Author Archives: CT

Introducing … Rebel!

We have been on the fence for a few months now about adopting another dog.  After losing our beloved Sophie earlier this year, we didn’t want to rush into anything and we definitely didn’t want a rebound dog.

But …. life with just one fur baby didn’t seem quite the same and Shenanigan seemed mopey and under-stimulated.  He began to be very finicky about eating and we were worried about him.  So, what could be the solution to all this?  Rebel!

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We adopted her from Lost Our Home Pet Foundation (her name was originally Wilma).  I had started volunteering there a few months ago and she seemed too timid to last long in a hectic shelter environment.  I’ve always had a thing for the shy guys, the ferals or the almost-ferals.  It turns out Rebel is an almost-feral because once we got her home, she was terrified of the stairs and any new noise (the TV) or movement (the sliding door) seemed to shrink her into herself a little bit.  She thought her reflection in the mirror was alternately a friend or an enemy.

Our solution worked for Shenanigan though – he’s been playing with her a little bit (which is actually a lot for him, he was afraid to play with Sophie as she could be kind of rough) and exploring the yard a lot more and eating all his food – it’s like he is showing off for his new little sister.

A package of (gross) lunch meat turkey later and she knows how to use the stairs.  She is settling in and her shyness is starting to fade away a little bit and revealing a goofy and sweet personality.  It’s never a dull day at the Living Analog abode.  Cheers!  CT

When it rains, it pours (sometimes through your ceiling)

Oh, the joys of home ownership.

Like when you joyfully spend $1700 to have your attic re-insulated.  A giant truck (literally almost as tall as the house) appears in your driveway, bales of insulation are sent through a chipper and it is all piped via a gigantic tube through your second floor window and up the ladder into the depths of the attic.

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(Oh and the city just repaved your street the week before so you had the joy of being awoken at 6am by other large trucks milling down the street for two days straight and are trapped in your driveway and late for work one day.)

Followed by the joy of a bulge appearing in your living room ceiling, a la “Stranger Things”.

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And the next morning the bulge is bigger …

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And when you poke it, water pours out.  Such joy.  As in, most likely your hall bath toilet is leaking and you need to tear open the living room ceiling to find the leak.

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And then, as you sarcastically type a post about the joys of home ownership, your husband informs you the motor on the heat pump is not working and that’s why the house is so hot today.  Excuse me while I call the HVAC folks and inject some joy into their day …

Cheers – CT

 

 

The next living room change is …

As I mentioned in the last post, I foresee some changes happening to this room as it has started evolving more rapidly since the addition of the area rug.  The paintings are still safe for now but JT and I have discussed a re-do. (He’s on board, gotta love that guy.)   Instead we had an out-of-the-blue, spur-of-the-moment, why-the-hell-not ottoman makeover project on our long Labor Day weekend.

It started a while ago, when we got the new sofa.  We’ve been loving this thing and basically live on it (I’m typing from there right now).  We thought an upholstered ottoman might be more comfortable than the Ikea Strind for general lounging about – the Strind has two large glass panels that have somehow survived two moves but did take out JT’s smartphone once – and on a half-off Saturday at Goodwill we came across the perfect candidate. Will you look at that, it actually fit perfectly into the truck.  (Can you tell we’re kind of in love with our truck?  #trucknerds)

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If your eagle eyes can read that Goodwill tag on the ragged corner of this bonded-leather beauty, you are correct that it says $5.99.  And don’t forget – it was half off day!  So this ottoman only cost $3.00!  Not quite because we still had to purchase fabric as I wasn’t keeping it in THIS condition but not too shabby.

While we still had “the thing” penned up in the back of the truck and airing out from the eau-de-Goodwill, we stopped by Joann for the next purchase.  JT was definitely the only man in the store and he marveled at the size and quantity (and need for) so much crafting stuff.  Or maybe he was more perplexed than marveling.  Your call.

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We found this great Nate Berkus fabric that should have been $45 for our three yards but we scored for $22.50 thanks to a major Labor Day sale.  So let’s bring our ottoman price up to $25.50 and call it good.  I also bought the buttons shown in the picture above but decided once I had the thing upholstered that I didn’t want them.

Then began the disassembly process.  JT tackled the much-abused base with some Restor-A-Finish we had on hand from the Danish Daybeds.  I removed a percentage of the staples (especially around the corners where I knew we would need to be adding more staples back in) and the black tack fabric to remove some bulk.  We left the bonded leather in place and cut the tufting buttons free from the inside of the frame.  The fabric cutting and sewing process did not get photo documentation but took the span of about five Friends episodes and ended with a locked up sewing machine about one inch from the end of the last seam.  I need to take the machine in to get oiled and serviced, it’s probably about time.

