The long awaited bathroom remodel is finished!! (No, not ours.)

There are some questions a mother just shouldn’t

“What do you mean you brought that bath tub home all by yourself?”


 “Is it true that you and dad were cutting tile with a wet saw at 1 am?”

You especially don’t ask if you’re fingering your prayer beads in a house in North Carolina  and your ‘kid’ is working on his house all the way in St. Louis, Missouri.

At some point you gotta let go..

This bathtub remodel has been in the works for a long time. My son and his wife bought a lovely town home when they moved to St. Louis two years ago and, like is so often the case, it seems the previous residents ran out of cash right at the threshold of the master bathroom. The rest of their unit is beautifully appointed with dark hardwood floors, a gorgeous, white kitchen with stainless steel appliances and a large farmhouse sink that overlooks their private patio area.

(Did I mention there’s a fireplace..IN the kitchen?)

So yeah, it’s a beauty..which made it especially hard to understand the condition of the bathroom upstairs.. My son and his wife knew they’d need to eventually address this problem, especially their decrepit bathtub, which was starting to show signs of not only increasing general ugliness but serious wear and tear.

The pictures below tell the story. Notice how low the tiles on the wall were set.

Yeah, it was gross and rusty and very old.


My son did demolition on his own and also purchased and staged all of the needed tile and tools in anticipation of my husband flying out there for a long, post July 4th, week-end to help with the actual construction.


Choosing the right color tile was no small issue as they were trying to match the existing, but discontinued, tile on the floor. The final choice was a 4 X 16, very decently priced, almost taupe colored product from their local tile shop.  It was complimented with a light gray grout. My son also picked out a contrasting mosaic to blend in with the black counter top the previous owner installed that is located directly across from the shower. The chrome shower system is Hansgrohe, and I’m not sure.. but I think the half shower door is from Home Depot.  These doors are very popular right now.



Instead of installing bullnose tile pieces, my husband and son used a thin, tile edging  called a shluter. These are available at Home Depot and are a much cheaper and more modern alternative to bullnose tile.



You can see in the picture below that they also took the tile all the way up to the ceiling. They weren’t initially going to do that because the ceiling isn’t perfect against the wall, but it was clearly the right choice and made the shower feel even that much more spacious.


When I picked my exhausted husband up at the Charlotte airport after returning from Missouri he had bloodshot eyes, a beard starting to sprout and basically looked like the Gorton’s fisherman coming home from a sail straight through the Bermuda Triangle. I guess that’s what happens when you squeeze 6 days of work into 4, pull a final all nighter and slightly underestimate the number of unanticipated problems.

“What do you mean the tub won’t fit?!”

He had already texted me from the luggage pick up zone while he waited for his suitcase full of tools to arrive: “I will pay whatever I have to for someone else to do our bathroom tile.”


Yeah..we’ll see.

 If laying tile is like giving birth, he will eventually forget the pain. But these guys really  did do a great job, and I am very proud of them both. I’m proud of my son for having the temerity to take on a project so far out of his comfort zone with precious little free time available to plan and actually do it, and I’m proud of my husband for being willing to help with another bathroom project while he’s still knee-deep in our own. Honorable mention must also be bestowed upon my son’s wife who had to try and sleep through all the daytime construction noise as she was working the night shift. 😧

The final product did turn out well and I’m confident that the money my son and his wife spent on this remodel will allow them to sell their home at a higher price once it’s time to move on. You know what they say, the two most important rooms are the kitchen and the master bathroom.  They have those checked off now. 👍

(And yes, my husband and I are still waiting to have our  bathroom floor and shower tile installed…😐)


…… Stay tuned.




Fresh Summer Corn Cakes – What a treat!


Ripped this recipe out of my August OPRAH magazine while at the beach last week-end. I LOVE summer corn, and the ingredients had me intrigued. These corn cakes are just as delicious as I thought they’d be. Serve with a dollop of salsa or sour cream on top.. add additional finely chopped veggies or spices as you prefer..just make sure they stay moist enough to shape into cakes and fry -Delicious, impressive looking and easy to make ahead and keep warm for a buffet.


