Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Too pretty out to stay in

I was going to post a picture of the incision on poor E's head. It runs from his hairline to mid point on the side of his eye. He says he won't need make up for Halloween but can just go as Frankenstein. I changed my mind and won't post that.

It is such a beautiful day here and yoga was both so relaxing and invigorating that I am shutting down the computer and declaring this a "me and thee" day with E. Later all and enjoy your day!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy Feet

"Swing Time! goes LIVE Tues., from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., on FOX 13's morning show, "Good Day, Tampa Bay." .... Let's show the greater Tampa area viewers how much fun we have swing dancing!!! .... There will be a FREE dance, with FREE refreshments, from 7 - 9. .... Please feel free to come & dance any part of the two hour window, as there will be EIGHT live feeds from the lovely Gulfport Casino and Ballroom. .... Bring your best dancin' moves and any friends who also love dancing!!!

My friend Cathy will be the one in the polka dot dress and I can't wait to see her live!

We have a fairly easy day today. Taking it easy on Poor E's stitched forehead. One big bad 'spot' down and two to go.

WW check in and then some pool time for me (he can sit on thoe side and dangle those size 14s of his. Rob is coming over later for crablegs and some computer work.

Hope everyone has a great one!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cilantro Lime Chicken w/mango salsa

E downloaded this dish from and it scored a ten in our house last night.

20 min./5 prep and serves 4

6 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tbs chopped cilantro leaves plus extra for garnish
2 tsp. black peppercorns, coarsely ground
2 tsp. sugar
2 limes, juice only
2 tsp. Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
1 tbs. light soy sauce
1 tbs. sunflower oil (E used canola as we were out of sunflower)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Make the maranade of garlic, cilantro, ground peppercorns, sugar, lime, fish sauce, soy sauce, and oil. Blend well.

Place chicken breasts with marinade in a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag coating them well and set in fridge for at least 1 hour and no more than 2 turning them often

Preheat a ridged griddle pan or heavy non stick frying pan and cook the chicken for 7-8 min. each side until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve hot or cold, garnish with cilantro leaves.


1lg ripe mango peeled and coarsely chopped *one cup jarred mango may be used
2tbs cilantro chopped
1/4 cup purple onion chopped
1 jalapeno seeded and chopped
1 tbs fresh mint chopped
3 tbs. orange juicey
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt

Stir together all ingredients. E refrigerates this for about an hour but not necessary he says.

I just had to share! Thanks,

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Free Museum Day in Tampa

We only made it to one museum yesterday and didn't get there until about 1pm but we found parking right away less than a block from the entrance and did not wait in line at all so guess our timing was good. The Salvador Dali Museum in St. Pete is in a lovely location right down on the water and near the university. There is a new building in the works and the design looks pure Dali.

I am about half way through a book on Dali's life and art that I picked up in the gift shop on our way out after our tour. I find the artist fascinating and his art intriguing. He is best known for his melting clocks but his art spans all types and is not restricted to paintings. We will go back to this one again and find a place on the water to eat lunch. Kristen had been to the museum before so she led us through the exhibits.

On our way to another museum, we all decided we'd pretty much had a full day. Kristen had a workshop on new ways of teaching math that morning, E had been out working in the yard and I had been working on a project. So, rather than visit another place, we dropped K at her house and headed out to meet some friends at Miss Vickies and to listen to an excellent guitarist.

