Japanese Feast with friends

Thursday night Lilly came over to go to the local Korean market with me to buy food for our Friday night Japanese feast.

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I was the only red-head in the entire store and watch out cause I’ll be back!

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Lilly was telling me the love of span in the Asian culture.  We got the spicy and regular and we all loved it warpped in seaweed and rice.

IMG_1909We found the fish section to be very photogenic

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plenty of awesome produce for reasonable prices

Then Friday arrived and it was time to prepare, watch, learn, help, laugh, talk, visit and listen to music.  I had such a great night with my friend who also happens to own the most incredible shop and everything she sells in her shop, it helps less fortunate and it’s full of adorable handmade things.  I just have to put in a plug for one of my most favorite stores while I’m at this, I have talked about it before, it’s not knew news to my long time readers.  It’s called “Share and Do Good”  and very soon she will be opening up an online store so if you don’t live in our area, you would be able to browse her shop on line.  Not only did Lilly come by to show us how a Japanese feast is done, we invited the girls who grew up in our neighborhood to sit and watch and visit and EAT!  I’m pretty sure I can now do this on my own.  I was always a little intimidated to work with raw fish but now I know exactly where to buy our sashimi and also how to prepare it.  I just need a rice cooker and I’m set, oh and the darling cute dishes she brought along to present our food on.  I took only a few pictures because to be honest, I was too busy being in the moment than photographing our moments and when it came time to eat, I couldn’t spend very much time photographing the beautiful food, I had to eat it for goodness sake!

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our spread to prepare

IMG_1919Lilly busy making our food pretty

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we had a nice amount of fresh veggies and produce and good protein, with some carbs to round out the meal

IMG_1921Some of the girls from the neighborhood.  I have had the privilege to watch them grow into beautiful young ladies

IMG_1923The spread

IMG_1925My empty plate ready for the feast

IMG_1928The idea was to build our own Sushi tacos and that we did!

It was a really fun night filled with all things good. We even drove to 85 degrees for dessert!  It just so happened to be the grand opening on Friday night so hello!  AMAZING.  If you have not been, you must go!  We even got free key chains and since I bought a big box of pastries, I got a the coolest most happy red coffee mug you have ever seen!  I’m chalking February 21st, 2014 up to a very great night.

love is EVERYWHERE!!

Yesterday was Valentine’s day and motorcycle man took the day off work because we had major plumbing troubles.  In the midst of the plumbing troubles I like to snap pictures just to document life and things like that.  Well today I uploaded some images and I had not even seen the heart in this image below until I uploaded it.  I nearly flipped out.  I get a little dramatic.  If you know me, well I may scare you from time to time with my responses to things, I just get a little bit excited and I may just act as if the sky just fell or something but really it’s just a heart!  DO YOU SEE IT! We went to lunch with some good old friends last Sunday after church.  I found a heart in my salad and the discussion arose.  Sal said it best when he said and I quote “it’s like calling cards from God”  I again got very excited because it’s exactly my thought on the matter!

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IMG_1655This is a heart my niece Laynie found for me.  She ran up one day full of joy and said “Aunt Tracie, I found a heart for you today”

IMG_1681I really should clean the hand rail, but I dont’ think I will be painting it!

IMG_1684Abbie even found dirt claud hearts in our plumbing fiasco.  I have to agree!

photo (16)So I was seeking hearts yesterday and well, hearts were also seeking me (image one) but I had no idea that when we were to go to dinner on Valentine’s night, at my favorite spot (Ruta’s) that my thoughtful guy would be passing me love notes throughout dinner and one lead to Drew Barrymore’s “find it in everything” book!  The one I tried so hard to win, but did not but even better to get it from my motorcycle man who really pays attention to me and then writes the sweetest note inside.  I got about five words in and became really verklempt.  I had to stop reading to compose myself (remember the emotional part about me, the over dramatic bit) He watched the Ellen with me, the one Drew Barrymore was on and he tried to play it all cool and not make a big deal that she also is a heart seeker like me but he banked it.  He remembered and went out and got me her book.  Last one in the store, they had to find it in the back even!  I’m just so grateful.  Who cares about bad plumbing when you have a guy like motorcycle man.  He still makes my heart skip a beat.

