In the Kitchen

Kate at One More Thing is doing a weekly carnival of sorts, choosing a topic for other bloggers to write about.  This week’s topic is “In the Kitchen”.

Being a lifelong picky eater,  and having been single until age 37, I’m not known for my culinary skills.  I can follow a recipe, but spent most of my life thinking, “Why bother?”  It’s much easier to go through a fast food drive-thru than to take the time and energy to cook a healthy meal.

Hmmm.  Could that be part of the reason for my life-long weight struggle?  Ya think?

Because I cooked so little I would get completely stressed out when we would – very occasionally – invite company to share a meal.  Since marrying and having a son I’d definitely expanded my culinary horizons, but had never really entertained at home before.  Our last home was small enough that these visits were few and far between, thank goodness.  I would stress about every aspect of the visit – from the cleanliness of the house to the menu to cooking each item.  Trying to coordinate the meal so that everything was hot and ready at the same time caused me enough stress to send Husband to the garage to look for the wing nut from his 1977 Schwinn, which suddenly became of the utmost importance.

Since we moved into the new house I have room to spare.  We’ve had company every weekend, and sometimes during the week.  This past weekend I’d planned a Father’s Day Brunch, and even though I was sick we went ahead with our plans.

As I was cleaning up I noticed that I hadn’t gotten nervous or stressed this t ime.  In fact, I don’t think I’d gotten nervous or stressed about entertaining since we’d moved to the new house.

Could be maturity, could be that I’ve gotten enough of these visits under my belt to make it that much less a foreign enterprise.

Could be that I love my new kitchen.  Then again, who wouldn’t? At this point I could just link to the post about my kitchen, but I think I’ll just repeat it here:


I posted about the bold paint choices we made for our kitchen, and I finally have some photos to show…

Here’s what the kitchen looked like before we began:
3.10.09 Dad's house 005

3.10.09 Dad's house 007

3.10.09 Dad's house 039

That’s Son in the last shot.  Always happy!

I already had this print hanging in the kitchen in my old house.  That kitchen was painted the same yellow that most of the rest of that house, which is the same color we used to paint over the paneling in Son’s playroom.  It is one of my inspirations for the new kitchen, and this time I wanted to go bolder/  This print isn’t short on bold colors!

6.14.09 Move and After 156

Then I found some inexpensive wood bowls (vases?) in Homegoods, and I knew I had my kitchen color – Volcanic Blast by Behr.  Well, at least one of them…

6.14.09 Move and After 157

Too bright for the entire kitchen, I decided on green to ground the orange.  I picked the green in 5 seconds on the first green color page on Behr’s color wheel.  It’s Herbal Garden…

Here is the kitchen today…

6.14.09 Move and After 150

See the table and chairs I got for a net $125 on Craigslist?  I’ll post about that coup and why it’s a “net $125” later this week…  And after seeing this photo that red bag is no longer hanging from that drawer pull.  🙂

6.14.09 Move and After 151

6.14.09 Playing 024

Those plants were free, and the pots were 99 cents at Ikea.  I was going to paint some regular clay pots using the paint from the walls, but I like the white – and they have cool textures you can’t see in the photo.  And that’s an apple I was cutting up for Son.  Whoops…

6.14.09 Playing 037

The original plan was to paint the inside of the bar area the orange-red, but I changed my mind.  I’m so glad – I just love the way the green looks with the off-white cabinets and the black granite!

This entire room makeover cost under $200, and that includes the table and 6 chairs, the paint and a few accessories.  That’s bang for my buck!

So, yeah, I have a great kitchen.  And I love entertaining in it and from it and around it.

After all, it’s where I now spend most of my waking hours.

Who wouldn’t?

What do you say to a parent who has just lost their child?

What do you say to a parent who has just lost their child?

What words can possibly have any effect?  What can break through layer upon layer of grief and sadness and desperation and fear and senseless guilt and anger and bereftness?

What prayers can you offer them?

I would not be able to breathe.  I would very likely lose my will to live another instant, knowing that Son was not here.    I don’t have any other children, so there would be no need to be strong for the others…

I wouldn’t want to talk to anyone, be comforted by anyone.

There is no comfort when you lose a child.

My heart is breaking for my old, dear friend.  To lose a child so senselessly.  So suddenly.

Being so far away there really is nothing I can do, except grieve along with her.  Leave a message telling her that I’m so very sorry, and that I’m thinking of her.  Lose sleep myself, and check on Son ten times a night.

And hug him tight.  Tight.

I pray she can find a way to breathe.  I pray that she and her husband and her other two  sons can allow themselves to be and do and feel whatever they need to be and do and feel to get through today.

And I pray for the  same thing tomorrow.

