Wednesday, February 15, 2017


No matter how beautiful of a woman you are, blue lipstick makes you look hideous.  Throw the damn tube out.
Seriously? Someone administer
CPR to this poor girl
I remember working at the library and women would lean over the desk to look at something I was showing them on my computer screen and their boobs would be just about falling out.  Ladies - be careful.  Half the population are other women and we really don't want to see your breasts.  Tacky.

Same goes with butt cracks.  Men - PLEASE - wear suspenders, if necessary.  Ladies - same for you.  Tackier.

More people should know what NPR and PBS are and listen/watch them.  They are really missing out on something wonderful.

Sitting down and talking to an elderly person and really listening is like opening up a treasure chest.  They have so much to give and share and most are happy to do so.  You may see a tiny, wrinkled old lady or man in a wheelchair, but they still may feel and remember like the 20 year old they once were.  They are gifts.

Same with children and people who are younger than you.  Amazing what we can learn from each other - all ages, races, colors, religions and sexual orientation.  JUST LISTEN.

If you survived childhood bullying I applaud you.  I know you had a rough and horrible time. I pray it made you a stronger and more compassionate person, not a mean and cruel one (know both).

I read an article many, many years ago on women who do not have other women friends and why you shouldn't trust them.  I thought it was interesting, but a little silly.  As I grow older I began to understand what the writer was trying to say.  There are many exceptions, of course, but basically when I meet a person, male or female, I look at who they surround themselves with.  If they don't have a good network of friends, there is obviously a reason why.  And, if their friends are jerks - walk away

You are really not as fascinating as you think you are.  (Something I continue to learn, I am ashamed to say.)

Spitting in public is disgusting.  Women spitting in public is beyond disgusting.

Common sense is free, too

Which leads me to manners.  Learn 'em and use 'em.

Find your own spiritual path.  If it is within the church you grew up in, that's great.  Or maybe you need to find a different church.  Or, if like me, you walked away from it all and found your own path and truths that work for you, that's OK, too.  No matter what your spiritual life is, it will give you peace as you get older.

Walk away from bullshit.  Whether it be work, church, politics or even your family - you need and deserve to survive without drama and to follow your heart.  YOUR HEART - no one else's.  And, respect those who do just that.  You may not like the path they choose, but if it safe and not hurting them or anyone else, let them be.

A little kindness goes a long way.

Children are not sweet all of the time.   If your kid is being obnoxious in a public place, please get him/her the hell out of there and save the rest of us our sanity.

This is not cute

Laws are in place for a reason no matter how trivial you think they are.

Sunday Morning on CBS is one of the very best television programs ever.  Been around for close to 40 years and most people have no idea of what it is.  It's classy, informative, quirky and wonderful.

Audrey Hepburn was fabulous.  So was Cary Grant.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. , don't know what it means to me.  We need to respected each other more.

Listen to the trees, flowers, breeze.  See the birds and flowers.  Listen to the waters and the silence of the mountains.  You will be a far better person.

Dress nicer when you go out.  Whether it be to dinner, weddings, funerals, church or the store.
Americans are slobs (this written as I sit here in old yoga pants and a ripped sweat shirt, but I wouldn't dare wonder far from my house like this - maybe the mailbox).

First impressions are more important than you think (see above).

There is a lot to be said for the little black dress
The impeccable Ms. Hepburn wearing Chanel.
Can you get any classier?

If you have a front porch, sit on it.

Compliment other people.  Even if you don't know them.  See a person with a great outfit on? Tell them.  You'll make their day and you'll feel better, too.

Elvis Presley was one of the most gorgeous men who ever walked on this Earth.  And, he had a voice to match is beautiful face.  My grandmother loved him.  Me, too.

Smile more.

Picky eaters are irritating. I'm not talking about food allergies.  Grapefruit makes me gag.  But, try not to limit your palate.  Try it, you might like it!

Most of us have health issues of some sort, especially as we grow older.  Try not to talk about them very much.  Most people care and want to help, but they really don't want to hear about it all of the time.


