Friday, August 31, 2007

Return To Childhood

A few months ago, I posted about Q's and my first house being for sale. It's no longer on the MLS, but that doesn't mean much. In this stagnant real estate market, the listing probably expired.

Anyway, after a busy week at school, I began the long holiday weekend by vegging out in front of the computer, and nosing around (something I do quite frequently). Today's search took me to Glendale, where I discovered that my childhood home is for sale.

Here's how the house looked when it was newly built in 1973. That's my dad doing yard work.

The grass has since been removed and replaced with rocks and desert plants. But the bars on the window are still there! Yes, that's me in the baby pool.

In the 70's, one of the big design trends was wall paneling hung on the diagonal.

It has been removed. Also, the pukey green carpet was replaced with ceramic tile.

The dining room in 1974. When choosing a color palette, I think my mom was inspired by a bag of M&M's. Also, my booster seat looks a just a bit unstable.

The dining room today. The cabinets are a nice new addition.

70's decor at its finest. I often wonder what posessed my mom to cover the ceiling with flocked velvet wallpaper. Those cabinets are begging to be stocked with Fiesta Ironstone.
The kitchen today. No more avocado green! I don't envy the poor sap who had to scrape the wallpaper off the ceiling.
I'm only showing the pantry shelves because my dad built them. In fact, I think the entire pantry was an add-on. The shelves were painted yellow when we lived there. Also, the purple and burnt orange indoor/outdoor carpet squares have wisely been replaced.

The back yard looked so much nicer when my dad maintained it. Also, our swing set is long gone.

My baby room. That's me with my mom. Even then I liked pink.

My parents sold the house in 1981. In the years since, I often wondered what kind of changes the succeeding owners have done with place. I was especially curious as to whether that wallpaper was still on the kitchen ceiling.
It was nice to get a tour of the first house I remember living in. Lots of memories were stirred up. I just with the realtor's listing included pictures of my old room. I'm sure the pink gingham wallpaper is gone.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


This week in Color and Design, we were assigned to create a series of drawings that included a series of lines, and geometric shapes. Here's what I managed to slap together:

1. A 2-dimensional design using only straight, vertical and horizontal lines. Media: black marker.

2. A 2-dimensional design using varied lines, including curved, overlapping, and varying in size and direction. Media: colored markers.

3: A dramatic abstract collage using only geometric shapes drawn in varied arrangements. Media: colored markers. (If I had more time, I would have redone this one):

4: Use different organic form shapes to create a composition. Shapes are outlined in black and background areas are colored in. Media: black and colored markers. (This one is my favorite):

5. A 2-dimensional design that incorporates both line and shape. Media: student's choice. I threw this one together night before it was due. I misread the instructions and thought we only had to do four drawings. Luckily a girl in one of my classes told me we had five. The same girl suggested that I use construction paper instead of markers. I'm glad I listened because the design came together faster.

On the first day of class, we had to create an impromptu collage using geometric shapes. We were given 5 minutes at the end of class for this assignment. This is what I came up with:

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"I Quit..."

...said the lawn mower right before Q was finished using it. After more than 13 years of service, our electric mower just died right in the middle of the yard. Q is still contemplating whether to get a new one, or attempt to fix the old one. In the meantime, we'll be living with this overgrown patch of grass.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Teenage Parents

I guess you can call us that. As of now, Q and I are the parents of a teenager. Today is Kyle's 13th birthday.

This should be interesting. I know for fact that he's showing an interest in girls. One girl in particular, actually. Kyle gets very defensive whenever someone utters the "M" word. Furthermore, he got really upset once when my iPod played a certain Barry Manilow song, who's title is that "M" word. He demanded that I change the song, NOW!

Another sign Kyle's growing up: he now wants to order from the adult menu. And it's not that he isn't getting enough to eat. After all, he can--and does--pick from my plate. No, it's the cheesey names given to the kids' meals that make him self conscious about ordering from that menu.

The best example comes from this 50's theme restaurant we like. Kyle wanted a hamburger, but he didn't want to have to order something called the "Little Richard Burger" to get it. Unfortunately for Kyle, we insisted he order it because it was Tuesday night, and that's when kids get to eat free when ordering from the kids' menu. Anyway, Q softened the blow by ordering for him.

But we won't make him do that anymore. At 13, Kyle is now too old for the kids' menu. We'll also have to start paying the adult rate at the movies, theme parks, and every other place that differentiates their pricing based on a person's age.

