Day 3 of the Flooring Install

Apparently I am going to write a blog post every day this week while trapped in my bedroom.  I figure this will make up for the next two weeks when I probably won’t write any.

This is the kitchen at the end of the first day.  Interesting couch placement.


The living room, dining room and my “office”.

Now you can see why I am not spending anytime downstairs!

Further analysis reveals I never want to live in a tiny house. A small house, yes, but teeny tiny? No. Having spent the better part of three days in my ~10 by 10 bedroom I am over the tiny house fascination. I need a kitchen table and a decent sized work space. I need to be able to walk around. I like my eating area to be separate from my work area.

Here is my setup for breakfast and lunch.  I suppose the top of the cubby is the break room as that is where I stored my lunch!


Here is the set up as an office.  The lap desk is actually very useful as the tv tray “desk” is pretty small.


On the upside I am excited to see the actual install of the flooring begin today. The prep work has been rather boring, messy and noisy. After the first day I realized just how much dust was being generated and covered my couches with moving blankets and an old sheet.

The unveiling of the primary color linoleum was great.  I still love the color and think this is going to turn out smashing!  But when the secondary color came out I paused.  Was it the right color?  It seemed much more yellow than I remember.  We are only using the second color as a border in the kitchen and in the half bath, but still…  I felt panic starting.  I told myself I was looking at in the living room where it wasn’t actually going.  So I patiently waited until they got pieces cut and then moved them into the kitchen.  Now it looks more cream than yellow.  Phew!

In the meantime I am getting a few things done but it feels more like busy work.  I am missing my routine and office space very much.  Waking at 3:30a everyday isn’t helping. I don’t know what is waking me up but once I am awake my brain kicks in and sleep is done.  I am starting to seriously drag.

Yesterday about mid-morning I got very tired of all these sitting tasks and cleaned my son’s room. It has been quite the mess for awhile and I have tried everything to get him to clean it.  Took me an hour and a half of picking up (mostly throwing away) but I was finally able to vacuum the floor.

Then after school while he rode his bike and I was waiting for the hubby to come home with dinner I “KonMari’d” his dresser drawers.  I cannot believe what a difference a folding technique makes!  Everything fits neatly and he can see exactly what he is looking for. Life is good.

Before none of his drawers would close properly because every time he looked for something everything ended  all wadded up. Now he can easily see what he is looking for:


Bathing suits and swim shirts on the left, crew socks on the right.


Running shorts and t-shirts.





Here is my bullet journal, ready for tomorrow. This is the monthly page for Oct.  See how busy I am going to be?


I am almost finished this cute Christmas Angel. I just have to finish the halo, overcast the edge and glue on some holly.

Now I am ready for my next project.  I have gone through my books, again, and found about 50 I am going to try and sell to Powell’s on-line.  This means I need to make a list of the ISBNs.  At least it will pass the time.

True Confession Time

Today is my last day on the Whole 30. I wasn’t planning on doing one but my husband decided to join some of his co-workers and since I had to cook for him anyway I decided I might as well do my third Whole 30 attempt. I was already trying to avoid grains and I needed to do something about my snacking and sugar intake anyway.

So how did I do?

Here are my transgressions:

  1.  I ate butter, real butter.  Not much, but frankly I am not a big fan of ghee.
  2. I used store bought mayo.  I bought the healthiest olive oil kind I could find.  While I can make homemade mayo I find it tiresome and in the heat I was a little afraid of giving myself food poisoning. I did find some canola oil only mayo at Trader Joe’s so I will try that next.
  3. I ate peanut butter.  Trader Joe’s peanuts only peanut butter through day 12.  Then I did some research on legumes and switched to almond butter for the remaining 18 days.
  4. I ate some Mickey Mousse on my birthday (about half).  While at Disneyland I ate salads, a burger with no bun and grilled chicken breast but didn’t check to see if they were truly Whole 30 compliant.  I skipped the dressing but I did eat some cheese.  I also had a raspberry smoothie at Ghirardelli’s, split three ways so I didn’t really have much.


Birthday “Mickey Mousse”


And technically compliant yet frowned upon:

A couple of homemade smoothies: spinach and fruit, chia seeds.  I ate them for lunch because I wasn’t that hungry and it was terrifically hot out and I needed something cold.

Olive oil potato chips.  They were part of a picnic lunch, again it was hot out, and I was sweating like crazy and craved the salt.

