Blue Lime

Luzas. Goings on. Stuff. Life.

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GTFO, American Express

February 13th, 2015 · No Comments · Lori, z. blacklist

About a year ago, we got an AmEx card only because we got a Costco membership. At least one of these is getting out of our life this week. In a hasty moment of anger, I Tweeted we’d be quitting Costco too, over this AmEx fubar. And we might. It’s their fault we even had the card(s).

  • In October, AmEx “gave” us a “blue” card to go with the Costco one. Except we never got the card. Or a statement. Or a letter or anything. (And since we have a PO Box, we know it didn’t get stolen from our mail box or any other excuse.)
  • Also in October, AmEx moved money owed (or allowed a charge) to the blue card that we do not have possession of.
  • In January, we got a letter saying our AmEx was overdue. huh? How? We pay it every month.
  • When Emil called to get it resolved, he paid the bill. He also asked why they moved us to blue; they couldn’t identify a reason.
  • A week later, we got a letter saying our blue card–again, one we don’t have physical possession of–was being cancelled. Yay, cancel the thing we aren’t using.
  • I call to make sure they haven’t dinged our credit. She says they did because the bill was 90 days past due. Cue fire shooting from my eyeballs.
  • I hear from Seth via Twitter; he says AmEx and Costco are parting ways. Oh! So this is the reason it’s all messed up! AmEx is trying to “encourage” us to stay with them eventhough the only reason we had them at all was for Costco. And, so that we wouldn’t bail immediately, they hid it?
  • I finally get to talk to someone from AmEx who can do something. He’s nice, but creepy (over Americanized foreign dude I could barely understand). He updates the credit report, gives me his name/number, and is sending us an additional set of statement so we can see what the hell happened.
  • To be clear that it’s all fine, I also call Costco. Of course, I get re-routed back to AmEx. I guess they are going to break up but haven’t yet.
  • Costco guy tells me that the AmEx partnership runs out April 1, 2016. Until then, you can use AmEx (or cash/debit/check) at Costco for shopping. After that, they may or may not have a Costco card that can be used. I explain to him that we might quit Costco over this. Their only saving grace is that if AmEx did this to us, we can only imagine what they did to Costco and maybe they are victims, too.

Ain’t nobody got time for dis.

GTFO, AmEx. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Update: We got the statements. Every charge is legitimate and paid for. There are no fees (Emil took care of that when he called them). I’ve since checked my credit and there is no report on it from Costco or Amex. We just need to check Emil’s credit for the same.

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#facepalm : the Pope is childless

February 12th, 2015 · 5 Comments · ChildFree, Lori

That’s me on Twitter. Here are just some of the many ways in which being a #childfree couple is selfLESS—and not selfish as the childless Pope claims:

  • We are not adding to the 7-billion and growing number of humans on this planet. Earth is dying and humans are the cause. Those who have children/grands need to realize that their legacies might very well witness the end of this planet.
  • Smaller house.
  • Smaller/fewer cars.
  • We are never too busy to recycle, even if we have to schlep over to the hazardous waste center once in a while.
  • Less food consumed.
  • Less trash produced. However many diapers a kid goes through….they aren’t in the landfills because of us.
    We aren’t using gallons-upon-gallons of water to wash cloth reusables.
  • Speaking of water, it is a very precious resource, so we are conservative (and working on being even better). That’s easy to do with just two.
  • We are sick less often, so we are less of a burden on any workforce for missed days of work.
  • Since we are sick less often, the buck stops with us for the spreading of germs; we stay home. We have the sick time to do so because we didn’t use it up when our kids were sick.
  • We never burden our friends with stories of pregnancy/labor/delivery or the horrifically gross and boring stories of potty training.
  • We live smaller (not just the house/car but wholly) than parents. Less plastic (reusable snack and juice boxes, toys). Less consumables, in general. We use less batteries (and then we recycle the ones we do use at that hazardous waste center instead of being too busy and letting them go into the landfill).
  • While we will take part in “parenting” our own parents, we will never put that burden on to someone else.
  • We live within our means. Kids are expensive. If we had kids, we’d take on (lots of) debt. That is not responsible.
  • We are not passing on any genetic traits/conditions to humanity’s future. Humanity doesn’t need my family lines of heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, and even suicide.
  • Because we aren’t burdened by the time commitment of children, we are better citizens of our world. We give time where our skills can be of use.

