Friday Was Not JUST Another Day With Julie

gardening, life

If anyone noticed, Another Day With Julie did not post on Friday. Why? Well, Friday was not just another day with Julie. But regardless, it was quite a day!

I was having quite a lovely morning. Went outside to tackle some weeds. I was almost finished and decided to spray a few weeds with vinegar out back, near the garden shed. That’s when I saw something move to my left, right by the shed. A long, slithery, striped green and yellow thing. EEK!!!! I ran shrieking into the garage, shut the door and entered the house, never looking back. I do NOT like snakes (or mice for that matter)!

picture of a Santa Cruz Gartersnake, credit Dawn Ellner, Flickr
photo from: greennature.com/california-snakes Of course I didn’t stay and take a picture!

Now, feeling quite safe, I went about my business inside. I decided a bit later to watch an episode of This is Us that I had missed when it aired earlier. So, I sat down to watch it and then after a bit got thirsty and went to get an iced coffee. When I came back into the room, I saw something looking at me in front of the sliding glass door. Oh great! There is a lizard in my house!

This is not good. Living in Southern California, we are used to lizards. However, I do not like them in my house. We have had them in the house before and they are VERY hard to get out. They are tricky little guys. They are fast and not only can they run, they can climb. So if you corner them, they will just climb up the wall. They can also get injured pretty easily if one tries to place a container over them.

Since we are all home due to the Covid-19 restrictions, I have helpers. And I need help. This is not a one person job by any means. However, two of my potential helpers are in phone/internet meetings. Luckily, my son (while doing homework) was available.

I backed slowly out of the room so as not to scare the lizard. If it got away, who knows if we would ever find it. I then ran into the kitchen and got an empty yogurt container. Luckily, I had just washed one out, saving it for some practical use. This was it. Then I ran to my son’s room and gathered him. He was none too excited but was my hero and came to help.

The plan was to chase the lizard out the sliding door. First however, the door had to be opened without freaking out the lizard. Then it would have to be chased out the door. Easy enough or so one would think.

My son was armed with the yogurt container in one hand and a piece of paper in the other. My job was to go outside and move the screen door out of the way and then when given the signal open the sliding door and close it after my son chased the lizard out. One may think I had the easy job. Ok. Remember the snake? He was still out there somewhere now wasn’t he?

So, I make my way cautiously to the sliding door which is not so far from the garden shed. I open the doors and all is going to plan. My son chases the lizard. I start to shut the door. The lizard gets spooked and back in he goes. So, I too head back into the house through the other entrance and help the troops fight the battle from inside.

The sliding door is open. When I was outside I saw a lizard crawling on the side of the house. I am praying he doesn’t decide to come in as well. But back to the lizard on hand. My son and I talk strategy. I grab a large drawing board and position it so the lizard can’t get through my side or into a pile of boxes in front of the door. My son tries to get the lizard to go out. It is now in the corner. One turn and it could be free but it starts to climb the wall. My son stops him and we start making noise. Doesn’t work. The lizard is playing dead. Finally he moves ever so slightly. My son is able to scoop him up into the yogurt container and the lizard, container and all are tossed out the door. The door is slamed shut and locked. We have won the battle!

Lizard on side of house. Not the guy who got inside.

The whole episode took an extremely long time. I was exhausted. Apparently, we were a bit loud in our capture. Both husband and daughter heard our ruckus and wondered what on earth we had been up to.

After all that, I finally did get to finish my show. However, I just couldn’t be in that room anymore. So, I moved the laptop to the living room and watched from there. I have returned to the room now and as I am writing this, I am wondering if the lizard might have followed me inside when I ran in from the snake. Hmmmm…..

Exercising When One Can Not Get Out

life

My family will surely make fun of me for writing this post. Oh well…here it goes… I am a BIG fan of the Leslie Sansone Walk Away the Pounds videos. Needless to see the rest of my household is not on board. Oh I’ve tried to get them to join me over the years. The kids have tried. However, no one seems to like my videos as much as I do.

I must say, there are advantages to using exercise tapes.

  1. If it rains one does not get wet.
  2. If it is dark outside, no worries, there are lights on inside.
  3. One doesn’t get lonely, as there are a group of walkers to join.
  4. It is a program that get’s the heart rate going.
  5. Most importantly, it is FUN!

So, if feeling a bit isolated, not getting the proper exercise, can’t get out because it’s been raining, don’t like walking by yourself, do not despair! Try one of Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away the Pounds videos and keep in shape. Might I recommend my favorite… Walk Away the Pounds Walk and Sculpt. It contains the 1 mile, 2 mile, and 3 mile walks. A group of walkers join Leslie to walk in place together to music. It is easy and they make the walking time fly by. These can be bought as DVD’s or you-tube has some videos. There are even some sights that carry Sansone’s walks on apps.

