Tag Archives: Travels Close to Home

Stitch Fix: Could be Fab!

This weekend missjunebug got a tip from a dear friend (Thanks, KH!) about another way to use her online time well. It’s Stitch Fix! “Your Partner in Personal Style” Who couldn’t use one of those, right?

Mosaic stitch
Mosaic stitch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stitch Fix promises that based on your selected preferences, a personal stylist will choose five wardrobe pieces to send to you to try on and select or reject in the comfort of your own home. Of course, shipping and returns are free. The selections are tailored to your taste, budget, and lifestyle. Your very own bespoke purveyor! Choose and keep the ones you like, return the rest.

missjunebug’s friend had a fine time with Stitch Fix at Christmas, shopping for herself on behalf of her husband and then choosing from the five the looks she preferred.

But guess what? missjunebug’s friend and her dh loved all five looks so nada returns needed on that order! And did missjunebug mention that if you keep all five of the looks, you get 25% off. Money saving fun as well as time saving fun!

Over time, the Stitch Fix stylist will get to know better and better what styles you prefer so that their selections will be even more successful for you (and them, too!) The styling fee of 20 dollars can be used toward your final order. You can also arrange that looks be sent on a regular schedule. What. effortless. shopping.

missjunebug has got to think that this beats running around from mall to mall, dressing room to dressing room, dealing with indifferent or surly sales associates (except at Nordie’s where they are helpful and kind!), and driving unnecessarily–even with gas prices down. (Gas is never cheap in Cali!) Better that the well integrated USPS or UPS delivery services seek out missjunebug with glorious packages to peruse at her leisure.

missjunebug has thoroughly enjoyed her absence from the supermarket thanks to Blue Apron‘s  creative curating of 3 meals a week for her (and Mr.JB–kitchen helper extraordinaire!) Maybe Stitch Fix can do for her closet and wardrobe, what Blue Apron did for her kitchen and weekly menus!

Will the wonders of the internet never cease?  What a great time to be alive and connected!

As soon as missjunebug needs to replace a few wardrobe items or update her look, she hopes to try out the Stitch Fix personal shopper for herself.  Maybe you can, too? Happy shopping!

Anticipating Travel Yields Happiness

A male polar bear
A male polar bear (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

missjunebug recently read about a study headed by Jeroen Nawijn, tourism research lecturer at Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands that made a lot of sense to her. Returning from a relaxing vacation is no guarantee of a lasting happiness boost.

According to his research group in the Netherlands that took a look at the vacationing Dutch, after a return to typical life as they knew it, happiness leveled off in a couple of weeks.

While that’s not particularly good news, there was a bright side to this study: Happiness grew in anticipating and planning the trip. For up to eight weeks!

missjunebug and her Trusty Mr.JB agree that there’s nothing quite like having a trip to look forward to! Online research! Fares to compare! What to do, see, eat, wear when you get there! And thanks to the internet–maybe the best invention of the 20th century for knowledge access–trip planning is an art form all its own that can be as minutely nuanced or broad-stroked as you like.

Currently, missjunebug is tracking down books on polar bears, Churchill, Manitoba, and the Aurora Borealis for a fall trip to the Arctic hinterlands of Canada. The most interesting thing she’s found out so far is that troublesome polar bears who are under the mistaken impression that they are townies are put in Polar Bear Jail to break that bad habit! Confined for a time with only water, then moved back out to wilderness in a tranquilized state disabuses them of the notion that a roam through town is a fine idea.  All she’s found out so far about the AB is that it’s green. More research needed! Believe missjunebug when she says that reading about these Arctic features may be a lot more fun than freezing while she actually views them.

Which brings missjunebug back to the initial premise: Anticipating and planning travel is a no-fail path to happiness for a good amount of time. How to improve on that? Plan a couple of trips a year for twice the anticipatory fun.  Or think about multiple long-weekend trips that you can experience throughout the year! Once-a-month Fun x 12! Did missjunebug hear someone say, “Road Trip!”? Yes, another fun vacay to plan, anticipate, and then hit the road knowing it’s all about the journey, not the destination.

Happiness maybe be elusive and vacations may be tricky , but missjunebug still likes the reward of looking forward to travel while enjoying the present moment planning !

Sawasdee in Simi Valley: Thai Thai Again!

Green Curry: Silky, Savory, Sublime! Photo by mjb2014
Green Curry: Silky, Savory, Sublime! Photo by mjb2014

How do you say “Hi” in Thai?

Try “Sawasdee.” Once you’ve perfected that greeting, you can move on to the Sawasdee Thai Restaurant and meet and greet some delicious dishes!

Sawasdee Thai Restaurant in Simi Valley comes recommended to missjunebug by way of her fabulous haircutter at The New Technique located in the same unadorned L-shaped Strip (Mini) Mall. missjunebug recommends both of them highly!

Recently after a fab haircut, missjunebug popped into Sawasdee Thai for a little lunch. She had the magical, sliver-thin Silver Noodles with chicken and super fresh veggies! So good it cannot be described in mere words. You must sample for yourself…soon!

Sawasdee has even passed the Trusty MrJB food crucible: Are the Koy See Me crispy noodles awesome or just average? MrJB votes AWESOME! missjunebug moved onto the glorious Green Curry for her Sawasdee dinner indulgence and that silky, savory, sublime substance did not disappoint! For missjunebug and her trusty Mr.JB, the signifier of a great restaurant is the simple answer to the simple question: Do you want to eat here again? The answer for a Sawasdee Thai Restaurant return is a resounding Yes!

If you are in the Valley of Simi soon, enjoy Sawasdee Thai at 1960 Sequoia Ave. This place maybe a little out of the way, but the food is way, way wonderful.

 

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Colorful Fun at Conejo Valley ART WALK 2014

missjunebug and her trusty MrJB took a stroll through the Art Walk  sponsored by the Conejo Valley Art Museum. What fun! A wide variety of artists are represented from photographers, watercolorists, oil painters, sculptors, sign makers, jewelry makers, and even tamale makers! There are some tasty eats to accompany the delicious art works.

mjb and Mr.JB bought their first Donald Archer painting here a long day ago (as ElderJB used to say) and have been collecting art work of one kind or another ever since. Art always passes the triple test: Is it beautiful? Is it useful? Is it meaningful? What is its use you might ask? To make missjunebug’s day, everyday!

Here’s the art work they found today they couldn’t live without:

IMG_4453

All hail Limoncello! Fun to drink! Fun to look at when so lovingly composed in this original watercolor by the Watercolor Chef Leslee Adams. Ms. Adams hails from Palm Springs where she operates her own catering/pastry business having been trained at The Ritz Escoffier in Paris in 1990. Now she juggles paintbrushes as well as pastry brushes!  Leslee gets missjunebug and Trusty Mr.JB’s vote for best artist of the juried show!

Check out her work at the Art Walk 2014 along with a host of other artists.

Saturday & Sunday June 7th & 8th, 2014
10 am to 5 pm
Admission and Parking are Free.

Food and Beverages, Live Music
Children’s Hands-on Art

Bank of America Building (Formerly Countrywide)
225 W Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, Ca 91360
Exit 101 Ventura Freeway at Lynn or Moorpark Rd.

mjbTip: Buy local original art! The pleasure it provides is priceless!

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The Quantified missjunebug

Uh oh. missjunebug better step on it! Only 654 Steps for today. Photo by mjb2014
Uh oh. missjunebug better step on it! Only 654 Steps for today. Photo by mjb2014

missjunebug is sporting a chic new bracelet lately: Her Fitbit Force!

She’s having some serious fun with this sleek little gizmo that measures the time of day (Sorry trusty and venerable Swiss Army Victorinox now languishing in missjunebug’s jewelry drawer!), number of steps taken, number of miles walked, number of calories burned, number of floors taken, and number of active minutes suffered exercised! Whew! missjunebug gets tired just listing all these fab features.

Now all of that information is well and good, inspirational and aspirational! But the part missjunebug thinks is too cool for school is the surprise vibe that hugs her wrist when she hits the magic 10,000 steps. Woo to the hoo X 10!

That makes for a very good day for missjunebug who is trying to get her exercise game back on after six months of chemotherapy infusions and other medical insults to her little bug body! Along with the little vibration comes a flashing “10,000!” on her Fitbit Force miniscreen. It feels like a solid albeit silent round of applause for her efforts.