 

 

 

My take on the HOURS

Hours went live today, I was so excited to see what the hour 7 a.m. looked like to my partners around the globe.  Being the very, very first round I was a little nervous, what if I don’t add up?  What if what I choose is completely different from anyone else?  Below are a few of the images I took in the 7 a.m. hour and also I had taken about three images with my film camera Canon A-1 but as it takes me an eternity to get through an entire roll of film there was no way I would have this developed by the end of the month even.

IMG_0197 Nope, doesn’t feel right

IMG_0203Nope

IMG_0216no

IMG_0269not this one

IMG_0275The moment I clicked this, I knew it was the one.

I decided for me it will be about the live moments in my life with the people I adore.  This moment will never happen again and it’s my honor as his mother to see him get ready each morning and stand in our dinning room and use our dinning room mirror which once belonged to my Great Uncle Cole, this moment would be something I would like to look back on because I have learned they grow very, very fast and once they get to a certain age they are like birds just wanting to fly free and as time goes, I often want to freeze it but since I can’t I take pictures.

trips to the moon

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Trips to the moon are always so much fun.  Yesterday the moon was even out and centered just perfectly between the palm trees  and we just knew that was a good sign.  I’m just a little surprised I didn’t take a picture of it.  I had to cross two big bridges just to get there and I’m not too much of a thrill seeker so crossing a big bridge is about as thrilling as I get.  I took a picture of it and I know I probably shouldn’t do that sort of thing when I drive but it was just a quick point and shoot and I managed to keep myself and my jeep inside the lanes and safely made it to the other side of the bridge.  The picture was really worth it though cause the bridge is just so petty and grand. The prettier of the two bridges is the  Vincent Thomas Bridge and the one I  took a picture of.  It was just picture worthy.

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Our 3rd gathering of the moon people was at a really cool place called  crafted and if you are local and want to see some really cool hand crafted gifts, I would recommend it.  IMG_0362

However I would recommend one go on a Saturday or Sunday.  We went on a Friday (they are only open btw three days a week Friday, Saturday and Sunday) but Friday’s are a little slow, as in most the booths were not even open.  That part made me sad but still we had such a great time.  I only spent 6.50!  5.50 was on a specialized really freshly roasted coffee.  Still have yet to taste it cause motorcycle man left way too early today and I want to make sure and enjoy it with him.  Second was a bumper sticker that reads “reading happens”  I think the only other purchaser of goods was Miss Moonspinner who purchased this amazing book called “walk when the moon is full”  it’s a children’s book and it was only $2.00 and we have plans for this book, it will become our moon people adventure notebook and it will be transformed into a place we log all our adventures at.  Miss Moonspinner also bought a rad book bag.

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So we didn’t spend very much money there but it’s not cause I didn’t want to, I wanted some soaps and bath salts and lotions and  candles,  some pretty flower pins for my hair  oh and jewelry! My favorite open jewelry spot was this one.

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I also was blessed with some love in the form of hearts.  My favorite of all the hearts I received from Miss Moon Daisy was the red heart that I will show here with my littlest and only girl holding it and leave it up to her to figure out there is something inside, she wiggled it around and we heard something inside there.  I almost want to bust it open but I don’t’ really want to break a heart, if you know what I mean?

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On my way home crossing over both those bridges again and nearly running out of gas, well not really but it was on E for a good long while and I was in dead stop traffic and I got a little nervous so I got off in Paramount for a little gas and jumped back onto the parking lot.  I was very hungry so I stopped to get a little kids hamburger and water from McDonald’s where I was offered a free hot fudge sunday and of course I took it, it was a gift.  One should never say no to a gift, just remember that. Finally after detours, gas and free ice-cream I made it to take my littlest and only girl to her big cheer reunion event.  And that was that.

