Saturday, May 27, 2017

This Old House - Just Doesn't Stop!

My wee singlewide has TWO lanais. One, which sits at trailer height has an entry from the kitchen, has a poured concrete floor. I insulated it, had A/C directed into it, and turned it into a dining room and art studio, ages ago. It gives me another 100 sq. feet or so of living space.

But the other lanai was the horrific entryway to my house at ground level, and also has the laundry room shed attached to it. It was covered in filthy 50-yr old green outdoor carpet in the color used for putting courses. So I covered that with a Home Depot cheapie rug that immediately showed every bit of dirt. It was hopeless. The three steps up to the door of the trailer were black with old adhesive. The ceiling was peeling and mottled with dirt. It was a mess. When we did the flooring in the house, all the construction stuff ended up on this lanai (who cared if it got dirtier?)

Well, that lanai has now been pressure washed, the ceiling primed and repainted, the rugs torn up and discarded, and the floor has been smoothed, patched, primed, and got a new paint job. The steps are white with sand colored treads. It's a whole new world out there!!

So this old house is looking and feeling a lot better. My big decision to stay here (instead of moving AGAIN) has paid off, as this is now a home and not temporary quarters.

The gypsy has finally parked her wagon.


This Old House - Keep at It!

Now that the flooring is in (and what a joy to live with and clean! No comparison to the old tiles), I added a pole in the pass through (kitchen/living room) from which I can hang plants. And also got some teardrop containers for air plants which are SO cool!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

This Old House

When I went broke in the Recession of 2008 (but didn't hit me until 2011) I lost two homes and all my savings trying to save them. I was left with $5,000 and no roof over my head, so I bought a singlewide trailer in a little mobile home park for $4,500 and considered myself lucky to have it.

There were so many problems with it that I could barely stand to live there. But over the years (YES, I'm still here!) I went through the motions of making it livable.

The most recent upgrade (after a new air conditioner, repaired bath faucets and toilet, sealed roof, installation of a garbage disposal, and insulating a lanai and extending air into it) is a new floor for the hideous old yellowed, chipped tile:

My terrific handyman, Mike, installed vinyl tiling throughout the main house. It was a huge job, but he made it look easy. In the process he discovered a leak in the toilet and had to replace the floor of the bathroom first!

But finally, after a number of days of chaos and hard work, ta da!

I am absolutely thrilled with my new flooring. The whole house has a clean, modern feel now and I'm planning on getting the outdoor lanai done next! Stay tuned.

This New House:

Sunday, April 16, 2017

(not my) President Trump, Show Us Your Tax Returns!

Yes, we'd like to see his tax returns. Because we think he didn't pay his taxes. Yes, it was wonderful to see like-minded Americans congregate and march in protest, to RESIST a man who can only be described as wrong-minded and dangerous.

What can we think of a man who:

Secretly drops "the mother of all bombs" on another country (Afghanistan) without asking Congress?

Slanders the handicapped, undocumented Mexicans, reporters and anyone who disagrees with him?

Brags about grabbing women's genitals and getting away with it?

Attempts to repeal ACA medical care with NO plan for replacing it (that works)?

Wants to cut off funding for school lunches, Planned Parenthood, National Endowment for the Arts, just for starts?

Wants to give bigger and bigger tax cuts to the rich with money saved on programs for the poor?

Demeans and undermines climate control progress and reverses progress made by Obama?

Insults world leaders, is rude to our allies, and is so inarticulate and ignorant that he embarrasses the nation?

Sends missiles to Syria and on national television, says he sent missiles to Iraq. Doesn't he know?

Wants to increase military spending even though we're already the most armed nation on the planet?

Has spent more money in private travel & secret service in a couple of months than Obama did in eight years?

Has appointed bigots, racists, extremists, family members, and utterly unqualified people to his cabinet?

Doesn't know anything about government or politics?

Appoints the most conservative judge since Thomas to the Supreme Court; Gorsuch more right than Scalia. Politicizing the courts.

Behaves like a teenager and tweets his opinion daily on social media, usually attacking his detractors?

Is strongly suspected of manipulating the election with ties to Russian hackers and Putin. (or is too stupid to not flaunt his friendship with Putin to a nation being hacked by Russia!)

In short, the man is terrifying in his extremism and has no place in government, let alone the nation's President!

