who graduated from UT Austin (Hook ‘Em Horns!). That said, The Pioneer Woman is truly inspiring especially by way of the recipes presented and the outrageously good photos of the cooking process that documents every possible step and then some.
missjunebug thought it was time for some home cooking for her ElderJB who is visiting from his home-away-from-home, Rwanda. Yes, she’d made the requisite Easter ham and pineapple stuffing for Sunday’s celebration, but the junebugs had managed to dine out quite a bit, too, so it was time for some home-cooked nutrition to round things out.
The two vegetable sides were simple: bacon-laced green beans and glazed carrots. Yum. The requisite starch? (requisite must be the Word of the Day!!) Lundberg’s Parmesan Risotto, simple and simply wonderful and done in 20! The main course? Ree’s Chicken in Mustard Sauce laced with plenty of whole grain mustard, a dollop of Grey Poupon, and a full cup of brandy. That’s what missjunebug is talkin’ about! Throw in some garlic and cream, and you’ve got a crave-able sauce that embraces chicken like no other! missjunebug won’t waste your time re-writing the recipe here: check it out on Pioneer Woman yourself when you need something delicious and not too complicated.
Now on to the really important part: the dessert! The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever. missjunebug heartily concurs with naming this Texas-size sheet cake the best ever because it is the best ever! This recipe is not exactly easy. There are some steps involved that take some time, melting butter, stirring in lots and lots of cocoa, mixing sugar and flour and stirring pretty much nonstop for a while, then pretty much repeating these same steps for the decadent icing but it is so worth it! Check out The Pioneer Woman for this recipe and make it very, very soon. You will be thanking yourself for days!
Not only is The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever. a great dessert, it makes an awesome breakfast with a big glass of cold milk (non-fat, natch!). And, yes, that’s what missjunebug had for breakfast this morning!
missjunebug has been away for far too long. She’s been having some fun and dealing with some unfun, kind of like the way life usually is, but she couldn’t let this day pass without wishing a Happy Easter to her faithful readers. Speaking of faith, it’s a good thing to have. She wishes you a lot of it, if you find yourself occasionally lacking in that department. It’s a really good thing to have a pocketful of to carry around with you at all times and in all places. This is as good a day as any to start thinking about getting some! Maybe even the perfect day to start thinking about it, come to think of it!
missjunebug hopes you are joined with friends and family, sharing a meal, a stimulating conversation (ElderJB is the master of ceremonies at the dinner table for starting all philosophicals!) and a moment of reflection on all there is to be grateful for!
The other day missjunebug had a few pieces of art work to pick up from her fave framer in Ventura: Gonzalez Framing. They’re located on 4160 Market St. #4 Ventura, CA 93003 (805) 477-0749. She’s had many, many pieces framed here and has never been disappointed in their work. They are perfectionists, and they use the best materials to protect and to enhance special art pieces.
Here’s one she recently had framed. Won’t it look great in her newly painted kitchen? Oh. my. yes.
So what does this have to do with Cow Cookies? Well, right after missjunebug picked up her awesomely framed art works, she realized it was time for a little lunch. Right around the corner (practically) from Gonzalez Framing is Royal Bakery & Cafe. This little gem of a lunch spot is located at 4726 Telephone Rd. Ventura, CA 93003 (805) 658-6030. They have a wonderful menu including soups, salads, sandwiches, quiches, pizza, desserts, and coffee. What more could you ask for on a cafe menu? missjunebug had the divine Tuna Pesto Melt on French bread. Such a delicious mix of tuna, red onion, celery, and pesto, topped with melted cheddar and toasted to perfection. She suspects all the menu items are equally delightful to the taste buds.
Which does finally bring her to the Cow Cookies. These big and tender iced gems are shaped like dairy cows each marked with its own pattern of cow spots. Cute! Clever! Fun! and Delicious! She took six of them home with her in a congenial little box.