So I admit I didn’t really do a Whole 30.  I like to think I did a “Tracey 30”.  My goals were to avoid grains and sugar and I succeeded.  I stopped mindlessly eating candy throughout the day, reduced my joint pain, improved my mood and lost five pounds.

Going forward I am planning on starting another “Tracey 30” next week.  I want to continue to avoid/seriously limit wheat and see if corn, rice  and oats are okay or if I need to avoid them too. I know I am still battling the sugar demon and need to avoid candy and baked goods for a while longer.  I want to try some grain free baked goods made with coconut or almond flour for the holidays but I think I will wait another month.  I need to stay off sugar longer to really get control of my sweet tooth.

From previous Whole 30s I know I am okay with cheese and yogurt and they are going back in my diet.  I am also going back to peanut butter.  I like it way better than other butters and have not noticed any issues with it.  It’s not like I eat tons of it anyway but I do like a little with an apple or banana for breakfast or a tasty snack.  Much better than eating a brownie smothered in ice cream and chocolate syrup I’m sure.

I consider this last not quite a Whole 30 a success. I am eating healthier, comfortably in my five pound weight window and feeling better.  I know my next goals: I will test different grains and will continue to address my sugar/snacking issues.

I am giving myself a few days off from thinking about food so much and to get through our flooring install (since I don’t have much access to the kitchen anyway.)  My husband brought home Chipolte last night and he is bringing home dinner again tonight.  Hopefully it will be a fairly healthy choice and I will continue to skip the buns and bread.


The chaos of the new flooring install has begun. It is a bit of a relief to have it started. I am surprised at how stressed I have been feeling. We spent the last four days moving everything we could upstairs or out to the garage.  I have made a list of things I can do upstairs and created a little work space in my bedroom.  I even remembered to make a lunch for myself and stash it in a cooler upstairs.  Hopefully my husband remembers to bring dinner home.  Today the workers are taking out the tile in the kitchen and everything is covered with plastic.



See how scary this looks?  This is my old office, now the playroom, currently the storage area of downstairs items.


Five days of no cooking, laundry or cleaning.  Five days of not being able to find anything.  None of my precious bits of solitude.  A complete disruption of the normal rhythm of my days.  I can’t even watch tv as “my” tv and dvr are downstairs.  Every time I think about it I feel the start of a headache.

Instead I am trying to focus on what I can accomplish this week. I can do lots of stuff on the computer:  research Christmas present ideas, work on my calendar for 2016, create a sheet for counting the hunger loose change jar at church and of course write a blog post or two.

Other projects for the week include setting up a bullet journal for a One October start date.  I have been reading a lot about it and want to give it a try.  It seems like it would be my sort of thing. I want to spend an hour a day cleaning out my son’s room.  I have a needlepoint project I can try and finish this week while listening to the “Treasure Island” audiobook.

I may also sort through my books using the “KonMari” principles.  Since they are all upstairs and pretty much together I thought this would be a perfect opportunity.

I have set aside most of next week to moving things back downstairs. The plan is to do more KonMari type purging with the focus on DVDs and CDs.  I also want to rearrange the dining room/office area a bit. I really miss having my office upstairs.  As I feared, my son doesn’t use his new play room much at all.  I debated swapping back with some more modifications but I really don’t want the toys scattered downstairs again.

Instead I am going to tweak the office set up a bit and see if I can make it more to my liking.  And if that doesn’t work and the play room is still  being under-utilized maybe we will swap back after the first of the year.  I love the idea of redoing my office from scratch.  I would like to get rid of all the makeshift pieces of furniture and buying a new set up that really fits the space and my needs. Doubtful but a girl can dream!

So I have managed to pass the first couple of hours.  I am still feeling pretty stressed.  There is a lot of noise downstairs:  a loud fan, their radio, loud conversation and all the banging and scraping of tile being removed.  And now there is the added fear of “what if I don’t love the new flooring?”  Agghhh.

I remind myself to breathe.  I am going to go sort my son’s Christmas books.  I will not panic!  I will consult the list of things to do this week and keep busy.  Deep breath.




Post Disneyland Exhaustion

Day 1: Happy that we had a great birthday dinner in the a/c and that the hostess found me a birthday button. (City Hall was out of them and I was rather bummed.)

I have travelled a lot in the last 30 years for both the military and my own pleasure. I always enjoyed heading out but I was always happy to come home too. Until we moved to Tucson. Right now I am exhausted. Worn out. Frustrated with temperatures still in the the high 90’s with no end in sight.

