Monday, October 5, 2015

Amazon Echo is AMAZING!!!!


I’m absolutely ESTATIC about Amazon Echo. It’s so much fun, performs flawlessly, sounds great and it’s easy to use.

Here’s what it looks like up close and personal. 


Amazon Echo came to reside in my sunroom via my youngest son Ryan in a roundabout way.  Ry turned forty in September and I wanted to buy him something special for his milestone birthday.  Being the techkie mom I am, I thought this would be the perfect gift.

I was at a girl's lunch a few weeks ago with V and Patti in New Harmony.  I was talking about Echo and Patti told me her mom had one and loved it.  So we all visited her mother, and what a delightful lady she was, anyway, Patti showed us the basics, and I decided that’s what I would get for Ryan.

Fast forward to his birthday, I was so excited about his present, he unwrapped it and was immediately skeptical, first because his internet connection isn’t the fastest, he lives in the country and doesn’t have a lot of provider options, second, he travels every week and didn’t think he would use it that much and third, he didn’t know how the kids would act with it.  We stayed with the grands while he and Lindsay went to Chicago for his birthday weekend, and the kids, while enthralled with “Alexa” (the voice you use for Echo) were constantly changing the streaming music.  Ben, at three wanted to constantly listen to Thomas the Train, and Abby at almost six was interested in other venues, and they kept interrupting each other and changing Echo to reflect what they wanted to hear.

So for his family it didn’t work, they brought it back to me, and did I send it back to Amazon?  Are you kidding me????  Echo is the best thing sinced sliced bread.  I love it! 

Below is a brief synopsis of how it works, and since Amazon allows third party apps, it will be constanlty upgrading.  Here’s how Im using it.

News, all you say is “Alexa, what’s the latest news?”  She then gives you flash briefings from NPR.  You can set alarms and timers, too, she alerts you, just by talking to her.

Echo has access to everything in Wikipedia.  For instance if you want to know about hydrangeas just say “Alexa Wikipedia Hydrangeas” and she gives you a synopsis of the flower.   If Alexa doesn’t give you enough information, you can then refer to your smartphone for a complete rundown of the entire Wikipedia link.

You can listen to the local police/fire scanners if you’re interested in that kind of thing, not my cuppa but it we ever hear sirens, whether it be police or fire, we can find out from Echo what’s going on.

Echo also has Smart Home features, which enables you to control your lights, thermostat, coffee pot, even your electric blanket.  This entails buying WeMo or Hue devices, which I know nothing about, yet…  

It’s super for weather, current and forecasts from local to International and you can use it for to-do lists which sync to your smartphone.  It’s perfect for when you’re out and about and need to pick up items from the grocery or drugstore.  I know, I know, you’re all saying you already make lists on your smartphone, or you just write it down, but here’s what’s really good about Echo.

The best part of Echo, It’s . hands . free !  You . just . talk . to it !  Period!  You don’t have to find your phone, push a button and type or text, you don’t have to look for a pencil and paper, you don’t have to put anything into your computer, you just say “Alexa, do so and so and she does it.”  Voice recognition is great, too, she understands what I’m saying 99% of the time.

Hubby says I love Alexa because I can boss her around, she doesn’t talk back and she always listens and he’s probably right.   I’ll give him that, but far and away the best part of Echo is music.

There are so many choices, Amazon Prime, Pandora, IHeartRadio, TuneIn, and Audible.  You simply tell her to play a Pandora station for instance and she starts streaming.  I’m a jazz girl, so I say “Alexa play Pandora Smooth Jazz” and she does!  If you need to pause the music, just say “Alexa Pause” and then say “Alexa Play” to have Echo start playing again.  If volume is too soft or too loud, just say “Alexa turn volume up or down” and she does.  I also have a remote control to use from other rooms, but she has a 30 ft. range and seven microphones, so she can hear you from another room without the remote if you aren’t too far away.

She plays all the local radio stations through TuneIn, public radio, talk radio, there are countless stations you have access too.  Well, except for Sirius Radio, it doesn’t sync to that yet, but maybe someday.  Holiday’s are coming soon, I bet Amazon sells a ton of these for Christmas.  

Here’s a video, watch it and see if it intrigues you as much as it does me.

 Echo, definitely a good thing… ~ Jan

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Ali MacGraw, stunning at 76



Isn’t she beautiful?  She embraces her age and it’s wonderful.  Her years show, she’s hasn’t caved to the Hollywood obsession to try and recapture youth, and in the process, just look ridiculous.

