Tag Archives: Things Without Which mjb Cannot Live

This Day, A Bouquet

So missjunebug hosted a new member reception at her church last Sunday. Her gig on the Welcoming Committee (aka Evangelism Committee) has been a long one at Holy Trinity htlcto.org, but a fun one. Still it may be time to turn this task over to enthusiastic (read: younger) members, soon.

But on this particular Sunday, she had some fun using her dear (departed) mom’s cheery, cherry tablecloths from the 50s. Vintage plus! And she found these sweet blossoms at Gelson’s for the centerpiece.  Add cookies and brownies and fruit and other goodies all  contributed by some super awesome ladies of Holy Trinity and she’s pretty sure even God would have said “And it was good.”

missjunebug thinks these vivid pinky red flowerets are about the cutest blossoms she’s ever seen. She can’t remember their weird name, but no matter! She knows just where to find them.

IMG_6791

Philosophy for the Uninitiated

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sa...
Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio, 1509, showing Plato (left) and Aristotle (right) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanks to TinyJB, missjunebug recently checked out the website/podcast The Partially Examined Life at partiallyexaminedlife.com. What a fun bunch of smarty pants guys. Mark, Seth, Wes, and Dylan are equal parts irreverent, serious, hilarious, analytical, erudite, and absolutely entertaining.

Plus they have great voices. This matters in a podcast! Especially one you plan to listen to on a regular basis.

Readings are recommended with each philosopher (partially) examined, but take it from missjunebug, they are not essential to deriving some useful information that just might improve your understanding of life, meaning, and the monad. (Okay, for that last one you’ll just have to listen to the podcast on Liebniz.)

Here’s what the winsome foursome have to say for themselves on their website:

The Partially Examined Life is a philosophy podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living but then thought better of it. Each episode, we pick a text and chat about it with some balance between insight and flippancy. You don’t have to know any philosophy, or even to have read the text we’re talking about to (mostly) follow and (hopefully) enjoy the discussion. 

(missjunebug loves her some writers who know how to use the parenthetical word or two)

In homage to the philosopher who inspires the name of their blog, the boys begin with Plato’s Apology where Socrates makes as strong case for self-examination as Mark Zuckerberg does for selfies on Facebook. If you are a seeker, a questioner, or a wonderer, check out one of the many podcast episodes on partiallyexaminedlife.com. There are over one hundred to choose from or you can do what missjunebug is doing and begin at the beginning with Plato and his man Socrates.

Perhaps, you will come to agree with Plato that “Wonder is the feeling of the philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder.”

Thoughts on the New Year

Wow! 2015! missjunebug is surprised to still be here! She is officially a five-year survivor of Ovarian Cancer AND a five-year writer of her little blog. Fortunately, most of the posts here have assiduously and intentionally avoided the subject of OC which is best handled elsewhere on the internet and have instead focused on a merry miscellany of raves, rants, reviews, recipes, and any other serendipitously selected subjects that crossed her mind and buoyed her spirits. She’s looking forward to more posting fun in 2015 that her readers (all 8 of them!) will enjoy and she’s hoping to be around to ring in 2016!

In the meantime, missjunebug has set for herself a few minimalist resolutions that she’s ready to get, well, resolute about!

missjunebug’s Minimalist Resolutions for 2015: missjunebug resolves

1. to write one sentence a day in her awesome Mr. Boddington’s Studio five-year journal. She’s sure her Master’s Degree in English will help her construct loaded compound-complex sentences that are information rich but space saving! This nifty little memory keeper has a delightful, colorful cover and fun graphics on each page. Inspiring! Simple! Doable!

Mr. Boddington's Studio Rocks! Photo by mjb2015
Mr. Boddington’s Studio Rocks! Photo by mjb2015

2.  to strap that Fitbit back on to track how few or how many steps she’s taking each day. No goals. No required 10,000 steps–although she does love seeing that little digital sign light up!!! She’s just going to let the Fitbit keep track and see what happens.

3. to scale back getting on her Aria (Fitbit connected scale) to once a week. No more daily obsessing.

4. to get small where food prep is concerned by exploring the fab recipes in her new The Complete Cooking for Two cookbook by those nerdist foodies at America’s Test Kitchen. She’s tired of eating Ree Drummond‘s Cowboy Spaghetti casserole for two weeks running–it’s just too much for two! and she’s disenchanted (and slightly revolted) by all the mysterious containers of leftovers lurking in the frig.

It takes two! Photo by mjb2015
It takes two! Photo by mjb2015

5. to be a gym drop out. Bucking the new year January trend, she just canceled her membership because, Surprise! she never went anyway, so what’s the point of pretending that she’s ever going! More power to those of you who can actually get in your cars and drive to your gym, saddle up machines and lift dumbbells (nuf said).

6. to put into action The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, a truly life-changing look at the stuff of life. missjunebug promises not to roll her socks into an ugly ball, but to fold them gently, pat them, and thank them for all their hard work!

7. to keep a Moleskine Book Journal (Thanks ElderJB and his lovely bride CBjb (Ciao Bella!)) so she can remember what the heck she read all year! Simple one-page entries will help her hit the highlights and assure herself she’s making progress, exercising brain cells, and learning to be a more empathetic human being. Yes! That’s what good literature does. NPR says so!

Super Smart Moleskine! Photo by mjb2015
Super Smart Moleskine! Photo by mjb2015
Make a Note, a Book Note! Photo by mjb2015
Make a Note, a Book Note! Photo by mjb2015

8. to put that “more epathetic human being” to good use in the world by being kind first and saving pissed off for later or maybe never.

mjbTip: Make some of your own minimal resolutions for maximal success! Happy 2015!

missjunebug’s Latest Love: Bottega Louie

Bottega Louie has it going on. Photo by mjb2014
Bottega Louie has it going on. Photo by mjb2014

“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:

A patisserie in Los Angeles worthy of Paris! Photo by mjb2014
A patisserie in Los Angeles worthy of Paris! Photo by mjb2014

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:

Oh. my. yes. De. Licious. Photo by mjb2014
Oh. my. yes. De. Licious. Photo by mjb2014

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

Daniel Caudill Knows Scheiße from Shinola

missjunebug has a fine time reading the Wall Street Journal‘s “20 Odd Questions” column. Recently she ran across the quirky 20-question interview WSJ had with Daniel Caudill of Shinola. As Creative Director of this upstart luxury made-in-America timepiece company, Mr. Caudill has some strong faith in the well-made thing. At Shinola said thing currently include a few things: watches, leather goods, bicycles, and some other odds and ends like doggie leashes.

Watches-traditional
Watches-traditional (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There were many things revealed in the interview that piqued missjunebug’s interest. Obviously, she likes his name: Daniel. That’s TinyJB’s non-internet nom! And she relates directly to his birth sign: Libra. He claims it accounts for his wanting “to make everything really pretty.” missjunebug thinks this is a worthwhile ambition in what can otherwise be a very gritty world.

His fave getaway? A spot near the Russian River in northern Cali. Cool. And his weakness? Milk chocolate! missjunebug actually considers this a strength! Mr. Caudill probably has a charming disposition because of such a fine junk-food/treat selection. And did missjunebug mention that Mr. Caudill’s object of desire if money were no object is an apartment in Paris? That’s mjb kind of thinking! Sans doute! 

But what she really found encouraging about Mr. Caudill is his fresh thinking. He wants to help make some stuff in the United States! Imagine manufacturing a luxury watch line in Detroit! Unheard of! Well, Daniel C. and the team at Shinola are doing just that! And believe missjunebug when she says these watches are fine! (Her fab Shinola timepiece is on its way from Nordie’s as she writes!)

How great that Mr. Caudill’s big time (pun intended) obsession is quality construction. Add to that the American-made obsession and triple good things can happen. Mr. C. definitely knows Scheiße from Shinola. This new iteration of an iconic American company will polish off any doubts that homegrown manufacturing is permanently stalled. Shinola is Good for the country! Good for the repurposed workers of Detroit! Good for the consumer (including mjb!). Three cheers for Shinola and the fab Mr.C!

missjunebug’s Yes! Yeast Rolls!

