Friday, December 27, 2013

Farewell, trusty Honda Civic

Today's the day (finally!) that the tow truck is coming to haul away my Honda Civic. The paperwork has been completed, the title has been transferred and the car is being donated to my local public radio station. I bought a Prius C in April and the Civic's been on the street waiting for someone to do something with it.

I said goodbye this morning. It seemed fitting, as it provided me with 18 years of reliable service. For all the times I thought something could go wrong, or smelled someone else's burning engine smell and it turned out everything was fine, it was an all around great car.

She needs a little sprucing up and for her engine to run for a while to get the cobwebs out, but will provide hopefully a few more years of reliable service for someone who needs basic transportation.

The Civic was the first new car I ever bought, and I got it when we lived in Toledo, in 1995. The tail lights, reverse lights and the little light that illuminates the license plate never needed replacing. They never went out. I replaced one headlight once. The blinkers have always worked. The doors close solidly. The rear defroster has always worked. The after-market cruise control has always worked.

Truly, they don't make inexpensive compact cars like that anymore. My mechanic said once that someone who knows what they're doing could keep a car like that going for a long time. That's good to hear and I hope someone does.

Godspeed, little Civic.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's going to have to wait

I guess the idea for my next project started with seeing all of the colorful wool things people are wearing at this time of year. Many of them appear handmade, and I think that people like wearing handmade stuff.

Then I saw this Facebook page from Fairysteps and it blew my little mind. Their shoes really strike me as beautiful and all the better because they are handmade. The ones with the buttons are so very cute. Here's a picture from a recent post of theirs:

Wow, huh? Love the low boots, especially. 

I don't know how to work with leather, so my mulling process eventually wandered over to something like this:

There's a site on Etsy (of course) that sells both the soles and the lasts for making stuff like this (well, the shaped bottom part, anyway). I like this idea so much that I'm going to sign up for a wet felting class held in January at one of the local yarn stores. I'll see how much I like the process, and go from there. 

The prospect of making stuff with a depth of color like this from Rosiepink is very appealing. 

They have lots of fun stuff on their site.


I've had some angst lately about spending so much time alone between work and hobbies that I don't think I'm going to rush headlong into the wet felt thing immediately. You know, another thing that has me working by myself at home. I spend enough time by myself at home.

Last night I went to a concert by the music director from our church in support of his new CD. I knew many of the people there, but ended up sitting by myself because I guess I didn't look hard enough for someone to sit with. It may have also been the case that I was waiting to be seen and invited to sit. This internal dynamic gives me a lot of anxiety sometimes. I feel like I forget how to be social. 

Fast forward to the intermission, and I easily find several people to chat with. The key? Asking about them. How's things? How's the new house coming along? Duh. It's not actually that hard at all. Yet I struggle. 

But the holidays are hard for me sometimes. I trot out my losses and run them back and forth through my mind. I think about the stuff I want, not the stuff I have. It's frustrating to me that I can't run through a list, check stuff off that is safe and in place and be satisfied with that. It has to do with letting go and trusting the process and I need to work on that. 

I blame part of this on the weather. The cold snap has had me on edge, hoping that everything in my old little house holds together, but it's been fine and it's finally warming up. Still, I'm restless at night and haven't been sleeping well. We might get above freezing today, and I'm grateful.

As far as the wise use of my free time goes, it seems I yearn for more connection, and so should try to do things that get me out of the house. I'll take the wet felting class in January, and see how that goes, but at the same time find some more social things for me to do. There's always people who need volunteers.

Are you familiar with Brene Brown? Really good stuff this week from NPR's On Being show about how being what they called "whole hearted" means showing up and being uncomfortable sometimes. You can't have the highs without the lows. That it's in the times that we struggle that result in the stuff that gives life some of its meaning. So I'm going to do some showing up. 

Hope your Tuesday is grand!

Monday, December 9, 2013


After the table fee for this past weekend's craft show, I made $74. That's how it goes sometimes, and this time the weather (frigid!) kept people away. I also had a less than optimum spot in the arrangement. The house is in utter disarray, but things are overall fine.

Here are some pictures from my getting-ready process. I put my pieces out to see if I had "enough" (not a quantity, more like a feeling).

Then I made a few more bookmarks.

 And a few more bracelets.

Here's Mr W and the booth. I thought we had a nice display, and he was a big help schlepping stuff to and from the car. 

And at this point, after selling so little, I get to get philosophical and think about what to do next. I got really positive responses to my stuff from a lot of the people that stopped. Fun, unique, cool because it's got the watch parts. I think there are people out there who would buy the stuff, but I need to connect with them.

