Blue Lime

Luzas. Goings on. Stuff. Life.

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Relocating the cat box and Black Friday comes early

November 18th, 2013 · 1 Comment · Lori, projects

Relocating the cat box

Our cats have a “house” for their litter boxes. They go in on the side, but we can remove the top for scooping. We built this setup when we moved to Austin because our balcony at Riata was rails instead of walls…and we didn’t think Sosta or Purrrrrl would go. We also wanted to use the patio, so we wanted to cover them. And, there are rules about what can/can’t be on the patio, so we had to make it look like furniture. It’s been a great box everywhere we’ve lived since.

When we moved here, the back corner of the shop/laundry area in the garage seemed like the best spot for it. It worked for a while, but it’s just not anymore. We had the idea to add an exhaust fan to it and vent the air from it out the front under the garage door (where there is a gap in the weatherstripping). Emil bought a fan, reducer, and vent hose online. We picked up a jig saw, and in one short afternoon, he assembled it all while I rearranged the rest of the stuff that had been in that spot in the garage.

It’s funny how moving a few boxes around can change the chi of a space, but it made a huge difference. And it’s just a garage! The cats don’t care much for the sound of the fan, but we think they’ll get used to it. And, it’s on a timer, so if they can hold it, they can avoid it.

Black Friday comes early

After the garage was finished, we headed up to our Home Depot for our second appliance-shopping trip. Home Depot started their Black Friday sales way early this year….so people could get their homes ready for Thanksgiving. Since they aren’t making it all Christmassy, I think it’s smart marketing. And, I guess it got Emil’s attention, too, because we bought a new fridge, a vented microwave, and a new dryer. We don’t need them for Thanksgiving, and he’s off a couple of days in early December, so we’re having them delivered on the 2nd.

The stainless refrigerator is a French Door setup with a huge tray for party platters. I don’t care much about the stainless microwave (they all function the same to me) and I hate the built-in vented kind, but we can’t afford to lose the counter space. The fancy-schmancy dryer is white….and we were about “this close” to getting the matching washer, too.

How all this came to be is that the microwave will die ~any day. We had hoped it would die while under warranty, but it’s been most of that time and isn’t seeming to behave any worse. It took over 3 minutes to heat a cup of soup today, but it works…it’s just old. The previous owner bought a fridge too small for the space, so it’s digging a hole in the wall and many of the drawers are cracked/chipped from being forced in and out for cleaning. Recently, it started making a growling sound. The dryer takes two cycles most times and it horrifically mangles fitted sheets. So, we figured one would die in the first year, but that hasn’t happened and this is the time of year to buy appliances at good deals.

We’ll have to switch the fridge and pantry locations in our kitchen. The notch for the fridge is just too limiting. Smaller fridges are actually more expensive. And, even our free-standing pantry that the previous owner gave us is too tall to fit in the nook. We’ll pick up another cabinet at Ikea or something.  It will look a little funny for a while, but if it functions better that is all we care about.

So, merry early xmas to the cats, to us, and to #DomaLuza

[I’ve almost given up on the dresser we bought with the idea of turning it into a kitchen island. I just can’t see how I can make that one work. I’m still tinkering with the idea, but we’ll probably have to sell that dresser and hopefully get back our money.]

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November 12th, 2013 · 1 Comment · Lori, projects

As the first cold front moves in , we are winterizing. We’ve already built a couple of fires. But to save money, we’ve opted for wood instead of using the gas that’s in our fireplace. Last night Emil ordered a quarter cord of wood; it will be delivered in the morning. Today I cleaned out the fireplace so that tonight we can remove the gas burner and cap off the gas line.

I also wrapped all the outside plants in plastic in hopes that that would serve as a greenhouse.

We also have plans to both vent and relocate the cats’ litter box.

Busy busy at #DomaLuza !







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October 10th, 2013 · 2 Comments · Blue Lime

  • So new that portraits were not yet made.
  • Not a scratch anywhere, yet.
  • The first payment hadn’t even come due.
  • We picked up the license plates on Wednesday, October 9th.
  • Though Emil determined that it was a “he”, we hadn’t even thought of a name.

Backstory: We got a new car about seven weeks ago. We were due for a service but the site showed a huge sale on 2013 models. We upgraded to some snazzy new features that our 2011 model didn’t have, got a smaller payment, and got back into warranty, too. We got the Zoom-zoom Mazda loyalty discount, again. It was truly a win-win-win-win….and a no-brainer decision.

