Sunday, September 24, 2023

Week 38: Smoky air, progress and plans

An unusual week

Wow, we had two really bad air quality days followed by several hours of “unhealthy” air each day the rest of the week. It was smoke from wildfires in the far north of California and in southern Oregon. 

Then we found out our landscaper is injured and can't do the planting work. The person doing the hardscape work will step in thankfully and Hubby is pitching in as much as he can so this can be done. 

We agreed to a 10 hour day of babysitting both grand-girls in early October so son an DIL can go on a boat trip they won at a silent auction. Since the grand-baby burst into sobs when left with us briefly this week, we have concluded she has reached the stranger fear stage and we realized she had been asleep the last few times we were at their house. Ages in baby time since she was familiar with us being around lol. The plan is for me to spend big chunks of time at their house before babysitting so she is used to us again and we know her current schedule/likes/needs and how to use the high chair, etc. Babies change so fast at this age. As I told my 40 year old son, we haven’t taken care of a 7 month old baby since he was one!

With lots of advice from the local Benjamin Moore store staff followed by internet reading, we have a tentative plan to fix the slippery paint on the large old concrete patio. Right now it seems the sequence is to pressure wash, lightly sand with an orbital sander, vacuum and wash again, perhaps prime depending on what the surface is like, and then paint with an anti-slip acrylic coating. The final coat can be made any of their colors so that is a plus. Our son lent us a handheld power orbital sander to test on a small area. Then we will decide how much of this to do ourselves as we could rent a larger orbital sander that you stand up to use and our landscaper will pressure wash. The store staff also carefully picked and recommended 3 small company painters for us to contact for bids if we want to hire a crew.

Got stuff done

  • Son and the grand-girls came over for dinner Wednesday while DIL worked late. 
  • Cleared off my desk and that checked off at least 7 things on my 20+ items still on our move to do list and also got pile of paperwork filed.
  • Cleaned the high chair so it is ready to use
  • Exercised a bit more and ate fairly healthily 
  • Bought 2 long sleeve tees after checking my wardrobe for fall. Decided to check out the local Marshalls before ordering anything else.
  • We watched a video specific to our thermostat and reprogrammed it so fingers crossed it works correctly for us! No more coming on in the middle of the night when not needed hopefully.
  • We agreed on the largest plants for back and front.
  • Ate 6 of 7 planned dinners at home and got takeout from the local taco truck when son and girls were here.


Complete last week’s nagging tasks: 

  • finish cleaning the kitchen appliances that came with the house (refrigerator coils vacuumed, dishwasher cleaned)
  • complete more items left on move to do list

Exercise more before flu shot on Thursday

Plan all meals at home

Try sanding painted concrete and decide how to proceed with painting after earthquake retrofit work is done

Get paint chips for colors used on house so can pick patio color easily

Mending/alterations done

Clear off “donate or undecided” items on table in garage

Rearrange non clothing storage so I have more room for clothing in my closet and bedside table

And that is once again ambitious!

Monday, September 18, 2023

Planning week 38!

I’ve been feeling a bit down and lacking in motivation but accomplishing things always makes me feel better. Specifically I feel better when I exercise, can check things off the to do list or solve problems, eat fewer carbs, drink less caffeine or alcohol, and spend time with others. So let’s try those.

Get stuff done -

As usual I am overly optimistic about how much I will get done but that gives me options 😁

1. Actually do my Pilates routine (I always mean to - really!). My sciatica is nagging at me and needs to stop.

2. Plan time with family based on their schedule

3. Get some nagging tasks done (clean off desk, clean out email by addressing old items,  hem pants, deal with remaining pile of items in garage by deciding to keep or get rid of, clean gifted high chair). 

4. Finish deep cleaning the kitchen appliances that came with the house (refrigerator coils vacuumed, dishwasher cleaned/checked - stove & oven are done).

5. Order 3 long sleeve tees, more warm socks, warm cardigan and/or fleece vest so I am not cold this winter.

6. Substitute healthier choices for carb, etc. cravings or eating habits.

Solve a problem or two -

1. Why is the heat suddenly going on in the middle of the night? I found the thermostat manual online and now need to understand it so we can fix this before we actually need heat! I did turn the system off this morning but that won’t work long term.

2. Decide on at least the main plants for the front and back. Find out where to buy them.

Plan Some Dinner Ideas - We have found ourselves uninspired lately when contemplating what to have for dinner which is fine but not very enjoyable. We like simple, fast meal prep and see leftovers as a bonus so here are this week’s ideas. We’ll see what actually happens as we will get take out if we get together with the family).

Green lentil and carrot soup - 2 meals

Leftover turkey burgers with carrots and peas

Shrimp with garlic, red pepper and broccoli over capellini 

Tuna chef salad

Chicken breast with butternut squash and green beans

Salmon with mashed potatoes and salad

What do you hope to do this week?

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Week 37: Our supervisor



We had a nice visit from an old friend yesterday but it wore us out! This morning I am off to a meeting of the local chapter of AAUW (the American Association of University Women). I do think this group may be too single minded and serious to find the friendships and activities I am seeking. Soon it will be time to turn my to attention to finding those as we will have spent 6 months settling in to the house and area. Fall is in the air but if summer was really here I blinked and missed it lol!

