Bathroom #2 finished

Hubs has been very, very busy this fall--especially yesterday.

All of us cleaned house. It's family time. It's what we do.

Hubs finished touching up one wall in our bathroom. He put everything up in my daughter's finished bathroom (or maybe he did that the previous night, I can't remember anymore). He cleaned my dryer vent (16 feet long with two right angle turns--we have a special tool--it's awesome). He shut down and covered the pool (with help). Watched our daughter mow the lawn (excellent job!). Washed his car. Put up the pool stuff. Blew out the garage.  Weedwhacked and edged the yard (right now, the daughter just mows).

Sorry, ladies, he's mine! You can't have him, but I might let you borrow him . . . we'll discuss over glass of wine.

And yes, I did stuff, too. I washed, folded and ironed three loads of laundry, helped with the pool (skimming leaves, unscrewing bolts to hold the cover on, pulled the cover into place), cooked him a chicken pot pie for lunch (I had leftover filling from making biscuit popovers). Made an Orange Crush cake from Pioneer Woman (Total fail. Well, not total. Good flavor. Very moist. It just came out of the pan in pieces. And her recipe made way too much icing, which the cake didn't need!). And I made a new chili recipe, adapted from a local place called St. Michael's Alley--will post on Friday.

This bathroom is very long with two individual sinks separated by a large closet. So here's bathroom #2's before:

We had already changed out the light fixtures and the faucets (generic stainless boring things)

And as I mentioned with the master bath, hubs had removed the carpet and added tile floors . . . of course, I had to have them on an angle to add more interest to the room . . . and cause him more grief with all the angle cuts.

And here's the AFTER, we still have to find a few decorations to perk up the décor.
Hubs again added crown molding to the ceiling edge. He had a lot of angles, but he's getting better and better at it. For both the finished bathrooms he will be making a cornice piece for over the windows. This shower curtain we found at J. C. Penney's Home store. The silver trees just complimented the dark blue-gray walls. The wall color was from Kelly-Moore paints and was called Feather Falls

Okay, and now my cursor refuses to click to the left margin. Thanks, Blogger!
I'll post the chili recipe on Friday's blog.
Later, Peeps! 


Weighty Wednesday--Tired of being an Oompa-Loompa

The only difference between me and an Oompa-Loompa is skin tone.

I'm short--check.

I'm round--check.

But I don't have hepatitis.

Well, okay, I don't have green hair either.

And I do have a slightly better fashion sense.

So why do I feel like an Oompa-Loompa?

True confessions here--through apathy, I've managed to regain 20 pounds of my 50 pound weight loss.

Ugh, that hurts to write down. But that's my reality. As I said when I started this weight loss journey, everyone has their own path to follow. I knew that if I changed my behavior too radically, I couldn't keep it up.

But I also knew that I needed to fill up on fruits and veggies.

And over time, I've stopped eating as many fruits and veggies as I should. My goal for this week is to eat my daily goal of fruits and veg--five or six servings worth.

That's it. I'm not planning to rewire my mental hardware all at once. I choose only one thing that I need to work on and focus on that. Too much info, then core meltdown.

See, here's the interesting aspect of this--the more fruits and veg you eat, the less processed food you want to fill the empty void. Whereas, if you eat just processed food, it is digested quickly, which in turn, makes you graze in your pantry.

Trust me on this, It's what I've been doing for over a year since I started putting this weight back on.

Another interesting note is even when I follow the plan in regards to the amount of PPV's allowed per day, I won't lose weight. I maintain weight. It's the addition of the fresh fruits and veg that help me drop this extra weight.

This is why you will hear your WW leaders say that you need to check off your good health guidelines--DAILY. If your intake simply follows that plan, then you will lose the weight.

This is my goal for the week, what's yours?

Later, Peeps!  


Writing Again . . . Finally!

As you might have noticed, I haven't blogged in quite awhile. Oh, I've posted one here or there, but I haven't had a real pattern to my blogging since May 2014.

At first, I just wanted a break, so decided to take the summer off. But then I enjoyed the free time that not blogging gave me, and . . .
I started writing again.

It's been over two years since I really buckled down to write. Oh, I've written a few things, dabbled with the beginnings of various stories, but I haven't simply sat down and churned out the words.

