November 28, 2013

A Song of Blessings

     In this special season of giving thanks for all we have, I want to share one of my favorite songs, Count Your Blessings, by Bing Crosby, from 1954's White Christmas

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2013

Cleaning Test

It's that time again.  Company is coming for Thanksgiving so, you guessed it.  I'm cleaning the house, top to bottom.  My husband says, "Why bother?  They'll just mess it up the moment they walk in the door."  While he's right--They drop off purses, coats, extra shoes, dolls, coloring stuff, games, suitcases, dog food, dog leashes, beach chairs, coolers, etc.  Any surface I've cleaned is pretty much covered up.  Still, the idea that those surfaces are germ, grit and gravel free, to the best of my ability, is a point of pride for me.

So while I was running the sweeper, a flash from the past entered my mind.  I don't remember where or when I heard it, but here it is.  A less than kind mother-in-law was playing got-cha with her daughter-in-law.  Her ultimate test of a good housekeeper was to run a gloved hand on the underside of the toilet tank to check for dust, dirt--whatever might collect there and be less than desirable.  As I think back, I can honestly confess, I don't recall ever actually cleaning the underside of the toilet tank.  Around the tank, beside the tank, yes.  But under?  Nope.  Go ahead, call me a slob. I guess that means I'm not as great a housekeeper as I should be. Guess I never will be...

By the way, this mother-in-law, could be named Aunt Noreen, the mean-spirited yet still beloved character in my historical series, The Goodbye Lie.  Her evil characteristics are timeless.  Once a meanie, most often forever a meanie, huh?  

November 21, 2013

Military Working Dogs

During a visit to our local American Legion Post 54 in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida, we discovered a very handsome and equally fascinating vet.  There on the floor, with people stepping over him, unflustered, enjoying his low level view, was a military working dog. A  Belgium Malinois (pronounced mal-in-wah),  Bartje (pronounced Bar-shay) retired in October of 2013 after serving in  Afghanistan and Mayport, Florida. His handler, Master-at-Arms (MA) 1st Class Eliot Fiaschi, is responsible for military working dog teams in the South East, US. He has adopted Bartje and it's plain to see their mutual devotion.

Before I reached to pet Bartje, I asked Fiaschi, "Does he bite?"

He replied casually, "Only when I tell him to."

Well, Bartje got lots of attention and lots of petting that day, dressed as he was in his official vest, complete with his name and ribbons.

Until this time, I'd heard of and seen military dogs on the news, but never realized how vital they are to our national security.  They are determined to please their masters, following commands to the point of self sacrifice. 

To read more about Navy man Fiaschi, visit

Most importantly, please take a few minutes to check out K9 Pride.  This site lists three non-profit organizations supporting our military dogs, including Kevlar for K9s, and explains what equipment these wonderful animals need to stay safe and comfortable in harsh conditions like Afghanistan.

Master-at-Arms (MA) 1st Class Eliot Fiaschi is featured in
 K9 Heroes by Nicole Arbelo
I also want to mention that Bartje's visit to the American Legion Post was due to Karen Kelley with BARC, Boxer Aid & Rescue Coalition.  Visit her non-profit boxer rescue site at  