Cool breeze off the Gulf, pretty boats, good food and music, friends, family and Dali...a great day!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fun night at Ruban Rouge

And look at all the new goodies I found in the store...oh me oh my and that didn't even include all the pretty ribbons I found to go along with these lovely papers. Now I need to find the fall pictures from our last trip home to St. Louis and scrap scrap scrap. It is Support Your Local Scrapbook Store Week, isn't it? I certainly thought so last night...good thing it is the end of the month as my scrappy budget is spent between RR, KnKclub Hilltop Memories and ACOT. I do love all the pretties and seem to be just a girl that can't say no. Doing my bit for the economy within my limited

Jean, Jackie, Diane and Lisa...I always have far too much fun with you all. Again, thanks.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I learned a lot from doing this layout...

and the main thing is to measure, measure and measure again. It wasn't until I had finished with the whole layout that I saw how poorly my ribbon punches and thus my ribbon followed the contours of the circle paper. Oh well, the intent was good, I like the colors but not too happy with the execution. Not all layouts can be perfect and this one is one of those "others".

What I am happy about having Jo for a friend for forty-seven years...but who is counting, right?

Hope everyone is having a great day. Now where did I put that pesky ruler?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just another key chain, right?

To me, my key chain is kind of like my silver charm bracelet or my Italian charm bracelet. Nothing goes on it that doesn't mean something to Mo. Cheerleader Coach medallion (nine plus years of coaching), my public library card (my passport to learning and adventure), Hot Mama's remote device (she is my mid life crisis car), the house key (home), and Weight Watcher's 10% key fob. Silly, I know, but this represents a new way of healthy eating to me and without much pain. Years ago, I took off a bunch of weight with WW so I'd look good for a trip to Hawaii. When the trip was over, I just stopped. I lost a bunch of weight when E and I went to Italy for our 10th. Anniversary...and, when the trip was over, I just stopped and that was on South Beach (I so missed my carbs)! But, for reasons I am not 100% certain of, this time is different.

When I told E I was joining WW in ten days, he asked why wait. Well, I was so embarrassed at what I had let my weight climb up to that I told him I wanted to take of 3lbs min. first so I did and then joined. I am not going to use the word 'easy' to describe the process but it has not been so hard. I follow the program but do not deprive myself. I'm learning portion control and the longer on the program, the less of a challenge that is. And, the best part, it works!

Since my decision to join (and my initial 3lb.s on my own) I have lost 21 lbs total. Since joining WW, I have lost 18. Today we set my goal weight at 150. I am moderately tall and larger boned and carry m weight fairly well. At 150, I might even be able to get off these stupid high blood pressure meds. At 150, size 10s will be a trifle big (since I tried on some tens today and got them up over the hips, and zippered and buttoned and could still breathe just not go out in public with

One of the questions our leader at WW asked us is why we joined. I had 3 main reasons: health (my high blood pressure), mobility (I love riding my bike, kayaking and now yoga) and I MISS MY CUTE CLOTHES!

So, if this is viewed as tooting my own horn...well, yes I am. I am proud of me! Twenty one down and thirteen to go!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Happy Monday

If you haven't seen KnK's Oct. kit, you had best boogie on over as it is so delightful! I created the 'In Our Garden' album that is on my altered art blog for my reveal and this one of Kaela Rose, my great niece on her first day of second grade. What a cutie she is and thanks to my niece, Jenn, for the photo!

And here is the tiny blingy camera necklace I got when Jo and I went to one of my all time favorite stores in Dunedin, Q's (did you know they have their own fan club on Face Book?). They are opening a new store in Dunedin in addition to the one in the old house. They will have reasonably priced cool make up and blingy zingy jewelry there and the 'old' store will remain pretty much as it is with all the classy stuff they carry. The little necklace measures less than one inch wide by less than 1/2 inch tall and was a steal at $10.00.

Hope everyone has a great day!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

All good things must come to an end...

but only until January! We've had such fun with Jo while she was here. And, while yesterday was sad in that we had to take her to the airport, we have January and many more wild and crazed adventures ahead.

Sat. she and I hit some of the shops along the Sponge Docks and admired all the shrimp, fishing, sponge and recreation boats that were all in port. She took E and I out for a late lunch at one of our many favorite restaurants here, Old School House on Alt.19 in Palm Harbor. E had the cornflake encrusted grouper sandwich, I had the margarita chicken in lime tequila sauce and Jo had another chicken dish just as good. It was a leisurely lunch and we discussed plans for January.

