Saturday, December 31, 2016


It is 9:45 here at the lake and I am enjoying a lazy night in.  While the rest of you are dressed in sparkly spangly things I am sitting here in a flannel gown waiting for the last load of clothes to be done.  My mother always said if you go into a new year with dirty laundry you never catch up for the entire year.  While I am not buying into the concept totally, I did bring 9 loads of laundry with me.  No sense in taking unnecessary chances, right? 
OK, if I am going to be totally honest, our water service is adding excessive usage fees during the current drought.  We are already paying through the wahzoo monthly for a huge and very shady sewer deal that landed all involved with it in jail (Yes, Alabama has some issues with political corruption) so we have been bringing our laundry to the lake every month where our water bill is consistently under 25 bucks a month. Does anyone else think 400 percent for overage is a tad high?

Oh enough of the ramblings!

What I really want to do is send each of you my sincerest wishes for a wonderful and blessed 2017, so

Happy New Year All Y'all!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

I Blame the Weather

We have been having unseasonably warm weather. While the rest of you are shoveling snow, wearing sweaters and drinking cocoa, we have been running the a/c and drinking iced tea.  The other day was no exception. I had started the day off wearing jeans, but has switched to capris just to stay a little cooler. Normally when it is cool I walk around the house in clogs, but it was hot so I was in flip flops. I am totally blaming the weather for what happened next

Every so often I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and am horrified at what stares back at me. No, I am not talking about the every day regular horrifying things I see in my reflection, instead I mean those out of the ordinary horrendous things.  A couple of days ago I had one of those incidents. After the immediate cringe the other day I started laughing because for a moment I thought I would audition for the role of the mother in "I Was a Teenage Werewolf". No, not because I bear some striking resemblance to Michael Landon, but because those things most people call eyebrows had gotten all wonky and looked more than a tad feral. I am not one of those people who go like clockwork to have them waxed or threaded, but most of the time I keep them in fairly good shape. Glancing in the mirror though, it must have been at least a month since I tamed the beast.  (For the record a 15x magnifying mirror is not the kindest thing to catch a glimpse in, and now you will notice in my joy list the need for a "spa day" weekly.  This is exactly why)

Now please remember, it was warm and I was in capris and flip flops (zorries to some of you, thongs to others) as I began my task.  I sat at my vanity table in my bedroom to begin the grooming and was about halfway through with one eyebrow when i saw something slide off the table before it struck my foot.  Ouch right on my bare big toe! But did I stop? No I continued on my job thinking the toe would quit hurting, but it didn't.  In fact it hurt even more__and more. And then I felt something wet between my toes.  Crap! I figured I had knocked over a bottle of nail polish that had klunked against my toe (possibly broken it) and spilled out, so I looked down to see what kind of mess I had created, That is when I saw my really small, incredibly sharp scissors perfectly imbedded  point side down in my toe, blood running down into the flip flop. Which would never have happened if the weather had been normal and I was wearing real shoes.  So I totally blame global warming!

Hi! My name is Anne, and I'm a dumb ass!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2017 Navigating Life's Joy

I am starting this year with a list of things I want to do regularly just for the joy of doing them. This does not replace my monthly joy list, but is an addition to it. It will probably shorten my monthly list though since I am including some of the regular joy items here and listing them again would just be redundant. (Oh, who am I kidding? I have no idea how this will pan out. It might kill the monthly joy list entirely.)  If I think of other things to add to it I will, or if something isn't working  I will delete it. I just want a somewhat thoughtful guide for the new year

1. dance (counts even if I "dance" while seated)
2. sing
3. read something inspirational
4. read for the joy of reading
5. listen to music
6. stay abreast of the news
7. pray
8. play the piano
9. be thankful for everything
10. be kind
11. be receptive to life
12. keep a daily (or at least every other day) journal and record these joys

1. try cooking something different
2. talk to a stranger
3. go somewhere just to browse (store, shop, museum whatever)
4. cocktail night
5. Facetime with the granddaughter
6. volunteer somewhere doing something
7. learn something new
8. have Mom up to eat (but not on the something different night)
9. have a spa night (or morning, or afternoon) at home
10. read a book

1. make something for Christmas (gift, decoration, whatever)
2. listen to Christmas music while doing #1.
3. meet a friend for coffee
4. take Mom shopping or somewhere she can't go by herself
5. contact someone I have not seen or talked to for at least 6 months.
6. go somewhere different just to browse (shop, museum, market, whatever strikes my fancy)

1. have guests for dinner
2. have lunch out with a friend
3. see a play, concert, ballet, opera, lecture, etc.
4. visit at least 1 relative
5. make 1 new acquaintance (this will require me going some different places )
6. explore somewhere new (can be local or out of town)

1. travel somewhere (can be a big or small trip)
2. learn a new skill

Monday, December 26, 2016

Stealing a Page from Lauralynne's Playbook

"You better think. . . "

Lauralynne from All That Junk In My Trunk has a wonderful idea for the new year.  I tend to make resolutions which last approximately 1 week and then the real me takes over and the resolutions are gone or put on the back burner just to be forgotten. Instead of a list of all the things she plans to do (or not do) she simply came up with a one word theme for her year.  You can read her post here.  I thought is was a brilliant way to usher in the new year, without all the hoopla and failure associated with a big resolution list.

