Things I Like


Exercising my right to vote.

Yesterday was election day.  I will be honest here. I hate politics. I hate talking politics, hearing about politics, all the hot air of politics – and the joke that our political system has turned into with the ridiculousness going on in a certain party.  However, I do vote.  When we moved to Radiance Manor last year, we filled out our change of driver’s license and voting registration online.  How convenient, right?  Well, the licenses came within a week.  I stopped at the polling place during my bike ride yesterday and low and behold, I wasn’t registered. When I mentioned I had done it online, the official said “Oh, that’s why – the same thing happened to me”. Apparently there was an issue with online registrants. But, since this was a general election and not a primary, I could still vote. I just had to fill out one of these envelopes and put my ballot in there:


Just an FYI for anyone who isn’t registered or moved and still wants to vote, this is what you fill out. You only get to vote once, though :D

There wasn’t much on our ballot. Some unopposed seats and a couple small races, and the library budget. But, it’s my right to vote. A lot of women went through decades of hard work, blood, sweat and tears to get the 19th amendment passed – so I don’t want their work to be for naught, even if the election doesn’t mean a whole lot.



Suffragettes did a lot of work so women could have a voice. And if you do use your voice – be informed. Do your research. Don’t toe the party line – vote for whomever shares your ideals, regardless of party.  That’s how politics should work. Too bad it doesn’t.

We have been having amazing weather this week. It’s been in the 60s in the afternoons. It’s crazy!  That means biking has been happening.  Just a shot from along a ride:


A couple of my 365 photos.  This prompt was shades of gray:


I took that at an old train station in North Creek and turned it black and white. I liked the old look of the lettering on this.

Today’s prompt was indulgence and you know this is mine!


Things have been hopping around here. I know my posts are kind of sporadic, but that’s how it goes sometimes.  I did get my official tax license from NYS for my business, so that’s moving along, as is the progress on the utility sink area. Flooring going in tonight!

October wrap up

Happy November!  October was kind of a crazy month, but then you always start a month and never know what will happen.

We are back into some relatively warmer weather around here, so we are still able to get the bikes out for riding!

I have the fleece tights to wear under my bike knickers and they keep my legs nice and warm:


There will be temps in the 60s this week – can you believe that?  So, November riding will be happening. Yippee!!


We had a fairly quiet Halloween. We had maybe 15 or 20 kids tops. Mostly young ones, too. You would think we would have a lot as we are only a couple blocks from a school, but you just never know. We had more than last year, though.

Progress on the utility sink area is moving along.  John has done so much work with the framing and the drywall while I have been busy with other stuff.  This is where the tub used to be inside the small bathroom, which is now on the outside :D


Now it’s my turn doing the taping and mudding, then painting the walls. We can start installing the flooring while the mud dries (it will take several days to do all the coats). The sink is here, so I am hoping by next weekend this part of the project will be done.  Then to start on the bathroom portion, although there is no hurry on that.

Sunday I went to the Larac art show. They moved the venue to downtown, so I could walk there, which was nice. I bought some Christmas gifts and then some pictures for myself. I was chatting with the photographer about cameras and such and I bought the 2 smaller bird pictures below.  His pictures are amazing.


After I paid, he asked me if there were any other pictures I liked and I pointed out the squirrel one.  Well – he gave me the picture! I didn’t want to take it, but he insisted.  That was so nice. Maybe he was flirting with me? I don’t know.

Anyway, I had made some goals for October. I was a bit middling with getting them done.

  1. No scale. No problem there, although I gained 2 pounds in the month of October. I don’t know what that means as we had company for the first week of October and with eating out, I could have easily gained more and lost some of that. Again, I don’t have a reason for not weighing.
  2. Pink pictures.  Done. I did pink links on most of my pictures this month. Thank you all for clicking through to fund mammograms.
  3. Work on the headboard.  Close to finishing, but still stuck where I was with needing to do the glaze.  I ended up having a lot to do this month with starting the soap biz and working on the bathroom.  IMG_1293b
  4. Strength training.  Complete fail on this one. Not sure why, but I just didn’t get to it. I did a lot of excercising, though with walking (new treadmill), biking and renovations.