White Cow's Shadow Sneaks In On Unsuspecting Yes! Yeast Rolls! Photo by mjb2014
White Cow’s Shadow Sneaks In On Unsuspecting Yes! Yeast Rolls! Photo by mjb2014

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 erratic inconsistent 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!

Long live the Yes! Yeast Roll!

Golden Brown Rounds of Yeasty Goodness! Photo by mjb2014
Golden Brown Rounds of Yeasty Goodness! Photo by mjb2014
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One Acre Fund + AmazonSmile = Easy Peasy Donation!

Rwanda and Burundi, with surrounding countries...
Rwanda and Burundi, with surrounding countries highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

missjunebug is a fervent supporter of oneacrefund.org, the NGO ElderJB and his lovely bride work for. Their motto: Farmers First! If you’d like to read about the work of One Acre Fund, check out the book by Roger Turow entitled The Hunger Season which tells the story of the NGO’s work in Kenya. That work has been expanded way beyond Kenyan borders to include Rwanda, Burundi, and new pilot projects in other East African countries as well.

Which brings missjunebug to this nifty announcement by One Acre Fund she received in her email today. Check it out:

SUPPORT ONE ACRE FUND WHILE SHOPPING AT AMAZON.COM

When you make your Amazon purchases through AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5 percent of the price of eligible purchases to your preferred charitable organization, at no additional cost to you. Support our farm families just by shopping for the items you already want to buy!

missjunebug is a huge fan of Amazon.com for purchasing just about everything and now she can help out her fave a hand-up, not a hand-out organization: One Acre Fund.  Doubtless, a double good win-win for missjunebug and the awesome farmers of East Africa!

Woo to the hoo x 10!

mjbTip: Try smile.amazon.com and donate to your fave organization! If you use Google Chrome you can even download a one-click button that will take you directly to AmazonSmile to make your everyday Amazon purchases. That .5% will add up quickly with your help!

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Texas-Style BBQ in SoCali: Dickey’s Barbecue Pit

A Plateful of Wonderful! Photo by mjb2014
A Plateful of Wonderful! Photo by mjb2014

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!

Brisket in the beef cut chart.
Brisket in the beef cut chart. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's Looking Up at Dickey's! Photo by mjb2014
Things are Looking Up at Dickey’s! Photo by mjb2014
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missjunebug turns a New Page: Wisdom Words

The Canongate Wall façade of the parliamentary...
The Canongate Wall façade of the parliamentary complex has quotations inscribed onto pieces of rock. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

so missjunebug thought it would be fun and inspiring to begin a new page on her little blog:

Wisdom Words

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)!

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Reading: Its Own Reward

Book of the Decade! Photo by mjb2014
Book of the Decade! Photo by mjb2014

“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!

Now missjunebug is moving on to The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame. Should be good!

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!”

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Short Post: Worth Reading

Out fo a nice Kayak Morning...
Out fo a nice Kayak Morning… (Photo credit: BenSpark)

 

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.

 

Attributed to Philo

 

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Welcome October!

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:

A Wheelbarrow Full of Pumpkin Fun! Photo by mjb2013
A Wheelbarrow Full of Pumpkin Fun! Photo by mjb2013

 

Ghost pumpkins! So spooky the orange ones cower! Photo by mjb2013
Ghost pumpkins! So spooky the orange ones cower! Photo by mjb2013

 

Pumpkins almost as far as the eye can see! Photo by mjb2013
Pumpkins almost as far as the eye can see! Photo by mjb2013

 

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):

missjunebug’s Not-So-Scary Monster Cookies

Full Recipe

1 dozen eggs

2 lbs brown sugar

4 cups granulated sugar

1 T. vanilla

2 T. Karo syrup

8 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 lb. butter

3 lbs. peanut butter

18 cups Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats

1 lb. M&Ms

12 0z. semi-sweet chocolate chips

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:

Half Recipe

6 eggs

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!

Throw all the ingredients in a big bowl! Photo by mjb2013
Throw all the ingredients in a big bowl! Photo by mjb2013

 

Form a big cookie using a couple of tablespoons. Photo by mjb2013
Form a big cookie using a couple of tablespoons. Photo by mjb2013

 

Cook until crisp and cool! Delicious! Photo by mjb2013
Cook until crisp and cool! Delicious! Photo by mjb2013

 

mjbTip: Go out and have some fall fun! Welcome October indeed!

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Black-Eyed Peas = Good Eating and Good Luck!

 

Check out these Black-Eyed Peas in the Pod!!! Photo by mjb2013
Check out these Black-Eyed Peas in the Pod!!! Photo by mjb2013

missjunebug had a fine time recently at Underwood Family Farm in Moorpark playing Farmer-for-the-Day! It’s black-eyed pea pickin’ season and the good people at Underwood have rows and rows of bushy black-eyed pea plants just waiting for pick-your-own peeps to drop by and fill up their bags with these beautiful peas famous in the South. They even have a restaurant named after them! Yes! The Black-Eyed Pea! A pretty decent place to eat all your southern faves when you’re in the South: cornbread, okra, collard greens, black-eyed peas (natch!), fried chicken, and, well you get the idea.

missjunebug donned her straw hat, hiking boots, old jeans, hiking shirt, and super bright orange garden gloves in preparation for taking on row after row of pea plants. She garnered four bags full o’ peas ripe for the shelling. Picking is really the easy part. Once she got home, she had to start the labor intensive task of shelling each individual black-eyed pea pod and popping out those beautiful peas. Fun times!

She’s still got a few (hundred!) to go, but she’s managed to Zip-loc lots of peas for the deep freeze. missjunebug will have plenty to eat on New Year’s Day 2014, making sure she covers her year with good luck by eating black-eyed peas that day, one for every day of good luck! Okay, not really. A bowlful will do.  She might explode if she actually ate 365 peas in one sitting.

Fresh, Young Black-Eyed Peas! Get busy shelling! Photo by mjb2013
Fresh, Young Black-Eyed Peas! Get busy shelling! Photo by mjb2013

Here’s a simple recipe from missjunebug’s Aunt Mary that pleases the pea palate!

Black-Eyed Peas that Please

Ingredients

1 1/2-2 cups of shelled fresh black-eyed peas

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

2 slices uncooked bacon for flavor

1-3 shakes Tabasco

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Place peas in a saucepan. Cover with water. Add chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, sliced bacon, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Stir. Heat on medium heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat for a continuous simmer for about 20 minutes or until peas are slightly firm, not mushy. Adjust seasonings. Enjoy.

Eat with cornbread, over rice, or just on their own with the delicious soupy juice they are cooked in! You might have to have some serious Southern roots to enjoy these beauties, but keep an open mind and give them a try. They are delicious, nutritious, and lucky!

mjbTip: It’s fun to be a Farmer-for-the Day!

Don't forget your Underwood Family Farms Frequent Farmer Card! Photo by mjb2013
Don’t forget your Underwood Family Farms Frequent Farmer Card! Photo by mjb2013

 

Helpful Info If You Want To Be a Farmer-for-the-Day! Photo by mjb2013
Helpful Info If You Want To Be a Farmer-for-the-Day! Photo by mjb2013
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Coca Cola Company Gets Creative

Ticket for free glass of Coca-Cola, believed t...
Ticket for free glass of Coca-Cola, believed to be the first coupon ever. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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!

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Thanks Thrice

This was long thought to be the only portrait ...
This was long thought to be the only portrait of William Shakespeare that had any claim to have been painted from life, until another possible life portrait, the Cobbe portrait, was revealed in 2009. The portrait is known as the ‘Chandos portrait’ after a previous owner, James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos. It was the first portrait to be acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in 1856. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can no other answer make but thanks,
And thanks, and ever thanks.

William Shakespeare Twelfth Night

When missjunebug is at a loss for words, she has no qualms about borrowing some from her literary elders. Of course, Wills is ever her man for supplying    words sweet and sincere to convey deep gratitude for all the care and concern conveyed to her in myriad ways these last two weeks.

