Peace and Relaxation



Cruising over the Emerald Isle bridge. 



Picking up shrimp, grouper and scallops from Clyde’s



Grilling with friends on the porch. 



Drinking beer in the am and staring at the ocean. 



Sharing a meal with the neighbors and feeling thankful. 

This is what I call peace and relaxation. 

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Gazpacho Mary


Every two years the city hosts an art walk at Willowbrook Park.  Art vendors and food trucks will gather in the park all day selling their art and food.  Tickets are being sold for a special dinner with music in the park that evening. It will take place from 6:30 to 9:30pm on June 7th.  Local restaurants and a few home cooks will be serving yummies while a band entertains everyone.  Tables will be cradled under a canopy of trees with twinkle lights setting the mood. My sister and brother-in-law will join me in making and serving food at one of the tables. 

While suffering a bad bout of insomnia last week, I came up with an idea for our tables food. I decided on a fresh gazpacho with grilled shrimp. I thought it would be nice to focus on local food for this event and keep it healthy. My mind has a tendency to go straight to decadent food and I wanted to be more responsible with serving to the public.  Cheese, especially goats cheese are often at the forefront of my recipe creations. This recipe is also a nod to my sweet friend Amanda of and my first try at creating gazpacho. As a fan of a spicy Bloody Mary, I found this recipe worthy of being mixed with my vodka, too.  Tonight I served it in a shot glass with our dinner. The lycopene from the tomatoes is enough reason to make it.  The taste is bright and lively. I hope you’ll try it with or without the vodka. 🙂


Gazpacho Mary Ingredients
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
juice of 1 large lemon
juice of 1 large lime
1 Jalapeno Pepper
1 large red bell pepper
2 large garlic cloves
4 Medium tomatoes
1 -64 oz Vegetable Juice (I used original V-8 Juice)
1 Medium Cucumber

I first chopped all of the vegetables finely. After that I used my Magic Bullet blender in 3 batches to finely blend all of the vegetables. I mixed in the vegetable juice in a large bowl and added the worcestershire sauce, Lemon, lime, salt and pepper. I mixed well all of the ingredients and poured into two large pitchers. I served two small shot glasses of this for dinner with our meal. It should be really great tomorrow after the flavors merry together. I plan on serving this in shot glasses with grilled shrimp for the Art Walk. I also plan to use this recipe for all Bloody Mary’s in the future. This should be refrigerated overnight and served cold. Let me know what you think of my Gazpacho Mary. I’m always open to suggestions.

Moments of Peace

Mr. Sugarbears is a big dog. He’s under 100 pounds now, (thanks to his diet), but he’s still too big for most places. Most hotels and campsites don’t allow animals over 15 pounds. It makes me sad. He’s just so happy to be around people. I just don’t travel like I used to because of this. When I adopted this rescue dog I made a long-term commitment. My last rescue dog was with me for almost a decade.
Sadly, I don’t have one of those super-cool jobs that allows me to bring my dog. Fortunately, my house is close by and I am able to go home at lunch to give him hugs. I race home after work everyday to make sure he’s fed his dinner on time and has a little outside time, too. I am very happy when I have plans that allow for my dog to attend. I honestly hate leaving him. I feel a huge amount of guilt.
My niece had her final soccer game of the season a couple of weeks ago. I knew I would be able to take my sweet dog since I had seen many others at prior games. Mr. Sugarbears excitedly jumped and paced around the living room as I told him about our adventure to be. We loaded into my vehicle, rolled all of the windows down and took off. Once there it was all I could do to contain his excitement. Multiple fields were full of children, parents and animals. The weather was beautiful and there was a feeling of happiness in the air. I decided to walk Mr. Sugarbears around a little before entering the field. I wanted him to burn off a little bit of his excitement. Once we entered the field his smile continued to grow. We found the rest of our family and joined them. Most of the game Mr. Sugarbears sat calmly and let people hug and rub him. He was in heaven.
After the game he got a little “too excited” with a pretty Golden Retriever. We had to make a quick escape before Mr. Sugarbears made too much of a scene. No “Birds and Bees” talks due to my dog. (I hope anyway). Besides his moment of indiscretion, we both had a great time. Sitting on a grass field with your dog and other family members watching a game is awesome. It sure beats sitting on the sofa inside. I need these moments of peace and so does Mr. Sugarbears. Doesn’t he look happy?

