Sunday, July 20

Making Serious Progress

There is nothing like having houseguests to get one off their assets and finish (pretty much) in three days work that could easily be procrastinated for a couple weeks. Friends Mike and Marty are coming Wednesday. So we kicked it into high gear over the weekend.

Basically what that means is, we hung the art. What a difference art makes! And wonder of wonders, it all fit, with room for a new piece or two! Unbelievable. We have a lot of art. It took two days to get it all up.

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The armoire is 110% too big for the room but whaddaya gonna do. I don’t have a quilt that’s perfect for that spot over the fireplace, so I’m going to make one. It’ll be a great project to help me get back in the groove.

We exchanged the tan faux-suede barstools for chocolate leather ones and we like ‘em! Yay! We thought we’d sit at the counter for breakfast, but we find we like the dining table more. The view is nice and the breeze is heavenly. The chandelier will get changed out as soon as I have time to shop for one. DSCF1337

This is J’s office (my desk is on the right, out of the picture). He likes his art hung high. It’s his room <shug>.DSCF1339

This is the hall that leads to the powder room. The afternoon sun was blasting through the window so I closed the door. DSCF1340

Looking through the front door. Sorry about the boxes—they’re gone now. We got that rug in Turkey. It’s silk and beautifully iridescent. We usually hang it on a wall but this time we hung it on the floor. DSCF1341

Here’s our front. The windows are the studio/guestroom. That’s Bud parked in front. I decided to not sell it. It’s only got 23,000 miles on it and it costs nothing to keep it. We have other things we want to spend our money on right now. House stuff. DSCF1342

Here’s our little “California Room.” Like the furniture? Check out that view reflected in the windows. DSCF1343

This is our bedroom. It’s pretty small. Rather, our furniture is pretty big. I am standing outside to take the picture. I wonder how long it will be before I hook my little toe on that bench on my way to the bathroom in the night. DSCF1344

In other news…there really is no other news. I took a longer walk today and my hip barely hurt at all. The walking is painful (but not very much) and it makes it feel stronger/better in the long run, and each day it hurts less. By the time we get all this house stuff done, I’ll be ready to go to the golf practice range. Next week maybe.

I love it here. I am so happy we did this. It’s a lot of work right now, but it’s worth it and we’re in a good place.

Wednesday, July 16

Little by Little

We are getting it all done.

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Inside, we are just about ready to hang the art. The window shades (stacked at the top of the windows) are in. We should get the cardboard boxes out soon—you get one chance to have them picked up, and we have just a couple more boxes to empty. The rug you see will be replaced by a sisal one if it ever gets here. I am shopping for light-colored pillows to lighten up the red sofa. When I find the time, that is. I loved the beachy ones at Pottery Barn but they are all sold out and the fall/winter colors are coming in. I knew I should have bought them in April but we had no place to keep them. Oh well.

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We got the above barstools from Pottery Barn and we hate them. They are going back today. They are faux suede and just all wrong. They’re pretty massive, but then the island IS more like a continent. Some of the junk on the right side of the picture is still waiting there for us to disperse it somewhere. I love the kitchen. I love the whole house. We get wonderful ocean breezes through that window at the dining area. I am over the moon with the AIR here!

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I got the studio done, everything is put away…quilts will get hung in here, but we haven’t gotten that far yet. See how the shade color looks different against the walls? In “real life” they are the same color. The walls always wash out to off-white in photos. The are really tan, about the color of the sofa.

That’s Bud (my SUV) outside the window. My SIL was going to buy it but changed his mind. Now I have to sell Bud first. Disappointing, but at least I can take my TIME now. I was crunched to get wheels ASAP before he gave it back. There are just too many other things vying for my time. I had been shopping online and now every car dealer north of the border has my number and wants my business. You can imagine. We’ve stopped answering the phone.