…and then after a little break at Opal Divine’s, we headed home for the evening. The sun was very bright just before sunset, so I reclined my seat. We were sitting at a red light when I felt immediate back pain and Emil’s glasses flew off his face, folded “closed”, and landed in the floor in front of my feet. We also had two gift cards and a name tag in different “cubbies” and they went all over the car.

A woman who spoke so little English she didn’t know hazards/flashers/blinkers or lights hit us with no brakes. Her excuse: the sun was in her eyes. Well, then brake. I feel a little bad for being mad at her, but did I mention the car is brand new? She knew better than to ask/tell me anything. Weird thing was: the very moment was likely the angriest I’ve ever seen Emil. …but she politely asked him if she could call her sister. He told her to call whomever–with an implied “the fuck”–she wanted.

The accident comes eerily close to the 1-year anniversary of when LG gave her life for me. State Farm was on top of what they can do until Geico connects with them; Dusty called us this morning just to make sure we were okay and to see if we needed anything.

Of course, the pictures don’t do it justice:
2013-10-09 18.38.34 2013-10-09 18.38.42 2013-10-09 18.39.05 2013-10-09 18.39.14 2013-10-09 18.39.21 2013-10-09 18.48.40 2013-10-09 18.48.48 2013-10-09 18.50.42

I’m sure we’ll know some kind of damage number by Friday or Monday depending on how busy the body shop is. Judging by the parking lot, I’d say Friday. There were a lot of cars ready to go home.

Her car:
2013-10-09 18.50.28 2013-10-09 18.50.22 2013-10-09 18.50.15 2013-10-09 18.50.10 2013-10-09 18.50.00

All her air bags deployed…so I guess she hit us at at least 25-30mph. It sure felt like more than that. Her side airbag/curtain did not deflate. I had to hold it out of the way tot turn on her hazard lights.

The car in front of us:
2013-10-09 18.49.30 2013-10-09 18.49.23

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You can never go home again

August 7th, 2013 · 1 Comment · family S, Lori

It’s been a year (& little) since my grandfather passed and since our vacation this direction last summer…and thus since we’d been “home”. Of course, Paris has never felt homey to me and hasn’t been my home since the day I left for college…other than a couple of very-temporary summers.

This trip is for my grandmother, Mama Bee. We arrived surprised to find my mom in attendance. Last time we were here, she either forgot we were coming or didn’t care to see us. I never heard from her, so I assumed she not only forgot, but also never had the “oh shit!” moment after the fact.

Anyway, dinner prep/post caused me more concern for my mom’s physical health. Neither Emil nor Mama Bee noticed what I did, so maybe I read too much into her trembling while carrying a plate of rolls. She was polite & seemed to be distracted-at-worst…I’m sure by the permanent elephant-in-the-room.

After she left, Mama Bee showed me some keepsakes, including the shadow box that was her Xmas gift to herself. It contains all of my grandfather’s military insignia & medals.

We talked until midnight…trying to solve all the problems…& then when I went to shower, I found the beaded bluebonnet ornament she hung in the guest bath. It’s from around the time we got married, so it’s been in there a long time, but I always forget about it & seeing it mis-matched against the wallpaper she picked when they built this house alway makes me smile…



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$300 cash!

August 2nd, 2013 · 3 Comments · Lori, projects

Today, we sold our dining table. It was the wrong size and shape for our new home so we got rid of it. Plus, we never-ever-not-once seated 8 people for dinner.

2013-07-26 16.20.16 2013-07-26 16.19.23

I have $300 cash in my pocket! …and a plan.

The Questions

Where will you sit to eat? – On the couch with TV trays like we almost always do.

What will you do for table space? & What will you put in that spot in your kitchen? – a kitchen dresser!

What is a kitchen dresser? – You aren’t on Pinterest, are you?

Kitchen Dresser

The plan is to convert an old dresser into a kitchen island. We already bought a dresser from Craigslist. It will give us the badly-needed additional storage. Plus, we could use a little more counter space. Finally, it will have a top larger than the footprint of the dresser. So, we can tuck some barstools under the overhang and have seating for two. It will also give us a place to put food when we have people over.

Our Kitchen Dresser Island

You can see my favorite ones our our Kitchen board.

Our’s won’t be green (and would never be that icky shade of green!), but will probably be a glossy black like the pantry and our appliances. Our casters will need to be large, 4″ kitchen casters with rubber wheels because small wheels will only get lost in the grout between our tiles. (And, our dresser has a “skirt” so only about an inch of the wheels will show.) There is a granite store near here that I’m hoping will have some remnants we can afford/like. Oh, and the dresser is pretty light. I’m not sure it can support an overhang that is as heavy as granite. So, we might have to get creative about the countertop. Finally, I want plain barstools that we can “hang” under the countertop in the same way that bars store wine glasses on racks.