Be grateful.  Be grateful.  Be grateful.

Dogs are the best creatures on this Earth.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


I've blogged about my marriage and divorce before, so many specifics aren't necessary.  I was married in April, 1986 and divorced in December 1997.  My ex-husband, Bill, died in 2005.

Bill and I remained somewhat close after our divorce, especially the last couple of years.  Due to some bad circumstances in his life he wound up living in an apartment across the street from my house.  It is all good, though.  We both lived our lives, yet would have dinner together every month or so or just hang out and talk.

After Billy passed I felt his presence around me a lot.  Since he was a fabulous cook, it was usually in the kitchen!  There were times over the years that I would feel him next to me or actually feel him pat my shoulder, a gesture of endearment he made while we were married.  Many times I would reach up to my shoulder as if to touch his hand and say, "It's OK, Billy - I know you're here and I'm OK."  Sounds weird, but it's true.  It wasn't scary, but very comforting. Call his presence a spirit, a ghost, an angel or my guardian angel - it doesn't matter. I believe Bill will be with me until my time on Earth is up and it is a good feeling.

When I sold my house and moved to Georgia in 2010 I felt Billy's presence less and less.  I knew he was always with me, just did not feel him around as much.

Lately, though, he has been around more and more.  I don't actually feel him patting my shoulder or standing next to me, but he has been lingering in my thoughts quite a bit. And, even after almost 20 years of being single again, several relationships during this time, and 12 years after his death, I still think of Bill and what it could have been.  Divorce was inevitable if I wanted to survive, but it doesn't mean feelings weren't still there.

When I lived in Milwaukee I suffered from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  For many years I would go on a light anti-depressant in late fall and ween myself off in spring, with my doctor's approval.  Billy knew this, of course, and would do sweet things for me during those winter months while we were married - bring home budget bunches of flowers more often (he did bring them home all year around, but increased them in the winter), planned spring vacations, plan our gardens, etc.

One of the things we talked about during our marriage was our retirement years.  We both loved the South and took several trips to the southern states.  We joked and talked a lot about moving to the Chattanooga area, purchasing a small ranch home and having a beautiful yard full of flowers. Well, here I am living 90 miles from Chattanooga, in a ranch home and I tend a pretty garden.  So, I am living the dream we had, but without him.  At least without him as a living, breathing man!

When I moved to Georgia, I noticed that my SAD seemed to have stayed in  Wisconsin - I didn't notice it and assumed and hoped being in a warmer climate with a milder winter sent SAD on its way forever.  However, last year it reappeared, but so mildly I hardly gave it a thought.  But this year it seems to have come back pretty strongly.  Having a burst pipe, flooding and losing all of my hardwood floors in early December and living on a concrete slab for seven week probably didn't help keep a depression away very much either!  SAD is back.

I stay busy.  I hang out with my friends, volunteer at a dog rescue group, am part of other socially active groups, so it is not as if I am sitting around moping.  I keep going and am basically a pretty happy, healthy person.  I don't dwell on the past.  I enjoy my life, simple and quiet as it may be.  I am glad spring is right around the corner, though.  I am done with winter, even a mild Georgia winter, and I want this depression gone with it.

So, is Bill back because I am slightly depressed?  Does he know I need a little spiritual comfort in the form of a ghostly presence?  Or is he waiting for me to get out of my slump and open up and listen to my heart a little closer?  I have found when I tend to think a lot of a person in my life who has passed, that they are trying to tell me something or maybe I need to open my eyes and heart and listen to what the universe is trying to tell me.  Maybe Billy is nudging me because I am just not listening.

On the other hand, I could just be slightly crazy!

But, I don't think so.

Welcome back, Billy.  You know you are welcome anytime.  We both know the SAD will fade away, but keep on nudging me.  I'll figure it out sooner or later.  And, the next time I go shopping I think I'll purchase a budget bunch of flowers just for you.

April 23, 1986

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


"She came in through the bathroom window."

I am standing in line at Home Depot and Joe Cocker comes blaring through the loud speakers.  A big smile spreads across my face and I chuckle.