And is selling what's important? Or creating? Finding the balance there is hard.

I'm going to photograph/rephotograph everything this weekend, get it up on my Etsy site and then consider whether to just pay for more Facebook advertising, or seek professional help. I know several folks who do internet marketing, search engine optimization, etc., and maybe I should pay for some good advice. Funny, as I was typing the previous sentence, I can imagine FB has its scanners out, and now my rate for advertising will go up...

I'll do a separate post on this, but had an ah-ha moment yesterday when I came up with a new something to make and perhaps someday sell. I'm still finding out the feasibility, but I'll post more about the convergence of seeing what people are wearing, talking to people, looking at super cool FB pages of artists, and my own desire to create stuff. 

Hope you're staying warm - we're finally pulling out of our cold snap and it's going to be 20 today - yea!!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Post Thanksgiving stuff

Thanksgiving is a tricky one if you are single and your family is not close by, in my opinion. I've made arrangements to go visit my brother after Christmas, so didn't really think about traveling for Thanksgiving. 

Growing up, we had a very traditional gathering and meal. The responsibility for hosting would rotate among 3 or 4 households of local family, and we'd have a big meal, and a kids' table, watch football, all that. When I was married, we'd do a mix of having small gatherings at home and traveling. 

Now that I've been single for a while, I am fortunate to get picked up as a holiday orphan. I have to say I'm really thankful for that. This year, we were invited to the parents of friends and I had a really nice day. 

These folks live out of town, and have bought into an arrangement where they have a couple of acres, upon which they've built a totally awesome passive solar off-the-grid house and are part owners/users then of a much larger conservation area that functions as a gated community.  The picture above is what we saw on one of our two walks that day. There's a pine tree growing out of the boulder, but it's a little hard to see in that light.

Mr W came with me. He'll do another Thanksgiving tomorrow, and we talked about the pros and cons of living out there. The preparation, yet the independence. 

A's parents are retired academics who worked in science - biology, I think, and it was really refreshing to hear the awful (in a good way) sciencey puns and to get into a discussions about hot button topics in a friendly environment with like-minded people. 

I even got leftovers. It was a fine day.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A few more new pieces

Chug, chug, chug. I've been trying to make new things so I have enough for the craft show that is in two weeks. I'm doing pretty well, although the low sun angle makes it a little challenging to get the lighting right for the pictures. Sometimes they need a little tweaking before they look like the object. 

I'm hosting the weekly board game group today. Nothing motivates me like having people over - and that's just fine. My porch/breezeway area hasn't looked this good in months. 

Here's the new pieces. 

Hope you have a good Sunday!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Some new items

I've been making key fobs aplenty lately. Here's three new ones.

Teal and olive neutrals: 

 Shades of green: 

I received three orders over the last couple of days. Looks like Christmas shopping has begun!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


A week or so ago, I heard Sally walking around in the living room (where she sleeps) before I got up. When I came out, she was staring at a spot on the wall behind the phone table, and it was then I figured I had a mouse. It's that time of year. 

I didn't have any mice last year, but the year before that I had several. A pregnant one might have moved in, it seemed. I had always been an advocate of snap traps as humane and effective, but that was when someone suggested the grey plastic ones pictured above. Truly a better mouse trap. 

Fast forward to Sunday night, where I went to play board games, and got home around 6:30. I fed and walked the dog, and was done with that around 7:30. I had had the traps set for a couple of days, and didn't think about those much.

Around 3:30, Sally starts pacing outside my door. Back and forth. I assume she has seen the mouse, and since I can't do anything about it, I mostly ignore her, and then holler to go lay down now. When I finally get up at 5:30 she is frantic because she has to pee so bad, because I forgot to take her out one last time because it was dark when we got back from our walk at 7:30. Geez. 

I find the mouse in this trap. Guess it wasn't the mouse after all.

We proceed through the usual morning routine, and I let her outside to the yard while I get my breakfast. Just after that, Mr W's dad stops by to drop off the kid's stuff for the week, and the dog barks and seems to want to come inside. I let the dog in and leave for work.

Mr W and I come home to find that Sal has pooped and peed on the rug, and apparently did neither of these things when she had the chance in the morning. Totally off schedule.

But all seems to be well now, and we're back on it. I'm glad I caught the mouse early in the process. They do make a mess. I've gotten better about storing food, too, so it must have been moving around a lot to try to find something to eat. No more zipping around behind the cabinets - ha! 

