12/21/12 No Power

Here I am, sitting at home on December 21st, thoroughly enjoying the jokes about the “end of the world” and in the middle of a dozen tasks, online chat conversations and email when the power goes out.

And now a simple shut down but suddenly off. Sputter on. Off again. Sputter on. Off for good now.

So I’m torn. My computer has 7 hours of battery life (which will flicker down to 3 hours in approximately 10 minutes or so) and my phone is at 81%. My cell phone and iPad won’t connect to the internet so I can’t check if this is a localized or if the zombies are coming.

Ah, pot smoking neighbors to the rescue! Apparently it’s not just my house or neighborhood but homes 4 blocks away are also without power. Nice. I should go check on my grandpa and get hooked up to wifi for a few hours before everything shuts down but did I mention the dogs are afraid of the dark?

Yeah, they’re wimps. It doesn’t help that one of my smoke detectors or the house alarm keeps going off and that makes them nervous.

If I leave I can’t keep them calm and can’t leave candles unattended. Great.

The dogs are huddled in front of my space heater, confused about why there’s no heat for their little butts. They keep whining and looking at me like “turn it on mom!” Sorry buddies, at least you have fur.

I suppose if the power isn’t on by 4:45 I’ll go see Grandpa and find out how much of my city/state is plunged in darkness.

All of this makes me laugh. End of the world my ass. No wifi? Now that’s a disaster of epic proportions.

Update: it took about an hour for the power to return. No news yet on why it went out but I’m grateful for electricity, microwaves, my TV and the internet.

In fact, after the power came back I closed two new clients in my business!



Please forgive the scattered nature of this post, I think that there are just too many thoughts in my head right now to spending energy organizing them.

I’ve been reading a lot in the past week, much more in the media than I am on a typical week. Last Friday I was taking the day off work when the news about Sandy Hook Elementary hit on Facebook. I ended up taking a few hours to sit with my Grandpa and watch the news coverage, hearing the story as it unfolded.

Here are some of the things I’ve been reflecting on this past week.

Quick to Judge

I was appalled at how quickly the news media identified a shooter and plastered his face all over the news. Hate messages were sent, outlets picked up the name and even one friend on my feed asked Satan to “welcome him to a fiery hell for killing babies.”

Except it was the wrong name.

In the days that followed the amount of wrong information shared blew my mind. The wrong name of the shooter. The father was killed at home, no it was the mother. He was let into the school, no it was forced. And on and on. I can’t imagine the pain of hearing these lies, not just for families who were worried for their loved ones but for the wrongly accused and identified man who will forever be named in hundreds of news articles as a killer.

Quick to Relate

When something horrible happens we play associations. We think about Columbine nearly 14 years ago and someone interviews a parent whose child would be turning 30 this year. We talk about weapons used at Virginia Tech and the similarities.

We even relate this to seemingly unrelated things like music – Ke$ha catching a lot of media for her horrible song “Die Young” which, incidentally, released shortly after my cousin died this summer at 26. I understand. When it comes on the radio I want to scream but instead change the channel.

There was a pretty big discussion on a message board about the people from Newton who hate the attention, hate the media, hate everyone for watching tragedy unfold. And I get it, but I also think that we are drawn closer because we relate to the school, to our favorite teacher, to our own families.

Quick to Politicize

I don’t fault the President and other leaders for making statements in a time of crisis, as leaders it’s their responsibility to guide the nation. But when someone is hearing that their child, spouse, mother or friend is dead the last thing you want to hear is a debate on guns. You want to cry, scream, hit something, completely fall apart and do it without everyone in the world watching.

Asking a child “how do you feel” when they’ve walked out of a massacre is not about the story, it’s political. It’s all about ratings and what horrifies me is that most people don’t realize it’s a game you win by not playing. Not engaging in the hysteria and fear and accepting that you don’t need to know every detail.

There are hundreds of people in Connecticut (children, teachers, parents, first responders) who will never be able to forget the details of that day. Why would you ever want to know how those children were shot, or see the devastation firsthand?

Quick to Give

In spite all of the bad, seeing the good things happen is especially important for a nation. It may be hard for some to understand but when there’s a tragedy such as this we no longer fight like staunch political fiends. We find common ground. A parent in Texas cares for those parents in Connecticut because they have children in schools. Teachers reach out knowing they would do the same to protect their own classes. And everyone mourns the loss of life, especially one so innocent as a child.

People are rallying, giving #26acts of kindness and sharing in the hopes of inspiring others.

And I hope that for the sake of change and positive growth we continue those trends. The ones of caring and giving and looking out for our neighbors.