I’ll need to finish the back of our dresser. I’m thinking a piece of plain panelling. It will also need some minor repairs. I also another fun idea or two. I’ll know more when I get into the project.

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If my vagina was a gun…

July 9th, 2013 · No Comments · Lori

“If my vagina was a gun, you would stand for its rights,
You would ride on buses and fight all the fights.
If my vagina was a gun, you would treat it with care,
You wouldn’t spill all its secrets because, well, why go there.
If my vagina was a gun, you’d say what it holds is private
From cold dead hands we could pry, you surely would riot.
If my vagina was a gun, its rights would all be protected,
no matter the body count or the children affected.
If my vagina was a gun, I could bypass security,
concealed carry laws would ensure I’d have impunity.
If my vagina was a gun, I wouldn’t have to beg you,
I could hunt this great land and do all the things men do.
But my vagina is not a gun, it is a mightier thing,
With a voice that rings true making lawmakers’ ears ring.
Vaginas are not delicate, they are muscular and magic,
So stop messing with mine, with legislation that’s tragic.
My vagina’s here to demand from the source,
Listen to the voices of thousands or feel their full force.

–Katie Heim, Austin, TX

Hear the whole thing at

Yes, I am pro-choice. Yes, I am angry as-can-be at the straight/white/”christian”/republican/MEN who are trying to make these decisions for women of all races/colors/religions. Men have no dog in this fight; they can’t possibly know what it’s like. Breast vs. Prostate cancer, yes, we can find common ground. Unwanted pregnancies, we can not. In the same way that a male ObGyn can not be as effective as a biological mother who is an ObGyn, male opinions simply are less valid. Yes, it’s sexist. Yes, men can render an opinion. It’s about as worthy as any opinion I’d have on Cricket. I’m far less qualified than someone who has grown up around the sport. Men don’t have a hoo ha and haven’t bled from it every month of their mostly-adult lives.

Pregnancy is a severe physical risk to the body. Unwanted pregnancies are a severe emotional, financial, and physical burden. Note, this is not an “inconvenience”; it’s a burden. Others, men especially, have no right to ask any woman to endure this burden.

For every man who supported a mandatory trans-vaginal ultrasound, I think he should be subject to the same…in whatever orifice he chooses! Open wide, misogynists!

Anyone who wants to tell a woman she “should” carry a child to term, even if her life is at risk, needs to be subjected to a moment of something that is truly terminally-ill. My grandmother would have died if she had tried to carry a second fetus to term and then delivery. If my mom had gotten pregnant a second time, she would have suffered severe complications and the baby would have likely died, too. Forcing either of them to endure a life-risking process for the sake of a blob of cells is inhumane. We don’t even treat animals this way; we put them out of their misery when no other option is reasonable.

Those who oppose the current state of safe/legal abortions do not also support increased benefits in foster care, pre/post natal care, education, or any of the other programs that will benefit the additional unwanted babies. Yes, not all babies are wanted. No, that is not for someone other than the pregnant woman to decide.

On  the very day that Rick Perry demanded the second special session of our legislature, he allowed Texas’ 500th inmate to die by the hand of man.

Pro-life, my ass.

Texas hath no fury like a woman ripped of her own bodily rights. Vote, bitches.

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Happy Anniversary, #Kenise25

June 16th, 2013 · 2 Comments · friends, Lori

We went to Tyler this weekend to be with Ken & Denis Hawk to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. Emil has known Denise since they were kids. He was one of ~5 people at their Catholic ceremony 25 years ago.

We had a blast! Team Hawk threw a lovely party at a cool Mediterranean-looking terrazzo complete with a lovely vow renewal including statements from each of their 5 children, a 3-course meal, a video produced by the youngest 5 members of Team Hawk (ages ~8 through ~19), and a night filled with dancing.

I took the camera, so as soon as I have my pictures processed (and permission from Team Hawk), I’ll post a few.

Ken & Denise, thank you for a lovely party! Congratulations on a quarter century of wedded bliss! Thank you for your contribution of 5(+1) additional humane and kind humans to our society. Thank you for sharing your kindness with the world.

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Project Day, at Doma Luza

June 9th, 2013 · 1 Comment · ChildFree, Lori, projects

For those of you keeping “score”, Texas School came and went with bounding successes, new friends, and loads of new information for As You Wish. Both Leanne (& Steve) and Ben (& Jenn) are now married. My six seven weeks of heavy work is now complete. I can resume some of a normal life, again. (And damn! It was all at least as fun as a barrel of monkeys. I’m truly honored to have been part of each of the wonderful events. Oh the grand stories….)

