Archive | my house RSS feed for this section

Ruby Tuesday – They’re at it again!

1 Dec

Ruby doesn't understand why we're doing this

Can you believe this? They are at it again! Tearing things up, stinky paint, noisy equipment, long discussions over color, why? What is the point?

toilet gone

They took the toilet out and tore up the carpet. Again, why? Just because it was white carpet and stained . . . whatever.

a fresh coat of primer

Like painting it all white and clean is so important. And, you want to know what? They aren’t even done with it. White isn’t enough . . . they are painting it green over the white. Does that make sense to you?

paint color

And, the name of the color . . . Reptilian. Seriously, paint should be named something beautiful like Lark’s Meadow not Reptilian . . . creepy!

tile floor border

So, all the nice soft carpet is gone now and instead, hard, nasty tile. How weird is that?

Our new tile saw

Remember the noisy equipment I mentioned . . . here’s the latest noisy equipment they felt we needed to have around. A tile saw. You can’t imagine the noise. I’m sure the golfers liked it. I now it drove the squirrels away and who do I chase when the squirrels stay away?

Bathroom remodel project

They say they still aren’t done. Something about grout after the tile adhesive dries. Will this nightmare never end?


Sky Watch – Vultures

2 Apr


Do you see that tiny speck coming in from the left?  My son did and knew exactly what to do.  He came and got me . . . good birds are worth disturbing mom.  Plus, he had a plan!


Where there is one vulture, perhaps there are more.  There was no time to waste.  He flew (ha!) into action.  Or rather inaction.


He knew that Vultures like dead meat so the threw himself to the ground and pretended to be dead!  That’s me boy!


As you can see, it worked!  He lured in a total of six.  My husband was saying useful things like, “If they land, don’t let them start peeking out your eyeballs!”


They rode around on the warm air currents of the late afternoon before flying off into the sunset, sans 9 year old boy eyeballs!


And, what a beautiful sunset it was, too.

view . . . vulture
carcass on the ground
may not be as dead as it seems
call your friends to check
there’s no death

©2009, Liza Lee Miller

Finally, winter is here

15 Feb

We are finally getting some rain.  Days and days and days of it.  There is water in the creek again, thank goodness.  Rain drums on the rooftop.  (And, leaks — Greg heard a strange drip this morning.  Yup, a leak right above his head.  Thankfully, we have a canopy so it hadn’t reached our bed yet.  So, as Spring is approaching, we are finally in the depths of winter here in Boulder Creek.


Our current rainfall total is 20″.  That’s up significantly from my last report of about 16″.  And, the weather report is showing rain for days!  It’s all good news for the drought although, we are still very far behind where we should be water-wise for the 2nd year in a row.  Last year, we had around 30″ and that’s just about 3/4 of what we should get in a normal winter.    If it stopped raining right now, we’d be about the same as the dryest year on record (going back to 1888) which happened in 1976.  Contrast that to our highest rain year ever which was 100″ of rain in one year.  More typical is 50-70″ of rain in a year.

Anyway, let it rain, let it rain, let it rain.  But, in the back of my mind is always that too much rain, too quickly causes landslides and trees to come down and we don’t need that either.  Not to be picky but can we have lots of rain but not too much!



The rain brings out some local wildlife that I haven’t seen in weeks.

Orchid Overload

14 Feb


I’m going to need advice from the Orchid Goddess, Julie Zickefoose, on this one. I attended a Valentine’s Party yesterday with a gift exchange. One of the women opened this amazing orchid and said, “Oooo, I’ll kill this one quickly.” So, when someone stole my beautiful little bird house from me, I didn’t hesitate to rescue this amazing orchid-boganza and bring it home. It’s cheering me up just to walk into my kitchen and see this much beauty staring back at me.

Fancy-schmancy Wall-to-wall Carpeting

8 Dec

My living room carpeting is toast.  History.  Garbage.

When we bought our house, it had white carpet everywhere.  We looked at each other, looked at our two small (3 years and 18 mos) children, looked at our two elderly Labradors and laughed.  We decided to leave the carpet in until we could stand it no farther.  Let the kids and the dogs ruin a carpet we don’t want anyway, we thought to ourselves, smug with the knowledge that we were very clever.

That was 2001.