Bold Color Transforms Kitchen into Bright, Warm Space

I posted about the bold paint choices we made for our kitchen, and I finally have some photos to show…

Here’s what the kitchen looked like before we began:
3.10.09 Dad's house 005

3.10.09 Dad's house 007

3.10.09 Dad's house 039

That’s Son in the last shot.  Always happy!

I already had this print hanging in the kitchen in my old house.  That kitchen was painted the same yellow that most of the rest of that house, which is the same color we used to paint over the paneling in Son’s playroom.  It is one of my inspirations for the new kitchen, and this time I wanted to go bolder/  This print isn’t short on bold colors!

6.14.09 Move and After 156

Then I found some inexpensive wood bowls (vases?) in Homegoods, and I knew I had my kitchen color – Volcanic Blast by Behr.  Well, at least one of them…

6.14.09 Move and After 157

Too bright for the entire kitchen, I decided on green to ground the orange.  I picked the green in 5 seconds on the first green color page on Behr’s color wheel.  It’s Herbal Garden…

Here is the kitchen today…

6.14.09 Move and After 150

See the table and chairs I got for a net $125 on Craigslist?  I’ll post about that coup and why it’s a “net $125” later this week…  And after seeing this photo that red bag is no longer hanging from that drawer pull.  🙂

6.14.09 Move and After 151

6.14.09 Playing 024

Those plants were free, and the pots were 99 cents at Ikea.  I was going to paint some regular clay pots using the paint from the walls, but I like the white – and they have cool textures you can’t see in the photo.  And that’s an apple I was cutting up for Son.  Whoops…

6.14.09 Playing 037

The original plan was to paint the inside of the bar area the orange-red, but I changed my mind.  I’m so glad – I just love the way the green looks with the off-white cabinets and the black granite!

This entire room makeover cost under $200, and that includes the table and 6 chairs, the paint and a few accessories.  That’s bang for my buck!

Now I have to decide what color to paint the family room – which you can see through the bar in the above photo.  A few people have suggested leaving it white, but I’m not sure.  I was thinking of also doing that room a lighter green, or perhaps the dreaded taupe.

What do you think?

Print those canceled checks now to save time and money later!

I hardly ever write checks anymore.

Most of my bills are charged to a credit card so I can take advantage of the rewards, and I even most of the rest with my bank’s Bill Pay system.   It saves me the cost of mailing, and it saves  paper.  Yay environment!

Still, checks are a necessary evil.  When sending money as a gift of course I send a check.  Last month I had to pay a friend for an item I sold for her.  Last week I had to pay a plumber who didn’t take credit cards.  This week Husband’s cousin did some work on my car.  Check, check, check.

I don’t think I wrote 30 checks all of last year, and I’ll probably write about that this year – perhaps less.  And being a good girl I’ve always saved those canceled checks.  You never know when you’re going to need one, do you?   I don’t ever want a Judge Judy wannabee to give me the evil eye after grumbling, “What do you mean you didn’t get a copy of the check from your bank!!!???  Where did you think you were coming today??!!!!!”

Last year my bank – like just about every other bank – stopped sending us our canceled checks.  A money saving measure, to be sure, but also a great savings on paper.  Yay environment!

But what’s a good record-keeper like me to do?  Well, nothing for the last year.  Why not?  All the usual reasons – I hardly write checks anymore, the bank has them if I really needed one (for a research fee that’s about a million an hour!), I’m too busy to deal with it…

Naughty, naughty record keeper!

All of that changed a couple of months ago.  I started noticing a little check icon next to the checks I wrote on my online banking statement.  Apparently they have added the ability to view these canceled checks.  Whoa!  Terrific!  AND they will let you print them, too.

So,  I’ve now  printed a copy of each check, and stored it in a file on my computer.  If I ever need one I have it, and I don’t  have to pay the bank a million dollars to find it.

The bank taketh, and the bank giveth.  And sometimes I’m smarteth.

Toys R Us Free “Super Why!” event

Toys R(backwards) Us has been doing some fun free events recently.  Last motnth it was Thomas the Train, but we had to miss it.  This month it’s “Super Why!”, and unfortunately we’re going to have to miss this one, too.  Darn truck has an AC leak which must be fixed on Satuday.  Dadgummit.

Perhaps you can go…

Attend the  Super Why! Play Day on Saturday, June 13th from 12-2 PM. This free event will include storytime, coloring fun, alphabet bingo, and giveaways. Children will also receive a free mask (while supplies last). Click here to find a store near you.

On the Firing of Carrie Prejean. And World Peace.

Thee California Miss USA pageant has officially fired Carrie Prejean and appointed her runner-up to take over as Miss California for the remainder of her reign.  The official reason for the dismissal is failure to meet contractual obligations.  Not the furor resulting from her controversial answer to Perez Hilton’s gay marriage question during the Miss USA telecast.

