random thoughts

~ I’m so glad today is game day. I do not want to see or read about or think about politics.

~ Fall? It’s endless summer in these parts. But today I’m going to get out my fall decorations, watch football, and pretend that I don’t live in Florida. I kind of want to cook a pot of chili

~ Last weekend we went to the loveliest village on the plains, and MAN, I love that place.

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It was so very hot.

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~ I got to meet a long time blog, Facebook, and Instagram friend in person! It was so good to meet Ellen. And then I met Van and John from AU Wishbone, my favorite Auburn football podcast. I met Auburn Elvis, too. 🙂

~ Any of y’all have DirecTV? Their new interface is SO bad. Shows are missing from the recordings list in the living room, so I have to watch in the bedroom. So stupid.

~ I’m on my 50th book this year. So many good books!

~ There’s a stretch of wildflowers in the median between Thomasville, Georgia, and Tallahassee, Florida, that is stunning. But there’s a no cell phone while driving law in Georgia, so I can’t take a photo on my commute. Trust me. It’s gorgeous.

Happy Saturday y’all!

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don’t give up

I consider myself a skeptic and a cynic, and I’m not really proud of either trait. These are the logical outcomes of a logical personality, and I’m not proud of that, either. In fact, there are days that I wish I were not so logical; it’s a burden in a world that lacks common sense! And it can cause me to be cold and clinical when I’d much rather be warm and compassionate. Also, I’m sure it drives some people crazy.

So I was surprised at the the direction my thoughts took when I recently scrolled through my Instagram feed. I follow Jon Gordon, a best-selling author and motivational speaker, and I’ll be honest and say that some of the rah-rah, positive attitude stuff makes me roll my eyes at times – not specific to him, but that genre of posts. (I’m not proud of this, either! I don’t want to be that kind of person!)

Here’s the post that made me think:

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(More total honesty: that word MIRACLE made me think of the Miracle at Jordan Hare. I can’t help it – I’m an Auburn girl.)

My logical self wouldn’t ordinarily find a cynic and a skeptic to be hopeful. But you know what? I am! That’s why I persevere through books I don’t particularly enjoy — I figure there has to be some redemption in there somewhere! Alas, sometimes there is not. It’s why I’ll almost always gut it out and finish every episode of a television series season that has been recommended to me — holding out hope that it’s worth it. It’s why I will rip out a knitting project over and over if I can’t get it right. I’m hopeful that one of these days, I will figure it out. And it’s why I didn’t quit on my marriage or give up on some very important relationships that were really hard once upon a time. I’m not proud of this trait either; it’s just how I’m wired, I guess. And I’m not the One who did the wiring!

Maybe it’s a by-product of that stubborn streak that so frustrated my mother (and shhhh…. came from her! Thanks, Mom!).

So, anyway, that’s a long way of saying that, at fifty years old, I’ve learned something new about myself through glancing at an Instagram post. Life is funny, y’all.

And now I will say to you in the spirit of rah-rah cheerleading and positive thinking (but seriously), if you’re in a hard season, DON’T GIVE UP! Don’t quit right before the lesson is learned or the person changes his heart or the book gets good or the Lord shows His stuff. Pray for perseverance. Wait. (My logical, practical self is compelled to include here the caveat that if you’re in an unsafe place, don’t wait, get out! Otherwise, hang in there. Pray. Obey. Wait. Believe.)

Don’t give up y’all,

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saturday

It’s my third day off in a row from work, and there’s still one more to go! And it’s starting off well — coffee and reading in bed. And — true confession — watching a variety of Kick Six videos. (This one is a classic.) I never get tired of that!

Yesterday I decorated the house for Christmas, and Will came in for the weekend. Today my big plans include watching the Auburn/Alabama game with him on the big screen.

(I’ve got soooo many blog posts in my head, including one I mentally composed while decorating the Christmas tree yesterday. But today is unlikely to be a day I can actually put those thoughts to virtual paper.)

Thanks again to all of you who have encouraged me to keep blogging. I’m amazed that anyone reads what I write, and I’m surprised that you have stuck around through my blogging famine. I really appreciate it!

Happy Saturday, y’all! And Waaaaaar Eagle!

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saturday miscellany mashup

Whew! After a tough week, it’s Saturday, and I’m so very glad. I slept until 8:30, made some coffee in my new Keurig (the one I’ve had for over four years finally gave up, and Paul couldn’t resurrect it), and got back in bed to read. I’ve caught up on the news (none of it good), and I’m about to pick up The Nightingale from the tall stack of library books on my nightstand.

Paul told me that today is Anne Day*, but I still haven’t decided what to do with it. For now, I’ll enjoy this quiet time in our room. And I think that later I want to hit up the sale at Fuzzy Goat.

