Whole30 Day 11

Something happened today.  I feel wonderful.  It’s a little scary, that the only pain I’m experiencing today is my right hip.  But that’s something else (I think).  My chiropractor is working on that.  But I don’t have the all over body aches and joint pain that has marked the past 15 years of my life.

Why is it scary?  Because it is so very different.  If it lasts, that’s wonderful.  If it doesn’t….the disappointment will be crushing.  You see, I so very badly want my life back.  I really do.  If it means eating this cleanly, and avoiding the foods I’m avoiding, then so be it.  I can do this.


Whole30 – Day 5: The Scale. It mocks me.

I overdid it on the roller yesterday.  I knew I might have been doing it while I was doing it, but that didn’t stop me.  Apparently, I irritated my sciatic nerve.  I became exquisitely aware of this at 3:00am, when I awoke from a sound sleep, feeling like my entire right leg was on fire.  In fact, I could trace the entire nerve from where it comes through the piriformis muscle (think butt cheek), out toward the hip, down the back of my thigh, splitting behind my knee and going down both the front and the back of my leg.  Yes, it was an ibuprofen morning.

Needless to say, I’m taking a break for a day.  We’ll see where we go tomorrow.

Some of you have been asking what do I eat for breakfast other than eggs.  This:

whole30 day 4 breakfast

From left to right, 1/2 grapefruit, 1/2 avocado, Turkey Hash.

Not only was it delicious, but I ate breakfast 3.5 hours ago, and am not even thinking about eating lunch yet. On Weight Watchers, by now, if I’d not had a snack, I would be ready to gnaw off my own arm. I had to eat every 3 hours, whether I wanted to or not, because my blood sugar would do these crazy drops after crazy spikes. Now, it’s just about level all the time, and I’m not hungry…until I am, then I have a meal, and forget about food until it’s time for the next meal.

I know some of you live like this, but for me, it’s astounding. I cannot remember the last time I felt this free from the tyranny of food.

Speaking of tyranny. The Scale. I feel like there should be loud music: Dum da dum dum. it’s sitting on the floor of my bedroom. It looks at me with bedroom eyes. It calls to me, a siren song that I find irresistible. But I resist. After a year and a half of slavery, I have been freed from The Scale for 30 days. That’s right, I am NOT ALLOWED TO WEIGH MYSELF until Day 31.

It’s making me nuts. Really nuts. I am positive I am gaining weight on this protocol. I have to be. I feel too good, I feel too satisfied. I don’t have this gnawing, ever-present, low-level hunger that I experienced on a low-fat diet. My skin is not so dry it feels like it’s falling off. My psoriasis may be starting to clear up. I’m eating food I really enjoy, like avocado, every day. I’m cooking interesting things. Tim thinks it’s the best thing ever. I MUST be gaining weight.

I’m petrified of gaining weight. I worked so hard to lose the 40 that I have lost. I also worked equally hard to not lose any more for the next 10 months. But that level of deprivation is necessary, my mind tells me, to losing weight. If I’m not missing something, I can’t be losing. If I feel satisfied, I can’t be losing.

It’s funny, but here I am on Day 5, not missing anything I’ve given up: Dairy, Grains, Sugar, Additives, Inflammatory foods. The only thing I’m still missing is Splenda. That shocks me. The only craving I’m having is an artificial sweetener. That tells me it was screwing with my brain chemistry in a big way.

I have to confess, I would like yogurt. Today, I should be receiving a package of yogurt starter, and I’m going to try Coconut Milk yogurt. I will let you know how it turns out. I have no idea.

I wish my friend Lisa was still doing bodywork, and that she was still on the East Coast. What I wouldn’t give for an hour or two on her table. Sigh. There is only one person I’ve found in the Capital District that does really good bodywork. He is only here on the occasional Saturday. I really need to book a 90 minute appointment.

More later…

Whole 30 – Day 4

Today is day 4.  Let’s say that it’s interesting.  I feel…different.  I’m feeling better, generally.   I feel like I’m climbing out of the black hole that is a fibro flare-up.  I’m still fatigued.  There’s a difference between between being tired and a bone deep feeling of not being able to move a muscle.  Not having anything to do or thin about, not being sleep, and yet content to lie on your back.  Or pissed off and unable to do anything but lie on your back.  I’m not that bad…although I was last week. And that’s the thing.  I’m not that bad.  In fact, I felt well enough to do some cleaning for the first time in a while.  Actual, get down on my hands and knees and scrub out the bathtub kind of cleaning.