I'm churning them out now. I have a small goal of 5,000 words a week.

I'm working on Dragon Days of Summer, book four of The Goblin's Apprentice series. Once I finish the rough draft, I'll have to spend quite a bit of time layering the mythical aspects, plus characterization, plus differentiating the characters. Kyte has a couple of new bff's . . . just saying.

What will I write after this?

I don't know.

But I do know that blogging too far too much creative energy. This doesn't mean that I won't blog, I will. It just means that I won't be blogging as often. So if you don't want to keep coming back to the blog to see if something new is posted, then you might want to have the blog sent to you via email. This way you will only get a message if I've posted anything new.

To that end. I need to go write.

Later, Peeps!


Master Bath Update

Over the last few weeks, my hubby has been updating our master bathroom. When we bought this house in 1996, it was perfect. The colors were perfect. The size was perfect. The outside was non-existent other than a fence and the entire yard being sodded.

And it was a model home for the neighborhood. It was one of the first houses built to showcase the 1) neighborhood, 2) the builder, 3) it was built in 1994 or 1995.

Which means, it is seriously dated.

Over the years, we did many things to this house, mainly outside. The inside didn't need much work.

tile floor hubs laid many years ago
Except about eight years ago, the hubs was seriously tired of the carpeting in the bathroom, so he tiled the floors of both upstairs baths. Now, I couldn't just let the tiles be boring squares. I had to have a pattern. A few years later, he added a light in the shower. Now I could see what on those cloudy gloomy days. .

light for shower stall
Fast forward--since the floors were redone, we knew it was only a matter of time before we tackled the wallpaper. We would go to new house builds and home shows, but up until this last year, everything was dark browns/beige and dark granite counters.

Did I mention that I HATE granite? Especially dark blacks/browns? Yeah, hate it. This year, many model homes were returning to lighter counters.

And guess what? Our bathroom counters are light marble! Imagine that! The cabinets are Merilatte, and I have to say that I LOVE them. They are plastic coated white and cleaning them is easy-easy!

Now, I was ready for the hubs to redo the bathroom.

I had one final request--keep the gold fixtures.

Now, this wasn't because I'm overly fond of gold, but because it would become extremely pricey to replace: 2 sink faucets and drains, 1 large light fixture, 3 towel bars plus toilet paper holder, one Jacuzzi faucet set, one shower set (head and knob are separate), and one shower door and frame.

Since the bath would retain the gold fixtures, we were limited to the colors that would work well with it.

We chose Mount Tam, by Kelley Moore paints. It's a dark olive green color. I tried to upload a color swatch, but they have it blocked. Sorry.

Before hubs started ripping off wallpaper, we knew the tall ceilings would need a little accent. The wallpaper had a border, so we decided that crown molding would help offset the ceiling, plus add a more regal quality to the bathroom.

Yes, my hubs cut the molding and installed it. He has skills . . . and some really cool tools. You can see the molding in some of the finished pictures at the bottom of the blog.

He also painted the ceiling (18 years, remember? It needed it!), and we replaced the vents and various other fixtures that looked nasty over time and bathroom dampness. The ceiling color is called Cubist Grey. Actually, the ceiling and most of the walls inside the house are painted this color.

Here's some pictures. Sorry, but I don't have any before pics the reno because the hubs started in on the bathroom before I took some shots! Here are a few in process. . . . and Maggie managed to photobomb mot of them!

This is the room with the toilet. This was the one wall that didn't have sizing on it prior to the wallpaper, which results in tearing the drywall paper.

This is the same room with the crown molding and post painting. The wicker trashcan and tissue cover are NOT new, but they seem to work in this room!


This is the old fixture, but we purchased new lamp shades--alabaster in a bell shape. The original shades were off white in a tulip pattern with petals that almost touched the shades next to it. I think it helps modernize it a little.  
Our double sink area. The mirror was a %$## to move out of the bathroom and back into the bath. But we managed without breaking it. YAY! We have new towels on order. These off white ones are being retired to the car rag bin. New soap dispensers--you can't find anything gold, so I'm going to buy some gold paint and paint the pumps to match.  Maggie is relaxing in her spot near the Jacuzzi tub. The black iron tree on the wall is new décor.