But perhaps missjunebug should mention that in the two months she’s used her fab Fitbit, she’s only seen that flashing number three times. (wah wah) missjunebug must try harder! move more! get up earlier! stay up later!

Or she could do what a couple Mr.JB knows does before they go to bed at night: walk around their bedroom until they hit the magic 10,000! Ha! Clever people. Why didn’t missjunebug think of that?

If you are interested in tracking things and quantifying your little self, take a look at the Fitbit Force and its iphone App that helps you effortlessly track calories, sleep patterns, and water consumption as well. That’s some Big Data from a little black band.

mjbTip: The Quantified Self rocks! Get a fitbit for some number fun!

Who needs a watch? Just use the Fitbit! Photo by mjb2014
Who needs a watch? Just use the Fitbit! Photo by mjb2014
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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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Live Opera! at Your Local Cinema! in HD!

THE POLOVTSY CAMP. Stage-set design for Act Tw...
THE POLOVTSY CAMP. Stage-set design for Act Two of the opera “Prince Igor by Borodin. 1930 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

missjunebug and her trusty Mr.JB have discovered live opera close to home. Check out Metropolitan Opera http://www.metoperafamily.org/hdlive to find out more about upcoming performances LIVE! from the Met! Yes, that Met! in New York City! at your local cinema. mjb and trusty Mr.JB had a fine time watching Borodin’s Prince Igor celebrate life, endure war, and begin to rebuild his shattered homeland. The selling point for Mr.JB? No travels on the 405 to get to the LA Opera! Selling point for missjunebug? The voices, of course! And the backstage tours and interviews, complete with a Russian translator for the principal singers. Okay, missjunebug must admit it is not as great as the real live deal, but it’s a close second, and sometimes a close second can be better than a distant first!

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SPY Time!

missjunebug and her trusty Mr.JB had a fine time at the Ronald Reagan Library & Museum last Sunday checking out the soon-to-be-closing exhibit SPY: The Secret World of Espionage. She urges immediate compliance with her order that you make sure you see it if you are anywhere near Simi Valley!

Minox
Minox (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clandestine craft will be revealed! According to the RRL&M website the exhibit is “unprecedented.” Check out the umbrella with the poison tip! The mini document cameras! The ice pick used to assassinate Leon Trotsky! What? Yeah, it’s there! The OTPs (One Time Pad) that were used to create virtually uncrackable codes! Too cool for school, but perfect for spies! The secret compartments in shoes! Lipstick cases! Matchboxes! Those spies were super tricky! There are nearly 300 documents and spy gadgets from the CIA, the KGB, the FBI, and the National Reconnaissance Office that will amaze you. But that’s not all! There are some super spy interactive displays that are just plain fun. Run through a laser maze! Disguise your voice! Learn secret writing!

The exhibit even has a video of a Russian dead drop that took place in 2010!!! The Cold War may be over but Spy vs. Spy still continues! However, the exhibit does not. It wraps up on March 9, 2014, so do not miss it!

Then after all that spy fun, go have a beer at the Ronald Reagan Pub right underneath the awesome Air Force One. The beer is chill: the view, sublime. Cheers!

If you choose to accept this mission set your coordinates for 40 Presidential Drive Simi Valley, CA. 93065 and complete it by March 9.

mjbTip: missjunebug is now ready to watch the Second Season of The Americans where Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys play (practically) heartless KGB agents living among us doing Moscow’s relentless dirty work! missjunebug has it on good authority that even Vladimir P. tunes in to this show! Maybe you should check it out!

But first take a look at the photos missjunebug took with her tiny  I-spy-phone5 camera:

Tiny but effective. Photo by mjb2014
Customizable Matchbox Camera. Cool EK! Photo by mjb2014
Holy Moly! It's the real deal. (But not the skull: replica) Photo by mjb2014
Holy Moly! It’s the real deal. (But not the skull: replica) Photo by mjb2014
Nyet, Comrade!! Photo by mjb2014
Nyet spaseeba, Comrade!! Photo by mjb2014
On the West Side: Flower Power for Real. Photo by mjb2014
On the West Side of the Berlin Wall: Flower Power for Real. Photo by mjb2014

 

On the East Side: An enforced blank slate.  Photo by mjb2014
On the East Side: An enforced blank slate. Photo by mjb2014
Perfect R&R locale. Photo by mjb2014
Perfect R&R locale. Get it? R&R! Photo by mjb2014

 

Pub with a View Photo by mjb2014
Pub with a View. Hey, MrJB, get your hand out of the pic! Photo by mjb2014
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DAYNES Brings It: Authentic Chicago-Style Italian Beef

Chicago Beef: Beefed Up with Sweet Bell Peppers Photo by mjb2014
Chicago Beef: Beefed Up with Sweet Bell Peppers Photo by mjb2014

Trusty Mr.JB is happy as a clam since trying out the Chicago-style Italian Beef sandwich at DAYNES in Thousand Oaks. It is the real deal. missjunebug spotted this colorful eatery after a quick cuppa at Chocolatine (located right next door) on Thousand Oaks Boulevard and she convinced Mr.JB to give it a go. Believe missjunebug when she says he is glad he did!

It’s a bit jarring to leave the languor and sophistication of the French-inspired Chocolatine cafe and coffee enclave and enter the graffiti-bright graphics of DAYNES, but that’s the beauty of the strip mall, n’est-ce pas? 

For their first visit, missjunebug ordered the Beef and Sweet Peppers; Mr.JB, the Combo. With the order comes plenty of napkins because these sandwiches are ridiculously juicy. Eat ’em up fast so your plump sandwich roll doesn’t get soggy! Yep, they are that juicy!

For their next visit: the Chicago Dawg. Can’t wait to taste its authenticity! Celery Salt included!

If you are a Midwestern transplant missing that savory flavor of the Chicagoland Italian Beef-style sandwich, or you are just a hungry, hungry local, Daynes Chicago Beef and Dawgs can hook you up!!! Check out their website www.dayneschicagobeef.com for more information or swing by their little restaurant of really good eats at 2951 East Thousand Oaks Boulevard in T.O. missjunebug is sure you will savor the flavor!

The Works: Sausage, Beef, Giardiniera!
The Works: Sausage, Beef, Giardiniera!

mjb’s Next Culinary Pursuit? Locating Authentic Texas-style Barbeque in SoCali. And she thinks she’s got a lead on where to find it. Stay tuned.

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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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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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Welcoming Distractions

Various scalpels
Various scalpels (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So as missjunebug’s doctor once said a few years ago after viewing a pathology report that didn’t bode too well, “You have a little more work to do.”

Indeed.

Turns out missjunebug had a lot more work to do over the next few years, and honestly, she’s just happy to still be here, but she’s not so happy to have to go back in the hospital, that most confounding of locations to try to rest, to heal, and to get well!

So many pokes, prods, sticks, interruptions in sleep and machinery beeps! Food? Forget it. Ice chips only on the menu. Sleep? Not a chance. Vitals are checked around the clock. Blood work clocks in nice and early, too! Too bad for you, missjunebug!

But missjunebug has a plan! Thanks to wise words of Dr.O’, she knows exactly what to do: Welcome Distractions!

missjunebug will forego all those challenging book club reads (Wolf Hall–no way Thomas x 3–so confusing! The sequel?? Bringing Up the Bodies ack! No more Mantel! , Anna Karenina–catch that train later!–so depressing) and stick to the escapist fiction she craves–Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, here missjunebug comes!! Then she’ll segue straight to Netflix for a binge watch worthy of a week-long hospital sequester. Rom coms! Noir thrillers! Historical sagas! PBS Masterpiece Classics!

Eyes like buttons? Then how about a little Art Studio work on her iPad. The thrill of painting sans mess! Yeah, that’s the way to while away time transfixed. Then onto the pile of WSJ “Personal Journal” sections she’s been saving for weeks. So much fun to read to keep a finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist. Crosswords? Yes! Sudoku? Absolut! Facebook updates? What’s the latest? Stumble Upon? Certainly!

What do all these things have in common? They allow missjunebug to indulge in some pretty pointless distractions that keep her mind off the tubes (a pox upon the NG!), IVs, compression stockings, blood pressure cuffs, and thermometer readings temporarily imprisoning her like a bug in a bell jar. Oh, and the pain, too. They keep her mind off the pain. Of course, the meds help do that, too!

