Writer Chick Predicts 2018

I’m back again to make my predictions for the coming year. I figure if I keep at it, I’ll get something right eventually. And now for the predictions…

  1. Donald Trump will remain president, despite talk of impeachment, congressional hearings, or a secret love affair with Putin.
  2. Mike Pence will stay awake during the entire State of the Union address.
  3. The new tax bill will help everyone – even those who don’t pay taxes and the Democrats will somehow get the credit for this.
  4. Psychiatry will ‘discover’ a new mental illness for those addicted to Game of Thrones. The affliction will be called, Throne Watchers Syndrome or TWS, or even just GOTcha for short. The pharma industry will happily devise a new drug for the affliction.
  5. Weather will continue despite laws to the contrary – including, rain, wind, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, shifts in tides, and autumn leaves.
  6. OJ Simpson will get a new reality TV show geared toward solving cold cases. His first case will be finding out who really killed his ex wife.
  7. Siri and Alexa will increase their skill sets to include ‘smart babysitting services’ for work at home moms and dads.
  8. Unlike GMO vegetables, cloned meat will become all the rage among non-meat eaters and vegans who still crave cheeseburgers
  9. A ‘smart home’ will take its first hostage and carry on a 20-day siege with law enforcement until authorities locate a heretofore unknown super hero computer nerd who can disarm it. Years later the incident will become known as, “The House that Jack Unbuilt.”
  10. Cardigan sweaters will finally come forward and level sexual harassment charges against Mr. Rogers.
  11. Current California governor Gerry (moonbeam) Brown will find yet another loophole that allows him to run for a 4th term. When he wins, the remaining 20 Republicans who still reside in the state will move to Texas.
  12. Smartphones will continue to be smarter than their owners and get ever closer to world domination and becoming the overlords of all.
  13.  Tobacco will be compeltely outlawed in California and weed will be legalized – ensuring that the Democrats will maintain their super majority in the state for decades to come.
  14. Firebrand politician Ted Cruz will start his own line of soups called Ted’s Dinner and the line will become wildly popular in Texas.
  15. Nancy Pelosi will get yet another facelift and finally completely erase her face.
  16. Barnes and Nobels will become an organic grocery store that also sells books and umbrellas.
  17. Mark Coker will finally rewrite the style guide for Smashwords so that even a human being can understand it.
  18. Hugh Howey will author a new reality TV show called Wool Suit. It won’t involve silos but might involve sheep herders.
  19. Chuck Wendig will resolve to stop swearing. This resolution will last until some f*cktard pisses him off on his blog.
  20. In several states around the nation, it will snow on New Year’s Day.

Well, that’s all I’ve got. What do you think will happen in 2018? Regale us with your prediction prowess in the comments. In the meantime, thanks for reading, and have a very Happy New Year.

Annie

 

 

 

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Oh (Ugly) Christmas Tree

So I was talking to my BFF Jenny the other day and we got on the subject of ugly Christmas trees. When I was a kid, my mother loved those horrible fake aluminum trees that came in a myriad of colors.

So for fun, we started googling ugly Christmas trees. There are millions of them – and we were laughing so hard that we were both gasping for air. So, I though, why not share. We can all use a laugh right? And maybe, just maybe they’ll bring back some funny Christmas memories for you as they did for me:

 

And while perusing the trees I couldn’t help but notice the ugly Christmas clothing, which also got me laughing my merry little butt off:

And if you haven’t had enough, perhaps it’s time to up your game to a full on Christmas suit.

Merry Christmas everybody.

Love,

Annie

Free Holiday Story

I don’t know about you, but I love, love, love the holidays. Even though I’m in Sunny California, I still dream of  the white Christmases of my childhood. I remember as a little girl, I would sit at the window wrapped in my blanket, determined to stay awake until Santa arrived. Because of course, i wanted to see him with my own eyes. More often than not, I woke up Christmas morning with my face stuck to an ice cold window and a stiff neck. That darn Santa never did let me catch sight of him.

Another thing I love about the holidays is giving gifts. It’s so fun to see people’s faces light up in anticipation of what is in the brightly wrapped and ribboned package, isn’t it?

As my gift to you I wanted to give you a holiday story called, Sally & Gem.

