Two Catmasses are better than one [UPDATED]

I was incredibly happy to have been invited to join Joel and his family for Thanksgiving this year.

Since I wouldn't be driving down again in a month, we also opened Christmas presents while I was there. The kids each got science stuff and Lego mugs, among other things. They seemed thrilled!

Landon, Wesley and Cale learned about the gyroscope

While Cale showed Grandma Mimi how fast he can get down the stairs

Before I left town the day after our celebrations, Landon read me a story.

Dec 25 happened at my place. Corbin and Nancy joined me and Steve, and Lydia who recently moved back in with us (yay!). I made a meal of chicken Marsala with wilted spinach and linguini, while Lydia made molasses crinkles and Nancy made lemon bars. It was really fun, all of us cooking together, tripping over each other (not sarcasm) in the kitchen.

I crocheted a brain cap for Corbin

Nancy was pleased with her Post Secret book

Lydia loves birds and got two books about owls

Steve got some comfy new slippers 

And an oddly appropriate custom coffee mug

I got warm, squishy socks

And Corbin made me The Most Beautiful cutting board!

Kashi slept through it all

Let the papering begin!

UPS brought my ginormous roll of butcher paper yesterday! Let the papering begin!

They really are everywhere

Moving right along...

I had previously purchased three six-panel doors at a deep discount from Habitat Restore. They are the right size for the three bedrooms. Corbin came and installed two of them.

In the near future I will buy matching doors for the hall bathroom and the hall pantry.

All door trim is now installed, painted and caulked, but that adventure was not without its setbacks. When I pulled the paint tape off, this happened.

Apologies for the crappy photography.

And this is how much paint I had left.

But I managed.

Next up is the floor. Not wishing to drive across town to buy the pure-white butcher paper that I used in the bathroom and kitchen (hey, it was cold and rainy outside!), I thought I'd give it a go with the inexpensive "packing paper" in stock at my local Failmart. The paper has a slight brown tinge to it and, after application, it looks rather like concrete. Or like the cat peed there again.

 Cue the jokes about installing a "faux concrete" floor over real concrete.

Then, just for shits and giggles, I tested another small area using some silver wrapping paper I had on hand.


This last test area was done with the remaining scraps of white butcher paper I had in the garage.

Test with butcher paper.

I'm obviously most happy with this last one. IMO, it comes the closest to looking like Carrara marble, which is my goal.
Real Carrara marble.

I may actually go back over it when all is said and done, and do a little marble faux painting on the seams. The goal will be to keep the expanses clean and whiter while highlighting the seams so they look more like the veins in real marble.

So, since that last test used my last scraps of butcher paper, I went a-shopping for more. Ended up ordering it from Amazon, which buys me approximately one week to recover from all the crouching, crawling and scootching I've been doing!

The devil is in the details

The walls are done. They have to be done. For the last coat of paint, I purchased another gallon of the ice blue and then toned it down a little at home by mixing in a wee bit o' gray. I love the new toned-down color, but knowing it would be difficult to recreate I had to call the painting quits (stop obsessing about tiny imperfections) when I ran out.

The different is indiscernible in the photo, I'm sure.

Next step is to finish up the door casings. I've painted one coat of white-white-white on those that remained in place; they need a second coat. I've purchased enough new casing material to replace the pieces that had to be removed to accomplish the remudding and repainting. But before I paint them, I needed to tame imperfections on the reveals.

Gunky door casings                           I love my MultiMax!                             Pretty in paint

Fast forward -- I finished painting/repainting all door casings. I was all excited to remove the paint tape...and then this happened.


My sentiments exactly

I haven't posted anything political here lately because

I have ruminated on it - too much, possibly - but have not been able to come up with Just The Right Words. But today I see that one of my blogger-stalkees, Mimi Smartypants, has said it Just Right:

So if you really, really need me, I'll be here, under the covers, playing "if I can't see you, you can't see me."

This is what happens when you think you're finished but then you remember you are a perfectionist

I just couldn't let the imperfections on this wall slide. there were bumpy areas by the door moulding and other small indents and bumps on the rest of the wall. Truth be told, the whole hallway probably would have benefited from a FOURTH mud coat and sanding.