We don’t assume we are the be-all-and-end-all to humanity and “the future”. No, we aren’t spawning the next Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, or Rosa Parks; no one in their right mind thinks we would. Our kid would not find the cure for cancer; our kid would like gaming, movies, and some music and spectator sports. In short, our kids would be couch potatoes. We also aren’t “giving” the world the next Jeffrey Dahmer, Adolf Hitler, George Zimmerman, or Casey Anthony. In fact, we aren’t even giving the universe more Emils and Loris. You’re welcome, Earth, Milky Way, and beyond.

And here is the one that drives the point home, every time: Please describe why you think having kids is a good thing without using “I” or “want”. Not easy, is it?

The decision to have kids or not is purely personal. The Pope and other leaders need to stop chastising those who don’t have/want kids.

No wonder I stopped being religious/christian, nevermind Catholic. Hey Pope, the giant hat makes you look like an ass, but your condescending attitude makes you sound like one, too.

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not even a Living Wage

February 11th, 2015 · No Comments · Lori, work

A few years ago, Living Wage (here’s Austin’s) was all the rage; at least it was in my sociopolitical circles. I considered it worthy to hope for, but quite unlikely to ever materialize.

Today, I was smacked in the face with why it’s so damn important.

Real Life Example #1

I’ve been job hunting. Ideally, I want a part-time job in our neighborhood–or near Emil’s work, or easily accessible via CapMetro. Ideally, the hours would match up pretty closely to Emil’s. I don’t much care what I’d be doing, and I’ll work for peanuts. We live near a bunch of retail, so the schedule is the usual hitch in the giddy up.

Yesterday, I applied for a call center job–terrible, I know. Today, I tested, interviewed, and got the job. It’s a pretty crappy salary for call center work, but it’s mostly resetting users passwords. It’s $10 an hour, but I’d end up making $3.90. Yes, three dollars and ninety cents. I declined the job, eventhough I had–with hope driving me–done all the paperwork.

  • Income tax: [$2.50 per hour] right off the bat.
  • A good CapMetro pass: $96.25/mo. [$0.60/hr]
  • Spend an extra 3 hours each day getting to/from the job. [a $3 per hour hit to the salary]
    • Leave the house at 5:15am to be sitting, logged in, headphones on, and read to work by 6:45. Sit for 15 minutes unpaid until I can clock in. It seems they are sticklers for this 15 minutes they don’t pay employees for.
    • On a good day, get home at 6:45pm or get to our closest train station at 6:09 and have Emil pick me up.
    • Stay past 5pm anytime it gets busy because they take calls until 7pm. Miss the good bus on a regular basis and spend 1.5 hours getting home. That’s just riding time. That doesn’t count the times I’d miss the bus by 5 minutes and wait 35 for the next one.
    • It’s not even very far from Emil’s work, but 7am starts and open-ended evenings means we can never carpool.

So, before I even get there and do any training or work, I figure I’ll make $3.90 an hour. But wait! There’s more!

  • If you can believe what you read on the Internet, I could routinely get 3-hour blocks off during my work day. That’s just enough time to go home and back if the buses sync up perfectly. No, of course I wouldn’t be working during those 3 hours, but what am I going to do? Even if I could leave, every option costs money. So, a 9-hour workday that would normally have an hour for lunch is suddenly an 11-hour one. It’s not like I can take another job during those random mid-day breaks.
  • Also, employees pay for their headsets, their paperwork, IDs. It all comes out of the first paycheck.
  • I’d probably need some new clothes and/or a new bag or two; there are always a few little things. Also, the center reportedly has two temps: scalding and “do you want to build a snowman?”.

Before doing the math, this sounds like a pretty good job for someone in need. All that is really needed is a GED; the training is part of the gig. $10 an hour is a bit higher than minimum wage. It’s not fast food or hard labor or working in bad weather. The employees that were coming and going really did come in all shapes/sizes/colors and from all walks of life. (In fact, there might be a little too much leniency in the dress code: Hooker Barbie with her custom Meth Mouth was a bit much.)

It is imperative that companies pay enough for the employee to cover the expenses of going to the job. After all, how many bills can I pay if my net is $3.90? Granted, I don’t need to factor for 2 adults since Emil has a job, but shouldn’t every job be good enough to do that in case one partner gets laid off? Worse, what is a single mom supposed to do?

