Marmoleum in the Kitchen


I have been very lax in my writing since I started helping a friend with an eBay site. This morning I am up too early. It's a good time to get back to good habits.

The historic house I visited while on our daily walk last month, has Marmoleum in the kitchen. Although the plan here was to redo the 1990s hardwood in an attempt to get it to match/blend with the 1930s flooring in the rest of the house, I loved the look of her kitchen floor. The picture above is not from that house, but it's definitely the style there. 

Now to choose a color. 

Rose Garden

The rose bed at our home has been neglected by us for months, and who knows how many previous years it met the same fate. 

There are far more neighborhood walkers that pass by daily than students on their way to RCC. Of course those owners of pristine front of house landscaping judge us!

Painting and planting are out of my wheel house. The time has come for things to get done.  I am all astonishment because it was me that planted flowers.

I may have been motivated by the head shaking in the beginning, but now I am anxious to see how my garden grows.

Week 1


Gitcher Self a Texas Friend

Early morning convo today, Riverside, CA to Dallas, TX:

Me: so should I cut my hair off

Dallas: Should do your hair shoulder length

Me: That is where it is now, on shoulders, stringy brown, disgusting 'cuz I colored it and didn't realize that "color" put COLOR on blonde hair.

Dallas:   ewww!  Go get ur hair done asap! XOXO

Texas friends tell the truth about such things. I hope you have one, too.


Trailing Geraniums and Krylon Terra Cotta


I believe we had a frost the past two nights in Riverside! Is that possible? The tips of the lower fronds on the palm tree in back show signs of very low temps and the bushes are brown at the top. Although we have several gardening plans, planting may have to wait for a week or two.

One of the plants to add to our back patio is a trailing geranium shown above. A neighbor gave us four sets of plastic pots, past their prime, that wrap around posts. The finish is faded, but I found Krylon makes a Terra Cotta paint that a friend says works well. She is also a Master Gardener and recommended the geraniums since the pots are in full sun, and rather tall. 

I see a "Before and After" post soon. 

Another day of thankfulness for great ideas from a friend.


Designing a Simple Life

My neighbor with the historic plaque bungalow, we are sans plaque, stopped by just about the time my walking partner showed up. Although the house is picked up and neat, when someone is looking at period details, other things show up. We opened a kitchen cabinet door and there were crumbs right on the pathway to the original hardwood under the sink. I decided it was time to take things out of the room and do a thorough cleaning.

In addition to a long workout, I designed the life I want in the kitchen. My husband is out of town, and I removed the industrial kitchen cart that became a catchall for items that did not fit in the cupboards. Water bottles, boxes of tea, odd canisters and coffee pods in full view annoy me tremendously. 

The closed bar from the family shown above now sits where a messy cart held all those items. We have a lot of wine and I moved it twice yesterday. As I said, it was a good workout.

The microwave that fit previously is on a counter in this 1935 bungalow which wasn't laid out for such appliances. It does bother me there, but I think in a couple of months, that will go to the guest house, and a smaller one, or ~~gasp ~~ none, will take its place.

I gave myself permission to design a simple area and in the process started to rethink the need for a microwave!

For more inspiration, visit No Side Bar.

Spanish Bungalow Redo - Hexagon Tiles



My neighbor is recently retired and has undertaken a huge restoration project of her 1925 Spanish bungalow. This week during my morning walk I was fortunate to get a peek. She will be using this pattern for her bathroom floor. 

However, I did see the original and it has just scattered colored hexagon tiles on white. I love that solution for our home. Instead of the original plan of a border, we can pop in a few little dark blue green spots here and there.

If you follow the picture link, you can see what I mean.

How lucky was I to see the inside of a historic home? 

Dinner at Mel's


We are so fortunate to have an old central New York friend of my husband and his wife just a couple of miles down the street from us. My husband responded to a friend on Facebook who was coming out to California about a year ago, and found Mel here in the process. 

Last night we had another "Dinner at Mel's". Mel the chef, Mel the caterer, Mel the one who gives so much. 

Can you see that there are two meatloaf platters? One with ketchup, one without? His wife prefers it without the red stuff like me...a kindred spirit. 

Dinner at Mel's makes California, 3000 miles from home, much homier.

How thankful are we? Indescribably so.


Difficult to find or hidden fees

I'm sitting here online with AT&T customer service and an installation technician waiting in his truck. We are changing from Uverse to Direct TV which will save us enough to be worth it. We contemplated dropping the services altogether, but it turns out internet is just about as much as a TV/Internet package. 

Unfortunately, they failed to let me know this would not have wireless boxes on the two existing televisions currently using that feature. Now, they want another $100 for the wireless boxes. Absolutely, not. I would have made a different decision had I known this when I placed the order.

Earlier today, I saw a $3 charge on money taken from PayPal to pay my business credit card. I do this weekly at the bank to make my commitment to debt free living more tangible. Three dollars weekly. One...hundred...fifty...six dollars per year. That $156 is based on a method of paying a bill and is hidden in PayPal fees.

I spoke with ten or more customer services reps today at Chase, PayPal and AT&T.

The net dollars saved: $278.47.  


Watch those hidden and difficult to find charges.

One thought on The Big Short

In response to Clearing Space for Joy post on The Big Short review, I wrote a blog post in comments. Forgive me, Susan. Here's my reply because I thought it was a fantastic movie, leaving me wanting more. I will watch again.

This story fascinates me, along with anything Everest. Go figure.

It is the ONLY movie I have been to since Boz Scaggs’ The Great Gatsby which I left because it DID make me physically sick…all that noise and camera work.

However, I did like this movie. I sat with my hand over my mouth, mentally saying, oh my, oh my, oh my.

I watched the news while the meltdown was happening on business channels and as the agonizing decision was being made about Lehman. And, I had a half million dollar house on the market in a city 1500 miles away from where we were living, paying an adjusted rate mortgage on it and rent in the new place where my husband was hired for the last job (so it seems) available at the time. Our house did sell, the last one in the community for a long time.

Even though I saw the news and the hearings at the time, it was difficult for me to follow the movie and understand all about why this all took place.

I DO want to watch it again. The lesson for me? Follow the money on the people running for office.

The Interview

The unemployment rate in Riverside County is still rather high, 6.2%. The availability of jobs for recent college grads, even given the above article, is dismal. It isn't an especially "professional employer" area. For most work, the pay is low and those resorting to serving jobs can expect no tips or an average of about 10%. There have been many tears, and lots of disappointment in this home with two young people with bachelor degrees trying to save for grad school. 

There is an interview today for a part time after school program teacher. The preparation has been going on for hours, along with the research, list of likely questions, pacing to reflect on answers, typing those answers up as thoughts coalesce, and practice interviewing with a partner. 

When you are tempted to roll your eyes at the Reddit generation, remember these "kids". They are prepared, responsible, and thankfully, the ones who will teach your children and grandchildren. There is a depth of caring about their world which is astonishing, and seldom reported.