Wednesday, November 30, 2016

One Good Rug Deserves Another

Since my accent colors for the kitchen area are turquoise and yellow, I just had to find a way to use this over-dyed turquoise runner I'd spotted.

I fell in love with this runner and it was perfect for in front of the sink.

It has a lovely distressed look, which is perfect because that's often how I feel when doing dishes.

I decided the gray and yellow rug just didn't cut it.  Our other obstacle was arranging the furniture to see the TV.  

When Left Brain reminded me that the TV didn't have to be in the corner by the cable hookup, since we don't have cable anyway...well, then things rotated around dramatically.

First, it was back to Target to exchange the gray and yellow rug for another one of the distressed turquoise rugs in a larger size.  Then the furniture was grouped into a more pleasing arrangement that flows nicely.  Now the TV is viewable from the table and kitchen sink.

Note that Gracie is in her new favorite position at the top of the cat tower.

Long Live the Queen

Monday, November 28, 2016

Death to the Spindles!

One of my first projects was to remove the spindles on top of every cabinet in the house.  Thanks to my friend Roy I learned how to make short work of these little puppies.

After - not done with decorating up here yet

They were everywhere and just screamed "this house was built almost thirty years ago". 


I think the cleaner lines make it look more updated and certainly made cleaning up there a nightmare.  After the cabinets are painted I want to add a nice quotation I found to the area on the blank wall below the shelf.

Long Live the Queen of Remodeling

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The New Kitty Condo

Left Brain spotted this wire cage online and it looked purrfect for George and Gracie.  I will worry less about coyote attacks with some wire around them.  Yes, we get coyotes right here in the city and inside the park.  How they get past security I have no idea, I'm guessing they're jumping the walls.

It's also comforting to have them up on the deck and within easy sight.

The first time we put them into the cage they both panicked a bit, probably having flashbacks of the shelter.  So, we escorted them back into the house.

They also seemed hesitant to jump from level to level, so I put their little house on the bottom and added a box to the second level and then put a soft quilt on the top level.

The next visit they stayed a lot longer, especially when they found the birds were in the tree right in front of them.

Now they go out there for longer periods of time and Gracie will even nap in the warmth of the sun inside the little house on the bottom level.

Long Live the Queen

Saturday, November 26, 2016

My First Furniture Purchase

We have a yahoo group in Carriage Manor where you can advertise items for sale or give away, ask questions, get advice, etc.

I spotted the ad for two dark brown Lazy Boy recliners and called right away.  Left Brain was out biking, so I wasn't able to get his input on the decision so I just took off to go see them.

Since our couch is dark brown, this would go nice in the Arizona Room.  The couch is a wall-hugger double recliner that is motorized.  You push a button on the side and the feet go up...sweet.

On the way home I picked up some groceries for supper and when I returned he was back from his ride.  He asked what I bought and I casually replied I had some zucchini...and two recliners.

Our initial thought was we'd just get rid of the two chairs that came into our lives, but we reconsidered this and decided to shuffle some tables around instead.  Three tables?  Who needs three tables?  The previous owners entertained a lot and had card parties.  We're boring and don't do this kind of thing.

So, the small table by the window went outside on the deck.  This is where it started out.

This is where it sits on the deck now, right next to the cat cage.

The table on the deck (see photo below) ended up being given to Salvation Army since no one wanted it.

The dining room table is actually oversize for our needs but it's so pretty we had to keep it.  This is where it was originally.

But we decided it needed to come into the dining room and would become a computer workstation instead.  The built in china hutch now stores all our office supplies, papers, pens, etc.

Man, it is so much fun to shuffle things around and make it work for our lifestyle.

Long Live the Queen of Furniture Shuffling

Thursday, November 24, 2016


We have so much to be grateful for in this season.  A new home, the sale of the RV, good friends, family and good health.  It's something we try to be mindful of each day and I love this holiday for the concept of giving thanks. Period.

Sure there's a lot of food and fellowship,as well as football...and that makes it even more special.  But the lack of media hype makes it my favorite holiday of all time.  No gifts to buy and wrap, no frenzy to get it all done, no cards to mail.  It is the least fussiest of all holidays and I believe that less is more.

