Category Archives: house

Stuff and things and whatnots

Ah, yes… here we are in that familiar blank spot where I had been posting with regularity for a good week or so and now we’re back to near-radio silence.  Par for the course, I blame it on too much work, too much fun, and picking up some new volunteer work.  Travis and I have coordinated our calendars and discovered that we’ve pretty much scheduled our weekends out through October.  We’re not the only ones whose schedules fill up this quickly, are we?

Read on for bullets, bullets, and more bullets!



Ah, yes… it’s Winter Holiday Solstice Christmas Whatever Time. Time to hear all my co-workers tell me how they’re done with their Christmas shopping (to be fair, one co-worker just bought all her family their own Kindle and is giving a gift basket to neighbors). Time to reflect on how I haven’t even thought of what to get people for Christmas, much less what I want for Christmas.

Here’s the thing: I don’t really want anything for Christmas. Yes, there are things on my wish list and we spent two hours registering for household goods at Bed, Bath & Beyond, but the reality is that I just buy myself whatever I want at the moment and if they’re on my wish list it’s because I’m not really sure if I want it that badly. Or, it’s too expensive. We spend a good amount of time throughout the year piling things in the Salvation Army pile, trying to de-clutter our house.

The last couple of years, I’ve been buying Travis “experiences” instead of gifts. A bbq class, a dorky Segway experience at the Wild Animal Park San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Somehow, he still manages to get me presents that I didn’t know I wanted but am very happy to have received.

Part of me would like to request that we go to dinner somewhere we’ve never gone before because it’s out of our normal dining-out price range. Or go to a fancy chef’s dinner. Or buy tickets to some Slow Food event where you stand in a huge field and sample dozens of tasty bites.

What I really want is just not something you ask Santa for.

I’d like to tear down our bee-infested shed and put up a new one.

I’d like to tear down the termite-eaten shed and put up a new one.

I’d like to move the chicken enclosure to the back part of the yard and not lose any chickens in the process.

I’d like to properly insulate the attic and replace the completely inefficient old windows in the house.

I’d like to build a second story addition to the house with a real master bedroom and maybe a second small office. (Seriously, this is on our might-actually-do list. If anyone has any info on adding a second story to your house, I’d love to hear it.)

All I want for Christmas is more time. Time just hanging out with friends, at home, eating tasty burritos or grilled tri tip or cheddarwurst. Time on the couch with the pups, watching mediocre movies. Time to try out new non-expensive places that pop up here and there.

That’s Christmas. For our wedding, apparently we want a new trash can and cheese knives.

things of late

Can you feel busy and lazy at the same time?  I think I’m going to declare that such a thing is possible.  Because that’s how I feel at the moment.  So busy trying to finish up house projects before I lose motivation, yet feeling lazy and just wanting to sit on the couch and watch tv (like the Torchwood:Children of the Earth thing I watched and am now wondering what I’m missing not watching the regular series).  And so, due to #1 on my list of things my brain wants to ignore:

  • There are so many pictures on my camera that I need to download and file.
  • Including pictures of tasty food we’ve either eaten or I have prepared.
  • Like the perfect summer dinner from last weekend where I made the best appetizer from garden tomatoes, basil, garlic, and non-garden burrata (because I don’t have a miniature cow)
  • It has been crazy hot. Sticky hot. But it’s supposed to cool off this week and I’m looking forward to that.
  • The bathroom project is finished. Mostly because T worked hard over the weekend cutting baseboards and is now caulking them.  I washed the shower doors!  It looks awesome and I love my new toilet.
  • I am tired of house projects.  I proposed no new projects next year.  I’ll probably forget by then.
  • I still want chickens.  I’ve started the process of building a new raised garden so I can clear out the prospective chicken space.  It’s hard work moving a raised garden.  Also, apparently parsley doesn’t like to be moved.  I think it’s dead.
  • T is going to Mammoth for Bluesapalooza this weekend.  I’m a little sad I’m not going (too much work, not enough time off, fear of losing my job in this crazy economy. Seriously.) but I’m also looking forward to a weekend by myself.  A weekend of girly movies and eating the strange things I scrounge up when I don’t have to feed someone else.  Plus, I just found out (so did T) that my least favorite person in the whole world will be going, which actually makes me happy that I am staying here.
  • We have houseguests coming the next weekend, so I will try to get the hall bathroom in good shape.  By cleaning.  Not by painting or anything else crazy like that.
  • Our grass is starting to die because of the crazy water restrictions.  Well, half the grass.  The half that doesn’t get afternoon shade.  It makes me sad.  It also annoys me because we’ve already done so much to reduce our water use that I feel we should be exempt from restrictions.  I bet we already use half as much water as the rest of the neighborhood and now we have to cut back more?  Not fair.  But that’s life, I suppose.
  • Eating dinner outside is my favorite part of summer.
  • I think artichokes are my favorite vegetable.  Have I mentioned that T never knew you could eat the artichoke heart before I showed him?  Can you imagine how long he had been deprived of the best part??
  • I love that my dogs are always happy to see me.  Even crazy Lexi misses me when I’m gone.  I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
  • I also wouldn’t trade my boy for the world.  Or even three cute dogs.  If it weren’t for him, the kitchen never would have happened and my bathroom would probably end up half done, with just a toilet sitting on the floor.
  • Quiet nights in the backyard are awesome.  People have gone inside, kids are no longer screeching, the dogs next door are quiet, and it’s nice and cool.

