Tuesday, February 26, 2008

tagged again!

What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was the associate rector at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Ladue, Missouri. A new rector arrived February 1, and the quality of my professional life began to swirl down the toilet. Happy memories, can’t you tell?

On my to-do list today:
1) As a member of our diocesan Commission on Ministry I serve as liaison to two people in the ordination process to help steer them through, answer questions, and be their spokesperson (and sometimes their advocate if that is needed). This morning I am meeting one of them for coffee at Starbucks in Nashville.
2) Following that meeting I join my female clergy colleagues for lunch.
3) On the way home, weather permitting, I’ll stop at the new Whole Foods to pick up some arrowroot (and no doubt one or two other things). Hard to believe that store has been open nearly four months and I have yet to cross the threshold! (photo was taken at WF in St. Louis.)
4) At home, make some soup (remember the arrowroot?)
5) Fix dinner.

What I would do if I were suddenly made a billionaire:
Pay off all our debt, then throw a really big party to celebrate ... Establish a trust for some young people I know that don’t have the necessary funds or family support to go to college … Take my mother on a trip of her choosing … Do some nice things for people I care about … Establish a foundation to give money away … Buy some land and build a house (with a great view and lots of space for guests!).

3 places I have lived:
Hartford, CT (see photo); Richmond, IN; University City, MO,

5 Jobs that I have had:
1) first paid job: bakery clerk
2) Department store salesperson (scarves and sunglasses, really exciting…)
3) Youth Program Director, YWCA
4) Computer programmer (more glamorously titled “systems analyst”)
5) Priest

5 Things people don't know about me:
1) Most don’t know that I was bit by a dog on my face when I was 11. 45 stitches created a crescent-shaped scar on my right cheek that hardly shows.
2) I loathe the color orange unless it is natural (like a pumpkin, marigold, etc)
3) I have an extra vertebra in my lower back
4) I was born with a club foot
5) I have observed open-heart surgery in the OR (stood at the feet of the patient and at the head by the anesthesiologist)

I’m not going to tag anyone from this, but if anyone wants to give this a whirl, be my guest!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

i beg to differ

Tim Gunn, media appointed fashion guru who became something of a household name when Project Runway hit the big time, has a few words of fashion advice for those of us over 40. Among the fashion don'ts:

~capri pants
~horizontal stripes
~pleated pants
~low-rise jeans
~jackets that hit mid-thigh
~double-breasted blazers

I have a few comments to make. First, I'll concede the double-breasted blazers (easy to do, I don't think they've been on the racks in at least five years) and the low-rise jeans. The latter definitely belong on bodies that are too young to vote (and a few svelte shapes that can call themselves twentysomething).

I will flagrantly disregard the other "advice."

Let's start with capris. I will wear them. It's generally impossible to find anything BUT capris for sale, especially in southern climates (we will overlook the low-rise jeans, for reasons previously stated). Is Tim afraid that our aging ankles will draw attention to the floor? At 50 my ankles look just fine, thank-you-very-much. It took me a few years to warm up to the look of capris in the first place, so I'm not about to abandon them now.

Horizontal stripes: I don't recall seeing vertical stripes on anything except button-down shirts, and bias stripes are rare. It's called availability. And besides, historically horizontal stripes were no-no's for those among us who are sometimes considered vertically challenged. I have a plethora of horizontals in my closet, and I intend to wear them.

Pleated pants: Again, good look finding any on the rack. Unless you shop at Goodwill or yard sales you will search stores in vain. I can testify to this because I have tried. Because of my shape (waist proportionately smaller than usual), this style of pants is my best pant friend. I don’t discard my friends.

Jackets at mid-thigh: Um, gee. For those of us who are well endowed at the hips (the majority of mature women), such jackets are a must if we don’t want to draw attention to our endowment.

I like Tim Gunn. I think he’s got great instincts when it comes to fashion, and he strikes me as a compassionate kind of guy (that’s a plus in my book). But I have news for him. Unless there are fashion alternatives for the “mature” among us, we’re going to wear what flatters us, rules or no rules.