The restaurant is an actual two room school house and the owners have told us from time to time, someone will say, "I actually went to school here". They sell antiques as well as wonderful food!

We have company coming over for pool time and bbq later today and I want to get the guest room cleaned up for the next batch of company who should be arriving the last week of the month.

And Ms Cheryl, yes, we see manatee here. We usually see more of them during the cooler months when they come in from the Gulf to the warmer waters of our river here and they are regular visitors to our bayous (we have 7 I believe here in Tarpon Springs alone). I love them too! Did you get your goody box from the blog giveaway?

Hope everyone has a delightful Sunday!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day Three: the Adventure Continues

We had an appointment to meet with Jo's realtor to tour the condo that she and Bill will be renting this January and she really liked the place. It is a two bedroom/2bath with a spacious kitchen, welcoming and warm and a screened lanai over looking a canal. They will be about a half block from the Gulf here in Tarpon Springs and about a block from the beach.

We headed out to Dunedin and to one of my favorite stores, Qs, for our first stop. We spent about an hour there chatting with one of the owners, trying to decide what to buy from the hundreds of choices and sipping Long Island Tea...yum. I got the cutest little necklace with a suspended tiny camera all done up in bling. What could be more perfect for an avid scrapbook gal?

We shopped a bit more around Dunedin and then headed to lunch at Bon Appetite on the Gulf. We had the freshest salads and ate out on the patio as there was a nice breeze coming in off the Gulf.

The kids all came over for supper and we had a good chat!

We've been collecting activity sheets from all the little towns for the winter and have been gathering ideas for day trips and planning further adventures for January. Jo said she didn't think one month would be time enough to do everything we want to do...and, of course, the solution is simple: stay

We're off to walk the Sponge Docks today and a late lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, The Old School House in Palm Harbor on Alt.19. before we take Jo to the airport for her flight home. Hurry back dear friend, hurry back!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Every day is a new adventure

and yesterday we had some wonderful adventures. When Jo was here last spring, we never made it to Safety Harbor which is a lovely little town on an 'arm' of Tampa Bay. The town is home to the Safety Harbor Spa and Resort (a lovely historic place set right on the water next to the Marina, Safety Harbor Mounds which are listed on the Historical Sites Register and Philippi Park. Sandy introduced me to the park when we took a long walk there on one of our AWOL days. It is a beautiful setting with rolling hills, huge old live oaks draped with Spanish moss and a breathtaking view of the Bay.

Jo and I walked a bit through the park, climbed the mound, walked out on the pier at the Marina, did some shopping in the cute little shops (isn't the hat just me and wouldn't you love to have that sassy flamingo?) and then headed to lunch. Sandy and I had had lunch at Green Springs Bistro there when we visited and I knew Jo would love the food as it was tasty and fresh...too musts for me. And, I was right. The
restaurant is located right off the main drag on a shaded side street in a bungalow The decor is both cottage and eclectic with a splash of Carribean on the enclosed back porch where we sat. We each ordered something different and split both to share. What you see here is the result. Jo got the chicken Quesadilla, which was so wonderful and I got the Portobello muschroom sandwich with warm artichoke spread. They both came with the salad that is light as air and so flavorful. We thought we had died and gone to foodies' heaven!

We picked up a brochure at the Chamber of Commerce with the upcoming events for Safety Harbor and one called Secret Adventures in Florida or something like that and we are madly planning day trips for when she is in town in Jan. I am sure the guys will be thrilled beyond

We are off to tour her condo today and then on to Dunedin and, yes! another lunch out. The kids are all coming over for supper. We're finally celebrating E's birthday so he will not be doing the main cooking...that is going to be left up to the boys and Kristen and they will all do a great job!

