Monday, July 16, 2018

Out of Office

I’m entering my third week of, visit, with Sam in North Carolina.  Why so long, you may be wondering?  Well, because of this:
Right after signing his life away at closing.

Sam bought his first house!  It's really nice, but there is so much to do.  Jeff was here with us the first week; he flew home to start his new job, and I was supposed to go home today, but we are nowhere near being finished so I ended up extending my visit until Saturday.  Jeff and Paco are holding down the fort at home; I hear poor Paco is wondering what happened to me - WHERE MOM GO? 

While he took some time off for the move, Sam had to go back to work today, so this morning I'm meeting with the blind guy...window coverings, that is, not a person who can't see.  And the fence guy is coming tonight to measure and give a quote.  And thanks to part of the A/C not working properly, there's a hole cut in the drywall on the third floor that needs repair - hopefully they can get it scheduled while I'm still here this week.  It's hard being a sole homeowner when you need to have people come and do things at the house during the day, hence my staying longer.

Oh, and to make things extra fun, there's no internet because the company hasn't put in the box on the side of his house - ack.  We are able to use the hotspots on our phones to connect to the web, but it isn't ideal, so I've barely been keeping up with life outside of this little town.  Despite all of the long days, it's been fun for the most part and we've met some neighbors, found a neat little store that sells all kinds of local items, and are slowly making progress with getting the house and yard in order.  Hopefully I'll have some time to do another update soon with more pictures - you wouldn't believe how challenging it was to get this single picture uploaded, and my brain is just plain tired.

Friday, July 13, 2018

FMM - Huh?

When we were in Waco last month, we saw a couple of things that made both Jeff and I go huh?  So of course I have to share them with you.

First up, did you know that Beverly Hills is just outside of Waco?  I did not, but here you go:
I mean, that area just screams Beverly Hills...

The second thing was located next to Magnolia Table, and it brought back a conversation I had with Diane a couple of years ago, when she was telling me how her entire family was converging on Waco to meet up (it's an equal distance from where all of her sons live), and they were going to health camp and I was all, wait, you're going to a health camp?  There's a health camp in Waco?  Why are all of you going there - I though you were just meeting up for lunch?  It became a sort of "who's on first" routine with us as she kept saying no, health camp, they have shakes and things and I was all healthy shakes?  We never got that conversation resolved, and I didn't understand it until I saw this:
OH!  Now I see.  It's ironic.  Did not get that until now.

I was glad to have that mystery finally solved.  Also, see that dark sky?  That's what we drove through, and that's what kept us cool.  Thankfully it stayed west of us for the rest of the trip. 


The rest of these pictures are just too good not to share, even though there's no huh about them.  First, Jeff has officially retired from his job, and his career.  He's taking a week off and then will begin a new job working with a local non-profit agency, doing things that are completely different from what he did in his career.  The job is low stress, and the hours are 9 - 5, which is wild for him.  He is really excited about doing something that makes a difference, and it's wonderful that the job opportunity came up as he was considering retiring last fall.  Everything worked out nicely!
This is the face of a man who is three minutes into his retirement...and of course, his trusty dog, who had to pose for the picture.

Logan and his Gammy:
Are you taking ANOTHER picture of me, lady??  Gee whiz, let a boy eat his pancakes in peace! 


Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

WWU - Catching Up

This actually happened a week and half ago, but because blog traffic is so light during a holiday, I saved it for this update. 

It was super warm for our run on Saturday - the feels like temperature was already 86 degrees at 6:00 am.  I'd spent the first half of the week dealing with a stomach bug (2018 seems to be the year of barfing for me) and slight fever, and had barely eaten anything.  I didn't run all week, obviously, and my legs were feeling pretty wobbly, so I decided to just see how it went, not push myself, and walk as often as I wanted.  Diane and I ended up doing hill repeats together, and I know that you runners out there will be surprised to hear that, but wait:  we did downhill repeats.  Yes, we mostly walked up the hill and ran all the way down - it was about a third of a mile.  It was just what I needed, some easy, successful running.  We did three repeats and then I headed back to the clubhouse while Diane ran a few more miles.

After everyone had returned, the crew brought out homemade peach ice cream and bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes to celebrate Jeff's retirement.  Ice cream on a day as hot as that was a perfect treat, and the bundtinis were literally the icing on the cake:
A happy retiree right here!
It was so cute - Mason immediately went to Jeff as soon as he got his ice cream.  Of course Jeff shared with him!
Logan had a bite of his mom's cake, but wait...
Gammy has cake too!
He crawled over to her and was rewarded with both cake and icing.
Blissed out on chocolate! 
Afterward, he went to our cold washcloth tub to clean himself off.  Or splash in the water - either way, he got clean.
Meanwhile, Mason was down the street at his favorite mailbox, playing ready set go with his mom.  He loves to run and I can't wait to see him in his first little race!