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I’m not exactly finished yet, lastly, I’m so excited because this Sunday, tomorrow the hours will be going live and I’m just honored to be a part of these 32 other woman who will be sharing this month a picture shot between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7:59 and I’m in the first pool.  And my shot well it’s nothing very exciting and I was very intimidated to be with all these talented gals but for me it was a real live true moment that meant the world to me.  It was just a glimmer in time and a very every day moment but it will never happen exactly the same way it happened in that moment.  With one click I got it and well, sounds like I’m building it up quite a bit, it’s a very normal every day moment actually but to me, it means something. 

happy weekend

Well of course I will be posting pictures of food, I’m on a mission and food is a big part of my life.  So last night I made grilled teriyaki chicken with a slice of pineapple, a kale salad and a tiny bit of rice.  The picture below is the soccer players plate, he can get away with a little more carbs since he is so active.  It may look big but looks are deceiving because for years now we all (including) motorcycle man use a salad plate as our dinner plate.  This is all piled on a salad plate and the kale salad was a first.  I have tried kale chips and I have put kale in soups but never have I attempted to make a salad of it.  The results were awesome, soccer player loved it, motorcycle man liked it, I really, really loved it and the littlest and only girl tried some left over today and she likes it.  I think I’m on to a new healthy salad.

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I took these images at night and although they don’t look very natural with natural light like I adore, they look okay.  My Canon 20D would have never taken a picture this well at night….EVER.

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Dinner table at night (just practicing) 

In the salad I put kale, swiss chard, carrots, red cabbage and dried cranberries.  I just used a simple balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  I’m excited to add this to the rotation.

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I tried a new breakfast too.  My sister Sarah sent me this awesome link pop sugar for recipe ideas and this was a breakfast idea which includes avocados, one of my favorite things to eat.  Half an avocado with an egg cooked in it’s pit hole.  I cooked it on 425 for 20 minutes.  If the idea of hot avocado doesn’t appeal  to you, don’t bother.  I personally didn’t mind it.  I eat avocado rolls that are warm and like them so I figured why not?  The egg yolk remains runny but again, I love my eggs over easy so this worked for me.  I total this breakfast at 217 calories, the avocado was small and my fitness pal gave it that number calculation.

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My feet still hurt but hello, it’s only day 4!!

My feet hurt…..again, so guess what? Read and find out.

January 1 2014

look at that first shot of the back-end! Goodness to Betsy! And the only reason I’m smiling in the second shot is because so many people in their befores look miserable, I didn’t want to look that way, even though I should be feeling that way.  I’m hoping I can slim down and do this B-town t-shirt some honest to good justice, let’s watch and see as the days go by.

So over the past few years I seem to fluctuate anywhere from 165 to 183ish.  I think 183 has been my tops-ish.  Used to be at one time 160 was my tops, then 170 and so on…..geesh.  January of 2013 I started my weight at 165 and from there just went up and up with an occasional very short-lived down.  In 2012 I ate really, really healthy for 6 weeks straight, no sugar or processed and I lost 20 pounds.  I was so proud of myself.  I tend to just fall back to comfortable no thinking sort of lifestyle which always, always leads to more weight on my (small) frame.  I’m 5’ 4” and I have sort of small feet, and hands and a tiny head, my body should all match up.  When my feet begin to hurt, like really really hurt, then I know things are really wrong.  I get up and limp around like I’m more like 85 rather than 43.  I also know if I just shed less than 8 pounds my feet will feel better.  My goal this month is to get rid of 5 pounds.  A small attainable goal.  I’m going to watch my calorie intake and move more, I’m going to drink a little more water.  How is that for CHANGE.  I hope I can share my positive change all year with whoever is interested.  I get so encouraged by my friends and family who support me in my ventures.  I’m not proud of these (before) pictures.  They were a wakeup call, especially the one from behind, holy WOW, somewhat of a wide load.  I mean if you cover the bottom half of me you can see I’m meant to be smaller.  So here we go.  I will only do status updates at the beginning of each month.

