A change of plans


I was supposed to go somewhere this morning.

But that would have required:

  1. Getting out of bed
  2. Taking a shower and
  3. Washing my hair
  4. Getting dressed
  5. And looking nice
  6. Getting in the car, driving
  7. Talking to people

Plus, we had a dead banana so Rick was making banana pancakes!


Oh, these look good, don’t they?  They aren’t the pancakes we had this morning.

The photo above comes from Once Upon A Chef  whose blog I follow.


I’m being mean…only 1 of Rick’s pancakes looked this sad

So, I didn’t go anywhere.  I’m sorry, Lisa (notreallythatsorry)







We bought a duplex last year.  Its on a nice corner just this side of hell where people routinely get shot.

The place was owned by a slumlord.  Everything done to ‘fix up’ the place was done by a cut-the-corners handyman.  Ill-fitting windows poorly installed, gaps between the roof and eaves where birds could get into the attic and set up camp.  Shoddy workmanship everywhere.

It was a mess.

When we pulled up to see the property for the first time there were 2 women trying to shove a COUCH through a side window.  Nice.


These guys came THREE TIMES to haul away trash.



View of the basement from the landing

The amount of stuff in the basement was crazy!  Nasty place to be until it dried out because….

One of the kitchen sinks was draining into the basement, the Home Inspector  wouldn’t go down there until we showed him the leak wasn’t human waste.


The bedroom is where the 3 tiny dogs were allowed to go potty.  Lovely.  Guess who got to clean THAT up?  Yeah, that would be me.  We carpeted the bedroom.  It was too far gone with paint – white, yellow and red – to salvage.


Actually, I’m pulling up carpet nails here.  Dog poop is long gone, love the floor paint! 

What is it with people who want to paint their walls but don’t bother to go higher than they can reach?  And check out this color!


Kinda of a terra cotta…at one point the living and dining area were this color, too!

For months we tore out the bathroom and kitchen, scraped, patched and sanded walls.  Cleaned out the basement.  We’d get back to the house and strip down in the garage, throwing our clothing directly into the washing machine.  I wouldn’t let us into the house because of …


Can you see the damn roach?  Its unafraid of Raid, but I am NOT to be trifled with and I sprayed and bombed and sprayed for months.  They were EVERYWHERE… There was no food and still they came out.  They loved to snack on fresh paint.

We were able to save the wood floors in the rest of that unit.  I gently sanded away candle wax (?!?), blue paint from who knows where and white paint that the professional painters got all over…thanks for that, guys!  Fortunately, it came off pretty easily.  There was just a lot of it.  The floors aren’t great but still OK.

We had the plumbing redone and did much of the electrical work ourselves (that is, Rick did the work and I helped somewhat).

Then we were prepping for the painter, I discovered yet aNOther electrical panel, bringing the grand total to 3, this one with old-fashioned fuses.  At that point, trying to discover what was hooked up to it, the living room light went out and we couldn’t figure out why after tracing and tracking and turning things off and on and putting fuses in and out, blahblahblah.

So we hired a pro.  Its important to recognize one’s limitations.


Oh, here’s a photo showing one of the gaps in the eaves.  The new tenant said there was a lot of noise in the attic. When the critter control people went up there they said there must be 50 pounds of bird poop to be removed, ugh.20160812_174324.jpg

We know our limitations, remember, so we hired pros to deal with that!  Can you imagine?  Hazmat suit, for sure!

I’ll find more ‘after’ photos for next time.  But for now, here’s one.


The floors in this unit were fanTAStic.  Not so much the other side…

Inexplicably, we are thinking of doing another fixer-upper.  I sincerely hope that we don’t have to do quite as much work as this one ended up being 😉


Christmas Stocking 2015


Every year my sister and I exchange Christmas stockings and also give one to our mother.

It began years ago when she and I decided, as teenagers, to give our parents gifts from Santa as a surprise.  I can’t recall what we gave them, other than some gardening gloves for my dad.  They were completely blown away by it.

I used to buy things over the course of the year to give as gifts and stocking stuffers but the busier I got at work, the less prepared I was for Christmas – which isn’t all that bad a thing these days thanks to the awesome power of the internet and brick-and-mortar places like the Container Store and World Market.

This is what my sis gave me in my stocking this year!

Bountiful treaure!

Bountiful treaure!

Fun packaging tape; fancy soaps in wrapping too lovely to rip open; a reusable sleeve for my occassional coffeehouse splurges; tubes of lip balm cuz I’m addicted to it; pretty gift tags which I will put safely away with the rest of the Christmas wrapping paper and yet not find next year when I need them…

Mmmm, peppermint!