I have several thoughts on this subject.

1.  Carrie Prejean was asked her views on same-sex marriage as part of the Miss USA competition.  An unfair and inappropriate competition question.  As were several of the other questions.  Unless you understand that the only appropriate way to respond to these questions is to bring out your best Stepford-wife smile and give the vaguest, simpiest, most politically correct response – and understand that your real views don’t matter.  At all.  World peace!

2.  Carrie Prejean needs to understand that adding, “no offense to anyone…” to her comments does not magically make them inoffensive to those that are, um, offended.  It’s tap-tap-no-erasies.    “I think all Jews should be exterminated because that’s the way I was raised…no offense to anyone!”  Get it now, Carrie?  World Peace!

3.  There is not a doubt in my mind that Carrie Prejean did not fulfill every single of of her contractual obligations.  There’s  also not a doubt in my mind that she really got fired for her comments, her adherence to those comments, and her new association with organizations that feel the same.  Pageant officials were gunning for her, period.  World Peace!

4.  The head of the California Miss USA pageant might get  more people to believe that the contractual obligations WERE the real reason for her ousting if he didn’t – in the same interview – derisively point out that Carrie’s attorney is also the attorney for a group that works to prevent the passage of laws allowing gay marriage.  Um, so what?  We know how she feels on the subject.  Why should she not have an attorney with similar beliefs?  Would Perez Hilton hire an attorney who was against gay marriage?  And while we’re on the subject…

5.  Perez Hilton is an asshat.  You don’t agree with Carrie?  Fine.  Don’t call her the C word.  Don’t make fun of her (and millions of others’) belief in G-d.   I could write pages on his asshatity, but he’s just not worth my time.

6.  Tami Farrell, the pageant 1st runner-up who takes over as Miss California, cannot keep from smiling.  She’s been rubbing her hands together and licking her chops for weeks.   Better mind her p’s and q’s, that one.  World Peace!

Politically correct“.  Dangerous words, those.   People are starting to be afraid to speak their minds in fear of retribution – political, financial, social.  Methinks that’s happened a time or twelve in the history of the world.  Anyone remember The Crusades?  The Inquisition?  The Holocaust?  Tiananman Square?

I think we need to proceed with caution.  And lots of it.

World Peace!

Bold Choices

It’s been almost three weeks since my last post.  Yada, yada, yada.  The following is a mish-mosh that could have been three different posts, but whatever.

It was a helluva move.  In the rain.  With waaaay too much crap.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

I’ve already decided  that next time (and remember, next time could be in as little as 2 years!) I’m going to get rid of all my crap and only move my grandmother’s antique bedroom furniture and 2 other boxes per person.

Okay, not really.  But I’m going to get rid of a LOT of crap.  Promise.

So, the move itself was awful, but with the help of wonderful friends and family we got it done.  And we’re here.  Yay!!!!!

Now there’s the unpacking and arranging and more painting and picture hanging.

And there’s been new furniture buying (leather couch, chair and ottoman) and new grill buying (our old one was disintegrating) and various and sundry other large expenditures (service contract for the renters of our old place, insurance policy on the old place).  I don’t like large expenditures.  They make me itchy.

And there’s paint color to choose.

And choose we have.  The house was painted in varying colors of white and eggshell, with a little brown paneling for contrast.  We’ve made some very bold color choices – ones that may give my father (who really went out on a limb when he painted his new condo a very, very, very light tan) a coronary.  I’ve already told him about the bright green in Son’s room   (his response:  “Why?”).  The playroom is a buttery yellow – not that bold a choice, especially considering that 80%  of our last home  was painted the  exact same shade.

The guest room is a dusty green – bold only in that I bought 2 cans of different color oops paint (paint mistakes, sold at Home Depot for $5 a gallon) and gambled that they’d look okay combined.

The master bedroom is a goldish-camelish color, chosen in 5 seconds when I opened the color wheel at Home Depot.  Scary, that.  I was worried when I saw it in the can, but looooove it on the walls.

All of those will likely give my poor father angina.  But what’s really going to get him is the kitchen.

We’ve gone for a very orange-red Behr’s Volcanic Blast over the cabinets and on one small wall, and the very mossy-green Behr’s Herbal Garden on the adjoining walls.

Zowie!!!!

The orange-red is more orange than I hoped – likely partially because of the underlying semi-gloss paint.  Man, is it orange!  I’ve been worried, even considering getting it toned down a bit.

But no.  It looks terrific next to the green.  It’s bright and happy and bold.  All great ingredients for a kitchen.

Bold choices – moving, renting out our home, buying new furniture in a down economy, painting very saturated colors.

Scary choices.

Good choices.

Still, best have a chair ready when dad sees it.

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