Yesterday, a friend mentioned that my color is better.  She couldn’t describe the difference, but she said I looked better, healthier.

I feel less puffy, and my face isn’t red and blotchy.  My skin tone looks more even to me.  Without makeup.

This is also the 2nd day in a row that I didn’t reach for the NSAIDs as soon as I woke up.  I woke up with some pain, but it worked out as I got moving.  Now I have some muscle pain, but I got really jiggy with my foam roller yesterday, and I think I’m a little sore from that.  However, this late in the afternoon, I’m think that the throbbing in my right hip is calling for some pharmaceutical attention.

Dinner last night was more of the turkey that I made on Sunday, with a stir fry of shredded broccoli and carrots in coconut oil with some nutritional yeast as a flavoring as well as a couple of drops of sesame oil, also for flavor.  The lack of soy sauce is bothering me, though.

Breakfast was 2 free-range eggs over easy, fried in ghee and a half grapefruit, which is starting to taste sweeter to me.

My craving have been for artificial sweetener even more than sugar.  It’s wild, but I’m craving that supernormal sweetness on the berries I eat for dessert.  I miss it in my tea, but not like on fruit.  I wonder if fructose and sucralose combine to form a super-super-super sweetness and do something dirty with the pleasure receptors in the brain.  The craving reminds me of quitting smoking.  Yikes.

That’s really all the cravings I’ve been having.  I guess having been gluten free is saving me from that withdrawal, and I’m not missing the dairy NEARLY as much as I thought I would.

Dinner tonight will be steak, since I’m picking up a meat order from the butcher.  maybe a sweet potato and something really green – kale or spinach.  Wonder if I’m looking for magnesium.

Another day, another ramble.

My mood seems lighter.

But the real difference is that I’m starting to feel differently inside my body.  I don’t know if I can get that idea across.  Not better, not worse, but just…different.

Still having trouble falling asleep, not really raring to go in the morning. I know that can take 2 weeks or more to happen.

Today I’m tired, and thirsty (my blood sugar is okay though) so I’m drinking a lot.  I have no idea what toxins my body is releasing, between the smoking, grains, dairy, etc.  That I’ve been working on MELT exercises means I’m hydrating fascia, and that is probably a disgusting process of flushing metabolites that have built up in the tissue.  Yuck.  the more water I drink, the better I’ll feel.

More Later….

Whole30 – Day 3

Good morning, everyone. Yes, I know it’s been a long time. Mea Culpa, blah, blah, blah. This is going to be a long post with no pictures, some links, and an awful lot of health stuff. If you don’t want to read it, I don’t blame you. This is the point where you click to another page.

Click Here

If you’re still here, let’s continue. I think the reason I haven’t been writing much is because I’ve had very little to say. It’s been a difficult season for me. The weather change kicked up my fibromyalgia worse than I ever remember it.
Although I’ve battled fibro for 15 years or more, I don’t ever remember being this ‘at the end of my rope’. for the recovery folks, this is Hitting Bottom.
Hitting Bottom is a drastic game changer. It’s the place one gets to, from which all things are possible. It’s the time when you’ve broken through your denial, and broken through your resistance as well. It’s a hard place to be, but it’s also an incredibly freeing place to be. It’s when you finally say, “Not this. Something else, please.”

My world is full of synchronicity. When I pay attention to it, I am always led in the right direction. I frequently don’t pay that much attention to it and end up in places I don’t want to be. Oh well. I guess I’m still a work in progress.

You all know that I’d started Weight Watchers in June of 2013, and was really gung ho and excited about having lost 37 lbs.  Well, that came to a screeching halt in November 2013.  For the next 10 months I gained and lost the same 4 lbs.  I hit a set point that would not budge, no matter what I did, along the WW guidelings.  The thing was, I really was doing all the right things.  I was tracking, I was staying within my allotted points.  I wasn’t cheating.  I was exercising to the best of my ability.  And I still couldn’t budge the scale.  Contrary to what the good folks their said, I wasn’t losing inches either.  I was at a standstill.