Hopefully today will be less eventful.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bad coffee creamer, and a kitchen picture

Here's a finished kitchen picture. I still have to paint the window, but will do that this weekend (I swear). Details include knobs and pulls, which I mentioned the other day, and also to get a smaller microwave. This one is vintage 1990's, if I recall correctly, and was given to us by my former in-laws, with the express purpose of being able to fit big things in it. Microwaves were the up and coming thing at the time. It's a monster, though, and getting a smaller one will free up space on that counter. 

I love the wall color. I hemmed and hawed over this one and several shades lighter, and it was Mr W who said, "I like the darker color". I had considered blues as well, and just couldn't make up my mind. Once this got on the walls, it was clearly a good choice. There is a lot going on between the floor and the tile, and the bold color kind of melts into the background. It's weird, you don't notice it much, which to my mind means it's holding its own. 

Oh, by the way, it was bad coffee creamer. Yuck. And shame on the store for having spoiled stuff that was two weeks before its sell by date. 

In other news, I've been having trouble sleeping. Again. I usually fall asleep OK, and then am up for an hour or so, then am solidly asleep when the alarm goes off. I've been reading about sleep, and I do a lot of it right. Dark room, cool temperature, quiet or white noise, consistent times, and few if any disturbances.

Sally, who has always slept in the living room, has recently been granted access to Mr W's room (at his request) and will fall asleep there when he's at my house. When he's not, she still goes in there but is a little restless, and I can hear her walking by my door sometimes once or twice a night. So that's one thing that wakes me up, but it's not a big deal. 

I did go to the doctor and she said that because of my age, I should get hormone levels tested, which I did and they are normal, so it's all in my head, so to speak. What I mean is that the worry about stupid things that have no real bearing, and also about things that are totally out of my control are the things I need to usher out the door when I lay down to sleep. So I'm going to try to do some meditation work before bed to clear the table, and will see how that goes. 

I do occasionally get a really good night's sleep and the difference I feel is really noticeable. It's the difference between getting all the stuff done that I need to get done and not much more, and feeling like I'm actually living my life as I should. 

In other other news, here's some more new stuff in the Etsy shop:

Happy Thursday! I'm attending a lecture tonight on campus. It's one of the benefits of living in a college town that I don't take advantage of enough.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Kitchen pictures soon

I realized (here in the dark Tuesday morning) that I don't have a picture of the kitchen since the walls have been painted. I'll snap some photos when I come home from work and there's some light.

This sounds really trivial, but I can't get my coffee to taste right the last couple of days. I don't drink much coffee, but do like my cup in the morning while I surf the web and wake up. Maybe the cream is going bad. Must start to investigate this.

Anyway, what else has been going on. Mr W and I are going to travel to SC after Christmas to visit with my brother and his family, and my brother and SIL in MN will be coming in too. Back in September when we started talking about this, we had hoped that we could convene down in Florida, where my dad recently moved.

Traveling over Christmas can be a real pain, but it helps a bit to buy tickets in early-mid September, when flights are more available. I also had the choice of several cities to change planes in. There's never ever a direct flight to SC from Denver. Hmm, let's see, do I want to go through Chicago, or Atlanta? That's a no-brainer, and we'll go through Atlanta. I also wanted to have a couple of hours between flights, in case things got delayed. There were flights offered with 30 minute connection times, which I had trouble fathoming. You'd almost be guaranteed to miss your connection.

But we wanted to go meet up in Florida, but my dad said he needed more time to see what he wanted to do. I asked again three weeks later, and he said the same thing. They don't have a house yet, and have been living in an apartment, so I totally understand that things feel up in the air for them. So I talked to my brothers, and bought tickets to SC. I felt bad about gambling on the idea that Dad wouldn't decide before it was time to buy tickets, but it ended up being the right thing to do because the finally found a house in the meantime, but won't move in until after the new year.

There was some talk of getting down there in March, and I'll help plan that trip.

Meanwhile, I'm going to throw in a jewelry photo. I've been happy with how this last round has turned out.

Blue, purple, gold button bracelet.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

November post-shutdown stuff

I see I haven't posted since the middle of September. The kitchen is pretty much done. There's a few odds and ends I still need to attend to, like painting the trim around the new window, redoing the caulk where the tile meets the counter, and picking knobs. I have the aspiration (we'll see how it goes) to make fused glass or polymer clay knobs, but haven't done anything about it. These bases to hold the glass or clay are really inexpensive ($.59 each) and the plan is to buy those, install them, and get to the glass stuff when I get to it. 

I love how everything turned out. Really do. It's great to have the additional counter space there to the right of the (new) stove. I love my ice maker!!!