Phone messages, flowers, cards, emails, texts galore, and more. Facebook messages and phone calls too, offers to visit, have lunch out or bring food in! missjunebug is on overwhelm especially because she is well into Ovarian Cancer vs. missjunebug Round Three at this point! She knows you especially understood and respected her need to get through the rough and tumble post-surgery days without visitors. Her limits learned through previous hospital stays required summoning whatever energy she had for the early and hardest stages of healing (read: most painful). She’s learned her resources are finite and the conviviality of the most well-intended visitor can take as well as give. Ever thanks for letting her rest quietly and for keeping in touch with kind messages and lots of XOXOs.

missjunebug wants to award one “thanks” each from Shakespeare’s lines to trusty Mr.JB, ElderJB, and TinyJB who provide for missjunebug love unconditional and replete with happiness.

missjunebug’s plan now is to heal, to move forward, to live each day fully and mindfully, and to express sincerely her gratitude for friends and family she will ever hold in her heart.

Then she plans to treat herself to a new wig! No matter what is going on, missjunebug manages to get some shopping in!

 

 

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Pacific Crepes: A Little Bit of France in Santa Barbara

Crepes
Crepes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

missjunebug and her trusty Mr.JB enjoyed a field trip recently to Santa Barbara in search of a taste of France. missjunebug thought it would be the perfect Mother’s Day treat for her, and Mr.JB really had no choice since it was Mother’s Day after all! They recently returned from a fab trip to Paris, and they were beginning to miss the fine French cuisine, especially savory crêpes!

missjunebug just googled Ventura County + crêpes and Pacific Crêpes rose to the top of the Google search. The P.C. website is very helpful: menus, location, hours, even a cool story in the news about the history of the restaurant and a little bit about the French family who brought Pacific Crêpes into being!

If you find yourself in need of a change of food pace from the usual breakfast, lunch, or dinner, check out Pacific Crêpes. missjunebug highly recommends the delicious La Francaise with two over easy eggs, Swiss cheese, and ham, folded up along the edges to perfectly contain all that savory goodness. They brew up an awesome cappuccino, too! The ambience is French bistro-ish and even has a couple of tables for al fresco dining. What a fun food find! What a great place to enjoy it!

Pacific Crêpes is located at 705 Anacapa Street in Santa Barbara. Call 805-882-1123 for ressies and show up from 9-9 Saturday, 9-3 Sunday, or Monday-Friday 10-3 and 5:30 to 9. Like all true French, the staff takes a break and has a life!

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Mother’s Day missjunebug Style

English: jkklglh
English: jkklglh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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!

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missjunebug Recommends…

Bread perfected: The croissant! Photo by mjb2013

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!

Whew! That’s about it for recs for now!

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missjunebug is Thankful for “Thankfuls”

"Touchdown Jesus" at the University ...
"Touchdown Jesus" at the University of Notre Dame. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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!

 

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What’s So Good About Good Friday?

Pietro Lorenzetti fresco detail, Assisi Basili...
Pietro Lorenzetti fresco detail, Assisi Basilica, 1310-1329. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

missjunebug’s thoughts take a serious turn on this day of days: Good Friday, the day that marks the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. She hopes you take a moment to observe in thought or prayer, deed or meditation this momentous and historic event. But she will leave that to you.

What missjunebug still marvels at is another part of the story, a quieter part, but no less momentous. Consider these lines from John:

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,”  and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

John 19:25-27

Jesus facing down the specter of human death, an agonizing one that loomed before him in the shape of a cross, Jesus, questioned, scourged, accused, accursed, remains mindful of his earthly responsibilities to his mother Mary and commits Mary to John’s care and John to Mary’s.

What’s so good about Good Friday? The love of a son for a mother, the love of a prophet for his disciple breaking through impending darkness reminding all of us of the light of God’s unconditional love for us and our charge to take care of each other, love one another, and walk together toward the light.

 

 

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Memo to Self: VOTE!

Breakdown of political party representation in...
Breakdown of political party representation in the United States Senate during the 112th Congress. Blue: Democrat Red: Republican Light Blue: Independent (caucused with Democrats) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

missjunebug avoids discussing the truly controversial: religion, politics, and sex.

That said, she is happy to encourage all her readers and anyone else who accidentally stumbles upon her website to vote tomorrow. She has no doubt that legions of people will breathe the well-deserved sigh of relief that the election season is over, but it is not complete until you cast your ballot. No one else but you. No where else but in your polling place.  Unless of course, you voted by absentee or mail in ballot!  Whether you lean red, blue or somewhere in between, cast your ballot thoughtfully for the candidates of your choice.

missjunebug knows democracy is about as messy as a popsicle on a hot day, but remember it ensures the sweetness of our freedom!

So get out there and VOTE!

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missjunebug’s Tiny Things Collection Grows!

Updated and Fab Tiny Things Collection! Photo by mjb2012

missjunebug is super busy this week so she’s just taking care of super essential business: updating her Tiny Things Collection! What could be more important??

Your mission should you chose to accept it is to figure out which of the tiny things pictured are NEW to missjunebug’s collection! The winners get bragging rights! How fun is that?

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Ode to Candy Corn

English: Candy corn, specifically Brach's cand...
English: Candy corn, specifically Brach's candy corn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

White pointy head

Orange body quadrilateral

Yellow Gumby feet

Bite the base first,

Then the body.

Save the tippy tip

for last: a light, bright,

sugary sweet tiny bite.

“Made with Real Honey”

offers the perfect pretext

to eat first one

then another

and another to 19 for

a less than 150

calorie

treat!

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!”

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missjunebug’s Find of the Week: Carrara Pastries in Moorpark, CA

A Carrara Pastries Croissant with an Italian Twist! Photo by mjb2012

 

missjunebug had some not so fun medical procedures this week that compromised her diet considerably. The first one (a PET/CT scan) cancelled all carbs and caffeine from her diet for more than a day. Arg. She quickly entered the sad realm of Headache City and no amount of protein or vegetable matter could make up for that profound lack of sweetness and starch and caffeination. missjunebug needs her caffeine and carbs!!!!

The next day she was back to a normal diet for 24 hours, then she had to go all clear liquids for 24 more hours to prepare for a lower GI series performed by a hospital radiologist that assured her the procedure would go by quickly.  This, of course, is a matter of perspective. missjunebug’s perspective was no quite so sanguine.

Ever had a baby? Now imagine that baby is traveling down that other canal. Arg x 10. TMI no doubt but to get back to the restricted diet, the interesting thing she realized was that it was tons easier to go all liquids because the beverages she drank had…wait for it…wait for it…caffeine and carbs! She rounded out her intake with some beef broth and chicken broth and those 24 hours just flew by. Clearly (pun intended!!!) missjunebug could never be a big fan of Atkins. But this is all prologue.

What missjunebug really wants to talk about is what she did to catch up on her carbs once the medical procedures were in her rear view (pun intended!!!). She headed over to that lovely, sleepy bedroom community of Moorpark, CA to scoop up some of the best Italian croissants on the planet at the recently opened Carrara Pastries.

This beauty of a bakery is full of delightful Italian pastries, cookies, and cakes, but missjunebug’s two favs are their light-as-air croissant, lightly glazed and their lightly powdered sugar croissant plumped up with the most luxurious and luscious Chantilly cream you have ever tasted. You can see the croissant in the photo above practically floating above missjunebug’s plate! That’s thanks to the meticulous execution of authentic Italian recipes by pastry chef Massimiliano Carrara, a native from the city of Lucca (Tuscany). To borrow a Brit word, he’s brilliant!

This pasticceria featuring homemade Italian desserts will not disappoint. You can find it right across the street from another Italian fav of missjunebug’s, Cafe Firenze. The next time you get a carb craving, check out Carrara Pastries at 476 West Los Angeles Ave, Unit A-13 in Moorpark or their delicious website at www.carrarapastries.com.

If you want more that one or two croissants be sure to get there early, around 9 or so, because these pastry perfections go fast! Or call 805-552-4250 the day before and let the pastry chefs know how many you’d like. Sadly, missjunebug had to learn this the hard way arriving one morning at 11 am, about two hours too late to enjoy authentic Italian croissants! Is there anything sadder than an empty display case where fresh croissants should be, but aren’t? missjunebug doesn’t think so!

Even their packaging is golden perfection. Just take a look!