We got good news yesterday and not so good. Our friend is going to have the needed surgery he had been avoiding which is the good news. The not so hot news is the dermo man discovered yet another melanoma on E's forehead and a basil cell cancer on his back. They were both caught early and will be removed next Monday which is more good news.

Hope everyone has a great day!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Forty Seven Years...but who is counting?

Jo got in around one-ish yesterday afternoon and nothing has changed. We instantly reverted to the young silly girls we were when we first met 47 years ago, the summer after my parents divorce and our move from the familiar to the unknown. JoAnne befriended me and helped make that transition a much smoother one. We have not stopped laughing since.

We hit the city running. We'd have put the top down and played Thelma and Louise but it would have required moving her luggage to the back seat and it was way too hot out for any exercise of that extreme nature. We decided on Tarpon Turtle for lunch as, in her other two visits to the area, she had not eaten there. Lunch was tasty and fresh and we lingered over a glass of vino catching up on our lives. We drove by the condo she is going to be renting with her hubby St. Bill (that is what I call him and I am sure she, along with others, feel the same about E)for the month of January. We've planned lots of fun thing for when they are here: concerts on the beach, music and dinner out in Safety Harbor and the Epiphany Celebration here in Tarpon Springs.

Jo was telling E and I about the Baltic Cruise from which they just returned. She got this so incredibly cheap for their 12 days plus that E and I have placed our next adventure squarely in her hands. She found one cruise last night to the Med for two weeks for less than 2000 per and one for just a tad more that included airfare and both go to all the places we want to see. Bill and Jo are already 'on board' with idea of going with us and when Jo finds us one like her Baltic Cruise (although we are looking for one more southerly)we'll tell our pals Steve and DeeDee and see if they want to join us. I am getting way excited now.

I have put a couple of my projects up on my altered art blog from my Reveal at A Cherry on the Top. Hope you like them.

Have a great day everyone.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Let the fun begin...

(not that I don't have fun most of the time anyway but)I pick up my oldest pal, Jo, from the Tampa airport today. She and I go back about 47 years and have spent a lot of that time laughing. It is what we do best besides be friends. She and Bill, her hubby, are renting a condo here in the area for the month of January and, she is down to check it out while spending a few days here playing.

The last time she visited, she and I took the tour boat out to Anclote Key to the lighthouse. What a great time. I am sure we'll find something equally fun to do during this visit as well. I am thinking a day in Dunedin. The last time we had the guys with us and you know how that can slow down a couple of gals in their shopping. I'm thinking a leisurely lunch at either Bon Appetite or Sea Sea Riders followed by a visit to Q's and three or four other of my favorite boutiques. But we shall see.

Yoga to 9 and a few more chores to complete around the house before I head out to the airport. Watch this spot for updates on the Adventures of Jo and Jules. (oh, and I want to antique shop here for some vintage sheet music...I have a Christmas project in mind).

Monday, September 14, 2009

Look who is coming to town! Nikki Sivils!!!!

and she is going to be teaching this darling class for KnK Club on Oct. 3, from 10-5 at the Bee Ridge Baptist Church in Sarasota Florida all for the small fee of $35.00 which includes the class and lunch. To reserve your spot, call 239-464-9337 by Sept. 22, 2009. And for KnK members who live out of state or those who live in state but can not attend, KnK is working on a way for you to also get this class...

So, don't delay! Call today!

and the very best birthday greeting to my honey who turns 64 today! HOpe you have many many more, love of my life!!! Happy Birthday Gene.

Friday, September 11, 2009

and the winner is....

Ms Cheryl...please email me your full name and addy at and your goody bag goes out Monday. And thank to all of you who commented. I enjoyed reading your responses to the questions.

Ah, bliss!