No more excuses! Get fit and Happy Walking!

Looking at the Neighborhood Through a Lens

life

I asked my son if he’d like to go on a walk with our cameras. A picture taking adventure. I think what we found in our own neighborhood surprised us both.

We hadn’t gone far when we spotted a woodpecker. Then around the bend and another. Not a big surprise to me. My husband and I had seen three woodpeckers in the same spot when on a walk the other day. I was looking for them. This is obviously their new hangout.

Then a ladybug! I love ladybugs. This was the first one I have seen this season.

Someone was leaving painted rocks around the neighborhood before Easter. My son and I spotted a few interesting ones.

We saw red-tailed hawks flying. A baby hawk was crying in the tree.

We had a nice walk. It took much longer than a normal walk as we were constantly stopping to take photos or point out things of interest. Finally a beautiful, warm, sunny day with no rain in sight. Good to be out in the fresh air ‘stopping to smell the roses’ as the saying goes. The neighborhood looks different when looked at in a new perspective.

Goldie and Giving Back

life

Goldie Hawn has always been one of my favorite actresses. Funny, carefree, with a definite “hippy” vibe. What’s not to love? But there is more to this actress/producer/mother/grandmother than meets the eye.

Goldie Hawn created The Goldie Hawn Foundation and MIND UP to help children practice mindfulness. Classrooms can adopt the program (which was created by Hawn and specialists in the field) to teach children how their brains work, to focus, to be mindful, and to understand the power of gratitude and empathy. The focused breathing exercises help the children to focus and to manage their emotions and stress. The idea is to give the children the resources they need to create their own happiness and to become happy adults who are in a good place in their lives. This can also be practiced at home.

This program totally makes sense to me. Why not start children in a practice such as this from an early age? Or at any age for that matter. People can learn to control their anxiety and stress through meditation and breathing exercises making for a healthier individual. I love this approach! And I love that Goldie is using her voice to help our children. A true star!

To learn more read Goldie’s book 10 Mindful Minutes and go to https://mindup.org/ to read further about the MIND UP program.

Re-Reading and Re-Organizing Favorite Books

life

My stash of books is starting to dwindle. I have started a new book and have only one left in my to read stash. As libraries are closed due to the recent precautions and shutdowns, I will turn to my own resources after I have depleated my stash.

Lucky for me, I LOVE books and always have. I have my own personal library and have even made an Excel spreadsheet listing them in alphabetical order along with their authors and type of book. However, the other day I saw my husband looking at something on his cell phone. “What is this?” I asked. The answer got me curious and excited. Apparently, new technology being what it is, there are sites that allow one to enter ISBN numbers of books to efforetlessly organize and log one’s entire personal library. It even pulls up a picture of the cover, gives a summary of the book, and allows one to rate the book with stars. Oh my word! My new mission is to convert my “outdated” Excel spreadsheet into a “modern” on-line library system. The website I am using is: http://www.libib.com.

Upon using the on-line library system, I must say that I LOVE it! Oh my gosh is it cool! So I entered a bunch of my books and some same up with a different jacket cover the the book. Not to worry… the program allows one to upload a photo of the correct jacket cover and switch them out. Amazing! So, for any covers that differed, I took a photo of my book and downloaded it. It was very easy to do. Also, if a book does not have a ISBN number it can be brought up by title or author. I had one book that would not come up using any of these methods, however, the program let’s one manually enter books of this nature. So cool!

The program also allows one to create multiple libraries. I am going to organize my craft books into their own library, my art books into their own library, and the same for my cook books. One can choose to publish and share their libraries with friends if they wish or keep the libraries only for their own use.

Soon I will have to start re-reading some of my old favorites. Perhaps a Sydney Sheldon? I have not read his books for a while so I am sure they will be full of surprise for me again. Needless to say, it will be much easier to choose that next book once my on-line library is updated.

I can also scan through the shelves of my other family members for some fresh reading material. I got my daughter a book on the great costume designer, Edith Head, that I would not mind sinking my teeth into. I think my son’s copy of The Art of Racing in the Rain might also be of interest to me.

For now, I am set with a rather thick novel. However, it is comforting to know that there are possibilites in house. Perhaps this may even be a good time to start writing my own book… Happy Reading!

Can You Spare a Square?

life

As I was doing my normal grocery shopping, I walked down the toilet paper isle, as toilet paper was on my list. My jaw could have hit the ground! There was not a single package, not one roll of toilet paper to be had. The shelves were bare. From Charmin to store brand, two-ply to one-ply, every single roll was gone.

The Coronavirus has caused people to panic and turn to hoarding. From hand sanitzer, any form of rubbing alcohol, cleaning supplies, masks, water, and yes, even toilet paper. Oh my!