We went to Disneyland for my birthday.  I was excited about going until I saw the weather forecast.  One hundred degrees and humid for our first day which was my actual birthday.  The next two days were a little cooler and much less humid.  The park was less crowded.  We made plans a few hours at a time and they worked great.  Our time spent in lines was minimized and we got to all our favorite rides.

Since coming home I have been busy preparing for our flooring to be replaced on the first floor.  I hate having everything  in such  disarray.  And I am so tired.

For awhile I thought maybe I had gotten too old for travel.  For Disneyland.  Maybe it was just the heat.  Three long, 12 to 13 hour days of mostly walking or standing in summer temps is enough to do anybody in.  Bookend those days with 10 hour drives across the desert and on the trip home I was in the sun all the way.  I should be tired.

Day 2:  The Tower of Terror silliness.


So happy to see Pluto.

When I look at the pictures I am smiling every time.  A wide, happy smile.  Already all the memories that are sticking are joyful ones.  I am not too old for Disneyland!

I have adjusted my attitude.  I have accepted my fatigue.  I have promised myself I will be so happy with the new flooring 10 days from now that it will be a joy to put everything back and maybe get a little more purging done in the process.  I have promised myself a day off in the middle of October.  I have written it into my day planner.  In ink.

As for the heat?  I have turned the a/c down an extra two degrees.  I have earned it.

Day 3:  Dumbo created a nice breeze.

Such is Life

So there I am cruising along enjoying life just fine. I am on day 18 of the Whole 30 and when I went into Safeway two days ago to pick up a few items I didn’t even think about dark chocolate covered almonds.   I always buy dark chocolate covered almonds when I am there.   My favorite yummy,  yet I can pretend it is healthy snack. I didn’t even realize it until the next day. Now that is a success story!

My husband and I debate getting a second refrigerator every year about this time. Right now our fridge is stuffed with apples and pears we picked at Apple Annie’s and the freezer has 2 peach crisps and an apple pie hogging up space. Our fridge is 24 cu ft, so not huge but it seems like it should be adequate for three people.   Getting a second refrigerator seems such an extravagance I put it off every year. But not this year! With all this healthy eating of fresh fruits and veggies and wanting to freeze some of the bounty I decided this was the year.  We got an 18 cu ft one for the garage and last night cleared out the space for it.  They are delivering it today.  Hooray!

And then along came a spider.  Literally.  Monday night I was in bed and I see a few spider legs at the top of my closet door.  I try and figure out a way to trap the spider in a glass jar but it is between the top of the door and the track.  I try nudging it out with a magazine but that didn’t go well.  I didn’t want to knock it to the floor and have it scurry off (or up my leg!).  Plus I was really tired.  So I went to bed and decided to deal with it in the morning.

Only of course I couldn’t find it the next morning.  I warn everyone in the house we have a visitor and to check their shoes before putting them on.  I tell the dog to find the spider. All day I poke around at random times looking for this spider and go to bed with still no joy.  I thought I knew what was going to happen.  I was going to forget all about the spider and 3 months from now find it in a sweater or something.  That’s not what happened.

Instead, on Wednesday morning my son gives a big scream and then yells spider and comes racing down the stairs with his toothbrush in his hand.  Nothing like a kid’s scream to get the blood moving in the morning!

The spider was in the bathroom sink drain and when E turned on the water he scurried out.  The tarantula  couldn’t quite make it up the side of the sink so I quickly trapped him under a cup.  Then I released him back into the wilds of the wash next to our house.

Our fancy catch and release trap.


Our visitor.  I am pretty sure it is a tarantula.

And that is what life is like in the desert southwest right now.



After the quiet month of August spent settling into new routines for school,  September has felt crazy busy. I have three,  once a month outings and I failed to realize they all take place the first week of the month. Add to that the one Thursday night game of the Arizona Wildcats and being in the feeling exhausted phase of the Whole 30 and it was a rough start to the month.

Things are settling down a bit,  though it is another busy week. Really hoping the “tiger’s blood” kicks in soon. One task on the list for this week is prepping for our new flooring install at the end of the month. Since we are doing the entire first floor we had to figure out what to do with all the furniture. Smaller items will be stored in the garage and the installers will move the bigger pieces around as needed. But in order to do that most of the items on the bigger pieces need to be removed. That is what I will be doing this week.

After reading “the life changing magic of tidying up” I counted how many books I have. Three hundred and thirty-eight. Is that a lot? I can’t decide but since I am keeping them all I guess that number is just right for me. However since about half of them are downstairs and I will now have to move them, I may change my mind.

