Monday, February 27, 2012

Dear Monday v.7

Linking up with Megan for another edition of Dear Monday.

Here are a few little letters to start the week.

Dear Monday, Woke up to a beautiful clear morning but it's only 28 degrees! What in the heck is it with this cold weather? We got a little spoiled last week with the warmer weather, and all the spring bulbs are pushing up. Come on spring...we're ready for you!

Dear Oscars, Thanks for an enjoyable evening! Billy Crystal was a great host, and it's always fun to critique the fashion choices of the stars. Favorite dress? Sandra Bullock! Classy and sexy. I was rooting for George Clooney, more on his body of work rather than his nominated role. Still haven't seen The Artist, but may need to break down and watch it. And absolutely love Emma Stone!

Dear (Junior) Walker, You helped me through the most difficult days, but it's time to transition to the cane. Woo Hoo for progress! New left hip is cooperating with the rehabilitation regimen, and I'm much further along than I had expected. I'm really anxious to get moving outside! (P.S. You know you're REALLY short when they fit you for a child's junior walker!)

Dear Wally, I appreciate you more than you know! Thanks for all the support you've provided the last two weeks. I've been impressed how you stepped up to the plate and assumed responsibility for housework, laundry, shopping and meal planning. I've gotten used to your quick response every time I need assistance, and can't thank you enough. I would, however, appreciate more leg and foot rubs to alleviate this deep ache!

Dear Friends and Family, Thanks for the gorgeous flowers and plants! You are all so thoughtful, and the beautiful blooms really do cheer me up.

And how is your week?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday Thoughts v.4

Linking up with Sarah for another edition of Thursday Thoughts.


Our little corner of the world does not feel so safe anymore. All the following occurred within a 17 mile radius of our home recently: a Washington State Patrol trooper was shot and killed last night during a traffic stop; a third-grader was shot at school yesterday by a classmate; three recent attacks are now considered "connected" with the possibility a serial killer is on the loose; a man was murdered in his apartment by a friend of 20 years; and, a man who fired in a gun in a tire store was shot and killed by law enforcement officers. What in the world is going on? Take a moment and give the people you love a big hug!


My big sister celebrates her birthday today! I won't say how old she is, but suffice it to say she is MUCH older than I. I'm so glad that we enjoy a great relationship, but it absolutely tickles me pink that she and my daughter have a special relationship as well. Except, of course, when they use their superior intellects to gang up on me!


I love this unseasonably warm weather, and can't wait to get back outside working in my flower beds. Unfortunately, the sun pouring in the house really highlights the dirt and streaks on my windows. I attempted to clean the windows after our recent kitchen remodel, but obviously just moved the dirt around. I'm in no rush to clean them however, which is in accordance with Liz's rule of housekeeping #1 - Windows are for looking through, not at.


Husband does not realize it, but he has set a dangerous precedent by doing all the cooking and cleaning this past week. Who knew he was so capable? I think he needs to keep practicing to keep those skills sharp!

How is your week going?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dear Monday v.6

Linking up with Megan for another edition of Dear Monday.

Here are a few little letters to start the week!

Dear Monday, Woke up this morning to a gorgeous early spring day. I love this time of year when the evenings are crisp, the days start to lengthen and the bulbs begin to pop up. Maybe I'm just appreciating the little things a bit more on this particular Monday!

Dear Nicky Tony, Thanks for letting us live vicariously through you! We enjoy hearing the reports about each and every one of your med school interviews, and can't wait to see what life has in store for you next. Isn't life exciting?!?

Dear New Left Hip, Welcome! I have been looking forward to meeting you for many, many months. Let me know what I can do to make this transition a bit easier for both of us!

Dear Overlake Hospital Nursing Staff, Thanks so much for the wonderful experience! Every nurse, technician, assistant, PT, OT and aide was eager to make sure all my needs were met both day and night. As an added bonus, the night nurse and I discovered we attended rival high schools and enjoyed some great memories of the old days. The fantastic care provided by these professionals is the reason I needed only two nights in the hospital.

Dear Wally, Who knew you had the nursing gene? Your mama was an LPN, so maybe it really is genetic! Thank you for massaging my feet, cooking my meals, managing my meds, keeping my ice fresh, washing my hair, and making me feel cared for and loved! On a side note, I think you enjoyed that sponge bath a little too much! I can't thank you enough for all the things you do to make sure I'm comfortable.

So that's what is on my mind this is your week going?



Monday, February 13, 2012

The First Last Project

Much to my husband's chagrin, I love watching HGTV. So when I say "Honey, I have an idea...", he groans because he knows whatever is coming usually means more work for him! But he's a good sport about it and will let me throw my ideas around before he shoots them down for one reason or another. Then again, if I can get him excited about a project, he is more than willing to tackle just about anything.

So when husband returned home after a long weekend out of town, and found blue tape spread out all over the kitchen floor, he knew I was waiting to show him another "great" idea. This time, though, he agreed!

