Whimsy and wonderings about everyday life

Archive for April, 2011

From Toomers for Tuscaloosa

In coordinated efforts with PIGGLY WIGGLY (Andalusia), HOLLIE’S BAKERY (Coffe County), and HUGGINS SOD FARM (River Falls), along with the AMERICAN RED CROSS and WAAO (Andalusia radio station), you can now donate food items, clothes, and supplies by filling up the tractor trailers located at PIGGLY WIGGLY, 13759 Brooklyn Road, Andalusia, AL (334-222-8698) staring this afternoon…Thursday.


Ways to help the tornado victims in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi

Resourcs to help tornado victims in the southeast

654 tornadoes touched down across the U.S. this month. WOW.  Here is a  list of organizations that are helping people in the southeast following the devastating storms on April 27. I will add to this list whenever I learn of new information, so please let me know if you have any tips – not just in Alabama, but in any state affected by these storms.

Local resources in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa

St Matthias Episcopal Church

Doing volunteer training and organizing groups to help out across the city.  If you want to help with the clean up, put on your old clothes and come over at noon until dark April 28, 29 and 30. 2310 Skyland Blvd. E, Tuscaloosa, AL 35405
Phone: 205.553.7282, FAX: 205.554.1711
Email: stmatthiaschurch@bellsouth.net

Hands on Birmingham

Also helping coordinate volunteer efforts.

University of Alabama

The university student recreation center is functioning as a shelter for tornado victims and needs supplies.

Storm Shelters in North Alabama

WHNT provided this list of storm shelters in the Tennessee Valley

Government resources

Alabama governor’s office

  • Donate to the Alabama Food Bank.
    • Food and water are in short supply, particularly water in Tuscaloosa.

Mississippi governor’s office

Georgia’ governor’s office

Resources to help tornado victims if you are not local

Red Cross

Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10. Donate online at http://www.redcross.org.

Salvation Army

Text “GIVE” to 80888 & donate $10 to Salvation Army‘s tornado disaster response.

Toomers for Tuscaloosa

Facebook page with constant updates on who needs what where — and shout outs of support.

My dad: the original walking Wikipedia (just more accurate)

My father was my own personal Wikipedia long before the Internet was commonplace.

Before the Internet provided us all with unlimited responses to everyday questions, there was my father.  When I was a little girl, I’d entertain myself my asking him whatever question popped into my head, from why the sky was blue (something to do with the Earth’s atmosphere and light refraction) to what makes jellyfish glow in the dark (I’ve forgotten most of the finer points of bioluminescence) to why I have square feet (genetic superiority, according to him. They’re by far the best design for comfortably going barefoot.) No matter how random the question, he always had an accurate answer.

He’s still got it. This morning, during a 27-minute commute to school, over the phone, he

  1. Taught my son how to solve a geometry problem
  2. Told him how to safely dispose of sulfur dioxide in answer to a science question and
  3. Still had time left over to gently chide us about waiting until the last minute to do homework

When we hung up, my son asked in an awed voice, “Is there anything GranDad *doesn’t* know?” Probably not if it’s worth knowing 😀


Something different: an Easter Sunflower Peeps cake

Easter sunflower cake from al.com, whimsy from Sansense

This looks like Easter fun for the entire family

My husband *loves* peeps.  My son *loves* chocolate. This cake, courtesy of Plain Chicken on al.com and Taste of Home, looks like it will hit the spot with both of them.  I think I’ll use this recipe for the cake, and I’ll definitely spring for homemade icing, using the recipe below, and then adding chocolate chips to the top and Peeps on the sides.  Happy Easter, everyone!

Old-fashioned chocolate icing


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • four ounces unsweetened chocolate (usually four squares)
  • 1 lb. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk


  1. Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter (or, carefully, in a heavy pot on your stovetop.) Mix sugar, vanilla and half of the milk in a bowl. Once the chocolate and butter are melted, slowly fold the sugar mixture into the pot. Add the remaining milk as needed, a little at a time. if you need more milk to thin the icing some more, add it sparingly, a tablespoon at a time.
  2. Let stand for twenty minutes to cool and thicken. Let cool completely before frosting.

Love the hair stylists at Salon on 4th in Castle Rock

hair cut, hair styling, extensions, hair color, hair salon

The Salon on 4th in Castle Rock - my favorite hair salon

Finding a hair stylist and a salon atmosphere I like can be difficult. Do I want trendy and pricey, or economical and efficient? Wait for an appointment or walk in? I’ve been to them all, from SuperCuts and Fantastic Sam’s to Jazzed the Salon in Mobile, Alabama to Yuki’s Diffusion in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle. (Yuki is Apolo Ohno’s dad, and he does fabulous work, by the way, and it a wonderful guy as well.)  I get my hair cut and styled at Jazzed whenever I am in Mobile (where I grew up) for an extended period of time, and I highly recommend it. But my favorite salon is the Salon on 4th in Castle Rock.

At the Salon on 4th, I always get a great haircut.  Always.  The color products they use – base and highlights – leave my hair healthy and shiny. The color works with my complexion, and always looks natural.

They offer specials all the time, so I can save on their services or try new things. I’ve tried their Feather Lock extensions for Mardi Gras, and they were fun, different and stayed secure in my hair for a month of styling. As part of every cut, they give you a deep conditioning treatment, and my hair looks and feels so good afterward.

The best thing about the salon, though, is that the stylists have great personalities.  Donna bought the place about a year ago, and she and the staff have since created a warm, supportive, and laughter-filled environment. It’s a fun and relaxing place to be. You can tell when you visit that they genuinely want to help each client look their best and feel good.

I once brought some outfits to the salon I was trying to choose between for a night out. The other clients and the stylists helped me figure out which outfit to wear – and then Donna, the owner, styled my hair to suit the outfit. I am not a girly girl, and I never enjoyed the gossipy atmosphere at some salons. The Salon on 4th is different. It’s about camaraderie, not gossip. The music is current yet makes you feel good, not like you’re in a club. They offer waxing as well, and I’ve had my eyebrows done (and dyed). They offer manicures and — soon, as of this writing in April, 2011 — pedicures as well.

So, if you’re in the Castle Rock area, and you’re looking for a great place to get your hair cut, highlighted, texturized or manage any other part of your beauty regimen, check out the Salon on 4th.

Ice music – what a beautiful concept

Ice music Terge Igunset

Ice music image from 2008 music festival, as seen on icemusicfestival.blogspot.com/

I’ve not heard of Terge Isungset until now. He is a pioneer of ice music, and he uses ice as his instrument to create an abundance of percussion rhythms and sounds. As he says, he plays a new instrument every time, so he cannot compel the instrument to play his music. he must listen to the instrument to hear what will be played.

He is unlikely to tour near where I live in Colorado. But I’ve watched some videos of his concerts with Lena Nymark. Some of it is too experimental for my pedestrian taste. But as an experience – sound, sight and even the cold – it seems quite magical to me.

Ernestine Shepherd, age 73, rocks a 24-inch waist and an amazing attitude

Ernestine Shepherd, who is 73 years old and started working out at age 60, runs 80 miles a week, won a body building championship, and has the figure most twenty-year-olds wish they had.  Judging from this video, she is also upbeat, supportive, and possessed of enormous charisma and positive energy. What an inspiring and beautiful  woman.