So, a couple unfinished goals there.  I will get that headboard finished this month, though LOL!

Pumpkin Carving Time!


We carved a little early this year since it was the only day we could all get together.  This is always a good time and everyone seems to enjoy it – with the exception of the 12-year-old niece, who gets bored.  Even my dad seems to really like it, which is a little surprising to me, but I’m glad.

I got my garden cleaned up for fall with all the annuals pulled out and lots of pumpkins:


It was kind of a rainy night, but fun nonetheless.  Pumpkins ready to go!


I didn’t take any pictures of food, but we just did a finger food dinner and still managed to sit at the table with the pumpkins on it LOL!

My pattern:


Usually I do 2 pumpkins, but I am going to wait until Friday to do the second one so it is fresher.

Carving commenced:





One by one we lined them up on the stairs inside as they got finished.


You can see where we stopped removing wallpaper here LOL! Winter project…sigh...

I still wanted to see them outside, though. We put them outside under the awning over the garage so they would stay dry:




If you don’t know, an easy way to keep a pumpkin fresh if the weather is warm or you carve early is to either put vaseline around the cut parts or to keep the pumpkin in a bucket of water. I do the water thing and it works great.

Did you know today is National Cat Day?  I mentioned that to John and he said every day was cat day :D  Here is our little queen on her chaise:


She’s giving me the look here!

Today’s pink item – soap colorant!  This is pink mica. Not as bad as getting glitter everywhere, but still makes a mess.


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Tuesday things

I can’t believe we are approaching November already, can you? I don’t know why I get surprised when the weather is colder because it is almost November :D  I have gotten in some riding this week. Still going out when the temps are in the 40s. Not long rides, but 30-40 minutes.  Now weather is coming in from the hurricane, which is crazy that something that started in Mexico is leaving through New England. It’s our turn for the wind and rain now.  That will probably do it for the fall colors around here.  This was the view yesterday from our dining room:


With gusts predicted up to 50 mph, these will likely be gone in a couple days. I’ll have to take another picture :D

Progress on the headboard. I painted it with Moonlight White.  Not sure why that color shows up so bright on the web, but it is an off white.  It’s cold working in the garage and it takes a while for coats to dry, even with the chalk paint.


I like how the trim stands out.


I am putting some satin poly on it and then will be antique glazing – very subtle. The poly will make it easier to put the glaze on and clean up any oopsies rather than glazing right over the chalk paint.  Not sure when I will get to the glazing part, maybe later in the week. We have our annual pumpkin carving party on Wednesday night.

I have been making soap again.  My longtime customer ordered a bunch and I decided I am going to reopen my soap business all together. Work has been frustrating since forever (as you all know very well). However, the accounts that I am on now seem like the ones no one else wants and I can see why. Production goes down, which means I effectively got a pay cut for harder work. No bueno.  So, that is the reason for getting moving on the basement renovation for a sink area so that I can produce larger amounts and set up my workshop.  Here is one of my test runs.  This is an ocean scent and I put sea salt on the top.


I am not sure if the sea salt is a fail or something good yet.  A lot came off when I cut the soap into bars. I need to test ship it and see how it holds up.  The fleur-de-lis is a soap stamp, which is something fun and different. You just press it into the fresh soap bars.

More soaps:


So, all this means getting a license, setting up banking, building a website and doing all the necessary stuff for that. Needless to say, things are getting busier around here.  ‘Cause I was just laying around eating bon-bons, you know.


More fall riding!

Still getting in some riding.  It was supposed to get near 50 degrees, but it was still pretty chilly  at 43 when we went out.  I was pinked up for riding!


I will make that the pink picture of the day, even though I already did this jacket, it’s so pink it deserves another one :D

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I did have to wear another jacket over this because it was pretty cold. We decided to ride to the lake for an afternoon coffee.  There are still some fall colors going on. It’s past peak, but still pretty:


Someone has a cute pumpkin display.  I doubt these will last until Halloween, though.




I was taking a lot of pictures today.  Sometimes I told John I was stopping and other times I didn’t. You can see him as the little orange dot in the center of this picture.


The lake was so wonderfully uncrowded now that the tourists are gone. It was breezy and chilly, but still good to see it.




We hopped over to Cafe Vero for our treat and sat by the warm fire!