We will miss being with our kids on this day, but will enjoy the time with the family here in the park, both by blood and by friendship.

I put this little decoration up on our entry shelf to remind me to always give thanks.

There isn't a ton of space when you first enter the Arizona room, but I needed to have someplace to hang my purse and keys when I come home.  Home...that sounds so good.

Left Brain put this up for me and now we have a spot for keys, purses and a little shelf above for seasonal decoration and holding our new calling cards.

Long Live the Queen of Gratitude and Attitude

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Gifts Magically Appear

When we sold the house to start full-timing I made sure my cousin Shayna got all the family heirlooms since she is the historian.  Now that we've settled and I have this great kitchen area I was kind of wishing I had a couple of those things back.

Then much to my surprise a box came in the mail...from Shayna. Could she read my mind?  I don't know how she managed to find the time to send this as she is in the same process I'm in, except she's painting cabinets, removing carpets and accomplishing much more.  Well, she is younger and more talented.

I couldn't believe it!  In the box was the orange juice container I remember as a child, along with the glass juicer.  I have such fond memories of these things and to have them back with me in my new little home was just too much.  Darn you Shayna, you're going to make me cry!

Since the new owner of our motorhome had given us a bag of lemons, I set to washing and juicing them immediately.  I could almost feel my Grandmother's hands over mine as I squeezed each lemon and a chill went up my spine.  Then I proceeded to make a batch of what was possibly the worst lemonade ever created.  Ok, I'll need to try that again later.

We have a grapefruit tree in our front yard and I can't wait to try squeezing some of these to enjoy as well.

Long Live the Queen with the Best Cousin in the World

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Catching up with the blog

After what seems like months of searching and waiting to get into the house, now it seems that the days are not long enough.  But, I'm not complaining...we're in and life is good.

Here is what our side yard looked like while waiting for the Salvation Army truck to arrive and haul it away.  One of the neighbors thought it was our stuff waiting to go into the house.  Keep in mind that a lot of was already given away or thrown out before this photo was taken.  There were also more things added to the pile before the pick up.

A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks, but the most noteworthy accomplishment is that the motorhome has been sold.  It was great to see an infusion of money coming back into the bank accounts again.  The stress of having that off our backs has made us both sleep much easier.

When Left Brain went to deliver the title and show the new owner how to do some of the things, he was concerned about how he might feel.  He expected to have some pangs of nostalgia and maybe get a little misty eyed at the end of an era of full-timing.

He chuckled as he told me how he walked through the motorhome before meeting the new owner and his main thought was "how in the hell did we live in this for five years?".  Apparently he's enjoying the increased space as well.

We've both resumed our normal life of biking (him) and playing pickleball (me) in the mornings and leaving the afternoons to working on the house.

There have been many alterations to our living space and those will be covered in future blogs.

Long Live the Queen

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Spice of Life

There's a lot of storage in the kitchen, but much of it is small and odd sized.  Most of the storage area is more for display of china and fancy stuff, not for basic living.  

I took over the linen closet at the end of the hall and turned it into an appliance storage area and relegated the towels to the back storage area and the sheets in the bedroom.  Done.

Everything seemed to find a home except there was no good space for my spices.  I'd seen a spice rack that looked like it would do the trick, but couldn't find it anywhere.

That's when one turns to Amazon and orders it to be shipped to the house.  This is from You Copia and is the chef's edition spice stacker.  I love it.  It actually fits for one thing and the drawers pull out and drop down for easy browsing.

Now all is good.

Long Live the Spice Queen

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hardwood Floors and Carpet

I love the look of hardwood floors and they are easy to clean up, but you just need a little carpet here and there to anchor things.

The first time I spied this area rug I just knew I had to have it.  It is a subtle southwest them in muted colors.  

I tried it under the table first, not an easy job wrestling that two ton oak table on to it, let me tell you!  After getting it in place the way I envisioned it, I thought it might look better running the other way.  Back into the ring for round two.

