annie blog

April 11, 2014
by annie

Live Music

I’m pretty excited that this guy is singing (for free, yay) tomorrow night here, in Starkville.

Click here to hear Eric Hutchinson sing “Tell the World”.

It’s a good song for this Friday.

March 24, 2014
by annie

Joseph Franklin Gilliland

Well, y’all, my precious daddy died today. Here is the obituary I wrote for him.

He was a lovely, lovely man.

Judge Joseph Franklin Gilliland of Russellville, Alabama, died on Sunday, March 23, 2014.

He was born on November 25, 1940, in Sylacauga, Alabama. After high school, he received a bachelors degree from Jacksonville State University, where he was known to everyone as “Coosa Joe”. He taught high school for five years and then went back to school, first to Louisiana State University where he earned a Masters in Constitutional Law and then on to Alabama Law School where he earned a Juris Doctorate. After receiving his law degree, he clerked at the Court of Criminal Appeals in Montgomery before moving to Franklin County in 1972 to become an attorney. He then served as District Court Judge for Franklin County. Following that, he taught as an adjunct professor at Northwest Community College. He later served as a judge for the Social Security Administration in Montgomery before transferring to the Florence, Alabama, office. His final position was Hearing Office Chief Law Judge for the Social Security Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Florence, Alabama.

Some of the great loves of his life were those of beauty, compassion, flowers, art, and music. His many club memberships and years of volunteer service reflected those loves. He was integral to the formation of the Art Council of Franklin County and to the existence of Project Help. He used his musical talents frequently over the years as the organist and choir director of First United Methodist Church, Russellville, and also as organist at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church. He took great delight in playing the piano each week for the Earnest Workers Sunday school class and was instrumental to the acquisition of the beautiful organ at First United Methodist Church, Russellville. He was very active in the Master Gardeners Club and was known far and wide for his gorgeous roses. He also loved a good game of bridge, sunsets, fall leaves, traveling, befriending strangers, Snickers candy bars, showing kindness, shocking folks with hilarious comments, finding the upside of every situation, and eating cheese biscuits on Saturday mornings. He delighted in people — having old friends and making new ones all the time.

In the last decade of his life he struggled through many health crises. In spite of all of these challenges, the love for his family and work gave him the strength to battle the setbacks with ferocity and a valiant determination.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 46 years, Sue Smith Gilliland, and daughters, Ann Gilliland Barlow (Jon) of Starkville, Mississippi, and Deana Gilliland Heath (Ezra) of Vestavia Hills, Alabama. He had 6 grandsons: James, Nathan, Charlie, and Eli Barlow, and Harrison Joseph and Michael Gilley Heath. He was preceded in death by his sister Elizabeth McGrady and brother Buddy Gilliland. His remaining siblings are Virginia Hughes, Donald Gilliland (Marie), Robert Gilliland (Gail), and Jimmy Gilliland (Mildred). He leaves many nieces and nephews. His friends are legion.

His family would like to express sincere gratitude to the outstanding nurses in the ICU ward of ECM Hospital, Florence, and to Drs. Paul, Holden, and Lango.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Building Fund of First United Methodist Church, Russellville, or to the Russellville Public Library.

On Tuesday, March 25th, visitation will be held from 12 until 2 at First United Methodist Church, Russellville, with the funeral following at 2 p.m. He will be buried in a private service at 5 p.m. in Holly Pond, Alabama.

To everyone who ever asked how he was, he always replied, “I’m beautiful, of course!”

He was right.

March 18, 2014
by annie

St. Patrick’s Breastplate

This is a day late, but worth reading everyday.

I bind unto myself today

I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
I bind this day to me for ever,
by power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;
his baptism in Jordan river;
his death on cross for my salvation;
his bursting from the spicèd tomb;
his riding up the heavenly way;
his coming at the day of doom:
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
of the great love of cherubim;
the sweet “Well done” in judgment hour;
the service of the seraphim;
confessors’ faith, apostles’ word,
the patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls;
all good deeds done unto the Lord,
and purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven
the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
his ear to hearken, to my need;
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort
and restore me.
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of
all that love me,
Christ in mouth of
friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Words: attributed to St. Patrick (372-466)

March 4, 2014
by annie

King cake!

Well, happy FatTuesday everybody!

Today, I’m super excited to share with you all what is the final recipe for king cake that I ever plan on making.

Why? Because it is the best.

Also, bonus!, is the fact that this is just the easiest dough that I have ever worked with! I actually plan on using it for other breads as well throughout the year – that’s how much I like the dough.

The recipe is here in the Saveur website.

And, to illustrate, let me share with you some poorly illuminated images from my baking effort last night.