Knitting has been a reliable stress reliever for me these days, and I’ve got some finished projects to show for it. Recently I completed a self-fringing shawl that got me back into my knitting groove:

fringeshawl

And I made my sweet granddaughter a cardigan and hat. I just need to block the sweater and add a button and then it will be done:

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Last night on a whim I cast on for a shawl with Zauberball Crazy yarn that is really driving me crazy — the yarn keeps tangling. But it’s in the perfect Auburn orange and blue, so I will persevere — much like I hope our team will persevere tonight.

Here are a few links I’ve bookmarked this week and finally been able to read this morning:

~ Ina and Jeffrey: A Love Story

~ In the pot nine days old

~ Stop acting immutable

~ The gift of sleep

Oh, Saturday! How I love you! And Paul, thank you ever so much for giving me an Anne Day!

Happy Saturday to y’all!

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*If you’re new around here: Anne Day is this sweet gift Paul gives me. Essentially, it means that I get to do whatever I want to do. This means that we spend the day together doing fun things instead of chores. 🙂

random thoughts

~ I had a moment of panic on the treadmill at the gym the other night — I thought I might have actually been singing out loud. I didn’t seem to get any weird looks, so maybe not. Whew!

~ Why, oh, why don’t employers and managers teach their staff to say “Thank you,” to customers? It annoys me to no end to say thank you to a cashier as she hands me the receipt and hear her say, “No prob.” Chick-Fil-A has the proper response down so I know it’s possible to teach this concept.

~ You know what’s sad? Ordering an unsweet tea in a drive-thru, paying, and driving away, only to taste the tea and find that it’s sweet! Blech.

~ Somehow over the course of this month, I’ve turned into a person who enjoys walking for exercise. Sometimes I walk on the treadmill at the gym, but Paul and I have also tried to walk in different parks and neighborhoods. It keeps it interesting and feels like exploring.

~ My alma mater is pretty cool.

~ Random thoughts, random photos:

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~ Will gave me an Amazon gift card as a combo birthday/Mother’s Day gift. I had so much fun choosing books from my wishlist last night. When they arrive tomorrow it will be like another birthday.

~ Today Paul and I have taken the day off, and we’re just going to take it easy, go to breakfast, maybe see a movie, whatever we want! And tonight I have a birthday celebration with my family. Anne Week continues! 🙂

Happy Friday!

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random thoughts

~ The only thing worse than a driver who doesn’t use her turn signal is one who uses the right blinker for a left turn.

~ A Smart car with only one working headlight, is, well, not so smart.

~ I know I’ve mentioned this before — more than once — but slow drivers in the left lane make me C.R.A.Z.Y.

~ Sorry for the traffic rants, but I spend a lot of time on the road these days. Really, I have the easiest of commutes, but there are some days on the road that are harder than others.

~ I realized long ago that manicures are a waste of money for me. I manage to chip my nails almost immediately. Gel manicures last longer, but they destroy my usually healthy nails. I’ve recently discovered Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polish. It doesn’t require the UV light, and so far, one application (two coats of the color and one of the top coat) lasts about 8 days without chipping. And it dries pretty quickly without smudges.

~ I’m so glad this football season is over. Yes, we have the bowl in Birmingham, but that’s so lame that I’m pretending it’s over.

~ If we have chips in the house (chips that I actually like), I am powerless to say no to them. Hi. I’m Anne, and I cannot say no to chips. Or homemade cookies.

~ I came across Speculoos Cookie Butter Cheesecake at Trader Joe’s this past weekend. I did not purchase this wonder of wonders because if it’s in our house I will eat it.

~ When I lived in Belgium, I concocted a cheesecake (cheesecakes are my go-to desserts to make and take)  with dark chocolate and a Speculoos crust.

~ While I was typing the random thought above, I was eating chips.

~ I’ve been binging on Fixer Upper lately. And I just want to take out walls and rid the world of popcorn ceilings.

~ While I was typing the random thought above, I was eating chips.

Bye y’all,

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saturday afternoon

It’s another gray, gloomy Saturday, but at least we have a little taste of cooler fall temperatures. I’m happily at home, with a huge pot of Brunswick stew (recipe below) on the stove, a sweet dog nearby, and football on the big screen. We’re dog-sitting for my parents this weekend, so I’ve had a little sidekick:

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I haven’t made Brunswick stew in years, but Paul and Stephen both expressed an interest. (I really like cooking when folks appreciate it.) People can get a little crazy over Brunswick stew preferences, but here’s the tried and true recipe I use. I love that it makes a huge pot because leftovers are always a blessing.