Indulgent distractions. No guilt.

missjunebug can be productive another time. With enough mindless distractions, she just might make it through ovarian cancer recurrence part deux.

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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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Aroma Coffee and Tea Company! Good for mjb!

Al Fresco Dessert! Perfect! Photo by mjb2013

missjunebug and a dear friend made their way from SoCali suburbia to a hipper, cooler, vibe-ier locali: Aroma Coffee and Tea Company. What fun! And what fine food.

missjunebug is on a mission to try every tuna melt she meets up with on the menus of her restaurants of choice. Aroma’s Tuna Melt with swirly black and white rye bread, yummy tomatoes, and delicious tuna fishes did not disappoint. missjunebug’s friend had an Asian noodle-y salad that looked exotic and colorful.

The Aroma menu is complex, interesting, and it offers breakfast fare and a fair amount of lunch and dinner items that you just can’t go wrong in choosing. missjunebug found the Buenos Dias, Los Angeles! section particularly intriguing but she passed on the enticing South of the Border flavor in her on-going pursuit of the Perfect Tuna Melt!

After the meal, missjunebug and her dear friend made their way back to the pastry case that graces the entrance to the charming restaurant, an erstwhile home with vintage touches and many tucked away, comfy tables in which to enjoy a fresh repast. Her friend ordered the Princess cake, a many-layered, custardy delight; missjunebug made a beeline to the Bee Cake. Believe missjunebug when she says It be good!

The next time you want to escape the fast food joints, the burger stops, and the other links in the restaurant chain, hop in your car and head down to Aroma Coffee and Tea Company for delicious food and fun. You’ll find them at 4360 Tujunga Ave. Studio City, California 91604 • Ph: 818.508.0677. Hours: Mon – Sat 6am to 11pm / Sun 7am to 11pm.

When you’ve eaten your fill of fab food, take a stroll down Tujunga and pop into the local boutiques for a little shopping, window or otherwise. missjunebug found a nice pair of earrings for a nice price while her friend found a lovely handcrafted skirt.

The perfect end to a perfect day.

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Tiny Things: Fall Collection

missjunebug was walking her Spoonbug the other day and found these two cool tiny things: Tiny Piney Cones (science-y name) and Nature’s Own Tic-Tacs (very science-y name). Check them out! She threw the leaves in for some local autumn color. And, yes, missjunebug wants to emphatically assure you SoCali has all the fall colors, just in tiny amounts! Enjoy these final days of fall before Winter Solstice (or the end of the world) arrives!

All for fall still life! Photo by mjb2012

 

missjunebug asks: "Now don't those look like Tic Tacs??" Photo by mjb2012
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Home is Where the Comfort Is

One of missjunebug’s favorite words has always been comfort. It has a pillowy sound that is as soothing as its meaning. It also has some interesting  connections in our language that resonant with many of us: to give comfort, to receive comfort, to enjoy comfort food, to relax and be comfortable, especially in our surroundings and clothing, to feel comfortable with someone you’ve just met or seen again after a long time, and to work well because you are in your comfort zone. She even likes the antithetical use of it: to give cold comfort to someone, meaning of course, no comfort at all.

There are a few brand applications of comfort that no doubt have parlayed their success at least partially from the word comfort figuring prominently in their products. Who wouldn’t want to stay at The Comfort Inn? Who would refuse a cocktail made with, yes, you guessed it, Southern Comfort? Better yet imagine having that drink, “a unique blend of natural fruit, spice and whiskey flavors that together create a distinct taste” while you are relaxing in your comfy room at the Comfort Inn? Sounds pretty comfortable to missjunebug.

But perhaps the most likely location to find comfort is home. Home sweet, comfortable home. missjunebug has experienced an epiphany of profound proportions recently, having been absented from her home for (count ’em) 18 days. And not on vacay either. That kind of absence is pretty easy to handle even if you get a little homesick. But missjunebug was confined to a hospital bed enduring one of the most uncomfortable experiences of her life.

Now believe missjunebug when she says she is super thankful for all the great care she received from doctors and nurses on her “team” as if she is in some kind of endurance sport, which now that she thinks of it, maybe she is. But you must know there was nothing comfortable about it. She’s pretty sure that if there are any Al Qaeda guys out there we need to subject to some attitude adjustment, all we have to do is arrange for NG (nasal gastric) tubes to be inserted down their throats and they’d come around to seeing things our way pretty damn quick.

So you’ve probably figured out her epiphany by now, as banal and cliché as it may be: There is no place like home. No place more comfortable, cheery, freeing, fresh, happy, and shiny. She is so thankful to be home with her steadfast Mr.JB, her super doodle Spoon, and her precious Lefty kitty. She plans to keep tapping her heels together from time to time to make sure she stays there.

 

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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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It’s Good to be Queen!

Check out missjunebug's shiny new wrap bracelet with added bling! Photo by mjb2012

missjunebug had some fun recently getting crafty at Queen Beads in Camarillo. This nifty bead shop is located at 1877 E. Daily Dr. Camarillo, CA 93010 (805) 987-2555. Chris Dodson, the resident Queen/owner of Queen Beads can graciously assist you in supplying all your jewelry making needs. The shop is spacious, well-organized, and fully supplied with fabulous beads and stones and buttons and wires and leather strings of all kinds to get you started making your own Chan Luu-inspired jewelry or any kind of jewelry you want.

missjunebug is a Chan Luu wannabe so under Chris’ expert direction, mjb was able to make her own wrap bracelet in just a few hours using some gorgeous coral beads. missjunebug did have to take a break during the process and run across the street to have lunch with a friend. (Yummy beef enchiladas!) But she made it back and finished her little masterpiece in no time at all. Thank goodness missjunebug’s friend who introduced her to Queen Beads, didn’t mind mjb jumping from one social event to another. missjunebug is determined to get in as much fun between rounds of chemotherapy as she possibly can!

That little wrap bracelet could not have turned out any better. Queen Chris is a natural born teacher with some awesome clipboards and clips that make weaving that little bracelet together as easy as pie. The directions are printed right on the clipboard! And the thread used to anchor the beads has a built in needle! How cool is that? Very. Very.

missjunebug’s dear friend did a neat trick herself by making her bracelet from some lovely blue-green recycled beads she’d harvested from jewelry she no longer wore. Now that’s clever! And believe missjunebug when she says her dear friend’s bracelet turned out fabulous, too! missjunebug has some really smart, eco-minded friends.

So the next time you get inspired to make jewelry worthy of the Sundance Catalogue or Chan Luu’s beautiful pieces, take heart! You can do it with the help of a bead shop like Queen Beads. Look for local bead shops in your area that offer reasonably priced classes and get busy with it! Imagine the fun you’ll have, the beads you’ll recycle, and the money you’ll save! Or you can do what missjunebug did and buy brand new shiny beads to make a bracelet! Oh. my. yes. Even more fun.

Happy beading!

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Cow Cookies! missjunebug Loves These!

The other day missjunebug had a few pieces of art work to pick up from her fave framer in Ventura: Gonzalez Framing. They’re located on 4160 Market St. #4 Ventura, CA 93003 (805) 477-0749. She’s had many, many pieces framed here and has never been disappointed in their work. They are perfectionists, and they use the best materials to protect and to enhance special art pieces.

Here’s one she recently had framed. Won’t it look great in her newly painted kitchen? Oh. my. yes.

What a great framing job for missjunebug's chickens! Thanks Gonzalez Framing!

So what does this have to do with Cow Cookies? Well, right after missjunebug picked up her awesomely framed art works, she realized it was time for a little lunch. Right around the corner (practically) from Gonzalez Framing is Royal Bakery & Cafe. This little gem of a lunch spot is located at 4726 Telephone Rd. Ventura, CA 93003 (805) 658-6030. They have a wonderful menu including soups, salads, sandwiches, quiches, pizza, desserts, and coffee. What more could you ask for on a cafe menu? missjunebug had the divine Tuna Pesto Melt on French bread. Such a delicious mix of tuna, red onion, celery, and pesto, topped with melted cheddar and toasted to perfection. She suspects all the menu items are equally delightful to the taste buds.