Mmmm, peppermint!


garbage disposal freshener marbles which I am pretty sure is not a comment on my kitchen – pretty sure, anyway; cheap-and-gaudy-and-fun earrings cuz I lovelovelove earrings; a magnet clip for the fridge – she finds the cutest ones – here’s one she gave me years ago before I ever lived on the Delta…

I'm lucky alright!

I’m lucky alright!

A tripley-regifted package of Starbucks Peppermint Mocha which has finally found its forever home and excuse me while I go fix me a cuppa; an aqua flower with bristles – is it a bath scrubby? A kitchen scrubby?

Scrubby for an as-yet- unknown purpose

Scrubby for an as-yet- unknown purpose

and a perfect little cloth bag with a pattern of beachy huts and palm trees which I suspect she might have made as she is talented that way.

Oh, and here is the stocking all this bounty came in!  One of a trio of baskets she picked up at an estate sale for ten bucks!

The middle one...

The middle one…

Every year she outdoes herself!

Every year I look forward to opening the stocking and seeing all the fun items.  My sister is a gifted giver of gifts.  In fact, she is a terrific sister in all possible ways.

I hope you have someone in your life who loves you like my sister loves me.  And I hope you love someone like that,

too 😉

3-D print me some dinner, C-3PO


Do you like to cook?  Generally, I don’t.

My hubby enjoys cooking breakfast (and chocolate cake).  Sausage, omelets, pancakes, French toast, eggs, toast, oatmeal, he’s good with all of it.

I’m too cranky in the morning to cook, it takes me awhile to get used to being awake again, I guess.  It’s not like I have to wake up early to a blaring alarm clock, either.  Mostly, I wake up whenever I want to – anytime between 6 to 8:30 am, but usually around 7’ish, I’d say.

I’m very skeptical when I read in some book that the hero pops up in the morning wide awake and ready to take on bad guys.

Mornings, I AM the bad guy.

So, cooking…

One morning, Christmas morning, I cooked a marvelous egg/hashbrown dish.  I thought it was marvelous.  My family hated it, HATED IT!  Turns out they don’t like onion, except in extreme moderation.

I didn’t realize just how similar (as in identical) sliced onions and hashbrowns can look.  All the kids saw was onion, onion everywhere in every possible bite.  So that was a go-down-in-flames-and-talk-about-it-forever cooking fiasco.


See what I mean?

Nowadays, when a recipe calls for onion, I make sure the slices are big so they can be picked out – and that they don’t look like another ingredient in the dish.  >sigh<

Back to cooking…

Every night around dinnertime, I’m astonished to find I have to cook dinner again.  Really?  Again?  How does that happen?

When I wasn’t working fulltime, it was easier to think of and plan for meals, and you could even almost say I enjoyed cooking back then, at least a little bit.  Now?  It’s mostly a chore I forget about every day.  EVERY day, every single stinkin’ day, I’ll look at the clock and see that its 6pm and I have no idea what’s for dinner.  Poop…no that’s not what’s for dinner, that’s what I’m thinking.

I used to have a bookshelf full of cookbooks.  I had this idea that one day I’d start channeling Martha Stewart and Julia Child and be able to read a recipe.

I am very bad with recipes.  I skip steps and forget ingredients.  My daughter-in-law, Andrea, reminds me to read the recipe all the way through before beginning and that does help, but this problem is why I can’t code.  Or sew.  Or do proofs for algebra.  Or tell jokes, for that matter.

The last time we moved, I tossed all the cookbooks except for my inherited Joy of Cooking, 5 Ingredient Cookbook and Cooking with Grits, which my sis-in-law gave me – I haven’t used it yet, but I will, I’m sure, cuz I love grits!  And there’s another cookbook in there that has a few recipes I’ve used but I can’t remember its name off the top of my head, Oh, I remember, its Betty Crocker.  Fun fact:  Betty Crocker has changed the image of their ‘Betty’ 8 times over the years, the most recent is a computer-generated composite of 75 women.   Betty Crocker portraits

Yeah, I gave away all those cookbooks – various church-lady cookbooks, Southern Cooking (which is wonderful), crockpot cooking, desserts, cooking with Campell’s soup, Cocktail recipes – about 20 of them, I guess.


So refreshing!

If I need a recipe now, I’ll go online to find it.  Allrecipes.com, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Food Network, etc.