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J got the office done. Everything fit, but just barely. I can’t show you the bedroom because ONE of us is still sleeping. We got the blackout shade yesterday (finally!!) but it’s all wrong and now I have to fight with the Blind Guy to pretty much take it and shove it. We are very disappointed with the shades. Quite a few of them are just plain wrong. We will have to start over in many rooms. Really pisses me off. I don’t have time for this.

We found a Landscape Guy. Yesterday we went to some neighbors’ houses and looked at the landscaping he had done there and liked it. We like him, too. So that’s a load off. Now I have to make specific, to-scale drawings for approval. Landscape Guy tells me “they” are being really persnickety so I have to do a precise job. Or pay an architect. We’re considering the latter.

In other news, my sore and stiff back and hips are quieting down and easy mobility has returned. Yoga classes have started up but I’m not ready for that yet. My book club met yesterday and it was a good time. I love the book—so far—(All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr) but I didn’t get much read in the small window of time I had—I joined late because of Moving Day.

The diet is still going well, even though I have recently been drinking wine at night to help ease the achy joints. (That was my excuse anyway.) Wine and weight loss don’t mix, so I need to cut that out. My clothes are too big and I’m digging in the archives of the closet to find what was previously too small. The new Chico’s top that I only wore once before I shrunk it in the wash now fits. It feels great to be thinner! But the best news of all is, NO MIGRAINE IN 3 MONTHS since I quit eating wheat.

Well, time to run, everyday errands still need to get done. Thanks for stopping by. Life is good.

Sunday, July 6

A Journey of 1,000 Miles

We are making progress, but it’s at a snail’s pace. There is so much to do and we really need to be about 15 years younger for this. We are tired. Everything you want to do you have to move two things in front of it before you can get to it.

I figure if I waited until everything was ship-shape to show some pictures, it might be several months before I checked in.

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This is the dining area (duh), we actually use it every day now. Before, we just walked past it. You can see the island, which is more like a continent. You may remember the granite story; we ended up taking the standard granite upgrade and, while it ain’t a show-stopper, it’s nice enough and we’re fine with it. We bought three barstools at Pottery Barn yesterday (to be delivered).

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I like the new Samsung 3-door fridge, it wouldn’t hold enough for a family but it’s plenty big enough for the two of us. Is it shiny or what! Lordy! When we shopped for it I was more interested in its inside than its outside and paid no attention to how shiny it is. Someone told me to watch out for that but I didn’t remember it at the time.

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Moving to the right, this is the laundry room. We upgraded it (size). The extra cabinets here are so welcome because there isn’t that much storage in the kitchen. We upgraded the kitchen cabinets: All the shelves pull out so you don’t have to get down on your knees to find what’s gone missing in the back of the cabinet. It’s a great concept but you give up a lot of shelf space for it. I love the new Samsung washer and dryer; very efficient and quiet. What you can’t see to the left is a pantry. It is full with kitchen equipment that wouldn’t fit in the kitchen.

Here is a wider angle shot of the kitchen. IMG_1197

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This is our backyard barbecue, LOL! The window you see is the dining room. I’m going to sketch out some landscape ideas next week. The houses on both sides of us are still empty. The house you can see, they have issues with their tile floor and have not closed yet. The house on the other side, behind me, fell out of escrow. Too bad—they were a delightful couple. The house was decorated really weird (IMO)—all white. White walls, white cabinets… So far they haven’t been able to sell it. I hope we don’t get creepy neighbors—a woman who was looking at it the other day was a real nut job. We know this because she was asking US all kinds of questions about it…and arguing with us. WTF?

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This is the view. Or at least a part of it—it’s practically 180 degrees of wonderfulness. We are going to plant grasses at the fence (which the camera lens is poked through) to camouflage the houses below. There is a major intersection down there, you may be able to see it, and traffic will increase exponentially over the next few years as the area to the east is built out. They have graded two of the “corners” for retail, which will be both a blessing and a curse. There was a time I would have been majorly upset about the growing traffic noise and light pollution, but that’s civilization. There is a streetlamp on the street below that shines directly into our bedroom, but nothing can be done about that either—thank goodness I ordered blackout shades for the bedroom (if they ever get here we will get a good night’s sleep), but it will make climbing in and out of the [future] hot tub interesting. Just a little privacy issue that needs mitigating. NBD.