Here, you see the beautiful, glossy (but not sticky) dough, ready to be rolled out.


First, you roll the dough into a big circle. Then you tear a small hole in the middle. The filling is spread around the opening, leaving a little space, of course.


Here also is the young helper, ready to help me enclose the filling.

Ready for a second rise.




The glazed and sugared cake. (Sorry that it’s not on a beautiful platter, I don’t have one that is anywhere near big enough.)


Here’s a cross-section shot.


Okay, so that’s it! Let me reiterate this is the easiest dough to work with –ever! Also, it is absolutely delicious and, as Jon Barlow said today, this recipe totally cracks the code on king cake. He should know, he grew up eating them every February of his life.

Happy Tuesday, y’all!

March 1, 2014
by annie

Song #8:Delicious Distraction

Hey, y’all! Happy Saturday to you.

Jon’s 8th song is up now. It’s a quick little song, inspired by listening to Iggy Pop.

Also, it is just a teensy-weensy bit autobiographical.

Check it out!

Also, Happy March, y’all!

February 28, 2014
by annie

Odds and Ends

Happy Friday, y’all!

It’s a sunny Friday here in Starkville. Spring keeps teasing us….but she isn’t here to stay, yet. Meanwhile, I am thoroughly spoilt when it comes to weather. I don’t like the cold, anymore. When I lived in St. Louis, I found chilly weather to be invigorating. Now, I just find it to be cold. That, and I want to wear sandals.

During the recent bit of winter weather that has come to be known around here as “the snow that wasn’t” I did quite a bit of baking. It’s a compulsion, really, and one that I can do without a problem because of these folks that I live with and the rate of food consumption around here. For instance, these cinnamon rolls, from Smitten Kitchen, well, they were gone after one breakfast. (I filled them with cinnamon, sugar and butter instead of the cranberries….but when cranberry season rolls around, I shall be making those buns, stat.)  This is now my go-to cinnamon roll recipe.  Yes.  I like it better than Pioneer Woman’s.  Also, Smitten’s  pita recipe? It was great. I made the pitas and we had them with salmon croquets inside along with a tartar sauce from the awesome cookbook, Keepers. Jon said, “I think this is the first pita I’ve ever eaten.” And, you know what, they are so good that one might think that even if he had eaten a pita before — which he probably hasn’t, odd as that may sound. My man has a very extensive and detailed food memory.

Speaking of bread..I guess that I’ll make some King Cake this weekend.  Fat Tuesday is just around the corner…

Also, just around the corner is the latest song in Jon’s song project.  I didn’t call your attention to his last two songs and they were good ones — so I really should have!  You can listen to all of his songs right here on his blog.  The next one up is inspired by Iggy Pop, I think.  It’s great!

Speaking of music, have y’all heard of St. Paul and the Broken Bones?  They just released their debut album and it’s kind of amazing.  You can hear an interview with them and hear some of their music, too, here.  They are based out of Birmingham, Alabama. I’m really excited about this band! The lead singer looks like an accountant but sings like Otis Redding. If you like soul music, you should check them out.

Here they are doing “Call Me”:

St. Paul and the Broken Bones performs “Call Me” for World Cafe from WXPN FM on Vimeo.

Alright, time to have your mind blown. Did you know that President John Tyler’s grandsons are still alive. Yes, that would be the John Tyler, the 10th president of the USA. Crazy.

I’m kind of astounded at this DIY of a temporary backsplash that I found over on Apartment Therapy. It’s really good looking. If it were mine, I’d say it was my permanent backsplash and call it a day.

Speaking of DIY…this DIY confetti tablecloth looks cute.

I found this article about the little French girl who played with wild beasts to be fascinating. Also, the picture of her embracing that giant frog was sweet…

Speaking of kids and animals, this pinterest page entitled It Wants To Eat Your Young is hilarious. I think that the one of the baby and the whale at the bottom of the page might be my favorite.

Okay, I’ve got to go check over Charlie’s math before we get started on the next subject….making banana bread.  (This one!)  It’s more baking, I know.  Perhaps it is a sickness, after all…

One last thing.  Richard Grant is a travel writer from Britain.  He lives in the Mississippi Delta.  You’d probably find all of his articles interesting.  I particularly liked the one about Morocco and loved the one about St. Lucia.  He has a way of writing that really makes you feel like you’re there.  Like you are experiencing everything that he is.  And, he has a sense of humor, too, as you will see if you read this Delta Crime Report.  He’s taken to reading the local papers and putting together a little list of the crazy crime happenings over there.  What a hoot.  I particularly like the “O Brother Where Art Thou” feeling of this one.

Happy Friday, y’all!