Monday, June 30, 2008

An Anniethology Informal Poll

Help me out with my next article.
What are your favorite Home and Garden type websites or blogs and why?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Best of the Sunday Inserts 6/29/08

As No Cool Story would say, "Clickety to biggify!"

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Selection from the Payne Family Photo Album

According to my stat counter, Saturday closely rivals Sunday for the least number of visitors to my blog. I get it. I'm not mad. I don't spend much time in the blogosphere myself on the weekends. Since people are too busy on Saturdays to read blogs, I thought I would pick one or more pictures from the Payne Family photo album to post.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A day of introspection

This series of pictures is called,
"Alone with my camera phone"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Anniethology De-Lurking Day

Comments for bloggers is like heroine. Okay, never mind. Let's go for something more benign, maybe something I actually know about.
Comments are like a chocolate bubble bath, one that magically disappears when you are done so you don't have to clean all that chocolate out of your tub and ruin your towels and plug up your drain and have that embarassing conversation with the plumber about how you managed to get six pounds of chocolate stuck in your pipes.
Leaving a comment for a blogger is like saying,
"The people you know in real life may think you are a nut case, but I totally get you."
It doesn't take much to make a blogger smile. Just a few words to let us know you were here. Today is Anniethology De-lurking Day. Do me a solid and leave a comment today.
Whether it's your first time visiting or you have been waiting in the wings for the courage to chime in or you are one of my bloggin' peeps, I want to hear from you.
There is no need to sign up for Blogger, create a sign in, or give out your url, you can just click to leave an anonymous comment, but at very least, if you are shy, you could leave your initials;)
Good luck! And Happy Commenting!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Protecting the brand: Another thing I learned from Dolly Parton

The summer after my sophomore year in college, I met Dolly Parton. She was in Grand Junction to perform at Country Jam. I had a job as a waitress at the hotel where she was staying. Dolly's people told the breakfast shift that she would be coming down the service elevator in a few minutes and we could greet her as she came out. But, there were two stipulations, we couldn't approach her and we couldn't take her picture.

It would be years later when I would reflect upon Dolly's requests. I understand now why she wouldn't let just anybody take her picture. Dolly is protecting her brand. Did you know that she is on 3-foot-11? Okay, maybe a little taller, but she is short, on the verge of "little person" short. Most people don't realize this because she has protected her brand. Her brand of being blonde, big b**b-ed, and crazy talented. My favorite quote from Dolly is, "It takes a lot of money to look this cheap!"

Now that I appear regularly in the local paper, I feel the need to protect the "Annie Payne" brand. My editor kindly offers to have a photographer come out and take pictures for my articles, but I'm not sure how much they would appreciate me shouting instructions from in front of the camera.

"Not from that angle, THAT angle!"

"Okay, one more with teeth."

"Did you get my shoes?'

"Wait, let me move the plant."

"Can we do that again without the flash?"

Only family could still manage to love me after going through that kind of torture. Secret Agent Man is usually the unfortunate person behind the camera, but I have also used my 9-year-old son. For his young age and experience, he has a good eye for framing.

Here are a few of the rejected photos for my article this week:

No teeth.

Chunky arm.

Checking to see that there are no chlorofluorocarbons in the glass cleaner.

What the kitchen really looked like.

Product obscuring the face.

This is the picture I finally chose. Teeth? Check! Shoes? Check! Looking like I actually use these cleaning products? Check!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Parenting with Altitude!"

I'm the top post at Mile High Mamas today. Please click here to read and comment on my post, "Where this mom draws the line: Part Deux"

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Best of the Sunday Inserts 6/15/08

On Sunday, before the comics, before Blotter, before the "You Said It," I go straight for the center of the newspaper and pull out all the inserts to see what all the stores are offering on sale that week. Here are my picks for the best items in the Sunday inserts. Brought to you exclusively by my cutting and pasting skillz and my mediocre, but free scanner. Enjoy!

Friday, June 13, 2008

My Favorite Cleaning Tools

For my next article for the Home and Garden section, I am writing about
my favorite cleaning tools.
"The Dyson"

Microfiber Mop


Microfiber Gloves

Telescoping Feather Duster

What are your favorite cleaning items?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

If I can live through just one more week...

Friday, I carried out (with lots and lots of help) an all-day activity for 100 children at church. It was the culmination of six months of preparation and planning. It's been reported that the day was a success. NO CHILDREN WERE HARMED, during the paper lei-making, regatta, or charades.

Tomorrow is the first day of Cub Scout Day Camp. I will be volunteering, hopefully, only two of the four days, although I am completely responsible for the coordination of 6 volunteers for each of the four days of the camp.

If I can live through this week, there will be another week to live through.

In my local congregation, I am responsible for the children's Sunday services. For the past two years, 100 children have regularly attended these weekly two hour services.

We have just recently found out that our congregation has grown to the point where it is time to "split the wards" as it's known in our church. I will go from being in charge of 100 kids to about 45. Mind you I don't do this alone, I have the help of two councilors, a secretary, music people, and teachers.

With the splitting of the wards, I will be losing most of the people involved in this organization. Over the next couple of weeks lot of thought, time, and prayer will go into choosing people to replace the ones I have lost.

And I have Jury Duty.

And split ends.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Annie's Mail Bag

Hey Annie,You've probably already seen this, but just in case you hadn't...

Have a great day!