For the first couple of years, we just put up with the mess.  But, finally, we broke down and got it cleaned.  We couldn’t live with the mess and couldn’t afford new carpeting.  The bust had a delayed reaction on our family finances and we were in serious recovery mode.  So, our annual carpet cleaning was a wonderful event.

Finally, however, last year, the carpet didn’t look much better after it was cleaned.  Nothing I can do about it, our friendly neighborhood carpet cleaner said.  This carpet is toast.  History.  Garbage.

Okay, he didn’t really say that.  But that’s what he meant.

So, this year, come hell or high water, we are replacing our carpet.  The dining room and most of the hallway are already replaced with the stunning bamboo flooring that you’ve seen grace these pages.  We love it and it loves us.  But our sunken living room, well, that needs carpet.  So . . . we picked out carpet.

Since Greg is “in the biz,” we went to a vendor he’s used for some of his clients (Greg is an architect, y’all, I know I’ve shared that . . . haven’t I?).  We took home samples and began the long process of picking out carpet.  This involved neighborhood children, my mother-in-law being told to pick  correctly or she’d get no food on Thanksgiving, and friend who dropped in to say hi.  Everyone had to have an opinion and pretty much, everyone chose correctly.  Meaning, of course, that they agreed with me.

This is what they picked:  Mohawk’s Wundaweve Highrise Retreat in Faux Fur.  It only seems appropriate, don’t you think?  After all, we live a highrise lifestyle here in Boulder Creek.  What with our cocktail parties and the doorman and all.


It’s pretty hard to tell from that swatch.  The carpet has a bold mid-century modern pattern.  (Designers these days are saying mid-century modern these days because it sounds infinitely better than 1950’s retro.) I fell in love with it at the store.  It’s really cool and you can’t get a good look at it from that swatch — the swatch is just to see the lovely “faux fur” color.  Dark but not too dark.  Below, you can see it in a room:


Nope, that’s not my living room.  Nor my bedroom.  If the carpet were in my bedroom, you would’t see the pattern as my bedroom is teeny-tiny and has a california king-sized bed in it.  All you see is bed.  Besides, I think the bamboo patterned comforter on that bed is really horrible with the bold mid-century modern pattern of the carpet.  Anyway, you can see the effect.

Greg has been calling his carpet guy for a week now with no response.  It’s a little scary.  We are entertaining on 12/23 and the old carpet must go.  I’d rather entertain on plywood than the old carpet that is in place.  It’s foul.  So, while my tree is up, my living room is undecorated because between now and the 23rd, I am planning to move all the furniture out of my living room into my ginormous entry way (aka The Lobby) and back again.  So, putting a layer of CHRISTMAS on top of all the furniture before moving it.  That makes no sense.  Hopefully, we are going to report carpet installation next week sometime.

But just to keep it real, we figure it’ll be installed on the 22nd.  We’ve already arranged for the kids to stay the night with Grandma so Greg and I can move furniture and decorate . . . with all the accompanying swearing and tears and not traumatize the kids!  🙂

Oh, Ruby had strong opinions about the carpet and definitely helped in the selection process.

What do you think, Ruby?

To see what she decided on, check in tomorrow for Ruby Tuesday!

My House Monday – An Long-Awaited Update

26 Oct

Long awaited by me at any rate . . . not sure how eagerly my readership is to discover what we’ve been doing on the house but oh well.  🙂

When last we met [click], we had finished the flooring and then school was starting soon and . . . well, you can imagine how much we’ve gotten done since school — that giagantic time sync — started.  Well, actually, maybe you can’t because you don’t know to factor in the persuasive insistance of on Mr. Miller that progress be made.  Oh, and his mother is also amazing and comes to help us a lot.  I have given up a few precious Saturdays to get work done many times since school started.  So, here is my update . . .

