Monthly update

Most of my communications has been via facebook.  We are doing well.  Enjoyed the holidays very much.   (A little exhausting for me but it was my choice and I really enjoyed it.)    Got help with important things.  Ben helped with the gingerbread houses.   Eric, Nolan & Claire with some adult support did a great job at decorating.  Sawyer broke up the gingerbread houses for eating  … a great team.  We had the family at our house Christmas Day.  We went to a friends for New Year’s Eve and had a lovely time.

I’ve been eating lunch with my friends, doing a few things for the visitors packets at church, sorting my files and papers (a lot of fun … not!)   Also, trying to avoid my annual paperwork for my business (not a wise choice.)  GVHD is a pain sometimes (maybe an itch is a better word.)

Ed had a big birthday … on Monday he turned 65 … while that isn’t old it does now qualify him for medicare and of course … ALL the senior discounts work.

Irene

Ed, Zena & Irene Dec 2010

Decorated cookies thanks to great niece & nephewsWinter sunset on Lake Travis

Gingerbread houses 2010

It is time for an update

This post is about me .. but what follows after are several posts with photos of the completed remodeling.  Check out the handi-work of JaMar construction (Hardie siding, gutters, Sun Tunnels) ,  Renewal by Anderson, windows and doors, Tileworks (Silestone counter tops), Mike’s Landscaping (rock flower beds), and of course The Two Joes (TREX deck, stain the front door, redo the bathrooms and all the new tiling)

The remodeling is taking a holiday break (also our contractors have other commitments and the one that is near Ed’s age just had surgery).   We celebrated a lovely Thanksgiving both at Dorothy and LeRoy’s with the local family …. and later at our house with friends.  A wonderful and looooong day.

Earlier Sue, Don & little Torstan came for a visit (they stayed with LeRoy and Dorothy but we got some visiting in.)  Torstan is two, smart and cute as a button but with nearly unlimited action and energy.  He loves balls.

We are just finishing our Chanukah celebration (finally finished the Chanukah cards today.)   Next is Ben’s birthday (he will be 27) and Christmas.   I have already decorated for Christma and thoroughly enjoyed it.  This is the first time in three years I had actual energy.  Last year it was muscle atrophy due to steroids and the year before .. acute leukemia.   So I am busy with cards, baking running errands, etc.

I have agreed to serve for the next two years on the Board of Evangelism and Parish Communication at church and also am back in Stephen Ministry.  I am running errands, meeting friends, and occasionally doing way too much  … my new energy level is about 2/3 of what it was before this last bout of cancer.  Not bad really.  If I have a busy day I just have to remember to schedule a quiet one to recover.

Healthwise the GVHD (Graft vs Host Disease) has been pretty active with my skin.  Lots of steroid creams and benedryl to try and control things.  I will go to the Houston doctor in 2 week (about two months after the last visit.)  Except for the GVHD (which means no sun at all) … things have been pretty good.  They will do another Dopler ultrasound of my leg that had the clot to see if it is all clear and whether I can stop the daily shots of Lovenox (blood thinner.)  Boy I hope so.

Monday we lost a friend to cancer … a beer brewing buddy and friend from church … also Clif was my “chemo” buddy as we often had infusions and blood tests at the same time. This was his 2nd type of cancer.  Not sure of his age … but he had been retired the whole time I knew him.  He was fun and full of life and I will miss him.

That’s the current news … Happy Chanukah and/or Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Pool Deck & Outside of House

The finished TREX pool deck

The finished TREX pool deck

Hardie Siding and new gutters

Hardie Siding and new gutters

More Hardie concrete board siding, much prettier than vinyl

More Hardie concrete board siding, much prettier than vinyl

Rain Chain (to direct rain into barrel - we remove lid when it is raining)

Rain Chain (to direct rain into barrel - we remove lid when it is raining)

You can see solar attic vent near peak

You can see solar attic vent near peak

Three of the Sun Tunnels are visiable (the old turban vents are blocked)

Three of the Sun Tunnels are visiable (the old turban vents are blocked)

New rock planters in front

The Patio Extension --actual room to store the grills and smoker

New rock planters in front

Guest Bath

Entering the guest bath ... much brighter.

Entering the guest bath ... much brighter.

The mirrow on the left is a recessed medicine cabinet

The mirror on the left is a recessed medicine cabinet

Silestone quartz counter top (background is really white, not gray)

Silestone quartz counter top (background is really white, not gray)

New tile & fixtures in tub area.  The gray tiles set as diamonds match the floor tile.