Once the bottomless cube was (imperfectly) sewn up (and please note I was careful to choose a fabric that would disguise my low seamstress skills), it was time to stretch that baby onto the (heavily Febreezed with my own homemade concoction of vodka, vinegar and lavender essential oil) base!  We used our trusty Stanley staple gun with 3/8″ staples and pounded in any stragglers with a hammer.  The staples didn’t have any trouble going through both our new upholstery and the bonded leather (or vinyl?) so I’m glad we didn’t go to the pain of removing the original material.  I included the last picture above to highlight JT’s drill bit extender – this has come in really handy when you need to attach screws in a deep pocket like this frame had.

And the afters!  We’re loving it and definitely changing out our paintings to get rid of the mossy greens and clay colors.  And that wet bar … I’ve got my eye on that catch-all-junk, 80s eyesore of a wet bar.

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There’s starting to be a lot of pattern going on in this room and we considered going with a milder ottoman fabric but we figured for the price we might as well “go bold or go home” as they say.

Then I styled it up with a tray I had on hand and some of the items that were living on the coffee table before.

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There you have it – the living room has morphed again.  All while Shenanigan gave us the cold shoulder from his puppy pillow perch in the corner.  He is still mad at us for a camping “adventure” we had Friday night near Flagstaff.  Needless to say he was not a happy camper and so we cut the trip short and so our ottoman project was a great diversion on a long weekend.  Have a great short week and we’ll be back at the weekend before you know it!  Cheers – CT

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New Truck = New Area Rug

How’s that for a math equation!  The reality is, with our other car, a Nissan Versa hatchback, there was a limit to what we could jam in there.  We had two occasions at Home Depot where we wheeled our purchase out to the parking lot, popped the hatch and realized we needed to rent the Home Depot delivery truck.  This is partially due to the way the hatch of the Versa undulates (not a great design feature, I’d rather see a wide-mouth type design where essentially the whole back lifts up) and partially due to my boundless optimism for fitting things in the car.

So, when The Truck came on to the scene, I immediately started planning for the large items that were missing in my life.  And one of those was an area rug for the living room.  I found a mini-jackpot on the local Craigslist with a posting for a piece of carpet in need of binding/edge help for only $25.  Based on the picture, the colors looked interesting and the size looked large.  So I took that $25 dollar gamble and our living room got a new rug.


Shenanigan thanks us – he is always lounging on the new rug and thoroughly sniff tested each square inch when we brought it in.  Our other dog, Sophie, who we had to put to sleep earlier this year was the rug destroyer, peeing on each, any and every rug we had ever put in any of our homes.  We wondered if Shenanigan may want to assume the mantle but it’s been thankfully pee-free for the month or so we’ve had it around.


There are two edges that aren’t bound – you can see one of them in the right side of the image above.  The other unbound edge we hid under the sofa.  I don’t think I will invest any additional dollars to add back any binding – I gave the visible edge a nice haircut when we installed it and it has survived a few vacuumings so I think we’re good to go.  This isn’t exactly a priceless Persian or hand-knotted dhurrie – the reality is we have one old and really furry dog who tracks in copious amounts of sand from our godforsaken backyard and so this rug will be great for our high-abuse family.  I have been kind of itching to re-touch our paintings to edit out the green and tie in to the rug a little more… we shall see what in the living room survives the next re-do.

Cheers – CT

Black Pepper Game Changer and My First Recipe!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it (too) much but vegan cooking can tend towards the bland if you’re not careful.  Without dairy and meat fats and oils to “beef up” a dish, you really have to consider where your flavor is going to come from.  And I have to tell you guys, Black Pepper Sauce by My Crazy Vegan Kitchen changed the game.

I was Pinterest searching the other night for some veg burgers to make for a work camp outing (always interesting to camp with your co-workers …), I traveled down the rabbit hole and found the recipe in the link above.  I didn’t even end up putting it on a burger, but I’ve been putting it on Everything Else I Can Get My Hands On.  Case in point, the portabella cap and polenta in the image below.  Mouthwatering.  It would be great on any vegetable – broccoli, cauliflower, squash (zoodles …. mmmm!)  and paired with a black pepper sauced rice, you’re talking a Foodie Award.  (Is that a thing?  It is now.)