Real Life Example #2

Another one that gets me is the $8/hr part time gigs where you’ll be running errands, so “reliable transportation” is a requirement of the job. Let’s do that math.

  • Car – $200/mo (really cheap)
  • Insurance – $150/mo (assuming older than 25 since no one younger would have this rate)
  • Rent – $800 (Austin not-great apartment) [or, share a $1200 apartment for $600
  • Food – $300
  • Other stuff “everyone” has that isn’t even included: student loans, pets, annual fees like car registration/inspection, cable/Netflix, water/electricity.
  • Total – $1250-1450 / Gross Income – $640 (*if* you get all 20 hours every week).

Even if you have two part-time jobs at more than minimum wage, you can’t even cover the very basics.

Real Life Example #3

I see this all the time. The job description will include some/all of the following.

  • Must be available to work 7am-11pm, seven days a week.
  • You will get two days off a week, but they will never be the same two days and they will never be together. Oh, and we say you’ll get some Saturdays off, but we’re lying; you’ll work every Saturday.
  • You will get your schedule for each 1-2 week pay period a few days before that pay period begins.

(Find a pattern here: you can have NO life of any kind…because you have to be ready/able to work like a doctor who is on call to the ER.)

  • You will have 7+ bosses.
  • You must perform miracles.
  • “enthusiastic” “fast-paced environment” – those are all code for “we’re going to run you ragged, not just when things are hella busy but all the damn time”
  • “customer pleaser” “self-starter” and even “trainer/training” “admissions” – code for sales
  • “start up” “to turn full-time very soon”- you’ll make no money, the company won’t ever be able to take you full time, and then they’ll lay you off right before they go out of business

In sum, searching for a simple part-time job is a giant headache. Next time you hear someone use one of those “get a job” lines, please remember and remind them, it’s not easy. Maybe it is for them, but they are incredibly lucky and as rare as unicorn.

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Vegan Freezer Pho

February 2nd, 2015 · No Comments · Lori

From mid-January through, well, still now, I had The Crud. The version going around Austin is a 10-day or longer virus. All you can do is manage symptoms and rest.

Any time I have a respiratory ailment, I want Pho soup. It’s warm, brothy, and as spicy as I can stand. It opens up my airways and helps me clear my head (literally). I lost track of how many times Emil went to get me Pho. It was so many that by the 2nd Sunday of my stint, he knew which shop was closed on Sundays. I’ve been doing all this freezer cooking, lately, so I took a vegan Pho recipe, and modified it for the freezer.

Vegan Freezer Pho

I’ll try it soon. Once I have it tested/tweaked, I’ll keep a couple of “kits” in the freezer. Then, when I’m allergy ridden, or worse, it’s just a quick “dump” of ingredients into boiling water. So much better than an errand. And definitely better than all the containers it takes to transport already-cooked Pho.

Oh, and if you want Pho in NW Austin, Pho What and Phonatic are both good. I don’t think either shop has any that is vegan, though. (I don’t necessarily eat vegan when I’m not well.)

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Viral Allergies

January 29th, 2015 · No Comments · Austin, Lori

January always brings allergies to Austin in the form of Cedar Fever (the pollen from up in Hill Country). Even people who have never suffered from allergies are bothered by this stuff.

This year, though, I had to take it up a notch. I spent 10 days with a bronchial virus that had me sneezing some, coughing a lot, and to tired from that to do anything else. I missed #CroKnit for two weeks in a row. And I missed both D&D sessions for the week in the “middle” of the virus running its course.

Mid way through all my stuff, Emil’s mom had a TIA (mini-stroke) and had to make another ER/hospital run. The designated siblings had another medical meeting, changed her doctor to one who is more geriatric specialized, and did some research about services. She’s back in the memory care unit. We saw her today and she’s doing better; she was getting her hair done and had had an afternoon full of visitors.

Part way through my virus, my mom also had an almost break up with the abuser. It didn’t come to fruition and he’s still there, but I feel we are yet another step closer. I’ve made it very clear to her that he will either straighten up or he’ll have to deal with me. Since she /really/ doesn’t want that, I’m able to keep some of the ridiculous out of my head. I’ve also written her will, so we’ll be driving it up there one weekend soon to make her sign it and store it in my grandmothers’ safe deposit box. With all this threatening to break up, I want her real wishes in writing. The most likely scenario is that they will die in a car crash at the same time (since they do so much driving from her place to his and since car wrecks are such a common cause of death). I need to make sure her wishes are protected from anyone who might try to wiggle in. She refuses to acknowledge that she will die some day, so she keeps insisting that a will is not needed. Raising parents is not fun, y’all.