Check out two of her Cow Cookies and then check out Royal Bakery & Cafe a.s.a.p. You won’t be sorry. Especially if you rustle up some Cow Cookies to take home with you!
missjunebug has been having some fun on the internet! She’s been busy creating her own personal bulletin boards that reflect her tastes, aspirations, desires, and interests. Yes, you guessed it: Pinterest! This is almost as much fun as shopping on the internet, but there’s no credit card required!!
missjunebug’s boards include My Style which reflects fashion preferences, a couple on food (healthy recs “Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not Too Much” and a semi-healthy mega-delicious one entitled “Splurges, Indulgences, and Extravagances” with delicious pics of all those craved only-every-once–in-a-while treats missjunebug can’t live without. What else? Home Decor featuring wished for things for the Hacienda. Tangible Philosophies, a thought-provoking collection of smart things people have mused about and displayed in the most interesting of ways.
missjunebug is sure you get the idea behind Pinterest. Pin pics to your heart’s content, explore the interests of others, and get altogether inspired by the great ideas out there being pinned and repinned. Cool x 10. Thanks to missjunebug’s friend Rox and her friend for recommending this website. Oh, and speaking of friends one of the coolest parts of Pinterest is following your friend’s interests! Double good fun fo sho.
Now just imagine a website pinning up Design Finds from all over the world that are for sale from $1 to $10,000 or more. Credit card required! If you get a little weary of living in the potential world of fun finds from pinning on Pinterest, move over to Fab.com to do some serious shopping in many interesting marketplaces including ones for fashionistas to foodies and everything in between. missjunebug just made her first purchase of a cool waterproof winter jacket for upcoming travel to the Stans! Yeah, those Stans: Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan! She will be warm and dry no matter the weather there! If you’re a fan of the bargain find on Amazon.com you’ll love the hunt for design finds on Fab.com.
missjunebug wishes you Happy Pinning on Pinterest and Divine Design Find Shopping on Fab.com!
missjunebug does not take the word nonpareil lightly. Non-pareil means “having no equal” and “unrivaled.” Pretty strong words to live up to. But that’s exactly what Trader Joe’s 73% Belgian Dark Chocolate Non-Pareils are: nonpareil.
Two ingredients, endless deliciousness. The chocolate is super dark, super smooth and chocolately and the white sprinkles will remind you of all the (inferior) nonpareils you scarfed down as a kid. These TJ nonpareils leave the ones of missjunebug’s youth in the dustbin of history, to borrow a phrase from Dubya.
Walk, no run to your local Trader Joe’s and buy a bunch of these candies. Especially if you’ve already managed to eat your way through your Valentine’s Day candy from yesterday. Come one, you know you have. And you’ve got to love the marketing brilliance of measuring out Belgium Dark Chocolate in such precise percentages. missjunebug for sure would pass on 72% Belgian Dark Chocolate Non-Pareils. Who wouldn’t? You gotta have 73%!
Thanks, Trader Joe’s, for another great product. missjunebug thinks that 3 of these gems for 110 calories is a bargain even Weight Watchers would approve. Satisfaction guaranteed!
missjunebug has decided to write her missive about Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day Eve. Pourquoi? (the requisite bon mot of French for V-Day) you may ask?
Because tomorrow missjunebug will be way, way, way too busy scarfing down See’s Candies Strawberry Creams and swilling Frexinet Champagne in that sexy-chic and sleek black bottle and swirling her new Jennifer Miller Jewelry faux (another Français bon mot!!!) diamond-size seven-yellow gold bracelet around her wrist that she ordered for Mr.JB to give her (natch!), to be bothered with anything wordpressy and tedious.
missjunebug has mixed feelings about V-Day what with all the commercial hoop-la, Lifetime cry-fest movies, and rom-coms littering the airwaves, streaming bands of Netflix, and guilty pleasure-rented iPad movies. (missjunebugTip: Skip Blue Valentine with Gosling and Williams: triple downer on steroids, but an excellent film–save it for a dark and stormy winter’s night. But if you do choose to watch it –even though the title alone should scare you off–have Jane Eyre (2011) or Pride & Prejudice (any version will do) or Downton Abbey Season One waiting in the wings for an emotional uplift because you are going to need it after BV).
missjunebug’s bottom Valentine line is it’s all about LOVE.