You can download it at Noisetrade or Instafreebie

The story comes in PDF, Mobi, and ePub file formats. If you do not have a Kindle or eReader you can download kindle for pc, tablet, or phone here.

And an ePub can be read with Digital Editions as well as an eReader.

And a PDF can be read on your phone, pc, laptop, or tablet.

Please feel free to share this post and/or the download links to the story with friends or family. I love spreading holiday cheer.

Big love and Happy Happy Holidays.

Annie

Free or Almost Free Things to do During the Holidays That Won’t Stress You Out

I don’t know about you but I am so over, stressing myself out because of Christmas. Worrying about the perfect gifts, the perfect meal, the perfect venue just guarantees your holiday is gonna be stressed.

To this day, I remember childhood Christmases where my mother was so intent on creating the perfect everything that she was utterly miserable by the time the day arrived. It still makes me sad that because she tried so hard to make Christmas wonderful for everyone else that she missed the joy herself.

Christmas is the time for family, fun, and reflection.

I offer the following ideas as some easy but fun and peace inducing activities to indulge in this holiday season.

Collect pine cones. They are everywhere. Even here in Southern California we have lots of pine trees. They come in all sizes, smell wonderful, are great fire starters for the fireplace, and make great elements in decorating and craft projects. Plus the walking in the cool air and doing something as simple as collecting pine cones will give your mind and body time to breathe and relax.

Tour the neighborhood for light displays. When the weather turns cold we tend to shelter inside and we tend to eat heavier foods too. Why not bundle up after dinner with the kids, a friend, or your special someone and do a little walking tour of the neighborhood lights. In my neighborhood, we have quite a few people who go all out and something about sparkling lights or entire Santa Workshops shining in the night makes the air feel magical. Plus you burn a few of those Christmas cookies off while you’re at it.

Baking parties/cookie swaps. I love the idea of baking parties and if you have a big kitchen or a friend has, that’s definitely something that can be fun do with some friends. Especially if you have a nice bottle of wine or mulled cider. But you can also work out a cooperative with friends and family. Instead of making all the many treats and dishes you make every year, get with some friends or family members and work out swaps. You make the sugar cookies, your sister makes the pumpkin loaves, your mom the jello mold and so on. It’s actually easier to make a lot of one thing that a little of a lot of things. And when it comes time to swap it’s fun.

Sign up for Book Bub or Instafreebie and get some free books to read by the fire. The colder weather also makes people slow down and want to curl up with a good book. Book Bub and Instafreebie (as well as other sites) are free to sign up for and you can choose from free and discounted books (from traditional best sellers to brand new indie authors) to download. All you need after that is some warm fuzzy socks and a mug of hot chocolate.

Christmas movie cooperative/marathon. Personally, I have a huge collection of Christmas movies and there is at least a few days during the holiday season that I want to just watch sweet Christmas movies. Work out a little lending library among friends and family to share your Christmas movies. Or just cook up some popcorn and hot chocolate and host a Christmas movie marathon. You can even make it a potluck.

Take winter photos. We’ve all seen them – those beautiful winter wonderland photos that all seem to possess some magic in them. Why not create some of your own? Grab your phone or your camera and just take a walk. Find something that strikes your eye and take few snaps at different angles. You get some fresh air, burn a few calories and come home with some possibly beautiful photos that you can use in holiday cards or as prints. Free online photo editing sites like Canva, iPiccy, and Pxlr can help you further enhance and design with your photos.

Share a little bit of yourself. I know I know, we’re all so busy with everything during the holidays but don’t forget your elderly neighbors or family members who can’t get out much. Offer to shovel their sidewalk. Make an extra batch of cookies or increase that soup recipe and bring it to a shut in or local shelter. Or offer to read at the community center or local library. Giving of yourself really costs so little and can mean so much to another person.

Tips, Tricks, and Little Known Halloween Facts…

Hey kids, it’s been quite a while since I did a whole big resource post but Halloween is always a fun  holiday,  so let the tips and tricks begin.