 These are candle holders we found at Pier One. This shelf is larger than it looks and it takes up a lot of space. One of the hub's projects is to put some shelves into it with doors to give us a linen closet in this room, which is sorely missing!
I don't want curtains, so I'm getting hubs to make a wooden valence like he did in our formal dining area.

Close up of the candle holders and the "books" ( found at the at home store, previously Garden Ridge)

So there you have it. One bathroom down, and one and a half to go. I DID manage to snap a few pics of my daughter's bathroom before they were stripped down!
Later, Peeps! 


Weighty Wednesday -- Insight

Ask anyone who has been on Weight Watchers and gained lifetime what the most pivotal part of the process was, and I bet a large majority will pipe up that it's the meetings.

Over a year ago, I gained lifetime status. I had gotten to my goal weight and maintained it up to a point, but then there were the inevitable fluctuations.

But then something happened last November and I simply stopped caring. Oh, I still went to the meetings and watched my weight continue to escalate. I had the tools to fix this. I had the support of my fellow WW members. I had the support of my leader.

I was missing a key support person in the support of my weight loss.


If I didn't care enough to make the change, nothing anyone else said, or cheered, or did would make a damn bit of difference. I had hit the wall of apathy, and I had no clue how to get out of it.

Until yesterday.

My friends, I will tell you that the meetings are all important, but it isn't the materials presented to us as much as it is the other people sharing their insights that make the biggest impact on us.

The one person who profoundly affected me was Nina (pronounced Nine-A). She made one comment that struck a cord and made me realize where, and WHY, I managed to go wrong. I can't quote it, since I had so many errands and didn't get a chance to write it down, but to paraphrase,

"If we don't care enough to make the effort to lose weight, then we see this attitude showing up in our other behaviors."
And I thought to myself, "Holy crap! That's it!"
I didn't stop to thank Nina after the meeting because I was afraid that I'd burst into tears, but I have to thank her next week. Her comment was exactly what I needed. She provided me with insight that I hadn't realized.
After I got home, I started putting a timeline together, along with looking at my weight loss graph. And though the dates are rough, the curve of my weight gain was directly related to my inability to write. Almost two years ago, I had lost the need to write. There were numerous reasons: a falling out with my cover artist, the gazillion rejections that eventually, and ultimately, say "You're a failure.", and the stagnation of the story I really wanted to write, but wasn't able to find the words.
Now, this didn't mean that I didn't write, I did, but I wasn't really writing the story that I NEEDED to write.
Fast forward a year and twenty pounds heavier, two weeks ago I started writing the story that stalled. Part of the reason was to give my friend, Meg something to read while recovering from chemotherapy. She's been a staunch supporter of mine for a long time and she loves these characters as much as I do.
Writing about this story and these characters has made me happy again. And when one is happy, one doesn't rely on food to satisfy some deep need.
Now, this doesn't mean all my dreams will come true and the weight will simply melt off. Heck no! It will still be a challenge to make those food choices, but with Nina's insight, I suspect I know how I managed to fall down that hill into self-absorbed depression.
And now that I'm back in the game, I think the support of my WW friends will truly help me get back on the right path and continue this weight loss journey.
Later, Peeps!


Picture of Love

Picture of Love


The other day my daughter and I were talking about the difference between lust and love. I have to admit that this was a tough conversation to have with my 13-year-old daughter, but I want to be as open with her about these touchy topics as I can.  I didn't go into great detail, because I didn't need to get my point across.
Lust is instant attraction, and it can turn into love, but more times than not, the flame of lust simply flickers out when one partner leaves the other behind to fight the heartache of loss as (s)he tries to figure out what went wrong.

I didn’t explain it to her in this way, but as I thought about this topic on my morning walk, I solidified an example that makes perfect sense to me.
Lust is fast-moving, quickly ignited bonfire. It encompasses both parties to in its fiery embrace. Lust without friendship, commitment, honesty and trust will soon burn low, the embers only kept alive if someone tends to it. Many times only one person is interested in keeping this fire alive, and soon even those embers turn to ash and blow away in the wind.

Lust is the “What do I get out of this relationship?

Lust is all about ego, the self-centered id.