Pretty Packaging Pleases missjunebug! Photo by mjb2012

Buon Appetito!!!

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Sometimes Dirt is in Exactly the Right Place

English: Ashes imposed on the forehead of a Ch...
Image via Wikipedia

missjunebug has a long memory for certain quotations from smart people. One that has stayed with her was written decades ago by John Updike, a writer whose celebrity has faded somewhat, but whose words still resonant for mjb. One of the characters in Witches of Eastwick, a fantastical tale of love, intrigue, and betrayal, had some keen observations about the stuff of life women deal with everyday: “There was so much dirt in life, so many eraser crumbs and stray coffee grounds and dead wasps trapped inside the storm windows, that it seemed all of a person’s time – all of a woman’s time, at any rate – was spent in reallocation, taking things from one place to another, dirt being as her mother said simply matter in the wrong place.”

missjunebug would generally agree with this keen and frustrated observation, but not on this night of all nights. For tonight missjunebug has been to her church to participate in that age old ritual (the best kind of ritual there is) called weightily, The Imposition of the Ashes on Ash Wednesday. To borrow from that online encyclo of the people Wikipedia, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and begins the 40-day period of prayer, fasting, and repentance. As mjb’s insightful Pastor F. suggested, It’s time to do a 180, to recalibrate, and to walk in a new direction, thoughtfully and prayerfully. Easy to say, not so easy to do.

But as missjunebug likes to think, God gives us 40 days to right ourselves and get it right. And those dark ashes imposed upon the waiting forehead in the sign of the cross are a sign of our mourning and repentance to God, a sign of the cross that marks us with a grim reminder of our mortality, a sign that we are working to turn things around for ourselves and get right with God.

Hey, nobody said this was going to be easy. Some people decide to do daily devotionals during Lent focusing on repentance and changing for the better; others decide to give up some coveted thing or indulgence as a sign of commitment to change. Chocolate comes readily to mind for many, it being the ubiquitous shorthand for all things creamy, delicious, craved, and good. Still others turn to good works to get back on the straight and narrow path. Whatever is chosen, the sacrifice is not to be taken lightly. Forty days is a long time (place a Billy Bean/Brad Pitt/Moneyball elongated pronunciation on that phrase to give it its due.) A long time. missjunebug recommends you chose wisely and well.

What has missjunebug chosen to do? That’s between her and her Father “who sees in secret.” Don’t make her out to be like the hypocrites sounding a trumpet before them when they do their good work. mjb plans to keep her 40-day Lenten trial to herself. No doubt she’ll be held accountable. Wish her luck. Believe her when she says what she’s decided to try is harder than giving up TJ’s 73% Belgium Chocolate Non-Pareils. And you know how hard she thinks that would be if you read her recent post on non-pareils!

Why so serious? The words of the imposition make that perfectly clear: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Tru dat.

She’s reminded of one more insightful and tragicomic quotation of John Updike that will complete the grim but joyful hope of life on this earth (yes! a double oxymoron to complete the tale!): “We do survive every moment, after all, except the last one.”

Meditate on the fragility of human life, its perfection and its failings, your perfection and your failings, and you, too, can join in on the age old ritual of Lent and “enjoy” this 40-day journey of prayer, fasting, and repentance.

Amen to that.

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missjunebug’s Homage to Valentine’s Day or How to Fall Back in Love with Your Sweetie Pie

 

One from the Heart! Happy Valentine's Day from missjunebug!

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!

 

 

 

 

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missjunebug Knows This For Sure: Big Brothers Rule!

English: Flag of Dallas, Texas Esperanto: Flag...
Image via Wikipedia

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!)

Here’s to you, JBBro! Cheers!

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Tangerine Tango Takes on 2012

English: a Honey Tangerine
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missjunebug loves color. Her little hacienda is a living ode to color that would make Pablo Neruda proud. She and Mr.JB just finished having their kitchen painted with a lovely Dorset Gold and Claret Red. Thanks Dos Amigos! missjunebug is still in the process of putting her kitchen back together, but the glowing, colorful result was well worth the temporary inconvenience.

Speaking of a colorful result, Pantone the color gurus to the world have declared Tangerine Tango the 2012 Color of the Year. Cool that! missjunebug loves, loves, loves all things orange: Texas Longhorns, citrus, J. Crew sweaters, pumpkins, poppies, monarch butterflies, carrots, the sun, Orange Julius, birds of paradise, candy corn middles, sunsets, sunrises, K-Orange soda, Cheez-Its, and autumn leaves.

What’s so great about orange? In a word: ENERGY. The color selectors at Pantone are hopeful Tangerine Tango will recharge and motivate and move us forward in 2012. Good idea, Pantone Peeps! missjunebug thinks we could all use that right about now, considering the doldrums we’ve been languishing in for the last few years. The magnetic red-orange of Tangerine Tango will no doubt shake things up in the fashion and style world and missjunebug is happy to get on board with that. Here’s what one of the color gurus, whose name (Leatrice!) is as colorful as Tangerine Tango is red-orange, had to say about Pantone’s 2012 Color of the Year:

“Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.”

Well said, Leatrice!

With such a color leading our way through 2012, it just has to be a great year!

missjunebug says, “Get your Tangerine Tango on!” and Happy 2012!

 

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A Few of missjunebug’s Favorite Things

English: Christmas cookies in Czech republic. ...
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missjunebug is not much of a fan of that Julie Andrews song from the treacly Sound of Music--was that really Best Picture??–my! how tastes have changed. Anyway she still likes the idea behind the song: enumerating favorite things can be fun and useful. So here are a few of missjunebug’s current favorite things this time of year:

The Somis Nut House–the most awesome place to buy holiday candy, fruit, and nuts in Ventura County, SoCal. Located in an unassuming building reminiscent of a big shed, you’ll find an array of  candy favorites vintage and new as well as nuts amped up with spices, sugars, and smoke. She even found a spicy little mix called Samurai whose name speaks for itself! There are the usual sweet suspects: cherry sours, licorice, a virtual gummy zoo of shapes, malted milk balls on steroids, English toffee that’s pricey but so worth it, and many other chocolatey and foil-wrapped Christmas favs. And nuts and dried fruits galore. Mr.JB’s fav? Dried Kiwi fruit! Pale green disks of sugary sweet fruity goodness that look perfect as the centerpiece of a Christmas gift box. Where is this delightful house of delicacies? 4475 East Los Angeles Avenue  Somis, CA 93066-9616 Call them at (805) 386-1211 or check out their website at www.somisnuthouse.com. You and your sweet tooth will be thanking Somis Nut House (and missjunebug) the rest of the holiday season!

Pandora Radio set to Christmas Jazz. If you are a little tired of Jingle Bells barked by dogs or the Vienna Boys Choir somber Latinate songs of the season or the mellifluous but slightly depressing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” crooned by various old school musical masters like Bing and Tony or updated by Michael B. then try the instrumental and upbeat Christmas Jazz stream playing right now on Pandora. missjunebug recommends it as the best possible music to decorate a Christmas tree or bake cookies to. For a slightly edgier mix try setting your Pandora to Mannheim Steamroller. That will definitely get your Christmas groove on.

Spritz Cookies! What would Christmas be without these little pressed wonders so sparkly and buttery! missjunebug knows you remember she already gave you the recipe for those cookies in a previous blog post. If you don’t believe her just search her very accommodating site for it under Semi-Healthy Mega-Delicious Recipes! And make some! If  you can’t find the time to do that and you still crave sugar cookies, try to make it to Royal Bakery in Ventura for some delicious Christmas sugar cookies that are so worth the drive! Green trees! Red stockings! Black and white cows! Okay, so the cow cookies are not particularly seasonal, but they are delicious!

A fresh-cut Christmas Tree from the Men of the Elks Lodge or other such helping organization! These dedicated white-haired gentlemen provide funding for so many worthy charitable enterprises in local communities, you’ll feel practically holy buying a tree from them! And the piney fragrance is worth every penny! So bite the bullet, dole out the cash, and inhale the green freshness of that very noble Nobel Fir!