So how do we fall back into LOVE if our Sweetie Pies (MrJB for mjb) have been with us for 30+ years??? missjunebug has done thousands and thousands of loads of laundry, washing the Jockey t-shirts and underwear (eww: skid marks!) of her SP about a kagillion times, fixed countless sometimes-inspired meals, (sometimes not), made the bed every morning (or at least her half of the bed, because mjb must admit, her SP makes his half–thanks Mr.JB), planned social outings because somehow that task falls to her most of the time, and even set the queue for their streaming evening entertainment (no more WWII movies puhleeze, Mr.JB; missjunebug is currently partial to French subtitled rom-coms, a cut above the American ones–except for any American-made rom-com with her guilty crush AplusK. (sigh). Sorry Demi, you did the one thing that can’t be allowed a woman in Hollywood married to a (much) younger man: you got old. missjunebug so does not envy you this V-Day.
But missjunebug digresses. How to get the LOVE back into a mature marriage? That is the V-Day question. And here are missjunebug’s super practical, maybe no-fail mjbTips to help you just do it. After all, LOVE is a verb, an action, (mjb’s Master’s in English pays off big time) and that will make all the difference.
1. Say a prayer every night thanking God for your man. missjunebug has a dear friend who recently lost hers and believe mjb when she says that is NO picnic. Her dear friend is shouldering on, but the thing is, she no longer has a solid, manly man shoulder to lean on. Think about that the next time you start mentally nagging your SP. At least he is THERE to listen to your nagging if you have the temerity to vocalize it. mjb advice: Stifle the nagging. It is a guaranteed marriage and romance buzzkill. Don’t ever, ever go there. A) It doesn’t work. B) It’s rude as well as unkind and (mostly) unwarranted. and C) It doesn’t work. You’re a smart cookie. Figure out a way to politely cajole or do the damn thing yourself that has to get done…remember LOVE is also a verb, not just a noun. Okay, so say that prayer of gratitude to soften you naggy attitude. You won’t regret it, and God and your help-meet with appreciate it. Guaranteed.
2. Be happy to plan the social outings. You know all your girlfriends are having to do the same thing, too, so have some fun with it and double date or triple date. mjb has two dear friends + hubs that she and her Mr.JB celebrate New Year’s Eve with every year. No better place to be than in one of their homes, drinking champagne (or martinis–triple olives, please), and popping Poppers when the clock strikes twelve and poor old Dick Clark gets rolled out again on his taxidermy stand to wish us all a Happy New Year‘s. Fun times x 6!!! So bust out that calendar, email, text, tweet, or call your married friends or solid single friends–don’t invite problems with unattached women you can’t trust–because our silver fox men are looking better and wealthier every year! True dat. And make some fun plans to do something, anything that shakes up the routine a bit. A movie, a dinner and a movie, a museum date, a local play, a music experience, a quick stroll around the outlet malls (okay, maybe not so quick), a walk along the beach or in your own neighborhood! Many, many fun things to do if you’re willing to make the initial move. Just do it!
3. Praise your husband to your children. You loved ’em and nurtured ’em unconditionally, but your SP taught them how to be wonderful men and women. ElderJB and TinyJB don’t spend much time referencing what they learned from their mom missjunebug, but you can bet Mr.JB gets mentioned repeatedly in sentences that begin: I remember Dad said… I remember Dad did this.. I remember everything I every learned from Dad and just now I’m beginning to appreciate his profound wisdom as a man, husband, father, friend, breadwinner, spiritual leader, and all round great and ethical human being. So say ElderJB and TinyJB. So says missjunebug. So say we all.