It was very moving to listen to old folk songs that were popular when people were protesting the Vietnam War. It is that same spirit that is in the air -- America has had enough, and it's only been a couple of months of this Presidency.

There was more than one man wearing the pussy hats that became popular after Trump bragged about grabbing pussy, and was outed on national television. Many women carried signs saying, "Not MY pussy!"
We marched in downtown (very posh) Naples, through neighborhoods where some of the wealthiest people in America live. We were heartened by how many people sitting at sidewalk cafes, or driving by in luxury autos, waved and acknowledged the marchers.
Yes, we had a very good time, but this is serious business, and I can only pray that we keep up the resistance and that we get this man out of office SOON. ##

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


You have this LOUSY Win 10, right?  And now your Search Box just disappeared?  And you googled how to fix it?

Do not go to all the trouble that these techies are putting you through until you try this!

Right click your bar (at the bottom where the icons all sit?  Maybe yours is at the top?)

 You get a black box, with a long menu on it,  and the 2nd item is "Cortana" so click on that.

You should see three choices:

Show Cortana icon
Show Cortana search box

Chances are good that "Hidden" is checked and there's your problem. If  "Hidden" is checked, then check either "Show Cortana icon" or "Show Cortana search box"  (I personally prefer seeing the "ask my anything" box)

That's it.  It's back.  None of that nonsense the techies put you through.

If THIS doesn't work, then you have a different problem than I did.

If it worked, could you leave a comment saying "Yes" so I know?  Thanks.

Monday, April 10, 2017

What's Life Without Instant Pot?

The latest fad and latest joy in the cooking world is the Instant Pot -- which is an updated (and much, much safer) pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and it even has a saute function right in the pot, so you can brown those meats and onions before you add liquid and poof, pressure it!

I'm having a wonderful time experimenting with it.  So far I've made a really fast and really good beef stew (in about 10 min);  homemade applesauce (in about 4 minutes);  refried beans (6 min instead of soaking, and another 4 min to cook);  and a wonderful 'off the top of my head' chicken curry, by just dumping in chicken tenders, a can of coconut milk, curry, salt and pepper - and voila.  It was delicious.  Then I made rice to go under it.  (I messed up the rice a little...not as fluffy as it should have been)---all in my Instant Pot.  Oh, I also made a bean soup (the package of 10-bean beans for soup has been in my pantry for ages, so I used it.  Good!)

Had a little Mexican food dinner party for a couple of birthday guests and friends, and we had chicken enchiladas, refried beans, Mexican chopped salad, and a whole bunch of margaritas beforehand. Ole!   For dessert, I used Trader Joe's rich Belgium chocolate pudding and mixed in some cinnamon and almond extract to turn it into Mexican chocolate pudding -- and we never looked back.  Yum!

The biggest event outside of finishing the second edit of my new novel, Canyon Flower, is that I have decided to stay in this old house.  I spent so much time hating it that I have never really had the joy of home that I usually pour into my houses, so one morning I woke up and said, hey, I'm old.  I'm going to commit to this place and FIX all the things I don't like.  If they are fixable and if I can scrape the dough together.  Purchased in Jan. 2014

Well, I threw that out there like it's no big deal--but this, in fact, is huge.  I'm a gypsy, a nomad, a woman who hasn't stayed in one place for more than 4 years in her life.  People have had to buy new address books because of me.  And I thought I had one more big move in me and since I paid next to nothing for this old house $4500!  It would be easy to walk away from it and its myriad flaws.  But meanwhile I'm starting my 3rd year here, with a job I love, with a city I love, and friends I love--and some really good artistic/writing work has been done here--so why would I want to leave?  It's nuts!

So this is a life changing, game changer, this decision--and while I don't have much money to toss around, I can certainly invest a lot more in this house than I have to date.  So I began....

So!  The toilet handle no longer has to be held down 8 seconds to flush.  It's been repaired!

My kitchen now has a garbage disposal!  (no room for a dishwasher, but a disposal makes the whole kitchen a different experience).

My wonderful old green pie pantry which someone handmade in N.C., and which was falling apart has been braced and bracketed and the doors now close and the legs don't wobble.  Fixed!

But the big event will start next Thursday.  The hideous yellowed linoleum throughout this house is going to be replaced.  Starting next Thursday.  