Things I hope will change

The pain in my feet will go away

My skin will heal

My sleep will improve

My energy will increase

Let’s see if these things begin to CHANGE.  I love my new word, the possibilities are endless.  It’s up to me to make better choices.

If you want to see a brief history of my weight I posted about it a while back HERE.

Now some images from the New 70D!!!

IMG_0016this is me showing the soccer player how my iPhone can be used as a remote!  I have never had a remote before and an iPhone remote is off the charts amazing!!

IMG_0021and here I stand using the iPhone remote in my most favorite jammies on the planet (thank you Mandy)

IMG_0046Put on the 50mm I already had to see what it would be like.  The color with the Canon 70D seems so extra crisp and vibrant.  

IMG_0049Playing with the 50mm some more.  It’s the ONLY lens previously used, I’m most comfortable with it. 

IMG_0033I got a really cool “craft-a-doodle” book for Christmas and I’m practicing.  My first cupcake.

IMG_0091Lastly.  My lunch today.  I calculated it to be about 370 cals, it’s so yummy and my kids love these wraps too.  

gifts

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I truly believe with every ounce of my being that each day is a gift!  From the moment I wake and my feet hit the wood floor of our home.  There are literally miracles around us everywhere.  From gorgeous sunrises to sunsets, the shifting clouds, the dancing shadows, the glistening grass.  It’s endless!  My cousin Jeanie has invited me to be a part of gratitude for the entire year.  We are making a jar and each day we will at the very least place once piece of paper in that jar of something good that happened for us in our day, a small miracle, a funny moment etc.  and at the end of 2014 we can open the jar and re-visit all the good things that happened for us in 2014.  I’m excited and I have a feeling we will need really BIG jars.

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Oh goodness, I’m just beyond excited too because in 2014 I will be shooting a brand new camera!  I will always cherish and most likely still use my 20D but I have been upgraded to a 70D and have lots to learn, it’s like a mini computer! I’m wondering if my photography will improve, change, look different.  We will see.  We were given bonus’ this year at work and it was a really pleasant awesome surprise.  Since me and motorcycle man work together….he got one too!  He has the biggest most generous heart you could ever imagine and he gave me part of his bonus so I could get this new camera.  I almost hyperventilated when I handed the cashier all that money at once (in cash) for the new camera.  I’m so thankful and so excited and I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings in terms of photo’s and memories and miracles.  I hope you will join me in finding the blessing in each day and visiting me here to connect.

words and peace

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I believe in words
I believe in getting them out
I believe in reading them
I believe they heal
I believe we need them
I find comfort in them
I find peace in them

by: me

In November 2012, I took a workshop called Digging Deeper with Meredith Winn and  Kristin Zecchinelli, This class was a second course to NOW YOU and it was a gift, literally, two gals were picked to take this course free of charge. I was one of the two.  It was a gift in more ways than one and it challenged me as a photographer because one of our challenges was to take a self-portrait in public.  This can feel strange and uncomfortable but it helped slightly that I choose to be surrounded by books in a library, it’s a place where I just automatically feel at ease.  I sat down in-between the two book cases. I sat up my iPhone, much less obvious than a big camera and I used the app called camera+, in this app I have the option to set a timer.  So I did and this is the image that my phone captured with cropping and editing of course.  I decided it would also be a good time to write a poem about how I felt on this day and almost every day to be honest.  I’m really looking forward to growing as a photographer in 2014.  I was invited to a new blog which will include about 28 other really, really, really talented women.  I’m still wondering how I got into this group? I’m hoping this too will grow me as a photographer to be surrounded by talent and talent I can also learn from.   The blog has a name, it has a theme but I will share that when it get’s up and running.  I love projects, especially photo projects.  I will continue at a snail’s pace my project with my cousin.  I call it coloring with my cousin.  I also will have one more project with a dear friend who lives all the way across the globe from me and her days are always one ahead of mine.  We are not exactly sure of our exact plan but I want it to include our daughters, we each have one.  I’m very excited to collaborate with  Cathie. Super excited about 2014!!!  I can feel the change.