The only thing better than a free concert is a free concert on the beach at sunset. After supper last night, E and I headed to Sunset Park here in Tarpon Springs for one of the last of the Thursday evening concerts that are held once a month. We had missed several over the summer either because we were out of town or because of the heat. We could not have asked for better weather than what we had last night...there were cooling breezes off the Gulf and, while the dragon flies dipped and swooped around us, the sand fleas were thankfully taking the night off. The band, Roadhouse, was lively and good and played lots of songs that took us down memory lane...The Temps, Bruce Springstein...songs we knew the words to...or at least remembered most of them. We even slow danced in the sand! At intermission, we chatted with Connie (Book Club and now Yoga)and her husband, both of whom are retired teachers like E and I...Connie now works part time at our public library.

Tonight we are meeting up with friends for dinner and to hear all about their vacation in Costa Rico. And tomorrow, Becky S. and I head to Sarasota to the Hilltop Memories crop there. A full weekend of fun...let it begin.

I'll have E draw a name out of the hat for those of you who so kindly answered my questions about blogging and shared yourselves. I'll post it later today to give any last minute posters a chance.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Thoughts about Blogging

I am addicted to a magazine by Somerset Press called ARTFUL BLOGGING. It features different blogs each issue and, while most focus on art, they all do so in an intensely different way. All are beautiful!

The last issue contained a letter from the editor, Christen Olivarez, which was, in part, a reflection on why people blog. She stated that "Blogs give us a way to celebrate the everyday, ordinary events that are so important to us". This got me thinking why I blog (not one blog but keep two).

I have a variety of reasons to blog. This one is more social than the altered art blog I keep so, in that way, it has become a record of our daily lives. We bike, we walk, we meet up with friends for lunch or cocktails,E cooks and we have people over for meals, we go to festivals, we travel and we have good friends stay with us in our home. This is our daily existence. I don't do a lot of reflecting on how we might live our lives differently as we are pretty satisfied with our lives.

I also use it to promote the companies for whom I design and for companies in whom I believe. If I didn't believe these were good, honest companies, I would not 'work' for them or tell people about them on my blog. Money is tight for almost everyone I know and I like a good bargain as much as the next one.

Furthermore, I use this blog to keep in touch with friends and relatives near and far. Perhaps it is a bit egocentric to believe they are interested in what we are doing but so be it. I love the option we all have of not reading blogs that upset us or make us irritated because they contradict what we believe to be the way life should be lived. I find others' interesting but should one bother me, I simply execute my option and not visit again.

My altered art blog is just that; it is a place to share my passion for taking something ordinary and making it something else. Often I fall short of making it extraordinary but that blog is all about doing and learning and trying and sharing what works and what doesn't and YES! showing off a bit! I feel I've come a long ways for someone who took one art class after elementary school and I am proud of what I have learned.

So, gentle readers, I have two questions to pose to you and I shall have a drawing in about a week (with a goody bag prize) for those who post their answers to these questions

1. Why do you blog? (assuming you do or if you don't yet...why don't you blog?)
2. What types of blogs do you read and why?

Thanks and have a blog happy day!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Oh No...Thula's is closed on Mondays!

Off we went this morning with visions of Trail Fries and a Greek omelet from "our" restaurant, Thula's, floating through our minds. The morning was cool and the birds chirping happily from the tree tops along the trail. Zoom into town and BAM! "Closed on Mondays". E was so upset he wanted to turn tail, ride home and break out a new container of low fat cottage cheese! Eeek!

I talked him into parking our bikes in the racks across from the train station and walking the half block to Danny K's Alley Cafe (so named as it goes from Tarpon Ave.-to the the next parallel street like an alley, which I believe it once was before it was enclosed. While we could eat outside, the view is not quite the same. The food is excellent and the prices good and our little waitress was darling. We shared the outdoor dining area with another couple who were very friendly and cordial. When a women approached us, she laughed and asked if we knew each other...ah, no. Well, she said, how funny that the woman's shirt said, "Got Ouzo" and E's (his St. Pat's shirt from Peggy O'Neal's in Old Palm Harbor) read, "I'll have what the gentleman on the floor was having"...synchronicity!