Johnny Swim is on My “Shannon Loves You Mix”

Haw River Ballroom in Saxpahaw-an intimate evening with Johnny Swim.

Oh how I love this duo! A couple of months ago I saw them on “Live at Darryl’s House” on Palladia. I have been hooked ever since. Since 1984 I have been making a “Shannon Loves You Mix” and Johnny Swim is featured multiple times this year. Last week, to my delight, my husband texted me that they would be playing within 30 minutes of our house. It was all I could do to contain my enthusiasm. I immediately went online and purchased two tickets. Saturday evening we took off to the venue. The weather was ominous as we waited in the line to pick up our tickets. The sky turned black and the wind blew strong threatening to take out the umbrella for the food cart beside us. We stood firm and I did my best not to try and make friends with everyone in line with us. Yes, I am that person. Surprising? Do you need me to interrupt your conversation and grab your phone and take your picture to commemorate this momentous occasion? Probably not. 🙂 Anyway, the show was amazing. It was my first time visiting the Haw River Ballroom and it did not disappoint. The old, three-story, brick building sounded great. The acoustical tile placement helped to perfectly displace the sound. Half way through the show, the duo stepped away from their band and walked out to us and sang acoustically. Yep, my band crush grew more in that moment. The couple is married. They told us about their love, the proposal, and much, much more. It was like hanging with friends. I danced so much that a space cleared around me. What can I say? I like to dance and I love good music. Watch out. We clapped and “woo hooed” our way to an encore where they sang one of my favorites. So I love them and you should check them out. Johnny Swim is on my “Shannon Loves You Mix” and most likely will be on many future mixes.

“Just like a Methodist”

Ahhhh, this lady. This lady is the best. She’s a close friend of mine that is moving away in a couple of weeks. Although the move is a good one for her family, it still doesn’t take the sting away from the loss that I and a lot of others will feel. We’ll all stalk her on social media, but she’ll be far enough away that we can’t regularly hug her. Her wit…I’m sure we’ll still get plenty of that from her postings. She just finished up divinity school and will be starting with a new church. This job should give her plenty of new material for her never-ending, awesome, witty comedy. She’ll be great for so many reasons.
But what made me think of this lady this morning was something poignant she said to me last week. It’s really stuck with me. I was expressing to her my desire to be better. I told her how every morning my prayers were to be a better friend, a better wife, a better co-worker, a better Christian….a lot of things. Jennifer just smiled and said to me, “Just like a Methodist”, so I asked her what she meant by that and she said that Methodist, in general, are always striving to be better, and the more they achieve, the more they realize that there is even more to work on. I laughed and said, “That sounds about right”.
One of the bloggers I follow is on a vegan diet this week. She’s become vegetarian over the last 7 months and decided to take it a step further. Personally, I can’t do it, but I’m in total support of her trial at vegan life. It made me think more about my personal diet. I gave up soft drinks (for the most part) this year and I limit myself mostly to water and of course alcohol. My skin was definitely better at first and I did feel better, so the soft drinks really were a good thing for me to cut out, or at least limit myself on. Now, a couple of months later, I find that I need to do more with my nutrition. I am pretty good with my diet, but I definitely have a lot of dairy in my life that could be limited and I should. I guess I want to have better nutrition, too. I guess I’ll add that to my morning prayer, as well. So, if wanting to be better in life can be likened to being a Methodist, I’ll take it as a compliment.
Thanks Jennifer for your amazing friendship, for your incredible leadership, for the laughter you bring to so many of us. I strive to be more like you in my life. I love you and I will miss you terribly. I will pray for you and pray that each day you also grow as a minister. I’m happy to be a work in progress, Methodist or any other denomination.