Love might start out as lust, burning brightly with each discovery of different aspects of the other person. The fire might not burn as brightly or as quickly, but it also isn’t consumed in the fierce flames. Love’s fire can turn dim if no one is tending the relationship, if the couple allows distrust and others to invade their space. Even if the embers have died down, there is always the small hope, the faint flicker of flame as one tends the fire of the relationship, feeding it until it burns brightly again.

The fire of love must be tended to constantly. Each partner must be responsible to help keep the fire alive. But when adversity hits, the partners must support each other to get through the hard times. When tough times hit, wouldn’t you want to be walking next to your best friend?

Love is the “What can I do to make my partner happy?

The high divorce rate is a sad statement of the current society. So many people jump into marriage when they really aren’t mature enough to realize that the true meaning of marriage is making the other person happy.

This is where many people fail in marriage, love, and life. When the going gets tough, then bail. What they fail to realize is how much closer they can become if they provide a united front to the world. Bailing out of a relationship when hard times hit is the coward’s way out. If that is how you treat the people you love, I hate to think of how you would treat others.

So what does the picture of love look like?
How about this?

Photo taken, and used with permission, by Emory Bryant, News on 6

This gentleman made this sidecar for his wife, who is wheelchair bound, so they could enjoy riding together.  That, my friends, is what love looks like.

If this isn’t the picture of what love looks like to you, then how about this:

Love isn’t fleeting. It isn’t selfish. It’s all about giving of yourself, but it can’t only go one direction. True love—and yes, I keep hearing the Bishop in The Princess Bride saying, “Twue Wuv”—must be reciprocated.
I don't know about you, but the thought of aging with my sweetheart simply makes me happy.
Food for thought, my friends.
Later, Peeps!


Foodie Friday--Pesto Bechamel Pasta

When the weather starts cooling down, I tend to cook more in the kitchen. And most of the items I cook could be termed 'comfort food', which usually translates into creamy, carb-loaded concoctions.
The other day, I looked in the fridge and saw store-bought pesto and some leftover chicken (seasoned with fajita seasoning and grilled few days ago).

Now, pesto can be an overpowering thing since basil is the number one ingredient, along with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and some brands add parmesan cheese and/or pine nuts or almonds. The brand I picked up this time was in the refrigerated section and was far less garlic-y than the brand in the hard goods aisle. I personally don't like the pesto that's this strong, so I will find ways to dilute the intensity.

So my idea was to make a chicken, pesto, pasta thing. And then I remembered my Chicken Lasagna recipe. I had to make a few changes, because the sauce was just a hair too thin for the pound of noodles that I cooked--I added about three large spoonfuls of grated parmesan cheese, which was about 3/4 cup.

Here's the recipe:

Pesto Béchamel Pasta

4 Tbls. butter
1/2 cup flour
3 cups milk
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup basil pesto
leftover chicken--sliced

Place pot of water with salt for the pasta on stove, on high, as you begin to make the béchamel sauce. Cook pasta al dente according to pasta directions.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and stir, cooking for about 2 minutes. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Simmer about 2-4 minutes. Add pesto, salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning. Add chicken.

If the sauce is finished before pasta, place a lid on it to keep warm.

Drain pasta. Add to sauce mixture. Fold pasta into mixture. If sauce is too thin, add grated parmesan cheese until desired thickness.

Serve with side of green salad.

Tips & Tricks:
  • taste your pesto before you add it. Some brands are loaded with garlic or salt, and you don't want to over season your meal
  • the roux will seem chunky after the flour is added, just keep stirring so it doesn't burn. Turn down heat just a little to help keep it from burning
  • I use skim milk, but if you want a richer sauce use whole milk. If you don't have whole milk (I don't), add a little cream in place of some of the milk. Instead of 3 cups of milk, use 2 cups of skim milk and one cup of cream
  • season intelligently. If you don't like nutmeg, don't add nutmeg. If your pesto is salty, then don't add salt until after you mix in the pesto to see if you need to add any salt.  
  • I use a whisk instead of a spoon to stir, since whisks break up lumps.
  • I didn't have fettuccine noodles, so I used some trumpets. The shapes are fun, but they took a little longer to cook than thinner noodles.
  • The sauce was too thin for these noodles, so I added a couple large spoonfuls of grated parmesan cheese to help thicken it slightly.
And this is another recipe that my family demolished in less than 24 hours.