As for the picture that appears here, I nominate this woman for the fashion chutzpah award, and rest my case.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


It would be a stretch to say that I have been longing to create this look in the bathroom, but ever since I saw this done in my PC director's guest bath I wanted to replicate it at home. Spurred on by the gift of a candle that matches the shower curtain perfectly (thanks, Mom!), I finally set out in search of companion candles to make this look possible. The woven basket is a PC product (and yes, you can order one through me to have this very same look in your own bathroom!)Ken suggests that it could be dangerous to sit on the toilet while the candles are lit. I suggest that sometimes we simply must live dangerously.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

take a good look

Through the networking group to which I belong I learned about a carpet cleaning special being offered this month. With three dogs (including one that still needs to work on his housebreaking skills), two overloaded adults who don't get to vacuum as often as necessary, and a much-too-light carpet (why would anyone choose this color?) you can imagine that our carpets were in need of some attention. The challenge, particularly in my office, was to get things off the floor so that the carpet could be cleaned.

In anticipation of that necessity I spent most of Sunday dealing with the various piles that were on the floor, my desk, and other surrounding surfaces. I am happy to report that significant progress was made. Papers were pitched, others were sorted and/or filed, and a few strategic piles were created to make it easier to deal with them from this day forward. There are some "things" that presently occupy space in the guest room, and those will be dealt with next since we will be having a visit from Mom next month, and sharing the bed with stacks of items that don't have a place of residence in our house is probably not her idea of hospitality.

I'll take progress one step at a time. At the moment I can celebrate less clutter and a clean floor in my office, seen in this picture. What you don't see is the box of new Pampered Chef products that I received for free. It's been relocated to the dining area for the time being until I can find a place to put my new goodies. Inevitably the open floor seen here will begin to disappear as I need a place to set things. Piles will accumulate once again, and the process of sort and purge will repeat itself. While it's in its present state of semi tidiness I thought I'd at least share the pleasure. Enjoy--this won't last long!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

home sweet home

Forgive me for being absent this week. I've been regaining my equilibrium, and between being tender with myself and trying to do a few fun and necessary things, the time has zipped by. It is now Saturday evening, and tomorrow--hard to believe--I don't have to work! What a luxurious feeling to actually have, and enjoy, a real weekend. Ahhhhhhh..................

The last few days have been filled with home-related things (and sometimes they were ours!). Many of you know that since we moved to this house we have wanted to add on to give us more functional space, storage, a garage, and room to live into the life we want to be living. Think entertaining here. We have tinkered with various designs and ideas, and have finally narrowed down the field to a general plan. Details still need to be worked out, but there are several things that we know for sure.
Our expanded home will include: a deck and patio with fireplace, including a hot tub; a "sun room" that will give us a place to relax and enjoy natural light, and in which we can entertain friends and have overflow space for parties; a utility and mud room, a place between the sun room and garage where Ken can shed dirty clothes after a day of work, put them in the wash, rinse the grit of the day in a shower, and enter the house transformed; a garage with added space for a workshop; a bonus room over the garage where I can create whatever my heart desires--scrapbooking and paper crafts, quilts and other sewing projects, painting (I long to be able to create watercolors), etc.

Today we went to the Nashville home show, where I found the front door of my dreams (transforming the front entry of the house is on the future "to do" list). It's too big for our present, compact entry area, but perhaps it will inspire some renovation down the road. That door is what is pictured here. We also found the hot tub we want, and have begun negotiations!

In the meantime I am spsending some of my time helping Ken in the office, and for at least the short term will be his office administrator, freeing his time from computer angst, and providing an opportunity to me to learn some of the details of the construction/remodeling business. I've already learned hot to calculated how many squares of shingles you will need to redo your roof! It feels good to be involved in home-related tasks, whether they are ours, or connected to someonen else's dreams. At the very least, dwelling in the land of dreams right now is a job, and an aid to healing.

Feels like home to me.

Monday, February 11, 2008

feeling a little like normal

It's been a full weekend. Saturday Ken and I headed southeast to Winchester, TN, and a store called Hammer's. I think Hammer's opened its doors in the 1950's, and they haven't updated the place since. Prices haven't stayed stuck in time, but the overhead at Hammer's is so low that they are able to keep their prices there as well. We found pants that Junior had asked for at half of what you would pay at Bass Pro, and Ken got a new sportscoat for $40, marked down from $150. After Hammer's we stopped at Arnold AFB to shop at the commissary and Class-Six store (selection isn't great, but we don't pay tax), then went on to Murfreesboro and St. Paul's so I could pack up my books and clear out the office. Unfortunately I forgot my vestments, so I will have to go back another time to fetch those, but now I no longer have keys and will have to arrange to be let in. Let's just say I was grateful for a beautiful day, because that was not a fun task.