Mr W is well. He's doing a project for school where he has to make/produce something with the help of a mentor. I play board games with a couple and the husband has a vintage printing press. He's agree to mentor the kid and we'll go over to their place tonight to see the thing. I think it's really cool, his teacher gushed about how cool of a thing that was, and he's little hesitant I think because he doesn't know really what a printing press DOES. So it will become clearer tonight, and even though I pushed this on him a little, I think he'll like it.

I've also been making a lot of new stuff. I decided to post pictures here more regularly, so here are a couple of new bracelets. I love love love so many of the pallets from Design Seeds, and pilfer them regularly for my stuff. 

Blue bracelet in my Etsy shop here.

I'm doing one craft show next month, and have been making things with an eye on that show. It's the same one I did last year, and I'm looking forward to it. 

Work is good, too. I was off for the shutdown, and as a contractor did not get paid for my time like regular feds did. Boo-hoo - I did feel really sorry for myself for a few days, and was angry about it. The rep from the contracting company took me out for coffee and was really nice - she said one of the ways the government shows that contractors are not like feds is that they don't get paid when they can't work. So be it. I find I am much happier if I leave it in the past and move on. 

Button key ring in my Etsy shop here.

I've been working on three different projects at work, and getting DNA sequences for three genes in different populations of mosquitoes, so it feels like I'm turning my wheels, but I am getting my data slowly but surely. I could us a minion... My boss went to the island of Yap for a virus outbreak investigation. It is almost literally in the middle of nowhere - go look it up. I think I'd go if they asked, but they didn't need me for this one. There seems to be occasional/frequent talk of money being tight, but I'm going to keep plugging away and trying to learn new stuff. I ran into a coworker who is doing a project with tick DNA that is similar to something I want to try. He was really generous in that he said, "If you need help getting started, I'm happy to share all the stuff I did. I'm still learning, too." Yea! I love that spirit of cooperation.

Such a long post. I hope to show up a few times a week, even if just to post some pictures. Thanks for reading this far, I sincerely appreciate it. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Glub, glub, glub

It seems a lot of northern Colorado is under water at the moment, but my little part of it is doing OK. It's truly scary to hear/see the harrowing tales of people's homes being inundated. Our local river, the Poudre, flooded Friday, closing several bridges in town. Although the river is about a 1/2 mile from my house, there are a couple of good-enough-sized hills between me and it, so it doesn't look like my neighborhood will flood.

We had a nice morning and afternoon Saturday weather-wise, but by late afternoon the rain started again. It's supposed to finally push out of the area tomorrow. The kids got another unplanned day off Friday, which I think was a good idea, and have a scheduled day off tomorrow, so another four day weekend for them.

I've been working on jewelry stuff. Button fobs, to be specific. Mr. W is holding some finished ones and some works in progress below:

My wireworking skills are so-so, but getting better. I still have to figure out the best length of chain or cord (I'm thinking cord) to use, but I like them so far. I can attach different things on the bottom, and have bought some new charms and even some old clock hands to play around with. I thought also to make some textured polymer clay tiles to attach at the bottom, too. 

In kitchen news, the stove and dishwasher got delivered, but even after one return trip by the installer to fix the probelm, the dishwasher is leaking, so I haven't used it. I need to finish the tile, which I hope to make a dent in today, and I have hit the wall, so to speak, regarding all the clutter in other parts of the house. It is time to get stuff put away. So tile and de-clutter are on tap for this rainy Sunday.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

As requested, more floor pictures

This is my bathroom. Please don't look too close, as there is a lot of construction grit and grime yet on everything.

The bottom of the closet door needs to be planed, so it's still off the hinges. In the picture above, I'm standing in the doorway that's always closed in the kitchen pictures. The bathroom has a whopping 5 x 5 of floor space, and has three doors. The stripes actually do make it feel a little roomier in there, and I figured with all the blue and green in the kitchen, I'd make the floor neutral in the bathroom and eventually paint the walls something else. They are a medium-dark gray at the moment, which doesn't look bad on its own, but doesn't really go with the tans of the floor.

Here's the back hallway. I originally wanted this all the white/light tan but after using so much for the bathroom, there wasn't quite enough. Since I didn't want to change the walls that I recently painted, I let the installer pick the extra non-white tiles and I love how it turned out. The dark rectangle is the heater vent, btw. The baseboards in here will have to be redone, as there is now a 1" gap under the orange walls. 

This is looking down the stairs  to the back door. The stairs look skewed in this picture, but they look just fine. I just love that this area will be easy to clean now. The carpet was really gross. I will need to get rugs with grippers, though, because the floor is nice and smooth. 

The floor tiles are really dull at the moment because they come with a protective finish that I will eventually strip off. I'll then give it a couple of coats of wax and it will really pop. 