We moved into our circa-1969 split level house about 14 years ago. Before you cringe, understand that we absolutely love our house and, more importantly, its location. As you might have guessed, we've done a lot of updating. But one thing that has always bugged me was that I was not able enjoy our fantastic view from the room where I spend a lot of kitchen. I've come up with a couple of different plans to change this over the years, but finally had an inspiration that worked!

This is the "before" picture as taken from my dining room looking into the kitchen. You can see my original blue tape plan on the kitchen floor. We used the table visible in the kitchen for many, many years, but it always ended pushed up against the wall because there was not enough room to get around it otherwise. I actually painted that dark "treatment" on the dining room walls a long time ago, and I did love it for about ten years. But it was time for it to go! There were also heavy valances on all three windows in the dining room. I didn't know what color I wanted, but had a bunch of paint samples so tried them all!

Here are the "after" photos. Didn't it turn out great?

We continued the existing kitchen green paint color (Valspar Eddie Bauer Moss EB9-3) into the dining room above the chair rail, with a light tan (Valspar Eddie Bauer Sesame EB24-4) below the rail. I initially considered recovering the box valances, but decided to eliminate them instead. We added crisp white bead board on both sides below the built-in table, and installed new drop lights that coordinate with the existing dining room light. One thing we did not anticipate was having to reroute a water line running from the attic through the old wall to an outdoor spigot, but that was just a minor detail (according to the person who did not have to do the plumbing!).

We absolutely love the new table top. It's a 1½" thick piece of John Boos walnut butcher block with a Varnique finish that we bought online from Old World Butcher Block. Note that you can't see the four brackets on each side that hold the table in place. Husband found the Freedom Hidden Countertop Brackets on line from Federal Brace, and they are installed behind the drywall so you don't have to worry about hitting your knees! Keeps the lines looking clean, too.

This project has totally changed the way both our dining room and kitchen feel. The rooms are much more open and inviting, and my plants absolutely love all the natural light! I find myself lingering more in the kitchen just to enjoy the view. I am extremely proud of the work my husband did on this project, and so pleased with how it turned out. Not bad for what he calls "the last project in the house"! Then again, I have this idea.....

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The True Love Story of the Great Lakes

Linking up with From Mrs. to Mama for a Valentine's Day special!

Most of the love stories I've read involve new or young love. But finding a love that lasts beyond those first few years is much more rare. My husband and I recently celebrated our 30th anniversary, and the fact that our love has withstood the tests of time speaks for itself. But that's not to say that it has been easy! We've weathered a storm or two (or five or ten), but those times that were less than stellar have only made us appreciate the good times even more. So here's our story.

How long have you and your significant other been together? 

My valentine and I have been together 30 yrs. and seven months. The math is easy...we met and were married within seven months. When you know, you know!

How did you meet?

It was 1981, and I had just been hired as the first female nuclear inspector at our naval shipyard. Other than the clerical staff, I was the only woman in the department, so the women working in the office took a particular interest in me. One woman kept telling me about this handsome man who worked in another building, and how she thought we would make the perfect couple, even though I insisted I was not interested. Then one day during lunch, I heard a wolf whistle. As I turned to glare at the offending person, I realized it was the handsome fellow my friend had mentioned, and couldn't help myself as I smiled instead. Later that week, he asked me out to lunch. Silly me, I expected food! To this day he insists that he really invited me "out to walk at lunch". Let the miscommunication begin!

How long have you been married?

Exactly 30 years and five weeks.

Where did you get married? Big or small wedding?

We were married in a simple ceremony on the lava rocks on the beach at Kona, Hawaii. We found a woman who planned small weddings, and she arranged for the location, found the minister and provided flower leis. The planner and her friend even served as our witnesses and our photographer! I wore a simple sun dress (still have, almost fits), and my groom wore a Hawaiian shirt and shorts. My 93 yr. old grandmother was shocked that she could "...see his knees!" in the wedding pictures.

Do you have any nicknames that you call one another?

When we're in a crowd, he calls me by our last name, Lake. I usually call him sweetheart. 

Name 3 things you love most about your honey.

His love for his children, his sense of humor, his incredible work ethic.

Tell us how he proposed?

This is a hard question, because neither of us remembers the exact moment we became engaged! We had been dating a short while, and at some point it just became a given. We were both in the right stages of our lives and knew it was inevitable that we would get married and start a life together.

Is he a flowers and teddy bear kind of guy for V day or strawberries, champagne and rose petals?

Let's just say he usually gives me a mushy, sentimental card, and then cooks us a delicious lobster dinner. Sweet AND practical!

Are you a sunset dinner on the beach kind of girl, or pop a movie in and relax on the couch?

Definitely pop a Netflix movie in and relax on the couch.

Tell us one thing you'd like to do with your husband one day? If you could do anything?Go anywhere?

We'd like to go to Europe together...soon.

Tell us what you plan on doing this Valentine's Day.