On the other hand, I am now buying Kyle's clothes from the mens' department. All things being equal, I find adult clothes to be more economical than children's clothes. Kohl's recently had denim and cargo shorts for 70 to 90% off. I ended up buying him 5 pairs of shorts for $45, tax included. You rarely get those kind of deals in the kids' section.

Also, he still has a few years to wait, but Kyle already wants to learn to drive. Last weekend, Q was doing some work in the garage, and one of the cars needed to be moved. I think you know where I'm going with this. When I heard the car start, I glanced out the upstairs window. Seconds later, I saw Q exit from the passenger's side, while Kyle got out of the driver's seat. Q had let Kyle back the Dodge into the driveway. He did a good job, too. My side-view mirror is still intact.

Next lesson: stick shift.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday Dishes: Kyle's Birthday Cake

Kyle's birthday is tomorrow, and to celebrate, Q baked him a cake--from boxed mix was used here.

The chocolate cake is topped with strawberry Cool Whip, strawberries (sliced by Lucas), drizzled with chocolate, and served on a Fiesta handled cake plate in Rose. The complete recipe can be found here.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

And So It Begins...

I just completed my first week of classes. It's going to be an interesting semester. The highlights (and lowlights):

--Parking at the college is quite a challenge...more so than in the past. There are three tiers to the parking lot. The first tier, which is closest to the buildings is always full. Before, I was able to get a decent spot in the second tier, but this week, I was hard pressed to find an empty place in the third tier. I always had to wait for someone to leave.

--Normally, I wouldn't complain about the long walk to campus, but I'm doing it while hauling 20+ pounds of books and awkwardly shaped supplies in the blazing heat. It's at least 105 degrees by the time I get there at 10:00, and 112 when I leave at 1:00.

--My Color and Design class is being taught the same instructor I had for Architectural History last year. Great! I foresee many weekends of Q taking the boys out of the house to get them away from me.

--Despite the obvious, I'm actually looking forward to this class. We're going to be doing lots of drawing and some painting. On the first day, we went over the supply list, which included rubber cement. We were advised to get the "good" rubber cement--"the kind that comes in the red and white can". They didn't have it at Office Max. They may have had it at Aaron Brothers, but the can I saw was ORANGE and white. I bought the kind in the yellow and white can, and that's going to have to do. I simply don't have time to go driving from store to store looking for $#!T.

--Another class I'm taking is CAD 101. Since I have previous AutoCAD experience, the instructor already has me helping other students. The guy who sits next to me reminds me of an older version of Kyle. They both wear faded black t-shirts, cargo shorts, and have the same shaggy hair-do.

--Many of the ladies in the Color and Design class are also in my Textiles class. Sessions for both classes are 2 1/2 and 4 hours long, respectively. Since vending machine food is too expensive and lacks nutritional value, some of us have started bringing snacks to share. When I mentioned Q's mango salsa, a bunch of eyes lit up. Guess what I'm bringing to class on Monday.

--My Textiles class is every Tuesday night until 9:20. At first, I was afraid to venture out into the parking lot at that hour. Walking outside, I had my keys in hand and my thumb on the panic button. But since a bunch of us left at the same time, and were parked in the same area, we all walked through the parking lot together. Also, it helped that College Safety was out in force, writing tickets for cars that were parked back-in, instead of nose-in. Apparently, that's a big no-no.

--My CAD class starts at 8:00, which means I have to leave the house by 7:15, and slog through rush hour traffic with the rat racers and high school kids. In fact, my route takes me right past the high school at the height of morning drop-off. The road is full of teen drivers, whose road skills are green, at best. I just know I'm going to be involved in a wreck one of these mornings. (Note to self: let Q drive the Mustang on Tuesdays and Thursdays).

--I'm done with CAD by 10:30, or earlier if I get the day's assignment done. Afterwards, I have the rest of the day to kill, and the downtown Glendale antiques district is only 2 miles from the college. I think I'm going to need a raise in my valimony.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Story of My Life

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday Dishes: Gifts From Friends

I have only been collecting dishes for less than three years now, but during that time I have met and befriended some very wonderful people...several of whom read this blog. And there are a few that I've had the pleasure to meet in person.

I met Wendy, Mike, and Rick last year at the height of Quinton's hospitalization. We had corresponded via the Medium Green message board, but one Saturday, Wendy urged me to take a break from the hospital and go dishing with them. We spent an enjoyable afternoon scanning the aisles of the Brass Armadillo in Phoenix. During this trip, Wendy gifted me with this vintage Fiesta sugar bowl. This little bowl was a nice pick-me-up at a time when I needed it most.