So I started doing research.  I discovered that the WW diet, contrary to what your doctor may tell you, is not the best diet for type 2 diabetics.  It is way too high in carbohydrates, and if you stay within the fat guidelines WW promotes, it then way too high in protein, or too low in calories.

Okay, well, if WW is too high in carbs, the reactionary thing to do would be go on Atkins; the low-carb, ketogenic diet.  Makes sense, right?  So I did that, and the weight fell off.  I broke through that plateau in a few days.  Great right?  Wrong.  I was so deprived.  Atkins is great if you’re a person who doesn’t love fruit and a variety of foods.  Unfortunately, that’s not me.  The other thing was that it promotes a lot of dairy.  Dairy is great source of protein and fat.

However, that set me up for the worst fibro flare in my life.  In the past, when I’d done the low-carb thing, after a few days I felt great.  I kept waitin for that to happen.  A week went by, then two.  My denial was so strong, that I kept convincing myself that I would bust through the “keto-flu” any minute.  My body would turn into a fat burning machine, and I would feel like biking to Peru.  Didn’t happen.

Back to synchronicity.  As it happens, a Facebook friend, and fellow blogger, Norma, posted something to the effect of:  Anyone wondering how I changed my life?  Here’s the program I did.

She linked to the Whole30 website.  I started reading, and found myself being described in their pages.  I began to wonder if this completely Paleo, anti-inflammatory, way of eating would work for me.  I read further and discovered that just about everything I’d been eating for the past year and a half has been the worst thing for someone like me to be eating.  I immediately ordered the book:  It Starts With Food.

On this program, you give up:

Grains (all grains, including rice, corn and quinoa), Dairy, Legumes, inflammation causing oils, Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners.

Processed foods (anything with any ingredients you can’t pronounce, or more than 5 ingredients, or anything containing maltodextrin or carrageenan)

So what’s left?

Proteins of all kinds (Eggs, meat, fish, poultry, pork) , all the veggies in the world, fruit (in limited amounts), nuts, great fat sources like coconut (coconut oil and coconut milk), Avocados (I know they’re a fruit, but they should be their own food group).

And, of course, no alcohol or tobacco products.

I approached this gradually over the course of a few days, eliminating things.  Grains were easy.  I’ve been gluten free for years, so the elimination of rice, quinoa, etc., wasn’t a big leap.

Dairy was tougher, as were artificial sweeteners.  I’d gotten very used to yogurt and berries as a dessert item.  I’m still not happy about that, and will be trying to make my own coconut milk (the kind in the can, not the carton) yogurt later in the week.  I’ve been used to Splenda and milk in my morning tea forever.  Switching to black was much easier than I’d thought it would be.  I don’t know if I could do the same with coffee.  I didn’t know that I could ever give up cheese.  But I  have, and while I occasionally miss it, I reach for a half of an avocado instead.

Peanut butter has been replaced by almond butter.  Spread on apple slices in the late afternoon is a wonderful snack.

Other, behavioral changes, are recommended as well.  You must eat within an hour of waking up, whether you’re hungry or not.  We are trying to rebalance hormones (Insulin, Glucagon, Leptin and Cortisol).  It’s important to eat at certain times, and NOT EAT at others.  No food after dinner.  No bright light (TV, Computers, tablets) within an hour of bedtime.  8-9 hours of sleep each night.

I’m adding in my MELT exercises every day.

Now I wish I could tell you that 3 days in I feel miraculous.  I don’t and I can’t.  However, there are subtle changes.  Today, I woke up and didn’t feel like death.  I was stiff and sore, but not so bad that I immediately reached for NSAID pain meds.  I elected instead to move around a while, take a bath, do some MELT.

I say, “I elected”, but that’s so far from the truth, because that implies there were choices, and frankly, before today, I had no choices.  I could not move and whimper, or I could take pain meds.  Today, there was a choice.  Pretty awesome.

The next change was even more subtle.  If I wasn’t writing this morning I would have missed it.  When I started thinking about this, I was so horrified by the prospect of eliminating all those food groups (which, btw, you get to try adding back one by one after you’ve rebalanced your body, to find out what your culprits are), that I as referring to this 30 day period as “boot camp.”  I though the only way I’d get through it was by Strictly Adhering To The Rules.   That’s changed.  Now I’m thinking about it as “rehab.”  I’m giving myself the gift of exploring my relationship to food on a physical and psychological level.  I’m giving myself the gift of rebalancing my body.  I’m giving myself the gift of health.  Doesn’t that sound better than boot camp?