That was great! No, I hadn't seen it. The bumpy camera work makes me dizzy, but he sounds amazing. Would it hurt him to wear a tie for pete's sake? Who the heck is Pete? I sang this song as a solo once in church. I wasn't that good. I'm not a trained singer, I wouldn't even say I am good, but I am willing. When someone calls and says, "Will you sing?" I say "Yes," because I don't think you should say no. You know that whole beer under a bushel thing. Beer? Wait, it's lamp or light or something.

Thanks for sharing!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Demystifying Feng Shui

I like to Google my name and see what the other Annie Paynes in the world are doing. That’s how I became interested in Feng Shui. I found an Annie Payne who lives back East that teaches classes on the philosophy of Feng Shui. I thought, “She can do it. Why can’t I?”

That was two years ago. Since then I have studied, practiced, and watered-down Feng Shui to make it useful and practical for me and my home.

Feng Shui, pronounced fung-shway, is an ancient Chinese practice of utilizing the Laws of heaven (astronomy) and earth (geography) to improve one’s life by receiving positive chi or energy. Having more positive chi (pronounced chee) in your life means having greater prosperity, peace, and well-being.

My first inclination was that Feng Shui was just a bunch of ancient Chinese mysticism. I couldn’t understand how changing the position of my bed, keeping a goldfish or putting a rooster in my office, could make the least bit of improvement in my life; even so, I was skeptically optimistic. In order to get the most out of Feng Shui for myself, I had to look beyond the “voodoo” and superstition to find the practicality and wisdom behind this 4000-year old-philosophy.

Things as simple as putting a wind chime near my front door, adding more live plants and re-arranging my furniture to be more conducive to the flow of energy through the house has made a difference, not just in the look of my home, but how I feel about my home as well.

What I have begun to understand through Feng Shui is how my environment effects how I feel everyday. I realized that pockets of disorganization here and there in my home, like my closet, the kitchen junk drawer, and the laundry room, were sucking the energy and desire out of my life. I realized those areas were contributing to a feeling of being stagnant and not being able to move on to other tasks.

I know I am not alone in this. It’s important to understand that a home needs to be a place that energizes, inspires, and creates peace for all who live there. Sometimes you need to step back and ask yourself, “Am I depressed because my house is a mess or is my house a mess because I am depressed?”

I’m not talking about clinical depression; I am talking about feeling un-motivated, un-inspired, and listless when it comes to your environment.

When I started practicing Feng Shui, I couldn’t tackle every area in my home that bothered me at once. I wanted to keep it simple and take small steps. I decided to start at the front door.

I learned that in order to attract peace and prosperity, you have to create an environment that attracts good chi, or good energy, to flow through your home. Look at your front door. Is it hanging off the hinges? Is the walkway to your door obstructed by tricycles and footballs. Are there cobwebs and dead leaves? All these things send a signal to “the universe” that you are not ready for good things to flow into your life. You must make a clear path to the front door in order for good chi to enter freely into your home.

Does this sound a little out there for you? How about this? Make sure the path to your door is clear so the UPS man doesn’t trip the next time he delivers a package or the only thing “Brown” will do for you is send you litigation papers.

The Feng Shui philosophy also suggests painting your front door an attractive color. I have yet to apply this principle to my current home.

I asked my husband, Secret Agent Man, to paint the front door of our last house. I picked a dark color of red, which, according to Feng Shui philosophy, is an auspicious color for south-facing homes. The cleaning, prepping, and follow-up coats took up the better part of a Saturday.

As much as he adores me, he won’t be painting another door for me. So instead of painting my now north-facing door blue, I have opted to place an urn with pink New Guinea Impatients, my favorite flowers, next to my front door. I hope the universe will recognize my effort and send me good chi, anyway.

Here are a few more Feng Shui basics from the book, 365 Feng Shui Tips, by Lillian Too, to get you started on a more “Zen-like” atmosphere in your home:

· "Keep your bathroom doors closed. Negative energies tend to accumulate in the bathroom. Make it a household habit to keep all doors going to the bathroom closed."

· "Pictures of women in bedrooms cause problems. Remove all pictures of females from the bedroom. This includes glamorous women, paintings of nudes, and so forth. Their presence makes a marriage crowded." Annie’s note: For all the husbands out there, trust me on this. To all the wives out there, you are welcome.

· "Sound therapy for your space. Sound therapy inside the home is created by the use of wind chimes, bells, bamboos, and other natural sounds. The sound of flowing water will also attract vibrant fresh chi into your home. Make an effort to never leave your home silent for too long. When you go on vacation, keep the radio turned on as this is the best way to keep the chi flowing." Annie’s note: This is just a suggestion. Don’t send me the electric bill.

· "Throw out chipped glasses and cups. Chinese matriarchs are strict about this. Eating and drinking from chipped plates and cups not only is bad luck for you, but shows disrespect for your guests, also."

· "Removing negative chi from neighbors. For petty annoyances place a large urn of water with a wide mouth and a narrow base between your home and the neighbor’s house. For a stronger measure to deflect bitterness and hate, use a round mirror circled by trigrams arranged like a yin pa kua symbol. This powerful tool bounces back a thousand-fold whatever energy is being sent your way." Annie’s note: Or how about making your neighbors brownies and letting bygones by bygones?

For as much mysticism and superstition that is found in the philosophy of Feng Shui there are also practical and pertinent applications that can be used to enhance the home of even the most skeptical Feng Shui practitioner.

Now that I have created a little more peace and well-being in my home through Feng Shui, I am ready to see what else I can learn from the other Annie Paynes of the world.

Google me this, Google me that, is there another Annie Payne that can show me how to knit a yoga mat?

The preceeding was my latest article for the Home and Garden section of The Daily Sentinel, Western Colorado's Largest Newspaper.