4. Keep buying you SP’s wardrobe and sending those shirts to the cleaners-you know you’ll never get around to ironing all of them so don’t kid yourself! Keep your man well-clothed and encourage the occasional haircut, eyebrow trim, and nose and ear ream-out. Speaking of ream-outs. Get him in for his colonoscopy asap if he hasn’t had one yet! This kind of maintenance is absolutely essential for a full and fun second half of life. And throw in a physical with a good internist while you are at it. Encourage good grooming and exercise to maintain your SP in tip-top shape. Who benefits? He does, of course. But so do you!
5. Feed you man according to the Michael Pollan/Mark Bittman plan. Food does matter so “eat food, mostly plants, not too much.” And throw in a little red wine for good measure. One of mjb and Mr.JB’s faves? Monogamy Cabernet Sauvignon featured on a previous mjb blog post! But choose his fave and you can’t go wrong. Cheers!
Are there other tips? Keep things interesting in the bedroom. A little lovely lacey and racey lingerie never hurt (missjunebug must try this herself sometime!). Surprise him every once in a while with an interesting story, an amusing anecdote, or just a line or two from the newspaper you can quote to him. Have both of you listen to NPR together in the morning as you prepare for your day…lots of good stories to talk and debate about that are always in the news. Listen to Marketplace.org for some fun and scary facts about our economy! Our local NPR station KCLU 88.3 has the best local coverage, too, for Ventura County so you get triple benefit with news, weather, and traffic reports. This year Mr.JB and mjb donated some funds and received excellent seats to see Yo Yo Ma, master cellist, up in Santa Barbara in April. What a great cause to support and what a great gift in return! Thanks KCLU and program director Mary Olsen. Sweet x 88.3.
Other mjbTips? Just love him up before he leaves the house with a big hug and love him up with a big hug when he comes home. It’s rough out there, and our SPs are not getting any younger, better maybe, but not younger. Somehow what they’re up against, is younger, faster, hipper, and much more technologically expert, so fortify them with hugs infused with LOVE and encouragement.
Are you back in love with your SP yet? No? Okay, then think of all the reasons you married him in the first place, and yeah, you picked him!! That’s a really good thing to remember!
Is he sweet? funny? kind? adventurous? smart? capable? loving? spiritual? giving? cute? handsome? (lucky you! But missjunebug will take intelligence over looks any day of the week and twice on Sundays! just mjb’s pref.) or all of the above? (even luckier you!). In other words, remember why you fell in love with him and want to be in love with him again. It’s all still there, you just have to take the time to discover it again.
And remember what Rhianna wisely sings, “I found love in a hopeless place…I found love in a hope-less place.”
You can too! Now go give your man a big Valentine’s Eve hug and an even bigger one tomorrow!
missjunebug had the pleasure of greeting her JBBigBro today in her own driveway! Yes! He made the trip from way back east and south, from Dallas, (missjunebug’s darlin’, darlin’ Dallas) for a little visit and caregiving. Thanks, Larry! You rule! And thanks to missjunebug’s fab sis-in-law who helped think up this crazy, brilliant idea!
missjunebug doesn’t just have any JBBigBro; she has the best BigBro in the world. He is beyond kind, super interesting to talk to, knows all things architectural, being an A.I.A. guy in the architect biz for close to forever, well-read, talented in the kitchen, and just the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet. As those near and dear to him can attest, he is a wonderful husband, devoted to his “bride” as he still calls her (40+ years later!!! No lie!!–No starter marriage, either), terrific father of two terrific kids, and doting grandfather (Pops) of two of the most delightful grandkidlets on Planet Earth (Shout-out! to Carly and Christopher). Oh wait, missjunebug forgot to mention: He is the best JBBigBro EVER.
missjunebug won’t bore you with the details of their idyllic and tortured childhoods–you know how childhoods are! Suffice to say they had fun playing in the backyard, chasing the Dallas Transit bus down their block in a game called “Beat the Bus,” raising chickens in their side yard, only to take them back to their aunt’s farm for the final day of reckoning and some outstanding homemade chicken noodle soup (Zuck, eat your heart out–we killed our own meat, too), heading to the Texas State Fair every October for Czech Day and family fun.