  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour (I used a bit less)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp paprika (I used some Chipotle powder)
  • pepper to taste
  • 3 cups corn kernels. (I put 5 ears in a pot of water and boiled them for about 6 mins. let them cool, removed kernels.)
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese shredded
  • 3 chopped scallions. (I used chopped  green onion)
  • 2 large, beaten eggs
  • About 3 TBSP olive oil- for frying
  • I added finely chopped red pepper, garlic and jalapeño powder.


Mix all the ingredients together well with a spatula, adding the egg mixture last and making sure everything is well combined. Texture should be sticky enough to mold into small patties.

Before I placed the cakes on a plate to refrigerate, I dredged each one in a bit of flour, tapping off all the excess. I felt like this created a better seal that would help them keep their shape. I think it also prevented the cheese from melting out when I fried them.

Refrigerate the cakes until about an hour before you cook them so they can come back to room temperature. Fry them gently on Med-low in oil, turning them once when browned.

These cakes are super flavorful if you add enough spice and a bit on the drier side so some kind of topping like salsa is perfect for them!


Recipe by Nikki Dinki, author of an intriguing new cookbook entitled: “Meat on the Side”

CAUTION- Sharp Claws!

One of the great things about going to the beach is reading. I stuff a stack of magazines into a big bag, drag them to my towel draped ‘chaise’ and immerse myself in a sea of creative recipes, the latest fashion trends and of course, self-help tips.

The number of magazines we receive at our house is slowly starting to dwindle to a manageable number after a period of complete inundation-thanks to my husband’s frequent flier miles. Magazines are actually no fun if you get too many of them, and at some point, they all seem to cover the same stuff.

Example A – I took this picture at the nail salon:


No wonder so many women have issues with their physical appearance..look at all these issues featuring perfect bodies! 😟

Two magazines I actually do enjoy reading are OPRAH and REAL SIMPLE. This past edition of Oprah had a terrific article about how well-meaning people can keep each other down.

The author started out with a fascinating illustration. I guess if there are a bunch of crabs in a bucket and one crab tries to climb out, the other crabs instinctively grab onto it and  pull it back down. (How sad!!-I did not know that, did you?)


Anyway, this example was used to illustrate how our family, friends and co-wrokers can sabotage our plans and goals because they are threatened by a change in the status-quo.

Ever been the one girl in the office on a diet?

Ever been the one guy who is looking for a better job opportunity?

Ever been the one family member thinking about relocating to a different state?

Watch out for the “crabs” who may try to keep you ‘in your place’..not because they don’t like or love you, but because they simply want things to stay the same

not just in your life,

but more importantly in theirs.






Me first?



“Me first” is usually associated with selfishness, but I ran into this one very obvious exception the last time I flew.

As the flight attendant was showing the few passengers who were watching (yes, I was taking notes..) how the yellow cup with the oxygen bag attached would fall in front of your face should the cabin lose pressure, the pre-recorded announcer said the following words: “adults should put their masks oxygen-maskon first and then assist their children.”

“How counter-intuitive is that?”  I thought.  I cannot imagine a parent out there who wouldn’t have to fight their basic instinct, which would be to help their child first. But there it was, loud and clear: Put your own mask on first.

What hit me right between the eyes when I heard that directive is how pivotal it is to living a happy, balanced and productive life. Whether you are dealing with a house full of little kids, a stressful job, caring for an aging9918008_f520 relative, trying to help others financially or just having a busy week, if you don’t take care of your own basic needs first.. irritability, fatigue and resentment will surely start to build.

We are no good to anyone if there’s nothing in the tank. Taking time to exercise, watch a movie, meditate and pray, get a manicure, take a bubble bath, SLEEP or go to the mall may feel selfish when there’s chaos swirling around you, but it’s critical if we want to reach out from a place of strength and wellness to build loving, positive, healthy relationships and minister to those in need. We can serve others better.. the better we take care of ourselves.

                 So when life starts getting a little crazy, always remember…put your own “mask” on first.


Posted on April 10, 2015



Points to Paradise

I am not ashamed to admit that I have used my credit card to purchase a pair of $1.99 tweezers at Walgreens.   Hey, each dollar spent is a point or two that counts towards a “free” hotel stay and by golly, I’m collecting

every single one.

  I don’t know “what’s in your wallet” but I swear I can hear the ocean when I pull my VISA  out of mine.