New tile & fixtures in tub area. The gray tiles set as diamonds match the floor tile.

Hall Bath

Entering Hall Bath, doors are now 30" wide (not 24")

Entering Hall Bath, doors are now 30" wide (not 24")

The three mirrors over the sink area

The three mirrors over the sink area

You can now see the two side mirrors are medicine cabinets

You can now see the two side mirrors are medicine cabinets

The light fixture over the sink area

The light fixture over the sink area

Sink detail (Ed chose the faucet)

Sink detail (Ed chose the faucet)

Silestone quartz counter top

Silestone quartz counter top

New Toto elongated ADA height low water usage toilet

New Toto elongated ADA height low water usage toilet

New tile & fixtures in the tub area

New tile & fixtures in the tub area

Master Bedroom and Bath

Here are more photos than you probably want to see …

Anderson Door, Master Bedroom with Vertical Blinds

Anderson Door, Master Bedroom with Vertical Blinds

Entering redone Master Bath

Entering redone Master Bath

Pattern in bath windows

Pattern in bath windows

Look Ma, no strings! Shades on east side of master bath

Look Ma, no strings! Shades on east side of master bath

Sink area

Sink area

Sink area

Sink area

Small Mirrors are recessed medicine cabinets.

Small Mirrors are recessed medicine cabinets.

Detail where counter meets wall tile

Detail where counter meets wall tile

Silestone quartz counter top in Master Bath

Silestone quartz counter top in Master Bath

Wall tile accent pattern.  Blue tiles are glass with foil backs.

Wall tile accent pattern. Blue tiles are glass with foil backs.

Our new shower, 2 heads .. no door needed, mostly

Our new shower, 2 heads .. no door needed, mostly

Shower entry.  Notice change in tile patterns mark step.

Shower entry. Notice change in tile patterns mark step.

View from inside shower ... love those glass blocks!

View from inside shower ... love those glass blocks!

From sink area viewing shower & toilet areas

From sink area viewing shower & toilet areas

Toilet area is an alcove opposite shower .. with a full height 30" wall providing some privacy ...yet it is still very open.

Toilet area is an alcove opposite shower .. with a full height 30" wall providing some privacy ...yet it is still very open.

Whoa … time for an update … fine just busy

I just realized I haven’t updated in quite a while, so the non facebook folks might be concerned.  Since the last post:

We thoroughly enjoyed Octoberfest (Peace Lutheran & friends home brewers party.)  I felt good, and while I couldn’t drink I could “taste” them all.  I loved the “Starbuck’s” brew, brewed and named by Bob  .. it was a vanilla coffee chocolate stout.  There was a great lemon honey grass ale by Joe, I think, and lots of others.  Ed managed to bring two brews also which where pretty good (if you like hoppy ales.)

Last weekend was my jewelry sale party … it was a bit more work than I remembered and as usual I wasn’t quite set up in time but it was wonderful.  I have the nicest friends/relatives/customers.  While I couldn’t visit as much as I would have liked … it was great seeing everyone.  We raised about $200 for charity (split between cancer research and alzheimer’s research)  and I sold about a third of my made inventory.   I still have a few custom orders and repair orders to deliver.    The website if you are interested is www.irenesjewelry.com.  Also, if you still want to get in on the fund-raising sale, please contact me to arrange to check out the jewelry at my house.

We had some friends visit this week including an overnight visit with Karl (the son of my longtime friends Lynn & Rob) and his brand new fiancee, Karen who is just great.

Joe&Joe with Mike (helper to Joe& Joe and landscaper in his own right) .. are still busy.  Both the guest & hall bathroom are fully completed, including the recessed medicine cabinets, new light fixtures & mirrors.  The doors are now 30″ wide in the hall bath instead of 24″ so the whole space seems more open … and damaged doors have been replaced on the two closets and the office.  We moved into the hall bathroom … and the contractors proceeded to take the master bathroom down to sheet rock and in some areas studs … leaving only the walls unaffected around the sinks and toilet … but the toilet itself is gone … it was a low water usage Toto, standard bowl, which they moved to the guest bath to replace the high water usage one there.  Of course they left the vanity with new counter top and the overjohn cabinet.  Then they did the re-plumbing, filled in the holes in the slab, and made a footing for the glass block wall and a new shower pan.  Sometime next week they hope to get the glass block wall done and begin tiling.   Way exiting!    I am so looking forward to get all the building materials out of the rec room and garage (like toilet, tile, medicine cabinets, light fixtures, etc.)  Things were pretty crowded already with Pat’s stuff along with our stuff … but the building materials are making me a little crazy.   A side note … Pat begins in a week (we hope … never say for sure until she is actually started) a temp job as a technical writer with a heart valve company … we have hopes …but unless it becomes permanent she will continue her job hunt.   At some point she and we look forward to her getting her own place.