On the upside, while I was fighting the virus, I started and caught up on Orange Is the New Black. And, I started and nearly finished The L Word.

Now that I’m back among the semi living, I’m up against:

  • feeling behind on tasks that had not due date
  • prepping to shoot several peoples’ headshots in conjunction with a workshop for a local professional/nonprofit group
  • figuring out what my next steps in life are
  • working on our current projects while prepping for what will come next, especially with little home renovations
  • trying not to feel guilty for losing nearly a month of the year, already

Moral of the story. Open doors with your body weight. Wash your hands a lot. Use hand sanitizer several times a day. Use jojoba oil to moisturize after all those skin-drying activities. (Huge thanks to Melody for this tip: the molecules of it are smaller than any other oil so your skin/cuticles can soak it up better than other oils.)

Happy winter, y’all.

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His & Hers Dinners

January 14th, 2015 · No Comments · Lori, projects

I did the vegan thing (pretty strictly) for four years. At the beginning of 2014, I needed a break. I ate many of the foods I had missed. I learned that the things I missed weren’t always the things I thought I would. In late 2014, I got more serious about leaning more to the vegan side. For our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals I had meat on my plate, but all our sides were vegan. While I now allow myself to eat meat when out (chicken wings! eggs Benedict!), I often opt for a vegetarian entree.

Since June, we’ve been cooking a lot more. I can follow a recipe. In fact, I never leave them as is; I’m always tweaking or changing something. The problem is making carnivore food for him and vegan for me.

Turning Points

Over the summer, I discovered Good and Cheap. Leanne Brown is a recipe rockstar!  Since her goal is $4/day eating, many of the recipes are vegetarian; I can easily veganize most of them. I cooked pinto beans and Leanne’s corn bread (from scratch, not Jiffy!). We were both quite satisfied. Bonus: a big batch of beans lasts 2-3 dinners for us, freeing up more time for us. Note: Emil not only enjoyed a vegan meal, he ate it 2-3 days in a row. This is now a rotating staple for us.

A few months ago, I envisioned three pans on the stove: his, hers, and ours. Think pasta (us), marinara sauce (us), and meat crumbles (him). Or, there is taco night: tortillas, beans/rice, veggies galore, fajita chicken for him, cheese for him, and vegan cheese for me. I knew that if I could think of a couple of simple examples, I could come up with others. I spent a few of our D&D nights brainstorming these combos while listening to game play and waiting for my turn. I came up with ~20 meals that are essentially a bunch of vegan sides with a meat entree for him.

I’ve always coveted the idea of Once A Month Cooking, but knew I could never pull it off. I don’t think I could even be on my feet that long. Along those lines, a few weeks ago, I started learning about Freezer Cooking. I dove in and made a low-carb/vegan mushroom stroganoff, a white bean stew, and a few others. Over the xmas break, I checked out Don’t Panic Dinner’s In The Freezer and it’s sequel from our library. Those books didn’t have many recipes I could use, but I did learn some great concepts. Last night, I thawed the spaghetti sauce and “neat” balls I made with the first Freezer batch. The “neat” balls crumbled so my sauce gained the texture of a meat sauce. He was eating sausage links, but I had him taste it and we have another vegan winner.

Now, if anyone ever told me that I’d find two vegan meals that Emil would truly like, I’d have called them a liar. But, I have done it. Now, I’m on a mission to find more.

All that while…

Now, I made all those finds/discoveries while learning to do something new. What I’ve always been bad at is menu planning. Well, I practically made that a part-time job so I could figure out how to do this in a way that works for us. I have Pepperplate on my desktop/phone/tablet. I plan ~5 meals. Between leftovers and a social life, that can last us 2-3 weeks. I finally figured out to menu plan again soon after a shopping trip so that I’m always a week/two ahead of the game. That makes the whole thing less frustrating. Oh and this is compounded by our busy schedule. I can shop on Tuesday afternoons or we have to go on the weekend. But, we are eating at home about five nights a week and some weekend meals, too.

What We Eat

Here are recent/current/future meals. There are more for me since I’m working at home. Or, those become my dinner “entree” when he eats meat.

