Kitchen Cabinet Project pics

So this won’t be a “talky” kind of post, but rather a “picturey” kind of post.  Pictures of cabinets.  oooohhhh  ahhhhh  thrilling!

It was my first do-it-yourselfy thing and it turned out all right.  Nothing went wrong.  Everyone involved is still on friendly terms. There were no trips to the ER–which is my definition of a successful home improvement project.

I don’t think the pics really do justice to the level of change.  These cabinets are circa 1960s and they had 50 years of crud on them.  Now they are all clean and de-crudded.  Plus, in the process, all the cabinets got cleaned out and reorganized and lined with fresh contact paper.  I love an organized kitchen.  I really do.  So here’s some pics:

This is the “before” cabinets.  Notice all the crud around the door pulls.


"Before" cabinets

This is just the “before” cabinets in a longer view as we were getting ready to begin.

"Before" long view


We took all the doors off, repainted the hinges, and used the most “earth friendly” stripper we could find called “Citra-Solve” to take the gunk off.


Then they had to be sanded.  This is me with the mouse sander finishing up the detail work.

Kath with Mouse sander


Here’s a freshly stained and polyurethaned cabinet up close.  Big difference (especially in person).

"After" cabinet up close

Here’s a long shot of the kitchen “after.”  Tah dah!


"After" long view


Finding a Hot Track in the NYTimes

Spent the weekend finishing up the kitchen cabinets.  (They turned out beautiful, too.  Pictures tomorrow, promise!) And on Sunday rewarded myself with a luscious “Day of Sloth” with the Sunday NY Times.

I haven’t been getting the Times lately because I was finding it hard to finish one before the next Sunday rolled around and then there were 2 papers half read.  And for $6 a pop, well…

But then last week at the grocery store I picked up the latest issue of O (Oprah’s mag) because the cover caught me.  It said:  “What’s Your True Calling?” and that is a subject near and dear to my heart.  I have spent my whole life, it seems, asking myself that exact question.

Inside there was an article by Martha Beck called The Right Track in which she described a technique for tracking down your life’s work.  She said try to look for “hot tracks” in your life just like you’d do if you were tracking a wild animal.  A “hot track” is a time when you were “utterly, happily absorbed in an activity, no matter how odd.”

So I started to think about it (and man! it took me awhile and I’m still ruminating on it) but the first thing that came to mind was sitting like a pig in mud, up to my neck in all the sections of the Sunday NY Times, with all of the time in the world to read it, and do the crossword puzzle, too!

Now my job is to follow this “hot track” to my calling.

But I already know my calling, so all this is just a game, and a fun exercise. But there was a time, and not too long ago either, that this whole “Finding Your Calling” shtick was the major hemorrhoid of my life.

Now the philosophy I subscribe to is to stop asking yourself what you want to be when you grow up, or “What’s the meaning of life?” and instead just go out and live it!  Find your all your hot tracks and follow them till they turn cold.

With one small proviso: Do it consciously, with awareness and see if you can help somebody else along the way.   I believe if you live your life this way, you’ll be doing what you were put on this earth to do.

Cats and Dogs

Cover of "Cats & Dogs (Widescreen Version...

Cover of Cats & Dogs (Widescreen Version)

This is going to be a post about dogs.

1. Dogs are not cats.

2. What a dog needs and what a cat needs are as different as the dogs and cats themselves.

Some people are strictly dog people and some people are strictly cat people and some people are both.

Even if you do not own either a dog or cat, you still know which kind of person you are, don’t you?

Yeah.  Everybody does.

Dogs are a lot more needy than cats.  If you have a happy dog it’s because there is regularity and predictability in your life. Your dog gets fed and walked and played with at regular and count-on-able intervals.  If you miss feeding or walking or playing with your dog at the time your dog expects it, the dog is unhappy and you probably feel guilty, because you’re a dog person and that’s the way you roll.

If you have a dog and your life is all random and unpredictable and you are a self-centered asshole, chances are you will have a neurotic and/or unhappy dog.  Dogs need care, attention, petting, and love.  They are pack animals and you are their pack. If you don’t want to be involved in anyone’s “pack,” or are a self-centered asshole, please don’t get a dog. Get a cat instead.