kitchen photos

pay no attention to the unpainted wall

pay no attention to the unpainted wall

It occurred to me that I never posted pictures of our finished kitchen.  Actually, I probably haven’t even taken a picture of the kitchen after we moved everything back in.  But I did take one after the counters and floors were done.

All our pictures from Project:Kitchen Renovation are on Shutterfly.  We also started a photo page so we can both upload all our various photos and just point people to one place.  Maybe at some point I’ll even put up a Kitchen Page and tell you all the awesome details.

Our kitchen came from Ikea, essentially.  Say what you will about Ikea furniture, but between their planning guide and the advice of Michael Early, I was able to pretty much get a kick-ass custom kitchen for way less than a custom price.  No, it’s not made of real wood (well, the doors are) and my drawers are made of plastic.  But, my shelves all pull out, I got a huge pantry where I can reach every last jar in back, and the huge corner cabinet has a lazy susan design so I can access everything.  Plus, where it would cost you at least $100 per cabinet/drawer to have a self-closing function, Ikea has these clip-on spring dampeners for $5 that turn cabinet doors and drawers into self-closing ones.  It’s pretty awesome.  And!  Ikea has designed internal organization dividers for their drawers, which makes storing containers and lids and spoons nice and tidy.  Yes, it looks like Ikea in the drawer, but we’re the only ones who really see it.  And not having lids falling over all the time is totally worth it.

Is Ikea cabinetry for everyone?  Absolutely not.  However, if you’re looking at standard cabinets from Home Depot or Lowe’s, you can get a very similar look from the Ikea styles for so much less (yes, I compared prices).  If we had unlimited funds (ha!) we probably would have gone totally custom for a unique stone castle kitchen-with-arches.  But we had to work with what we had, we couldn’t feasibly make the kitchen bigger, and I certainly wasn’t going to mess with drain pipes.  Given those constraints, I think we did really well.

hanging out and waiting

T is out at Phileas Fogg’s having a beer with his buddy, so I’m taking the rare night alone to just sit and be lazy.  I watched the Tony Awards from Sunday (I was given an evil look when I turned it on in his presence and then I had the remote taken away from me!)  Then I watched a taped Pushing Daisies and got sad that there’s only one more episode left.  How will Emerson ever find his daughter?

Now that the kitchen is all put back together, I’ve been itching to do some serious baking.  But we keep going out of town so I haven’t had the chance!  So, I’ve just been cooking meals when we’re home.  Last Sunday we had soy chorizo from Trader Joe’s with potatoes and eggs.  I love chorizo but it’s so greasy when you cook it that I can’t bring myself to eat it.  I read that the soy chorizo was pretty good, especially for being non-meat, so I figured we’d give it a shot.  I’m not sure how the nutritional values compare to regular chorizo, but the texture was pretty similar.  It was a little dry, but that also meant it wasn’t swimming in grease!  It was well spiced and quite tasty, so now when we’re in the mood for chorizo, it’s definitely going to be soy.

Speaking of the kitchen, I have a beautiful new range hood that I bought from  And it has no grease filters.  You know, those things at the top of your hood that get all gunky and sticky and disgusting?  Yeah, I have none of those.  But I’m supposed to have four.  Four!  They weren’t in the box when the hood got installed (by Sears).  I keep getting bounced around, leaving messages, and getting ignored by the Carmel Mountain store.  Customer service tries to help, but apparently they have to go through the physical store to do anything?  So, I keep having to make phone calls.  It’s a bit of a pain.  Anyone know of a good way to actually get results?

Something else I picked up at Trader Joe’s (at the new Mira Mesa store! It’s so huge!) is a bag of their Five Seed Almond Bars.  They taste like pumpkin cookie bars, with flax seed, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and… uh… two other kinds of seeds.  I thought it would be a nice grab-n-go thing in the morning, but they’re actually really good and I’ve been eating one for dessert.  They’re moist, not crunchy, just slightly sweet, and nutty from all the seeds.

And… the dogs are going crazy, so T must be home.  Time to wrap up!