I spent a good bit of yesterday starting the backsplash tile. For some reason I thought the space would allow 1/8" joints all over, so I set the first row 1/8" off the counter, and 1/8" between tiles. When I then went to fill in the other rows, I was about 1/2" short of space. Panic!! 

I left the first row in place and have done 1/16" joints instead, which is basically just setting them so they are level and have a bit of space between the rows. I bought the little 1/16" spacers, but they pop out even when I've pushed the tiles together, they look right, and are level. Since the first row of subway tiles has 1/8" spaces horizontally, I'm continuing that and it looks fine. 

I'll post some pictures when it's a little further along. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

New floor and counters

It was a busy week in the kitchen remodeling, and the end is in sight. I took this picture yesterday morning, but the counters were finished yesterday. The floor turned out great, and I really like the feel of the VCT tile. 

Partway through the process, the contractor suggested that we do the bathroom (through that door) and the back hallway (behind me from where I took the picture). I ordered the tile (boxes of 45 pieces) thinking I'd do the bathroom in blue and green and have mostly tan in the kitchen. 

After placing tiles in various patterns, it was clear that I needed to have the white in the mix, otherwise it would be too dark. Further, it looked better if the white and tan ran diagonally across the floor. It kind of evened things out. I also decided I wanted the option of having the bathroom different colors, so had them do alternating stripes of white and tan. 

The back hallway was supposed to be all white, to match with the orange-yellow walls that I had recently painted. Since I used so much white, they popped in a few tan and a couple of green tiles in random spots and it looks great (fun but not overwhelming). 

When I first saw the finished kitchen floor, I thought "I love it!" Then I thought, "when it comes time to sell, will this be a bad thing?" Then I remembered seeing several pins on Pinterest showing how to paint vinyl floors. This covers all the bases for me - I can enjoy my busy colorful floor, and if I get tired of it, or if I ever sell the house and the buyers want it changed, I can paint it tan (or whatever). 

The speed and ease with which they did the floors (one day to tear out and put down new subfloor, one day to lay the new tiles) makes me very glad I had them do the bathroom and back hallway. It's so solid, and it is DONE. The new floors will serve for a long time. I had been intending to tear up the carpet in the back hallway for months, and had managed to rip up the edges, but that's about it. They had it, as well as the indoor/outdoor carpet underneath that, out in about an hour. I know this because I went to work that day, came back to the house 90 minutes later, and it was done.

The rest of the pieces should come together next week. Appliances delivered, sink and faucet hooked up, trim put back. 

Mr W asked what I was going to put in the space between the tops of the cupboards and ceiling. I don't know yet, so he's taken it upon himself to make some color-coordinated action figures out of the many Bionicle pieces he's got in his collection. So I'll have several kitchen guardians in place, and he gets to feel like he's contributed a little something to the process. Yes, I'll take pictures.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The delay continues

It's been a week-long pause now, since my new kitchen cabinets were installed and anything else has happened. I emailed the contractor and he's trying, but hasn't been able to get an installation schedule yet for the floor and counters.

I'm trying not to get too annoyed here, but I'm tired of doing my dishes in the bathtub. It seems to me that the floor/counter sales person knew that the job was happening, and even if my final choices weren't made (due partly to his lack of communication) he should have scheduled the installers' time.

In other news, Mr W's had his first cross country meet yesterday. He's just started up this running thing again, and it's been a challenge because it's been so hot since school started. They actually called off school on Friday because of the heat. The schools just haven't been able to get cooled off at night. Crazy. He's doing great, though. I keep telling him that the person he's racing against is the runner he was when he started two weeks ago. 

I've been getting inspired for making new jewelry, and ordering supplies. Yesterday I put in orders for watch parts, buttons and some other new dangly things that are going to look great. I signed up for two craft shows this fall, over the first weekend of November and first weekend of December. That will give me some Christmas spending money, and it seems I get motivated with a goal like having to have stuff ready for a craft show. 

I've done yoga twice a week for the last two weeks and I'm really glad I've started. Yesterday we did these balance on one leg and lean forward things and I couldn't really do them. And having to sit on your feet, so the top of your foot is completely on the floor and you sit on the soles of your feet, is impossible for me right now. But it will get better. Gotta start where I am, just like the kid.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

And we wait

Things are looking good in the kitchen. The cabinets are in and I've waited for two days now for the counter top people (who are also the flooring people) to schedule a time to come in and do the counters. This does not come as a surprise to me. The salesperson at the flooring/counter store has been in no hurry at all to follow up with what I've wanted. I definitely won't recommend his company in the future. Hopefully today I'll hear something.