We still went to Blue Baker for some breakfast to balance out all the sugar; good times were had by all.  When it was time for Mason to leave, he and Logan had a sweet little goodbye moment:
Mason was going in for a kiss - awww!
Such a cute smile!
Then Logan leaned over to give Mason some affection - our Renegade babies are so cute!

Monday, July 9, 2018

FULL HOUSE Renovation Before and After - Hall Bathrooms

The hall bathrooms were a big deciding factor when we bought our house - getting separate areas for each kid was actually getting me some less stressful mornings, as no one would be hogging the sink.  They each had their own, and a toilet as well, woohoo!  Of course they had to share the shower that connected both bathrooms, and there was squabbling about that sometimes, but overall, it was a nice feature.  That said, both bathrooms were quite dated - they had builder-grade cabinets and countertops that had seen better days, and one bathroom still had the original Hollywood light fixture (in a shiny gold, no less) in it.  The bathtub/shower surround was one piece, made of plastic, and it never came clean no matter what I did to it.

We didn't want to spend a lot in these rooms, and while we looked at the big box stores for new vanities, we just didn't like anything, or what we did like was way more than we wanted to pay.  So, we chose vanities and sink/countertops from Ikea, and while the installation was a challenge for both our contractor and plumber, we were pleased with how everything came out.

Bathrooms without windows are hard to get decent pictures in, so I had very few before shots, but I'm pretty sure you'll get the gist of the changes.

Bathroom 1:
The design of the bathroom started with the light fixture and we went from there.  I love round mirrors - this is from Umbra - and all you have to do is get them the same size as the vanity and they work.  The sink/counter is one piece, porcelain, and the style felt right with the light fixture.  The faucet is from Delta.
Close up of the shelves that replaced the headknocker cabinet above the toilet.  Lacking accessories...I've been eying a couple of vases in orange and yellow that I think would be a good fit with the gray and navy.  I bought the two framed pieces of art when I was in Santa Fe last year.  I love the artist's work and looked online to see if I could afford a larger piece for the wall opposite the toilet.  I cannot.
Vanity - the old one was 27 inches, so we had very little space to work with.  The new one is 24 inches wide, but it's much more usable as both drawers pull out fully and you can access items easily.  While the toilet gave our plumber pause, what with the newfangled flange, we are happy with it and we really like the full skirt on it - makes for a super easy cleaning day.  

Bathroom 2:
Because the bathrooms were connected, and so close together, we decided to make them as similar as we could.  The vanity is larger in this side, as is the mirror.  I don't have any artwork in here yet.
This shows the old vanity vs the new one - even with the new one being just a few inches smaller than the old one, it looks lighter because it's not wall-to-wall, plus it has legs instead of going all the way to the floor.
I'm glad we switched from the headknocker cabinets above the toilets to floating shelves, even though I don't have a lot of items to put on them just yet.  This is where the guest towels are; I rolled the hand towels and washcloths and put them in a divided metal container that I already owned.  

Tub/shower and surround:
No before pictures, but trust me, the old tub/shower wasn't pretty.  We are really happy with the longer, glossy subway tile, the double niches, and the cool new spout, valve, and shower head.  This was taken during construction, so the tub hadn't been fully cleaned, but now it's sparkling!
This is a cast iron tub and it's lower to the ground than the old one, which is nice for stepping into, and if you needed to bathe a baby, it seems like it would be an easier reach.
There's not much to this room as you can see!  We reused the hook bar for hanging towels, and I found the shower curtain online at Target for something like $13, which is much better than the original, similar one that I first liked - that was going for $88, which, no.

Having the flooring be the same as the rest of the house makes these bathrooms look so good!  And I just love how clean and fresh the vanity tops are, instead of the yellowing countertops from before.  We were a little worried going into this part of the renovation because using Ikea vanities, sinks, and their plumbing system was a first for our contractor and plumber, but it all worked out in the end and we couldn't be more pleased.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


Happy Birthday, America!  You are 242 years old today and still hanging in there.  Some years seem harder than others, and this last one has been a doozy.  Stay strong - we'll get through the craziness.

I'll be taking the rest of the week off from blogging - have a great day off if you live in the United States!  I'll see you back here on Monday.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Road Trip For Breakfast


About a month ago, Jeff and I were catching up on some Fixer Upper episodes that we missed during our renovation (thanks to not having the satellite connected), and we watched the one where Chip and Joanna renovated and started a restaurant.  While showing the food options that Joanna was cooking and perfecting for the restaurant, we decided that we needed to take a little road trip to Waco and give Magnolia Table a taste test.  So last Monday, that's what we did - join us on our road trip, won't you?