2013 at a glance

januaryI remember the very first day of January we spotted a hawk sitting on the fence across the street.  I was intrigued and saw two more perched in the same month, two odd spots…a tall light pole and a building top. I see them in flight lots but rarely do I spot them sitting still and grand they caught my attention for sure.  I wondered if there was meaning in the sightings?  We went on winter walks, we had a little rain we focused on our new word for the year, mine LOVE, littlest and only girl’s word was positive.

februaryFebruary always full of love!  I had my very first fancy coffee with my love and crossed one more thing off my dream list. I remember February being a month filled with walks, even with my oldest boy.  My legs I have noticed are the very best in February.  Since it will be my 5th year entering 2014, I have seen a pattern and February always gives me hope and shows promise.

marchIn March we always get giddy over the daffodils.  I fill my home with them over and over again until they stop selling them in tiny closed bunches.  This has gone on now for maybe 3 or so years.  A newer tradition.  I did a lot of reminiscing on my blog and picked up an awesome old school enlarger for only 25.00, all the trays and canisters and began dreaming of a future darkroom where I could once again develop my own film.  We played in the mud and Abbie turned another year older.

aprilIn April we began to plan for our Spring garden. The oldest became a man!  Talk about reminiscing!  We also had many of his baby videos transferred to dvd so he could finally see all the memories we had talked about.  I went on my first women’s retreat.  We paid taxes and planted a tree for each of our children.

mayMay always brings flowers! I found the most adorable shop in Fullerton and met an old friend who gave me an opportunity to show my art in her shop when the fall came.  I walked with some amazing women, survivors and brave warriors. Oh and I turned one more year older.

juneIn June our garden began to show promise. June was a very, very busy month for us.  We had our oldest graduate high school and get his very first car (the little yellow bug) our other two promoted into middle school and into high school.  We had dance recitals, school dances and  parties. Sadly my only other living grandfather passed away in this month. Yet still life goes forward and we began to get very, very excited for our summer ahead. We could taste it!

julyJuly came with lots of freedom, finding treasures, lemonade stands, mother daughter tea, a pool that literally busted at the seems, plumbing that went really wrong.  However the garden grew, hearts were spotted everywhere, we made trips to the beach and I joined a morning workout group and found some really great new friends.

augustAugust was the month we played very hard.  We took some time off and kept it local but being we are from California, keeping it local can still come with lots of fun.  We had beach trips by the handfuls, we hit up the fair, we took the kids parasailing, video arcades, ice-cream, summer hikes, sunflowers and raspberries, fancy movie theater, singing in the car and still meeting my workout buddies three times a week, very, very early in the morning. We enjoyed lots of fresh produce, we smiled a lot, our skin collected a few more freckles and sun beams.  Best of all my little sister and her two babes came back from France to live here in California once again.  Remembering August has me realizing I do love summer, lots.

septemberIn September we planted pumpkins for the fall (that didn’t fare so well) The soccer player and littlest and only girl got ready for their new schools,  I joined a book club and tried to read Jane Austen, I had my postcards made for the future art show, I experimented in wood transfers, began to watch Mad Men (basically became obsessed by it) grandpa visited me in a dream.   The soccer player turned another year older and sadly the oldest had a car crash on the very day soccer player turned one year older. Old familiar routines began to take their shape.

octoberIn October I cooked and baked a lot.  It was still relatively warm in our parts but I still yearned to make soups, cookies and pies.  Motorcycle man turned another year older, we visited Arizona for the memorial of my grandpa and saw my grandma who I had not seen in years, the boys worked on the bug, we experienced our very first Indy race courtesy of my dad who went all out on our seats, with pit passes and a meal.  Littlest and only girl tried out for her  new school cheer team and MADE IT,  Soccer player was conditioning for soccer and we were still getting comfortable with our fall routines.