Also, Mike & his crew rebuilt two front flower beds in white rock (on either side of the sidewalk to the front door.)  I will post photos once we get the rest of the dirt in and have them planted.

At church I am back to Stephen Ministry but will not have a care receiver for a little while, until my immune system is stronger or I decide I am ready.  I also volunteers to be on (but not direct) the Evangelism and Communication Board next year.   When I saw who the new director was I knew it would be fun to work with him … and he has a background in public relations so he will be fantastic.

Happily no news on the medical front.  Still need a bit more rest and lately have been dealing with lots of GVHD … it does respond to the steroid cream and occasional aquafer.   I just need to seriously avoid the sun.  (Hats, long sleeves, sun screen doesn’t completely cut it and I need to watch the light in the house … perhaps I should move to a vampire lifestyle … the no sun part … not the blood part and I will still love garlic!)   I will schedule more of my errands at dusk or after dark.

A week from Monday I go back to Houston to see the doctor there… will have a test then to find out if my inoculations did any good.    Also will find out if I need to resume the IVIG infusions.

Next Friday starts the Austin Gem & Mineral show which I hope to attend (there are usually 3-4 vendors there that have good stone beads.)

Irene

More House Updates … this and that

Doing fine … busy with Book Club Saturday night (Tinkers by Paul Harding) … good company and food made by someone else.  Friday night and Saturday was a Stephen Ministry Retreat …. mostly been beading the crazy … so much fun making jewelry.

Looking forward to LeRoy’s sister Audrey’s visit (at Dorothy & LeRoy’s) this week, Octoberfest brew party on Saturday … and of course the Jewelry Show the Saturday after that.

Finally the pool deck is about done (no gates yet and one bench left but essentially done)  … aggregate patio additions done,  new bathroom sinks and counter tops done, window coverings done …. lots of photos to follow.

We have a deck!!

We have a deck!!

With a stair & landing to chemical cabinet.

Extension of the sidewalk behind the front flower bed.

Extension of the sidewalk behind the front flower bed.

Extension of the Aggragate Patio

Extension of the Aggragate Patio

Guest Bath Sink & Counter Top

Guest Bath Counter Top

Guest Bath Counter Top

Hall Bath sink & counter top

Hall Bath sink & counter top

Hall Bath sink detail

Hall Bath sink detail

Counter top detail in Hall Bath

Counter top detail in Hall Bath

Master bath new sinks & counter top (floor tile will change)

Master bath new sinks & counter top (floor tile will change)

Master Bath sink detail

Master Bath sink detail

Master Bath counter top detail

Master Bath counter top detail

New Master Bedroom Door with Vertical Blinds

New Master Bedroom Door with Vertical Blinds

New  Pleated Shades (Push up & down, no strings!)

New Pleated Shades (Push up & down, no strings!)

Master Bathroom Anderson Frosted Window

Master Bathroom Anderson Frosted Window

Detail of frosted window

Detail of frosted window

Upcoming Jewelry Show, Renovations Continue

I apologize for not updating this as frequently as I could … I am also using Facebook .  If you want brief, but more timely updates, you might consider joining Facebook and “friending ” me (Irene Beattie.)  Its easy, and it is up to you how much information you wish to post about yourself.

Anyway the last couple of weeks have been busy. Had a disaster on Sunday night … picked up a nasty computer virus … AVG missed it.  I managed to back up my data and Ed reloaded my system (Windows 7) from scratch … he installed AVAST, an alternative virus protection to AVG … and when I copied my data  back AVAST  found and eliminated two trojan horses (a type of virus.)