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Brunswick Stew

1 whole fryer (about 3 pounds)

2 stalks celery – cut into 1-inch pieces

1 small onion – quartered

water

2 (10-oz) packages frozen lima beans

2 (10-oz) packages frozen kernel corn

1 cup chopped onion

2 (28-oz) cans whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped

1 (8-oz) can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped

3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon salt

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper

1/2 teaspoon red pepper, or to taste

Combine chicken, celery, onion, and enough water to almost cover the chicken in a large stock pot; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 1 hour. Remove chicken, celery, and onion from broth, reserving broth in pot; discard celery and onion. Cool chicken; skin, bone, and coarsely chop meat. Add chicken, lima beans, and remaining ingredients to broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer uncovered about 4 1/2 hours or until desired consistency, stirring often. Add water if/as needed.
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The Auburn game is starting in a few minutes, so I’ll be flipping back and forth between that and the UGA/Bama game while knitting. Go Dawgs! 🙂

Oh, and another tidbit about the Brunswick stew: My dad says it’s good to eat when you’re sick because it looks the same coming up as it does going down. You’re welcome.

Happy Saturday y’all and War Eagle!

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random thoughts

~ I don’t know what’s worse: walking out of a dressing room when nothing fits or walking out when everything fits.

~ We recently rented a condo on the Gulf coast, and it was crammed full of useless “decorative” items (a large frog with artificial greenery coming out of the top, odd fish-shaped vases, etc.). It was a small studio condo, which was all we needed, but it felt even smaller because of all the clutter. Less really is more, you know.

~ Fall is in the air. I’m so happy. But what’s with the pumpkin-spiced everything? We recently went to a Mexican restaurant, and at their hostess desk, a heavily fall-scented candle was burning. Um, pumpkin-spiced Mexican food does not smell good, y’all.

~ I went back on Whole30 for a whole five days. It made a difference, though, and I do feel better. It was a good detox from vacation.

~ Run, don’t walk, to your nearest Trader Joe’s and get some dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Or don’t. So there will be more for me.

~ I’m back on a knitting binge. I’ve got so many projects in progress and in the queue, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve got my Auburn football scarf all ready to resume during tonight’s game, a spur-of-the-moment easy drop stitch scarf on my needles, a complicated shawl waiting patiently at the bottom of my awesome knitting tote, a wrap I’m itching to start, a class to take in a couple of weeks, and countless patterns pinned and saved in Ravelry.

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~ Today is a Saturday with nothing on the calendar except a football game tonight. I’ll be making a Costco run, cooking, and cleaning, with college football as my soundtrack. Yep, I love fall.

~ Late start this morning. Yay!

~ Hey, if you’re in a drive-thru line, would you please consider pulling up close to the car in front of you? When you leave a car length or more, you leave folks hanging out in the road. Thanks ever so much.

~ I’ve got a bad case of TrumpFatigue. Seriously. I don’t want to hear any more about him.

~ Speaking of politics, so glad Boehner is out and I wish he’d grab a few others as he heads off into the sunset.

Signing off now to get started on my Saturday. What’s on your agenda?

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saturday

I can’t believe I’m saying this after that terrible loss to LSU, but yesterday was a really good day. My son was down for a visit, and we spent the day together. He had a podcast interview with The Sturdy Brothers in Thomasville, so we headed north on a beautiful fall day. We enjoyed coffee at our favorite spot, and then he did his interview while I camped out at The Fuzzy Goat to knit. It’s the coziest spot in town.

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On the way out of town, we stopped by my sister’s house for a visit with their family, and then we grabbed a late lunch in Tallahassee before getting home to watch LSU crush Auburn. I worked on my Auburn scarf (more on that project later) while wailing and gnashing my teeth.

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Paul took Will for a ride in his beloved 1970 Camaro, and he gave Will a turn at the wheel. I missed all of that fun, but I did snap a pic in the driveway.

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After the game Paul, Will, and I went out for sushi, and we just happened to find out during our conversation that Paul had never seen Face/Off.  We rectified that after dinner, and Paul may never forgive us. Around 10:30, Will remembered that he was going to interview me for a future podcast, so we did a late night (waaaayyy past my bedtime!) thing that will probably be as exciting as an NPR episode. (More on this later, too.)

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I ended the day by watching Ole Miss beat Bama – the cherry on top of my day. 😉

Family, football, knitting, hanging out, a beautiful day… these are a few of my favorite things.

Tired but happy,

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90 minutes

010414If you’ve hung around my blog long enough, you’ve heard me mention that I’m a fan of Dennis Prager, and I often listen to his podcasts on my commute. Recently, he asked the audience to call in and share their 90 minutes of happiness. He limited it what gave you joy to do alone. As always, his audience provided some interesting and varied responses.

Because I listen via podcast, I never get to call in, but if I had the opportunity, I’d have several things to share. Any of these scenarios would bring me joy:

~ Settled in at a coffee shop, preferably on a rainy day, with my laptop and a good book.

~ Poolside at a nice resort, in the shade of an umbrella, with a stack of magazines and a good beach read, beverage service, and plenty of sunscreen.

~ Propped up in my bed on a weekend morning, coffee or tea on the nightstand, my laptop, Bible, a Moleskin journal, Sharpies, and a pencil.

~ Curled up on my sofa, watching an Auburn football game with a bowl of popcorn on my lap.

What about you? What’s your 90 minutes of happiness? Remember — it’s alone time.