At 76 you shouldn’t have taut skin and plump lips.  This is the way 76 is supposed to look.  Hats off to you, beautiful Ali, what an inspiration you are to aging women everywhere...

The Perfect Bathroom...


I really need to stay off Pinterest.  

I love this bathroom, it’s so pretty, a little fussy, but oh so special…  That’s all, just wanted to share in case somebody has the space for a redo and is as enamoured with this tub area as I am...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Peace and Tranquility


This is everything I love in life.  Meandering down a country lane, seeing where it leads to.  Just looking at this picture gives me serenity.

Doesn’t this just flip your skirt?  Sure does mine...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Kim Davis, who do you think you are?


This . woman .  just . makes.  me . see . RED...

For me it has nothing to do with gay rights, it’s about upholding the law!  Why does she think she has the right to refuse to issue marriage licenses?  What makes her so morally superior that she doesn’t have to obey the laws of this country?

She’s absolutely entitled to her beliefs, but when they interfere with performing her job, she should just remove herself from her position.

Since she’s an elected official she can’t be fired, but she can be impeached!  To do so would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, so that’s not plausible, but this is just so wrong on so many levels.  Again, I repeat, who does she think she is to not obey the laws of the land!  Shame on you, lady, you should not be at work today, you should be in jail!

An interesting side note to this is that she, herself, has been married four times.  Yes, four  times. I realize the underlying issue here is not how many times Ms. Davis has been married, or even if she’s married at all. The problem is her apparent decision to pick and choose on what biblical grounds should control who is able to obtain a license authorized by law.

Doesn’t that make her religious conviction wear a little thin?  Just sayin...

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Carly Florina's Makeover...



This is a different take on last night’s debate.  We all know that Carly Fiorina is an extremely intelligent woman, and now we all know that she has an extremely good beauty team.

Women notice things like this.  Her forehead didn’t move, her skin was freshly polished, her makeup and hair were flawless, and when I Googled her, “surprise” this is the way she used to look.

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Quite a difference, isn’t it?   Wonder what a makeover could do for “The Donald?"

Just sayin’...


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Pioneer Woman's Dishes Now in Walmart Stores


The quality is excellent for the money.  All of her line is so inexpensive, I was really skeptical, but I ordered online as soon as they were available a few weeks ago.  They arrived and I’m really liking everything I got.  I bought Charlie The Ranch Dog Cookie Jars, they’re just darling for under $13, I also bought dishes and flatware.

So yesterday, I was reading Ree’s blog and she said that they were available in Walmart stores, and yesterday was the first day.  Some of the pieces I want aren’t available online, so I called my closest Walmart ASAP to find out if they had them yet.

Okay, you won’t believe this one.  Whoever I talked to in housewares must be living under a rock.  I said to her, “Do you have Pioneer Woman’s Dishes on the shelves yet?”  And do you know what she replied to me.  Are you ready for this???

She said, and I quote.  “I’m sorry, but Pioneer Woman didn’t come to work today.”  HUH, WHAT!!!!!!!!  I asked her if she knew who Pioneer Woman was and she said, “no, but she isn’t here.”   What? What?  She didn’t know who Pioneer Woman was, but she knew that she didn’t come to work yesterday.

Unbelievable, just totally unbelievable!!!!!  That is all.  ~ Jan

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Vicks VapoRub for Healthy Nails


Apparently in our old(er) age we now have to worry about our nails curving, too!  Not exactly sure what it is, but it doesn’t sound good, ladies.

Well, crap, there is just nothing good about this aging process.  Mine haven’t started to curve yet, thank goodness, but my friend, Carlene told me about it.  She also talked about extra growth, I don’t know what that is either, but I sure as h*ll don’t want it!  Here’s what she said in her email:

"My manicurist told me to use Vicks Salve around the beds and under my nails to stop the curving and extra growth that sometimes happens...said she learned that in the nursing homes where she does clients nails...worked for me, too." 

So, I guess I’ll be doing a little preventive maintenance and maybe I can stave off the dreaded curve.  I have noticed as I age my nail bed has developed vertical ridges.  I remember Daddy’s nails looking like that, so apparently it’s a genetic trait.

Well, this was just a fun post, wasn’t it.  Especially love the reference to the nursing homes.  *sigh* 

But quick, grab the VapoRub, put it by your bed and massage your hands with it.  Boy Howdy won’t you smell good! 