Once I was back online,  I sent out evites on the upcoming jewelry open house party at Jan’s.  I am also busy making some new jewelry … the most fun part.  Happily I have LOTS of completed inventory so I don’t need to make too terribly much.  On Wednesday evening we went out with Doug and Marty to Mirabele to celebrate our mutual wedding anniversaries, their 38th and our 29th.  Our anniversaries are only 2 days apart and we have been doing this since Ben & Kelly were toddlers.   Ben visited this afternoon (and did laundry.)  He is spending quite a bit of time on Army Reserve Duty.

Also coming up is a visit with great-niece, Claire on Sunday (I think we might make cupcakes and I will let her decorate them with an overabundance of sprinkles and candy.)  There is a Stephen Ministry Retreat next weekend, and then LeRoy’s sister Audrey will be in town for a brief visit.

The renovations are proceeding.   Extra Hardie board and Hardie trash is cleared.  The pool deck only has the verticals on the stair rails, the benches, the gates and the little deck topping by the chemical cabinet let.  It is getting close.  The new patio extension and small spot behind front flower bed was poured today … they didn’t find a matching aggregate but what they used is pretty.

Anderson Renewal came by with the screens they “owed” us plus the replacement screens we purchased for the old Anderson Windows.  Of the screens for the new doors, one had a gap in it … wasn’t manufactured correctly and the other was two inches two narrow … sigh.  They are working on getting this resolved.

The window coverings were installed Monday … love the new shades in the living/dining area and east wall of master bath.  They are pleated shades but “no strings”  …. most of them just push up and down.  The ones that have strings are retractable strings … really cool.  The vertical blinds in the master bedroom door (east) didn’t work after they were installed … but they sent someone out the next day and resolved the problem.

All of our bathroom sinks and counter tops were removed on Monday afternoon, which of course caused me to actually sort through the mounds of junk normally stored there … Tuesday the new Silestone counter tops with the white Kohler porcelain under mount sinks were installed.  Wednesday Joe installed the new plumbing in the master and guest bath, and yesterday in the hall bath.  I cannot begin to describe how “convenient” it was to have no bathroom sinks but I am glad to have them back. I love the new counter tops … the hall and master looks like stone … the guest is a textured white .. very clean looking.  Of course there is still clean up work needed (touch up paint, caulk) but the Two Joe’s will get to that when they install the recessed medicine cabinets, mirrors and light fixtures … one of these days.  Joe has been finishing the doors in preparation for widening the doorways of the hall bath.

Inquiring minds (mostly my family) have asked me how many pills I take a day … so I finally counted. Except for M & Th I take 32 or 33 pills/day (depends if it is anti-fungus day) & on M, Th I take 34 or 35. I take them at 6 different times each day. Plus eye drops 2/day, one injection of blood thinner & 2 steroid creams I used as needed. No whining … just facts.

I guess you can tell from my activity level I am feeling pretty good … as long as I avoid the sun.  I have turned into a serious “hat lady” wearing hats every time I go out during the day.  Lucky women don’t have to take them off inside because I have serious “hat hair”  Between the hats, the gallons of sunscreen, the long sleeves and pants and the solar driving gloves I’m not doing too bad … but with my mask some days I feel so covered up I might as well be wearing the full abaya and niqab like women sometimes do in Saudi Arabia …I guess they have good protection against skin cancer.

Hopefully in the next couple of days I will take photos of the progress and post them.   …. Irene

Doing well, lots of house stuff, Happy New Year this week

Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) starts at sundown on Wednesday … so Happy New Year!  I have an IVIG infusion scheduled on Tuesday,  but no pentamine (which was making me sick) so we switched to oral Bactrim instead.

Oh, I have a Jewelry event scheduled.  Saturday, Oct 9, 1-4PM  .. Jan is hosting an Irene’s Jewelry, Etc. Open House Party … so if interested, mark your calendars.  It will hopefully also raise some funds for MD Anderson Cancer Center & Alzheimer’s Association.  My jewelry website is  www.irenesjewelry.com.

Mostly we have been working on the house.  It seems like it has been going on FOREVER … so I thought I would list all that has been done, in progress and planned.  Never fear, there are LOTS of photos of current status at the end of this post so you can just skip to that.

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House Update Status 9/4/2010

Items Completed

- Replaced old fogged windows & doors with Renewal by Anderson (6 windows & 4 doors)

- Hardie siding installed (includes Tyvek wrapping and lots of caulking/foam insulation)

- 5 Sun Tunnels installed

- 2 Solar attic vent fans installed

- Adjusted, stained & finished front door

- Installation of new sliding attic stairs with insulated door

- Insulation in the “shimmed areas” under the old Anderson windows

- Painting of garage door, door to garage, dining room door & hot water closet door

- Installation of new faucets & valve and porcelain tiling around tub in hall bath.

