Thursday, February 28, 2013


I mentioned recently that I wasn't sure whether to read my mom's older journal.  Well, I did... or at least I started to.  She began writing in the summer of 1987.  I knew that she was sick then, but at 7 years old, I never realized how sick.  My dad alluded to the illness when my mom was in the hospital for the last time in 2010.  He said he was surprised she made it through the other times before. I was hurt by the statement and in my mind, I could only pinpoint one time before when I was that worried.  The colon cancer from a decade before the lymphoma.

My mom was so tough.  She fought incredibly hard through the lupus and the cancers.  I think she knew I couldn't have made it without her.  When she finally knew we would all be okay, she let go and rested. Part of knowing we were all going to be okay was Maya, my eldest brothers (much) better half. I should probably tell her that, but it seems a strange thing to say when you are the little sister.

At the time the journal starts, my mom was having to measure everything in and everything liquid out.  The lupus has affected her kidneys... I had just finished the first grade and all I really knew was that there was a brownish container in the fridge with pee in it.  We knew not to touch it, but had no idea why it was there. She tried to explain in first grade terms, but I guess all I knew was that it wasn't a big deal to have pee in the fridge and it was swim season so my attention was somewhere else entirely.


Me- Donna-
Started when things are going up again. Wish me luck.

In                                          Out
1 cup water (250)                1450
2 1/2 cups ice (250, 63)        
-- 563


2 oranges
1 slice french toast w/butter
1 bean and cheese burrito w/lettuce
1 apple
1 pork chop (grilled)
green beans

Kids had a swim meet today - I'll probably be sorry I was out in the sun, but I care. Rock Knoll team won.

Went to visit Joe and Sue (from office).  My God, is it raining!  Feel better today after upping prednisone.

It all seems so normal... but now the whole world can see where my french toast, fruit, and bean and cheese burritos habits began.  I am a product of my mother to the nth degree. Also funny how many times I've been out in the sun (swimming as usual) and followed up the day with, "I'll probably be sorry."

I miss my mom still.  On Sunday, after a meltdown in the car, I asked New Guy if he thought it would ever get better.  He is so kind.  He said I would always miss her, but I was better, I just can't see it from my point of view. So I will continue to read her journal, and share what it appropriate.  I'm not surprised by what is in there.  We didn't have secrets, my mom and I.  But I realize now that as a child, I said things that mad her sad, though unintentionally...


Lace wanted to know why i don't do anything anymore. Need to try harder. 

It hurts me that I hurt her so many years ago.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spaghetti Squash Win!

This picture does not do my spaghetti squash justice. And without a solid photo, I'm afraid the masses (or at least those who know me) won't believe that 1) I made this and 2) it tasted so freaking good.

But alas... here is the recipe I used... sorta... I failed to measure with the exception of the cheese... because I love cheese.
  • Bake whole squash in oven for about an hour at 350 degrees.  Just until it is easy to cut open.  Brown is no bueno.  Should still look the same
  • Wait for it to cool before cutting it down the middle (horizontally).  If you don't wait, you will be burnt with squash smelling steam and you will be sad.  Also, no bueno.
  • Scoop out the nasty middle (seeds and membrane looking mess) and toss it.  It looks gross and probably won't entice people to eat their tasty, healthy goodies. 

  • Use a fork to scrape out the squash into a bowl.  It (obviously) looks like spaghetti but should still be crunchy-ish.  Feel free to pop some in your mouth, but be warned... it doesn't taste great yet.
  • In a pan, heat up a few tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. 
  • Add in finely minced garlic.  2-3 cloves.  Go crazy.  Whoever you're feeding will also have smelly breath, so they won't notice.  Better yet, serve dinner with booze and no one will care about their garlicky breath. 
  • When it all starts to smell like a tasty treat, throw in your squash, some parsley (eyeball this too, you just want enough for a little flavor and some color), and a pinch or two of salt.  It's about taste here, so make a decision and stick by it, but don't get too crazy... there is cheese coming.
  • Once it's all hot, but not mushy (if you like it mushy, go crazy and throw a lid on it), toss in about half a cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Dang, smells great at this point.  If it doesn't, you messed up somewhere.
  • Serve it up - yum! .    

More Socks!

So, I received my FIRST redditgifts exchange gift yesterday!  So exciting... especially because I've signed up for four exchanges and have gotten two duds, one win, and one that it's to it's deadline yet.

Two packages came in the mail - you can imagine my excitement at not one, but two packages!

The note in one read:

       Part 1 of 2? of 2 of 2? Delivering to your door instead of mine, who knows which gets there first.
       Here are some casual socks, though I think they'd look dashing with the road bike you got hanging on 
       your wall.

Umm... sock santa, when you are right, you are right. And I do love to match socks with my sports gear as is evidenced by... 

Yep, I'm pretty amazing like that.

So, for the purple knee highs, I thank you... but that wasn't all.

The next package had a veritable rainbow of running socks.  Again, this gift is pretty legit because... 

Yep, that is not so awesome. The issue is not that I don't have good socks, it's that I HATE that all my running socks are white (or off white now) with blue branding  So why wear socks during a marathon?  Well, because I'm slow and the above photo is not even the worst of it.