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Finally, here is the studio/guest room. It is a nice space, plenty big. I have a LOT of work to do in here. We made huge progress yesterday—everything that belonged in the closet was in the room, and everything that belonged in the room was in the closet—at least we got the big items in the right places. The big shelf units we brought from the desert house don’t fit. In fact, we have a lot of things that don’t fit, not only the quantity but the furniture is scaled about 110% too large for the house. It’s like trying to fit six pounds of shit into a five-pound bag.

In other news, I lent Bud (my big SUV) to SIL Chris, who wants to buy it. Which means I can get my new car soon (as soon as he pays me)—and that’s kinda fun.

I joined some clubs; I joined the women’s golf club at San Juan Hills, and here at Gavilan I joined a book club, a quilting/stitching club, and a yoga class. All of which I have yet to attend.

Another club I joined as of July 1 is Medicare! Yep, I am officially a card-carrying senior citizen! Where DID middle-age go… The government is supporting us both now! Ha ha!

We are still watching our diets—for the most part—a couple of celebrations got in the way, but we are vigilant and we are losing. We are progressing at a snail’s pace on that too, but making progress.

That’s about all for now. I hope all is well in your world, I haven’t had time to check in with any of your blogs. Sorry about that. I’m on a Facebook diet, too. I have added a lot more time to my day since I stopped doing FB. That’s another habit I can do without.

Wednesday, June 18

ALLLL Done

We spent the day up at the new digs today signing papers, doing the walk-through, getting the lowdown on how things work, getting the windows measured for shades, getting the water purifier installed…it took all day.

I love everything. I’m very happy with how it all came together. Until you see it all in place, you can’t tell how it will look. The wall paint is quite a bit lighter than I had envisioned, but you know what? I really like it. Everybody that came in today said it turned out great, but of course they are going to say that.
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The fridge and washer/dryer will be delivered next week. We went offline and got Samsung.

Here’s how the fireplace turned out. No phony logs—glass chips.DSCF1325
I love the floor. Down that hall are the office, powder, studio, and front door, in that order.

Let’s go down the hall and have a look. Studio/Guestroom on the left. It has big windows and I can keep tabs on the comings and goings on the street.
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The master suite is on the right and the dining area even further right.
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Here is the master bath. The floor turned out a LOT different from the sample tile, it’s more gray and doesn’t match anything, but it’s really okay and a big rug will go down anyway.
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This is the powder room. Those walls are not white, but there is a window in here. I’m thinking wallpaper in here. Glam it up a bit. DSCF1333
I’ll be back with more pictures when we get the furniture in and it looks like home.

In other news, everything is good.

Sunday, June 8

Down the Rabbit Hole

That’s seemingly how so many of my days are lately. I have been learning way too much about food—specifically what is being done to our food in America and how we have been deceived. Every morning it seems I learn something new about the government’s role in our nutrition (if you can call it that), and every evening I dig into another book about the politics of our nation’s food. One thing leads to another, then another, then another. But I did say I needed a hobby. Be careful what you wish for…

Did I tell you we have been dieting? This was in front of me last night. DSCF1321

I tasted it. It was soooo sweet. Whoa! It was our friend’s 65th birthday and we drank champagne and had a lovely lobster dinner at a swanky restaurant in La Jolla to celebrate. Diet or not, life’s milestones happen.

Speaking of diet, we went up to Dana Point to meet up with my cousin Jim for lunch. When I looked at the photo I could actually tell we’ve lost weight. Compare this photo with THIS one taken in April. We don’t have a scale so this is the only evidence I have of success so far.