But I love the cabinets. The color is lovely and there is a ton of storage space. That's a wine rack to the left of the hole for the dishwasher. There was a bit of miscommunication about that, where it was originally a wine rack, then the contractor said we could make it into a space for cookie sheets, and then it ended up a wine rack. That's fine. I'll buy some wine. 

I've been super busy at work with a load of timed experiments that have to happen on mosquitoes that are 3-7 days old. It's been go go go since last Friday with that, but today should be the last day. The results are good and interesting and I've got boxes full of tubes of dead mosquitoes that died after a certain amount of time exposed to insecticides, so that's very good. 

I did apply for the university job and turned in my application yesterday. That also was a lot of work, and although I had a month to work on it, I did most of it in the last few days. I'm satisfied that the application (cover letter, CV, research statement, teaching statement) represents my qualifications and experience adequately, so that's good. It will be interesting to see if I even get an interview. I need to tell my boss and his boss that I put them down as references. I know they'll understand because it's a really good opportunity, but I still feel a little smarmy doing it.

And it's been hot this week. Mr W's school is not air conditioned, so they've got these huge fans moving air through, and they keep the lights down. I know I can't do anything about it except make sure he's got his water bottle, and I do.

Hopefully now that the timed experiments are winding down, the application is in, and the kitchen is almost done, things will feel like they are less rushed.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The beginning of cabinets

As someone mentioned to me, it really starts looking like a kitchen once the cabinets start going in.

I would like to say here and now that I LOVE the cabinets, which is a good thing because I don't think there's any going back on this part of it. I'm not sure if they will drill holes for knobs, but right now it's all smooth. You can see the corner where I got a lazy susan. I think that makes good use of the space. For some reason, the original layout had both corners (this one and the one to my left as I took the photo) with 8" doors and then about three feet of space into the corner. It's lots of storage, but a small opening. Now, it's just the one corner to my left that's like that. Design restriction, I guess.

When I got to work yesterday, it occurred to me that they would likely hang the upper cabinets, so I called the contractor and asked if I should come home and get the tile out that I bought for the backsplash. I also told him he was welcome to gather it in the three spots I had stored the boxes, and gave a very detailed text as to the order. This is it! Well, turn it 90 degrees and it is it. I love this, too. It'll be 18" of tile all together. 

I came home yesterday and the window was gone, replaced with plastic sheeting. There are more cabinets that got put up yesterday, but again it's too dark in there this morning yet to take photos. There's also a spec sheet for the sink I picked, so it's probably in the garage. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Something I hadn't considered

I've been having some back and hip pain lately. Stiffness, mostly. I have wanted to incorporate some stretching into my exercise routine, but just have not managed to do so. I did morning yoga with the PBS lady for about a year, but it's been five years. No wonder I'm stiff.

In the minor upheaval that has been August, where my kitchen is being remodeled, I have closed my Etsy shop to work on new things, suspended my banjo lessons and am very busy at work, I also did not sign up for another three months of the spinning class I've been faithfully going to twice a week for almost the last three years because I need to structure that stretching time.

I went over to one of the local health clubs in town and signed up for a month to month membership because they offer spinning, yoga, and a couple of other group fitness things. There are several classes to choose from most days, and I live about the same distance from the north and the central locations, so I get even more choices. I haven't told my spin ladies that I'm leaving yet, but this is the right decision for me at this time.

I had an evaluation by one of their trainers. They did a strength test (meh), flexibility (it was so low, she had to do it twice), and cardio. The cardio had me step up and down on a stool for three minutes to the timing of a metronome, then she took my heart rate. I came out on the high end of "very good", which made me happy. I may be overweight and not flexible, but my heart is good.

Well, I went to my first yoga class last night. It was called "Deep Stretch Yoga". Holy cow. I knew I was tight around my hips and back, but man-o-man, I had no idea how much. I was late because I got stopped by a train, something that is sadly common in that part of town during rush hour, and sort of ducked in, grabbed a mat and followed along. I loved this class. They freely use props like foam support blocks, folded blankets, and pillow bolsters for support in the poses. You just shim in what you need and try to hold the pose for the 3 minutes or so. It was AWESOME! She worked on some relaxation stuff and breathing. It was all I had hoped. I will stop gushing now.

Here's a kitchen picture from two days ago. Yesterday they started on cabinets, but it's not light enough in there yet today to take a picture (no lights).

The plaster on the walls and ceiling is done and it is smooth and lovely. The rest of the house has old lathe and plaster, some covered with wall paper, so the smooth texture fits with the rest of it. They got the old gas line out as well. 