I also use recipes from Pinterest.  I have a secret board named ‘food’ and I’ll pin all the food ideas that I might actually try – simplicity is the prerequisite for me to even consider the recipe.

I baked a 2-ingredient cookie the other day for Superbowl Sunday.  Mashed bananas and oatmeal plus cinnamon or choco-chips, nuts, whatever.  Supposed to be super-healthy and low-cal, right?  They were HORRIBLE.  My sis and I each took a bite and spit it out, that’s how bad.  Tossed the rest of them right into the trash.


How can these 3 ingredients combine to make something foul?

I’m going to make a cheesy Mexican enchilada dish tonight, which is to say I’ll make my version of that.

I’m really best at augmenting rather than cooking from scratch.  Cooking from scratch has too many opportunities for error.  Each step, every ingredient, every manipulation of those ingredients – whip until peaks keep their shape, cook on high until just before boiling(!), stir constantly, knead twice and roll out to desired thinness(!) – is simply another oops in the making.

Last night I took ready-made Italian sausage-stuffed tortellini and added sautéed mushrooms, onions (I love them, OK?) and grape tomatoes with pesto sauce (which was also ready-made).  It was delish!

I am good at meatloaf (except that I have to cook it twice as long as what the recipe says) and lasagna (except that I always double the recipe and always end up with exactly what I need for 1 pan – how can that be?).

Oh, and I make a pretty good sautéed corn dish, with cream and cream cheese and cayenne pepper.  Throw fresh or frozen sweet corn in the skillet with the cream and cream cheese and cook on medium til you have a nice thick sauce (add more cream if it’s too thick), then add pepper and cayenne to taste.  You can add other things, too, like tomato, celery, sweet peppers, garlic, whatever you want to add – maybe a little chopped up fresh spinach?

My hubby loves me and proves it by eating with enthusiasm and appreciation whatever concoction I place before him.

He loves me, but he picks out the onions 😉

Stocking your Man Cave for the Zombie Apocalypse


I was asked by the people at Man Crates to envision a Man Cave for my man and write up a blog about it.   It’s the first time someone has asked me to do this so I was pretty enthusiastic about it.  Maybe by the time the 100th company has asked me to endorse their  brand of air freshener, I’ll be tired of it all but their website was fun and their gift ideas were pretty cool and unusual –  ManCrates – plus I am ALWAYS looking for unique products and gifts so I embraced the idea wholeheartedly!

You might wonder why the wife is designing the Cave for the husband—particularly since my husband is an Architect and very well versed in designing various and sundry rooms.

Well, I’ve lived with the guy for many a year and feel I have a bit of a clue as to what he might like.

So, I thought I’d give it a shot.  Here goes…oh, and the budget is the size of Hearst Castle, so let’s not scrimp on the cost, shall we…

First things first—a couch.  It just so happens that we are in the middle of a search for a couch right this very moment.  And having a darn good time of it, too.  And by ‘darn good time’ I mean exactly the opposite.  What he wants and what I want are practically at polar opposites.

This is what he wants, so he’s getting it now in his Man Cave!  Times two.

Theater seats

Theater seats

Secondly, a Man Cave needs a place to store the snack’ums and beverages.  Here is a beautiful antique pub back-bar where he can hoist a few with his buddies and sing bawdy pub songs ( well that’s what I’d be doing if I ever get my girlfriends down there!)

back bar

I’d also want a karaoke machine but somehow I think my husband would be vehemently opposed to such a thing…

Next comes lighting…gotta be able to read those car, boat and motorcycle magazines, right?  Rick’s into Art Deco so here’s a perfect antique ceiling fixture.


Can’t forget the big-screen TV above the fireplace!


The guys won’t be watching movies all the time—they’ll get tired of sitting on their duffs at some point, so here are some other ‘musts’ for the Man Cave.  Pool table, Foosball and pinball!

pool table

Walking-Dead-Pinball-200 foosball

On the walls will be pictures of places and things hubby loves.  Venice, sailing, Indian motorcycles, Art Deco design


The Pan-Pacific Theater was a marvelous example of Art Deco style


Ah, Venice


Indian Motorcycles have such a graceful style to them.


Rick loves to sail

More important stuff for the walls—I hope there’s enough wall space for all this!  Well, we can always make the room bigger!