Saying Bye to Beamer

It really wasn’t until late today that the significance of events really sunk in. There was so much happening that once the rain stopped and things were put away it hit me.

My grandparent’s house has been sold.

The new owners are moving in.

And just like the loss of a life, this represents the loss of a property that has been in my life since my birth. It’s where I grew up a little bit each summer from the time I could crawl.

Kelly Azevedo 1985_3

And continued through the years and especially the summers I spent learning to swim at the high school pool. Grandma’s house was the hub, especially after my uncle divorced and in the years before my youngest aunt bought the place next door.

Grandma was always there with hugs, treats and advice.

Jessica, Thelma and Kelly 1985

Grandpa was there to teach us how to dress like a cowboy and to stay out of his chair. And say ‘fiddledoofie’.

Blackie Truitt, Alex and Kelly Azevedo 1989

Blackie and Justin Truitt 1987

We climbed the trees out front until they were cut down and replaced by the city.

Kelly Azevedo, Jessica and Katie Payne 1995It was hot in the summer, easily over 100 degrees many weeks. So there was always a pool whose size varied based on the number of grandchildren in residence.

Katie Payne 1995 Kelly and Alex Azevedo, Casie Truitt  And when we were done swimming there was lunch on the picnic table grandpa built.

Jessica Payne and Kelly Azevedo 1990

The house has been in the family since the 70s, it hosted family dinners, Christmas, Thanksgiving, sleepovers and more than one kid with chicken pox. Or a broken arm.

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We cooked here, only occasionally dumping over a canister of flour.Kelly and Joyce Azevedo

Celebrated birthdays.

Casie Truitt 16 yo 1996_2

More than one grandchild was rocked to sleep by Grandma.

Thelma Truitt and Zech Thompson 1994

Outside we played in plastic pools and later in a hot tub, in the motor home and sometimes on its roof. Under grandpa’s fishing boat and behind the shed.

Justin Truitt and Jordan Payne 1995

This backyard was a kid’s dream with the orange tree, plenty of room to run and always something to explore.

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This is the cover built for that motor home, which has long since been sold, which housed hours of play:

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This is where cousins became friends

Jessica Payne and Kelly Azevedo 2

Kelly Azevedo 2 yo and Justin Truitt 1 yo 2

And pets were welcome as part of the family

Kelly Azevedo with Ben, Tootie and Roxie 1989

and there have almost always been dachshunds here.

Thelma Truitt and Tootie

and not just outside but watching the street as well

Ben and Tootie 1992

We loved our own families

Dave, Toni and Zech Thompson 1997

and the extended one

Truitt Grandchildren 1999

It’s these memories that I’ve feel like have been lost, just a little, because the next generation won’t be crawling through those floors or playing football after Thanksgiving in the backyard.

I know that I am one of a few grandchildren who lived there, and the only one who did so as an adult. I did it so my grandparents could stay there longer, enjoy their home. Losing a home that’s been in the family for all my life is harder than I imagined it would be.

But even now as I reflect, sitting at the desk that my grandma used for years, I know things are okay. Moving forward. There are little reminders of the house here. A mirror. A teacup and saucer set. I don’t miss living there, for many reasons it would never have been a home that I could enjoy like mine now.

Even drinking the glass of merlot I’m enjoying tonight would not have been as relaxing (I gave up alcohol when I lived there out of deference to my Grandpa who is 46 years sober).

Today, after clearing out the final items in the shed and waving goodbye as the new owners unloaded their boxes, I continued to work on the bench seat. It sat on the front porch at the house for many years. Grandpa would sit here and drink his coffee and watch the cars pass. Grandma would relax with him after gardening or walking with her friend Betty.

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I brought it to my house in 2008 and now, in the midst of revamping it, I know that it’ll be something I cherish, just like the memories we had on Beamer Street.

Plans for Spring

I was recently thinking about the next big project on my list (after finishing in the guest room) and decided that I really should just bite the bullet and tackle the living room and dining area ceilings.

I’ve avoided this so far because:

  • 12′ vaulted ceilings are serious business
  • I really, really hate the scaffold
  • there’s a lot of stuff to move
  • it’s going to be messy
  • I need to save up some cash

But, it really is the last big DIY thing we can do aside from the master bathroom. So here’s my brain dump of all the things I’d need to do and what I can do alone and where good old Dad comes in.