We have no special plans this year, but I expect we'll do a late lunch at a local restaurant in order to beat the evening rush.

Are you asking for anything this Valentine's Day?

No, we don't usually exchange gifts, just cards. But this year I am getting the gift of good health...I get my new hip the day after Valentine's Day!

Give us one piece of advice on keeping a relationship strong and full of love.

Remember that you and your spouse are a team. You may each have different strengths, but you should be working together toward the same goals. It's vital for the team to be on the same page when it comes to financial accountability, parenting style and long-term goals.

Show us a picture of what love means to you.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday Thoughts v.3

 Linking up with Sarah for Thursday Thoughts. Here's what's on my mind today:

[1] I bought three airline tickets this week, but none were for me! Something is wrong with this picture. Looks like this will be a quiet air travel year for me, which is not a bad thing after such a crazy schedule last year.

[2] New dishwasher arrives today! Just a little anticlimactic since I thought it was supposed to arrive yesterday. As my retired friends say, it's hard to keep track of the days of the week when every day is Saturday and every night is Friday night!

[3] All the hype for Valentine's Day is just a little too much. To all my friends and family, I love you all regardless of the day of the year. Hope I display that affection on a regular basis!

[4] Even though I just blasted Valentine's Day, there is an upside. This is the only time of the year that Tootsie Rolls come in a special package of all cherry flavor!!! I might have bought a bag or two (or four).

[5] Countdown to new hip = six days! Starting to panic just a bit as the big day approaches, but absolutely can not wait to be pain free. Just got my new walker....hoorah!

What's on your mind this week?


Monday, February 6, 2012

Dear Monday v.5

Linking up with Megan for another episode of Dear Monday.

 Dear Monday, Nothing says Monday like starting my day off with a latte! Needed that kick of caffeine to get me through a long day of doctor appointments and hospital visits. On the plus side, I'll get my bionic hip in nine days!

Dear Pick-Quick, So happy that my favorite burger joint is open again after your much too long traditional winter break. A deluxe burger and marshmallow shake never tasted so good!

Dear Great Work Friends, Thanks so much for your company at our home this weekend. I love keeping in touch with the women who remind how wonderful my work life was, how much I miss my work friends, and how little I miss the workplace!

Dear Internet, Thanks for coming to my rescue this weekend...I found a fantastic way to keep barbecued flank steak hot without using the oven! First, preheat a well insulated cooler. I put my cooler in the bathtub and filled it with hot tap water, but you could also use sunlight or a heating pad. Just get the cooler as warm as you possibly can, and then make sure it's dry inside. Then, while the meat is on the grill, preheat three or four big fluffy old towels in the dryer on high. The minute you pull the meat off the grill, wrap it in heavy aluminum foil. Then immediately wrap your foil package(s) in the preheated towels and place in the preheated cooler. Don't open until you are ready to eat! After 3 1/2 hours, my steaks were still moist and the packages so hot I almost needed potholders. 

Dear Super Bowl, I actually enjoyed the game this year! I love a good, close football game, regardless of the eventual winner. Better yet, it's alway fun to watch and critique the over-hyped commercials. Overall, I'd give this year's event a solid "A" (an "A+" is only possible if the Seattle Seahawks are involved).

So much for my Monday thoughts...what's on your mind?



Friday, February 3, 2012

Baby Buy, Buy, Buy

 Best acquisitions of the week

I ran into Costco for a minute to buy one thing (right!) and came across a great find...a fantastic set of makeup brushes! I'm normally too cheap thrifty to buy high quality makeup brushes. I occasionally splurge on one decent brush, and then end up using it until it literally falls apart. No more! Have used these brushes only for a few days, but already am in love them. They are a great value, as well. Heaven!

I recently downloaded the ShopSavvy app for my iPhone, and used is this week for the first time. It is so easy! Simply scan an item's barcode, and the app will search for the best prices both on line and in your area. My favorite face cream is Olay Complete Defense Daily UV Moisturizer, in either the 30 or 20 SPF (I'm a pale girl from the Pacific NW), but it's not always easy to find. ShopSavvy shows that Sears sells it online for $8.70, at Target for $11.67 and at Walmart for $12.27. Of course, you need to factor in shipping and handling costs, and it appears that not all stores are searched. But I'll definitely use this free app when I'm shopping for more expensive or hard-to-find items. Happy shopping!

I needed new slippers, and could only find expensive ones in the style I like. There was a big sale at the sheepskin store in the mall, but not on the ones I want, of course. I was willing to settle for less, but really was just looking for lined slippers that are not clogs or mules and with a hard sole so I can walk on our patio in them. I was able to find a great pair of Clark slippers online at Sierra Trading Post! That's really not the point of my story, though. I was able to find an online coupon for free shipping. Here's the point: If you don't already know it, ALWAYS check for an online coupon before you buy online. It really pays off!

That's the story of my week, hope your week was full of fun!