november

November being the month of gratitude I had so much to be grateful for, my very first art show the very first Friday of November.  I high-lite of my year for sure.  God is so good the way he works, I’m grateful to be his child and to have the privilege to witness his every day miracles and even when things don’t seem to be going our way, God has a plan and time and time again I have seen these plans come into full bloom usually when I’m least expecting it. We sadly lost a friend and co-worker in the month of November.  We saw the most amazing rainbow in November, we celebrated our gratitude with our thanksgiving feasts and as I reflect back on the year I’m reminded that although it wasn’t always smooth sailing, we learned from the imperfect days and it had us really appreciating the really good ones.

decemberDecember is here and there are 2 days left until Christmas.  I can’t believe yet again how quickly the year flew by.  My word for 2013 was LOVE, I figured if I just loved, showed love and demonstrated love that things would feel perfectly right and they did for the most part.  Jesus walked this earth in LOVE and one reference I can give is found in Mark 12:28-31 it’s that simple.  I always think to myself if everyone just LOVED how beautiful life would be.  It’s an action word and love can transform and change, it’s just a beautiful thing.  Speaking of change, this year my word is CHANGE. I’m constantly learning and my life can use change, I can take better care of myself, my body is a gift and I often mistreat it.  It would be a good thing to strive to take better care of it.  I don’t want to list all the changes that can be made, I should just focus on one change a month as to not overwhelm myself.  I’m  good at overwhelming myself.  Maybe I should change that!  What are your plans for 2014?  Do you have a word for the year?  I would love to hear about it.

in my kitchen

IMG_7209In my kitchen.  A bowl that I bought 11 or so years ago in Weaverville,CA at this really cool spot Olson Stoneware.  I remember its been that long because I was pregnant with littlest and only girl.  At the time I remember thinking it was sort of pricey but there are some things that I believe are worth spending money on.  This is one of them, first because it’s hand-made and unique, sort of like all of us.  And it’s just plain gorgeous.  I don’t think you can tell from the photo it’s scale but it’s a good size.  I keep it out my kitchen counter full-time.  I call it my bread bowl.  We put our bread in it, sometimes as many as three loaves at a time.  I don’t have a bread box, I have a bread bowl.  We love it and I do not regret for one moment spending more money than I usually do on things.

IMG_7204hum, still can’t tell the scale, but trust me, it’s a good size

When I was engaged to the Motorcycle man I remember the evening I truly knew I was a part of his family, it’s when I got my very own Olson’s mug with my name on it from Mama Bear and Papa and it was very exciting.  It was Christmas time when they presented me with the mug.  Rich had one, his brother had one, his sister had one, his mom and dad had one and then it was my turn.  I was IN like Flynn when I got that mug.  Then when Austin was born Aunt TR sent him a baby set with his name and birthday on it, then when Dylan was born, he got his set from Aunt TR.  Littlest and only girl still needs one.  I think my next trip up to Weave, I’ll need to take care of that.

The candlestick was a wedding gift from our cousin LeeAnn, I’m pretty sure it was LeeAnn, it was 20 years back so really hard to remember exactly, just have this feeling it was her though. 

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His and Hers

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Austin’s set.  I dropped the bottom plate years ago and was devastated.  But my mom, she always makes everything better.

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See you can’t even really tell that it broke into three pieces

IMG_7213And Dylan’s set

For sure now that I did a little write-up on what began as (in the kitchen) and turned into, here, let me show you all my things from Olson’s Stoneware all the way up in Weaverville California.  We have lots of really great family who live in Weaverville, work in Weaverville, find rad deals in Weaverville, like the really amazing camera Sally found and sent my way.IMG_5749

Plus if ever you decide to drive on up North Weaverville California, please stop by here for the best coffee in town, the red house our Aunt Mel and Uncle Steve own this one of a kind coffee spot and most likely you will run into someone in this family if you so happen to pop by. Wow, I just went all over the place in this one.  Take Care now.