It was hard to leave this cozy spot and go back out into the cold to get home :D  

Most of the reds and oranges are gone, but the yellow leaves can be so pretty, too.


Cold Lori, but Happy Lori:


We ended up with 20 miles on the day, which is great for late October!  I’ll take it.

Some progress on the door/headboard. I spent all that time stripping the varnish off and I ended up with the problem I was worried about, which was being able to stain the new trim to match the old door. I tried 3 different stains and just could not get them to match, so I will be painting the door. Oh well.  I could have had this done a couple weeks ago, but I wanted to see if I could match the stains.  Here is the trim on the door:


It doesn’t look as mismatched in the pic as in real life. The door has a very reddish color to the wood and even with cherry stain I could not get it to match. Then I tried a really dark stain for all the pieces and the door wouldn’t soak up very much stain.  I do really like the trim, though!


The door will an off white with some antiquing glaze. Or that is the plan, anyway :D  I was hoping to get done with it by the end of the month, but I will be squeaking it out if I make it!



We have had a bit of warm up around here this week. It’s been quite mild and we have been able to squeeze in some riding. All riding is gravy riding from here until the bikes come in for the winter.  Today after the rain cleared, I headed out for a 10 mile ride before lunch. Good to clear my head from work.


Oopsie, got diverted!


They were ripping up the path on either side of the road it crosses over. Probably for utilities or something. Detoured for a ways and got back on.


Kind of a damp morning for riding, but it was 58 degrees and you can’t beat that for later in October!

Other diversions:

I did a little door flipping on the side.  Someone put this old door out for free at the curb. John and I picked it up and I sold it to someone on my vintage list for $30 (they eat that old chippy stuff up). Love to make a little scratch from someone’s unwanted stuff!  And it didn’t end up in the landfill. Win-win all around!



I joined a 365 photo group on FB that Fran and Roz are part of. This is my favorite shot this month for the prompt Scales:



I am sure anyone watching me lay on the floor by my guitar shooting macro would have been amused.

My window feeder has been attracting a ton of birds. I got some nice close up shots of them.

The chickadee:


And the Titmouse:


This winter I will put some different seed in there along with the safflower and see what else comes. I had other seed in there before, but the squirrels managed to climb their way up the side of the house and eat it!

Making progress on the downstairs utility sink area.  The carpeting is removed – all old framing removing and now it is ready for new framing and the new plumbing lines:


The sink is on order and we will be putting down vinyl click ‘n lock plank flooring (looks like wood). Eventually we will do the whole rest of the basement in that flooring, but it’s too big for us to afford to do that right now. Next step is framing for the new back wall. John has been doing most of this work, which I appreciate very much.

And finally – Today’s pink item: The flowers on my new gloves:


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Pumpkin Mug Cake with Coconut Flour

I have steered away from microwave mug cakes forever after trying a bunch of protein ones and finding them to be dry and sponge-like.  I do like the 1-minute muffin, which doesn’t call for protein powder, so the texture is better.  I also like the banana bread breakfast pudding made with coconut flour, which I had done with pumpkin as well and so when I saw a recipe pop up in my pinterest feed, I decided to take another look at it.  I had everything on hand, so I whipped it up.  I calculated calories for hers and it was almost 500, which is just too much for me on a normal day. Maybe on a long ride day for breakfast or something, but not on the regular.  It called for 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. I really don’t think any small recipe needs that much oil in it, so I was going to sub with half applesauce, but then just figured I would do the whole thing with applesauce instead of the oil, cutting almost 200 calories off the top.


mug cake

Based on this recipe


  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons of maple syrup (the real stuff please)
  • 2 tablespoons of  coconut flour (14 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon

You could probably mix all this in the mug, but I wanted to spray the mug with cooking spray, so I got a bowl messy.  Mix all of the wet ingredients first.


I have a tiny sifter that I use for the coconut oil and the baking powder. Both of these ingredients get clumpy, so I find this to be an easy solution.  I lay the sifter on the bowl and put it on the scale to measure out the coconut flour.


Mix up and scoop the batter into your mug.  A 10 – 12 ounce mug should be fine. It’s somewhat dense and doesn’t rise a ton.