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Here we are a few years younger. We were playpen-mates.SCAN0052

Since Dana Point is only six miles from the new house, where do you think we went after lunch… You guessed it!001

The house is nearly finished. We were delighted to see that the appliances are in. Except the fridge and W/D, which we purchased elsewhere. I have a stove!

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And sinks! Last time I was there I noticed the grout in the backsplash was a shocking sandstone (orange) color. I am not sure if they changed it or maybe it just dried, but it looks okay now. Hey, I didn’t notice that the sink is oval—I thought it’s supposed to be rectangle. There are so many nuances to stay on top of. IMG_1184

We go for our initial walk-through June 18, and closing will depend on what tweaks or touch-ups are needed. Moving day is the 27th. Less than 20 days! The waiting is agony—I will be so glad to leave this little apartment by the railroad and the nerve-jarring train horns 24 hours a day, and the bed with the giant sink-hole in the middle.

Monday, May 26

A Great Day All Around

We got out of “the box” today. We went up to The OC to accomplish several things.

First was lunch. We went to Islands, we love their Cobb salad and it fits our dietary program. When you diet eat like a caveman (paleo), you don’t get hungry—honest—and when you do eat, everything tastes so dang good it makes me look like a rock star in the kitchen. When I can remember to take some pictures of the incredible food I’ve been making, I’ll post them and give you the recipes. Yowza!

Then we went to Pottery Barn to see and touch some of the things we have seen in their catalog that we want for our new house. Everything is just how we imagined it. Perfect! And we have a 15% off coupon! Woot—can’t wait!

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Next, we went to see a movie, Chef. Omygosh what a delicious movie! There was actually applause at the end. I wanted to watch it again.MV5BMTY5NTYzNTA1M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODIwODU1MTE@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_

There’s a fantastic “little” cinema in Laguna Niguel that I loved so much that when we moved to the central coast I actually missed it. I didn’t figure it would still be there some 10+ years later. Well, it is, O happy day! They don’t have the big blockbusters, you won’t find Godzilla there, but the little films that I adore. And it’s not far from the new house. How happy am I!

Lastly, we went to see the house. No one was working so we got to go in and prowl around. Much progress has been made…we have cabinets! 007

The paint is WAY lighter than what I expected, in fact I’d argue that it’s wrong, and I will take the sample just to check, but I don’t mind it and it is a nice contrast against the cabinets. Here’s another look. The wood floor is there under the paper. 008

They have been working on changing out the fireplace…they removed the wrong one but that’s as far as they got. 006

It was a beautiful day today and we DIDN’T HAVE ANY TRAFFIC coming home. Pretty amazing right there, considering it was a holiday.

I hope you had a good holiday weekend.

Sunday, May 25

A Tirade on Big Food

We are still in a holding pattern here. And darn tired of it, I might add. It really drives home the reason why I wanted to move from the desert altogether instead of getting a [little, old, skanky] condo near the coast to escape the summer heat. I would be sitting there for three-plus months of the year in limbo, eating comfort food. Like I did here, for a while. And then I woke up. But first, a house report. One month to go.

We haven’t been up to the house for a while, we went last week but there were so many workers and vehicles zooming this way and that, that we left. They were grading the driveway and walkway and everything was torn up.

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While we were up in The OC we went to see the movie Fed Up. This really fired me up. I urge you to see it, especially if you have children in your lives. Click the link—the trailer will tell you much more than I can.

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With waaaay too much time on my hands, and inherently knowing that the easy convenience/comfort foods (like chicken asparagus noodle casserole with canned soup) we had been eating in our little prison are not good for us, I started reading up on diet and nutrition. There is an amazing amount of information to wade through. One thing leads to another, which leads to another, and so on. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface, but I’ve learned a lot already.