One of the most obsessive preoccupations missjunebug shared with her JBBigBro was collecting all the brochures of all the new car designs from the fab Auto Show in the Automobile Building (natch!) at the Fair, hauling them home, and cutting out pictures of the cars to set up their own car lots! Their dad Red was in the auto body repair business (35 years! Red’s Body Shop, Garland Rd, Dallas, Texas!!) so somehow this low, low tech game made perfect sense to them. What to do when their cars got into the inevitable wrecks which took place on the card deck highways? Straighten out those crimped bumpers between the pages of some really heavy World Book Encyclopedias, of course! It did the trick every time and those paper (doll!) cars were right back on the card deck highways trekking through their modest living room! Fun x 10!!
missjunebug and her BigBro have been inseparable (metaphorically) ever since. He is her Rock and her Mainstay. He is her JBBigBro. And she thanks God for him everyday (and thanks her divine JBSis-in-Law for the loan of him this week!)
missjunebug has been thinking a lot lately about the little tidbits of information she picks up that are really helpful and sometimes even inspiring. A few weeks ago she was reminded of something super useful and informative by, of all people, her pastor! Thanks, Pastor J. for re-introducing missjunebug to that most awesome of websites: TED: Ideas Worth Spreading. She had let that site fall off her radar for too long. While her time was well spent watching the talk by Karen Armstrong on the Twelve Steps to Compassion (a most worthwhile read) that she presented as a winner of the TED prize, missjunebug has had fun just rediscovering the wonderful talks available throughout the site. Today she listened to one entitled The Magnificence of Spider Silk. And believe missjunebug when she says spider silk is truly awesome. You can find out for yourself at TED talks! There are so many great talks to choose from, missjunebug guarantees you will never be without access to fascinating info you can use and muse about.
Another nifty set of notions missjunebug gleaned this week from the Hoda and Kathy Lee hour of the Today show. mjb checks in on this fun hour from time to time and the other day it was pretty worthwhile for the 10 Secrets of Happy Women presented by a couple of gals from Prevention Magazine. In brief here’s missjunebug’s interpretation of them:
Don’t rain on your own parade. Instead, wallow in happiness like those pigs in…well…you know.
Avoid glass half empty thinking even if you think you’re hard-wired to be missdarkside. Try missbrightside instead. You may have to work at it but it’s worth it to raise your happiness quotient.
Give yourself some attagirls (or attaboys!) for the accomplishments you’ve…accomplished.
Relive and repeat the happy stuff to create a happiness that continues to echo…echo…echo. missjunebug thinks this may especially apply to travel. Sometimes the best part of a trip is reminiscing about it after you get back.
How about comparing yourself downward? By way of this the two Prevention ladies told this two sentence story. An uprooted tree lands on your shiny new car! AT least you’re not IN the car. This may just be a variation on the Glass Half Full philosophy but missjunebug likes the idea of making the best of a pesky situation.
And missjunebug’s personal fav: Get absorbed in the FLOW, that most profound of mind states that manifest when you are truly absorbed in an activity you love doing. Kind of like how missjunebug feels right now writing this little post. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyiha had it all going on when he came up with this research. Check out his book Flow if you don’t believe missjunebug.
Okay, so maybe missjunebug didn’t get all 10 of the secrets but she has a few of her own:
Read poetry. As G. Keillor says, “Poetry is church.” Amen to that.
Walk in the early morning like Mr.JB does. As H.D. Thoreau says, “An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”
Have a little treat everyday. As missjunebug says, “Even Weight Watchers allows this!”
Say a prayer before you sleep. And rest easy as God holds you in the palm of His hand.
missjunebug has been thinking about writing things down lately. She’s started her usual lists for this time of year–Thanksgiving pie ingredients, Christmas presents for her side of the family and Mr.JB’s side of the family, seasonal chores to do–you get the idea. She’s been especially taken by a program on her fab little MacPro called Things that keeps her on task and productive. It contains EVERYTHING a person needs to succeed in, to borrow a phrase from David Allen, getting things done!