Yesterday's activities were domestic in nature. I made sausage gravy for breakfast, and Ken and I had our own devotional time at home instead of going to church. I actually got to start the Sunday NY Times crossword puzzle in the morning instead of waiting until after dinner; I unpacked the books from my office and tried to find places for them on the bookshelves. Much of the solution was to double up, and place one row of books in front of another. Oh well, that will have to do for now. I didn't really get much cleaning done, but we were a laundry whirlwind. Other odds and ends kept me busy, though I don't have much to show for it.

Today I will make an effort to tidy up in various places in the house. A friend from St. P's is coming up tomorrow to take me to lunch, and it would be nice if the house were presentable. My office is always a candidate for cleaning, but as such it will still be here tomorrow! I have a PC show tonight and I'd like to organize my stuff a bit more efficiently, so there is that to tend to as well.

In the midst of activity I am also doing the work of grieving and moving on. The support and perspective that have come my way have been very valuable, and I will try to carve out some time and space to reflect on some nuggets of wisdom I have received. There are some real riches to be mined.

Right now a little breakfast to go with what is left of my coffee sounds like the first order of today's business. Wish some of you could come join me (there's leftover sausage gravy, and it's good!). To my friends at CHA, I wish I was there with you.

May your day be blessed!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

tag -- I'm it!

Until this last week I’d had so little time to tend to anything that wasn’t work, work, and more work, that I neglected not only my own blog, but visiting the blogs of my beloved friends! Turns out that Jules tagged me oh-so-many-days ago with a challenge, and I am just now noticing.

Here goes:
the rules.....
1. You have to post the rules before you give your answers.
2. You must list one fact about yourself beginning with each letter of your middle name. (If you don't have a middle name, use your maiden name). (Personal note: not sure all are facts, but I did my best…)
3. After you are tagged, you need to update your blog with your middle name and your answers.
4. At the end of your blog post, you need to tag one person for each letter of your middle name. (Be sure to leave them a comment telling them they've been tagged and that they need to read your blog for details.)
So - here are my answers:

My middle name is McKinne (not only that, I’m the seventh Anne McKinne--that's the first one pictured here)

M – married
C – creative
K – kitchen-savvy
I – introverted
N – nice (well, I think I’m nice!)
N – native of Connecticut
E – enthusiastic about Pampered Chef!

True confession time: I don’t read very many blogs, so I can’t begin to tag seven people whose names begin with these letters. So, I tag Clare, Karen, and Jayne. Knock yourselves out, gals!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

words don't cut it

To my knowledge, I've been in touch with or talked to the people who read this blog regularly to let them know of the current upheaval in my life. It was not easy news to share, and as I process and cope with its impact I find myself in familiar territory. It's no mean feat to straddle the line between hurt and hope, nor to tend to private pain that becomes increasingly public. I've been there and done that, and it's not the kind of ordeal that one welcomes.

Still. I find myself overwhelmed by the calls, emails, and expressions of support that I am receiving. It is humbling to receive love, and in its presence I find myself crumbling in a good and healthy way. Tears flow and my soul shakes with grief and loss. The dross of what has been inflicted is being rinsed away, and in its place there is light and encouragement. This doesn't make the road ahead easy, but it lightens the load and diminishes the shadows that all too frequently line the path of healing and recovery.
In the presence of love God not only surrounds but inundates me with his saints who bolster, cheer, and embrace me with their faith and their confidence. I could not ask for better company in my life.
To all of you, thank you, thank you. I love you in return more than you can possibly imagine.

Friday, February 01, 2008

it's dd day!

Which means that since today is the first day in two weeks that I've had a day off, I've spent it being a domestic diva! Or, more accurately, a domestic demon. I started with the kitchen and spared only a few square inches of countertop. I scrubbed dishes, stovetop, microwave (inside and out), cupboard doors and dishwasher front. I emptied cupboards of things we haven't used since we moved and relegated them to the pantry, creating space for other things that took up space on the counters. The result? An almost pristine kitchen! I've also done four loads of laundry and tackled a few other unsightly areas. Ahhhhh...... I feel much better now. I don't really mind cleaning on my day off--it gives me a sense of accomplishment, and the kitchen looks FABulous! It would look even more fabulous with new cupboards and countertops, but that will have to wait. In the meantime I'm grateful for small triumphs, and today is one of them.

Who else has a small triumph about which to crow?


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