"Protected by a silver spoon."

I start swaying a little to the music of this Beatles song.  I look around.  Yup.  Three or four people around me, about my age.  "Gotta love a little Joe Cocker once in a while," I said.  Their faces light up and we all laugh.  "I was in high school and rocked out to this song," I continue. A bald man a little older than me said, "I did more than rock out to it!"  Again, we all laugh.

"Well I know what I could not say."

The girl at the check out line said, "I think I've heard my grandma singing this song."  The rest of us stare at her blankly.

"Didn't any body tell her?"

"Ever hear of Joe Cocker," I ask her.  "No, I don't think so," is her reply.  The bald man behind me says, "What about the Beatles?"  "A little," the girl replies, "who hasn't?"  There was a soft groan from those of us waiting.  We smiled and shook our heads.

"She could steal but she could not rob."

Sometimes getting older sucks.  Sometimes it can be fun.  Most of the time I am just where I am suppose to be and it is all good and fun.  This was one of these times.

"Sunday's on the phone with Monday.  Tuesday's on the phone with me."  

Wait?  Is it Monday?  Tuesday?   Where is the bathroom after all?

ANNUAL HOLIDAY LETTER (Better Late than Never)

Solstice 2015

Dear Family and Friends

Another peaceful year has almost come and gone.  I joke that my life is boring, but in reality it is happy and full. 

I am enjoying living in north Georgia more and more as the years go by.  This is a beautiful area and so much to explore.  Plus, it is easy to travel to the east coast, Florida, gulf area or further west into Alabama all within a day’s drive.  I have taken advantage of that added bonus.

In April my friend, Ann, flew in from Iowa.  We drove to Murrell’s Inlet, SC.  Besides eating very well, we explored Pawley’s Island, Georgetown, Wilmington and Charleston (my favorite).  We had a great time and are looking forward to a similar trip in 2016.

Over Labor Day my friend, David, visited for a long weekend.  I always enjoy his company – he can make me laugh a million different ways and his dedication to working with Habitat for Humanity is inspiring.

Thanksgiving brought Sally and Amy here for their annual visit.  Sally and I cooked up a storm and we had a great time.  It is always sad to see them go – my house seems very quiet after they are gone.

In October I quit my part time job at the library.  After 4 ½ years, it was a sad decision, but not a difficult one.  I enjoyed my job and worked with great people.  But, I woke up one morning and thought, “I don’t need to do this anymore and I really don’t want to!”  I handed in my resignation that day.  Full retirement is wonderful!

My family welcomed our newest member on August 6th.  My great, great niece, Austyn Belle, arrive very early at only 26 weeks weighing 1 lb., 2 oz.  After 120 days in the hospital she finally went home with mommy and daddy (my great nephew, Aaron and wife, Brandi).  She is now pushing 8 lbs. and is doing very well.  She is our little warrior princess and a true miracle. 

I am leaving for Ireland on the 22nd.  I will be visiting my dear friend, Anne and attending her daughter, Melissa’s, wedding on New Year’s Eve.  Melissa has been planning her wedding for over two years and it is hard to believe it is finally so close.  Not much sightseeing will occur – we will be in “wedding mode,” but the main thing is that I spend time with Anne and also get to know Melissa as a young woman – no longer a little girl or a teenager.  I know a lot of laughter will occur around Anne’s table while drinking gallons of tea!

I am looking forward to new adventures in 2016.  I have just joined the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) and hope that leads to some volunteer work.  I am afraid to volunteer with an animal rescue group that I end up with more dogs!  My three keep me busy!  But, I am sure other volunteer opportunities will arise.  I am continuing to make new friends.  Gardening, quilting and reading give me much pleasure.

My sister, Suzanne and brother-in-law Marlon will be selling their house in early spring.  They will be moving to Canton, about 15 minutes from me in a 55+ community.  Their lot is purchased and the building of their house should start in about 4-5 months.  My sister, Linda, spent a few months in Wisconsin with her son and his family.  She still likes living in the greater Phoenix area.