Phase 1 Prep:

  • empty the garage as much as possible. donate recycling, finish the bench project, donate or sell stuff quickly.
  • move big furniture into the garage: couch, china hutch, table, chairs
  • box up smaller things and move them to the garage: china, decorations, artwork, stuff in the TV bench
  • move medium furniture to the hallway or bedrooms: DVD bookshelves, chairs, kitchen bookshelf, lamps, mirror, tv
  • move everything in the kitchen into a cabinet or fridge. nothing on the counters.

Then we also have to prepare the space which might take a few days but the room is empty and my TV is in a closet somewhere so I have nothing but time!

Phase 2 Cleaning & Covering:

  • steam clean the carpet while all the furniture is out of the room
  • touch up the baseboards and wall paint if it’s needed
  • cover all of the floors, walls and surfaces with brown contact paper OR plastic sheeting (over doors and doorways) – this seems easy until you consider the front door, hallway, opening to kitchen, door to garage… lots of tape and paper!

This is probably the point where my lovely, wonderful dogs go off to stay at Grandma’s house for a week so I don’t have to keep them out of half the house or deal with them barking at me while I work on the scaffold.

Phase 3 Actual work:

  • bring in the scaffold and scrape the texture off the ceiling smoothly
  • sand the ceiling and patch rough spots, sand again
  • clean so all the dust that came down is off the ceiling we want to paint

At this point I’d probably be happy to quit and move my furniture back in but will need more work done to get it finished once and for all. So we call in the experts…

Phase 4 Dad arrives:

  • do final patches & sanding
  • oversee contractor inspect and clean the fireplace
  • using the paint sprayer I own paint the entire ceiling
  • install new light over living room
  • possibly replace dining area fan with a new light

Phase 5 Clean up:

  • tear down all of the paper and plastic and trash it
  • touch up the edges of the ceiling if needed
  • clean the wayward dust which made its way down the hallway or into the kitchen
  • possibly clean the carpet again if needed
  • bring in the furniture, rehang the mirror and pictures and enjoy the finished product

Yeah, just thinking about all this work is giving me a headache but I can also visualize how beautiful the room is going to be! Before getting started I’ll need to budget for the fireplace inspection, 2-4 gallons of ceiling paint, the paper and tape to cover the room, new lights and build up some goodwill by dog sitting for my parents so they’ll return the favor.

The fireplace isn’t an essential thing at this time but it’s been 5 years since it was used and the room will already be protected from dust and soot so why not?

I think if we plan it well and most of the prep is done then Dad and I can do phase 4 & 5 in 3 days if we stay focused. Ideally this will happen in early spring before he gets too busy with car tours for the season and that gives me time to finish the guest room, save up for the items to buy and start making room in the garage.

Of course none of that is happening until January because I want to enjoy my living room decorated for Christmas!


The photo is a little crooked and the dogs have smooshed the pillow into new shapes but still, I want to enjoy it for the rest of the month!

Mixing it up on Pinterest

It should be no shock to you that I’m a fan of Pinterest and with nearly 5,000 pins I decided to organize things a bit. I started with my recipes which are varied and prone to duplicates because there were nearly 200 pins and the same recipes keep popping over month after month.

I do move recipes that I’ve tried to a separate board but I needed an easier way to search for a recipe depending if I needed soup, salads, drinks or entrees.

This took me entirely too long to organize because I kept thinking how some side dishes were full courses. Sometimes you just have soup, or a salad, you know? But putting all that aside here were the new boards I can up with (click on any picture to view the board on pinterest):

Breakfast – because scones and eggs and potato recipes need to be grouped.

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 7.09.55 PM

Drinks well with others – everything from smoothies, coffee, alcoholic drinks and tea

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 7.17.03 PM

Appetizers – lots of these are hearty enough for full meals

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 7.07.48 PM

Salad – always looking for a good salad recipe!

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 7.09.32 PM

Soups – perfect for this time of year and many of these are crockpot easy

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 7.16.41 PM

Sides – rice, beans, potatoes and vegetable recipes

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 7.07.07 PM

Entrees– these are some of my favorites, everything from wraps and tacos to pizzas and casseroles

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 7.06.24 PM

Desserts – another board with a ton of recipes like cakes, pie, cookies and popsicles

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 7.08.54 PM

Other Recipes – these are the side sauces, mixes and miscellaneous recipes that don’t fit elsewhere

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 7.09.02 PM

Recently I’ve made a few new recipes from Pinterest and those all go to this board:

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 9.29.49 PM

If you pay attention to the categories on this post you’ll see that I’ve added Pinterest as a link and will be tagging older posts too.

Office Details

Last month I got a bunch of work done in the office. Namely finishing the ceiling work and painting it, rearranging the furniture and bringing in a loveseat and painting and reorganizing the closet.