The other thing that’s great is that I’m cooking again.  Really cooking, not just putting food on a plate.  Tim hasn’t eaten this well in forever…maybe ever.  I’m making food interesting and tasty and fun.  We’re sitting down at the table and eating like real people.  We did that 3 meals a day over the weekend (except when I went out for a Whole30 compliant brunch with Norma).

Meals this weekend included:

Dinner:  Vegetable soup followed by free-range chicken marinated in coconut milk, roasted in marinade with 5 spice powder, cardamon & tarragon.  baked sweet potato on the side.

Breakfast:  Sweet potato hash with easy over free-range eggs.

Lunch: Warm chicken salad with walnuts and olives over salad made from cucumber noodles in a dressing of rice wine vinegar, olive oil and oregano.

Dinner:  Baked wild-caught salmon topped with avocado salsa crudo, with a side of eggplant caponato.

Get the picture?

Renovation Monday – My Study

If you don’t remember what my study looked like when we first moved in, allow me to refresh your memory:

The room is about 12 x 12.  I want you to pay particular attention to the wallpaper.  It’s an old, vinyl, grasscloth; which was last popular in 1978.


Of particular note is the fact that there are two (2) completely different patterns of vinyl, grass-cloth, wallpaper.  One pattern was simply not enough for the people who decorated this room.


Here is a close-up of one pattern:
…and there’s the other.

Old Wallpaper

Old Wallpaper

They don’t even match, really.

Also note the the very dark, brown, trim on the windows, around the door, around the closet.

And the lovely, hollow core doors on the closet, in a completely different color.  I think that’s a lot for one small room.

The first order of business was to get rid of the grass-cloth.  It came off the wall with, deceptive, ease.  Piece, of cake, thought I.  (I’m laughing out loud even as I write this.)

Underneath, we discovered ORANGE.  Bright. F*cking.  Orange.  The same orange that I’d painted my bedroom.  When I was fifteen.  (That room had orange walls and hi-lo shag carpet in shades of orange, and two colors of brown.  Can you say seventies-licious?)

Stripping the Wallpaper

Stripping the Wallpaper

Quickly, we discovered why the walls were covered in vinyl!!!  They were beat.  Apparently, that vinyl was tough to adhere to the walls (the walls were probably rejecting it), and so the paper-hanger (who’s name was Tom – we know this because he wrote his name, in wall-paper paste, on one of the walls.  Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of that masterpiece) used pecial, super-thick, wall paper paste.  


Walls after wallpaper and paste were removed

Walls after wallpaper and paste were removed

It took us weeks to scrape the paste off, and get the walls washed down completely.  I could only work in 4 foot sections before my back started aching, and it was a long slow process.

Finally, we were ready to prime the walls.

First Coat of Primer

First Coat of Primer

After the first coat of super-duper primer, the orange bled through.  So we put on a 2nd coat of primer, and finally, the paint.

Iwanted something soothing and not chaotic.  The color I eventually went with is called Lavender Mist.  Even the name calms me down.


It looks a little darker in this pic. It was the end of the day.


See how crisp the woodwork is after 3 coats of high-gloss white enamel?


Ceiling is 50% saturation of the wall color

Then, on to the draperies.  I’ve had the fabric in my stash for about 5 years.  I originally planned to use it in the bedroom at Forts Ferry, but ended up using something else.  Frankly, I picked the wall color to coordinate with the curtains.

Drapery Panels - Sage Green

Drapery Panels – Sage Green

Tim hanging drapes.

Tim hanging drapes.

I think the drapes need a valance to tie the two colors together, and here is the fabric I chose:


Fabric for window valances.

Fabric for window valances.

It is perfect.  I love it so much, once I heard it was being discontinued, I went back to buy more.

Maybe, if I have enough time after I publish this post, I’ll actually get the valance made.

So, that’s the evolution of my study.  Come back next Monday for the next installment of Renovation Monday.

More later…

Fiber Friday – Saturday Edition

….And we’re back!! My husband, Tim (aka The Computer God), fixed my blog, and now I can upload photographs!!  There is much rejoicing over here at Six Oaks House.