New Dining Room Table and Chandelier

This is my “old” dining room looking it’s best.  First of all, notice the nasty carpet.  Ugh!  I’d never put white carpet in a house.  We intended to get rid of it within a year of moving into our house.  That was 2001.  Sooooo, you can imagine how glad we were to get rid of it.  The new flooring is a godsend.  Also notice the white drapes that don’t quite reach the floor.  Lovely — highwater drapes.  They are all the rage.  They were necessary because our old slider took up most of that wall and was aluminum framed with single-paned glass.  In the winter, that room was unbearable even with the drapes (of course if they’d reached the ground it might have been better!).  The worst thing about the room though was the traffic pattern.  The table was designed to be smackdab in the middle of the room and that meant that all the traffic had to go around it.  It was the hub of the house — traffic came in from the entryway and living areas of the house, the kitchen, the backyard, and the garage access all went through that room with a table right in the middle of it all.  Useless design.  My architect husband had to fix that poor planning.

Dining Room Update

During shots can be chaotic and overwhelming.  Note that the new floor is in and the new slider is in.  We got a smaller slider and re-oriented it so that it opened on the opposite side.  We also moved the light switch so that it is by the slider in the right place.  The walls are painted the same lovely yellow as the kitchen walls so it feels continuous.   Let’s look at some details.

Dining Room Update

New slider — smaller and double-paned glass.  Light switch recently moved.  Stool there to facilitate painting of walls.

Dining Room Update

Oh, we went ahead and took out a ugly, dangerous electric wall heater in the dining room.  We patched the wall and put in an electric socket.  Much more useful.

Dining Room Update

Most of our house has very rough-hewn trim at the windows and doors.  But, Greg felt that a more elegant look was called for in the dining room.  Hey, he’s the architect.  He also wanted to make sure that our {ahem} inexpensive vinyl sliding door looked less like an inexpensive vinyl sliding door.  Nice trimwork painted the same white really dresses it up.

Dining Room Update

Looks nice, doesn’t it?  The switchplate cover is one I did at our last Crafty Chix day in September.  I’m not happy with it but I can live with it.  🙂

Dining Room Update

This wall will eventually house a sideboard and a flat-screen tv.  Those are high-priced items that will have to wait awhile.  So, it’s hard to see how this will look eventually but it’s still looking better and better.

Dining Room Update

This armoir is an “antique”.  It used to house the kids’ tv and videos.  Now it’s my
“office/studio.”  It’s going to house my art stuff and my computer.  I’m turning my office (aka the dungeon) back into a full-time laundry room and pantry.  It’s going to take some getting used to but I think it will work out well in the long run.  Doesn’t it look gorgeous on the new floor with the yellow paint?

Nearly done:

Dining Room Update

So, it’s nearly finished.  Through the slider, you can see the white door to the laundry room.  It’s getting a fresh coat of paint.  The table is uncovered and in place.  We moved the chandelier to it’s new spot.  So much work still to do but my goodness this much feels very, very good.  As I type this, I am sitting in that black chair there on my laptop enjoying that cup of mocha on the table.  What a change from just a few months (and a lot of hard work) ago.

Well, I’d better get dressed . . . my mother is due here mid-morning so she can learn to be a teacher!  🙂

A small panic-induced haitus

4 Aug

I am panicking just slightly at the realization that school starts in 21 days.  I’m feeling ridiculously unprepared.  I haven’t gotten anywhere near enough done this summer — my house isn’t ready, my kitchen isn’t finished, my dining room isn’t finished, my entry way is still a messy storage jumble, my school preparations are a joke.  We are going camping at the end of this week and I’m not ready for that yet.

Yup.  I’m in a panicky way.

I know that it’s not as bad as I am making it out to be.  My kitchen is very nearly finished — I really just need to finish the one strip of tile and finish putting everything away.  My dining room isn’t finished but we’ve ordered the new door and will get it around the end of this week.  Nothing I can do to speed that up.  While my house is still a disaster, it is way better than at the beginning of the summer.  I’ve completely cleaned my son’s room and will do my daughter’s this week while she’s gone.  I cleaned our bedroom from top to bottom and decluttered a LOT of junk from there.  Our entry way is still nightmarish but it’s better than it was — picking away at it slowly (too slowly! 🙂 ).  Progress is being made.

School preparations are similar.  Have I spent as much time as I wanted to at school preparing?  Nope.  Not even close.  But, I have done some organization.  I’ll spend a couple of days there this week and some time with one of my 4th grade team this week and I’ll be feeling a lot better about all that, I know.