This year Marlon built a fabulous deck in my backyard.  While the summer was too darn hot to go out there and sit, this fall I have enjoyed it immensely.   Watching the birds, bees and butterflies while the dogs sniff and sit in the sun is relaxing.  Now at age 60, I am healthy, happy and just where I am suppose to be.  Life is great!

Happy holidays and I hope the New Year brings you much health and happiness.  And, maybe a trip to Georgia?

Julie Ann

Sam, Oliver and Lady

Sunday, October 25, 2015


In 2010 (quite the year) I retired from working for the City of Milwaukee for 32+ years.  I knew that retiring at 55 I would have find a part time job and work for a while, but I decided to go for it and along with retiring, I moved to northern Georgia.

Both were good moves. In fact, the two best decisions I have ever made.

In the spring of 2011 I started working part time for the Sequoyah Regional Library System - at the local library as a research assistant.  Another good move.  I worked with wonderful people in a library - how cool is that!  And, while we had a few patrons who were real stinkers, most were great.

When I turned 60 last August I realized I no longer "had" to work part time.  Financially, if I am careful and budget, I can live a comfortable life.  So, in the beginning of October I gave my notice and the 20th was my last day.

People keep asking me how I feel, being retired for the second time and hopefully, for good.

I don't know.

I am so busy through the beginning of the year, that I really won't have too much time to think about it. With a ton of "house work" to get done, two friends coming for Thanksgiving and a fabulous trip planned over the holidays I am pretty booked.  That doesn't include friends to see, several quilting project to get done with more to start, books to read, dogs to care for and the list goes on.

My friend, Sally, and I laugh about retirement.  She is also retired from her "career" job and works part time at a local library in Michigan.  We wonder how we ever worked full time, maintained our homes, had beautiful gardens, sometimes worked second jobs, traveled, volunteered and had very active social lives.  How the heck did we do it?

Well, we were much younger with more energy.

Now, in retirement we both wonder how we will get done all we want to accomplish.

I know I will enjoy not having to be or go anywhere I really don't want to be.  I know I will love more time spend with family and friends.  I know I will enjoy more "pajama" days spent sewing, reading and doing nothing.  I know I will do volunteer work.  I know I will enjoy day trips to the mountains, hiking and enjoying the area.

It's time.  I'm ready.  Retirement - here I come!

Saturday, July 04, 2015


Moving to a new town and state in 2010, it took me a while to figure out the easiest way to get places. Here in northern Georgia none of the roads are straight and they change names.  You can drive five miles down a road and it will have two or three different names as you travel down it.  Confusing to say the least.

But, I had my trusty GPS and off I went, learning my way around.  Sometimes my GPS got confused, and it would take me on all kinds of adventures.  Some were great, some not so great.  But, most of the time when my GPS got somewhat lost, I learned a new way to get somewhere or found a place I wanted to check out.

My quilt store is in Jasper, GA, about 20 miles away.  My GPS took me on some "back roads" to get to a main road.  Now I use this route all of the time to get to a variety of places.  And, it "introduced" me to the gentleman on the swing.

I never actually met this gentleman.  He would be out there on nice weather days waving to anyone that drove by his house.  He had one of those portable swings with the canopy on top.  In the five years I have driven by his house he has gone through several of these swings.  Exposed 24/7 to the weather, they would get pretty nasty.  I am sure it was his kids who replaced the swings on a yearly bases.

I looked forward to seeing this gentleman on the swing.  Even in inclement weather when I knew he would not be outside, I couldn't help but look over into his yard.  He always had a slow wave for any car that passed by.  I would beep my car horn and wave back.  I think he was a big man for it seemed his arms were long and his hand big even  when looking from the road.

I have seen him many times this spring.  Last week when I drove by, my hand on the horn to greet him, I saw something different.  His swing was pushed very close to the road and it was covered with bouquets flowers.  There was a sign sitting on the swing.  I slowed down, stopped and backed up.  The sign told of funeral arrangement for the gentleman on the swing.  He had passed away earlier that week.