After thinking it over (OK truthfully I only gave it about 15 minutes of thought and those 15 minutes were filled with thinking about other things at the same time plus fielding two phone calls.) I decided my inspirational word for 2017 will be PONDER.

I am prone to making snap judgements and  doing things impulsively. I would like 2017 to be a year of careful consideration.  By that I don't mean to imply that I will be rigid and  have no room for impulsive moments or spontaneity, but this year I want to actually think about the benefits and risks of  everything before leaping.

A few examples:

Cousin X calls and is headed into town for a few days and needs a place to stay, but I have planned on repainting the guest room.  The risk reward of that says hands down to put off painting and enjoy the company. But on the whole I do need to think carefully about my time and how and where to spend it, especially since it is finite. precious, and we can't manufacture more of it.

I see someone I know in public acting foolish.  My normal inclination is to rush to judgement.  This year I need to put judgement on the back burner, think things over and try to lean more to understanding the whys and hows of situations first.

Indulgence foods?
Occasionally is fine, but I am rarely inclined to turn it down.  This year I would like to make more purposeful decisions with food choices and this is where the pondering should come in. Celebrating with family of friends, fine indulge.  Chocolate just because__not such a good choice. And do I really need/want fries with that burger. Ponder first then eat.

Think before blurting!  Enough said there (Can you say filters?) I don't have to agree with everything everyone says nor it is my job to change their opinions. Plus does anyone out there really care if I think their skirt is too short or they have on the wrong color for their skin type.

It is lovely to think kind thoughts, but I need a bit of pondering to come up with a game plan to be more proactive with my follow through.  I need to come up with a plan of 52 volunteering opportunities for the year.

They see the best and worst of me.  Isn't it lovely that we will be careless with the ones we love the most.  This year I need to ponder situations then act rather than react (This is going to be the hardest for me, especially as Mom gets more and more fragile and impossibly demanding)

Less is more needs to be my new mantra.  We are at the beginning of a coming transition and will be substantially downsizing in the next few years. I need any purchases to be wise purchases and need to only buy home things that are necessary to add value when we sell this house in a few years. (new dishwasher, updated master bath)

I need to think carefully about each possession we have and get rid of anything that does not add value to our lives or create joy.  I am not a minimalist by any means but we will be going from a large place to something much smaller and unless I want everything to follow me (I don't) I need to start systematically ridding myself of useless things.

We need to purposely up our entertaining game. We have friends and a great places both here and at the lake to share fellowship.  Again I need to  think carefully and start having more people over  more often for very simple meals and great conversation. (Why do I think a dinner party needs linens, tablecloths and silver?)

So now I have pondered enough about this post and need to get on finishing up 2016 with a bang?

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas Y'all!

In the spirit of Christmas, Old Navy sent me an email last night after midnight that the gifts I ordered the first week of December would not be available for 30 days, but they left me a number to call to cancel the order if I wanted to.  Why yes, I wanted to, so I called it immediately only to get a recording that they were not open but to call back in the morning after 8 EST.  Again, fine and I planned to call as soon as I woke.  But I woke only to find they had already shipped the previously unavailable items and they were shipping it as a rush item at no additional cost to me.  Then I looked at the estimated rush delivery date___12/28?!?!?!?!?!

So now I have a box full of items being shipped to me as presents I suppose for either after Christmas or to save and use next year.  Fortunately they were all filler presents and everyone here is an adult so no harm no foul, except for Son3's filler presents.  He flies out at 5:30 am the 28th.  Do we think the men in brown will be delivering that early?

Also in the spirit of Christmas and because I am from the south and prefer to make fun of myself before anyone else has a chance to here is my homage to Christmas in Alabama

I am off for a few days of merriment or mayhem.  Wishing each and every one of you a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

No Christmas Spirit

This is not exactly where I am with the lack of Christmas spirit this year, but it's not too far off either. I give My Beloved Sister a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle every year.  Each year she calls me a couple of days after Christmas to tell me she is finished with it.  This year I gave her 1000 pieces of a gray ombre circular puzzle,  No design, just a round ombre form dark to light gray.  Let's see her call me in 2 days now!