Since this is the Friday post (or should have been), this is all about the Fibery Goodness that I’ve been working on for the past few months.  (In no particular order). I’m very excited about working on another Swallowtail Shawl.  I love this pattern, by Evelyn Clark.  It’s so easy to follow, and knits up beautifully.  I’m doing this in a handspun Merino and Silk blend, and is destined to become a gift for a dear friend (who does NOT know that it’s coming her way.)  I’m super excited to be working on it.

Swallowtail Shawl In Its Infancy

Swallowtail Shawl In Its Infancy


Lace never looks impressive until it’s blocked and all the lovely yarnovers open up – but I can tell this will be stunning. Here’s a close up of the yarn gradients and the stitch definition.  The silk in the blend really makes the stitches pop.


photo 2

Look at the color gradients in the yarn


I finally finished Tim’s sweater.  It took me forever to finish.  Of course, I had elbow surgery a few weeks after I started it; and then had to re-knit the sleeves a few times, to accommodate his skinny arms, and then I got sick of it an it went into hibernation while I worked on some other things, but here he is, looking like he’s posing for a mug shot:


Tim sweater 2

And again, in a more natural pose (hanging curtains in my study).

(More on my study in a future Reno Monday post)


tim sweater 1

Apparently, he loves it, because he wears it all the time, and nothing does a knitter’s heart as good as seeing someone wear your hand knits. I’ve also completed a few pairs of socks for myself:

photo 4

Socks Just Off the Needles

 And another still on the needles.

photo 3

 My next big project will be this sweater:

Although I won’t be doing in that color (or wearing it with that skirt).  It looks like a fun and easy knit.  I’m taking a risk and knitting it to the size I intend to be, not the size I am now. (But more on that in a WW post on Wednesday) I want to leave you with a few pictures of the spindle my brother, Jay, made for me.







It’s gorgeous, and spins like a dream.

More later…

I remember now….I do have a blog!

Hello blogosphere!!  I’ve missed you.  Have you missed me?

This is going to be a really short post, with no pictures, because I can’t get Java to install, and that means I can’t use all the bells and whistles on WordPress.  Sigh.  Wouldn’t you know, after months of not writing, not blogging, I get the urge and…..stymied.

That pretty much sums up what I had been dealing with for most of the winter.  I hit a plateau on Weight Watchers.  Bounced around within a 6 lb. range, never going below a certain number.  Can you say Set Point?  Yeah, I knew you could.  That was after losing 36 lbs in 20 weeks.  

Needless to say, it was frustrating as hell.  Finally, got some things moving, and the scale has started a downward trend.  Hopefully that dam has broken.

House renovation had also come to a screaming halt.  Not sure why, but both Tim and I were burnt out by the flurry of renovation and moving.  We landed, and basically camped for a few months.  Neither of us had the motivation to do much more than watch football.  Believe me when I say it was a bad year to be a NY Giants fan.  A long, slow, agonizing season.  

We have gotten moving on the reno front.  The bedroom is painted, as is the furniture and (almost) all the boxes have been unpacked.  I’ve started working on drapery and linens and, now that my study has been painted, I have set up the sewing station.  

I forgot how much I love to sew.  It speaks to the part of me that needs to be creating.  Sometimes knitting (and spinning) isn’t enough, and I need to do something that has faster, visible benefits.  Sewing does that. 

I can’t wait to show you guys pictures.

A couple of weeks ago, my brother and sister-in-law came up and helped Tim frame out the new closet for the upstairs laundry.  That was a huge help, and a huge win in terms of seeing forward progress on the house.

So, here’s where we stand:

The kitchen is pretty much where I left it, last time I posted.  I think.  Did I take you through that part of the reno?  I have to check earlier posts.  I might have to start from scratch, and that’s okay, as soon as I can upload pictures.  

My study is painted, and mostly unpacked.  Still have a bit of sewing to do.

The bedroom is painted and I still have a lot of sewing to do.

The living room wall (where we removed the brick) needs to be sanded and, and the entire living room, dining room and hallway need to be primed and painted.  

The downstairs (treatment area & entry) needs help.