And since a Man Cave might need to be defended from bad guys, we’ll add a rifle cabinet—a hidden one like this BUT no tacky knick-knacks!  OUR rifle cabinet will be hidden into the back of that gorgeous pub bar.  And it will hold important tools for defense such as an A-Salt-Rifle (kills insects with a burst of salt), an electrified tennis racket (for flying insects that got away from the A-Salt-Rifle), a pair of rubber band guns, a drone (for checking the outside perimeter from the safety of the Man Cave) and a pair of AirSoft pistols (for chasing squirrels and suchlike away from our fruit trees).

hidden rifle storage

asalt riflerubber band gun


airsoft pistols

And we mustn’t forget Man Crate’s superb Zombie Annihilation Crate—it has all the tools any manly man might possibly need in order to survive the Zombie Apocalypse.  It includes a machete, combo axe/knife and a folding shovel, Zombie Survival Guide and LED flashlight, fire starter, the best invention of the world—Duct Tape, a first aid kit and Spam.  What more could any survivor need?  Well, this survivor would want toilet paper.  Just sayin’…

Zombie Annihilation

This superb gift arrives in a crate (Man Crate, get it?) that must be opened using a crowbar!  There are no ribbons to cut and no paper to carefully save for your dresser drawers.  A man, a crate and a crowbar.  Now that’s a gift for a MAN!

So that’s it, my manly man’s Man Cave.

What would your Man Cave look like 😉

I have a fountain


Our house came with an atrium. In the middle of this atrium is a sad fountain and a bunch of rocks and pebbles.

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

I’ve wanted a fountain for a long time. I guess I over-emphasized my desire for one because one of my kids started pointing out every fountain he saw with “THEY have a fountain!”. Hmmph. This is the same kid that gave me a desktop fountain for Christmas one year – which helped get me through my fountain-crush.

Most people with our floorplan have removed the atrium, turning it into the new kitchen space.
We, however, had once designed a house with an atrium in it, so naturally we embraced the idea wholeheartedly!

We weren’t sure what we wanted in a fountain. I’ve seen some mighty cool fountains where the water burbles up out of the vessel and gently spills over the brim.

Do you think its too big for the space?

Do you think its too big for the space?

Or perhaps we want the fountain to cascade from one vessel to another?

Umm, no.

Umm, no.

This kinda goes with the Tiku Hut theme, yes?

This kinda goes with the Tiku Hut theme, I think.

Well, after pricing fountains (eek), we decided to go with a simple waterfall – no separate water feature after all. The water goes from the pond to the pump, which sends the water to the other side of the atrium and up over the rock shelf into the pond.

Hauling out the fountain.

Hauling out the fountain.

The rocks can be reused so they are wheelbarrowed to the side of the house.

The rocks can be reused so they are wheelbarrowed to the side of the house.


Here's the pond before we added the plants.

You can see the water damage on the siding along the right side of the atrium

Rick installed metal flashing around the atrium below the window sill to minimize water damage. He also replaced the old window sills.

atrium before plants

Here is the atrium before the plants and then as of a few days ago.

That one canna lily off to the left is probably 7 feet tall!

That one canna lily off to the left is probably 7 feet tall! It is THE happiest plant in the atrium.

The rock in the middle of the pond is for the turtle. More on the turtle adventures in another post.

We planted 1 lily in the pond but it promptly died. Stupid lily. I also wanted horsetail but it also lacked courage.

I saw a lovely pond with these very tall lotus in it...I wanted to replicate that - to no avail.

I saw a lovely pond with these very tall lotus in it…I wanted to replicate that – to no avail.

After awhile the lily grew some new leaves underwater, then the leaves disappeared. I am going to hazard a guess that the turtle likes the lily the best? I have left the pot there just in case I get more leaves some day…just in case 😉

Our gorgeous deck!

1 Comment

I must say that Coastal Lumber did a marvelous job!

Here is what the space looked like before…

ugly, isn't it...

ugly, isn’t it…

and after…

...and the guys who did the work...

…and the guys who did the work…

Here are some ‘during’ shots…

Its scary when a big 'ol truck has to maneuver around our little parking lot!

Its scary when a big ‘ol truck has to maneuver around our little parking lot!

Support posts for the deck.

Support posts for the deck.

Placing the boards on the deck frame.

Placing the boards on the deck frame.

Once it was done, I rolled on a water-resistant stain.  Painting is not my forte.  Not sure what is, exactly, but it definitely is NOT painting.  However, it needed to be done, so I did it.  It doesn’t look half bad.

Now we have added an inexpensive table and chairs and a gazebo for shade.  We spend many lunchtimes out there, sometimes have client meetings and even our clients will use it after meetings to continue their conversations.

Before photo

Before photo

Come and set a spell...

Come and set a spell…

That’s the definition of a well-designed space!  😉

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