The facts

  • Halloween has its origins in Celtic, Wiccan and even Catholic traditions and celebrations. Most of which were meant to celebrate the end of the growing season, the coming of winters and the thin line between the living and the dead.
  • The celebration was a blend of All Saints Day, the Celtic celebration of Samhain, and the Roman festival Feralia.
  • The custom of putting lights in carved vegetables came from the pre-Christian Druids in northern Celtic lands. Before and during Druidic ceremonies practitioners hung a carved and lighted turnip around their necks as a “spirit guide” to get them safely through the dangerous procedures, which sometimes included human sacrifice.
  • By the 19th century, most of the religious aspects of the Halloween celebration were gone and became mostly a secular holiday that was more about dressing up in costume for fun and entertainment than confusing the dead and warding off spirits.
  • The tradition of ‘trick or treating’ in America is believed to have originated with Irish immigrants who brought with them the Halloween tradition of going door to door looking for sweets and other treats.
  • Many believed (perhaps still do) that Halloween is a pagan celebration of witchcraft. Among the traditions that seemed ‘witch like’ are –
    • Young women could determine her future spouse by staring into a mirror in a darkened room or by peeling an apple in one long strip and then casting the peel over her shoulder.
    • Baking small coins, trinkets, and a single, plain ring into a type of fruit cake that would be shared among the neighbors. If you got a trinket in your piece – that was your fate for the coming year, with the person who got the ring destined to wed.
  • Some Christian faiths still maintain that Halloween encourages witchcraft and hold “Hell Houses” meant to scare children and young adults away from the traditions and to lead them back to the church. Some even go so far as to hand out pamphlets on Halloween night to be found when kids go through their candy.

Halloween Safety Tips

Costumes:

Dressing up in costume is one of the more fun aspects of the holidays but some costumes can be problematic. The following tips might help prevent costume malfunction:

  1. With kids’ costumes you want to avoid choking hazards. Look over the outfit and accessories for anything that can be pried off or favored as a teething toy for a baby. Details such as buttons, beads, sequins, or other baubles meant to be decorations may need to be removed or given a couple extra stitches to ensure they remain intact.
  2. Make sure costumes don’t obstruct your view, including peripheral vision.
  3. Dragging hemlines can cause tripping and be caught in machinery, fences, gates and car doors. Hem costumes so your child won’t trip herself or others.
  4. Also check tags to see what kind of fabric is used. You or your child may have an allergic reaction to synthetic fabrics, or they may cause chafing if fabric is rough and your child does a significant amount of walking in it.
  5. Always ensure that the fabric of your costume is proofed against catching fire.
Trick-or-Treating:
  1. Make sure youngsters have flashlights and/or some sort of reflective tape adhered to their costume when going door to door.
  2. Make sure they are wearing appropriate footwear for walking and weather conditions.
  3. Organize it so that children travel in groups, and have a buddy system in place. Do not move from one house to the next until all kids are accounted for.
  4. Be extra careful crossing the streets, though drivers may be trying to be careful the streets will have more than usual foot traffic and accidents still happen.
  5. If you are driving on Halloween during trick or treating hours, be extra vigilant and keep your eyes on the road. If you need to break up an argument between your kids over whose candy is whose, pull over and work it out rather than looking away from the road.
  6. Never let the kids consume any of the candy from their bags until an inspection has been done. Check to ensure that wrappers and packaging is still sealed properly, wash and cut fruit such as apples before consumption, and check baked good as well. If you are in doubt about any item it is better to throw it away than take a chance.

 Halloween Recipes

Meringue bones and skulls

Easy roasted pumkin seed recipe

Watch this vid to see how to make “dirt pudding”

Halloween Laughs

If you’re in the mood for something punny – check this site for some groan worthy jokes

Halloween Games

Need some games for your Halloween party?

And if you happen to be staying home tonight with no particular plans, check out this movie trailer. Who knew Helen Mirren could be so scary? LOL!

Have a ghoulish good Halloween and don’t forget to save me some candy. Caramels and Hershey’s Chocolate, please. 😉

Annie  

HAPPY LABOR DAY – LET’S HAVE A PICNIC..OR SOMETHING…

It’s sad I suppose that summer is on its way out and well Labor Day is the punctuation mark that heralds the end of the season.

Did you know that in a galaxy long ago and far far away that there was this rule that you mustn’t wear white after Labor Day?