I have been thinking about the best way to move and store all the books and knickknacks.  My first thought was to box them all up but we don’t have any boxes.  I do have a few empty totes and bins but not enough for everything.  Today I decided to use an empty tote to move the books upstairs.  I will line them up along the wall in the hallway.  I am going to do two or three bin fulls a day and we will see where we are at the end of the week.  After all the books are moved I am hoping all the knickknacks will fit in the bins.  I will put away my summer beach theme decorations and wait until the flooring is done to put out autumn.


This is  5 loads of books.


Still have a little wall space to use.

I took a long time deciding what flooring to get.  Homes in our area typically have some sort of tile or carpet.  A few have hardwood.  I went with the unconventional choice of linoleum.  Yup, linoleum.  I am not a fan of tile for many reasons:  cold, hard, slippery when wet and the whole grout thing.  Carpet is hard to keep really clean here, so much dust in the air.  Plus we have an open floor plan which means high traffic areas.   I considered hardwood flooring of some type but it seems an odd choice for such a dry climate and I didn’t think wood was the best option for coming in from the pool.   I also wasn’t sure how quick hardwoods would get scratched up with a small boy and a dog.

I wanted something very durable, easy to clean and comfortable.  Linoleum is all this plus environmentally friendly.  I chose to go with Marmoleum and found a reputable installer.  I am using one main color (Shitake)  and second lighter color (Caribbean) for the 1/2 bath and as a border in the kitchen.

I am a little nervous.  It is a lot of money and I hope I love it as much as I think I will.  It is the second major decorating choice for the house.  The first was paint colors and I am still loving my choices there.

It is going to be a lot of work and upheaval but it will be worth it.  I have been wanting to get rid of the yucky cheap carpet for two years now.  I think about how nice everything will look at Thanksgiving and Christmas this year and for years to come.  I am excited to be moving into the more visible, fun part of updating our home, even if it does involve carrying books up and down the stairs.

Happy Days are Here Again!

I am feeling much better these days. It is a huge relief to not feel crabby for no apparent reason all the time. There are various reasons I could be feeling better:

1. My husband is doing the Whole 30 with some co-workers and I decided to do it too since I was going to have to do all the food prep for him anyway. (My husband can grill but completely inept in the kitchen which I think he does on purpose.) I am on day 10 and I believe purging the grains and sugar from my diet are making a difference.

2.  I am getting outdoors a bit more despite the heat and humidity.  It is still unpleasant out but cloud cover makes it more bearable.  On Saturday afternoon we went for a short hike at Sabino Canyon Recreation Area.  It had been raining all day but we just had a few sprinkles on our hike and on the way home the sun came out making it yucky hot.  On Labor Day we went to Apple Annie’s  and picked a ton of fruit  and veggies.  Despite being “only” 85 degrees,  with the humidity and sun it was sweltering.  But I love picking fruit and we enjoyed ourselves despite the weather.  It plain feels good to be outdoors more.

Good to see water flowing over the dam at Sabino Canyon.


Sabino Creek


A few sprinkles of rain during our hike felt good.


Really wish those clouds had been over the sun at Apple Annie’s.


A little taste of pre-autumn color in Willcox, AZ.

3.  It is September which means there must be an end in sight to the heat.  Okay, it will be anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks before we feel it but there is still a feeling of having survived another desert summer. (Well almost survived, only two more weeks of summer to go.)

4.  Lots to look forward to.  We are now in my “most wonderful time of the year”.  My husband and I sat down with the calendar and planned out our camping trips for the next few months.  The anticipation of true autumn weather (at higher elevations), wearing long sleeves, and gathering leaves makes me smile.

5.  It is football season!  This year we bought season tickets to University of Arizona Wildcat football games.  Nothing beats the atmosphere of college football.  Football and a marching band, what could be better in (almost) autumn?  Our first game was last Thursday and it started raining a  few hours before kickoff.  But the rain ended just as we were going to our seats.  We had remembered a towel to dry our seats off and it was a lovely, cool evening.  It was so perfect I thought I was going to cry.  Arizona won and as usual it was an entertaining game.

The Pride of Arizona marching band. (Wildcats, Pride, get it?)


Wonderful football weather.

Sunday I have my Denver Bronco’s to look forward to.  If only Peyton Manning can stay healthy and the O-line keep him protected!

6.  I was on-call for jury duty this week and did not have to report to the courthouse.  This means I have the whole week free to do whatever I want.  (I wish.)

I hope everyone is having a happy day.  🙂