Then I saw this and thought that is more like me, especially since I went to  very trendy shopping place this morning. (For the record I had not planned on stopping there and looked somewhat like a homeless person,  Yeah, sweat pants, tennis shoes, long sleeve tee, muffler, toboggan on my head because I had not had a shower yet much less done my hair, no makeup and a backpack.  It was a good look!) You can't even buy  place to park there so I was traipsing all over downtown Homewood in all my loveliness. Amazingly every single merchant was very kind and was happy to sell me whatever they had to sale no matter how homeless or homely I looked. (Which makes me wonder should I quit trying and just look like a haint* all the time?)

Maybe instead of waiting for the Christmas spirit to wash over me I need to wash down some Christmas spirits?

*Haint is a southern term for an ugly scary critter generally from some supernatural realm.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Gift for Sis, but Mainly for Me

I love, love, love Lush's silky underwear powder. It is a wonderful silky smooth dusting powder with faint jasmine undertones. It gets really hot and muggy here so a nice dusting powder really is a great thing to have on hand. Until just a few months ago we had no Lush in Birmingham, and every time I was somewhere that had one I would buy 6 or 7 bottles of the stuff. It has no talc so I don't have to be worried about using it liberally, except for one small detail__the ridiculous price. I had just finished using the last of my most recent purchase (Thanks Lush in New Orleans) and am not ready to spend 9 bucks on two ounces of powder anymore so  I finally decided to see if I could find a hack for some DIY similar powder.  I found several and, as usual, decided to kind of sort of combine them to come up with something I really liked.  Jasmine was the overall recommended scent, but I am not a huge jasmine fan so I opted to leave mine unscented, (Which, by definition is a lie because it smells like cocoa butter.  It is not overpowering but still the smell is there. Than again, there are worse things than smelling faintly of chocolate.)

Now for the how to's.  In a large glass or enamel bowl mix 1 cup cornstarch, 1/4 cup baking soda. 1/2 cup arrowroot starch and 1/4 cup finely grated cocoa butter.  Stir to mix well, then stir some more. Sift it twice and let it sit covered for a day or two (Once again I used a clean peanut butter jar).  Put a small amount in a shaker jar and enjoy.

For My Beloved Sister's gift I used a salt shaker from a box of silver I purchased.  A woman in our neighborhood was downsizing and the last thing she wanted to do was be stuck with polishing silver in her new space, so she sold every piece in a huge box for 60 dollars. I have used many of them as delivery systems for cookies or cakes.  (Most of it was silverplate, like the salt shaker, but there were a couple of sterling trays and a sterling bowl. Score! ) The box had 32 pieces in it so I am counting each piece as 2 bucks.
This make a cute (once again presentation is everything) and useful gift for her and she can always come here and get a refill when it runs out.  I plan on making this regularly and will keep playing with it until I get it just exactly like I want it. Right now it is just close, not perfect, but at a savings of 8 dollars a bottle I can deal with imperfection.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Festive Friday on a Friday?

Wow, I would be super impressed with myself except I know how lame this gift is.  In fact it is only partially homemade, but sometimes close has to do.

This is another gift for My Beloved Sister and one of the many cheap frugal gifts I am adding to her Christmas cache'.  A few months ago (or last spring) we were in NYC visiting Son3 and happened upon a street fair. (Because no matter when you visit the city there is a street fair, right) Someone in a booth was selling necklace pendants 3/$10.  I saw three I liked but could live without out them so I started to walk away, which is always very easy for me to do, when all of a sudden the price became 2 bucks each if I would still buy three.  I was perfectly fine buying them at that and actually bought them for myself. Typical of me, I unpacked my suitcase, put them in a box in my drawer and promptly forgot about them  When I was doing my pre-Thanksgiving serious cleaning I found them again and decided one would make a nice gift for My Beloved Sister, but I needed something to hang it from.  I guess I could have bought a length of black cording but I didn't want to spend any more money on it.  So I found some thin black yarn and decided to give finger knitting a try (see tutorial). I figured it would either work or not and I had nothing but a little time invested in it. Turns out, it worked perfectly as a pendant holder and she can pull over her head rather than having to fasten or unfasten it.


I will say that instead of doing some insanely perfect finish for the back I just tied it together in a series of small knots then trimmed any excess. It actually looks intentional rather than accidental but shhhh! We won't tell her right! The picture I am posting does not show it but the weight of the pendant pulls the kitting close together and lengthens it.  Again it looks intentional instead of a happy accident.  So yay, another gift ready for a quick wrapping before it goes to live under the tree.

Tomorrow I will post another gift I made for her, but it is mostly really for me, because I am just nice like that!

Until then get wrapping, shopping, baking, or whatever you do when the last week countdown starts!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Old Dog Seeking New Trick

Does anyone but me dislike the new blogger format?  I already know what I wrote, so why do I want it to pop up on the screen when I open blogger?  What I want to see is what all y'all (Southern term implying a bunch of y'all) have written. I like to see what everyone else is doing and what is interesting in your lives.  I am quite boring enough that I don't need to see/read about it again once it is written.  I find having to scroll down to the reader's list to get to the good stuff a pain in the rear. (Yeah, I know.  First world problems)

Does anyone out there know some handy trick I don't know that can change my setting so I see what I want to see  first (your posts) rather than looking at crap I wrote.