I think I also have my first recipe!  Our usual go-to recipe for weekend mornings or when there’s no other options for dinner goes something like this: Tofu + Can of Beans + Can of Rotel + Anything else in the kitchen + Wrapped in a tortilla.  We eat this a lot.  I was putting together a batch the other day but we didn’t have the usual suspects … and so I think I may have invented my first recipe.  I’m calling it Saucy Taco Salad.   However I didn’t know I was inventing greatness and so I took no photographs to document my culinary experience.  So here’s a recap:
CT’s Saucy Taco Salad:

For the Saucy Part:

Ingredients:
1 can vegetarian refried beans
1 can fire roasted and diced tomatoes
1 cup or less of corn (I have been using more white or shoepeg corn lately for a little variety)
2 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 tsp brown sugar

1. Combine all the above items in a pan on medium heat.  Stir thoroughly and heat through.  Simple!

2.  To make the taco salad bowl, use an oven safe bowl (I used our enamelware camping bowls), lightly grease the bottom of the bowl and drape a tortilla over the bowl.  Bake/toast in the oven at 350 degrees until it seems crispy to your liking.  I think ours took about 5-7 minutes.

3.  Serve!  Fill the taco bowl with lettuce or some form of greens, fill with heaping spoonfuls of the saucy mix and top with whatever you have – we used raw onion and guacamole (the little single serve guacamole cups from Costco are the best.)  Cilantro and a sour cream replacement could work (I’ve make a cashew crema before that was pretty yummy).


Also, has anyone tried charcoal water?  One of our reps for work brought it in (he’s a super buff, marathon and yoga type guy and knows better than to bring donuts thank goodness).  It looks scary and you feel like your teeth will turn out India ink colored but it’s actually pretty good.

Cheers! CT

Adulting …

I don’t know where this ridiculous word came from but somehow it is a very apt description of what has been going on lately at the Living Analog abode.  It’s amazing how much of your time can be given over to such mundane but necessary tasks.  The dentist, the eye doctor, the dermatologist, the regular doctor … they all have been visited.

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(I like that my earrings showed up in the x-ray. And yes, I have horrible teeth.  Thanks genetics and a bike accident 22 years ago.)

Adulting has continued with some “super fun” home maintenance stuff including duct repair that we now know has been air conditioning the 170 degree attic for the last nine months or so.  This was discovered because we were in the “super fun” process of getting additional insulation quoted.  Nothing says adult like spending upward of $1700 on insulation for an attic that no one sees.  Between the duct fix, the insulation and the settings on our Nest, we’re hoping to see some decent savings on our electric bill.

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Which puts me at the last category of adulting – bills/money/financial know how.  We have now paid off two of our three student loans and are agressivly paying down the remaining one.  Our goal is for a debt-free life by the time we both hit the big 4-0 and I think we’re going to make it.
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We started using Mint.com (the above is a screen grab from their website, not our actual finances) and it has been helping us out a lot in the bills/budgeting department because it puts everything in one place and gives you a real-time view of your net worth.  It can be depressing sometimes but gives you the information you need to make decisions – adult stuff.

I’m not sure how I ended up at 35 when I still feel like I’m 25 but here we are.

A little icing on the adult cake was finally being able to sell the 1998 BMW I affectionately called “the fug” and move up to a Toyota Tacoma.  Now I can safely buy furniture again without worrying that  I won’t be able to get it home (like the excitement I had at Value Village a while ago).  The best part is that the truck is a 4×4 and we’ve been able to have a few off-roading adventures on the many back roads of Arizona.  So being an adult isn’t all bad after all.

Pretty much anywhere you park this thing in Arizona makes it look like it’s in a truck commercial.  Cheers – CT

Wrought Iron Was Here

We have conquered one more light fixture and moved a step forward out of wretchedness!  The nook that is currently our coffee chat/pantry area originally had this fixture which JT dubbed “The Octopus”.

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I had my eye out for replacement fixtures while we were looking for the living room ceiling fans but hadn’t found anything that was 100% “the one”.   Plus with the future use for this space changing at some point, I wasn’t quite ready to commit to a fixture.

JT is not as commitment-phobic as I am (which is a good thing for me I guess!) and while we were at Lowe’s picking up a vacuum cleaner that could handle massive amounts of dog hair AND stairs (adjusting to life on two stories!), we saw a display of interesting light fixtures.  And we bit.

JT was happy to take down the Octopus (he went to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore along with the original ceiling fans) and up went the new fixture.  I can’t find it online now but I’m pretty sure it is by Allen + Roth for Lowes.

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It has the trendy Edison bulb which we have on a dimmer so we can set the light level.  It was only $80 which isn’t bad for a decent light fixture.  I like that it is clear so it doesn’t distract from our view out the window to the mountain.  But it has one little kink in the cord that no amount of adjusting could fix.  I was hoping that it would “hang out” – that over time and with the steady pull of gravity this would correct itself but it has been a few months and that tiny kink is still there.   So it’s probably not a forever light but it’s so nice to have the wrought iron gone and one less ugly light fixture hanging around.

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Let’s just crop out the pantry shelves and look at our little nook like this for now …  Happy Friday!  It’s going to be 115 degrees here today!  Stay cool – CT