This is a new feature on My Geminiacal Life. Not a new feature IN my Geminiacal life, but I've decided to begin keeping these here. So there.

Pareidolia is a type of apophenia. It's fun, and I have non-suffered from it my entire life. Here for your enjoyment is my most recent collection. I've added a little something to each one in case you don't have the same condition I do.

Please do not scroll down if you are easily offended. I cannot be held morally responsible for what my brain sees when I look at these objects...or pretty much for anything else in my life.


Pilgrim's Progress (which was surely slow since they didn't have cars back then)

I've spent the past couple of weeks using wood putty and sandpaper to nurse the existing trim boards around the doors and cupboards in the hallway back into some semblance of non-shittiness. There were four we just HAD to remove because the tiny bit of wall space around them would have just been too difficult to work on, but I didn't want to replace more trim than absolutely necessary. So I've ever-so-slowly been re-molding the moulding.

At one point, I encountered a nail that had worked its way out. I tenderly tapped it back in with a hammer and the trim board suddenly split from the floor to about 10 inches up. After evening rumination, I decided I could fix that too. Sorry I didn't take a before pic, but the after shows that

I can build an entire perfect house from wood putty! 

I'll post another after it's painted. Hopefully the repair will be invisible.

Having completed that, and all the sanding to follow, and all the wipe-down and vacuuming following that, I spent two days applying the primer. It had to be split into two days because of all the up-and-down on the ladder. My stupid broken body just couldn't complete the job in one day but eventually it got done. Then...

Thanks to the primer, I could then see every spot that was still sub-par. Try as I might to accept mediocrity, I just can't. As it turns out, Steve admitted he did THREE coats of mud in his "little room" whereas I only had TWO coats on the hall before priming. Yesterday I mixed up a new batch of mud and went after it again.

Fall is in the air and Satan is in my car

The weather has begun to turn. After "triple digit temps" last weekend, we've had rain, overcast and chill the past few days. Naturally this means I must make applesauce cake.

Applesauce Cake

1/2 cup Crisco
2 eggs
15 oz. unsweetened applesauce
1-1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons powdered baking chocolate
2 tablespoons cinnamon
a veritable butt-load of raisins

Grease and flour sugar a square cake pan (or 2 loaf pans or muffin tins or whatever else floats your boat). Mix shortening, eggs, applesauce and sugar together until well blended but still lumpy. Sift on top the remaining ingredients except raisins. Fold until well blended. Stir in raisins. Bake at 350 F for 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Serve naked.

My car is surely possessed

It's doing that thing where it doesn't make that clunk when I take the mechanic for a little joy-ride, so he says it's no big deal. Meanwhile, I believe I received a sign.


In spite of that, to save the cost and hassle of a rental, I loaned Lainie my car while she was in CA for a week. She came down to accompany me, Steve and Margaret to Marshall and Judy's 50th Wedding Anniversary party. I was their flower girl when they married in 1968. Don't do the math.

This photo of my late father's wives is evidence that 
my propensity for befriending exes runs in the family.

From the party, Lainie accompanied Ma and Cory back to Modesto, and then I drove down to pick her up on Monday. We had a nice lunch (unfortunately Cory was working at the time) before schlepping back to Sac. It was at the cafe that Ma tried to get a nice posed shot of us together and we pissed her off with this:

She hates it when we ham for the camera

Not a lot of obvious progress, but fun instead

The mudding, sanding, lather-rinse-repeat continues in the hallway. This ball is in Steve's court and I am unable to help or proceed with paint or flooring until he completes the work to his perfectionist standards. (Thank goddess for his perfectionist standards.)

Even after his diligent curtaining-off of the hallway, plus vacuuming and flat-surface-wiping, there is a thin layer of dust all over EVERYthing in the house. EVERYthing, I tell you. I'm trying hard not to stress out about it but it makes my OCD itch.

Debbi came to Sac over the weekend. We originally scheduled her visit so she could help me play with glue goo and put down paper flooring, but since the hall isn't ready for that yet she and I were forced to shop, chitty-chat, eat, drink and lounge. Oh, woe.

Ain't we hot for a couple of old broads