Which does finally bring her to the Cow Cookies. These big and tender iced gems are shaped like dairy cows each marked with its own pattern of cow spots. Cute! Clever! Fun! and Delicious! She took six of them home with her in a congenial little box.

Check out two of her Cow Cookies and then check out Royal Bakery & Cafe a.s.a.p. You won’t be sorry. Especially if you rustle up some Cow Cookies to take home with you!

Cow Cookies Rule! Photo by mjb2012
Each Cow Cookie has its own unique design! Photo by mjb2012

 

A nifty box for Cow Cookie transport! Photo by mjb2012
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Two Website Finds…Divine!

English: Red Pinterest logo
Image via Wikipedia

missjunebug has been having some fun on the internet! She’s been busy creating her own personal bulletin boards that reflect her tastes, aspirations, desires, and interests. Yes, you guessed it: Pinterest! This is almost as much fun as shopping on the internet, but there’s no credit card required!!

missjunebug’s boards include My Style which reflects fashion preferences, a couple on food (healthy recs “Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not Too Much” and a semi-healthy mega-delicious one entitled “Splurges, Indulgences, and Extravagances” with delicious pics of all those craved only-every-once–in-a-while treats missjunebug can’t live without. What else? Home Decor featuring wished for things for the Hacienda. Tangible Philosophies, a thought-provoking collection of smart things people have mused about and displayed in the most interesting of ways.

missjunebug is sure you get the idea behind Pinterest. Pin pics to  your heart’s content, explore the interests of others, and get altogether inspired by the great ideas out there being pinned and repinned. Cool x 10. Thanks to missjunebug’s friend Rox and her friend for recommending this website. Oh, and speaking of friends one of the coolest parts of Pinterest is following your friend’s interests! Double good fun fo sho.

Now just imagine a website pinning up Design Finds from all over the world that are for sale from $1 to $10,000 or more. Credit card required! If you get a little weary of living in the potential world of fun finds from pinning on Pinterest, move over to Fab.com to do some serious shopping in many interesting marketplaces including ones for fashionistas to foodies and everything in between. missjunebug just made her first purchase of a cool waterproof winter jacket for upcoming travel to the Stans! Yeah, those Stans: Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan! She will be warm and dry no matter the weather there! If you’re a fan of the bargain find on Amazon.com you’ll love the hunt for design finds on Fab.com.

missjunebug wishes you Happy Pinning on Pinterest and Divine Design Find Shopping on Fab.com!

 

 

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It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like…

Christmas tree with presents
Image via Wikipedia

missjunebug knows you know the rest. She was running a few errands today, a Saturday, something she almost never does since she has the leisure to shop during the week when 90% of the world is working give or take a per cent or two. And what does she find at her local mall? A FULL sign on level one of the parking garage. No way! She circled up to level two where she usually parks where there were only 56 spaces available out of hundreds. No way!

Way.

Lucky for missjunebug she found an open one! Now Level Two was down to 55 spaces!

missjunebug was on a mission! She was buying a birthday gift card for a friend and a wedding present for a lovely niece, but the people she was bumping into had already polished off the Halloween candy and dashed right to the Christmas stocking. And stocking up they were! Perhaps this is a good sign for the economic doldrums the country’s been navigating through for three years give or take a year. (Check out Margin Call with Kevin Spacey if you need a refresh about how we ended up in those econodoldrums.)

But missjunebug digresses.

Back to the madcap shopping going on at her mall: she was hardly in the mood for it. Why? She’d just watched Skipping Christmas the day before. Yes, you read that right. She watched her first Christmas movie on the 4th day of November while she was baking cookies for a church event–one unrelated to holiday cheer.

missjunebug is just not ready for the seasonal whimsy quite yet! And if you are at all familiar with John Grisham‘s little homage to Christmas…spoiler alert…believe missjunebug when she says in the filmed version despite what the title promises, the Kranks played by Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis most definitely do not skip Christmas.

Not that missjunebug would really want to. She’d just like to ask for a delay of game! At least tonight she can fall back an hour on the clock postponing the frenzied inevitable.

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Halloween Photo Fun!

Simple pumpkins not so simple any more: Red, orange greenish, white and warty! Photo by mjb2011

missjunebug had some fun this weekend taking a few Halloween pictures that capture the spooky vibe of the season. Try not to get too scared. She’ll provide you with the Cornish benediction to cure all scariness that manifests this time of year:

From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties,

and things that go bump in the night,

good Lord, deliver us!

Happy Halloween!

Fine seasonal signage! Hey, Pumpkin Head Man! Photo by mjb2011

 

Smiley pumpkin with a spooky pitchfork! Creepy plus!! Photo by mjb2011

 

What's scarier? The Hairy Skeleton or the Steroidal Strawberry? Photo by mjb2011

 

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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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missjunebug’s Plethora of POPular Culture Goings-On

This Little Sticker Takes You on a Walk Through Three Chinese Dynasties! Photo by mjb2011

missjunebug should probably be booted from blogging for that post title, but oh well. She has a few observations and recommendations that don’t really deserve more than a passing mention so she’s lumping them all together in a pretty disorganized media miscellany. So here goes:

She finds it pretty cool that Ken Burn’s new PBS documentary Prohibition is airing in close proximity to the new season for HBO‘s acclaimed series Boardwalk Empire. Sometimes the stars and planets align perfectly to provide delight. Most poignant scene in B.E‘s first episode? The Great War’s veteran and partner to upstart Jimmy Darmody tucked away in his room meticulously cutting out pictures of happy families from magazines and carefully glueing them into his scrapbook of Impossible Dreams for a Normal Life (missjunebug’s title!). Not likely to happen with half a face. Heartwrench!

Speaking of heartwrench: AplusK plus Mrs.Kutcher no more? To quote Project Runway’s Nina Garcia, “It’s just so sad!” But missjunebug will take AplusK’s advice and not assume anything! She hopes for the best for both. And she’d like to remind the gossips and the media stalkers of this powerful celebrity duo of the wise Jewish proverb: “What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t invent with your tongue.”

missjunebug’s fav cooking series on HGTV worth a look: Chopped! hosted by one of the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy guys. The money part of the show? The competition is completed in just one hour! No need to watch week after week to see who wins. missjunebug knows you know how many talent/reality HGTV shows use the tune-in-forever-to-figure-out-who-wins format. Annoying x 10. The chefs in Chopped! have wack ingredients for three menu items: appetizer, entree, and dessert. And voila! A loser is mercilessly chopped round by round until there’s one chef standing. All within one hour! Brilliant!

New series actor not to be missed? Zooey Deschanel on New Girl. What a quirky, lovable character she plays! missjunebug suspects she is not working against type in playing the zany Jess. The beauty part to missjunebug is that she’s playing a teacher who is not too cool for school like that red meanie Sue Sylvester! Jess’s just right! And so is Z. Deschanel.

Best movie bet: Moneyball with Brad Pitt. missjunebug is a football fan from way, way back; baseball? not so much. But Moneyball is about thinking outside the box or the baseline, not baseball per se. It also doesn’t hurt to see it at the local Muvico with her p.i.c. in luxe seats while eating free popcorn and drinking a Pilsner glass full of Stella. Oh. my. yes. Time well spent. missjunebug’s SAG vote for best male performance in a film in 2011 will mos def go to Mr. Pitt.

One last popular goings-on: The new exhibit at missjunebug’s and Mr.JB’s fav museum: The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. The curators here must have a direct line to Beijing and Xian because they’ve done it again putting together a rad collection of Chinese artifacts in their new show Warriors, Tombs, and Temples. missjunebug has one word for it: AWESOME. Find out all you need to know about W,T & T at www.bowers.org. Take a walk through Chinese history wending your way from the cruel Qin to the civilizing Han through the talented Tang dynasty. The audio tour is erudite but accessible; the artifacts, from the Xian terracotta warriors to the containers for the Buddha’s finger bone are fierce! Don’t miss this!

One last thing: Before Ocktoberfest ends, have a pretzel! Drink a beer! Eat a brat! missjunebug had the good fortune to enjoy homemade pretzels made by her inspired Mr.JB who just returned from Munich where he imbibed with the rest of the Ocktoberfesters!  So get your Pretzel On!