If you know D.A. you’ll readily see the way in which Things meshes perfectly with the Getting Things Done precepts. And it’s fun!
If you find yourself in search of some order in your goal setting and a way of tracking your progress, missjunebug assures you that you can’t go wrong with Things. She wants to give a shout out to ElderJB who got her started using Things! Thanks, ElderJB! Good on you!
Of course, you can always set your default to The Paper List when your computer isn’t handy! It’s small, simple, portable, and check-off-able! missjunebug is a big proponent of all things Occam’s Razor -y!
Another fun internet site to set your sights on for list making is www.43things.com. You can make your own goal list or be inspired by others! Think of this as good preparation for those New Year’s Resolutions which are just a blink away!
missjunebug knows you know the rest. She was running a few errands today, a Saturday, something she almost never does since she has the leisure to shop during the week when 90% of the world is working give or take a per cent or two. And what does she find at her local mall? A FULL sign on level one of the parking garage. No way! She circled up to level two where she usually parks where there were only 56 spaces available out of hundreds. No way!
Lucky for missjunebug she found an open one! Now Level Two was down to 55 spaces!
missjunebug was on a mission! She was buying a birthday gift card for a friend and a wedding present for a lovely niece, but the people she was bumping into had already polished off the Halloween candy and dashed right to the Christmas stocking. And stocking up they were! Perhaps this is a good sign for the economic doldrums the country’s been navigating through for three years give or take a year. (Check out Margin Call with Kevin Spacey if you need a refresh about how we ended up in those econodoldrums.)
But missjunebug digresses.
Back to the madcap shopping going on at her mall: she was hardly in the mood for it. Why? She’d just watched Skipping Christmas the day before. Yes, you read that right. She watched her first Christmas movie on the 4th day of November while she was baking cookies for a church event–one unrelated to holiday cheer.
missjunebug is just not ready for the seasonal whimsy quite yet! And if you are at all familiar with John Grisham‘s little homage to Christmas…spoiler alert…believe missjunebug when she says in the filmed version despite what the title promises, the Kranks played by Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis most definitely do not skip Christmas.
Not that missjunebug would really want to. She’d just like to ask for a delay of game! At least tonight she can fall back an hour on the clock postponing the frenzied inevitable.
What was the first thing missjunebug did on her BIG 6-0 B-Day? Checked her Facebook page, natch. As much as she complains about the invasive nature of media, technology, i-this, and i-that devices (of which she owns all the them–thanks to Secular Prophet S.J. (may you R.I.P.), she couldn’t wait to see who offered up to her Birthday Greetings from around the country. She loved reading every last one of them! From elementary school friends she hasn’t seen in decades to church friends to close friends, to dear family flung far and wide, it was a thoroughly delightful way to start her 6-0 B-day. Whatever did she do before Facebook? Thanks, Zuck Dawg for this amazing, invasive, confounding, delightful tool of communication without which missjunebug’s life would be socially impoverished fo sho. And thanks to all my fbfriends for fond birthday greetings. And, hey, missjunebug even got some email greetings, text-mail, phone calls, and cards IN THE MAIL!!! with sweet wishes, too. Special thanks to those who took the time to write in cursive (dying art!) their greetings. Life is good. Life is good, indeed.
As for sixty? It sucks.