November 16, 2013

Tussie Mussie- a Goodbye Lie favorite

a Goodbye Lie favorite
Crafts: Tussie Mussies

read "The Goodbye Lie"
Tussie Mussies
    see our Tussie Mussie shirts
and more goodies at
our T shirt shop
A tussie mussie, also known as a nosegay (doesn’t that conjure a delightful image of sweet-smells?) is a small bouquet of fresh, artificial, or dried flowers.  Sometimes it has a lace, paper or greenery collar, tied with a bow.  The flower stems can be inserted into a silver filigree or ceramic holder for carrying or wrapped with stretchy florist tape and covered with ribbon.
If a suitor is particular in his choice of flowers, the tussie mussie can convey special meaning when presented because each flower may represent distinct emotions.  Usually handheld, a tussie mussie is sometimes pinned to the bodice of a gown.  According to the language of flowers, if centered at the bosom, it suggests friendship toward the giver.  Should it be pinned over the heart, it stands for undying affection.  And the Flowers Spoke has a detailed explanation of the language of flowers.
This is  the first novel in Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie Trilogy set in the 1880s
 and available where books are sold.
Excerpt from The Goodbye Lie: 
Eager eyes were fixed on the entrance to see who arrived with whom and in what fashionable garb. As Trip removed her black velvet cape with burgundy satin lining, Breelan's friends found her. Tonight, she wore the prettiest dress she'd ever possessed. Her mother and grandmother had created an entire gown of horizontally sewn rows of ivory lace. The drop shoulders were edged with four-inch white fringe, which allowed her upper arms to peek out. Pink and gold silk rosebuds intertwined in a vine of ivy leaves to diagonally cross the bodice. More rosebuds sat atop pale bows scattered over the drape covering an underskirt of ecru satin. An oval coral brooch outlined with tiny seed pearls and pinned to her mother's string of pearls, was positioned at the base of her throat, her earbobs matching. White gloves only long enough to cover her forearms, an amethyst ring on her right hand overtop the glove, and a tussie mussie of small pink poinsettias in a lace cone completed the picture of loveliness that she was. The women touched her gown, admiring its grandeur and the beauty of the woman who wore it.
To make your own Tussie Mussie, you’ll need:
Silk (artificial) or fresh or dried flowers - enough so that when gathered together, they will form a 3 inch to 6 inch diameter bouquet
  • 6 inch paper doily
  • a roll of green florist tape
  • 1/2 inch satin or organdy ribbon in a coordinating color
  • scented floral air freshener (optional)
Cut an X shape approximately 1 inch wide in the center of your 6 inch doily.  You will insert your floral stems through this. 
Cut the stems of your flowers approximately 4 to 5 inches long. 
Gather them into bouquet, artfully arranging them in your hand for balance and color.
Wrap the stems lightly with florist tape. 
Slide the flower stems into your doily so the doily touches the bases of the flowers.
Wrap the stems with ribbon, covering the florist tape.
Tightly tie a ribbon into a bow just beneath the doily to secure your bouquet.
If desired, spray artificial or dried flowers with the floral air freshener.  Fresh flowers, such as roses, need no spray.  Mother Nature has done her part already.
Present the tussie mussie to someone special or tie it to a package as a favor or use it as a lovely “sit about” for any room in the house.  If you’ve made your tussie mussie from fresh flowers, let it dry naturally and it will keep indefinitely.  Remember to handle dried flowers with care.
PS I made s slew of tussie mussies as favors for my daughter's wedding reception and the female guests seemed to love them.  I used roses from my garden picked all spring and summer and gathered bunches with rubber bands, hanging them on a wooden clothes drying rack to dry.
This Tussie Mussie article is copied from my website,, so readers realize this blog is only part of our Goodbye Lie world on Amelia Island, Florida. 
Hugs and Blisses! 

November 11, 2013

Remember our Veterans!

We've had a weekend to remember our wonderful veterans with today being the official holiday.  Fernandina, here on Amelia Island in Florida, held our annual parade on Saturday morning.  I heard there were more than 90 groups participating. For a small town, that's a ton!  Below are a few pictures I snapped after the fact.  I forgot to take along my camera when I rode in the American Legion Auxiliary wagon.  That means I didn't get a picture of Bruce riding on the back of a three wheel motorcycle.   Bummer.  He was up front with the American Legion group and I was way back, number 67 or so, so I didn't even see him!  No matter.  The parade was to remind us all of our military men and women.  So fly your flags to honor them and our country which they protect. Thanks to them, we are free enjoy such patriotic holidays.  If you see someone who is in uniform or ever was, acknowledge their service.  Let them know we appreciate them.

lady pirate
Civil War reenactors


pirate ship on wheels
Lady Liberty on the right

November 5, 2013

True Love

So you see the title of this posting and wonder to yourself: Oh this has to be about Jane Marie and her  husband, Bruce.  Maybe how they met...Or perhaps how they've survived their long years of marriage together.

Or maybe Jane Marie will link to YouTube and the song True Love sung to Grace Kelly by Bing Crosby in High Society from 1956.

No, the true love of which I write is between my dog, Abby, and me.  In every love story, there is a lover and a beloved.  Abby is the lover and I, the beloved.  How do I determine who has which role? I know this because Abby not only finds my shoes and carries them with her around the house, but she licks the inside of them to the point of sopping. While disgusting, this practice of hers demonstrates her depth of devotion to me.  I adore the old Abster, but I draw the line when it comes to me slobbering over her paws.  Therefore, she wins.  She loves me more.

Abby enjoying my old shoe

November 3, 2013

Hollywood Hearts- Love with All the Trimmings

If you love musicals and if you've never seen On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, starring Barbra Streisand, do find a copy and watch it.  A romantic comedy with ESP and reincarnation, Streisand's 1970s character returns to 19th century England. It's colorful movie with memorable songs, but the most memorable for me are during her flashbacks.

I have loved Love with All the Trimmings from the first moment I heard it. And the detail of the period scene in which it is set is spectacular. Click here to listen to the lyrics as they tell her story and delight in the romance of it with the added perfection of her costume and acting. 

One other romantic song from the movie is He Isn't You.  Again, if you listen to the words, they color a picture of longing and the romance meter is off the charts.  Watch here:

As always, thank you to


PS  You can watch the entire movie by movie clips on YouTube, but it's broken up into eight segments.  Hey, but where there's a will, as they say...

November 1, 2013