Somehow it doesn’t seem as daunting as it was before.  Maybe it’s Spring, which has finally started to arrive here in the Northeast.  No green in the backyard yet, but the grass is starting to green up, a little.  The azaleas have buds (I can’t wait).  The creeping sedum is growing (and crept a lot over the winter.  I love how it does that!).  I go out and look for the first of the daffodils to poke up, but so far I’ve been disappointed.  Next fall I’m planting crocuses, and maybe snowdrops.  I need a really early spring bloomer.

I’ve been spending some time online researching rose bushes.  I want a fragrant, continuous blooming, rose by the front door.  I’m thinking about Julia Child.  Do any of my readers have any other suggestions?

That’s it for now.  On to make a Weight Watcher friendly dinner for the knitters.  

More later…

Weight Watchers and Clean(ish) Eating?

I’ve been following the Weight Watcher’s program since June.  I’ve lost 36 lbs (more or less) and have been sort of stuck in this place since October.  I recognize it’s time to shake things up a bit because A, I’ve been bobbing within a 4 lb up and down for about 8 weeks; B, because I’m bored to tears with what I’ve been eating; and C, I’m finding myself grazing in the afternoons, not really satisfied with anything and looking for more.

I think I stumbled on the solution a few weeks ago and then, as is usual for me, promptly forgot it.  Middle age, or built in forgetter?  Not sure, but it hardly matters.  What is important is when I added more healthy fats to my diet, I dropped almost 4 lbs in a week.  Since then, I’ve gone back to the ultra low-fat way I was eating.  I need to say that Weight Watchers doesn’t condone this.  In fact, it’s pretty  much the opposite, they want you to have 3 servings of healthy fat (around 1 tablespoon) every day.  The trouble is, for me, that it “costs” 3 points, and when you’re a point hoarder, as I am, that’s tough to do.

However, when i don’t, I overeat my points anyway, because I’m not satisfied.  Obviously, my body is craving something, but I’m too immersed in the diet mentality to recognize what it is.  So I’m going to try an experiment.  I thought about the new “Smart Start” or whatever it is they’re calling it, where you eat only Power Foods, and don’t track your points, but in looking that over, I’m not sure it isn’t just more of what I’m doing, which isn’t working.  Instead, I’m going to keep tracking, but add back some of the full-fat foods that I’ve eliminated over the past few months – and take the point hit.  The theory is that I will be more satisfied with the food that I am eating, and not needing to snack/graze as much as I have been doing.

One of the places I changed dramatically was cutting all my full fat dairy to low or non-fat.  Trouble is, when you take out the fat, the manufacturers add in all sorts of starches and stabilizers to keep the food palatable.  I’m not sure that’s working for me.  I think, now, I’d rather eat a full fat cheese stick instead of a “light” or non-fat cheese stick and spend the extra point or two.  Maybe more isn’t better.  Maybe better is better.

For a “volume eater” like me, I keep thinking I’m going to be satisfied but, in the long run, I’m finding I’m not.  So here goes.  I’ll keep y’all posted.


Beginning Day 1

You’ve seen the house.  It needs work.  A lot of work.  All of it cosmetic work, BTW.

Wednesday, August 7th was all about the celebration!  After the closing, we went back to the house.   I can’t describe the thrill of standing on the front porch, with my key in the lock, and feeling……IT IS OURS!!!!  So many years have gone into this.  So many years of dreaming, and here we were.  Home.

We celebrated.  After walking through, again, without a Realtor, we took a hard look around at the work that needed to be done, and started making the list.  Then we went out for Sushi, and then back to Forts Ferry to open the celebratory bottle of champagne that had been sitting in our fridge since New Year’s.



But on Thursday, the work began.

The first thing on the list, was to get rid of the THING in the bathroom.

House Before and Day 1 021


I understand the need for extra storage.  I really do.  But to put a huge monster storage unit, blocking half the bathroom, at exactly temple splitting height, made no sense to us.  In fact, I had visions of waking up in the middle of the night, going into the bathroom, and cracking my head open.





House Before and Day 1 021

Before Tim had all the tools unloaded, I’d grabbed the step stool and the electric screwdriver (my housewarming present to myself) and began dropping screws from the thing.  When he came back upstairs, I asked him to brace it with his shoulder while I removed the rest of the screws.

It’s down now, and standing up in one of the bedrooms.  It will be repurposed somewhere.  Not sure where, but it’s a good piece and neither of us are prone to toss what could be salvaged.

