Five Random Things 1/17

It's been an unusually busy week, split between being in Palm Springs for their annual international film festival, and getting the house emptied out in preparation for new flooring installation upon our return,  but I wanted to do a quick check in so as not to let the radio silence go on to long. So, here are five random things that I've been up to:

1) We have been working to get both of our neighbors to sign off on the designs for our backyard re-landscaping project, and it has been challenging! One neighbor wants to ensure that his views remain wide open, and the other wants to ensure that their privacy is maximized. The former I understand, but the later is a bit unrealistic given we live in an urban, coastal are with rather tightly stacked homes. However, I think we are almost there, and final plans should be signed off by both today.

This yard needs a complete refresh, trust me!
The patio cover is on it's last legs, as is the concrete and brickwork, and the grass is really just a patch of weeds.

2) As we've been awaiting our flooring replacement, we've been working on our kitchen. The kitchen is fairly new, having been remodeled in 2010, but it wasn't quite to our taste when we moved in.

Our kitchen at move in.

The basic layout is terrific and highly functional, and the quality of the cabinets is gorgeous, including wonderful pullout drawers and adjustable shelves, so it definitely didn't make financial sense to redo it. What I disliked was the yellow-ivory color of the cabinets, the espresso stain that had been added to make them look aged, the dated track lighting, and the taste-specific Italian mosaic above the stove. A neighbor said the prior owners had been going for an Old World look, which I understand, but which is not our taste whatsoever.

Since our water loss, and subsequent kitchen flooring removal, we've gone ahead and had the ivory cabinets painted out in a fresh, clean cream color. As soon as I saw the finished results I scheduled my painter to come back again later this month and paint out the kitchen island in the same cream. We also had recessed lighting put in and the track lighting removed.

Then . . . I decided our kitchen island needed a little sparkle, so I found and ordered two of these Kichler Marita 12" pendant lights, which will arrive on Friday, and be installed next week by our electrician.

And, finally I found a solution for my Italian mosaic problem! While doing a random search online for self adhesive tiles, I came across these incredible backsplash panels by Fasade, which, nicely, are in the exact same 24" x 18" size as the mosaic I'm trying to cover. Once quick trip to Home Depot, and I had the pattern I wanted, the Waves pattern below.

(Click on photo to enlarge.)

And even better, all that was needed for installation was some heavy duty double-sided adhesive tape.

A little sneak peak - I love, love, love the new cream cabinet color!

3) The demolition team arrived yesterday, and removed all the remaining ground floor wood, so that messy job is done, done, done! My new wood flooring goes in starting tomorrow, with a three day completion timeline. And best of all, our claim has been settled, the amount of the settlement completed covered the cost of the replacement flooring, and the check has already been received and deposited.

4) Because of the current chaos around the house, I decided to cut myself some slack and pick up some convenience dinner items from Trader Joes. Initially I was kind of excited, thinking, 'Hey, this might be the way to go now that our lives are picking up speed here in our new community!' However, after several nights in a row of prepared foods, I'm pretty much over it. In spite of my lifelong love affair with Trader Joes, I'm of the opinion that even they can't come close in taste/quality to what I prepare from scratch. So, instead, once I'm back in my kitchen I'll make an effort to make larger batches of whatever I'm making, and freeze the leftovers in order to ensure I have a steady supply of easy homemade dinners to pull out on busy days.

This was bland out of the box, so I doctored it a bit with some fresh cilantro and red onion,
plus a bit more BBQ sauce.

5) I started a semester long Art History class yesterday, and I love it! The professor is an artist himself, so in addition to what looks to be a series of extremely interesting lectures, we'll be spending a full day with him touring the San Diego Art Museum a little later in the semester. I blinked when he said 'San Diego' instead of 'Los Angeles' but then smiled as I realized that we are indeed as close to San Diego in our new community as we are to L.A. So cool!


That's it for me at the moment. I'm out hiking all day today, and then starting tomorrow we'll have a full week of having contractors in once again. They'll be a brief break to allow us to entertain my dad, then my painter returns to paint out the kitchen island. Once that's all done, I'll look forward to sharing photos here.

Make it a great day whenever you are!


  1. Rats, lost my comment!

    First of all, your new tile work over the stove is amazing. Looks like a solid sheet of curving metal from the photo and not tiles at all. Who would ever guess that the old mosaic lies beneath it! Your kitchen is going to be such a delightful space to entertain.

    Yay for Art History continuing ed classes. And being able to take Art History for the pleasure of it. Taking it for credit in college was a torturous exercise in memorization. Dates, artists, periods.

    But I must have absorbed something because ten years later, when taking the Texas Art Ed certification test to teach in Texas (my degree was from Tennessee), I was able to remember enough about this chair leg and that column that I passed (barely) and earned by certificate. Whew!

    1. Leslie, the tile is actually one single piece, so no seams. Couldn't have worked out better!

      Loved the class, which will build on the piece meal approach I've taken since retiring, meaning a lecture here, a lecture there . . .

      Funny, the professor started off by saying, this class is purely for pleasure, so no memorization, tests or grades. It's a Lifelong Learning class, not a 'normal' college class. So nice!


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