I need to take some garden pictures. I've been very pleased with the big zinnias and Black Eyed Susans I've planted from seed, and will do even more cut flower varieties next year. I really like having a little bouquet on the table. This was taken on the window they will be replacing soon, hence all the debris.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Plaster and drywall and pediatrician frustration

The plasterers and drywallers (Do they have better names? I don't know) have been in and here is what my kitchen looks like this morning. It was very plaster-y-wet smelling Friday night into Saturday, but it has dried and looks good. 

I thought they'd be putting drywall over everything, but they are plastering most of it, so that the original door frames and baseboards will still stick out, so to speak. I hadn't realized that, and am glad it will be this way. 

The ceiling had to be dropped about 5 inches so they could easily get the electric wires everywhere they needed to go. A big plus there is that all of the wiring in the kitchen will be new, including separate breaker switches for a couple of the appliances. 

So it's going. I'm a little weary of the disruption, but it will be OK. Mr W will be with his dad this week and that will make logistics easier. His first day of school is tomorrow, but he's got Cross Country practice today. 

I'm a little miffed at his doctor's office, who I need to sign a medical release form so he can practice with the CC team. He just decided/I just brought it up last Wednesday, and the Dr.'s office wants five business days to sign the form saying he's had a physical in the last year. I faxed the form to them last Thursday, with a note asking if they could please rush it, and heard nothing. I called this morning to ask about it, was on hold for 10 minutes, talked to someone briefly who said they had not processed it, and got put into voicemail again. I'm thinking that if this is their normal operating procedure, it ain't workin' for me. I've looked over the website for another group of pediatricians in town and I think we will be switching. I don't need the frustration.

Friday, August 16, 2013


No new kitchen pictures today. They've installed a new ceiling and put in the wiring, but the room doesn't look much different. I met with the flooring person here yesterday and don't know how they'll manage to get it all done in the time window the contractor planned for.

We are reasonably comfortable, though. Sally has been dropped off at the local doggie day care, and I don't think she minds too much, although she'd rather sleep on my bed all day (me too, now that I think of it). Mr W's been shuttled over to his dad's house. And while that has come with some drama, as they've got a new puppy and Mr W grows weary of the responsibility, I was very proud of the kid for coming up with a plan that involved tethering the dog to the tree in the yard, and camping out close by with his computer. They just stayed outside most of the day.

I have felt really busy lately. Not quite frantic, but overextended and hoping I don't forget something that has to be done. Most certainly not enjoying the ride. And my back has hurt lately. It is, I believe, related to my old hip injury, which has left me with a stiff back a lot of the time. Stretching helps a lot, but I don't do it regularly enough.

I've also not been finding the time to practice my banjo. The last two weeks have been so hectic that I either forget, or put it off until the end of the day and then decide not to do it.

I have decided to shuffle the deck a bit.

I've suspended my banjo lessons for a month or so. Also, when it was time to sign up again for another three months of spin class yesterday, I did not. I'm going to join a local health club that has a lot of group fitness options, as well as yoga and "body flow" type classes. My employer will reimburse me up to $30 a month for a health club, so I'm going to give that a go for three months. I'm hoping it will make my back feel better.

Last thing is that I'm going to close my Etsy shop until the end of September. I haven't made anything new for a while, and will use the time to get my stock back up and think up some new things. My muse did visit a couple of months ago, and I need to follow up. I hate feeling like "OK, I've got an hour and a half to be creative, then I have to go to Target". That shuts down the process pretty fast for me.

It is amazing to me how these things mill around in my headspace for a long time, and then - bam - it's time to do it and the decisions come easily. Especially the banjo. I feel guilty for not keeping that up, but I just need to throw my free time up into the air and reschedule it.

I leave you with a recent picture. I can't remember what I called the post, but I wrote a few months ago about the people who empty my garbage.  They regularly leave the bin right in my driveway so I have to get out of my car and put the thing away before I can pull in. I thought it was accidental, but now think otherwise.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Kitchen demo complete

In the course of about nine hours, the crews came and took everything but the floor out of my kitchen. Above you can see the gas line for the stove, which will be relocated to the wall that is on my left from where I took this picture. 

I am THRILLED that they were able to take down the drop ceiling and now I've got a 9' ceiling in there. It feels bigger. The plan is to get a ceiling fan and light for the center of the room. 

They won't be able to use the wood floors that are under the vinyl, as everything was glued to the floor and it's not really worth the hassle. In the photo above, you can see how they ran the electric through the dropped ceiling. My contractor said they'd either go through the attic to run those wires, or make something on top of the cabinets (which won't go to the ceiling). Either is OK with me. 