Left Brain tried to like it, but said it was too hard to slide his chair in and out, so would I please relocate it.

No problem.  The joy of having this kind of space is being able to rearrange furniture and move things around, something I have sorely missed in the motorhome.

So, the third round had it by the two chairs in what was the dining room.  These are the chairs that came with the house and were in the Arizona Room.  When I eventually get my own TV in here, it will be a sweet spot to sit and enjoy my shows.

But then I found this rug for my sitting area since it was in keeping with the gray and yellow theme in this area, so round four finds the rug in the entry way...see the first photo.  Man, this rug gets around more than I do!

I think the rug here makes it look very cozy and inviting. Ignore the rest of the mess going on here, just focus on the rug.  Hmm. Now that I see it this way, I'm liking the other one back here and maybe this will have to go into the entry room.  Oh well...that's a project for another day.

Long Live the Queen of Rug Wrestling

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Queen Has Tossed Her Cookies

"I'll bring dessert to the football game" I said.  We're moved in enough to be able to do a little baking.  Yeah, right.

Okay, it was just a cookie mix and pretty darn simple but I haven't used an oven where you actually have to bend over and put things in on a lower level.  My first concern was that Gracie would come flying out of nowhere like the Cat Out of Hell that she is and land in a hot oven.  Not exactly like the "cat on a hot tin roof" but too close to even think about.

So with one eye over my shoulder I slid the cookie sheet into the oven...kinda.  Actually due to the slight slope of the cookie sheet they rolled off and into the oven, landing in various places such as the oven rack, the burners and the bottom of the very hot oven.  Damn it!

Now there's smoke coming out of the oven and I'm waiting for the smoke alarm to scream and for the cat to leap in.

Snap!  How do you get these racks out of here?  Since they weren't budging and the smoke was increasing as my burnt offerings to Betty Crocker wafted out of the oven I attempted to scoop them off the burners with my plastic spatula.

Yeah, not a good move, I grant ya.  Now the smell of melting plastic was added to the odor of singed cookies.  After burning the top of my right hand I managed to figure out how to extract the racks and carefully laid them on the door of the oven.

Reaching over these with my distorted spatula I did manage to scoop up the errant dough pieces and without burning any body parts that begin with the letter "B".

After reinserting the racks I reformed the partially cooked dough (at least those that were worth redemption) on the cookie sheet again and put them back in the oven.

Shortly after applying antibacterial ointment to the blisters on my fingers the timer went off.  I peeked inside and declared they could use about one more minute.

This was when one of the new neighbors stopped to say hi and welcome us to the neighborhood.  The cookies were forgotten as I chatted away, happy to be in a place where I belonged and could get to know people until the smell of burnt cookies assailed my nostrils.  Oh double snap!

I yanked them out of the oven and using the mangled spatula placed them on the cooling racks.  Well, they weren't too badly burnt and I really had no options left, no time to try something else or run to the store, so I slathered a copious amount of frosting on them to hide their sins.

Nobody complained about them and most of them were gone when we left.  They were crunchy (not my favorite form of cookie) but edible. I think the group was so bummed over how badly the Packers were playing they would have munched on cardboard and not cared.

I would have added photos but my camera battery is dead and I have no idea where the charger is.  This is just one of many things that seems to have disappeared in the the Bermuda Triangle of our new home.

Tomorrow is another day.

Long Live the Cookie Queen

Saturday, November 12, 2016

We're making progress

We haven't been in the house for a full week yet, but it feels much longer.  We have both been putting in some long days cleaning and clearing the stuff left behind and getting our stuff inside and put away.

The TV is working well and the internet is hooked up now, so I feel like I'm back in touch with the world.  I haven't played pickleball since we left last Monday, there just hasn't been time or energy.  But we're getting there!

A lady on the street noticed all the boxes waiting for the Salvation Army truck to come next Tuesday and asked if we were moving in.  I explained that those boxes had our things in them first, but were now full of things exiting the house.

Actually these photos are a day old and there's much more that has been added to the stash.  Several items have already been carted to the trash or given away.  I had ads posted on the Carriage Manor group site to get rid of a freezer, large table (they had three tables), a storage cabinet and other assorted goodies.