A Kiva Gift Card to help support small business entrepreneurs throughout the world. This is the quintessential gift that keeps on giving. As soon as the global entrepreneur pays back the loan, guess what? You can re-lend it again! And again! missjunebug has helped finance a Kenyan moto man so that he could buy some new tires for his burgeoning motorcycle taxi transportation service, a Rwandan woman who needed to procure beauty products for her salon, and another Rwandan woman supplying her clothing business with some fresh fashions! It’s never been more interesting to provide a hand up, not a hand out! Check out this super worthy enterprise at www.kiva.com!

Now missjunebug has an important question for you: What are your favorite things of the season? Shopping? Eating? Watching Christmasy movies–(actually, missjunebug should have included this one, too). Figure it out! Get busy doing them! And do as Julia says,”I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad.”

Happy Holidays!

 

 

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Amen to That

TED (conference)
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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.

Amen to that, too!

 

 

 


	

Thankful for Things Software

Gi?y ghi vi?c in s?n-Preprinted Post it notes
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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!

 

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missjunebug Reflects on the Big 6-0

Most Beautiful Flowers Ever! Thanks, Margaret!!!! Photo by mjb2011

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.

missjunebug kids.

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!

 

 

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Ciao Bella! Make missjunebug’s a Gelato!

missjunebug loves the Paciugo motto: Ante Lucrum Nomen: Reputation Before Profits.  Photo by mjb2011
missjunebug loves the Paciugo motto: Ante Lucrum Nomen: Reputation Before Profits. Photo by mjb2011

In her ongoing pursuit of living la dolce vita (and keeping her cruise groove going even on land!), missjunebug along with a few lovely friends made a wonderful discovery: Genuine gelato in her local community! Bellissimo!

missjunebug has Paciugo Gelato and Caffè at the outdoor wing of the Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks to thank for making her taste buds as happy as they were during her recent trip to Rome! This semi-healthy, mega-delicious concoction of whole milk, sugar, and natural fruits and flavorings is to use a couple of hackneyed phrases: to die for good. Oh. my. yes.

What were missjunebug’s trifecta of choices for her piccolo cup o’ bliss? Vanilla, of course–any ice cream or gelato worthy of its rock salt must have a pure and good vanilla, panna cotta (trans. wedding cake but even more tasty), and Texas Pecan Sea Salt Caramel, an outrageous blend of sweet and savory deliciousness. Well worth the under four buck price but believe missjunebug when she says she was prepared to pay whatever they asked!

This gelato is the real thing not because missjunebug says so but because this is the real thing. The Ginattas, Ugo, Cristiana, and Vincent hail from Northern Italy and brought the family’s secret (of course!) recipes with them to start their first gelato location in a city near and dear to missjunebug’s little bug heart, Big D little a double ll A S and that spells Dallas, her darlin’ darlin’ Dallas where the family and their franchisees have thrived! Sales must be amazing there now what with the 40+ days of 3-digit temperatures torturing the locals.

Although missjunebug has no such excuse for needing to eat this cool treat, she plans to make it part of her weekly regimen. It is a treat that bears a repeat!

If you are in the Conejo Valley, swing by the Oaks Mall 190 W. Hillcrest #65 805-497-4449 and scoop up a piccolo cuppa gelato. At roughly a 150 calories for a 3.5 oz serving you cannot go wrong!

Arrivederci, Häagen-Dazs!

Ciao bella, Paciugo!

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Clear Liquid Diets: High on Clarity; Low on Satisfaction

Mayo Clinic
The following foods are allowed in a clear liquid diet:
Plain water
Fruit juices without pulp, such as apple juice, grape juice or cranberry juice
Strained lemonade or fruit punch
Broth (bouillon or consomme)
Clear sodas or sports drinks NO coke or rootbeer
Plain gelatin
Honey
Ice pops without bits of fruit or fruit pulp
Tea or coffee with no cream
missjunebug wishes she could! Photo by mjb2011
missjunebug wishes she could! Photo by mjb2011

missjunebug has been spending the day trying to keep her mind solidly engaged so she doesn’t think about solid food. What did she do? Read through every food magazine she had within arm’s reach of course!

Bon Appetit!

Sunset!

Real Simple!

All great mags with lots and lots of recipes and stylized food photos! Just what missjunebug needed to while away the time until she can enjoy real food again!

Call her a masochistic little bug, but she couldn’t help herself.  She had to do something and that something could not require much energy! Ripping recipes out of bright and shiny magazines that she will probably file away and never look at again seemed like the perfect storm of a solution.

missjunebug will be liberated from her dietary restrictions in a couple of days but in case you ever need a clear liquid diet, here are some ground rules you might find helpful!

According to the Mayo Clinic the following foods are allowed in a clear liquid diet:

Plain water

Fruit juices without pulp, such as apple juice, grape juice or cranberry juice

Strained lemonade or fruit punch

Broth (bouillon or consomme)

Clear sodas or sports drinks; NO coke or rootbeer

Plain gelatin

Honey

Ice pops without bits of fruit or fruit pulp

Tea or coffee with no cream

So many yummy choices!!! missjunebug got extra creative and froze some of her fruit juice for a delicious slushy!

Meh.

missjunebug hopes you won’t need a clear liquid diet anytime soon, but if you do, you’ll know what to do!!

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The Case Against Packing Light

Suitcase
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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:

CHOICE!

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!

Bon Voyage!

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Dolce Far Niente: missjunebug is for it!

Woman with bound feet reclining on chaise loun...
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missjunebug is in the full embrace of dolce far niente. Yes, she has a few chores to do, a few projects to work on, a few bills to pay and a few emails to write, but in between those, she cultivates the sweetness of doing nothing.

What are missjunebug’s favorite ways to while away the sweetness of the day? Here are just a few:

Her alarm goes off early but she manages to fall back to sleep until she hears the dulcet tones of the Marketplace Morning Report on NPR. She loves those earnest and funny hosts, Kai Ryssdal, Steve Chiotakis, and Jeremy Hobson. And they always have a fresh idea to share about money matters large and small. Today’s broadcast ended on a bizarre but totally believable note. Charlie Sheen and a company he has ties with are working to trademark his infamous sayings. What a Winning! idea. missjunebug thinks such a revenue stream might come in handy since he doesn’t have a job anymore! Tant pis!

missjunebug’s next sweetness of doing nothing has more to do with sweetness than nothing: luxuriating over her morning breakfast of old-fashioned oatmeal, cooked long and slow to a perfect texture that only slightly reminds missjunebug of wallpaper paste! Slather on a little butter and a modicum of maple syrup and serve with a side of walnuts and golden raisins. Yum! No better way to start the day! Her latest find is the organic oatmeal at Sprouts that is even better than her former go-to Quaker’s!

During her breakfast time she takes a leisurely stroll through her neo-luddite paper copy of the Wall Street Journal. missjunebug has gone kindle and internet and all that but they will have to pry the morning paper made out of paper out of her cold, dead hands. She’s never giving up paper news! She’ll leave that to the generation next-ers. And, yes, she’s tried reading the news online, but to her it’s just not as easy and fun as the one she holds and folds and clips things out of to pass along or save.

After a few attempts at wrestling with her projects and other maintenance matters, she’s ready to settle in for some mindless catching up with what’s been waiting for her in that little treasure chest called the DVR. A little Mildred Pierce (ack! so dark! so depressing!) is the best attitude adjustment she can think of. missjunebug’s life is as bright as the sun in comparison with poor Mildred’s! To sort of quote Shakespeare: “Sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless (and sociopathic!!!) child,” but Kate Winslet‘s acting is pretty good. And missjunebug admires her for skipping the implants! One more video indulgence is Showtime‘s Episodes. As an occasional background actor, missjunebug can really appreciate the crazy antics of this show that reveals way-too-true truckloads of nonsense about Hollywood. Believe missjunebug when she says that show is laugh out loud funny!

A few more things to attend to then it’s outside with Spoonbug for a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood. missjunebug has two walks: the Ashramy Hard Up-the-Hill Huff and Puff walk and the Spoonbug Special Stop-and-Smell-the-Fire-Hydrant Walk. When she’s interested in cultivating dolce far niente, the Spoonbug Special is the one she takes. Spoonbug is a live-in-the-moment master of dolce far niente!