As one of her dear fb/church friends said: “This year 6 wins, 0 losses.” missjunebug loves this idea so much so that she’s figured out what those future wins should be:
missjunebugWin#1: Continued Good Health with the C-word a distant memory.
missjunebugWin#2: Living in the Now, just like Eckhart said. No past. No future. Now. Now. Now.
missjunebugWin#3: Loving neighbor/other as self, just like J.C. said. He is missjunebug’s homeboy.
missjunebug’s Win#4: Cherish family and friends forever, just like Facebook says: Stay connected, but missjunebug suggests,”Do it in person!”
missjunebug’s Win#5: Cash in those airline miles and resort points and travel often and open-minded. missjunebug’s dear Mr.JB and she head for Central Asia and Australia in 2012. STANS, here they come for the Transit of Venus! And Aussies, fire up the barbie and the Total Solar Eclipse! Fun times to come in the big 6-0!
missjunebug’s Win #6: Continue to write her little bug heart out on missjunebug.com for fun, for learning, for legacy! She hopes you’ll continue to check in with her from time to time!
missjunebug should probably be booted from blogging for that post title, but oh well. She has a few observations and recommendations that don’t really deserve more than a passing mention so she’s lumping them all together in a pretty disorganized media miscellany. So here goes:
She finds it pretty cool that Ken Burn’s new PBS documentary Prohibition is airing in close proximity to the new season for HBO‘s acclaimed series Boardwalk Empire. Sometimes the stars and planets align perfectly to provide delight. Most poignant scene in B.E‘s first episode? The Great War’s veteran and partner to upstart Jimmy Darmody tucked away in his room meticulously cutting out pictures of happy families from magazines and carefully glueing them into his scrapbook of Impossible Dreams for a Normal Life (missjunebug’s title!). Not likely to happen with half a face. Heartwrench!
Speaking of heartwrench: AplusK plus Mrs.Kutcher no more? To quote Project Runway’s Nina Garcia, “It’s just so sad!” But missjunebug will take AplusK’s advice and not assume anything! She hopes for the best for both. And she’d like to remind the gossips and the media stalkers of this powerful celebrity duo of the wise Jewish proverb: “What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t invent with your tongue.”
missjunebug’s fav cooking series on HGTV worth a look: Chopped! hosted by one of the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy guys. The money part of the show? The competition is completed in just one hour! No need to watch week after week to see who wins. missjunebug knows you know how many talent/reality HGTV shows use the tune-in-forever-to-figure-out-who-wins format. Annoying x 10. The chefs in Chopped! have wack ingredients for three menu items: appetizer, entree, and dessert. And voila! A loser is mercilessly chopped round by round until there’s one chef standing. All within one hour! Brilliant!
New series actor not to be missed? Zooey Deschanel on New Girl. What a quirky, lovable character she plays! missjunebug suspects she is not working against type in playing the zany Jess. The beauty part to missjunebug is that she’s playing a teacher who is not too cool for school like that red meanie Sue Sylvester! Jess’s just right! And so is Z. Deschanel.
Best movie bet: Moneyball with Brad Pitt. missjunebug is a football fan from way, way back; baseball? not so much. But Moneyball is about thinking outside the box or the baseline, not baseball per se. It also doesn’t hurt to see it at the local Muvico with her p.i.c. in luxe seats while eating free popcorn and drinking a Pilsner glass full of Stella. Oh. my. yes. Time well spent. missjunebug’s SAG vote for best male performance in a film in 2011 will mos def go to Mr. Pitt.
One last popular goings-on: The new exhibit at missjunebug’s and Mr.JB’s fav museum: The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. The curators here must have a direct line to Beijing and Xian because they’ve done it again putting together a rad collection of Chinese artifacts in their new show Warriors, Tombs, and Temples. missjunebug has one word for it: AWESOME. Find out all you need to know about W,T & T at www.bowers.org. Take a walk through Chinese history wending your way from the cruel Qin to the civilizing Han through the talented Tang dynasty. The audio tour is erudite but accessible; the artifacts, from the Xian terracotta warriors to the containers for the Buddha’s finger bone are fierce! Don’t miss this!