Hope your Labor Day is a good one!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Vacation Fun

Our last night at CHA, Gerri-anne and Sonia ( each of us a paper pack and told us to go to it. We had some time to design a layout with the contents of the package. Each "kit" was different and we had such fun. Thanks to the gals who brought supplies (Chris, Kelcey and Roz) and who shared them so nicely with me. I've added to it a bit since I've been home and it turned out perfect for the group picture we take each year during our week time share on Ft. Myers Beach. Each year, on the last Thursday, we have a 'community' cook out. Everyone brings their left overs or surplus food and we all share nicely. The guys generally head to one of the fresh food markets and we all do either seafood or steaks and often both. This year there were a few less of us but the fun did not stop! Can't wait til next year....good food, good times and, best of all, good friends!

Please check out my altered blog to see what I did with the latest of my Genuinely Jane Studios projects. Thanks and hope your weekend has been a good one!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Watch the Birdie

I warned you that I was still working my way through my birds obsession and here is the proof in the pudding. I've been working on this layout for literally months. I'd do a bit and put it away, add some more and put it away. But now it is done!

My friend, Janet and I take pictures of each other taking pictures. I have no clue why we do this but I must have dozens of her with a camera in front of her face...perhaps it is a statement of some part of who we are, recorders of events and people.

I've known Janet for about six or seven years. We met on line on a message board and clicked almost immediately. We met IRL about a year of on-line when we were in a group at a scrap booking event. And again and again over the years. Our husbands have met, enjoy each others' company and have cooked together even. She and I share a strange sense of humor (see the tag with the vintage hats) , a love of our families, and an enjoyment of our mutual friends.

I had fun with this layout and that is perhaps why it took me so long to finish it...I was having so much fun with the process that I didn't want it to end. So, dear Janet, I need new pictures of us...when did you say you'd be in Florida next?

Friday, September 04, 2009

The layout and the prize

I was recently notified I had won the heritage layout contest at and that my prize was on the way. This is one of my favorite layouts. It is of my mother and two of her friends in Chicago when they were all about 19 or so. They had gone to the Big City to become career women but, just a few months later, hungry and out of money, they all came home to their small town in Iowa. This was one of their glory days before reality set in.

I never imagined how full the prize box would be. The sponsor of the contest was Blue Hills Studio's Color Story line and look at how generous they were. Thanks to and to BHS!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Life is too short to...


This card by Curly Girl Design has to be one of my favorites. I bought it to give to a friend and liked it so much I've kept it for myself and bought a frame for it the other day. Life is too short not to do so many things that we really enjoy but seldom take the time for. But, if we don't, who will?

Of course, you say, this is easy for me to do...I am retired and have seemingly endless days to play and do what I want and, to a certain extent that is true. I have given up doing a lot of things because I think I should do them but I also try to include new things I haven't tried and to try these things at least twice before I exclude them. I have commitments I have made that take up my time and feel those are well spent. And then I just sometimes do absolutely nothing.

I learned long ago as a single mother of two who worked two jobs that if I didn't take some down time for myself doing something that gave me pleasure at least once a day or so, I was one crabby person. Often, this amounted to a half hour of soaking in a bubble bath with a book at eleven at night when the house was quiet but it was my time...then, that was my "little umbrella".

So, what is your "little umbrella"?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A few of my favorite things

At the top of my list is visiting nursery and garden shops. I love to see how the experts pair flowers and create beautiful and quiet areas. Landmark Nursery in Palm Harbor (?) is one of our two favorite nurseries in the area and, from these few pictures I am sure you can see why.
We are trying to redo the front entry to the house, hopefully making it more warm and welcoming. The stone work will have to wait for a bit as our last estimate was close to a thousand and we are willing to wait and save to get just what we want. But, we don't have to wait on the redesign of the plants. We have a plan in mind and, as soon as E gets the guest bath repainted, we can start on the front. Wish us luck.