We did talk about running the VCT (vinyl composition tiles) into the bathroom, which is through the narrow door in the top picture. The sheet vinyl runs continuously in there as it is now, and despite the extra expense, it's probably a good idea to do the floor in the bathroom. While they're at it, the contractor suggested they do the back hallway as well (only another 40 square feet). These additional little side things make me nervous because of the extra expense, but they are things that need to be done, and since the professionals are there, might as well take advantage of that, right? 

I'm going to work today. The project I'm working on involves rearing lots of mosquitoes and I need to go in an identify larvae. There's two similar species and we only want one of them, so I'll weed out the other by doing this.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Day One of Kitchen Remodel

Not much to see yet except a bare kitchen, but here's a "before" picture that will show the changes. Demolition begins today!

How can a person generate so many orphan tupperware lids? They got recycled.

Note the shallow sink, the short, shallow and stained counter tops, pitted floor and window (oops, you can't see it but it's there) that is held open with a small wooden spoon.

Let the games begin!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I'm almost done deciding on things for the kitchen renovation. It's been fun, but also kind of nerve wracking, despite deciding that I'm picking things for me, instead of for the next people that live here (whenever that may be).

When it came time to decide on flooring, I liked the look of Marmoleum. It's pretty green, environmentally because it's like linoleum, but hipper. Here's an example:

I like the speckles, and I like how it comes in 12" squares, and so a person could make a pattern or a mix of colors and that might be interesting. Marmoleum is about $6-7 a square foot, and ended up being out of my price range. 

Then I found some other, commercial vinyl tiles called Azrock. I have to buy a case, which covers about 45 square feet, so am looking at getting these three colors and mixing them into a random pattern with a little more of the tan than the green or blue:

I'm waiting on a price, but it's supposed to be in the $2-3 a square foot range. The tan matches the cabinet color really well, and the other colors compliment the counter and backsplash tile. 

A note from a past self

I'm cleaning out cupboards in preparation for the kitchen demo that happens Thursday. It's not too bad, but I had one shelf that held bits of this and that and stuff I intended to file away or do something with. I found a notebook that I used to carry around in my purse. It had a quote that I had copied from, it says, the ceiling of a local coffee shop. Here it is:

"Life is about discovering and accepting yourself. Life is about stepping outside your boundaries and believing that you can. It is about following your dreams and knowing you are capable of achieving all that you desire. It is about recognizing possibilities and taking risks. Life is about loving, enjoying and being active in every sense. It is about appreciating the people, community and nature surrounding your being. Life is." Stacy Page

Isn't that nice? A little food for thought.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sink and faucet choices

The choices are bewildering, but I have made my sink and faucet selections.

Here's the sink, Wheatland by Kohler. I really wanted the two different sized bowls so dishes can be rinsed on their way to the dishwasher (when I use the dishwasher), leaving a nice big bowl for filling pots or whatever.

That's a very unexciting picture, I'm realizing. The holes are kind of weirdly set on the sink, so I picked a one-handle faucet with a sprayer that can be put in that corner hole.

It's not green, but a stainless steel finish. 

Getting these decided was a lot of work! Glad it's done.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

So those countertops? Here's what I'm thinking.

Well, I finally (FINALLY) got the counter top estimates. It took entirely too long. As many would have guessed, the Cambria manufactured stone I really liked is twice as expensive as laminate. I took a good hard look at what I wanted and how much money I had and the Cambria just isn't worth it.

But that's not bad news. I'm a person that likes color, and once a person is freed from the constraint of having something look like/ be like stone, it's a big bright world out there. To review, I love this glass tile:

It is pricey ($35 a sheet) so I will cut it into three strips (vertically in this photo) that measure 4" x 12" and lay them end to end to have a 4" high strip running parallel to the counter, with two rows of white subway tile above and below the colored tile strip. To match the Cambria, I was going to border it with 1" strips of 1" x 3" clear blue tile, but now I'm not sure about that. As far as installation goes (which I'm going to do myself) it might be better to have 6" of glass tile (or thereabouts, with joints) so that I cut less subway tile (which measures 3" x 6", and there's usually 18" of backsplash space). (Lots of parentheses in this paragraph).

OK, so now what to do for countertops? Nevamar has many, many kinds of laminate to choose from. And if one is not trying to make it look like stone, as I am repeating, one can have some fun with the choice. Here's what I'm thinking:

There will still be plenty of white because the backsplash is mostly white, but I thought this would be a fun choice. It's called Extreme Bamboo Green.

Here's another picture of it:

So then this leaves me with new decisions as to sink color and faucet color. I thought ivory for the sink and a dark faucet, but will need to try to picture in my mind how it will all look. 

I just saw this color palette on Pinterest today - lovely!!