It will be replace with 12" x 24" vinyl tiles that look like this:

Here's what a "real" kitchen might look like with these tiles! Mind you, this is NOT my kitchen.  But look at that floor!

Picture to come of MY house!
It's true everything's wrong with this old house.  It's a veritable money pit, but where am I going?  And the truth is, fixing it up makes me feel better than anything I've done in a long time....except art and writing!

And speaking of art!  I sold five small collages last week to a wonderful lady who comes to the concerts where I work.  She spotted them on the wall and asked prices.  I'm SO chuffed.   These are them: (except I seem to be missing a picture of one with a bird and flowers)

Thursday, February 9, 2017


It's really tricky to cook for one person without the grocery bills being high and a lot of food wasted...that is, if you are a foody and like to cook, as I do.

The other day I had a big tossed salad and a baked yam for dinner. It was simple, it was inexpensive and it was delicious. I decided that I am going to try to find less expensive ways to feed myself...well. Lo and behold, I picked up the New York Times and this was staring at me. Chinese Stir Fried Tomatoes And Eggs! That might not appeal to a lot of you meat and potato folks, but it sings to me, a lover of scrambled eggs and all things well seasoned.

Readers responded with recipes from all over, so this dish is forgiving and versatile. I am paying close attention, as the many variations provide for great diversity in a simple dish.w

6 eggs
e Kosher salt
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 pound beefsteak tomatoes in season, or 1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes in juice
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 scallions, sliced
1 teaspoon minced ginger (from about 1/4-inch nub)
Steamed rice, for serving


In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs well with 1 teaspoon salt, sesame oil and rice wine or sherry. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water until well combined, then stir in the sugar and ketchup. If using fresh tomatoes, core and cut them into 1/2-inch wide wedges.

Heat a wide nonstick skillet over high heat with 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. When the oil shimmers, add most of the scallions, saving some to garnish. Cook, stirring, until very aromatic, about 20 seconds. Add the eggs, and cook, stirring well with a spatula or chopsticks, until just set but still runny, about 45 seconds. Pour the eggs back into the mixing bowl, and wipe out the pan.

Reheat the pan over high heat with the remaining tablespoon of oil. When it is hot, add the ginger and cook until aromatic, about 15 seconds. Add the tomatoes and salt to taste; cook, stirring occasionally, until the flesh has softened but still has some shape and the juices have begun to form a sauce, 2-3 minutes. (If using canned tomatoes, add the juice as well and cook about 4 minutes, to reduce it to a saucelike consistency.)

Reduce the heat to medium. Give the cornstarch-ketchup mixture a stir in its bowl, then stir it into the pan. Cook, stirring, until the sauce returns to a boil and thickens. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, sugar or more ketchup — you want a savory, tart-sweet sauce. Stir the eggs in the bowl to cut up the curds a bit, then return them to the pan. Cook, stirring, for a few seconds to finish cooking the eggs and to combine. Top with the reserved scallions, and serve with steamed rice.


Ed Franceschini 6 days ago
I am the son of Italian immigrants. My mother made eggs like this. In a cast iron skillet, slowly cook some fresh tomatoes until most liquid is gone. Carefully break eggs into sauce without breaking the yolk. With a fork stir the egg white into the sauce so that it solidifies and combines. Leave the yolk whole. If worried about the yolk being fully cooked, cover for a couple of minutes. Then serve. This was in the 1930s and 40s.

petey tonei 6 days ago This (a version of it minus the rice wine) is a very familiar breakfast food all over South Asia. The Parsee version is called akoori scrambles. In the south there's a delightful version using curry leaves and chili peppers along with cilantro and tomatoes. Try adding curry powder, its aromatic and amazing, the complex flavors tingle in the mouth and you are fully awake!

Naani-Daadi 6 days ago Thank you for this recipe/ Yes, in North India, we too have a version but it's more like an omelet that has tomatoes, cilantro, minced onion, and chopped green chillies. (no rice wine). And served over an "aaloo paratha" (stuffed wheat flat-bread). Ketchup is not traditional (too sweet) but the kids seem to like it sprinkled on top. It is a breakfast food and goes wonderfully with masala chai.

Maria 5 days ago In Greece its called Kayiana, and its made by scrambling eggs, fresh chopped tomatoes, olive oil, oregano, salt/pepper and if you like, cheese. It is delicious!