Now for some of the fun little details!

First up, I got these cable clips which hold various cables from the computer set up (monitor link, power cord, speakers) so when I unplug the laptop those cords don’t go sliding off the desk and they stick to the surface I put them on. Trust me, I’m in love with these suckers.


Now that my desk is rotated I can see out the window at a new angle and I realized that there was a gap on the sill which was both ugly and could be letting in cold air by not being properly sealed.


So I put in a bead of paintable caulk to clean it up and then, once I saw these pictures I also grabbed the windex and cleaned the glass:


The air return in this room was taken down back when I painted the ceiling and then it got sanded, cleaned and spray painted white. Now it’s back up in the room:


You can also see in this picture that there’s a spot of drywall on the ceiling that has some water damage. An investigation into the attic found that the roof leaked from a spot where the gas line came in to the house but it’s now dry (and that was during a 5 day wind and rain storm). So we’ll patch the roof and replace the drywall in the spring when it’s NOT raining.

Also, I finally found the final door strike which had been removed and was hiding in the garage. I spray painted it ORB like the rest of the door knobs and hinges and installed it.

Up next to the desk I posted two of my boards for notes and goals:


Right under the boards I have my paper shredder and under this corner of the desk is my perfectly sized box for papers that need to be shredded or recycled. If I’m working or on a call it’s the perfect place to stash papers until I can get to shredding them.



The last little detail I have to share is this second footrest in the room. The first was this ottoman I shared here and it’s tucked under the desk but I also have a smaller one in front of the love seat where I sit often enough with my laptop to work late at night.

DSC_0346Do you know how hard it is to photograph anything with 3 dogs wanting to sit in your lap? I’ll tell ya, it’s hard. This loveseat is both awesome (comfy and the perfect size for the office) and annoys the shit out of me (ugly, no back pillows, cushions that move on their own volition. I would like to cover the whole thing with  a fresh slipcover that doesn’t slide around along with plenty of comfy pillows. Mom already took home more green fabric (from the other footrest) and one of the pillow forms I want covered but I still have more to do!

Office Closet Part 2

And here is the rest of the closet redo! Part 1 was clearing out the closet, painting the shelves and the top third of the wall and ceiling. Once that was done I brought back in some supplies: printer paper, techy stuff, binders, CDs and pictures. Here’s what it looks like today:


Dad came up for the first weekend of December and we finally got the rest of the baseboards installed around the closet. We did keep them off the doorway of the closet itself where the doors would hit when they’re reinstalled.


Once those were in it was time to bring back in the stuff that came out of the closet. Not everything though, I’ve been working on downsizing my crap so I recycled, trashed and donated a lot of stuff. Here’s what did come back in:

  • old Dell desktop CPU
  • 2 file boxes with current files
  • 2 occasional tables from Wal-Mart that I bought in college
  • file box with old work files (still need to go through)
  • file box with school memorabilia K-College


Ignore the cheesy pictures please, I wanted them up off the floor so they wouldn’t get broken but haven’t selected the prints yet. The trash can also fits nicely back here. The shredder is right outside the closet so I can toss or recycle easily.

On the left side there’s enough room so I’d like to install shelves, I’ve measured and 4 shelves 12″ apart will have enough clearance for the file boxes to be stored without stacking. For now the boxes are just stacked up until I can work on the shelves.


The paper bag just has receipts I need to sort but I’ll be stacking more banker’s boxes as I get organized. The shelf here just has stacks of mail and paper I’m scanning and answering. Most of it’s junk.

I’m not sure what else I want to bring into the office closet, if I don’t use the foot chest or wicker basket from the living room then I might move the bookshelf which is currently here at the end of the desk:

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It’s short and shallow enough to fit on the back wall and I’d just need to run the power cords for the scanner and printer to the outlet on the far side of the desk. Still considering that as an option (it would leave a little bit more floor space in the room).

For now I’m using the bookshelf in the photo above that folds up flat when not in use, I pulled it from the hall closet when I cleaned that out. Eventually this is going to be in the master bathroom once I get rid of the cabinet and need some extra storage. For now binders and baskets are easily accessible behind my desk.

As for the boxes I took out I still need to sort and organize two giant containers with photos and make sure they’ve been scanned. Then the family can figure out who gets the old photo albums, frames and papers from my grandparents.

I also have file boxes with warranties and owner info for all the electronics and furniture I’ve purchased, a box full of magazine cut outs and more files (currently stacked up in the garage). So much to do!

But for now I’m off to update my Projects page since the best part of projects is getting them done!