Microwave for 3 to 3-1/2 minutes. Start checking after 2-1/2 minutes to make sure it is done. You will see it fully cooked through the top when it is done.



Then I defeated the purpose and put in on a plate because I wanted a better picture.  I topped this with half a tablespoon of butterscotch chips. The chips are getting nice and melty here, too – yay!

mug cake

The verdict?  Pretty good!  It tastes like pumpkin pie. Almost a pumpkin muffin, but more moist.  I had this for lunch actually :D  I think it would make a good breakfast or maybe a dessert.  It was surpringly filling, which I tend to find when I have any coconut flour item. 

mug cake

Nutrition:  Calories 239; carbohydrates 35 g; fat 7 g; protein 9 g; fiber 6 g.   That is without the butterscoth chips. That added 40 more calories to my serving.

Notes:  If you don’t have real maple syrup (the horror), sub another liquid sweetener in it like honey. The coconut flour needs a lot of moisture so using something like brown sugar would probably make the batter too thick.

Tubs and treadmills

Man, it’s starting to feel almost winterish around here already.  We had overnight lows into the 20s!  That killed most of the garden, although the roses that I covered seemed to make it and I brought the mums inside the garage.

Saturday started off like fall, though.  John baked some pumpkin donuts with Bisquick. Here is a link to all their baked donut recipes.



I scored on a sewing cabinet that I wanted to make a vanity out of like in this post.  I was sort of half looking around on craigslist to see if there happened to be any sewing cabinets since it is not a project we are going to start immediately. I wasn’t expecting to find one, but not only did I find one, it was only $25 – with a working sewing machine!


Here is the machine:


I can hopefully sell the machine to some of my vintage people. It’s almost a shame to take the machine out, but the whole thing will get repurposed, so it’s all good.  We will put a vessel sink on top.  But that is a project for another day.

Something that did get started was the basement bathroom. This was the crazy bathroom that had the shower at shoulder level (for me!).


It was designed for kids anyway, but the tub was leaking around the drain, which we found out on accident. John dumps a lot of dehumdifier water down the tub in the warm weather and we noticed the rug in the hallway was wet. Ugh. So, that had to be taken care of after we were done with all the company we have had.  I heard John making a lot of noise down there earlier in the week and he was already pulling out drywall and the tub, which was so cheap and thin that he could pretty much break it apart with his hands! See how ridiculously small this is? Not sure if you can see it, but the shower spout is right where his biceps is.


Now we have an empty space:


Here is the view from the other side:


The plan here is we will put a wall in there and the space where the tub used to be will be on the outside of the bathroom and we will have a double utility sink in that cubby (where that box frame is). Then the bathroom itself with get a freshen up, but the first priority is closing it up and getting in the sink. We can use all the existing plumbing lines and drain for the tub, so that is pretty awesome. We only need to lengthen the water lines and put in some shut off valves.  I will be making soap again and I need a utility sink for that, so this hopefully will be a really good solution.  I tell you, we just never stop.  I wasn’t thinking this would happen so fast, but then John started it and how can I not get involved??

On another fun note, we have a new toy. A treadmill!  We ‘acquired’ it from my parents since they don’t use it and they can use the space.  It was kind of heavy, but we managed to get it up our stairs without any issue and have it in our exercise room. 


This room is going to be the last one to be de-wallpapered in the house. Maybe we will get to that some time this winter after the hallway/stairwell gets done.  Anyway, I can alternate the treadmill and my bike trainer this winter for variety.  


It’s also good because I don’t have to worry right now about getting the bike inside for regular exercise and I can squeeze every bit of outside riding in that I can while still having a way to exercise inside.  I don’t like John’s recumbent at all, so this is good for me.

Time for today’s pink item – my phone cover!




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What’s Blooming!

The growing season is just about done around here.  We are getting freezing temps this weekend, which will toast pretty much anything left. 


It’s still good for planting perennials, though.  I couldn’t resist another end-of-season sale from Hosta’s Direct on Heuchera and got 5 more baby plants for $3.95 each!


I contacted them today about planting with the freeze coming and they suggested waiting until Monday when the temps will be back in the 30s overnight. 

