Jake Time and Break Time.

I’m off to Montana for the week so I’ll be unplugged. My first travel adventure since my knee surgery. Fingers crossed! Once I get up on a horse I believe I can stay on.

Here is the Jake and Carly Gallery. Enjoy! Much love to all, Julia

Jake tempts Carly with his rubber ball.

Jake tempts Carly with his rubber ball.

Try to get it...

Try to get it…

Carly goes for his head instead.

Carly goes for his head instead.

Tired best friends.

Tired best friends.

I actually had a difficult time taking photos because fog kept rolling in and out. Once we had sunshine there was so much glare I could only make out Jake’s ears, so it really was a crap shoot.




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Julia’s award-winning totally addictive tuna salad.

Long line tuna.

Long line tuna.

I’m actually famous for this award-winning tuna salad (and my chicken salad), so you all are special snowflakes!

2 6-oz cans of solid packed albacore tuna – drained

1 8-oz package of full-fat cream cheese

3 sticks celery – chopped

1-2 large dill pickles – chopped

4-5 small sweet gherkins – chopped

1/2 small sweet onion or 1/4 large sweet onion (a Vidalia or Walla Walla) – chopped

Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip to taste

(Occasionally I toss in a handful of chopped walnuts and a couple chopped hard-boiled eggs.)

Throw all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix everything together with your hands. Add mayonnaise or Miracle Whip to taste. I use about a half-cup to get the right texture. Done. Lick your fingers. Wash your hands. Refrigerate. Serve on a toasted bun or whole grain bread, or serve with lettuce, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, endive, olives, roasted beets… whatever you like. This recipe makes 8-12 servings of tuna salad.

Love ya! Julia

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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand

UnbrokenUnbroken is the story of Louis Zamperini, a name I’d never heard before I read his obituary. (Neither had Oscar, and he knows everything there is to know about sports.)

The demographics.

Louis Zamperini died recently, at the age of 97. He was a juvenile delinquent, an unlikely Olympian who appeared at the 1936 Berlin Olympics where he met Hitler, a bombardier on a B-24 fighting against the Japanese after Pearl Harbor. His plane was shot down. He and the pilot survived 47 days in a life raft without provisions. He spent years in a Japanese POW camp where he endured starvation and torture. After the war he had a hard time of it - finally turned his life around with the help of the Reverend Billy Graham.

The book.

A life such as this should not be a bore. Far from it. The book, unfortunately, is so boring I struggled to slog my way through the first third before giving up.

The problem.

The author’s voice. The author, also the author of Seabiscuit (a book my husband loved), drones on about the facts of Mr. Zamperini’s life in such a monotone that I felt like I was stuck in the most boring college lecture in the history of the world given by the most boring lecturer in the history of the world. It’s all tell tell tell. This happened and then that happened and then this happened and then that happened… 

I’m a lover of nonfiction. I’m passionate about it. I can get excited reading a book about rocks. No kidding. The best nonfiction writers bring their true tales to life– paint people and nature and events with vivid colors. In this particular case, the author has managed to turn one of the most gripping stories/biographies of the Twentieth Century into a flaming bore.

You know me. I rarely ever say a bad word about a book. In fact my general rule of thumb is this – If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Well, I’m making an exception. Don’t waste your money. Maybe Angelina Jolie can do a better job with the film.

In the meantime, I’m giving this book a try – The Devil at My Heels, by David Rensin and Louis Zamperini. Louis Zamperini’s story in his own words.

ZamperiniAn addendum:  I am so glad I switched! Devil At My Heels is gripping! Can’t put it down. I read for four hours straight the other night– looked up and it was 2 a.m. Skip Unbroken. Get this.

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Jake’s got a girlfriend!

Jake is smitten with a Rottie! A very cute and sexy Rottie! Her name is Carly and she is the only dog Jake will roll over for. As in roll over on his back and let her have her way with him. He first met her when they were puppies and he’s never forgotten her. We recently hooked up again- by accident. Both of us ended up at the same park, a large park that stretches along the river. Has a minimum of foxtails. I’d been avoiding the park, as had Carly’s owner, because the ticks were so awful last year. This year there are no ticks.

This is what they look like except Julia forgot to get a photo so this is not Carly and Jake.

This is what they look like except Julia forgot to get a photo so this is not Carly and Jake.

Jake recognized her when we were a quarter of a mile away. He was beside himself with excitement! Nearly killed me dragging me down the trail. He never forgets a friend. Makes them for life.

You should see the two of them, Carly and Jake, walking together. Big bruisers. Everyone gives them the eye – you know, a Rottie and a GSD. Scary! But Carly is a sweetheart. She loves strangers. Fortunately Jake is perfectly willing to live and let live. I can’t say he’s always a sweetheart with non-family members, but he does love kids and teenagers.

(The issue with German shepherds is this – they like to be the approachers as opposed to the approachees. They have personal space issues. A German shepherd requires more personal space than, say, a golden retriever. In my experience, goldens require very little personal space. Our golden, Rosie, required zero personal space.)

Hey lover boy... C'mere lover boy!

Hey lover boy… C’mere lover boy!

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Three! Free! Three Free Books In One!

SoulSeries_v2 (1)

Ghosts? Guardians? Archangels? Transmigration of Souls?

 Incorporeal: As much as she wishes otherwise, Sara Wise sees ghosts. When a five hundred year old incorporeal being appears in her shower she orders him to leave, but he refuses. Sara knows he’s not her usual spectral visitor. Is Nathan de Manua a ghost? Her guardian angel? As her feelings for this incorporeal being grow, so do his powers. Will Nathan save Sara, or will her love redeem his tortured soul? 

In the Flesh: In the middle of a blizzard a naked man falls from the sky right in front of Dr. Sydney Blake’s pickup. Although the man claims to be human, Syd has serious doubts. Wolf may not remember his origins, but he’s clear about one thing, he’s traded immortality for one night in Syd’s arms. 

Stay: Just when Syd believes she’s lost Wolf forever to her great joy he reappears, but he can’t remember a thing about their brief time together. How on earth can she reawaken those memories, remind him of the love they shared, and convince him he’s the father of her unborn baby, especially when regaining his memory is the last thing he wants to do? 

The Soul Series is a collection of three books, Incorporeal, In the Flesh, and Stay, complete with previously unpublished bonus material.

Beginning Tuesday the 15th, get your free copy right here!





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