We are now planning our housewarming. If you did not get an eVite and want to come, email me and I’ll add you to it. I think I got all ~seven of you, though. ;)

Today, we did a bunch of projects around #ANewHome, which now has a name: Doma Luza. Doma is Czech for home. #DomaLuza will be our Twitter tag from now on.

The big project for today was to clean the dryer’s exhaust pipe of lint. Dryer lint is highly flammable and is a major cause of house fires. So, we set out to clean as much as we could. After taking off the flexible hose that goes from the dryer into the wall, we decided to just get a new one. At the store, we also found a drill-attachable brush to clean the lint duct up to 8 feet. Our duct is much longer because it vents through the ceiling at the 2nd story, but we know we got the majority of the lint this way. Plus, we can buy another extension or two next time and get even more. So, Emil ran the brush via drill, and I ran the vacuum. His name is Animal; Dyson named him that. Even Animal needed several breaks to unload the fluff coming out of the the vent. I guess our trash dumpster will smell good this week. It was a dusty job, but otherwise easy. I felt a lot better for having done it. (BTW, if you want to take this on, hit Home Depot instead of Lowe’s; the same tool is $20 instead of $40.)

While we were at the two stores, we looked at curtain panels. yuk! “Oh, we found those pretty curtains at the hardware store,” said no one ever.

While at Lowe’s, we found an über cool light for the former dining-now-part-of-the-living room. So, we were able to say buh-bye to the glossy brassy shiny “chandelier” and get a fixture more suited to our needs. It’s florescent/bright, so the light is very cool while the rest of the room is in warm tones. Also, it won’t dim. But, it provides one hell of a light that will be wonderful for gaming when we want to set up a table in that area.

I finally re-assembled the yoga-ball-desk-chair in our office. I was able to “hide” the usual desk chair until I need it.

I also found the “good” shower curtain hooks recently, so we replaced the cheap/cute one with a nice one we got from a friend at our own garage sale. :) Turns out, we have three extra shower curtains. Two of them are really nice. The “cheap” one is cute.

We still spent Friday night (gaming at a brewery!) and the whole day Saturday (went to a Mini Maker Faire!!!!) with our #childfree friends. And, we went to the ANK! Monthly Supper tonight, too.

Our life in #Austin truly is amazing. We have so many more opportunities for entertainment that is “us”, fitting & long-term friends, and professional opportunities, too. We are lucky to have had the opportunity to move here. We were smart to prepare our careers/lives for whichever way the wind blows us.

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Props to Wellesley College; Drops to Principal George Aulenbacher

April 18th, 2013 · 3 Comments · Lori

Short version of the story

Student refuses to participate in inflammatory “lecture” at her high school that condescends to women.

Principal implies she’s a slut and threatens to call the college she’s been accepted to to tell them of her “character”.

Student seeks injunction.

College applauds student.

Props to Katelyn Campbell and Wellesley College
Drops to Principal George Aulenbacher of Kanawha County Schools


Copy of the email I sent the principal

Principal George Aulenbacher
Phone: (304) 348-7729

What a disgrace you are to the profession. I’m the daughter of two teachers, one who became a school counselor and another who became a school principal.

Your actions are am embarrassment to the profession.

You owe Katelyn Campbell, her parents, Wellesley College, your student body, your staff, and your community a huge apology. Be a leader and admit your wrong doing or step down with what little grace and dignity you have left.

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Salad Dressing with a KICK

April 16th, 2013 · 3 Comments · Lori, projects

This spring, my Greenling box has been full of many salad veggies. It’s been lovely.

Because of all the junk that is in store-bought salad dressings (like sugar and chemicals), I’ve been making my own for about a year. I love the vinegary dressings, so I get something that is healthier, cheaper, and–to me–tastes better. But, I was in a rut of the same “favorite” one and needed a new taste adventure.

In my opinion, dressings need these things: oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper… and then a seasoning direction of your choice. I almost never prefer the sweeter end of things, so I keep mine savory or spicy. My favorite additions include brown mustard, cumin, and curry.

I grabbed a dozen or so spices and settled on two: turmeric and cayenne (for an extra kick).

If you try this, be prepared; it is quite spicy. If you are sensitive to spices at all, you might leave out both the cayenne and the black pepper until you are sure you can try a dash of them.


Salad Dressing with A Kick

1 serving

5 minutes

  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 4 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

shake & serve


You can also see it on Pepperplate (my favorite recipe storage site/app) and on Twitter’s 6-second video site, Vine (which totally should have been called Twine, don’t you think?). Learn more from this great blog post about making your own salad dressing.



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