I shed a few tears the rest of the way home.  I have no idea who this man was, what type of a person he was, if he was married and really did have children.  I knew I would miss him, though.

I wrote a note to his family and put it in his mailbox.  I don't know any of them, but I wanted to express my sympathy. I want them to know that this gentleman gave me something very special.  He gave me something to look forward to every time I drove by his home.  And, he made me smile - whether or not he was out there waving - I smiled in anticipation of the possibility of seeing him wave.  What a nice gift he gave me!  The gift of two smiles - his and mine.

And, sometimes happiness is just as simple as that - a couple of smiles.

Monday, April 13, 2015


Yes, I am still quilting up a storm.  Here are tons of quilt pictures.  Some you may have seen before, but are now completed.  Some are new.  Thank you to my sister, Suzanne, friend, Barbara for displaying most of these quilts for me!  You can click on the picture for a better view.

Panel wall hanging for the month of July.  If
you look close you can see the fun quilting.  Quilted
by the Quilt Shop on Main, Jasper, WI

Side view of the Blue Hydrangea quilt.  Quilted by Cathy of Happy
Dog Designs, Garland, TX  This is a soft and pretty quilt.  I purchased
this kit in Colorado in 2008.

My Garden Quilt.  Using the Turning Twenty quilt
pattern, this quilt will grace my screen porch this
summer. Love the blues and purples.  Also quilted by Happy
Dog Designs
Nifty Nine Patch.  Again, part of a BOM through the
Quilt Shop on Main Street, who also quilted it.  

Road Trip quilt.  I purchased the pattern and fabric in 2009 while
still living in Milwaukee, WI.  I finished the quilt top a few weeks ago!
Needs to be quilted.  Fun and easy to make.

Sweet Plum (named after fabric line).  I won a couple of the charm
packs in this fabric.  What to do with them?  Well, I purchased
additional fabric, found a 24" center block pattern online and using the
charm packs, built the quilt around it.  The fabric is wonderful.  This
quilt will be gifted to a very special person very soon.

Back of the Sweet Plum 
Jeannie's Quilt - named after the owner of Ye Olde Quilt Store
in Cedarburg, WI.  Part of a BOM, every month we were given
two block patterns and a fat quarter of fabric.  We had to make
the two monthly blocks using the fat quarter in each block.  The other
fabrics of the block would be anything we wanted it to be.  I made the
center block.  I love the way this quilt turned out.  Cathy of Happy Dog
Designs quilted it.

Illusion quilt.  My Friendship Star Sisters Block Swap group did
a block swap of illusion blocks.  I purchased special fabric for it.  I
loved the fabric so much, I decided not to participate in the swap and
keep this soft and pretty quilt for my self!  Not quilted yet.

Look closely at this quilt and the one below. Same quilt, different fabric.
Offered as a BOM by The Quilt Store on Main.  We had a choice of
cotton or batik fabric.  Well, I could not decide so I did both.  Above
batik version was quilted by the store and needs binding.  When my friend, 

Sally, was here over Thanksgiving she mentioned she would
like a green quilt for her guest room.  Well, I pulled this out and
she loved it. Good thing, because I really didn't like how it turned
out.  Sally paid for the quilting and I am currently hand sewing the 
binding on.  It will be sent to her in a couple of weeks.

Personally, I prefer the red version of this quilt.  Just something about a 
red quilt that makes me happy. This version was quilted by 
Cathy of Happy Dog Designs.  Amazing what a difference the color
and type of fabric used on a quilt can make, isn't it?

Made this little patriotic quilt for my friend Shelley.  It was fun and
I know that they (her husband,  Bob, is my cousin) are enjoying it.
 Quilted by Cathy off Happy Dogs Design

As part of the online block swap group I am a part of, our
first swap was a churn dash block. I have blogged about this
before, but wanted to included it in this post as well.  I added
the middle square in reverse to make it a 25 block quilt and to
add more interest.  Still needs to be quilted.