I guess you could say that shopping is a bit like playing Pokemon Go..


except these points actually lead to a real prize… (after you collect about 60 billion.)

Below are pictures I took this week-end when we finally cashed in our 2 night hotel “reward.”


Sunrise stroll on the beach,  worth at least 7,500 points
Direct Ocean view room on 10th floor, minimum 14,987  points for sure
Poolside menu on a paddle- clearly a 2,000 point bonus

 Three amazing pools,

2 hot jacuzzis

and I’m sure if I had looked, I’d have found a partridge in a palm tree.

(value? hands down-40,000 points.)


So after this glorious week-end of free lodging

the VISA-rewards-counter is sadly back at zero.

But that’s OK,

my husband needs some shaving cream.

And you know what they say..

A journey of a hundred thousand zillion points 

begins with one tiny purchase.







How far will we go to protect ourselves?

This was going to be a purely funny post about a trend that started a few years ago in China. Fair skin is prized over there so people are going to extraordinary lengths to protect their faces from the sun. Enter.. The Facekini.

I was surprised to learn that several European fashion houses actually incorporated this “trend” into their 2016 summer line up. Their gamble was that women in Western cultures would want to protect their skin from the sun’s damaging rays as well.


My question is probably an obvious one; if your motivation is to protect your skin from the sun, why would so much of it still be showing? I’m just not sure the woman picking out a revealing bathing suit like the one above is the same woman who will cover her face with a lizard mask.



But then again..what do I know?

Obviously covering every square inch of skin is more clear cut with children..


Judging from these pictures, drowning is also an additional, parental concern.

Like I said, this was really meant to be nothing more than a silly post about goofy stuff..but as I looked at these pictures through the lens of the horrific attack in France yesterday I realized that there’s a message here:

  We have to take care not to be swept up in neurotic, reflexive, restrictive and overwrought responses to that which threatens or worries us. Surely we can find a way to protect our loved ones, preserve our freedoms (esp our freedom of movement) and not become unrecognizable versions of our former selves in the process.

This is truly the challenge of our time.




Works for me!

So after spending a horrendous 4 hours at the DMV yesterday, I came home to a broken air conditioner. I thought it felt a bit clammy earlier in the morning, but these days I just write everything off as a hot flash.

The guy who services these AC units had car (van) trouble yesterday so we are still waiting for him to get here..hopefully this morning. Yes, it’s been rather toasty in the house- not end of the world-run to a hotel-kinda hot..but just enough to make me cranky..which I could- but refuse to be.


This is where I’m sitting right now, with a fan blowing at me over the top of a pan of melting ice.  Not sure if the ice has any “Lake effect” on the air but just seeing those frosty, floating cubes and the condensation dripping down the cold metal sides helps.

I know that gratitude is the key to happiness, so under the  afore mentioned circumstances, I thought it would be therapeutic to share a few things that are making my life “better” these days.

I’m doing this instead of writing a long rant about the DMV…Forget the temperature in my house- that alone would bring on a case of heat stroke. Anyway,  it’s far too soon for that..the trauma is way too fresh.

So here goes:

I don’t know if you use shampoo in these tubes, but we seem to have trouble ever getting the lids closed all the way.  Every once in a while this results  in an oozy mess leaking down the side of the bathtub. I bought this suction-soap dish at Bed Bath and Beyond to hold them upside down and voila! problem solved!


Another thing that is adding pleasure and relaxation to my life these days (esp if I have one of my husband’s fabulous cocktails in hand) is this super comfy swing..from WALMART! I ordered this one online- free delivery!!


Yet another thing I am grateful for, especially during bar-b-que season are ziploc bags. I know I’m reaching here..but just like having a working AC, we take these little wonder-bags for granted.  C’mon…you know you’d  miss them if you didn’t have ’em!


Lastly, I am grateful for my journal where I log answered prayers. Some of the stuff in there is little..some of it is major. I was able to add some important entries this week and this is probably the biggest reason why I don’t want to allow myself to get side-tracked or annoyed by stupid stuff like the non-functioning AC or the non-functioning DMV.

God is constantly moving in my life..guiding, protecting and loving me and my family.  I feel happy and peaceful and contented just pondering this truth..of course sitting 12 inches from the fan while I do it helps too.