Pretzel Perfection! At Least Taste Wise! Thanks, Mr.JB! Photo by mjb2011

 

 

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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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Lazy Daze of Summer

missjunebug's fav chaise and her fav companion, Spoonbug! Photo by mjb2011
missjunebug's fav chaise and her fav companion, Spoonbug! Photo by mjb2011

As you can probably tell, missjunebug has not been keeping up with her little blog posts lately. Sometimes she can’t think of anything to write about; sometimes she has other more pressing things to take care of (TinyJB’s laundry during his month home between university gigs–Yes!, playing with Spoonbug in the backyard, baking cookies post liquid diet deprivation!), and sometimes she’s just overcome by the lazy daze of summer, that morning to evening feeling of utter and complete inertia brought on by higher temperatures, warm breezes, and lots of sunshine.

missjunebug can hear her chaise lounge calling now.

She hopes you are enjoying your summer just as much as she is.

Amgen Bike Tour of California Detours missjunebug!

Peloton Coming and Going! Photo by mjb2011
Peloton Coming and Going! Photo by mjb2011

So missjunebug was minding her business, heading home after church when she saw the left turn lane that leads into her little valley blocked off by orange cones and lots of hubbub at the intersection she did not expect.

Then she read the sign: Amgen Tour of California.  Great for the cyclists. Not so great for missjunebug. She had a sinking feeling, then a bright idea! She’d get on the freeway and head into her valley via the backdoor, an exit past the one she normally takes. With any luck she’d be able to get back to her little hacienda no problema.

Alas. More cones. More hubbub at the backdoor into her valley intersection. When the light turned green, she drove slowly through the intersection and shared her plight with the officer moving traffic through. How was she supposed to get to her home, please? The officer smiled and said, “Just drive through and park at the next shopping center for a few minutes. The cyclists are on their way.”

As luck would have it, missjunebug never even had to park! The sirens of approaching police vehicles blared the approach of the elite group of leaders of the Amgen California Tour. Shortly after, the pulsing peloton pushed through! missjunebug got to see it all without missing a beat! She was even able to snap a few shots out her car window with her little camera.  And just as the police officer promised, it was all over before she even made it to the shopping center. She just had to wend her way through the coned off detour and loop back around to the street leading into her valley.

That’s the thing about watching cyclists in a race. They go by so fast there’s barely time to allow the brain to register what it’s seen before it’s gone! missjunebug learned this two years ago when the Amgen Tour of California cyclists raced their way through the full length of her beloved valley.

She’d planned ahead, driven to a location near the race road, parked her little car, walked with chair and water bottle in tow to await the arrival of the tour’s cyclists making their way up the historic grade that provided a grueling challenge to even the best cyclists. And shewffuuee! The leaders zipped by and then the peloton flashed through and missjunebug realized that. was. it. They were gone.

It was fun. missjunebug got some neat pictures and she had a good time but, boy, was that over fast! Today was fun, too, even though she backdoored into it and hadn’t planned to be a part of it! And, yes, it was over fast!

Within this experience missjunebug is pretty sure that there’s a deep and wise metaphor lurking about life and serendipity and time…or something, but she’ll leave that to you to ponder. The peloton waits for no man or bug! But truth be told, missjunebug mostly wrote this post so that she could use the words “wend” and “peloton.” 😉

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A Little Behind Her Time

Mondaine clock, model 30335
Image via Wikipedia

missjunebug has been kickin’ it in the P.D. (That’s Palm Desert to the uninitiated) so she is way behind on catching up with her little blog-o-sphere contributions. Charles Dickens had a charming way of saying the same thing: “A little behind his time” (plaintively spoken by Mrs. Crachit in A Christmas Carol when referring to the future Tiny Tim-less devoted father and husband Mr. Crachit) (Fortunately, the distinctly tragic event of Tiny Tim’s demise did not come to pass thanks to Scrooge’s 180!)–not meaning out of step, just late a few.

missjunebug always seems to be late a few and she blames it on no bell schedule. As a former teacher she adhered to a strict code of on-timeness which she has long since abandoned in retirement. She’s not a flagrant violator; she just runs a little behind her time ALL the time. So shoot her. She just doesn’t care. No. Wait a minute. She does care and she will try to do better at a future time. Especially in keeping up with her little blog-o-sphere contributions. Who wants to open up missjunebug.com and find the Mother’s Day homage still hanging around when it’s practically Father’s Day.

missjunebug thanks you for your patience and hopes her five fans do not give up on her. She will write more unless she gets a little behind her time.

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Dolce Far Niente: missjunebug is for it!

Woman with bound feet reclining on chaise loun...
Image via Wikipedia

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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Put a Happy Face on This Week! :)

missjunebug had a good week this week. Here’s what constitutes a good week for missjunebug:

A Monday matinee and delicious lunch out with missjunebug’s sweet as pie p.i.c. and her fab daughter. The film? Jane Eyre (missjunebug gives it 5 thousand stars!!)

A Tuesday Bible Study class in which missjunebug’s classmates attempt to solve all the problems of the world. You rocked it (as always), Pastor Frank.

A nifty background gig: My Life as an Experiment (NBC pilot) (missjunebug gives it 5 stars for Overtime and Mileage and Donald Sutherland‘s uproarious behavior on the set!)

A clean missjunebug CT scan: woo-hoo

Good mjb blood work: woo-hooier

News of TinyJB’s Purdue acceptance: PhD: Pretty handy Degree to acquire in these economic times! Boiler Up, TinyJB! Get your Cheg on!

An email confirming ElderJB’s trip home from Rwanda for a little visit. Yo! Yo! Yippee!

Awesome wrap up to Battlestar Gallactica Season 2.5–Thanks, Netflix!

Clean eating (mostly) all week. Kudos to missjunebug’s dear neighbor and friend for signing on as her Get Healthy Buddy!

Warm, sunny weather Thursday. Hello, Spring!

Art class fun all day Friday.

A delicious breakfast out at Pete’s Breakfast House early Saturday!

missjunebug’s not particularly original motto Life is Good was mos def true this week.

missjunebug wishes you a good week to come!

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Daffodils Delight!

Wordsworth's fav flower! Photo by mjb2011
Wordsworth's fav flower! Photo by mjb2011

missjunebug saw an early glimpse of Spring on her walk with Spoonbug recently and she could not help but think of that lovely poem by Mr. Wordsworth. Enjoy a glimpse of it here:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

There are more lovely lines that follow, but missjunebug will leave it to you to explore those on your own…

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Boomerang Children Surprise Boomers!

Saving a space just for you, TinyJB!! Photo by mjb2010
Saving a space just for you, TinyJB!! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug is sure this is not news to most of  you: There’s a high probability adult children will boomerang back home sometime during their twenties or thirties. Blame it on these uncertain economic times and the current job market. Blame it on the willingness of Boomer parents to continue to provide extended refuge from the real world for their children. Blame it on what ElderJB calls a generation “Slow to grow up.”

Or maybe there’s another way to look at it: Celebrate the second chance to bond with adult children who bring with them their indefatigable exuberance and outrageous opinions and recently lived life experience! That’s the way missjunebug plans to look at it!

Having just had both ElderJB and TinyJB home for a good chunk of time during the holidays, she has fresh appreciation for all they bring to her sometime circumscribed world. These bugboys are smart! insightful! cynical! hilarious! loving! and always surprising! Chances are pretty good ElderJB won’t be calling the Hacienda home again anytime soon since his semi-permanent digs are in Rwanda(!), but TinyJB may be joining the junebugs as he plans for his next steps. missjunebug admonished him to do all he could not to end up back home and he assured her he only ever wanted to be a guest here, not a resident, but missjunebug wants TinyJB to take comfort in the little mat outside the kitchen door that says “Welcome!”

missjunebug remembers her own fleeing from home and never looking back, but she lived in chaotic-question-authority-never-trust-anyone-over-thirty times! She’s pretty sure that things are different today and parents and adult children share iTunes playlists, facebook pages, twitter tweets, emails, Skype time, and Kindle recommendations! Maybe it’s technology that’s provided an even playing field and means of connection that missjunebug’s parents’ generation could not even begin to dream of. Or maybe economic realities necessitate pulling out Plan B: Move back in with the peeps!

The best of all possible worlds will provide a seamless transition from university graduation to interesting and challenging work for the Boomers’ adult children. But in case Real Life 101 requires some recalibration, know that despite what Mr. Wolfe said, you can go home again.