  • homemade pizza
  • his/hers chili
  • spaghetti with “neat” sauce
  • pinto beans with corn bread
  • cauliflower bisque (hers)
  • broccoli “cheese” casserole (hers)
  • veggie soup (hers)
  • tacos
  • creamed spinach (hers)
  • mac & “cheese”
  • pot roast (his) with veggies (ours)
  • chicken piccata (his…but man is this one good)
  • creamy cajun pasta, with veggies for me and chicken for him

Next Steps

Lower the carbs. This is hard to do in the winter when so many warm dishes are also carb laden.

  • less pasta and more veggies
  • less potatoes and more cauliflower
  • less sweet/starchy veggies and more green veggies

Get Emil eating more veggies. He has pretty simple tastes, so I can work things into recipes without messing them up for him.

No one is ever 100% vegan. It’s impossible. However, it’s easy to be 98% vegan. I think I’m about 70-80% right now. I need to get closer to 90%.

Keep on Pinning. Every week or two I find some new vegan blogger or recipe site. Other people have the stamina to try a recipe several times and tweak it. I can do that once, but not 3+ times. I need to use their work; that’s why they shared it! In fact, the next one I’m going to try is a Mac & “Cheese”.


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Death to Popcorn

January 8th, 2015 · No Comments · Lori, projects

When we moved in, we didn’t hire the painters to knock down all of the popcorn ceilings. We just didn’t want to spend that money on that task at that time.

Turns out, we chose wisely. Spritz it with water, wait 10 minutes, and scrape it with a putty knife….and it falls to the floor in sheets larger than your hand.

If I had known then what I know now, I would have scraped all the popcorn upon move-in. Still, I’m glad I started it as as I was nearing the end of  “de-brassing” #DomaLuza.

It’s a huge change that is easy and cheap. It’s a little time consuming and a lot messy, but really anyone can do this to their own home built after ~1980. (If your home is older, read up on how to take and send in a sample to have it tested for asbestos. You may be either stuck with it or in for a proper abatement.)

First and second passes got just about half of the powder room.

Except for tiny bits along the crown molding, all if it is down. It’s about as messy as I expected.

Voilá! Clean and mostly prepped-ceiling.

Bonus! While I was in there, I noticed a tiny puddle under the water tank. Yippie. We haven’t seen the plumber in a few weeks, so I guess it was time. Luckily, it was a little DIY project this time (and not a new valve like 2 of the last 3 plumbing calls were)!

I have finished prepping the ceiling with a little help from Emil (because he’s better at caulking than I am). We have some leftover Kilz I’m going to try to use up. Now, I just need the weather to cooperate so the primer stays warm enough to use.

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2014 sucked

December 30th, 2014 · No Comments · Blue Lime, Lori

2014 sucked

Daddy hated that use of that word, but it’s the most fitting. (Also, he was a bit too literal at times. He also hated “Life’s a Beach” because he thought it was just “Life’s a Bitch” in polite form instead of a xtian re-write to spin the whole concept positive. Parents can be so #duh at times.) Anyway, it’s the best word for 2014.

  • Emil’s mom fell at home and “burst” a vertebrae. Yes, that’s just as bad as it sounds. She’s been in hospital, rehab, assisted living, and memory care ever since. She’s run away from Crestview and has had a sitter for many weeks. In one of her AL stints, she fell again, and bonked her head so hard that she mimicked a stroke patient for a few days[1]. She’s doing much better, now, but we’ve been burning up the road between Austin and Bryan. At least I’ve gotten to spend time with Jessica (and even Angela W. one time) when we can make the calendars sync up with Mom and Emil’s D&D night.
  • My mom is the victim of an abusive relationship. It’s been bad for 3 years, but we found out this year. He makes her re-live a humiliation over and over again. He’s got a lot of his own problems–not the least of which being Daddy’s sudden/early departure from this world–, but that’s no reason to emotionally and physically abuse anyone. Ultimately, she has to be ready to kick him out. Until then, there is nothing anyone else can do to help. It’s a “book” that I will probably write one day. It will be like Savannah’s poems in the Prince of Tides: cathartic and telling. If you are looking to round 2014 with any charitable contributions of money, stuff, or time, please consider your local women’s shelter.
  • My grandmother is worrying herself sick over this. That is it’s own set of problems. She’s kind, gentle, and fragile….but strong. This is all too much for her at her age.
  • @KittyMarble now lives with Jessica. We had been trying to re-home him for a while. She needed another presence at home. Last time we saw him, he was supremely fat and happy. All critters should be lucky enough to live with her.
  • I “divorced” a couple of “friends”. Of course, they weren’t real friends or the separation would not have been necessary. They can take their barbies (figurative) & stinky trash (literal), and go home!
  • As is normal, I’ve gained more weight from all the stress. yay. dammit. Fuck the genes I inherited. To be fair, I took a big break from being vegan in 2014. I have spent the last few weeks working back into it. 2015 will be better. I tend to eat vegan at home and often eat vegetarian when out.
  • The cedar is already terrible in Austin. It’s going to be one hell of a season.