After a walk, there’s just enough time to grab some iced tea, have a seat on the glider in the backyard and take in the lovely view from the Hacienda. That’s about as sweet as it gets!

If you find your life jangled with too many, too much, or too often, try a little dolce far niente. missjunebug bets you feel better just thinking about it! Ciao!

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Dancing on the Grave at Borders

Everything Must Go! Photo by mjb2011
Everything Must Go! Photo by mjb2011

So missjunebug did something today she usually doesn’t do. She went to a store- closing-forever sale. It was the Border’s Bookstore Everything-Must-Go!-Slashing-Prices-All-Over-the-Store-30%!-40%!- Yes! Even-50%-Off Sale!!!! One town over from where missjunebug lives, this bookstore had a prime location a few doors down from one of missjunebug’s fav’s, a Nordstrom Rack and close by a Cost Plus World Market and an Old Navy. Despite being in a high traffic center, Borders just couldn’t hold on here. Of course, Border’s has a much larger, sadder story now: 200 stores closing and bankruptcy proceedings ensuing. Bummer Deluxe x 10.

missjunebug is the first to admit she has no doubt contributed to Border’s problems, with her move to Kindle via her Amazon account and the occasional iBook purchase on her iPad. Still, to lose a bookstore is never a good thing (unless of course you are one of Border’s creditors). For missjunebug, a trip to the bookstore was always rife with possibilities: a new self-help book that promised to remake her; a shiny, bright cookbook offering up new recipes for magical meals to stir up in her kitchen for Mr.JB; a riveting mystery, perhaps a P.D. James or a Christie she’d missed; or, best of all, a travel book that promised to open up a whole new world to her.

Walking up and down the aisles, taking a book from the shelf to scan a back cover or peruse a table of contents has to be one of the great simple pleasures in life. Maybe she’d buy the book or re-shelve it. Maybe she’d move on to the next aisle and the next set of books and possibilities that stretched all the way to the back wall of her imagination. She knew eventually she’d find the book she was looking for. It was always with the thought that this was the book that would change her life. And she was never wrong about that because that is exactly what books do.

But one town over from where missjunebug lives a little less of that will be going on. Sometime in April this Borders’s store will be no more. Of course, things change, stores come and go, but the shuttering of a book store seems sad, sad, sad to missjunebug.

Still, that didn’t stop her from delighting in the Everything Must Go Sale and giddily scooping up some terrific titles deeply discounted. In her little bugheart, she knows she’s the problem here, preferring to shop online most days from the convenience of her kitchen counter instead of venturing out to her local bookstores on a regular basis. She and other savvy online shoppers reap the cheap, but suffer the whirlwind of loss as well. Heraclitus said it this way, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” True Dat. Bookstores will never be the same because of e-books, internet, and online access, and maybe someday bookstores will never be at all. For her semi-local Border’s Books it’s a fait accompli and missjunebug is one of the accomplices.

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Carbohydrates are the Devil!

Devil
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missjunebug watched a very interesting documentary last night on her fabulous instant view Netflix account. Fathead takes on the Super-Size Me documentary and pretty much dismantles its pseudo-science as well as its anecdotal portrayal of a guy who overconsumes McDonald’s intent on proving how heinous fast food franchises are. According to the Fathead documentary that’s just a bunch of bologna! Tom Naughton’s experiment of one month of fast food contributed to a lowering of his cholesterol (the bad LDL) and bringing his weight down by over 12 pounds. His doctor couldn’t believe it and yet, there it was. The throwback to a carb inhibited, high fat, high protein diet a la Atkins made for a slimmer, healthier Tom N.

missjunebug will leave it to you to decide which camp you’re in, but her take away lesson from Fathead and the entertaining nay-sayer Tom Naughton is that fast food isn’t the problem. Run amok carb consumption is.

As the universe would have it, a day after watching this funny but cogent documentary, missjunebug tuned into Dr. Oz today where Gary Taubes was taking apart limb by limb, or should missjunebug say carb by carb, Dr. Oz’s low fat, low calorie, complex carb-based diet that is the mantra of many these days. Taube’s book Good Calories, Bad Calories embraces the theory that insulin spikes from carb consumption grow fat cells and keep people from losing weight who are sensitive to carbs. The calories in/calories out just may not explain everything after all.

So what’s a junebug to do? This must she knows for sure, the sugar’s got to go and Dr. Gott probably had it right all along with his No Sugar, No Flour Diet. She plans to err on the side of less sugar rather than more and to save those delicious French baguettes for special occasions. Or at least she can try. Meh.

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Kringle! missjunebug’s New Fav

Here's the Vital Contact Info for Kringles Sent Straight to Your Home! Photo by mjb2011
Here's the Vital Contact Info for Kringles Sent Straight to Your Home! Photo by mjb2011

If missjunebug hadn’t gone shopping for TinyJB in her last visit to the Midwest, she would still be blithely unaware of one of the most delicious breakfasts treats on the planet! Thank goodness TinyJB needed a few grocery items in his kitchen (except beer, of course! Plenty of that in the frig!).

She enjoyed her very first Kringle sitting around TinyJB’s breakfast table last fall, enjoying the company of TinyJB, his cute as a button friend Leslie from Michigan, and Mr.JB. What a great impromptu breakfast! Cherry Kringle: A flaky, flat oval with fab cherry filling topped with the most delicious icing. It’s like a squashed filled donut sans frying! Brilliant!!!! Those Midwesterners know what’s good to eat and drink. (For another post, another time missjunebug will delve into the wonders of the Milkwaukee Lakeside Brewery Beers! Skol!).

missjunebug needed more!! (Kringle, not Brewski)!!! But sadly the JBs had a plane to catch and a re-supply for take-home was not meant to be.

Enter the Awesome Ricks!!! For Christmas the JBboys and missjunebug and Mr.JB received Kringles for the holidays and beyond. missjunebug is now a member of the Kringle of the Month Club as mentioned in her post-Christmas post!!! (Thanks again, Awesome Ricks!!) What a lasting reminder of the holiday festivities that she can bust out on her breakfast table whatever morning she wishes! Deliciousness x 10!! And, yes, she tracks the calories (1/12 of the oval = 250) on My Daily Plate at www.livestrong.com and believe her when she ways it’s worth every single one of those pesky calories to enjoy the oval icing-slathered, fruit-filled or other-filled wonder Kringle!!!

Decidedly NOT Ashram approved, but missjunebug cannot live by steel-cut oats alone!

Here's the Cinnamon Kringle Close-up! Photo by mjb2011
Here's the Cinnamon Kringle Close-up! Photo by mjb2011
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missjunebug’s French Toast Perfection!

French Toast! So easy! So delicious! Photo by mjb2011
French Toast! So easy! So delicious! Photo by mjb2011

missjunebug is doing her mitzvah for the week: Making breakfast for her church’s winter shelter. Okay, she may be mixing religious metaphors here since she’s Lutheran, but she loves the Judaic idea of the good deed. According to adherents.com “When Mitzvah is considered to be an act of human kindness, it transcends all religions. While historically, Mitzvah is considered to be a term related to Judaism, anyone in any religion can perform a Mitzvah. While they may not refer to it by that name, they can still perform an act of kindness for another person.”

So there.

missjunebug really likes this idea! And she really likes her super simple Semi-Healthy Mega-Delicious recipe for missjunebug’s French Toast Perfection. She has her dear mother to thank for this recipe. missjunebug has made it for her boys since they were tiny bugs. She’s tweaked it a little, adding a little sugar, the tiniest bit of salt, and her secret ingredient, vanilla extract, but it remains inspired by her JBMom.

Consider cooking up this very forgiving recipe on a Saturday or Sunday morning and you, too, can enjoy missjunebug’s French Toast Perfection!

missjunebug’s French Toast Perfection

Ingredients

Orowheat Buttermilk Bread–14 slices

6 0r 7 eggs

1/2 cup or so of milk

1-2 tsps. of vanilla

1-2 T. sugar

Pinch of salt

Butter for the skillet or griddle

Powdered sugar for presentation

Real maple syrup for eating!