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missjunebug’s 2010: Put that one in the Rearview!

missjunebug's P.I.C. prepares last year's Rockin' New Year's Fun! Photo by mjb2009

missjunebug can’t get waited for 2010 to end (She thanks her JBDad-may he rest in peace-for that little expression!). O what a year it’s been!

Here’s her mixed bag of medical mishaps, mayhem, and monumental events:

Diagnosis: The Big C with the Big O! Hysterectomy followed! Then chemo, then pelvic radiation, then follow-up. And did she mention springing a leak in her poor little belly button post surgery! You cannot make this stuff up! Ree Diculous. missjunebug has officially entered her post-patient C-survivor status and would most definitely like to keep it that way.

An outrageous trip to Africa by way of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo was squeezed in between moments of medical mayhem! Now missjunebug understands firsthand why ElderJB loves it there!

JBDad’s passing filled with grief, regret, sadness, celebration, and so much more. Life for JBDad was circumscribed by a mind that no longer supplied the “I” of identity. But missjunebug and her JBbro remember the real JBDad with love and appreciation.

ElderJB makes an unexpected trip home to offer some TLC to his JBMom! What a nice break from thinking about yes, you guessed it: medical mayhem!

TinyJB graduates with pomp, circumstance, and a temporary job! Go Irish! Easily one of the best weekends of missjunebug’s life and she’s got the pictures to prove it. Now if the economy can just cooperate and cut her TinyJB some slack for securing his next gig!

Eclipse chasing never felt so good: Tahiti rocked! Hao Atoll rolled! And all the pictures Mr.JB took were prizeworthy. missjunebug and Mr.JB look forward to 2012 for the next total solar eclipse in Australia!

The last blast of Irish football occurred ND-Michigan weekend, where, alas, the Irish went down to defeat due to QB1 difficulties. But things still hopped all weekend long at the Backer, the tailgate parties, and the post-loss non-celebration dinner in downtown South Bend! Woo-hoo!

Onto Wisconsin Thanksgiving reunion where all Mr.JB clan minus ElderJB gathered in Whitefish Bay for freezing temperatures(!) and steaming hot Thanksgiving fare! What fun! What family! And the Lakeside Brewery Tour and Polka-Fest rounded out the holiday weekend perfectly!

All missjunebug’s Christmas dreams came true with the best tree ever and the most fun family gathering of the JBclan! The junebugs ate too much! partyied too much! spent too much! but wouldn’t change a thing!

O what a year it’s been! One more celebration beckons thanks to her dear p.i.c. (pictured above!) who will host this year’s (and last year’s! and the year before’s!!?) New Year’s Eve Rockin’ Blow-out in the Burbs! Mr.JB and missjunebug are off to BevMo to score some champagne and Godiva White Chocolate Liquer as their contribution to the fete!

Fun times ahead as they ring out this outta control 2010 and look forward to a better, heathier, happier 2011! May it be so with you and yours!

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Christmas Trees: Nothing Like the Real Thing!

IMG_0207

missjunebug and her fam. favor the real thing when it comes to Christmas trees. Many of her friends have made the sensible move to the boxable, artificial tree they can depend upon year after year, no fuss, no hassle, but the junebugs keep fighting the good fight of trekking to the tree lot, choosing a fresh tree, wrestling it onto and off of the SUV, hauling it up the stairs, hammering in the stand, and setting it up in the middle of the Great Room. Yeah! That was fun!

And this year was no exception! Except that ElderJB chose an exceptional tree: 10 feet tall!. Thanks, ElderJB!!! But somehow it all worked out: ElderJB, MG (ElderJB’s best girl), missjunebug, and Mr.JB were able to get all 10 feet of it into the little Hacienda without a hitch! Then began the many-hands-make-light-work decorating mission! MG and Mr.JB on the lights, ElderJB and missjunebug on the ornaments. And before missjunebug could say “Twas the night before Christmas” three times fast, that gorgeous hunk of evergreen was shiny and bright with lights and bulbs and a lifetime of junebug ornamental memorabilia from grade school on! What used to take missjunebug a week to decorate by herself was done in one delightful evening (cue Christmas carols and brandied eggnog!).

Whether your tree is the real thing or the perfect imitation, enjoy its unique beauty and decorate it with the spirit of Christmas!

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Anything

So missjunebug was minding her little bug business on the way to the dry cleaners to pick up Mr.JB’s clothes when she takes her usual ramp off the 101 and comes to a stop at the light. She sees something she’s never seen before. The scruffy guy sitting along side the curb with a sign–she’d seen that before. But this time instead of the usual Will Work For Food (Don’t we all do that?) or Vet in Need or Homeless & Need Your Help, this guy’s sign says ANYTHING. That’s it. Just ANYTHING.

Now missjunebug has a rule and the rule is she gives her money to her very trustworthy church who vets those who receive the help they need. In other words, she knows reliably where the money goes and it goes to help people in need. The same can’t really be said of giving money to hands-outers in front of the local Von’s or at the busy intersection where her CVS pharmacy (erstwhile methamphetamine enablers according to the news this week, but mjb digresses) or this scruffy guy on the off-ramp from the 101. But the sign really moved her.  ANYTHING.

By the time she had thought through the implications of such a sign, she was well through the light. She looked in her rearview and saw that the car behind her had handed the scruffy guy something, but she wasn’t quite sure what. Not money. Whatever it was, it was wrapped up in a sack, so who knows? Certainly, not missjunebug. She does remember one of her students explained to her once that her dad always helped those asking for hand outs from the street by handing them a few cans of tunafish. Not an altogether bad idea. Such a gesture assuages the need to lend a hand and assures that the hand doing the lending won’t be bilked by a poser. So maybe that sack contained a few cans of tuna, but missjunebug will never know.

But the thing of it that missjunebug keeps coming back to is the ANYTHING. Like this guy wasn’t going to be picky because he was truly desperate. Desperate enough to ask for help in the most humble of ways. He would welcome ANYTHING, because apparently he had nothing but this sad little cardboard sign with the word ANYTHING scrawled on it.

Maybe missjunebug should have given this guy a twenty. She had a few in her wallet. But she can only say this with her perfect hindsight since she didn’t realize how that word ANYTHING would haunt her so much after the fact. In such situations, one fears a rip-off, or a volatile mind, maybe even a dangerous one, or a 20-dollar misinvestment in a liquor bill or drug habit.

But what if this scruffy guy was truly as desperate as the sign suggested? In this economic recovery totally bereft of jobs or even a modicum of reassurance for the average guy on the street (literally in this case), what’s a little well-meaning bug to do for the man holding up a sign that says ANYTHING?  missjunebug keeps thinking she should have done something.

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Not So Fresh Fruit

What Happens When Fruit Goes Bad. Photo by mjb2010
What Happens When Fruit Goes Bad. Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug drives by this not-so-fresh-fruit sign everyday. It points to a fruit stand long since closed. Fitting signage for a defunct roadside attraction. These too-happy three strike missjunebug as slightly off, a little creepy, and more than a modicum manic. Who painted this thing and what were they thinking? missjunebug can only imagine. But the result is Bad Fruit.

A Million Degrees of Separation

Kayaking in a double on Lake Union in Seattle,...
Image via Wikipedia

Today missjunebug escaped the heat with a dear friend by venturing out to Ventura Harbor to do some sublime kayaking. She left the sweltering heat on the mainland and paddled her friend’s companion Hobie kayak (super portable and inflatable!) up and down the inlets and outlets of the harbor through the watery neighborhoods of lovely waterside homes and round about the slipped boats bobbing quietly close by.

The cool thing about this little beauty of a kayak is the magic pedals that propel the craft forward. The paddles? Fugetaboutit. missjunebug found no need for them. Yes, she tried them out for a while for a little upper body workout, but believe her when she says leg power is definitely the way to go and go p.d.q!!

The weather on the water was a cool 75 degrees and the water was smooth and calm. missjunebug had some fun chatting with her friend and waving at the other big boats moving in and out of the harbor.  She even spied a few doggies hanging out on their owners’ boats, just livin’ the dream waterside.