Yesterday, Q and I got together with Wendy, Mike, and Rick to go dishing in downtown Mesa. I bought a few goodies, but I'll save those for another Sunday. This time, Rick gave me this beautiful Riviera decaled bread plate.

And while I have never met Denise in person, we have enjoyed numerous fun (and lengthy!) phone conversations. During the recent Homer Laughlin China collectors conference in Pittsburg, Denise saw this Rose Fiesta Hostess Bowl, autographed by HLC president, Joe Wells III. Since my favorite bowl is the Hostess and my favorite color is pink, Denise immediately thought of me. When the bowl went up for auction, she bid on it and won.

When the bowl arrived, I joked with Denise that it would be perfect for serving mashed potatoes.

I love all my dishes. But these gifts from friends all have greater value than, say a serving bowl from Dillards...or even a highly coveted vintage piece from eBay. All of these pieces are on display in my home. Sort of. I have a place picked out for Rick's Riviera plate, but I need to buy a little display rack for it.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Like Father, Like Son

Here's Q acting goofy and trying a Renaissance-style mask in an antique store. Likewise, here's what happens when you let boys play with foil. The boy pictured with Kyle is his best friend, who we affectionately refer to as "GK".

Friday, August 17, 2007

Parking Lot Justice

This afternoon, Q and I met for lunch...because when you have kids, lunch for two at a non-chain restaurant is the equivalent of a big date. Anyway, the place we chose is located in one of these large "power centers" that houses several stores, a movie theatre, and many restaurants.

There's also an American Express call center, a hospital, and several doctors' offices nearby. That makes this strip mall a popular destination for office workers on their lunch breaks. Today, in particular was busier than usual, and parking was scarce. Q and I had to park out in the back forty, and we did so without complaint.

In the restaurant, we were seated at a table with a lovely view of the parking lot. As we dined on Caesar salad and tomato basil pizza, we watched as drivers jockeyed for empty parking spaces, and waited for the highly-prized close ones to empty out. We also witnessed a few near head-on collisions.

Then about half way through the meal, we spotted an older gentleman taking pictures of some cars. We weren't sure what he was doing at first. I thought maybe he was getting ready to sell his car in the Auto Trader. But then I noticed a patch on the sleeve of his blue polo shirt. It was the same emblem worn by the Phoenix Police. Suddenly, it hit me: this man is looking for handicap parking violators!

And he had one, too: a newer model silver Toyota. Q and I watched as the man photographed the Toyota from all angles. Then he returned to his pick-up truck, came back, and took a few more pictures. He then produced what looked like a ticket book. Yep, someone's going to be getting a $250 fine! And you thought parking at airports and sporting events was expensive.

We were hoping to see the parking lot scofflaw materialize while we were still there. We would have loved to see look on the person's face when they found the ticket on their windshield. Ah, it's fun to witness karma in action.

But no. Our check came, we paid for lunch, and the Toyota was still there. Anyway, Q had to get back to work. So we left the restaurant and made the trek back to our cars.

In the meantime, the parking lot guy had moved on to his next mark--a Mercury with a garish pink glitter paint job and gold rims. Go get 'em, Mr. Handicap Parking Monitor Guy! Even if he's parked legally, bad taste is still a crime!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Wood Floor Installation: Day 4

Today, we got a REALLY late start on the floors. For one thing, today was the boys' first day of school.

Also, amid all the construction, the chores have been neglected. The house was a mess (still is) and the laundry really needed to be done. I knew I was in real trouble last night when Lucas was putting out his next day's clothes and he infomed me that he can't find any of his "good shorts".

We also had to drop the car off at the shop, go to the bank, take Q to the eye doctor, pick up some silicone at the hardware store, get a quick lunch, pick up the car at the shop, buy a new drill at Home Depot, and drop a prescription off at the pharmacy.

By the time we got home, it was past 2:00, and work on the floors finally began. Today's work consisted of installing quarter-round at the base of the perimeter walls, and T-moulding where the wood meets the tile.

After the trim work was done, we were able to bring furniture back to the living room.

We shoved old towels and sheets under the cabinets so we could slide them across the new floor without gouging it.

We got most of the big stuff moved in, but the accessories will have to wait until tomorrow. My feet hurt.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Wood Floor Installation: Day 3

'Sunday Dishes' will return next week, as we continue our ongoing series on re-flooring the living room. Or might write a dish post mid-week. It's my blog, and I can do whatever I want!