Waco is a 90 minute drive from our house, so we got on the road at 8:00 am.  It was hot and we dressed accordingly...which got interesting when we drove toward some ominous-looking clouds:
Well sure, let's just drive riiight into that.
And we did.  I took this before it got so bad that we could barely see - I pulled up the radar on my phone and saw that we were in the worst of the storm but we'd be out in a little bit, so we just slowed down and sure enough, it turned back to simply rain instead of a torrential gullywasher.

We found the restaurant pretty easily and parked behind it - I figured there would be a lot of people there because it's summer and if you're going to visit the Silos, you'll probably also visit Magnolia Table, which is why we wanted to get there fairly early.  It was still raining but they had a large canopy set up for everyone to line up and give their name to the hostess - there was an hour wait, which I expected.  They took my phone number and said they'd text when our table was ready; I know don't get out much but I thought this was a great idea instead of handing out hundreds of buzzers like they do at the restaurants in our town. 

We decided to check out the Take Away area, because it was inside and it was still raining.  OK, I would have checked it out even if it hadn't been raining, HA!
The floor at the entrance - the entire restaurant is done in mosaic tile like this.
You could order a coffee while you waited, if you wanted.
There wasn't a line at all, but I only wanted to purchase a coffee mug (I admit I have a slight problem with acquiring coffee mugs).
Meanwhile, Jeff was reading Joanna's new cookbook - I offered to buy it for him, but when he saw the price, he was aghast.  Apparently Jeff has never bought a cookbook before.
They also had ready-made sandwiches and cold drinks available for purchase, and I had to take a picture of a quintessential Texas sandwich - this is pimiento cheese on Texas toast.  See how thick that top slice of bread is?  There's another, same size, on the bottom and pimiento cheese in the middle which I've had a couple times in the 25+ years that we've lived here and have not developed a taste for.  But Texans seem to love it.
Another shot of the floor - it was really beautiful.

The rain stopped so we went outside to check out the courtyard - it was pretty wet out there but the staff was already out drying chairs and using a giant squeegee to clear the grounds of water.  Soon our text came through, and we were shown to our table:
This is what 34 years of marriage does to you - twin poses.
Every detail was charming, from the water bottle at the table, to the printed napkins, the hand-thrown ceramic vase with fresh eucalyptus in it, and the coffee mugs - this is the style that I bought in the Take Away area.

We had a hard time narrowing down our choices for breakfast, which is why Jeff got lunch and I shared some of my breakfast with him:
Scrambled eggs, pepper bacon, and OMG homemade tater tots, which were so good...
And French toast.  This was so light and yummy that if I went back, I'd probably order it again, only not with the other plate of food.  I had two pieces and gave the rest to Jeff, along with some of my bacon.
This is the Gaines Brothers Burger, with Havarti cheese and bacon onion jam - I had a bite and it was really good, although quite rich.

The restroom area is between two wings of the restaurant, and Jeff was facing it.  He couldn't get over the fact that so many people were taking pictures of the restroom as they stood in line, so he had to take a picture of that:
Obviously Jeff does not quite get that we were in a place akin to Disneyland for many people.
This is what they were taking a picture of, and for the record, the inside of the women's restrooms were really nice - Joanna does such a nice job with every detail!

Our waitress was super friendly, as all of the Magnolia staff seem to be.  I've been there three times now and I've never encountered anyone who was just doing their job - their welcoming attitude really makes you feel like they are happy you're there, and not just a cash cow visiting a tourist attraction. 
Leaving the restaurant - from a gullywasher to blue skies!

We actually lucked out with the weather, because the rain brought unheard-of-in-June temps in the mid-70s.  With lower humidity than our town.  It was wonderful, and a welcome break from what we normally live with.  We hit a couple more Magnolia spots in town before heading back home, but I'll save those pictures for another post.

Friday, June 29, 2018

FMM - Art

Reader Susan, fellow sufferer of heat and humidity because she lives in Florida (I feel your pain, Susan), asked for some close up shots of the large painting we moved to our entry area.  Happy to oblige - it's interesting and depending on what color the wall is painted, different colors pop.

Backstory is that my Grandmother bought this back in the early 70s - the artist is Helen Lake Smith, and other than the fact that my Grandmother was living in southern California when she bought it, we really don't know anything more about the painting or the artist.  And that's a shame as I like to know a little background about an original art piece and the artist who created it.  There's no title to this piece, but I've always called it the fork painting, because, well, you'll see:
See how it looks like a fork was dragged through the paint?
Also, not to state the obvious, but this looks like a fork to me.
My brother saw a snake in it, which I never connected, but there you go - everyone can see something different in abstract art.


There was a gathering of Mini cars on Wednesday at the museum where my parents volunteer.  They sent me several pictures, but the cutest was this:
A Mini police car!  It's the K-9 unit, which ups the awww factor even more.


Have a great weekend!