After they were finished with their water fun, it was easy-peasy to deflate the kayaks, roll ’em up, and go! missjunebug can think of no better way to beat the million degree heat and enjoy the beauty the Ventura Harbor..well…harbors!  Lucky bug to have such a friend! Thanks, M!

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A Savory Combination: Celtic Woman and Sabor Cocina Mexicana

missjunebug had a great dinner date with a dear friend the other night. It all began at the festive Sabor Cocina Mexicana at the Lakes in Thousand Oaks. Yum x 10 describes this upscale Mexican restaurant with margaritas so big you can dunk your entire face in them, but better to drink them! They reminded missjunebug a little bit of Buca di Beppo‘s “meatballs as big as your head.” Mega portion and a price to match, but missjunebug assures you that you won’t have to order more than one!

As for food, delicious, too and so artistically presented! As pretty as the Sabor Cocina decorative aesthetic! missjunebug loved her Chicken Enchilada Suizas and her friend enjoyed the organic Chicken Tacos under the glow of the red heart chandelier. Just take a look:

Enchiladas Suizas! Photo by mjb2010
Enchiladas Suizas! Photo by mjb2010
Organic Chicken Tacos! Photo by mjb2010
Organic Chicken Tacos! Photo by mjb2010
What a Chandelier! missjunebug Hearts It! Photo by mjb2010
What a Chandelier! missjunebug Hearts It! Photo by mjb2010
Better Than Paint or Wallpaper: Gorgeous Mexican Tiles! Photo by mjb2010
Better Than Paint or Wallpaper: Gorgeous Mexican Tiles! Photo by mjb2010

After their delicious meal, missjunebug and her friend strolled over to the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza for their dessert: the sweet-as-treacle ensemble Celtic Woman. This group gives new meaning to the phrase “Go Irish!” Their music was an endearing mix of old standards (“Danny Boy” comes to mind) and lively fiddle-inspired Irish jigs that kept the audience clapping and smiling well after the conclusion of the performance. Okay, so missjunebug couldn’t live on a steady diet of this type of music, but for one night she enjoyed it thoroughly!

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Is There Anything Better Than Saturday Breakfast Out?

Camarillo Airport, California 3 Sep 1994
Image via Wikipedia

The answer, of course, is No! At least that’s the way missjunebug feels! Mr.JB suggested breakfast out this a.m. and missjunebug could not say YES! fast enough. They had a luxurious morning savoring hot coffee, corned beef hash topped with two eggs sunny side up, a rancher’s omelette chock full of bacon, avocado, tomatoes, and two delicious cheeses, cheddar and Monterey jack and, yes, even some eggs thrown in to hold all those goodies together! And did she mention the breakfasts come with fresh fruit and the bread of your choice. Mr.JB opted for the English muffin; mjb, the wheat toast. Delightful with a capital D!

Now you are probably wondering where in the world to get such fine breakfast entrees. The answer is The Waypoint Cafe at the Camarillo Airport. Newly refurbished but looking a little too Starbuck’s-y has not diminished the fab menu! Part of the charm pre-remodel was the slightly down at the heels look to the restaurant that embodied the best of Old Camarillo, but all things change. missjunebug welcomes the new look and is thrilled the food is as good as ever. Find out for yourself the next time you are in Southern California, have a Saturday free, and crave a big breakfast served at a restaurant that’s also big on atmosphere. Just look out the windows and watch all those cool little planes take off! And there’s no charge for the entertainment! Does it get better than that? The answer, of course, is No!

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Is There Any Better Therapy Than Retail? missjunebug Thinks Not!

The exterior of a typical Nordstrom department...
Image via Wikipedia

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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missjunebug Loves a Fourth of July Parade!

Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010

Happy Birthday USA!

missjunebug loves being an American junebug. And she really loves a Fourth of July Parade! This year she had to go no further than her own block to see one. The First Annual Presilla Tractor Parade on her very own street! What fun! Mr.JB was outside in their backyard, heard some patriotic music and looked over their fence to see a line of tractors decked out in sparkles and bangles and banners and flags heading up the hill! He ran in the house to tell missjunebug the good news. They changed into their patriotic t-shirts, grabbed their dog Spoonbug, put the roof down on the car, and made a dash around the block to catch the parade at the top of the hill! What followed was a wave fest, happy Fourth of July greetings, and an invitation to join the parade! Lucky junebugs! Of course, they wasted no time u-turning to take their place in the tractor line-up for the rest of the route!

missjunebug managed to take lots of pictures and say big hellos to her tractored-up west-end neighbors, some for the first time. The junebugs felt a part of the vast web of Fourth of July Parades taking place all across America to celebrate this great country. How lucky for them that one took place right on their own street!

Happy Fourth of July!

Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Photo by mjb2010
Mr.JB Flips a U-ie to Join the Fun! Photo by mjb2010
Mr.JB Flips a U-ie to Join the Fun! Photo by mjb2010
Happy Fourth of July, America!! Photo by mjb2010
Happy Fourth of July, America!! Photo by mjb2010
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Not Monet’s Haystacks

Haystacks in the late summer
Image via Wikipedia

missjunebug recently mentioned the sad red tag affixed to their gate by the local fire department. Bummer x 10.  The junebugs failed their weed abatement test, but they are getting closer to the all clear. missjunebug had an epiphany while rolling a gianormous weed bale down a hill. Take pictures of the results! Why? To remember in detail why she does not want to do this next year. Yes, it was good exercise. Yes, it saved some money. Yes, the weather was great, not too hot, not too cold, just right while she and Mr.JB continued the endless whacking and stacking.

But do it again next year? Not a chance. She can appreciate first hand how hard the life of manual labor is and she gives all kudos to those who do this kind of work five days a week, week after week. Truly admirable. But once a year is enough and she would prefer nonce.

She did learn one more thing while she was taking pictures for this little Weed Abatement Photo Essay: She loves everything about where she and Mr.JB live, yes, even the weeds. Really? Really? you say. Okay, maybe not the weeds. But the weeds whacked and stacked. That she loves.

Not Quite Monet: Stacks of Pampas Grass Detritus. Photo by mjb2010
Not Quite Monet: Stacks of Pampas Grass Detritus. Photo by mjb2010
Hey What's That Coming in for a Landing? Weedy UFO? Photo by mjb2010
Hey What's That Coming in for a Landing? Weedy UFO? Photo by mjb2010
Creepy Close-Up of Weed Stack! Do you see a face? Photo by mjb2010
Creepy Close-Up of Weed Stack! Do you see a face? Photo by mjb2010
Why the junebugs Live Here: the View! Photo by mjb2010
Why the junebugs Live Here: the View! Photo by mjb2010
Holy Relic from Holey Barn? Photo by mjb2010
Holy Relic from Holey Barn? Photo by mjb2010
missjunebug's Arty Shot of the Day. Can You Spot the Moon? Photo by mjb2010
missjunebug's Arty Shot of the Day. Can You Spot the Moon? Photo by mjb2010
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Tierra Rejada Family Farms in Moorpark Rocks!

Wow! That's a Lot of Great Produce and a Delicious Sweet Treat for 21 tiny dollars!  Photo by mjb2010
Wow! That's a Lot of Great Produce and a Delicious Sweet Treat for 21 tiny dollars! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug suggests you remember this website name: www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com. And this addy: 3370 Sunset Valley Road
off of Tierra Rejada Road in Moorpark, California. And this motto: Discover Underwood Family Farms “bringing you back to the farm.”

She took a leisurely stroll through the colorful farmer’s market area and came away with a treasure trove of delicious vegetables and fruits without paying a king’s ransom. In fact, missjunebug wants you to know that what you see pictured above set her back a mere 21 dollars. Now all she has to do is throw in a little protein and she’s got dinners for the rest of the week. And don’t overlook the little treat missjunebug picked up for herself included in that tiny price tag: Honees Honey Filled Drops Pure liquid honey inside every drop! Did missjunebug mention how delicious these little candy treats are? Believe it! Sweet and soothing and she says, “Just one more, please” as she unwraps another and pops it into her happy mouth!