Seriously, thanks for the tip, Carlene, she also gave me another goodie, I’ll post that later.  ~ Jan

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Best Ideas to Organize Your Life


I struggle with being organized every . single . day.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all in the gene pool.  Either you have the gene, or you don’t, and sadly, I’m lacking it.  I am, however, for the most part a laid back person, and I think that people that are detail driven are much more frantic, at least that’s what I tell myself.  

So, the other day this article from County Living came across my Facebook feed.  I’ve read so many ways to organize my life through the years, but for some reason, this just clicked.

It’s from a professional organizer, and it just makes sense.  I think I’m going to print this out and post it on my bulletin board, the ideas are so simple and so relevant.

The biggie for me, hands down #3, don’t let those clothes touch the floor!  Awesome advice...

So, here’s what organized people do, if any of you struggle with this, you might gain some insight from this as well… ~ Jan

1. They make their beds."Arguably the most important activity of the day, there's really no excusing this one. Bed making promotes productivity throughout the day and will pave the way for an organized lifestyle. Plus, it's a pleasure to get into a made bed at the end of a long day."

2. They write out a to-do list."Take a few minutes in the morning to jot down your goals for the day. Having a concrete list will keep you on track throughout the day and give you a sense of accomplishment when tasks are completed

3. They tend to clothing as soon as they take it off."Hang, launder, or fold every garment and DO NOT let anything hit the floor. Neglected clothing can slowly build up and lead to an overwhelming mound."

4. They wash the dishes."A sink full of dishes will make your entire kitchen feel and look messy. Get in the habit of washing dishes at the end of the day or at least soaking them so you can quickly wash them the next day."

5. They wipe down surfaces."Your kitchen and sink counters inevitably get dirty every day. So take a minute or two to wipe them down before you head to bed."

6. They sort through the mail."Tend to your mailbox daily to avoid a build up of bill payments and to-dos. Immediately toss junk mail into recycling and store the rest in an active inbox so you'll know where to find it."

7. They always put their keys in the same spot."Whether it's a hook by the front door or a catch-all near the entrance, make sure your keys have a clear destination. You don't want to spend time searching for them when it's time to leave."

8. They empty their pockets and bag at the end of the day."Take a couple of minutes to throw away any receipts or trash that you've acquired throughout the day. Place loose change into your wallet or coin jar and make sure any loose papers are filed or thrown away."

9. They plan for tomorrow."Before heading to bed, mentally walk through the next day and do your best to prepare for it. Set aside necessary items and pack up your bag so you can grab it on the fly if need be."

"If you have a day or even a week when things get disorganized, that's okay,"  "Just get back on the bandwagon as soon as you can. Even the smallest habit change (bed making, dish washing, etc.) can help."

Source:  Country Living Magazine

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Boo-Boo Kitty

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I’m not the cat person in our family, hubby is.  He talked endlessly for years about wanting a cat and we haunted the animal shelters without finding the perfect kitty.  I wanted a female, too many issues with males spraying, and hopefully, a sweet, docile little lap cat.

So we finally gave up the idea of animal shelters and went for a purebred.  We decided on a ragdoll, looked at a few locally, but they didn’t do it for us, and finally traveled to a vineyard about 90 minutes from us and found “the cat,”  a pretty little Ragdoll, a small cat since she had been the runt of the litter, and hubby deemed she was perfect.

We came home, named her Rags, but we just couldn’t leave it at that.  Years ago I had an orange persian named Boo-Boo Kitty, and since we have a history of renaming our animals, Rags was quickly discarded and she became Boo-Boo Kitty.


LC is enchanted with her.  I’m on board, too, but it took awhile with me.  The sweet, docile little lap cat has been more of a little hellion.  She refuses to sit on my lap, she jumps off of furniture and blindsides Maggie, jumping on her back wanting to play.  And even though she is a small cat, she’s still bigger than Maggie, who weighs in at a whopping five pounds.  And Maggie is old(er) now, she’s nine, and she has no interest in playing with a young cat.  But she tolerates her for the most part, and when I hear Maggie bark or squeal, I know it’s time to intervene.

She lays on my computer desk and stares at me when I work, she comes when I call her if she’s in the mood, but mostly she ignores me, and heaven forbid when she escapes to the wild outdoors, she hasn’t got a lick of sense, she heads for the hills.  We had her neutered and declawed right away, so she just can’t go outside, and she is getting better about not running out full speed ahead, but given the opportunity, she’s gone.  She’s something of an airhead, she chases butterflies and blowing leaves, and then poof, she’s gone, off to the horse pasture or the woods with LC following her, stomping his feet and muttering about “that damn cat.”  But the good news is she is a fly catcher.  Since we live in the country we normally have so many flies that manages to get inside in the summer, but kitty stalks them, pounces on them and kills them.  I haven’t had to use the fly swatter at all.