So now I can mix and match to my hearts content... Confession, I slept in one pair last night, so they aren't pictured. Haha. What can I say - I get super pumped for rainbow socks. 

Without further ado... 

Yep, awesome gifter.  Boom. Redditgifts. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bathroom Remodel Update

Tub to ceiling subway tile...

We put these bright white bad boys up one 3x6 tile at a time.  Worth it? Totally!  I think it came out to 25 rows of tiles, but let's look at the wins, losses and hints of the hole job before you decide if you want to put tile in the DIY column.

  • You must seal the wall.  You can either put up a barrier behind the concrete board or you can paint it on.
  • Get everything squared and leveled before you start.  This takes a lot longer than just dropping the tub in and relying on the folks who threw the wall studs up sometime before I was born.
  • Grab T spacers.
  • Get all the tools you need and lay them out before you start.  Clean the area of other items so it's just you and your tiling needs.
  • Take a break every now and then. For DIYers this is not a one sitting project.
  • Make sure your mortar is mixed properly.  Not too wet, not too dry.  The ridges left by the trowel should keep their shape without pulling off when gone over in the opposite direction.
  • For DIY amateurs, it's best to have a partner.
  • Recheck level along the way.
  • Try not to fight with your partner when you are mad at the tile/tub/wall/mortar/tools/etc.
  • Painting on the sealant was pretty quick.
  • We bought the slightly more expensive (negligible amount) tile spacers.  We grabbed the T spacers so once the first row is level, everything else falls into place nicely.
  • Having New Guy doing the cutting while I did all the tiling sped up the process quite a bit.
  • It looks great!
  • I got to buy some new toys, including a diamond hole bit thingy... no clue what it's actually called and the packaging is long gone.  Expensive, but super cool.

  • We only painted on the sealant because we didn't bother to look up how to waterproof the shower until after the cement board was up and jointed. So we had no choice... and the stuff ruins a paintbrush and smells like a million sharpies have been shoved up your nose.
  • We should have started the tile at the outside edges.  I don't think the professionals have to... they probably start in the middle like we did... but we are not tile cutting pros.  So... right...
  • We did not have a diamond bit or hole cutter, so we left a few tiles out one day... then the tiles in the row directly above sagged. My fault. 
  • The wall was not square, the tub was slightly off level, the cement board did not line up well with the tub edges... remember the hint?  It's a lot easier to fix on the front end. 

Monday, February 18, 2013


Socks get a bad rap when it comes to the world of gifting.  Redditgifts knows better and they are having another sock exchange.  Over 3500 participants will be exchanging socks and I will be one of them.  Here's hoping the recipient doesn't sue me for stealing her ideas...

In the "likes and dislikes" portion of her profile, she shared the following: 
  • Majored in biology and creative writing, now in med school
  • Did beetle research in the Amazon
  • Likes video games, action/comic book movies, rock climbing, and backpacking
Got it.  So you are pretty cool.  But I planned on stalking her online (in a very polite, get the right gift sort of way) for something a little more unique/personal to build a gift off. That's when I found her drawing submissions. Ummm... well... interesting. 

Title: Party sloth
Title: Cake!?
Here is something I can work with.  After a little work tracing and refining with a sharpie... and some creative license... and a special trip down the med school/beetle route... I came up with these gems...

Man, I hope these are a win.  I am aiming for sheer joy at the opening of this box.

Grill Fail

In case your wondering, we finally used the grill that we moved from one house to the other (Yes I know that is confusing, we only live in one, but have two.  Feel like we have too much - then please buy one of the houses. We would REALLY appreciate it.) Apparently, we broke the auto ignite button at some point.  Fabulous.  No worries, you can still light it by hand.

You cannot, however, account for my lack of skills.  I ruined lobster tail.  Apparently it's SOOOO EASY according to all the websites (thanks for making me feel like an idiot internet).  But I overcooked them somehow... stuck in the shells and a little rubbery.  Dang it.

Anyhow, it was a nice night on the patio with the space heater going, a bottle of wine (Foot pressed by me and New Guy... sorta), and a mostly okay dinner...

Positive news for New Guy?  I signed up to take two cooking classes.  One for dessert and one for grilling pizza. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Valentine

Last year for our anniversary, New Guy and I stayed in a hotel in Fort Worth... yes, that is in town.  But sometimes you just have to get out of the house.  Anyhow, I gave him tickets to Ben Folds at the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra which was pretty fabulous.  I'm not huge on unwrapped gifts (that's just sad).  I also am not a huge fan of wrapping print at home tickets (also kinda sad).  So I put together an in room scavenger hunt.  Cheesy? Maybe.  Super fun? Yes!

So, for Valentine's Day, I was once again in the same boat... What to do with the print at home confirmation of the gift... Not even the gift itself... a confirmation that I bought it.  Ugh.  Where is the romance in that?

So, a scavenger hunt it is.  I used word jumbles that New Guy had to unscramble to find each envelope.  All 22 of them.  Hindsight... overkill.

Each envelope had a picture in it.  Each photo represented one word. He had to put together the photos into the clues that he then used to guess the gift.  It's a good thing New Guy is so clever or this would have gone on all night.

So a few of the clues...

And then there were...

And the illustrious...

All coming together in... 

So half the clues... conveniently put together (a convenience New Guy did not have).

Guess where we are going in September!?