Ceramic Cooktops and Hubby Training–not!

J Logo 75Since moving into this house a few years back, I’ve struggled with keeping my ceramic cooktop clean and shiny. When it’s clean it shows every little bit of dropped crust or crumb–even the remnants of an attack of  salt and pepper seasoning by Hubby Dear, aka: Captain Bulldog. [Yes, he’s earned that nickname, folks.]  CB will often use the clean cooking surface to heat/toast a tortilla. [See what I mean?] Okay, I get how that is easier than dragging out a frying pan, but seriously? It leaves a burnt mess that seems as if it’s become part of the ceramic. [Again, he’s earned that nickname.]

stovestove topWell, this week I stumbled upon the answer to keeping that ceramic cooktop looking clean and shiny–almost brand new. We’ve been using a special liquid cleaner made just for these types of cooktops, but it works best if it sits for a few minutes. I’d started to do up the dishes and wipe down the kitchen countertops when I noticed that Captain Bulldog had recently made tortillas, so I grabbed my bottle of stove top magic, smeared it all over the wet surface, and went on to other chores.

Yup, forgot about the cleaner on the cooktop…and dinner time rolled around. We made do with microwave popcorn because we were both dealing with deadlines which isn’t such an unusual situation around here. Anyway, that was four days ago. One day soon, I’ll finish cleaning the stove, but I’m having way too much fun seeing how long it will be before Captain Bulldog breaks down and finally says something about it. <chuckle-snort-giggle>If you liked this true story, remind me to tell you how I’ve gotten out of cooking these past twenty years. No joke!

Okay, so what’s your most dreaded household chore, and how do you deal with it, or not?



Getting Healthy in 2014 ~ Weekly Updates!

J Logo 75Hello my friends. Just a quick note to keep everyone in the loop on my commitment to becoming a better ME in 2014. Want to follow my Year of Getting Back to Healthy? I’ll be doing a weekly update HERE.  This is a little diary-like update under my “Walking With Jaye” files, a subfile of the Back At The Ranch tab on this website. Comments are welcome and appreciated!

Garbage Day, Mani-Pedi’s, and a guy named Kane

J Logo 75I find it quite appropriate today to be blocking out huge chunks of time for various life events all geared toward me moving forward. Suddenly, my world is full of a whole lot of uncommitted hours. Hours that are meant to be reserved for my Writing Life.

And how, you ask, is that working out for me? So far, so good. But, it’s only been two days since I’ve officially retired, so this new lifestyle is a monstrous work in progress.

Wouldn’t you know? Captain Bulldog has already blessed me with a chore he’s done the past several years. I’ll now be setting out the garbage for our weekly collections. Yeah, retirement is that glamorous. Ha!

Don’t think I haven’t been savagely protecting my newly earned ‘free time’. I do have my To Do List, starting with eliminating my house from an upcoming episode of Hoarders. Don’t judge, okay? A woman can only do so many things in any given day.

I had my priorities in order this past year, but things got away from me due to the day job, chairing my home chapter’s annual writing contest, and getting my debut novel published. Those things took the lion’s share of my time. Maintaining a semblance of family relationships sliced the remaining hours. So, keeping the house on the Better Homes and Gardens best dressed list had to go, along with regular mani-pedi and hair appointments.

What are the three top items on my new To-Do List?

  1. Write my own stuff: stories, blogs, and do a few critiques and edits along the way
  2. Get healthy: cut out junk, fix healthy meals, and exercise
  3. Reclaim the house: purge, organize, and clean

See that last item on number two? That’s where a guy named Kane comes into play. I signed up at the gym near my subdivision and he’s the trainer who will be guiding me along my Get Healthy Schedule. My goal is to get back into my size 10 blue jeans by this summer’s RWA national conference. It going to be a challenge, but I’m determined to be the very best I can be—even at this late stage of my life. Never too late, right? RIGHT.

Wish me luck. I’ll post updates every so often.

D-Day for Jaye, or “How to Rediscover Yourself While Walking”

J Logo 75A friend of mine started eating vegetarian and walking/running over a year ago. She’ lost some weight, feels a lot better, and has rediscovered herself. I’ve been supporting her from the sidelines all this time. Yes, it occurred to me that I should begin a good health routine, too. My immediate response was always the same, “I’m too busy. I’ll start as soon as [fill in the blank] project is done. Then I’ll have time for planning my meals and a good exercise routine.”

Quite recently, my niece signed up with a work out plan where she works. Apparently, they have a gym and coaches in the facility. How wonderful for her! I’d take advantage of that if we had those facilities at my day job. Yes, I’m sure I would. Really. (Says the person who’s frittered away more than one gym membership.) Did I mention that I hate going to the gym?

Okay, since that’s not an option, and there will always be [fill in the blank] project that needs my attention, just when did I honestly believe I’d make time for myself? Right, never.

Well, no magical fairy dust is going to descend upon my shoulders and ‘poof!’ I’m fixed. I knew it was time I got my rather large rear-end in gear, dusted off my expensive walking shoes, got out there and started walking. Yeah, like the Nike ad says, “Just do it.”

Today is Sunday, October 27, 2013. It’s just after 1 pm, and I’m sweating. I just finished a 45 minute trek around my neighborhood, and I feel fabulous. But, there’s a big difference today in me feeling fabulous about starting my good health routine than any other time I’ve made this same commitment. Today, the motivation to do this every day, if even for a few minutes, floated in front of my eyes like an apparition of things to come if I didn’t keep this up. You checked the date, right? It’s almost Halloween.



Yeah, most of the neighborhood has their Trick or Treat lawn decorations out, and it was fun seeing all the different displays. Some were cute, some were downright spooky. The one that got my attention like no other was this one. Go ahead. Click on the picture for a really good look. I dare you.

Hello? Are you talking to me?

Damn Skippy, he was. Gulp!

Okay, I got the message. If I don’t take care of myself, I’ll be a bag of bones and dust. Then where will all those awesome [fill in the blank] projects be if I’m not here to finish them?

That picture got me to thinking. Since I’ve always been a bit of an explorer, I should take a picture of something on every walk that inspires me. Each day would be a brand new discovery. It could be anything and I could create an Inspirational Walking Blog. Every day, I could upload another picture and share what I’d found. Not only would that help me stay motivated, but doing the blog would be my own little accountability partner. Commitment. Yeah.

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. So, I’m starting with my new best friend. I’ve named her Daye. Kind of like D-Day for Jaye. Get it?

Okay, I’ve created a place where you’ll find my accountability page of pictures and comments. I promise, I’ll update it at least once a week. You’ll find it here on my website under the Back At The Ranch tab. It’s called Walking With Jaye.