Another block swap quilt, this time with a holiday theme.  I
added the lattice work.  I love these blocks - all so different
and all so beautiful.  Still needs to be quilted.

So, while I was making my little nine patch blocks for the holiday
block swap (see above photo) I fell in love the with the fabric. Deep, rich
colors I decided to participate in the swap and make a holiday quilt
for myself!  It is not quilted in this picture, but is now complete.  It was quilted
by Cathy of Happy Dog Designs.

Decided I needed a fall quilt.  Again, I the very simple and easy
Turing Twenty pattern.  I love the border!  Quilted by The Quilt Shop on
Main.  I had enough fabric to make a matching table runner.

 House and Log Cabin quilt.  Part of a BOM offered by The
Quilt Store on Main.  If you look closely you will notice that
each house has a different "side" design to it.  We made one
house block and one log cabin block each month.  Again, we

had a choice of using batik or cotton fabrics.  Again, I made both.
The cotton version is currently being quilted by Cathy.  

Close up of the houses and log cabins.  Cathy of Happy Dog Designs
quilted this
one.   She used a dog paw design for the quilting.
  After all, no home is complete without a dog (or cat or pet in general)! I will
be donating this quilt to help raise funds for a dog rescue group.
This is a sweet, girly lap size quilt. I purchased the kit "Weekend Retreat" in
Milwaukee around 2009 and finished it recently.  Truly took only
a weekend make, so it would be a great quilt to make at a quilting retreat..  
Once quilted, it will go to my great-niece, Shannon. I plan to 
make a more boy-ish version of this quilt for her little brother, Zachary.  
Below is a side view of the quilt.

I do have a few more quilts that are currently being quilted and are not pictured in this post, including a a wall hanging and baby quilt.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 09, 2015


While I was waiting around for my farmhouse table to be done, I did find an old, solid oak, small library card catalog in the warehouse where my table is being made.

This is what I saw buried in June's warehouse!

Well, I loved it.  I am an avid reader and work part time at a library.  I needed this piece.

I had moved my TV to over the fireplace a few years ago.  While I didn't mind watching it up there, I couldn't decorate my mantle the way I wanted to.  So, I was searching for a TV stand. What could be more perfect?
Not a great picture.

Roy, the carpenter, worked his magic adding an apron around the bottom of the card catalog and legs to it.
Close up of the "skirt" and legs

I now have a beautiful, completely unique television stand.

Better picture and I love the "moon" effect from
the flash!


So, the farmhouse table odyssey has finally come to an end!  It hosted Easter dinner and I am thrilled with the results.  It was a seven month journey and one with a lot of bumps in the road.

The table was originally delivered as planned right before Thanksgiving.  However, it arrive in pretty rough shape.  I say that because the top was rough - too rough for a table that would be used on a daily basis.  I wasn't happy.  So, June, the lady who I went through to have it made, said she would take back and plain the top down, re-stain it and bring it back.  We agreed, due to the holiday season, that this would take place after the holidays were over.
You can see the crack (left) and also
the roughness of the table.

Within two weeks I noticed a crack in the wood.  I called June and she, along with her carpenter, came to look at it.  By this time the crack was getting pretty wide and longer.  If you looked at the crack from a certain angle you could see that eventually it would run the whole length of the board.  Not good.  So, along with the top needing to be planed, this board needed to be replaced.

Seems like every few days the crack got bigger and bigger!
By the time it was picked up for repair it was over
18" long and getting wider.

True to their word, the middle of January my table top (just the top, the legs and frame stayed) went back to the shop.  It wasn't until many phone calls later and the middle of March before the table top finally arrived back home.

One view of the finished table.  Love it!
Added my quilted table runner - all decked
out for Easter

Served Easter dinner on the table!

Guess I should have ironed the table cloth!

Sam is always hoping for a piece of ham to fall
It took forever for my table top to return.  Seriously, I was starting to get upset!  But, I am so happy with it.

Camera makes everything long orange in color.
None of it is.  
So, the saga is over and the end result is great.  The moral of this story?  Good things sometimes take time and are worth it in the end!