Some slivers of rainbows in the clouds

House and home projects are going well. They are so minor compared to the above, but we’ve rid the house of most of the brass and started to remove the popcorn ceilings, too. Painting the brass knobs worked well, at first, but a couple are already peeling off. Even with that, they look better than brass. So, we’ll replace a few here and there as we can/want. Removing the popcorn ceilings will be a major project for 2015.

Another personal project, in particular, has been huge for us. We’ve grown stronger as a couple (who knew that was possible??), and we’re on a path toward being better residents of our world. I owe E so very much for this; he works so hard to provide for us. I truly wish that every couple could have what we have. We are the luckiest couple I know.

[1] When Emil’s mom was mimicking a stroke patient, she mumbled gobs of stories at him. She smiled, laughed, and truly gushed over him. We couldn’t understand a single word, but we understood 100% of her meaning. She adores Emil down to her soul. Ever-patient as he is, he just held her hand and nodded as she mumbled whatever story she was telling. He is–as you all know–a Saint. She knows this ten fold. When we left her that night, I told him that in the off chance I should need him to be that for me, I knew he’d be perfect.

The Seven Year “Itch”

What is it about seven years that makes this a Wives’ Tale and even a movie? 2007 was also pretty terrible in a lot of ways. W.T.F.? I don’t care for this pattern. At all.





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Brass, brass everywhere

November 7th, 2014 · No Comments · Lori, projects

When we bought #DomaLuza, it was hard to see how much brass there was in the house because the previous owner had so many brass and/or gold colored things among her possessions. Even with all of her things out of here, I couldn’t stand how much brass there was, especially the shiny brass. And no, of course it didn’t even match each other, some of it is was antique brass. De-brassing had to be done!

The first thing we did was get rid of the brass chandelier in the dining area. We sold it in a garage sale, but I really hope someone painted it black and made it some kind of spooky Hallowe’en decor.

Next, the front door handle bothered me greatly. Not only was the shiny brass not our tastes, the coating was peeling due to exposure to the elements. Have you priced front door hardware? $200 is the low end! I just couldn’t justify that much to replace something that works just fine.

I braved the paint aisle at one of the hardware stores and was told that there was no reason I should not be able to paint the brass. In fact, the nice employee showed me a new line of spray paints made by Rustoleum that are made for painting metal and that have modern finishes like satin nickel and oil rubbed bronze. We bought three cans, and I set to work. It took me a couple of days with the Dremel tool, but I removed every trace of coding from the front door set and deadbolt. I sanded it as perfectly as I could manage.

The spray paint work better than any I’ve ever used. Thus, a monster was born. I then tackled a light fixture and the garish shiny brass powder room accessories that didn’t match the antique brass light fixture. ::sigh::

Next, I set after the rest of the doorknobs in the house. It’s difficult to hit them from all the funny angles so it takes many layers. It takes cooler temperatures and low humidity to do it well. It’s also hard to live without some doorknobs long enough for them to get painted. So, it’s been a slow process. I have a couple left to do.

Before. Brass. Bleargh. (Yes, it’s all scratched up. Additionally, even the builder installed hardware and then painted. #facepalm)

After. Ahhhh. So much more modern. So much less garish, even than the antique brass. (Yes, this door is even worse than the other one. What the hell is wrong with contractors?)

While the next to last set, was sitting in the various stages of painting, turning, and drying, I decided to start scraping the popcorn in our powder room. While up there, I grabbed the light fixture to that room (antique brass, of course) and slathered it in oil-rubbed bronze, too. All of that will be another post for another day.

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an update

November 7th, 2014 · 1 Comment · family L, GTD, Lori, projects

It’s been a while since we just did a plain old update. So here are some things going on with us.