Directions

Wisk the eggs in a big bowl.  Add the milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt. The “batter” should be a soft creamy yellow color with a smooth consistency. Slice the bread on the diagonal to form triangles. Heat a good chunk of butter in a big skillet and when it barely sizzles, dip the bread triangles into the batter, shake off excess batter, and place in the skillet. Cook on both sides until crisp around the edges and golden brown. Yum!

Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and slather with real maple syrup!

Double Yum!

Feel free to freeze and eat at another time. To reheat, just set your oven to 375 degrees, place the french toast in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with Pam, and pop in the oven for 10 quick minutes!  What could be easier? Well, eating it, missjunebug guesses!

Lots of French Toast Ready for the Freezer! Photo by mjb2011
Lots of French Toast Ready for the Freezer! Photo by mjb2011

Gratitude Attitude a Hallmark of Happiness

Thanks ElderJB for This Delightful Turkey! mjb2010
Thanks ElderJB for This Delightful Turkey! mjb2010

Happy Thanksgiving! missjunebug loves this holiday and hopes you do, too! Savory food and family and all that pie! And so much to be thankful for!

Turns out that’s a really good thing to be: thankful. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Grateful people are happier, healthier long after the leftovers are gobbled up.”

The benefits of gratitude are legion: more of all the good things we want as human beings: optimism, energy, social connections, money (!), exercise, sleep, and even resistance to viral infections!!

missjunebug encourages you to cultivate gratitude daily in a gratitude journal, in daily prayer, in meditation, or in your own special way. missjunebug writes her thanks on those little iPhone post-it notes and in her Moleskines and she concludes each evening with her Dear Lord, thank you for this day prayer. Keep it simple. Make it grateful. Amen to that!

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missjunebug says, “Good-bye to All That!”

Pencil in Some Not-So-Fun Events, missjunebug! Photo by mjb2010
Pencil in Some Not-So-Fun Events, missjunebug! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug is happy to report that she is glowing with good news: Rad Treatments are Complete! She once had high hopes for 2010 when she bid a not-so-fond farewell to 2009. Alas, a sweet 2010 was not to be. Surgeries, a super-sad funeral, more surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation have comprised and compromised the year so far. But has that discouraged this little glowing bug? Not at all.

Because in between the medical interventions, missjunebug and her bug fam have had some fun. A trip to Africa to see ElderJB, the graduation of TinyJB from university, a solar eclipse in lovely Tahiti, a football weekend extraordinaire where the JBs bonded with ND Nation, and an upcoming Thanksgiving Reunion in Wisconsin with MrJB’s clan. Can it get better than that? Well, yes it can: ElderJB will return from Africa to the states at Christmas time and TinyJB will make the trip from his digs in South Bend. missjunebug is excited BIG TIME for the second junebug family reunion of the year.

All these wonderful family times are perfectly complemented by the fab fun missjunebug has had with super-supportive friends. Yall know who you are! missjunebug wants to make a BIG SHOUT OUT to her friends for being with her through a 2010 that’s been a little thin on good news.

Except to say the good news that she’s officially saying to her heinous cancer: Good-bye to All That!

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It’s the Tiny Things That Matter

Corn dog (cross section)
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With apologies to Richard Carlson PhD (may he rest in peace) of Small Stuff fame, missjunebug has just a few observations this beautiful Sunday afternoon about the tiny things in her life that matter. No, she isn’t referring to Tiny Tomatoes or Petit Pirate or Nifty Ninja or even the World’s Tiniest Pencil. She’s talking about those little, mostly overlooked moments that can really resonate if you pay attention.

What follows is missjunebug’s Tiny List of Tiny Things That Matter this Sunday afternoon:

**The look in her Pastor’s eyes when she administered communion to missjunebug this a.m. Light and warmth shining straight from God through her eyes right to missjunebug for the briefest of moments. But oh so amazing. missjunebug was moved to tiny tears, no lie.

**Two light-hearted phone conversations, one with ElderJB and one with TinyJB! missjunebug can’t say enough good stuff about those two! Although she will omit any references to TinyJB’s housekeeping habits. That’s material for another blog post, another time. Both JBs are thriving and happy. What more could a junebugmom ask for? The conversations were of no earth shattering consequence, just catching up, commiserating about some football debacles, and looking forward to some time together again, eventually. Tiny things, really but oh so helpful to the heart!

**Two healthy eyebrows, now almost fully grown back in after missjunebug’s wrestling match with some serious chemotherapy drugs earlier this year. How could such tiny hairs matter so much? They are just tiny hairs, after all. And yet for missjunebug they reminded her of the difference between looking slightly alien and looking fully human. She’s more than happy to leave the alien look to E.T. and Sigourney Weaver.

**A tiny date with her Mr.JB this weekend. An hour and a half at the Ventura County Astronomer’s Club listening to two erudite men, one a scientist, the other a poet talk about the interplay of discovery and meaning in their two disciplines. Ninety tiny minutes lead missjunebug and Mr.JB to have a lot to say to each other about the big stuff of life.

**A delicious tasting corn dog from Trader Joe’s without any bad stuff in it! Delicious corn breading wrapping up a soy protein pretend hot dog at only 160 calories! Pop it into the oven for 20 minutes at 350 and missjunebug can imagine she’s back at the Great State Fair of Texas eating one of Fletcher’s equally famous dogs. What a find!

Looking back over this little post, missjunebug sees what an eclectic collection of tiny things are here. A little silly but still. She’s happy to risk silliness in musing on the tiny things in her life to get to the deeper matter of full gratitude for her life.

mjbTip: What’s on your list of Tiny Things That Matter? Think about it.

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Happy 30th Anniversary, Mr.JB!

Anillos de Matrimonio, Aros de Matrimonio
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Today is a good day for missjunebug. It’s her 30th wedding anniversary! And they said it wouldn’t last! Just kidding, Mr.JB! So sad you are on the other side of the globe, but the junebugs had a good pre-anniversary dinner at Money Pancho, didn’t they?

As for the gift, it turns out Mr.JB is really in luck. He already bought the right present for missjunebug while they were having the time of their buglives in Tahiti earlier this summer. That’s right, pearls are the gift to give for the Big 3-0! Who knew? Way to get lucky Mr.JB. You are most definitely off the hook for a gift. And your gift is off the hook: You already gave those gorgeous Tahitian pearls to missjunebug and believe her when she says she adores them!

So, Mr.JB thanks for all your love, hard work, great parenting, wacky sense of humor, and your full-on Mr.JB-ness! Dare the JBs hope for 30 more years? Hells, yeah.

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missjunebug Finds The Happiness Project Makes Her…well…Happy!

Photograph of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor...
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missjunebug has been busy lately reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Being a true-blue fan of self-help books, mjb was happy to pick up The Happiness Project having read a one-page preview of its precepts early on in Real Simple magazine (one of mjb’s favs). She’s even sent copies to her two sons ElderJB and TinyJB and she’s discussed some of its precepts with Mr.JB.

missjunebug is certain that the erudite yet down-to-earth Gretchen is on to something! Inspired by a couple of old school guys Ben Franklin and Samuel Johnson as well as the happy and holy Thérèse of Lisieux, Gretchen charts a course for a year, month by month to work on very specific goals to increase her happiness quotient. Part of her thinking is to perfect her ability to experience happiness now in preparation for the guaranteed tough times ahead. Having recently gone through some tough times herself missjunebug can fully appreciate this a-good-offense-is-the-best-defense strategy when facing the inevitable vicissitudes of life.

To give you a better idea of Gretchen’s approach, let missjunebug fill you in on her plan for  November. That’s the next to last chapter that missjunebug is in the middle of right now and very close to the final page of the book. The theme for November’s happiness pursuit is Keep a Contented Heart and missjunebug definitely hearts that idea!