So, thinking outloud here, I’d really like to get my living room completely clean — hey, I can get that done today.  It will probably only take me an hour or so.  I would like to get all the rest of my school stuff to school so my house is less cluttered.  Again, I can get that done today another hour, tops.  The biggest project I’d like to accomplish this week on the house is to finish the kitchen and get the entry back to a semblance of order.  I also have to clean my daughter’s room.  (See the panic building again . . . )   Okay, I’m off to make a list and get organized . . . no way around it now.  Summer is nearly over and I have to get my butt in gear.

So, don’t expect much posting.  I will try to post some pictures now and again.  I’ll still be reading blogs. And, I’m sure I’ll feel better in a short time for the focus on getting things DONE.

Happy August!

Ruby Tuesday – The Floor is Finished Edition

29 Jul

Kitchen Floor

Some of you no doubt remember this picture of the lovely Ruby showing off and matching our new flooring.  She did not cooperate for another picture on the new flooring.  Probably because an 8 yo and a 9 yo boy were trying to “help” with the process.  No fool she.  Still, I love the way she matches the floor.

floor finished

After a brief haitus, we got back to work and finished up the floor.  Greg would measure and tell me what size to cut, I used that saw you can see behind Greg and cut the boards.  When we couldn’t use the nailer anymore, too near the wall, I put glue on the boards before giving them to Greg.  The floor looks gorgeous!  The bamboo that we used [click] is incrediably hard.  Our heavy-duty nailer (borrowed from Greg’s uncle who is a contractor) worked great.  At places where the nailer wouldn’t work, glue was the only answer.  In the kitchen, Greg experimented with top nailing the boards in but it didn’t work, required pre-drilling, and didn’t give satisfying results.  I really can’t stress enough how hard this bamboo is.  Makes me feel good about having it as our flooring.

floor finished

This is after my Scooba finished cleaning it up for me yesterday.  Isn’t it lovely? It took it ages because of all the dust and debris from construction.  I had to empty the tank a couple of times and clean out all the vacuumed up debris.  I love the Scooba.  I would have whined and grumbled my way through cleaning it.  I’m not sure it’s a timesaver, however.  I found myself standing and watching it work.  🙂

next project started

Of course, we have never been able to bask in our success.  We are always on to the next project.  So, we started working at the edging around the door.  That’s the next thing to go . . . that ugly, gigantic, single pane glass slider.  Can’t wait to say good-bye to it.

When I am Queen, Dilly Dilly!

30 May

Remember this hole in my cabinet?

Cabinet doors installed

(not to mention this adorable picture!) Gosh, look at how sweet that is and look at how ugly that floor is! Shudder!

Do you remember why it is there?
Our original electric cooktop had a push button control panel on the front of the cabinet — brilliant, eh? When we moved into our house, this boy

Gage and Ruby in a quiet moment

looked like this


And, yes, he was every bit as cute-trouble as he looked! Therefore, having buttons that turned on the stove at easy access to an 18 month old was not a good thing. So, we replaced the stove and ignored the hole. (Hey, the whole kitchen was ugly — why worry about a little thing like a hole in the cabinet!)

Remember the tile we bought to hide it?

Tile is better than I hoped!

Remember how we were going to install it safely so it didn’t fall and break and I didn’t have to stand there and hold it for hours on end?

No? Neither did I! Luckily, my husband is smarter and more creative about this stuff than I am and he had a plan!

Lavander Tile being installed

Isn’t that clever? He propped it up on wood. The wood was held in place by the doors. Brilliant! The man is a genius!

Lavendar Tile installed

How beautiful is that? I love it!

Lavendar Tile installed

Why I love it so much!

Lavander in my yard

When we bought our house — lo those many years ago that I have now invoked twice in one post — the front yard was what I fondly called “The Deer Salad Bar.” The deer loved it — I did not. I’m sorry but if you live in deer country, you can’t plant roses and expect them to survive. The deer loooooove them. So, I systematically tore it all out and planted lavender. I love lavender. The deer do not. So, I have lots of it. The bees love it. The birds love it. The deer — who used to come right up on my porch to nosh on my plants now stay away. Hurrah! And, that is why I love the lavender tile, so much. Lavender just works for me.

Ruby Tuesday — The Kitchen Designer Edition

27 May

Kitchen Floor

It is important, when designing one’s kitchen, to consider whether or not one’s floor exactly matches the color of one’s muzzle.