Leaving the empty isle, the Seinfeld episode “The Stall” came to mind. In that classic episode, Elaine is in a public restroom stall and she realizes a little too late that there is no toilet paper in her stall. She asks the woman in the next stall if she could hand her some toilet paper. The woman says no and that she “can’t spare a square”. Elaine begs the woman but she won’t budge. Later, Elaine finds out that this woman is Jerry’s new girlfriend. Payback is sweet and Elaine finds her chance. Just before Jerry’s girlfriend enters the diner’s restroom, Elaine goes in and steals all the toilet paper and then refuses her even a square. This is exactly how I felt leaving the grocery store…like no one could spare a square.

Poor Elaine! (Photo from Seinfeld)

Venturing back out later, the second grocery store I tried had well stocked shelves of toilet paper. I grabbed my package and headed to the checkout. Happy shopping!

(Featured image sourced from Seinfeld.)

My Take on Ford vs. Ferrari

life, movie review

Run don’t walk to your nearest theater before Ford vs. Ferrari departs. This is a movie full of excitement, suspense, and emotion. Not a race car fan? No need to worry! This is a movie to please everyone.

While I like cars and know different models, I do not follow the racing scene. However, this movie is not just about racing, it is a movie based on the true story of the Ford motor company trying to design a race car to beat the best, Ferrari.

It all starts with a trip by Lee Iacocca to Italy to purchase Ferrari for Ford. When Ferrari refuses to sell to Ford and insults him, Ford decides to hire Carroll Shelby to help build a race car to beat Ferrari at the famous Le Mans race in France.

Of course there is always a bad guy and in this movie it is the head marketing man at Ford who is against Ken Miles being the driver of the Ford car. Shelby insists that Miles is the only choice if Ford wants to win the Le Mans. This creates tension throughout the movie.

I did not think I would have been so excited about this movie. However, I enjoyed it very much and think it was one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. I do recommend bringing a hankie or a few tissues, as the ending will start the tears a flowing. Also, be careful on the drive home. After seeing this movie it may be hard to drive in the slow lane.

Visions for a New Year

life

The new year is a good way to kick old habits, de-clutter, and start a-new. This is always the intention but it is easier said than done. Things usually start out great but then…

New Year’s Resolutions are a great way to start making changes, however, they are seldom followed through. A modern take on the resolution is to make a vision board. Vision boards are great because they are meant to be looked at on a daily basis. The idea being that if goals are looked at every day they will be easier to obtain and less likely to be forgotten and ignored.

Vision boards can be filled with items to save up to buy (like a new car, bike, purse, house), goals to work on (like health, fitness, attitude), places to visit (like a vacation, weekend getaway, day-trip), things to learn (like learning a language, how to play an instrument), things that need to be done (like cleaning out that spare room, finishing the yard, making a beautiful garden), self- improvement and helping others (like volunteering, helping those in need, meditation, donating), and the list goes on… Vision boards are unique to each person who is creating the board. No two boards will be alike because everyone has their own vision.

Vision boards can be created by cutting out pictures of the visions to be achieved and tacking them to a cork board or gluing them to a poster board. They can also be created on the computer in a Word document if magazines are not accessible to cut into. However this is done, it should be done with pictures that represent the goals in mind. The idea is to look at the picture and be reminded of the goal.

After it is completed, the vision board should be hung in a place where it will be seen on a daily basis. The wall in front of a desk for instance. It can also be put in a binder/journal if it will be used and opened daily. This is for an organized/dedicated sort of person because for some, the binder/journal would mean out of sight out of mind and it would never be opened. However, for people who like to make daily lists this could work if they used the same binder/journal for their list making.

Here are a few examples of vision boards…

Happy New Year!

Yes Virginia…

life

Years back, my husband and I were shopping in Chicago at Christmas-time. As we rose up the escalator, a man with white beard who looked exactly like Santa but dressed in street clothes was heading down the escalator. I gently nudged my husband. As we passed the man turned to me and simply said, “Yes Virginia”. So it was Santa!

Yesterday, I saw Santa again. This time while waiting for a parking spot. He was dressed partially in his Christmas attire, his Santa hat. Otherwise he looked quite casual in t-shirt, pants, and flip-flops. He pushed his cart in front of my car to put it in the cart return and as he turned to make his way back to his car, he gave me a quick smile. Off he went with Mrs. Claus (obviously) at the wheel.

These brief, yet memorable encounters have reminded me of the wonderful editorial “Yes, Virginia”. Read it below and have a Merry Christmas!

Yes, Virginia …

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon
115 West Ninety Fifth Street

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.

We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

—————–

“Is There a Santa Claus?” reprinted from the September 21, 1897, number of The New York Sun.