Cats are not pack animals.  You will have meaning in your cat’s life, but you will never really know what that meaning is.  You might suspect, or guess, or fantasize about the meaning you have in your cat’s life, but you will never really know for sure.  Only the cat can know this.  And he/she will not tell you.

The cat won’t rely on you for very much.  Put down food and water at regular intervals, change the litter, and the cat is pretty happy.  If it gets attention and love at regular intervals, that’s a bonus for the cat.  The cat always assumes that it is your need to pet it, and not its need to be petted that is provoking the petting. It likes to humor you.

Even if your life is random and neurotic and you’re an asshole, the cat is pretty much cool with that.  Most cats dig a certain amount of random and neurotic. They get it.

Dogs do not get it. They hate it. They’ll pee on the rug to punish you for  all your mental illnesses, –even ones you don’t actually have.

If you have a dog and a cat, and you are random and neurotic, you are obligated to get prescription meds and take them for the sake of your dog.  Your cat will probably grow to expect and appreciate any regularity and predictability you show to your dog.  In this, the cat might eventually become somewhat dog-like.

So, to summarize thusfar:

Dog people should be relatively well-adjusted, responsible, not assholes, regular in their habits, happy to be part of a pack and like to take walks and throw frisbees.

Cat people can be random and neurotic if they want, keep irregular hours, get all wrapped up in their projects and jobs and lose track of time and it’s no biggy for the cat.  They’re cool with it as long as you can get your shit together enough to feed them and clean up their shit from time to time.

3. College students should not have dogs.

Most college students, even it they’re not neurotic assholes, do not live lives of regularity, predictability or sanity.  Their lives are chaotic and quixotic and spontaneous and sometimes drunken.  They are trying to get an education and get laid, and figure out the meaning of life, and remember if it’s “beer before liquor never sicker?” or the other way around.

Today I am hoarse in the throat and my voice is 2 octaves lower because Boomer got attacked for the 2nd time by the dogs of college students who live 3 doors down.  As they descended on her, I started bellowing in my biggest, deepest, loudest, “alpha male” get-the-fuck-away-from us voice: NO! NO! NO! And when the college student owner of the dogs came running over to get them, I then laid into him with both barrels and I swear I was *this close* to calling Animal Control and having those dogs impounded, or whatever the hell Animal Control does with them.

The guy begged me not to call Animal Control.  I told him he needed to take responsibility for his animals.

But I doubt he “heard” me. He needs to find those dogs good homes and get himself a cat.

Cleanse: Day 7

I actually heard myself say today, “I don’t really strive to live my life; all I really want to do is create contentinteresting content.”

Today I cooked. All day.  Homemade chicken soup and a tofu stirfry. Living “clean” is labor intensive.

I also sorted recyclables, walked the dog, did some laundry, washed dishes, and taught my class.

(So far, zip on the “interesting content” meter.)

I am on Day 7 of my cleanse.  It’s getting easier.  I’m taking supplements this time, lots of supplements, and I’m drinking this shake in the afternoon called “Nourish.”  I’m still hungry a lot, but it’s okay. The shake is good.  I put blueberries in it. It makes my whole mouth blue. Blue like when you’d eat a blue popsicle. (or a Smurf.)

(The interesting content needle has still not budged.)

A few months ago I bought a fancy scale that gives me not only my body weight, but also my body fat percentage and my hydration percentage.

It also tells me what percentage of of my body is muscle, and how much my bones weigh. (I don’t know about you, but I find this scintillating.)

As some of you may know,  I am not a water drinker by nature, preferring extra bold coffees from Africa in the morning, nothing in the afternoon, and a perfectly chilled glass of California red in the evening. But during this cleanse I have been sipping hot water by the gallon in order to “flush toxins” and today I am proud to announce that my water number climbed to 58% from a previous low of 51%.

(now, we’re talking!)

Oh, and there’s also been dry brushing! (Can’t forget the dry brushing.) Did you know that your skin eliminates a couple of pounds of material, including perspiration, daily? Brushing your skin with a dry brush before you shower removes large quantities of that waste material that would have to be carried by your blood for removal through the bowel or kidneys. So, I’ve been dry brushing up a storm!