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Weeks 36: It’s all about the yard

We have been pitching in to move this project along. Hubby laid out the flagstone so the workers could level them and fill the gaps. I dug up old termite bait stations, pruned some plants we are keeping, leveled some areas near the foundation, researched plants, arranged for a neighbor to use her extra free pickup for 19 green waste bags, and picked up trash, rocks and branches. 

Lots of progress in the back yard. Here is the new patio a week ago (top) and at the end of the week (bottom).

And the walkway

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Thrifty & Thankful Thursday

Thrifty stuff - 

1. We worked on the yard in any way that we could contribute. Hubby especially did quite a bit of laying out the stones in the patio that we would have had to pay for otherwise. I did pruning and clean up in several areas. We are also scaling back plant purchases where possible. We can always add more.

2. We had 25 bags of yard waste hauled away for no extra cost just by setting up a free extra pick up. A neighbor volunteered to set up a pick up on her account so 19 more bags go for free next week. Fact: only one bag fits in our green waste bin per week so this is huge. We gave away concrete stepping stones through Buy Nothing and one of the workers is taking the old small flagstone pieces and large textile bags the gravel, etc. are delivered in. It all reduces our eventual hauling and dump fees.

3. I accepted an old North Face backpack through Buy Nothing to create a second emergency “Go Bag”. I still need to get them stocked.

4. Making sure to brush and comb the pup to avoid extra grooming charges.

5. All the usual of cleaning our house ourselves, cooking at home, no food waste, mending, etc.

Thankful stuff -

Having substantial conversations with 3 of my neighbors. I am thankful that I am getting to know them better and like them.

Our son for bringing up the topic of where each of us would want to live if the other died and we could not manage on our own. They are adding on to their house and one option could create a sort of ADA/multipurpose space. If they choose to add on in that area they wanted to know if either of us might want to live there eventually so they could factor in some ADA features. My ❤️ is full.

Monday, September 4, 2023

September goals

 I have a broad set of intentions for this month around becoming healthier and being happy. I’m trying to each day track if I do my Pilates program, miles walked outside, something I enjoyed and people I  interacted with happily. We will see if this works.

I will be trying to come up with fun and interesting things to do and socialize some.

Otherwise my goals for September are to do list oriented.

  • Power through 25 items remaining on my move to do list. Some will take minutes and others many hours.
  • Make list of home repairs and improvements to do the rest of the year including needed and wanted purchases.
  • Hem pair of pants.
  • Make plant decisions, a landscape plan and stages of installation.
  • Clear garage as much as possible and decide on better storage solutions
  • Shop for few needed cool weather clothing items so I am not cold all the time!

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Week 35: Turning 74, more flagstone down

I made it to 74 Friday! Hubby asked what I wanted to do for my birthday so we went to the Rosie the Riveter National Historic Park and then to the local funky wine bar for a birthday eve adventure.

I clearly remember my Dad turning 75 because we had a surprise party for him. He was quite spry, upbeat and enthusiastic at that age. A very good role model. He died at 88, but had lots of cardiovascular issues since his 50s that fortunately I didn't inherit. 

I also remember my Mom’s special 80th birthday party as she was so happy. She made it to 93 despite similar health issues plus others that I also haven’t seemed to inherit. 

Hopefully I inherited the longevity genes and there are many more birthdays ahead without their health problems.

Otherwise an ordinary week.

Hubby got groceries a day early on Monday as we were scrounging for lunches we wanted to eat - not that we would have to go hungry. Yes, we are spoiled by choices and abundance. We watched the landscapers cut and move thick pieces of flagstone.

Tuesday we met with the painting company estimator to discuss solutions for the concrete patio and checked in on more flagstone work. We still don’t have an estimate - sigh.

Wednesday was quite hot for here and we met with the landscape designer at a local plant nursery to start picking out new plants and yet more flagstone work by that team.

Thursday the temperature took a big dive with a chilling wind but my birthday adventure was mostly inside. My big brother called with birthday wishes so he wouldn’t forget😁 Hubby spent all morning placing flagstone in the patio space and made great progress. I tried on the shoes I had ordered and kept 2 of 3 pairs so now I am set for shoes and happy feet for fall.

Friday was my actual birthday. Our son stopped by with some gifts and a visit. I enjoyed the birthday wished sent in many forms.

Saturday we went to our son and DILs house for lunch, to help with the garden and hang out. The baby slept through most of our visit but we got to hold her. We came home with lots of cherry tomatoes and green beans plus our older granddaughter. Nice one on one time. She wanted to play on our neighbors swings and play act restaurant complete with signs and more. She is very creative at this age and her reading and writing has progressed by leaps and bounds. She left a sidewalk chalk note for our neighbors saying “Your swings are fun”.

Week 38: Smoky air, progress and plans

An unusual week Wow, we had two really bad air quality days followed by several hours of “unhealthy” air each day the rest of the week. It w...