So what’s on the menu for your Labor Day picnic – fried chicken, two maybe three kinds of potato salad, sandwiches and lemonade? In that case, these recipes are sure to please.

And don’t forget the cocktails

If  you’re planning to stay home and do some serious binge watching on Netflix or Amazon Prime, check out Ray Donovan, Bosch, Luther, Gilmore Girls Reboot, House of Cards, The Man in the High Castle, all the Star Trek iterations and more…

If you want to get out and about and live in the L.A. area check out the top weekend events, fairs, festivals, fun in the sun and lots of eats

Or just stay home in your jim-jams and read a good mystery

Whatever you plan to do or not do as the case may be – be well, be happy, and be safe.

And say a little prayer for our firefighters out here in CA, presently working 24/7 to knock down the La Tuna Canyon fires – and our friends struggling with the havoc of Hurricane Harvey.

 

Annie

Favorite Irish Sayings, St Paddy’s Day Traditions & Corned Beef

Happy St. Paddy’s Day everybody. I love this day because I love green, I love fun, I really love beer and it’s also my birthday. But in case you aren’t Irish, then I have a quick crash-course, that Faith and Begorrah, will convince everybody you are.

Irish phrases you should know

Kiss my ass!

Spelled: Póg mo thóin!

Pronounced: pogue muh ho-in

Cheers!

Spelled: Sláinte

Pronounced: slaan-cheh

Ireland Forever

Spelled: Éirinn go Brách

Pronounced: Air-in guh braack

May the cat eat you and the devil eat the cat

Spelled: Go n-ithe an cat thú is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat

Pronounced: guh nee-ha on cat hoo iss go nee-ha on jeowel on cat

Saint Patrick’s Day

Spelled: Lá ‘le Pádraig

Pronounced: laa-AY-la pawd-rik/

A pint of Guinness, please.

Spelled: Pionta Guinness, le do thoil

Pronounced:  pyunta Guinness leh duh hull/

Kiss me, I’m Irish!

Spelled: Tabhair póg dom, táim Éireannach

Pronounced: TOO-irr pogue dum, toyme AY-ron-ock

Are you drunk yet?

Spelled: An bhfuil tú ar meisce fós?

Pronounced: on will too air mesh-ka fowss?/

St. Patrick’s Day blessing upon you

Spelled: Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

Pronounced: ban-ock-tee na fay-lah paw-rig ur-iv/

Common Traditions on St. Paddy’s Day

The wearing of the green. On St. Paddy’s Day you better wear something green if you want to avoid being pinched. In Ireland people wear a small bunch of Shamrocks on their right breast to signify their Irishness. The Shamrocks are blessed at Church ceremonies and known as Blessing of the Shamrock. If you don’t have access to blessed shamrocks, a green hat will do.

Green Beer and Shamrock Shakes. If  you were to spend St. Paddy’s Day in Ireland you’d be hardput to find a mug of green beer or a Shamrock Shake. This is a rookie mistake and started as a tradition in America. However, if you can eat 10 pickled eggs, you could be mistaken for a real Irisher.

Parades and Festivals. The very first St Patrick’s Day parade occurred in New York City in 1766. And though there were many parades to follow all over the world, it wasn’t until 1995 that the Irish government decided to start holding a parade in Dublin—it’s known as St Patrick’s festival and takes place over 5 days with events including art shows, plays, concerts, fun fairs and the main parade.

Have you worked up an appetite yet?

No St. Patrick’s Day would be complete without partaking in some scrumptious corned beef and cabbage. And though traditionally, Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage is a boiled dish, I prefer mine slow roasted.

Try this simple recipe and tell me I’m wrong. And don’t forget to save me some.

Ingredients:

1 (5 1/2 pound) corned beef brisket with spice packet

2 whole head of green cabbage, each quartered

7 large red potatoes, peeled and diced

8 carrots, peeled and diced

2 medium onion, quartered

Directions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place the brisket in the center of a roasting pan. Arrange the cabbage, potatoes, carrots and onions around the sides. Empty the seasoning packet over the roast, and pour enough water into the pan to about ½ inch high. Cover with a lid or heavy aluminum foil. Roast for 5 to 6 hours in the preheated oven, until the roast is fork tender.

Have a great day and may the green be with you.