(now it’s starting to getting good.)

And because I have Vata tendencies, I have also been slathering myself in sesame oil after the dry brushing in order to warm and soothe and ground myself as the weather turns windier and colder and my nervous system to starts to throw sparks.

(ooh, sparks!)

Showering follows, wherein all the oil (0r most of it) gets rinsed off, leaving me feeling clean and soft.

(the end.)

Tomorrow I go to Ithaca to write, and not a moment too soon methinks.  I really need a little more content added to my life of kale, bok choy, tofu, dry brushing, oil and crazy herbs.



Today I fell in love with a mouse sander.   I hate mice, but this cool little sander fit both my hand and my love of detail work.

I have never been a D.I.Y person (though I love watching those D.I.Y shows on HGTV.)  It’s just that it looks hard, and like something I don’t have the skillzz for.

But here it is, Fall Break, and we are stripping, sanding and resurfacing the kitchen cabinets.  And it’s turning out to be really fun!  I like it.  (And it beats the hell out of writing, that’s for sure.)

Wood is so satisfying to work with.  It smells nice and it feels nice. It has grain and weight and character.  It’s both soft and hard.  The sanding reveals the grain that’s been hidden under the old finish and the grime. The sanding brings the  wood back to life.

And after a day sanding, there is now a neat stack of cabinet doors awaiting stain, (which will come tomorrow.)

I wish writing was as satisfying as sanding.   Both activities have things in common, of course: working with the grain of a sentence, shaving off the rough edges, refining words and phrases so that what you want to say is revealed, etc.

But at the end of a day of writing there are just pages, whereas at the end of a day of sanding there are beautiful, soft, grainy, aromatic cabinets.




Friday Gratitude



Image via Wikipedia


Let’s start this gratitude party with a big shout-out to my Happy Hour Yoga class tonight, shall we?  Those dedicated, disciplined souls who 1) Came out in drippy, icky weather, and 2) Did one hellava awesomely rajasic practice and were sweating bullets by the end, holy-moly.  Usually it’s a mellowish, end-of-the-workweek practice on Friday, and that’s what I had planned, but then I picked up a vibe–something in the air that whispered, “These people , despite their sleepy facades, need a big pranic jolt tonight.”

100 Planks and side planks and chaturangas later they were lying there like little pools of melted buttah.  If I had a chunk of lobster on a fork I could have walked around among them and had a very satisfying dinner before the closing Namaste.

The next big gratitude goes out to Yogi Bear who visited the deck last night at midnight to try to scarf up the bird seed in the Eliminator.  We chased him and he ran (thank god) and just broke a small planter.  Everything else was spared.

I went back to bed feeling sorry for things that are hungry in the night, because I was too.  Poor bear.  (But dude.  Don’t come back, okay?  Time to go nighty-night for the winter.  See ya in the spring.)

And then there’s some gratitude for the fun drunk party girls in for Homecoming, and the beautiful run through the Ives Run woods on Sunday followed by a yummy smoked turkey sub and ice cream at Pag-O-Mar that was the last “bad food” before this present cleanse.

Which I am also grateful for, but just not tonight as I sit here with my little bowl of warm organic applesauce.

And no wine.

Clean: Day 2

I forgot how hard this cleanse is.

Right now I’m sitting here, wanting something to CHEW!  But it will pass. I’ll go to bed, and in the morning wake up feeling light, and start all over again. Happy that I made it through Day 2.

But tomorrow is Friday, and I like my glass of Pinot on Friday.  This is when Clean gets sad. Happy Hour Yoga followed by no Happy Hour.


The first two weeks are the hardest on this thing.  It has to get sad before it gets glad.  It’s sorta the rule.  All my edges are sharp now; sharp and pointy and jagged.  I’m a little on the grouchy side.  I’ll be nice again.  In 2 weeks.  That’s how long it takes for me to detox.

And the thing is, I shouldn’t really be complaining because I have my one oh-so-wicked cup of coffee in the morning, and the last time I did this I didn’t even have that.  (That’s how pure as the fallen snow I was the first time.)  This time I am being totally bad.  (Though only with the coffee.)  In everything else I am  pure and good.

When it comes to Clean, that is.