First up: Wheat. What the heck is wrong with wheat! Wheat’s the staff of life, right? It’s in the Bible, for crying out loud! Here’s the news: Modern wheat has been genetically modified to yield ten times more grain per acre, and the seeds have been shot with pesticides. In short, it ain’t your grandma’s wheat. We humans can’t process the high levels of gluten that exist in our American wheat. Other countries have banned GMO wheat, by the way.

Even if you aren’t gluten-intolerant, chances are you might be sensitive to it in some way. Gluten causes inflammation, and ….well, see the picture. There are many more ills not illustrated, like allergies, sinus infections, migraines, persistent rashes that might get better if you don’t eat wheat.

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You might try giving up wheat (other grains have been modified by GMOs too, so we don’t eat them either) for a month and see if some of these problems don’t get better. I have not had a migraine in five weeks, but it’s still early.

As we age, we accept some things as a normal part of aging. Things like an expanding waistline, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, etc—we think it’s inevitable. That ain’t necessarily true.  But don’t take my word for it, go see this guy—he shares a wealth of information on his website.

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It won’t be long before the Wheat Industry (Big Food) storms in and debunks this theory. Wait and see. They have a lot at stake and they will not take this lying down. 

Second: Fat

Let me introduce you to a man named Ancel Benjamin Keys. In the 1950s, Mr. Keys did a bad thing. He conducted a study with several countries and determined that eating saturated fat causes heart disease. Seems simple enough, but what Keys did was to cherry-pick the results to support his hypothesis. He threw out the data that did not fit! And that study is what became the basis of the Standard American Diet for years.

As the decades rolled by, people ate fat-free foods and thought they were doing the right thing. The USDA (subsidized by Monsanto, by the way) said, “Grains are the cornerstone of a healthy diet! Eat more grains! Buy this cereal—it’s heart-healthy! It’s low in fat and it’s good for you!” (And cheap to produce, with high profits.)

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Then they created High Fructose Corn Syrup and put it in our food because it was cheaper than sugar and made the food taste better. They put it into everything. Just try to get out of the supermarket without buying anything that contains HFCS or its sweet cousins. If it comes in a box or carton, it likely contains some permutation of sugar. It’s about profits, my darlings.

Nowadays you will see whole sections of your supermarket shelves stocked with gluten free products, but they use chemicals and substitutes and aren’t great for you—and supposedly taste awful, but I’ve never tried them and I won’t. Even things that never had gluten in them to begin with claim to be “Gluten Free!” It’s marketing, and it has spawned whole new product lines, just like Fat Free.

I think I digressed, sorry. I was talking about fats. For years we have been told fat is bad, don’t eat it. Especially butter! <gasp> So Big Food made margarine, even low-fat and fat-free margarine, which are loaded with trans-fats which we now know are bad, bad juju. We now know grains are the bad guys and fats are the good guys, exactly the opposite of what we have been told (doctors, too) was healthy. It has been proven that eating eggs do not give you high cholesterol and eating butter does not make you fat.

Third: Sugar.

Capture Look at this nutrition label. I don’t know what it’s for, I just snipped it from Google Images. But look at the percentages for things like Fat and Sodium. Notice Sugar does not have a % of Daily Value. This is the result of the sugar lobbyists winning this point: To keep the truth hidden from the consumer.

It’s the same thing that happened with the tobacco industry in the 70s. They KNEW! They knew that nicotine was addicting and they knew that smoking caused cancer. But they lied.

This is happening with sugar. We all avoid eating too much sugar because we know it causes obesity and diabetes. Yet Big Food sneaks it in everything and markets it to little kids in bright packaging and on cartoon shows. Most schools outsource lunches to Pizza Hut and McDonald’s, and Coca-Cola. Sugar is addictive. It is more addictive than cocaine. And Big Food knows it. They hook the kids early.

If the kids are fat, or bouncing off the walls, or if you’ve followed a “recommended” low calorie, low fat diet only to put all it back on, it’s not your fault. It’s Ancel Keys’ fault. And Big Food, who has a vested interest in making a tidy profit.