Gretchen hopes to meet these happiness “challenges” in November: Laugh out loud. Use good manners. Give positive reviews. Find an area of refuge. Neat ideas, Gretchen! In the course of the chapter, she learns to listen fully and engage in a full belly-laugh response when the joke is deserving instead of rushing to do the talking. She begins to value kindness and being kinder especially in her conversational style which at times can be a bit peremptory and one-ups man. She also comes to terms with the dark desire of humans to play constant critic, instead of doing the braver thing: to embrace joy. Her Barry Manilow example is well worth the price of the book. She finishes off the chapter with her very helpful idea of seeking out mental areas of refuge that can be as simple as mentally visiting a few things, people, and places that never fail to provide little packets of joy.

missjunebug thinks these very personal but powerful connections are the perfect push toward greater happiness in a rough and tumble world. And this terrific book looks at such connections to happiness in each of its other month-entitled chapters, January through December, all chock full of happiness wisdom earned the hard way by Ms. Rubin’s own personal trial and error. And believe missjunebug when she says, if Gretchen doesn’t get happy doing the particular happiness activity or process she sets for herself, she’s the first to jettison it and move on. Smart move, G.

The secret to missjunebug’s happiness in reading this very savvy, atypical, and highly recommended self-help book The Happiness Project is that she will be able to share her takeaways from it with the three shiny, happy people in her blessed life: Mr.JB, ElderJB, and TinyJB!

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missjunebug’s Bread Recommendation of the Decade: TJ’s Tuscan Pane

mjb says "Thanks, TJ's" for this awesome bread! Photo by mjb2010
mjb says "Thanks, TJ's" for this awesome bread! Photo by mjb2010

Perhaps the title to this blog is a bit much, but missjunebug can’t say enough good things about this good bread! Trader Joe‘s Tuscan Pane “A Stone Hearth Oven-Baked Classic Italian Bread” lives up to its name: It is a classic! And squisito! And missjunebug hearts it big time!

Perfect for toast, even more perfect for grilled cheese! Believe her when she says you should swing by your local T.J.’s and pick up a loaf today! The “crisp crust” and “chewy interior” will not disappoint!

missjunebug owes her friend and neighbor M. who brought a loaf to her a while back as a little get well gift (along with soup and super treats, too) a big THANKS for introducing her to this lovely loaf!

Oh. my. yes. Delicious for Toast & the Perfect Grilled Cheese! Photo by mjb2010
Oh. my. yes. Delicious for Toast & the Perfect Grilled Cheese! Photo by mjb2010
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Is There Any Better Therapy Than Retail? missjunebug Thinks Not!

The exterior of a typical Nordstrom department...
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missjunebug between bouts of various and heinous medical interventions has still managed to have some fun with her p.i.c. doing some fairly vigorous retail therapy. There’s nothing like the approaching end of summer to bring on the heavy discounts: Nordstrom It’s Our Anniversary Sale! Banana Republic Many Percent Off Everything Sale! JCrew A Few Really Fine Things on Sale Sale! What fun!

missjunebug and her dear p.i.c. are devoted to improving their look as well as giving a much needed shot in the arm to the local economy. And speaking of arms, yes, they both bought pieces that actually reveal some arm and even a little leg. This time next year they will be sailing the high seas to exotic ports of call baring trim and firm extremities! Where does such inspiration and motivation come from? That’s right: Retail Therapy. The most affordable and accessible therapy out there for the not-getting-any-younger set.

missjunebug knows what you are thinking: How do you know the pieces you buy today will still be in style a year from today!? First off, what’s a year in the fashion industry? No biggie. You didn’t really fall for all that Devil Wears Prada nonsense, did you, dear reader? mjb and her p.i.c. can easily spot the lasting trends, grab the classics, and skip the gnarly fads that fade like cheap jeans after a hot wash. Okay, maybe no one will still be wearing sequins on their JCrew t-shirts next year, but missjunebug doubtless will be! She’ll just refer to what she’s wearing as vintage! Yeah, that’ll work!

Secondly, it doesn’t matter what mjb and her p.i.c. wear because nobody’s looking!  It’s as if Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility has settled gently on their shoulders and they can do whatever they want: wear red hats! don purple clothing! squeeze into blue thongs! expose bare arms! Believe missjunebug when she says no one cares! And, yes, there was a time a long day ago when both of them turned a few heads but, alas, those days are done. Those days are most definitely gone. Hey, you can’t look at what you can’t see!

Still, missjunebug and her p.i.c. didn’t dwell on time passing but kept a clear-eyed focus on their potent purchases filled with therapy and possibility and fun!

Holland America! Disney Cruise! Here they come!

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Lifelong Learner Finds Lots of Help Online

Romantic history painting. Commemorates the Fr...
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missjunebug loves to learn about all sorts of things online, no doubt just like her readers do. This weekend she hit the motherload! She read an article in her local Sunday paper that lead her straight to one of the coolest online teachers she’s run across, and believe her when she says she’s done her share of online learning from the videos at lynda.com for techy stuff to the weighty academicearth.org for lectures from the hallowed halls of our most esteemed universities.

But the one she discovered this weekend sets itself apart by being so fully engaging and captivating that missjunebug can’t wait to work her way through the more than 1500 lessons online in subjects including math (not missjunebug’s fav), economics, chemistry, physics, history, current financial topics, and many others. The eponymous online site www.khanacademy.org translates Sal Khan’s love of learning into an open academy for the whole planet. missjunebug enjoyed his lively instruction about the French Revolution (Part I & II), making her way all the way through the Reign of Terror in one short evening! She can hardly wait to get to the lesson featuring that rascal Napoleon Bonaparte!

According to the news article missjunebug read, Sal just wants to teach the way he himself would like to be taught. A simple, but brilliant idea, Mr. Khan! missjunebug would expect nothing less coming from an M.I.T. graduate in Computer Science with an M.B.A. from Harvard. (Smarty pants!) Keep up the good work and think about branching out to literature study, one of missjunebug’s personal favs. If you can explain those pesky word problems, no doubt you’ll have no problem analyzing great literature!!

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Lessons in Licorice

Mr.JB's Happy Licorice People Right Before...You Know! Photo by mjb2010
Mr.JB's Happy Licorice People Right Before...You Know! Photo by mjb2010

Mr.JB and missjunebug have been married a really, really long time and have no plans of walking the sad path recently taken by Al and Tipper and some other long marrieds-soon divorced that they know. Is it something in the water? missjunebug isn’t sure. What she is sure of is that over time she and her Mr.JB are becoming more and more alike which turns out not to be a bad thing since they started out many, many years ago as complete opposites. He’s science-y; she’s word-y. He’s a relentless perfectionistic; she’s lives by the 80%/20% rule: that is, 80% is plenty good enough in most things most of the time. He’s methodical, always; she’s haphazard, on a good day. He loves licorice like no other; she couldn’t stand the stuff.

Yes, that’s right. missjunebug once hated licorice with all her little bug heart. When she was an itty bitty bug, she could never have imagined digging into a bag of licorice All Sorts or Harry & David Tuxedos or multi-colored Licorice Snaps or black as night Scottie Dogs, not to mention eating pink and white Mike and Ike’s. The idea revolted her. Now missjunebug could fall back on her De gustibus non es disputandum motto here very easily, but the fact is that even though one cannot account for taste, missjunebug has learned that tastes do change over time. How does this happen? missjunebug has no idea. But there it is. missjunebug over the past couple of years has developed a deep and abiding love for licorice.

She suspects that it originally had to do with scarcity. She’d run out of everything fun and sweet to eat that she favored (Junior Mints, Kit Kat Bars, M&M’s Peanut, Reese’s Pieces, Cherry Sours–the list goes on and on) and resorted to trying “just one, please” piece of licorice that Mr.JB had methodically rationed to himself for an after dinner treat. It was not love at first bite. But it was sweet enough to be interesting and not nearly as revolting as missjunebug remembered from her childhood. This little scenario replayed itself enough times that missjunebug eventually acquired a taste for what was once the untasteable.

And really, really liked it. Maybe missjunebug was able to set aside her deep and abiding childhood loathing of licorice just long enough to give it a try and another try, and then another. Now she and Mr.JB delight in sharing the enjoyment of a sweet treat they both find tasty.

Things can change. Tastes can change. And yes, marriages break up, even 30 or 40 year ones. But sometimes marriages of opposites can celebrate all the ways in which a couple have come to reside happily in the  “if ever two were one, then surely we” category!

Now, Mr.JB, hand missjunebug that bag of Scottie Dogs, pronto!

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