One last globe thistle is blooming now:


The hydrangea has totally turned pink now from white:


It’s perfect for today’s pink picture!

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There are a few stray blooms on the butterfly bush as well.


More buds on the rose bushes, too.  I am going to cover this and hope it survives the freeze. This is the Enchanted Evening.


Then there is the cardinal flower:


I really hope I can protect the foxglove as well. It has a large spike that is only about half open right now.


I love the purple speckled throats on these blooms, don’t you?

The Fair Bianca still has oodles of flowers and buds on it:


I’ll be covering that up as well.  I can bring the potted mums into the garage overnight, so those will be okay.  Not sure about the black-eyed Susan, though:


Last gasp of the snapdragons as well:


Still a lot going on in the garden, actually. I need to neaten up the fall display this weekend once the rain passes through.


We have our carving pumpkins! Gotta get ready for the carving party :D  Not sure if biking will happen or not this weekend. Rainy Saturday and pretty cold Sunday. Not to mention we have a lot of projects underway… again.


Spruce Mountain Fire Tower Hike

We did another official trail hike, but first – the pink picture of the day!  My new biking jacket. It is super bright :D


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On to the hike!  On Monday, my sister and BIL had the day off since they are state employees. I was working, but managed to take off in the afternoon so John and I could join them on the hike.  The trail we went on was Spruce Mountain.  This trail was finally finished after getting some easements to make the trail passable all the way to the fire tower. The firetower was in disrepair for many years, but they just finished the restoration so that you can climb up the 5 (!!!) stories to get to the top.  The trail closes by mid October for hunting season, so there are only a couple weeks left to go.

Apparently,we were not the only ones who wanted to squeeze in a holiday hike.  We were pretty surprised at the number of cars at the trail head.


It actually wasn’t super crowded on the trail and it seemed most people were on their way down when we started up.




Since there were easements, instructions were to stay on the paths.  Some property owner put this up by a section:


Okay, then.  The trail was pretty much all wooded on the way up and mostly just forest floor instead of the rocky climbs we have done before.


Check out how this tree perfectly fell into the V of two other trees.


Talk about threading the needle. We had to duck a little bit under this tree.

You could almost make 2 canoes out of this split tree:


Woodpecker damage on an old stump:


This trail pretty much kept climbing upwards for the whole 1.2 miles to get to the firetower. It definitely got the heart rate up there!  We did have Gryffon with us again on this hike, so we took breaks for him (and us!).


He’s so special he has his own collapsible, portable water bowl!

More and more climbing and we started to enter a different landscape:



Yippee!!  We finally saw our destination:


I have to say the thought of climbing this made me a little nervous. I am not a fan of heights, but I didn’t hike 1.2 miles up a mountain not to get to the top!

Gryffon didn’t get to go up in the tower. He was attached to a tree while we climbed:


There were only a few people there, thank goodness. It would have been hard to get up and down if we had been there earlier with all the people we saw coming down.  Good thing I was busy at work in the morning and delayed the hike ;)

The fire tower was originally built in 1928 (there I go with my favorite time period). Thank goodness they refurbished it… Colleen and Dave climbing:


The view was getting better with each floor up:


Colleen says “Lean out of the tower!”. She wanted our picture from above.  Eek!  Not too far. (This was her picture).


These actually were out of order as John and I climbed first and she took these when we were on our way down, but I wanted to save the view shots for last.

Higher and it was a loooong way down. Look at the tiny people below:


It was a little scary, I have to admit, but the view was incredible. This is at the very top.  There is a plexiglass enclosure so you don’t fall out, I guess, although the floors on the way up are wide open.


You can see for 120 miles from up here and are the colors not amazing?!!?!

We made it!! Top of the world!


Interesting note. Selfie was done on my phone. You can see the difference how the phone does not pick up the fall colors like the Rebel does. 




We really picked the perfect day to go to see colors.  I just could not get over this view.  Here is the shadow of the firetower while we were up top:


This was definitely worth the climb up. Going down was pretty much all downhill and fast (relatively for hiking).  I took a few more pictures, but they just can’t compare to the fire tower shots LOL.  It was about 2.5 miles round trip for this hike.  I do recommend this one for sure.  Several days later and I keep thinking about the view from the fire tower.