- Installation of new TOTO toilet in hall bath

- Installation of new heat/light/fan in hall bath and new heat/fan in guest bath

- Removal of large spa tub in the master bathroom in preparation for shower remodel.

- All outdoor metal furniture has been sandblasted, rust protection coated and powder coated green (they look better than new.)

- Guest bath tub area tiled … still needs touch up, sealing & fixtures installed

- Cutoff valves replaced in kitchen and all three bathrooms

- Fixed excessive foam in guest room door (from Hardie guys)

Items Ordered or In Process

- Pool deck in TREX (It is swim-able … they are finishing it up)

- Window coverings for master bedroom door and master bath windows on east side (this week?)

- Replacement shades for living & dining areas (this week?)

- Patio extension on west side of house (6′ out to back of house) and small area between flower bed and garage. (They are having trouble matching aggregate color, will try custom mix.)

- New vanities for all three baths in Silestone quartz, with Kohler white porcelain under-mount sinks. (Coming Sept 14th)

- Paint little bit of trim on outside of front door to match Hardie siding & trim

- Hardie guys need to pick-up trash and remove extra Hardie

Items Planned (and in many cases materials already purchased and waiting)

- Replace damaged interior doors on office, master closet, guest closet

- Hall Bath, enlarge doorways to 30″from 24″

- Hall Bath, new recessed medicine cabinets, mirror & light fixture over sink

- Guest Bath, new recessed medicine cabinet, mirror & light fixture over sink

- Guest Bath move relatively new TOTO toilet from master bath and install.

- Master Bath remove old shower and walls, floor tile & toilet.

- Master Bath, create new shower pan & 1ft wide full height wall for plumbing & glass block wall with rounded corner

- Master Bath, install new shower valves & fixtures

- Master Bath, tile shower, floor and three walls.

- Master Bath, install new TOTO toilet

- Master Bath, new medicine cabinets & mirror

- Master Bath, new light in general area, new lights over sink, new heat/light/fan near toilet

- Master Bath, add outlet for nightlight in toilet area

- Rebuild front flower bed in rock and add another small one on opposite side of sidewalk

- Repaint of shop

- Blow in extra attic insulation

Possible Future Items (depending on financial situation)

Redo kitchen with similar layout but

- new light color, solid maple, flat front cabinets

- new counter tops (granite or quartz) and under mount sink & matching dining room counter top

- new double oven (it is limping along now) in white

- new vent hood (a smaller one that doesn’t attack peoples head)

- new trash comp compacter (current one is also limping along and LOUD)

- rebuild tambour door units and divide large one into two (the large door ripped)

I plan to keep the floor tile, dishwasher, stove top, refrigerator & microwave, which are all fine.

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Whew!!!  Now for some current photos,

Pool Deck, stairs not done yet

Pool Deck, stairs not done yet

Pool Deck, you can see all flat pieces are done as are railings.

Pool Deck, you can see all flat pieces are done as are railings.

See the new steps down to chemical cabinet

See the new steps down to chemical cabinet

House with new Hardie, Garage door painted

House with new Hardie, Garage door painted

Hardie siding, new gutters, note chimney no longer has 2x4s to keep siding up.

Hardie siding, new gutters, note chimney no longer has 2x4s to keep siding up.

Front door with Hardie Trim and new light

Front door with Hardie Trim and new light

Rain Chain (direct rain into barrel)

Rain Chain (direct rain into barrel)

Were the pato extension goes (in the back area between the pipes)

Were the pato extension goes (in the back area between the pipes)

Sandblasted/powder coated aluminum love seat ... circa about 1962 (used to have white peeling paint.)

Sandblasted/powder coated aluminum love seat ... circa about 1962 (used to have white peeling paint.)

Steel furniture, sand blasted & powder coated

Steel furniture, sand blasted & powder coated

Guest bath tub (gray tiles are same as on floor)

Guest bath tub (gray tiles are same as on floor)

Guest Bath tub (gray tiles are same tiles as on floor.)

Guest Bath tub (gray tiles are same tiles as on floor.)

Fun with Jewelry glass fusing, wire, stringing and life here on the hill.