Archive | 12:30 am


3 Jan

For 2008, I am keeping my resolutions goals simple. One of the blogs that I read daily is ZenHabits and the author recommends setting goals rather than resolutions. There wasn’t much I could find to disagree with in his post. In years past, I have categorized my life and then set goals for each category. The resulting scattering of my attention meant that nothing got done or at least not done well.

I am a firm believer in the power of saying something to make it so.

I learned that lesson when my husband and I decided to move to Boulder Creek. It meant a lifestyle change that we both wanted — and had wanted for 10 years without doing anything to move us in that direction. But, we finally faced that goal, embraced it and said it outloud. And, within a few months, we’d sold our house and were moving. We made it happen — we didn’t even have to set mini-goals along the way to achieve the big goal incrementally. Sometimes just saying a goal turns it into an unstoppable juggernaut.

It happened again when I decided to go back to school and become a teacher. I was sure that Greg would be opposed — after all, it would mean a long, long delay in my bringing in any real money to our family. It would mean a ton of compromise for him and our children while I was fractured and divided and torn between loyalties. But, when I told him it was what I wanted to do, he didn’t hesitate — and we made it happen.

I don’t have anything that big in my life right now but I do have a few goals that I would like to accomplish this year so I am going to say those goals right out loud before God and everyone and then work on building habits to support those goals.

Goal #1 — lose my excess weight.

Habit #1 — take a daily walk.

Goal #2 — simplify my life.

Habit #2 — spend 1/2 hour a week decluttering my house.

Goal #3 — take time for me.

Habit #3 — start wearing makeup everyday.

All of these are things that I’ve really been focusing on in a low key way since September (teachers and kids get TWO New Years to reassess and start over each year). But, I haven’t said them outloud and I haven’t made them happen consistently.

The weight loss thing is something I’ve been working on for the last 3 years. I have had great progress — 32 lbs lost. But, I have a long way to go toward being healthy. The funny thing is that recently, I hit a weight I haven’t seen in nearly 20 years and all of a sudden the compliments started pouring in — suddenly, there was a noticeable change. So, the motivation is there and I need to capitalize on it.

Simplifying my life is something I always strive towards but being overloaded makes that difficult. When we moved to Boulder Creek, we literally had a dumpster come to our old house and we filled it — twice. Then, we started an intense declutter campaign when we’d been in this house about a year. Life was good. But, it’s gotten out of hand again and we need to focus on it. We’re going to do some major remodeling this year and will likely have someone coming in to clean the house so it would be really, really good to get some of the clutter out of the way so that we can focus on storing what’s important to us.

The last goal is something that I really know I need to do. I am the kind of woman who puts everyone else first and myself last and I look like it. I don’t dress well. I don’t wear makeup — and haven’t for YEARS — on a regular basis. I don’t make my own personal care a priority. And, that needs to change. The fact is, I feel better when I take good care of myself so I need to make more of an effort to do so. Enough said.

You can see how I’m doing — should you be even remotely interested. I’m using a site called Joe’s Goals to help me track my progress toward building these habits. A little accountability is a good thing!

So, that’s my plan for 2006. I will be doing more to achieve these goals but I also know that if I plan on doing too much and don’t hit those marks, I’ll feel like a failure. These are important goals with achievable steps. And, I’ll feel pretty darn good about myself if I’m getting them done. So, go me!

What are YOU making your focus in 2008?


The winds of change are blowing through my kitchen . . .