As Day 3 begins, we start by unloading wood planks and arranging them by size.

The name of the glue we used is Titebond. And they're not kidding because when Q wanted to remove a plank to adjust it, he couldn't. That piece is in there for GOOD! BTW, hon, I will give you $5 if you shave. Please.

One of MANY breaks. It was 113 degrees outside. Even with the air conditioning on inside these frequent water breaks were necessary.

As this is our first time installing wood flooring, there's bound to be one big screw-up. In this case, we had a 1 1/2+ inch gap left between the last full-width row and the wall. This gap was too big to be covered by quarter-round moulding. The only fix was to cut several boards lengthwise to fit into this area. So, Q called his buddy Tim, a carpenter, who owns a saw necessary for this job.

After a trip to Tim's house, we had enough 1 inch wide strips to fit into the last row. The rest will be covered with quarter-round. Luckily, this area will mostly be covered up by a couch or the wall unit...depending on how I choose to arrange the room.

It's looking good, but we're a long way from done. We still have to install the T-moulding where the wood meets the tile and put quarter-round where the wood meets three walls.

The boys love doing the dirty work! Here, we're ripping the old carpet pad into small pieces, and bagging them up for easier removal. Tomorrow is trash day and since there was still room in the can, I wanted to get as much pad into the can as would fit. I'm not sure if those spots are the result of floating dust particles or a dirty camera lens. I have a feeling it's dust because I took a dozen other pictures that didn't do that. And that pad ripping really was a dirty job!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Wood Floor Installation: Day 2

The first two pictures were actually taken at the end of yesterday. We did more demolition after Q came home from work.

Removing carpet is like picking at a giant zit. Once you start, you don't want to stop until all the crap is gone. Kyle's having a real good time at this job!

We got lucky that the carpet and the pad came up very easily. The pad was held down by what looked like Elmer's School Glue squirted into a giant zig-zag pattern. Qualitywise, I don't think that's a good thing. But it did make for easy removal. We just had to scrape a few areas to remove some stuck-on bits of the foam rubber pad.

The top of the carpet was bad, but the underside was WAY worse. I don't know what that stain was. I don't remember anything ever being spilled in that particular location. When we were maneuvering the carpet around, giant plumes of dust would puff up into our faces. Translation: nobody's going to bed without taking a shower...or at least jumping in the pool.

Ah, cement. Lovely cement. Notice the white painted areas with the line through each one. The builders rested the interior doors in this room while they spray painted them. I'm sure there are other spots like this throughout the house.

Installing the underlayment/sound buffer. This stuff was a little cumbersome to work with. It's certainly not as easy as putting contact paper in your silverware drawer. We used Q's weights to keep the edges from lifting up.

We did a rough pattern layout for the first three rows of wood.

Lucas took this picture. He thinks there's a ghost in our house.

The end of workday #2, and we are almost half done! Yes, that is a layer of carpet dust on the roll-top desk. That's really going to be fun to clean out of those little grooves.
So far, we are running quite a bit ahead of schedule. We didn't expect to be laying wood until Monday. In fact, Q had scheduled to take the day off just for that reason. That, and to go to the eye doctor. No worries. After he picks out his new glasses and buys me lunch, we can go to Lowe's and look at flooring for our next project--tiling the den! :-)~

Friday, August 10, 2007

Wood Floor Installation: Day 1

After years of living with nasty carpet, we are finally replacing it with new Brazilian cherry hardwood floors.

We have never done a project like this before. But after reading countless how-to books, consulting the Internet, and watching hours of HGTV, Q assures me that he can do the job...with some assistance from me and the boys.

While the wood acclimates to its new environment, I'm spending the day taking the living room apart. I managed to pack up the tchotchkies, books and CDs, and move smaller furniture to the garage and other rooms. I'm waiting until Q gets home to disconnect the TV and video components and, we'll move the armoire and sofa.

The pictures really don't do it justice, but this carpet is really gross.

I have already begun to lift the carpet up in some spots. Underneath lies this lovely, thick layer of very fine dirt particles that ground deep into the carpet and even penetrated the pad! That's 8 years of accumulation right there.

Tack strip removal is fun!

I'll be spending the rest of the afternoon making a list of forgotten supplies we need from Home wood shims, a rubber-headed mallet, and maybe a Sears ShopVac.