Now, let us go back and look at the kitchen:






My mother taught me that you always bring a couple of items in when you come into a new house for the first time.  They are Bread, Salt, Sugar and a New Broom.  From a symbolic standpoint, I think they’re pretty self-explanatory, but let’s go through them again.  Bread, so you never go hungry.  Salt, so your life is always ‘seasoned’.  Sugar (in our case honey) so your live is always sweet, a New Broom, so your house is always clean.  I think there’s something, for me anyway, about sweeping out the old inhabitants and making a “clean sweep” of the old things.

House Before and Day 1 007

Also, I’m a big believer in bleach.


House Before and Day 1 009

I want to take an in depth tour of some of my, ahem, favorite kitchen items.  Let’s start with the wallpaper.

House Before and Day 1 001





House Before and Day 1 002


And the counter tops and back plash:



House Before and Day 1 004

When was the last time you saw that charming chrome strip join?  That lovely faux-marble Formica?  The last time I saw it was the house I grew up in, when my dad modernized the kitchen in the 60’s.  Considering this house was built in the  70’s, all I can ask is, “What were they thinking?”

House Before and Day 1 005

At least they’d hung the wallpaper correctly (it seemed) although that meant more work for us.  I should say more work for me, since Tim got called into his job (on his first day of vacation) to fix a problem.  The first thing I had to do was take off most of the molding and trim around doors, at the floor and at the ceiling, as that was added after the paper was hung.  As I said, they did it right, even though it made more work for me.

I have to say, though, using a pry-bar and doing demolition made me very happy.  I’m not sure if it is because it is giving me a chance to rid the world of really bad decorating, or if it is a way of putting my own stamp on the place.  Making it mine.  Doing things I wouldn’t do to a rental.  I suspect it is the latter.

And so, on a hot and humid day in August, with no air conditioning, I stripped wallpaper. ….and stripped wallpaper….and stripped wallpaper….and vowed that I would never again, in my entire life, hang wallpaper.  I’d rather paint.


After 6 hours, I was hot, sweaty, hungry and covered in glue.  No, there are no pictures of this.  At one point, I called Tim and told him to come back to the house, NOW, and BRING FOOD.  Which he, not being a stupid man, did.




By the end of the day, This is what the kitchen looked like:

Wallpaper gone and appliances removed:


House Before and Day 1 038

Cabinets being removed:





Here’s the wallpaper:

House Before and Day 1 040

And the appliances:

House Before and Day 1 041


We started Day 2, by removing the rest of the upper cabinets, which we had to do, as they had been installed OVER the Formica back splash.  In order to take out the back splash, we had to remove the cabinets.

Then we discovered something delightful.  Apparently the dishwasher was a later addition.  In order to make it fit, the base cabinet under the sink had to be cut down.  Okay, I can grok that.  However, they didn’t replace the left hand side of the cabinet.  so when we removed the dishwasher, this is what we found:



House Reno Days 1 through 6 020



There will be more in the next post, but for now, I need to get over to the house and get to work.


More later, I promise.


Further On The Tour

Sorry I got so tired last night and had to cut the tour off early.  As we go forward on the project, you’ll soon understand why.

So where were we?  Right, the kitchen.  Here we are in its incredible seventies self.



Now we go grown the hall:



There is a bathroom on this level with a Jacuzzi tub, and three rather non-descript bedrooms, which I will get to in detail in further posts.

Downstairs there is another bathroom with a shower (very weirdly laid out), and a large family room.  Let it be known that I loathe wood paneling.  Absolutely despise it.  I’m also not a fan of faux brick.

16 Carol Ann Dr, Albany, New York 12205



Just what two people who don’t drink need….a wet-bar!!!

But instead of a wood-burning stove or fireplace, there is a gas stove…so we will be all warm and toasty down here this winter.

16 Carol Ann Dr, Albany, New York 12205

Now, let’s step through the sliding glass doors, and go out into the backyard:


The back yard is sort of narrow, but very deep.  There is chain-link fence all around.  Very little privacy, which is the major thing I’m going to miss.  But that’s what stockade fencing and Forsythia bushes are for!!


I’m afraid this is all you’re going to get to see today.  More tomorrow or later, when we let you start to see the renovations.

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