Our kitchen remodel – week #2

Gotta tell you, as kitchen remodels go, work during the second week has been kinda boring. But I realize … very necessary. Basically, we had a plumber dude come out to set the gas line for the old switcheroo from electric to gas range. The outside walls were re-insulated. Oh, and the walls and ceiling were buttoned up with sheetrock and floated. This was especially nice since I’ve been having nightmares of bugs dropping out of the ceiling holes at night.

We are moderately adjusting to not having a kitchen sink and dishwasher. My favorite part of this whole remodel adventure is Rick cooking Saturday morning breakfast on the grill. Week #2 saw perfection in cooking hash browns!

Our dog, Lulu, seems to be hanging in there with all the noise and people she deems as extra special scary.

Our kitchen remodel – week #1


So my thirty-five year old kitchen is getting a major makeover. It was a sad thing … my kitchen … but with lots of wonderful memories made over the years. So many family dinners. My kids learned to bake cookies sitting on that kitchen counter and to this day are awesome cookers and bakers. And too many holiday dinners to count on both hands and feet. Well, it’s time to make some new memories!

It took just two dusty days to demolish the crusty stuff down to the studs. Thank you Finishing Touches! I understand getting it put back together in working order will take approximately four to five weeks. That would mean Thanksgiving in a new kitchen! During the first week, we have already seen part of the kitchen put back together. We also had the electrical roughed-in and a layout planning meeting with the cabinet maker.

Some of the things we are changing: gas cooktop/electric oven … painted cabinets … an island … tile backsplash with some art tiles (call me crazy) … an interesting sink choice (stepped out of our “boring” zone on this one) … and granite! Rick and I collaborated on most all of the choices, but I also worked with an awesome designer on colors, etc. so our kitchen didn’t look like Walt Disney threw up all over it in the end.

OK … so I know the really fun stuff hasn’t happened yet! Give it a couple of weeks!

Things I have learned … how to use paper and plastic eating utensils to the max! Oh how much I miss my kitchen sink. Living with the refrigerator and microwave in the living room is really quite handy … but weird!

A cancer journey with immunotherapy – infusion #7 sweet spot and a return trip!


Last week we had a major milestone with “the schedule” at MD Anderson. We discovered our sweet spot after lots of 12-hour “infusion” days. Basic schedule now is bloodletting at 6:30 in the am, meet with clinical trial nurse and oncologist at 8:30, and then a lovely infusion before and during lunch! No more grumpy bug faces on our part. I think we got this! Maintenance infusion #7 was a like a gentle fall breeze and we got home about 2 pm.

The most interesting part of the day was meeting with one of Dr. Campbell’s fellows! I learned our awesome oncologist, Dr. Campbell, gets a new one each month. I wish I wrote down his name. The young man was chatty … I love that … and has a PHD in immunology. He told us Rick had kidney cancer long before the severe symptoms appeared that lead us on the quest to figure out what was wrong. He called those scary symptoms the “tipping point.” I learned once you get to that point it is imperative to quickly get a correct diagnosis and start treatment. We also learned that Rick’s clinical trial for clear cell kidney cancer now has all their sixty patients. Rick was number 36. No more slots are available. So far Rick is still the rock star performing the best in this particular immunotherapy trial. Sixteen and one-half months to go!

The day after the infusion we took a trip … back to Washington, DC … to hang for a few days with our son and lovely daughter-in-law. We were there last in March to fulfill a promise and witness Kate’s confirmation into the Catholic Church. That trip was also after Rick’s very first infusion after being approved for the clinical trial. We went back and forth on the teeter totter about whether we should go. Rick was in lots of pain and nauseous most of the time. It was Rick’s decision to go for it … and we made it happen. I remember pushing him through the airports in a wheelchair. Back then he didn’t walk much in D.C. He was mostly there in spirit.

What a difference seven months make. This time we stayed up late, walked our feet off, got up and personal with lots of Washington D.C.’s monuments, went on an awesome history tour (History Nerds) of the Gettysburg battlefield, played trivia with Ricky’s cadets in a bar, toured the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and so much more. I think I got my hubby and travel buddy back!

My favorite day was the Gettysburg battlefield tour in Pennsylvania. Ricky and the lovely Kate had purchased the tour for hubby’s birthday present in September. I had no idea Gettysburg was only a ninety minutes drive from Washington, D.C. Al Condit was our amazing tour guide on the History Nerds tour bus which lasted just over two hours. The comfortable bus held about a dozen people. Al knows his Gettysburg history and provided non-stop fascinating commentary and occasional videos on the famous three-day battle. We got out of the bus a couple of times … once on the Confederate side and once on the Union side at Little Round Top. While there are many ways to experience Gettysburg … I totally recommend the History Nerd tour. Just saying!

I spy Jacob!


Our grandson, Jacob, loves to poke around my sewing room. I make it a point before he is due to arrive to lock up anything remotely interesting and dangerous to a two-year-old like pins, rotary cutters and scissors. Earlier this year he got a peek at the “I Spy” quilt I made for a charity event. Little did Jacob know I was working on one for him also!

The pattern is again from Missouri Star Quilt Company and so is the novelty layer cake fabric of ten-inch squares. With Jacob’s quilt, I added a couple of his favorite Minion fabric “jars.” I also used a mottled black fabric for the background which I love over the flat-looking black fabric on the charity quilt.

After finally getting the quilt top finished, I asked Jacob to pick a binding fabric. The charity quilt binding was black and totally worked but I wanted to try something different. Jacob’s choices were ladybugs or zebra print. Obviously, ladybugs won! The ladybug fabric is by Charley Harper.

The awesome Kim Norton, at A Busy Bobbin, quilted with an all-over digital pantograph design called Circle Swirls using a multi-colored King Tut thread (921 Cleopatra). I absolutely love collaborating with Kim! The adorable Tracy at Personalize It embroidered the quilt label for the back.