3 Jan
Did you know that Greg and I are total do-it-yourself-ers? We are! We have remodeled our houses so many times, so many ways, from minor paint changes to major construction projects. It helps that Greg is an architect so he plans things out carefully and we’re sure they will look good when we’re done. It also helps that his parents were total do-it-yourself-ers as well and have always jumped right in to help us out with our major construction and minor remodels.That said, my kitchen is UGLY. It’s the kind of ugly that you try to avoid looking at — I can go in, cook a meal, clean it up, and leave without REALLY seeing it. That’s not a good thing, really. Once you reach that fingers-in-your-ear-singing-la-la-la-loudly stage, you have a serious problem. We’ve lived with this ugly kitchen for way, way, way longer than we should have.Part of it isn’t our fault. First of all, remodels are expensive. Second of all, we had some major financial damage to repair before we could think about something like a remodel of our kitchen. Also, we did some other major construction to the house like turning the carport into Greg’s office and little things like that. I know, excuses, excuses, excuses. Enough.
My name is Liza Miller and my kitchen is ugly.
Greg has been bugging me to get with the program — his program — so we can fix the ugliness. Well, that’s not been going well because I wanted all new cabinets and he wanted to refinish the existing cabinets. Log jam.I caved. My kitchen is ugly and I want it changed. So, I caved. Even the cheapest IKEA kitchen cabinets would cost a butt-load of money and I’d rather spend that money on other things. So, I caved. Sigh. It’s going to be a butt-load of work but (ha!) we can do that.Meanwhile, we’ve slowly been replacing the old, worn-out, nasty appliances with nice, new, stainless steel appliances. First the range — a gift from a friend who was remodeling her house. Then the dishwasher — the old one finally stopped working — I promise that I didn’t sabotage it! Most recently, the double oven was replaced with a gorgeous single oven. And, just two days ago, we ordered a microwave/range hood. Hip-hip-horray! Now I can wash dishes in style — my favorite feature? It has a delay wash setting so I can do the dishes but not have it run until the middle of the night. So nice! And, i can cook chicken and know how long it will take — the old one was iffy on that sort of thing. And, now I can turn on a light over my range with less three clicks of the button. Oh, life is good!
But the kitchen is still ugly. Nice appliances, I’ve found, in an ugly kitchen mean that the ugliness is more noticeable.So, what are we going to do about it? Well, first off, we are going to dismantle the cabinets, sand and paint each part of them, put on new hinges and drawer hardware. We will then put on new hardware. Then we will put on new countertops — oh the discussions and conversations and planning over this one. Lastly, we’ll put in new floors. There will be other goodies along the way — one of the counters needs to be raised to the height of the rest and then we’ll be replacing the tile there with butcher block. Here is some eye candy of what we’re planning . . . the good news is that at the end of all this nasty work, we’ll have a gorgeous, gorgeous kitchen.

Decisions we’ve already made

Kichen PlanningPaint color — green for the cabinets, pale yellow for the little bits of wall that show, laminate counter tops, and bamboo flooring.

Paint color — Greg suggested a Williamsburg kind of green. We ended up with a sort-of more modern version of that. The wall paint is just to brighten up the darkest corners of the walls. It’s beautiful but there will only be a little bit of it showing.

Laminate countertops.
Oh the decisions about this one — back and forth and forth and back. Neither of us is happy with the laminate decision. We’d both like to put in a gorgeous Silestone countertop like this one {click} — oddly enough, though, we don’t have a spare $3 grand lying around so we’re compromising. Greg wanted to leave and live with the old tile counters which I hate with a deep and abiding passion (think Ruby and Christmas Sweater and then magnify x10). So, we are doing laminate and we’ll live with it for a few years and then we’ll do the Silestone or something similar. The good news is that we saw this particular laminate on display at Home Depot and love it. It looks great! Yay!

Bamboo Flooring
We’re getting bamboo floors from Lumber Liquidators. Bamboo is very green. I had to laugh when the guy said that the one we wanted was “old growth” — in bamboo, that means it’s 4+ years old. Living in a redwood forest, old growth lumber being cut down sets my nerves a-jangling. But, I can handle using “old growth” bamboo!

New hardware for cabinets
You gotta love IKEA. This is what we’re using for our cabinets — sideways for drawers, upways for doors. Sleek, smooth, and lovely.

Glass Tile Mosaic Backsplash
I don’t know that this is the one we’ll use but it will be something like it. Isn’t that gorgeous? I’d love to see that behind my sink everyday. Lovely, luminous, glowing, yum!

Metal Backsplash behind range
I don’t know that it will look just like this but I know it’s going to be gorgeous shiny metal of some kind. Gorgeous and easy to clean. Yes!

Interior Fittings for Cabinets
Part of making all this work is making all this work. My kitchen doesn’t function well so getting the cabinets to work smarter, not harder is a big goal of mine.

Still in Dispute Discussion!

One new cabinet!
Is it too much to ask? Is it? One new cabinet? I’d like to do this to replace the cabinet that we’re raising — rather than adding new drawers to the top of an existing cabinet, let’s just get a pretty new one! Isn’t it lovely? Sigh.

Dining Room Door
Our dining room has a gigantic 8′ single-pane glass slider. It’s ugly, inefficient, and doesn’t even lock anymore. We hate it.

Simple vinyl slider — smaller, double-pane glass, possibly with built-in blinds between glass


Real French Doors in vinyl — way more costly but a more elegant look.

Well, there you go. My obsession the last few days has been putting all this together. It’s going to be gorgeous when it’s done. When will it be done? Hopefully in the spring. The trouble with do-it-yourself is doing-it-yourself. It takes time, it takes work, it makes me whine. But I am always so proud of the end results!