One last thing: Before Ocktoberfest ends, have a pretzel! Drink a beer! Eat a brat! missjunebug had the good fortune to enjoy homemade pretzels made by her inspired Mr.JB who just returned from Munich where he imbibed with the rest of the Ocktoberfesters! So get your Pretzel On!
missjunebug and her Mr.JB are heading out for a cruise adventure soon on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner. Destination: Mediterranean! She’s been busy as a bee (mixed simile since she’s a junebug!) selecting her wardrobe and thinking about the different philosophies out there regarding packing for trips.
One of her acquaintances explained how she packed for a recent trip two-week trip to Paris: twenty-two inches of carry-on only. What was her secret? Only two pairs of shoes-walking and dress, a few neutral pants and tops, one dress, and lots and lots of scarves to make each outfit look fresh and new.
Hmmm. In Paris with only two pairs of shoes? That is strictly against missjunebug’s fashionista principles. Part of the fun of the trip is the planning, anticipation, and pairing of shoes and accessories with outfits missjunebug feels good in! What’s the point of strolling down the Champs Elysees if you feel like a schlumpadink in infinitely recycled pants and tops and a few sad scarves! missjunebug appreciates the lightness of being a 22″ case affords the traveler, but give her the almost infinite capacity of her rolling duffle and Tumi wardrobe bag any day!
Another of her acquaintances created a brilliant system using Ziploc bags. One outfit per day including the underwear, bagged, zipped, ready to go. On her way to her morning shower, she grabs a Ziploc and voila! She is set! Fortunately for her, she’s svelte and her size 0-1 clothing is tiny to begin with so it easily fits into a Ziploc bag. missjunebug would need a trash size bag for her size 8/10’s! While she admires this packing system, her acquaintance occasionally finds she has underpacked since she only allows herself one Ziploc bag per day per trip. If something unusual comes up, she’s short clothes! This is tragic to missjunebug because her packing system relies on one very important one-word principle:
Yes, missjunebug takes plenty of shoes, scarves, jewelry, shirts, pants, dresses, swimsuits, wraps, work-out togs, jackets, and p.j.s to pick and choose from! Why? Two reasons: She’s got a generous weight limit (50 lbs. per two bag limit)–why not use it? and she’s a bug of many moods–what she might feel like wearing one day will simply not necessarily work for another day. That’s a fact of human psychology and believe her when she says fashion and dress are filled with psychological pay-offs and pitfalls. Just watch one episode of Gossip Girl if you don’t believe her!
Soooo, missjunebug will be filling her bags to the brim and enjoying the infinite combinations her packing plan affords!
missjunebug has been kickin’ it in the P.D. (That’s Palm Desert to the uninitiated) so she is way behind on catching up with her little blog-o-sphere contributions. Charles Dickens had a charming way of saying the same thing: “A little behind his time” (plaintively spoken by Mrs. Crachit in A Christmas Carol when referring to the future Tiny Tim-less devoted father and husband Mr. Crachit) (Fortunately, the distinctly tragic event of Tiny Tim’s demise did not come to pass thanks to Scrooge’s 180!)–not meaning out of step, just late a few.
missjunebug always seems to be late a few and she blames it on no bell schedule. As a former teacher she adhered to a strict code of on-timeness which she has long since abandoned in retirement. She’s not a flagrant violator; she just runs a little behind her time ALL the time. So shoot her. She just doesn’t care. No. Wait a minute. She does care and she will try to do better at a future time. Especially in keeping up with her little blog-o-sphere contributions. Who wants to open up missjunebug.com and find the Mother’s Day homage still hanging around when it’s practically Father’s Day.
missjunebug thanks you for your patience and hopes her five fans do not give up on her. She will write more unless she gets a little behind her time.
missjunebug is slowly emerging from her Easter-candy-induced sugar coma. She is thankful for all things sweet and good, especially her Mr.JB, ElderJB, and TinyJB. Oh, and See’s Chocolate-Covered Marshmallow Eggs, she’s thankful for those, too. She managed to draw the line at the Deep-Fried Peeps!
missjunebug hopes you had a wonderful Easter/Passover/Celebrate Spring Holiday. Now it’s back to clean eating and occasional exercising. All things in moderation!