She’s not a scaredy cat, she’s very social, loves it when people visit, sits by them, allows them to pet her and even purrs, something she isn’t fond of doing unless it’s the middle of the night, when she jumps on my head and purrs in my ear.

She just loves little kids, too  She’s so patient with Lexi, she sits besides her, Lexi yells “CAT” “CAT” at her, and she just sits there, and when Lexi pets her that’s fine, too, and when she gets enough she just moves out of reach, she doesn’t run away, she just keeps her distance.


It was so funny to watch her with Abby when she came earlier this month for her annual summer visit.  They bonded immediately, Abby even gave up golf cart rides for the most part to spend all of her time with kitty.  She would pull this orange string through the house, with Boo-Boo on her heels, pouncing on the string at every opportunity.   Eventually Boo-Boo would bring Abby the string in her mouth and give to her to play with her.  Abby had a hard time understanding that kitty wasn’t like a dog, she wouldn’t do what she wanted all the time, so Abby would declare that she needed to be in time-out, and she would put her in the bedroom and shut the door.  Of course, kitty could care less, she would just curl up in Maggie’s bed and go to sleep. 


She abandoned us to be with Abby, sleeping on the foot of Abby’s bed, she was beside her all the time.  Abby, like LC, is enchanted with her, they were so sweet together, kids and animals, there is nothing better.

We definitely have enough animals now, Butterbean, the lop eared bunny still lives in a hutch under the birch tree on the patio, and LC has goldfish, Mac and Cheese in his garage.  And Mags, she isn’t a dog, she’s my fur child, she’s in a whole other category.  She’s taken to sleeping on my lap these days, no doubt because I protect her from the big, bad kitty.

Our animals bring us so much joy, they make us smile with their antics and brighten our lives on a daily basis.  You can tell a lot about a person’s character by the way they interact with animals.  It’s a zoo at our house these days, but it’s never boring.  Now just where is that darned cat, anyway.  Guess I need to check the linen closet, sometimes she jumps in there to nap and I shut the door without realizing it.  She lets us know when she wants out though, and so far it’s been quiet...

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Nana Sugar, I just may have a shot at this yet...


The seed was planted for this story many, many years ago when I saw this sweet little role poly white haired grandma wearing a bib apron and selling her jam on QVC.  She said that her nickname was “Nana Sugar,”  all of her grandkids called her that.

Well, I thought that was just the cutest thing I ever heard, I didn’t have grandchildren at the time and when I brought up that idea, my family informed me that there was no way they were going to have kids and let them call me “Nana Sugar,”  they shot down that idea faster than a New York minute.

If you read my blogs back in the day, or if you know me personally, you realize that I went on and on and on about this, I thought I would be the perfect Nana Sugar, but I had to give it up, because the first thing you learn about being a grandparent is that you are no longer in charge.  Parents rule!

And then I became Grammie and it was just the best thing, there is nothing sweeter than hearing those little voices calling my name.

I’ve worked with Lexi so much, trying to get her to say Grammie.  Larry is known to Ben and Abby as P-Pa, and Lexi has called him Pa-Pa for several months now, but she just can’t or won’t say “Grammie” despite my constantly pleading, trying to get her to say it. I’m always saying to her, “Grrrrrr-ammie, Grrrrr-ammie” and she looks at me and just cracks up.  When they were here last weekend it was the samo, samo.  They arrived, walked into the garage, her Daddy was carrying her, and she pointed that little finger right at LC and said “Pa-Pa.”   Then she looked at me and giggled.

Well, this can’t continue, so out of desperation, I said to her, “Nana.”  She immediately parroted back “Nana” and said it over and over the entire weekend.  Well, let me tell you, I also worked on the “Sugar”  part of it.  No luck yet, but I’m hopeful. 

There is no rule that says that one set of grandchildren can’t call you one thing and the other grandchild can’t call you something else.  Nowhere is that written in stone!  And John, now that he lives in Nashville and is married to Deanna, a true Southern woman, has softened to the idea of “Nana Sugar.”  Deanna loves the idea, so I’ve got a shot at it.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could pull this off?

Oh, quit rolling your eyes, I know it’s hokey, but I just love it.

Yep, with a little luck I may still be “Nana Sugar” after all!  Hot damn...

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