Honees are just about as sweet as a trip to Tierra Rejada Family Farms in Moorpark. But not quite! Check out their website to find out more about the fun family doings at this rare way to spend your day in the era of blogging (mjb guilty as charged,) web surfing, twittering, facebooking, and general self-absorption via technology that knows no bounds (actually a pretty good thing!). Here’s a shortlist of the fun available down on the farm: Birthday Parties for wee ones, Pick-Your-Own Produce (check out their website for what’s currently in season), School Tours, Fun Rides, and, of course, the fab Farmer’s Market with Specialty Gifts & Products and Fruit & Vegetable Gift Baskets!!!  And the people working there are Super Friendly, too.

missjunebug wants to know What are you waiting for? Grab that cowboy hat (she knows you have one up in that hall closet somewhere) and head down to Tierra Rejada Family Farms in Moorpark. There’s one in Somis, too! Fun x 2 for mjb and you!

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Japanese American National Museum’s “Textured Lives” is Rich in History!

Lovely Japanese Silk Fabrics mjb Spotted in Her Trip to Japan Last Year  Photo by mjb2009
Lovely Japanese Silk Fabrics mjb Spotted in Her Trip to Japan Last Year Photo by mjb2009

missjunebug and her p.i.c. the lovely r.h. escaped the confines of their respective homes and hit little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to engage in some serious retail therapy and take a history lesson or two offered up at the Japanese American National Museum.

The retail therapy came first. missjunebug and the lovely r.h. have their priorities in order!! They enjoyed looking at the amazing work of Georgeanne Alex, Karen Brock, and Kumiko & Yoshiko Imoto, artists who have a flair for recycling. By that missjunebug means this talented trio take their inspiration from beautiful silk kimono fabrics to create their own original art, accessories, and clothing. The trunk show concludes Sunday, April 25.

As you may know, missjunebug is a big fan of recycling in all its forms, but this reuse and repurpose mantra is elegant and inspirational beyond measure! (pun intended, natch!). It was as easy as pie to find accessories worthy of purchase. missjunebug was particularly pleased with her approach. Wouldn’t these little kimono-clothed purses make great Mother’s Day presents for missjunebug? The lovely r.h. agreed! missjunebug is all about saving time and trouble for her Mr.JB. Now his Mother’s Day shopping on behalf of ElderJB and TinyJB is done! And the lovely r.h. found a purse that matched her tastes perfectly! Score x 2!!!

The next stop was the awesome gift shop adjacent to the Japanese American National Museum. Fun x some more! missjunebug found lovely floral cards, a secret stocking stuffer for Mr.JB for Christmas (always thinking ahead, mjb is!), the coolest koi socks made (yes, that’s right…koi socks), and the most gorgeous scarf ever (3rd Mother’s Day giftie for Mr.JB to wrap up for mjb!) which missjunebug will use to cover her follicle-ly challenged little junebug head. (Don’t ask. missjunebug doesn’t talk about serious issues on her blog.) mjb and the lovely r.h. were even checked out at the gift shop register by one of r.h.’s dear friends! A little mini-reunion ensued thanks to earlier connections on facebook made by r.h. and her fine friend.

Retail therapy concluded happily, missjunebug and the lovely r.h. paid the reasonable 9-dollar entrance fee into the Japanese American National Museum to experience Textured Lives Japanese Immigrant Clothing from the Plantations of Hawai’i.

The story in a nutshell: Before World War II, the Japanese women working in Hawai’i on pineapple plantations found they needed to modify their hand-made, carefully dyed and painted kimono to deal with the new working conditions they faced. The solution was pretty brilliant. They cut up their kimono and transformed the fabric pieces into more practical plantation attire while still managing to maintain a strong sense of their Japanese-ness. They met their harsher working conditions with ingenuity and artistry and practicality. A pretty fierce trio of attributes!

missjunebug and the lovely r.h. came away with a new-found respect for the work these Japanese immigrant women did and the creative cultural expression they kept alive in a foreign land.

If you find yourself in downtown Los Angeles before May 30, 2010, consider stopping by the Japanese American National Museum 369 East First Street 213-625-0414 www.janm.org. for the thoughtful exhibit Textured Lives. It is a rich tapestry of culture, identity, and adaptation at its best.

One more tip: Don’t miss teatime at Chado Tea Room! Delicious sandwiches, scones, cakes, and a kagillion types of tea from which to choose! missjunebug and the lovely r.h. recommend the Kenyan!

Traditional Japanese Kimono: Pre-Repurposing a la Textured Lives!! Photo by mjb2009
Traditional Japanese Kimono: Pre-Repurposing a la Textured Lives!! Photo by mjb2009
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Plethora of Poppies at Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve!

Poppies Galore! Photo by mjb2010
Poppies Galore! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug and Mr.JB took a little field trip out to the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve in Lancaster, California this weekend. It was time for some serious natural decompression what with taxes being due and Icelandic volcanic ash clouds wreaking havoc with ElderJB’s travel-back-to-Africa plans! What a week!

Those glorious little bursts of orange x 10 kamillion did the trick! mjb and Mr.JB arrived early enough to score a good parking space and she recommends you do the same if you don’t want to wait in the long line of cars that begins to form somewhere around 10 am. Trust her when she says, “Arrive early!”

missjunebug and Mr.JB grabbed their jackets and their cameras and wandered the little trails taking picture after picture. So many poppies! So little time!  They enjoyed looking at the skittering lizards, listening to the melodic birdies flying around and even talking to some of the other onlookers.

mjb took a chance and said “Ni Hao” to a trio of friendly Chinese tourists enjoying their visit to the Poppy Preserve. missjunebug had a fun time telling them how much she and Mr.JB had enjoyed their country in two recent trips to China and they were pleased to hear it. missjunebug is a big believer in promoting understanding between cultures and it’s fun, too!

Further up the trail Mr.JB concentrated on taking some of the best nature photos he’d ever taken! missjunebug can say this now because she’s seen them herself and they put her little point n’ shoots to shame, but she’s happy to share her p-n-s’s here anyway. Enjoy! And get out to see those poppies before they disappear!

Mr.JB Heads Up the Trail to Track Poppies! Photo by mjb2010
Mr.JB Heads Up the Trail to Track Poppies! Photo by mjb2010
More Glorious Orange! Photo by mjb2010
More Glorious Orange! Photo by mjb2010
Upclose and Personal with Poppies! Photo by mjb2010
Upclose and Personal with Poppies! Photo by mjb2010
Little Lupine Loll with the Poppies! Photo by mjb2010
Little Lupine Loll with the Poppies! Photo by mjb2010
A Little Lizard Leaps into the Scene! Photo by mjb2010
A Little Lizard Leaps into the Scene! Photo by mjb2010
Poppies Mostly! Photo by mjb2010
Poppies Mostly! Photo by mjb2010
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missjunebug’s Find of the Week

Target Corporation
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Some Sundays missjunebug skips church service (Please forgive her little bug self, Big G, J.C. & the H.S.) and worships at the altar of Target. Okay, she doesn’t really “worship,” she just thoroughly enjoys pouring over the Sunday LA Times Target insert and cutting out the pretty pictures of things she can’t live without. She staples the little pictures together and they comprise a handy ersatz shopping list for her quick trip through the valley and over the hill to her neighborhood Target Store.

Oh. my. yes. It is fun for missjunebug to grab that big fat red (natch!) shopping cart and get in the Zen of traveling up and down, up and down, aisle after aisle of shopping possibilities.

Today she felt like she hit the motherload of all good things: Glacéau Vitamin Water Zero in a plethora of delicious flavors (10 for 10, baby!) and to balance out that zero calorie thing, Pepperidge Farm Bordeaux and Gingerman and Milano cookies (on sale too!!). She bought a few other pedestrian items like Neosporin, soy sauce, purse-size Kleenex, Ponds make-up remover cloths and the like. Then she searched out what she had really come for.

missjunebug’s Find of the Week

The coolest stainless steel, dishwasher-safe BPA-free, 24-oz Embark water bottles in the most beautiful jewel tones: red, blue, and green with nifty black tops with their own handy-dandy carabiners!  missjunebug snagged four of them to use around the house, at the gym, in the car, and on walks with her sweet doggie, Spoonbug. The price? An equally sweet $8.99 each.

Take a look and then think about kicking that heinous plastic bottle habit with your very own personal stainless steel water bottle! A small price to pay for a better planet and healthier water. And hey, you’ll be ready to celebrate Earth Day a week or so early!

Shiny! Colorful! Ecological! Photo by mjb2010
Shiny! Colorful! Ecological! Photo by mjb2010
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