  • Last winter, we got a new domain. You can now find us at instead of the longer address. Hopefully, we’ll streamline some of the other stuff, too.
  • At some point last winter, I needed a break from the whole vegan thing. For a while, I ate all the hot wings. :) I really just needed more options and a break from having to think so hard about my food. After a period of going a little nuts, I settled back into a balance. I’m eating vegan meals at least two thirds of the time, I’d guess. I’m working on a greater percentage with meat or dairy as an occasional exception. For example, I’d rather have the best queso in town a few times a year than mediocre queso at places that use too much cilantro. It makes it a lot easier to go out with friends.
  • I finally quit facebook for real. I don’t even have my fake account, anymore. I don’t miss much about it. I’m learning, too, that I was way ahead of the curve; there are a lot of us facebook haters.
  • Last spring-summer, I transitioned out of two volunteer roles. One was simply an expired term. The other was one of those “I’m done” moments. It stopped being fun and others wanted to tell me what to do without ever agreeing to help out (yes, I asked many times). We still participate, but now it’s less.
  • In that vein, I’m still doing the Pareto “diet” that is life. I keep culling the bottom 20% of whatever is sucking the fun out of life. We focus time on the 20% of life that brings us joy.
  • Summer was, apparently, big for us:
    • Emil’s mom fell. She went from a burst vertebrae in her back to the hospital to rehab (and back and forth for a bit) to Assisted Living and is now in Memory Care. She has good days and bad days, but is doing well considering. The “team” of siblings is on top of her care. Emil sees her many Thursday nights when he’s in Bryan for his D&D group. On the nights that they do meet and that I can join him, I go, too. After visiting Mom, he games and I hang out with Jessica or even Angela W.. It’s been nice to have some girl time with old friends.
    • My mom went through some trauma/drama. We went home to help her get through the worst of it. She’s made some progress, but it’s still a problem. We’re waiting until the problem finds a “bottom” so some healing/help can begin. Meanwhile, my grandmother is doing just fine other than worrying a whole lot.
    • We rehomed Marble. He ran off P?kný, disappeared himself for a couple of days, reappeared (I told him “you’re the wrong cat to come back!”), and was still a PITA to Purrrrrl and us. Because he chewed wires, we had to be super careful about what we left where; all cords had to be wrapped. Because he did other damage, we had to live with all the doors closed. We were prisoners in our own home….most of all the girls. So, Jessica offered that if we still didn’t have anyone after her month of travel, she’d try him out. Well, he’s a good fit (thankfully!) and is fat and happy living with her. Interestingly, I had tried to fatten him up, but since Purrrrrl can’t free-feed or have his food, I couldn’t “make” him eat enough to be “slothenly”. Interestingly, he wasn’t gone a week before P?kný came back. She’s still a patio-only kitty and afraid to come inside….but it’s like she KNEW he was gone. He is such an asshole.
    • We also used summer to kick start a few little projects around the house. I’m almost done painting all the ugly brass hardware and hope to start scraping the popcorn off the ceilings, soon.
    • Since early summer, I’ve been cooking like a fiend. I can ~always tweak a recipe to my liking, but never really learned how to menu plan. Having a busy life kept me from learning this. Well, I’ve finally figured out how to plan stuff that Emil will eat, stuff that I will eat, and stuff that we will eat.
  • This fall, we joined D&D Encounters. It’s a hot mess of red tape and I don’t think the Wizard’s of the Coast people gave any consideration to making it easy for new people to join (which is the entire purpose/intent of the series). But, after some bumps in the road, our two (yes, TWO) groups normalized into good groups to play with. It’s also nice to have set plans. Since my Monday CroKnit group and Emil’s Thursday dungeon group are still going strong, we’re booked 4 evenings of most weeks.
  • October was a blast with two Halloween weekends, two parties, and much merriment. Only 358 days until Hallowe’en 15! And, it will be on a Saturday next year. This bodes both for a lot of fun :) and also for all the parties to be on the same :( night. Whatever shall we be this time?
  • As usual, I’m not looking forward to the holidays. In fact, my annual rant is overdue since I’ve already blocked pins/posts about xmas….and warned one family member that I’ll unfollow her until new year’s if she keeps it up.
  • So, we’re ready for late fall and winter and using the fireplace. I suspect there will be several movie marathons and much gaming.

Happy Fall, Y’all!

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