Every area in the overhead cabinets and above each window were occupied by extremely dusty plants.  I'll need a step ladder to get way up there to clear away the dirt and dust.  It's the's dusty.

Just when I thought I was done weed whacking I'd turn around and spot more.

There is a ton of storage in this place, more than we'll ever need.  One part that is nice, but hard to access is the storage area by the back door.  There is a closet on the back wall and it's flanked by two cabinets on either side and a small chest of drawers.  The only problem is getting into this small space and being able to maneuver things in and out.  Yeah, I know...if I lost some weight...blah blah blah.

Left Brain graciously undertook the project of removing the freezer (hopefully someone will take it) and the cabinet that shared that wall.  I will install freestanding metal shelving in it's place.  He also took off the bi-fold door for easier access to the large closet.

Speaking of large closets, there is one when you enter the Arizona Room that may be leaving.  If we knocked out that wall it would open up the space to more of a square, which would allow for better furniture and TV placement.  We'll be getting an estimate for that later on.

Bit by bit we're molding it into our home, but I need to start playing pickleball soon...even if there's work to be done!

Long Live the Queen

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

One Step Closer

Well, we get a little closer each day.  After bleeding our savings account as dry as ....well the desert...we went in today to sign copious amounts of paper.

Next Monday we'll meet our agent at 9:00 AM to do a final walk through and after the title is recorded we will receive the keys.  Yup...we have to wait for that little step.  Things are done differently here in Arizona and until it's recorded there are no keys. She shared some horror stories of moving trucks pulling up at 8:00 AM and having to wait until 4:30 PM to get the keys.  Thankfully we have our rent paid until November 30th so can take our time hauling stuff over there.

They are not foreseeing that kind of problem with us since it's still before the major rush of house buying and early in the month.  She figures within an hour of the walk through we should be able to get the keys and start moving in. Not that that doesn't mean I haven't had boxes in our trunk for weeks now.

Things on the motorhome sale are looking better as well.  We showed it Tuesday to a couple from Canada shortly after I got back about 3:00 from playing pickleball.  I was greeted by Left Brain with a "thank goodness you're back, they'll be here in half an hour".  It's amazing how fast we can clean the place up and still manage a shower.

Today the man here in the park that has shown interest came back over and made an appointment to have us show it again to his wife.  He "almost" has her talked into it.  She's concerned about where everything will fit.  That's my specialty and I think I can ease her mind at how much room this baby has.  So, keep your fingers and toes crossed that we have a potential sale.  

I've told Left Brain a long time ago that it will sell between Nov 19 and 26th, but maybe it will be even sooner.  I don't know how I know these things, I just do.  He's still worried, even though he's experienced my silent knowing for over thirty years now.

He's even been joining me for walks through furniture stores to look for ideas, but often asks "what is it we're looking for?" during the process.  Men just don't seem to understand, so I explained it in terms he could's the thrill of the hunt.  Now he gets it but made it clear I could probably continue hunting alone since I enjoy it so much more.

I'd heard of a thrift store that was near the title company, so we went there first.  He was surprised at how nicely everything was displayed.  I wasn't since I'd been to the website and did the virtual tour.  Lots of great bargains there just waiting to be had.  It will also be a place to donate items if they don't go at the patio sale.

Tomorrow we'll take a day off and meet up with some full-timing friends for lunch and just catch our breath before the frenzy begins.

Friday is the Welcome Back dance at the park we're moving into.  I got a table for eight when we first arrived and quickly filled it with people I already know.  I figure it will be a good way to meet some more people in the park.

It's finally happening and I am over the moon!  My cousin Shayna has already moved into her new house and has painted her cabinets and fireplace, so I have some catching up to do.

I'll post when I can.  I don't recall when our internet here expires and it's so bad I don't want to renew for any further time, so there may be a gap until we are in the new place....where we will have direct input to internet and it should be much faster and more reliable than anything we've had for years.  Wow, just that and the thought of a flush porcelain toilet and I'm giddy with joy.

Long Live the Queen