Waiting and hoping for relief!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Festive Friday on a Monday

Well another Friday has come and gone and as we have all found out, I seriously suck at regular posts.  What is worse is that I actually had this completed on Friday, but just didn't take the time to take a photo and write a quick post. Boo, me!

This is another gift for My Beloved Sister.  As I have mentioned before, we give each other many gifts each year, but have learned to be cost effective and make a bunch of them.  Since I know her so well and know what she likes (chocolate), it is generally pretty easy for me to think of something (chocolate) to make for her.

Thanks to a few bloggers who have posted directions to making this. I took your suggestions and tweaked them a little to come up with something I know she will enjoy.

Mint Hot Chocolate

1/4 cup powdered cocoa
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup powdered milk (I used Nido because it is powdered whole milk)
1/2 cup powdered creamer
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar (optional but I keep it on hand all the time)
3 tablespoons powdered peppermint (about 10 individual mints whirled in the blender until powdery)

This is one of the easiest gifts I have ever made. Just toss everything in a big bowl and use a wire whisk to incorporate all the ingredients. That is it and it is about as easy as you can get. After it was mixed together the only thing I needed was something to present it in.  I had some large cello cookie bags left over from a project earlier in the year so I measured enough cocoa mix for 6 cups of hot chocolate (using 1/4 cup of mix per serving) and filled the bag.  I made a quick trip to Dollar Tree to grab a white mug, but there was not one so I punted and bought a clear one.  Once home I used Sharpie markers to draw a very simple snowman face on the mug.  When I put the bag of cocoa mix in the mug it looked funny so I wrapped the bag in white tissue paper, tied it with red and white baker's twine and the put it in the mug.  Finally, a snow colored snowman's face!  Since I had all the supplies except for the mug in my pantry already, I figure the cost of this gift including the mug is a little under 2 bucks.  Not bad for one more gift she will use and enjoy, because it's chocolate after all!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Drumroll Please!

Before I begin let me apologize for not posting this yesterday as I was supposed to.  I was at the lake where life is easy the the internet connection is sketchy.  I could never open Blogger entirely so I just waited until today when I was home.  I wrote each entry on the same size piece of paper, folded them in half and put them in a large empty and cleaned Yankee Candle jar.  After shaking the jar to mix the entries up well  I got TheHub to do the official drawing. So if you are going to blame anyone for not winning all the blame goes to him. And the winner in the first Anne in the Kitchen giveaway and new owner of an over purchased  (blasted fundraisers) cookbook is   Sluggy! 

I will get this in the mail in the next day or two.

Monday, December 5, 2016

December Joy List

Since I did no joy list in November I don't have to cross things off or explain my failures. November's joy was filled entirely by my family all being together and by Pip (the granddaughter) who radiates joy.  Now on to December!

 1. Volunteer at I.P.
 2. Listen to Christmas music daily
 3. Find and enjoy some free live music
 4. Bake and share cookies
 5. Take food to someone having a hard time
 6. Have Mom up weekly for dinner
 7. Take Mom out to see the Christmas lights
 8. Take Mom Christmas shopping (I admit this in not joyful for me but it is for her)
 9. Get Santa Letters addressed and mailed (Chore but joyous when it is finished)  Literally hundreds of letters to kiddies from Santa with the North Pole cancellation were mailed today to be re-mailed. I have addressed so many blooming envelopes my hands will not function right now. 
10. Spend at least one night relaxing with only the Christmas lights lit, music playing and a glass of         wine.
11. Gussie up the Christmas packages
12. Think of what I like most about each person when I send my Christmas cards
13. Take food to the food pantry
14. Have a small dinner party
15. Have neighbors over for dessert and coffee
16. Go to a play or Christmas extravaganza
17. Pray for world peace
18. Appreciate and enjoy the rain (Best lesson learned from a drought)
19. Make 3 Christmas gifts
20. Face time with Pip and talk about Christmas (or anything) 2nd time this week.  I miss her terribly
21. Light candles daily
22. Gather unused coats for a homeless mission
23. Toys for Tots donation
24. Donation to Foster Families Christmas Celebration
25. Quiet time daily with Advent meditations
26. Christmas Brunch!
27. Catch up with an old friend
28. Have a conversation with someone I don't know
29. Try a new food/dish Soup at a Persian restaurant in town. Can't pronounce it much less spell it.           Luckily it is on the menu as "soup of the day"  Whatever it is called it is delicious!
30. Try a new adult beverage
31. Make fudge (several kinds) and share the love!